By Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco
In part one of this investor series we talked about the first three standards. We invite you to consider the remaining five.
Strategically held real estate is a long-term investment and must be operated as a business. To accomplish, a long-term hold ownership should include as many “silent benefactors” as possible. Silent benefactors provide investors with key business advantages. These benefactors include: lenders; renters; government taxing agencies; professional advisors and comprehensive property management. In all cases they sustain the real estate ownership as an operating business. Here are the primary advantages they provide:
- Appropriate leverage (generally a minimum of 30% equity at all times) is the foundational principle that makes RE returns on invested capital the best in smart financial circles. Mortgage lenders have confidence in RE Investment.
- Reasonable financing on balance with terms that are competitive and affordable are available for qualified borrowers. It is important to avoid and/or have plans to resolve: principal due dates, negative amortization and adjustable interest rates.
- The real estate or a portion thereof should be rentable. Such capability enlists tenant(s) to provide an income stream, an interested party onsite, enhances the tax-favored nature of income and the deductibility of expenditures. Rented property also enjoys favored access to borrowed funds with better terms. Tenants provide the investor with long term staying power.
- Taxing agencies consider your investment a rental business whether one condo or an apartment high-rise because rentals are essential in the marketplace representing about half the households. Though government might provide health care, roads, water and energy rental housing must be provided by rewarding investors.
- Real estate equity grows with every mortgage payment. These rental contributions to your forced savings plan will grow substantially over time. There are simple methods to accelerate this key strategy. Potential appreciation is an investment bonus.
- While spec build-outs and fix and flip schemes can have merit these are speculative in nature and normally not included in a personal investment plan. However, physical improvements to expand floor plan, reduce energy footprint or re-design landscaping are prudent methods to expand long term rental business profit.
Some rentable real estate is more conducive to an individual investment plan:
- Property that is local is more easily understood and convenient for oversight. An exception can be a distant location with personal benefits. Example: Southern California property makes economic sense no matter where you live. In addition, such holdings might allow enjoyable tax deductible family visits.
- Rent ability generally favors residential lease(s) of one year staggered to be renewed when leasing traffic is at a substantial level.
- Rent should be readily comparable – floorplan, age, condition, neighborhood.
- Comparable properties demonstrate history of increase – rents, prices, value-added improvements.
- Every rental should have an improvement plan that fits the neighborhood, has a payback horizon, and increases rental income.
Surround yourself with a team of real estate savvy advisors and hire complete property management. Expect transparent accountability; inspect operations; and receive monthly financial reporting. Annually align actual outcomes with financial expectations.
Keep your property investment appropriately maintained; improve to enhance rental value; accelerate pay down on loan(s); keep it simple; keep it in the family; just keep it. Avoid equity leaks from unnecessary transaction costs. Examples include: loan fees, sales closing costs, income taxes, and capital gains.
Be transparent with your heirs by updating your estate plan together. Enhanced results will be experienced when heirs are educated in the details of the investment strategy, the workings of the rental business that supports the investment performance, and introduction to your advisory team.
FBS is prepared to be that advisory team for you. Call us today and speak with one of our new account specialist. Invest in your Investment!