I consider why you should start real estate investing now rather than later and then follow it up with a few suggestions to help you get started.
The proverbial saying “time is money” is true in real estate investing. Due to a phenomenon known as compounding, money grows faster and faster as time goes by. So the sooner you put your money to work in a real estate investment, over time the more money you will accumulate.
Say, for example, that you start investing $1,000 a year into real estate for the next forty years. At a 9% annual rate of return, your $40,000 cash investment (thanks to compounding) will grow to over $369,000. Whereas, if you wait ten years before you make that investment, that same amount only grows to about $150,000.
In the same way, the longer you wait to get started real estate investing, the less time you have to combine the factors of time and compounding interest, and hence (assuming all things equal) the less wealth you can expect to accumulate as a result.
Say your goal is to retire at age sixty-five. Because of compounding, you stand a far better chance of achieving more wealth by retirement if you start investing at age twenty-five rather then at thirty-five, or forty-five, and so on.
How to Get Started Real Estate Investing?
Develop a plan – How much can you invest comfortably? Are you expecting cash flow or merely looking to make your money when the property is resold? How long do you plan to own the property? What amount of your own effort can you afford to contribute? What amount of wealth do you plan to accumulate, and by when?
Acquaint yourself with the local rental market – Read the local newspapers and see what types of income property have the highest demand for tenants. If there are tons of classifieds seeking apartment tenants, perhaps retail space is more in demand, and vice versa. In other words, learn what product would be best for you to invest in.
Acquaint yourself with the rates of return – At the very least understand the difference between cash and cash return, return on equity, and cap rate. Whereas cash on cash might show what your cash investment might achieve in one year, and return on equity over future years, cap rate helps you choose a property at a fair market value.
Invest in real estate investment software – It is never a good idea to rely on someone else’s numbers. It’s your money. Always run your own numbers on potential investment opportunities. Having the ability to create your own rental property analysis gives you more control about how the cash flow numbers are presented and a better understanding about a property’s profitability.
Create a relationship with a real estate professional that knows the local real estate market and understands rental property. A qualified real estate professional acquainted with your market can be a real plus. It will not advance your investment objectives to spend time with the agent of the year unless that person knows about investment property and is adequately prepared to help you correctly procure it.
Avoid buying into real estate investing “trade secrets”. Tons of real estate investing gurus out there repackage and sell the exact same material as the next guru. The sizzle in the business of real estate investing, however, is about owning a piece of ground that, if unduly researched and purchased sensibly by impartial numbers, with careful management, will likely be more valuable tomorrow than it is today.
How Much Do You Need to Get Started?
There’s no set amount to start real estate investing. You could start out very small and then as you begin to earn more, start contributing more. Start perhaps with 2% of your income and then add a percentage point more each year to your contribution.
The important thing is to start real estate investing now, while “time is on your side” and you can in fact take advantage of a favorable real estate market and compounding interest over the passage of time to achieve your retirement goal.
Here’s to your real estate investing success.
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