One of my favorite things about real estate investing is that there are so many different ways you can do it.
As one of the most accessible types of investments for the average Joe (or Jolene), real estate investing offers a variety of exciting strategies to explore. If you take the time to learn about your options, you can find a strategy that suits your financial situation, the level of risk you can tolerate and the amount of time you have to spend nurturing your investments.
To help you along on your real estate investing journey, we’ve put together a list of seven common real estate investment strategies that everyday people can use to make real money from real estate. This list is just a starting point, but it will give you some background information on some of the most popular types of real estate investments.
The buy-and-hold strategy is one of the most common types of real estate investing, and it is also one of the simplest. Essentially, you purchase a property and rent it out for a period of time. Depending on the deal you got at purchase, you can make income from the rent, or you can simply use the rent to cover the mortgage and let the property appreciate. There are many variations on the buy-and-hold method to explore, but the key to successfully investing using this strategy is to understand property valuation and find good deals.
Investing in rental properties can make you money in the same ways that the buy-and-hold strategy does— income from rent and appreciation in the value of the property. While dealing with tenants may not be everyone’s cup of tea, investing in apartment complexes or other multi-unit rental properties can generate substantial cash flow, particularly with market rental prices rising in many cities across the country.
House flipping is one of the most well-known real estate investment strategies, and it continues to grow in popularity thanks to the handful of TV shows that spotlight house flippers. For those of you who haven’t seen these shows, flipping houses involves buying a property at a discount, remodeling, repairing and improving it and selling it for a profit.
While there is a fair amount of risk associated with flipping houses, especially for new investors who don’t have the best grasp of the costs associated with repairs, many flippers learn from their mistakes and develop the skills they need to make substantial profits in a short period of time.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are companies that own, manage or finance real estate investment projects. REITs are modeled after mutual funds, where numerous investors pool their capital to make an investment. This model allows individual investors to profit off real estate without having to purchase, operate or fully finance a single property.
Because of the way they are structured, REITs are much more focused on earnings from generated income, and most REIT investors make very little money from appreciation. Some REITs will have a required minimum investment for you to get involved. Still, as long as you have the funds needed to satisfy this requirement, REITs are a straightforward and hands-off method of investing in real estate projects that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive for the average investor.
Pre-construction real estate investment is one of the riskiest real estate investment strategies, but it also can earn you serious, serious profits. (Think millions of bucks!) Pre-construction investing is just what it sounds like: before ground is broken on a development project, you purchase an “option” on the property. This allows you to buy real estate at a fraction of the value of a fully-developed property.
Pre-construction investments are the most successful in high-demand areas that often experience housing shortages. In these locations, prices can rise quickly, and new units can even be sold before they are completed. In some neighborhoods, your investment can appreciate in value before the project is finished. However, when things don’t work out, you could be facing substantial losses.
The process of wholesaling real estate is relatively straightforward: you find an excellent real estate deal, write a contract to acquire the property and sell the contract to another buyer for a fee. In other words, you’re not purchasing real estate; you’re a deal-hunting middleman. The fee you receive, called an assignment fee, usually ranges from $500 to $5,000 per property, but larger deals can come with an even higher payout.
Some wholesalers will sell contracts to retail buyers, but most of the wholesaling market is other real estate investors, commonly house flippers. These types of investors are usually cash buyers, which means the wholesaler can get paid their assignment fee within days or weeks. Wholesaling is an excellent strategy for new investors who don’t have a lot of capital but want to get started in the real estate investment world. Since you never have to actually purchase the property or pay to repair and manage it, you can get started in wholesaling with very little financial investment.
Crowdfunding real estate is a fairly recent development in the real estate investing world. While crowdfunding, in general, is well-known due to platforms such as GoFundMe, the concept of crowdfunding real estate is just starting to grow in popularity.
Crowdfunding can allow investors who don’t have the capital to purchase property on their own to pool their resources to invest in real estate. If you can't raise the funds you need through traditional methods, you can try crowdfunding your purchase through a real estate crowdfunding website, social media or another online platform.
For what it's worth, Investopedia lists its top crowdfunded real estate investing platforms as follows:
These seven strategies are only a few of the many ways you can make money investing in real estate. There really is a niche for everyone, so if the seven strategies discussed in this article aren’t what you’re looking for, don’t give up. There are plenty of other options out there!
Check out our article How To Build Your Real Estate Empire to learn even more real estate investment strategies.
Scott Royal Smith is an asset protection attorney and long-time real estate investor. He's on a mission to help fellow investors free their time, protect their assets, and create lasting wealth.
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