If you’re looking to get started in real estate investing, you’re going to have to make some choices. Two of your basic considerations include how much you want to spend and where you want to buy. However, one of the key decisions is which types of properties you want to make your focus.
Investment real estate comes in all shapes and sizes. Anything from a downtown skyscraper to a small cabin in the mountains can be an investment. Many investors start out with residential properties -- houses, duplexes and apartment buildings. However, commercial properties like offices, retail centers, self-storage facilities and industrial buildings are also all available for purchase. You don't need to have $100 million to buy a commercial property, either. Many types of properties have smaller variants that can be bought for $1 million or less.
The types of investments you choose can be more important than the types of properties. Generally, investors buy properties for three reasons:
- regular spendable income from rents
- capital growth from appreciation and principal pay-down
- preserving money against loss through real estate’s intrinsic value
Figuring out which of these three attributes are most important to you can help you choose the right investment. For example, if you’re still looking to build your war chest, properties that let you grow your available capital should be your focus. You may choose to focus on distressed vacant small commercial properties that you can buy at a deep discount, fix up, rent out and sell to a cash flow investor at a higher price. Using private mortgages to buy, rehab, and sell foreclosed houses is another way to execute on this strategy. If you’re looking for steady income, purchasing retail centers, class B apartments or other stable types of properties can be a good strategy.
Regardless of which types of properties you choose to purchase, you’ll need a good strategy. As you devise your plan, remember to think of your exit strategy - every investment should have an ending. Ensure that you can find financing for your investment. Not only does leverage boost your returns, but it's a great confirmation of your plan. If a bank or private lender won’t back you, it could mean that your strategy is unsound.