Quarter 4 marks a fun and exciting time for many. We are experiencing changing seasons, ratcheting up anticipation for forthcoming holidays and enjoying the excitement of football season. It is a time to be thankful, push hard to the finish and plan for the future.
In the coming months, many will begin setting new yearly goals which may include traveling with family and friends, pursuing new business ventures, giving to charity or sculpting your body. Many things in life, goals included, require time and/or money. In our professional careers, each of us is consistently trading time for money. What if the opposite could be true?
Money is an empowering tool that, if utilized properly, can enact positive change and help facilitate positive outcomes. Money is necessary to live your life and allow you to enjoy adventures, conquer goals and achieve dreams. Is there a way to trade money for time? How do you get out of the rat race while making enough money to live your life on your terms? There is no easy answer but diversifying your investments to include real estate could offer passive income. Passive income can help you achieve financial freedom (more money coming in each month than your expenses) and “buy” more time.
According to The College Investor, “Over the last two centuries, about 90 percent of the world’s millionaires have been created by investing in real estate.” This is a staggering statistic: 9 out of every 10 millionaires created their wealth through real estate investing. Real estate investing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. Real estate investing utilizes leverage, compounded over time, to an investors’ advantage resulting in long-term wealth. If purchased and managed correctly, an income producing asset should be working for you every second of every day.
With the above in mind, it is imperative to fully understand there is risk associated with real estate investing. Commercial real estate investing is a complex process with many potential pitfalls. We recommend consulting with trusted advisors before solidifying your next investment. Black Diamond Realty’s tips are meant to guide your real estate investments toward positive cash flow, wealth creation and passive income. The tips below provide some general guidelines to consider as you expand your portfolio or kick things off in a successful real estate investment venture.
- Know the market. Macro-economic factors, such as interest rates, environmental policy and federal investment programs (1031, Opportunity Zones), and micro-economic factors, such as local employment trends, infrastructure and school districts, can positively or negatively impact your real estate investment. Unless you are actively involved in a real estate market, it is impossible for you to fully understand the intangibles and intricacies of any given market.
- Create a rainy-day fund. It is preferable to have it in place from the start but, at a minimum, build up via cash flow before taking a dime of distribution. A minimum of six months is recommended with a preferred 12 months of cash reserves in place. Cash reserves should cover “what if” scenarios and anticipated future capital improvements. Everyone loves to dream about and plan for the “rosy days.” That’s easy. Within your proforma and underwriting, it is also important to look at challenging circumstances that could negatively affect your investment position and overall return. Plan for the negative “what ifs” even if the chance of happening is relatively small. The good news: If you pursue bank financing, the credit department at ABC Bank will, at least in part, serve as a backstop to filter out some of the negative what ifs.
- Plan for capital improvements. They will happen: A hot water tank goes down. A roof goes bad. Flooring needs replaced. The parking lot needs paved. These examples only touch the surface. Capital improvements are not a matter of if, but when; so, plan on them. On your proforma, plan for 2-5% (of gross income) in capital improvement money. Very few individuals want to endear the title of “slumlord.” “Milking” a property is risky business and reflects negatively on the community you are serving.
- Maximize your strengths. Develop a strong team. All of us are gifted in certain areas and bring value to any given deal. For some, they are gifted communicators and can help a tenant feel comfortable moving forward. Others are gifted in real estate law, accounting, marketing, or construction. Many specializations are required to help ensure a successful real estate venture. You cannot climb to the top of the real estate mountain by yourself. Finding strategic, trusted relationships and vendors is critical. Build relationships. Focus on building people up within your team.
- Do not marry your property. You are only married to your husband/wife and your family. Do not hold your real estate investments on the same pedestal. Real estate investments are meant to make money while providing a service to the tenants it serves. Treat it that way. Run it like a business while maintaining a high level of integrity, honesty and diligence.
Following the guidelines outlined in this article should help avoid investment pitfalls during ownership. Knowing when to buy, hold and divest is another critical element of real estate investing. We highly recommend consulting with a real estate professional, with strong expertise in the investment field of your choosing, before pulling the trigger. At Black Diamond Realty, we have sold tens of millions of dollars in real estate investments. Our firm is building a market niche in this space. Our Black Diamond Realty team invites the opportunity to meet with you and your partners to discuss your goals with the purpose of helping you achieve financial freedom.
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Article by David Lorenze.