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Do you your homework before investing

Real estate investing is easy. That's what all those tv reality shows would have you believe. But in reality, real estate investing is risky business. And like most investments, the riskier, the higher the return.

It's true that the returns on investment are incredible for the savvy real estate investor. If you do your homework properly, a little cash and some sweat will buy you a property that can be flipped for a healthy profit. However, there are many that have lost lots of money in real estate investments because they were not careful in planning stage. There is a very steep learning curve for those starting in real estate investing. Here are some things to keep in mind before you get started on your journey.

The first investment you should make is that of time. Take your time to determine what are your financial goals and the time frame in which you want to achieve them. Remember to be realistic. With the current real estate market, chances are you will not become a millionaire in six flips. Today, more than ever before, the beginner investor can get burned and lose a lot of money in the process.

Just like with any business venture, you should write down a business plan. Determine how much time and financial commitment you are willing to give to this business. Make a five year plan with detailed goals, particularly for the first year. Review this plan after six months and again two years later. This will help you stay on track.

Your financial commitment is a crucial element of that business plan. Estimate how much money you have to invest. This amount will differ if your first investment is your primary residence or a flip property. If you only have limited capital, say $10,000, then your best option may be to buy a home for yourself to renovate and sell within a year or two or to buy a quick flip "fixer upper".

In some places, you can get financing for a second property with no money down as long as you have good credit and money for the closing costs. This is a risky proposition because the lending costs will be high. You would have to buy and sell quickly, and the real estate market would need to be in an upward climb. You should be mindful of the legal and tax consequences of this type of financing for your investment.

The alternative would be a regular mortgage or private financing where the loan would cover the cost of the purchase and maybe some of the renovations. Your homework on the property and the market will be extremely important because you stand to lose big. You will be legally responsible for the whole amount of the loan if something goes wrong.

Another important aspect of your business plan will be to determine what level of risk you are comfortable with. Be honest with yourself and write down how much risk you are realistically willing to take. If you are normally very careful with your investment and try to always protect your capital, don't try to get into high risk real estate investments. Another important aspect of your plan will be to decide how much time you are willing to commit to this. Will you be doing the renovations yourself or supervising contractors? Now would be a good time to start establishing relationships with lenders and contractors. Learn about the market in the area you are looking to invest. Familiarize yourself with the contracts, insurance, tax impacts and legal requirements of real estate investing.

With some careful planning and homework, you too can generate a healthy additional income from real estate investing. You may even be able to make it a full time job. Real estate investment is one of the highest paying investment there is. Look at it as an adventure. Be willing to learn and make mistakes and you too can make money investing in real estate.

Source: Stefan Hyross

Dy Associates is an Oakland Real Estate company specializing in commercial, home and investment property in the Oakland and East Bay Area. We provide real estate services including buyer agent, seller agent, short sales, commercial and investment acquisitions, loan facilitation, hard money lending, financing assistance property management. Articles are provided as information only. We do not provide legal or general investment advice.

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