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How to Succeed in Rental Property Investment

More and more people have been discovering the awesome power of rental property investing. Buying a rental property can provide a great current cash flow while at the same time building equity for future purchases, future expenditures or even retirement. It is important, however, to study the market carefully, and to choose the best property for your needs.

One of the first questions for the beginning rental property investor to ask him or herself is what type of rental property is most appealing. Some investors prefer to rent a single-family residence, while others would rather buy a multi-family unit, a vacation home or even a commercial property.

Once you have determined what type of property you want to buy, you can narrow your search by focusing solely on that type of property. After you know the type of property you want, you can also start researching the selling price of similar properties in order to determine the fair market value of a unit.

In addition to the type of property you prefer, it is also crucial to determine your exact goals for the rental property. Is your goal to buy the property at a low price and resell it quickly for a profit while enjoying the rental income in the meantime? Or do you plan to keep the property long term and enjoy the rental income month after month?

It is also a good idea to research the rental prices in your particular market. This will give you a good estimate of the potential rent roll of the properties you evaluate. Once you have a good idea of the potential rental income on a particular property, it will be possible to estimate the monthly cash flow by subtracting expenses like real estate taxes, insurance costs, monthly mortgage payment, maintenance and repair costs and other associated expenses. While it is possible to set up a rental property business on your own, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney or tax account about the possible tax consequences of investing in a rental unit. In this way, you will be able to structure the rental properly to maximize return while minimizing tax liability.

It is essential to evaluate a potential rental property with the same care you would give to any other investment. You should carefully compute the return on investment of any rental property, and to understand that the rental property should be part of your overall investment portfolio.

When it is time to make an offer on a unit, the offer price should be based on the selling price of similar properties in the same neighborhood. It is important to have the property appraised as well, and never to pay more than the appraisal on the property. Furthermore, a thorough property inspection should be done to ensure there are no hidden health hazards or large lurking repair bills.

One thing that many first time rental property investors fail to realize is that getting a mortgage on a rental property typically requires a larger down payment than would be required on a similarly priced residential property. It is important to have sufficient cash on hand, or a ready source of a loan, for the required down payment.

Once you have purchased your idea rental property, it is time to determine at the outset who will manage the rental property. Many people are comfortable doing their own managing and repairs, but others are not. If you plan to hire a manager, be sure to factor that cost into your profit calculations. You are advised to establish an emergency fund to pay for any unforeseen repairs or other expenses. Part of the monthly rental income should be dedicated to building up and maintaining this emergency fund.

Finally, you must understand that owning and managing one or more rental properties is a business, and it should be treated with the seriousness demanded by a business. As such, it is vital to plan carefully for this business, and to carefully make each decision to maximize the profits for that business.



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