Many real estate investors are familiar with the acronym ‘I.D.E.A.L. Investment’ in the context of real estate investing (Chad Carson, Coach Carson). This acronym is a great, succinct explanation for why real estate is preferred by many investors to other vehicles like dividend stocks, bonds, small businesses, index funds, bank certificate of deposits, annuities, and more.
Real estate properties provide excellent cash flow on a regular (typically a monthly) basis and the income size can be quite substantial, depending on your properties’ interest rate, unpaid principal, and property value. This is the primary objective of any investor, which makes real estate a top choice for many. If you aren’t seeing much or any cash flow from an investment, especially after a lengthy period of time, typically it’s not a very successful one.
Another big advantage to real estate investing was actually made widely known by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign; depreciation. Depreciation occurs because for residential buildings, the U.S. government requires real estate investors to spread out most of the cost of real estate purchases over 27.5 years. This creates an annual depreciation expense, which can provide incredible tax benefits. This ‘expense’ doesn’t come out of your bank account, like purchasing materials to sell products, or insurance/maintenance costs. Instead it’s absorbed ‘on paper’ and you see real financial benefits in the form of tax relief.
Generally for real estate investors, as time goes on the more equity they’ll acquire in their own properties by repaying loans, which is directly linked to greater overall wealth. The shorter it takes you to pay off your own financial obligations on a property, the larger your ROI will be. Additionally, you’ll be able to optimize the length of time you’ll see financial benefits from that investment. While it may depend on your financial situation and the real estate market climate, real estate investing is a great way to acquire equity and see positive cash flow simultaneously.
Appreciations refers to the idea that your property value is supposed to increase each year. As we’ve seen in recent years, this may not necessarily be the case (primarily due to unpredictable circumstances). However, long-term investors (who comprise a very large segment of real estate investors) are satisfied with the long-term average of property values visibly pointing towards an upward trajectory.
Leverage can refer to two distinct advantages of real estate investing. Firstly, some indicate this means the initial incurrence of debt leading to equity growth over time (this appears to be covered by ‘Appreciation’). Secondly, leverage can more commonly refer to the idea of using other people’s money (OPM) to earn a positive cash flow. This gives investors the opportunity to use relatively small amounts of cash upfront to gain control over multiple investment properties and earn returns on cash invested. This method isn’t typically used by passive investors, who would be concerned with over-leveraging and what could happen if there was a steep decline in the housing market.