Advantages of Real Estate Investing

Investing in real estate is as advantageous and as attractive as investing in the stock market. I would say it has three times more prospects of making money than any other business. But, But, But… since, it is equally guided by the market forces; you cannot undermine the constant risks involved in the real estate. Let me begin discussing with you the advantages of real estate investments. I found the advantages as most suited and really practical.

Advantages

Real Estate Investments are Less Risky

As compared to other investments, less of misadventure is involved in a real estate property. I will not get away from the fact that just like any investment you make; you have the risk of losing it. Real estate investments are traditionally considered a stable and rich gainer, provided if one takes it seriously and with full sagacity. The reasons for the real estate investments becoming less risky adventure primarily relate to various socio-economic factors, location, market behavior, the population density of an area; mortgage interest rate stability; good history of land appreciation, less of inflation and many more. As a rule of thumb, if you have a geographical area where there are plenty of resources available and low stable mortgage rates, you have good reason for investing in the real estate market of such a region. On the contrary, if you have the condo in a place, which is burgeoning under the high inflation, it is far-fetched to even think of investing in its real estate market.

No Need for Huge Starting Capital

A real estate property in Canada can be procured for an initial amount as low as $8,000 to $ 15,000, and the remaining amount can be taken on holding the property as security. This is what you call High Ratio Financing. If you don’t have the idea as to how it works, then let me explain you with the help of an example. Remember that saying… Examples are better than percepts!

Supposing, you buy a condo worth $200,000, then you have to just pay the initial capital amount say 10% of $200,000. The remaining amount (which is 90%) can be financed, against your condo. It means that in a High Ratio financing, the ratio between the debt (here in the example it is 90% Mortgage) and the equity (here in the example it is 10% down payment) is very high. It is also important to calculate high ratio mortgage insurance with the help of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). If needed, you can also purchase the condo on 100% mortgage price.

Honing Investment Skills

A real estate investment, especially when you buy a condo for yourself, will be a pleasurable learning experience. It gives you the opportunity to learn and when I went ahead with my first real estate property, I was totally a dump man. Ask me now, and I can tell you everything, from A to Z. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. I had the necessity to buy the property and so I tried with it, and I was successful. I acquired all the knowledge and skills through experience of selling and purchasing the residential property. Thanks to my job. It gave me the experience to become an investor.

Not a time taking Adventure

Real estate investment will not take out all your energies, until you are prepared and foresighted to take the adventure in full swing. You can save hell lot of time, if you are vigilant enough to know the techniques of making a judicious investment in the right time and when there are good market conditions prevailing at that point of time.

You should be prepared to time yourself. Take some time out, and do market research. Initiate small adventures that involve negotiating real estate deals, buying a property, managing it and then selling it off. Calculate the time invested in your real estate negotiation. If the time was less than the optimum time, you have done it right. And if you end up investing more time, then you need to work it out again, and make some real correction for consummating next deals. You have various ways and methodologies, called the Real Estate Strategies that can make it happen for you in the right manner.

Leverage is the Right Way

The concept of leverage in real estate is not a new one. It implies investing a part of your money and borrowing the rest from other sources, like banks, investment companies, finance companies, or other people’s money (OPM). There have been many instances where people have become rich by practically applying OPM Leverage Principal. As I had discussed under the sub head – No Need for Huge Starting Capital, the high ratio financing scheme gives an opportunity of no risk to the lenders, as the property becomes the security. Moreover, in case the lender is interested in selling the property, the net proceeds resulting from the sale of the property should comfortably cover the mortgage amount.

Now consider a situation, where the lender leverages the property at too high ratio debt say 98% or even more, and all of the sudden the market shows a down turn, then both the investor as well as the lender. Hence, greater is the mortgage debt, more is the lender’s risk, and it is therefore necessary that lender pays higher interest rates. The only way out to ease the risk from lender’s head is to get the mortgage insured. Two companies authorized to insure your high-ratio mortgage debts are CMHC (www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca), and GE mortgage Insurance Canada (gemortgage.ca).

Letme explain you with the help of an example… supposing, you are buying a real estate property worth $ 200,000 at three mortgages, with the first one of $100,000, the second of $75,000 and the third one of $25,000. Possible percentage of interest rates charged can be 3%, 5% and 7%. The last mortgage amount of $25,000 will be accounted, as riskiest; as it would relatively be the last mortgage that you will pay when you finally make a selling deal.

On the contrary, if the first mortgage representing almost 90% of your property price is insured against getting default or as high ratio mortgage, then in the above example, the basic interest rate would be 3%.

Let me explain you the leveraging concept by taking another example.

Supposing, you are buying a real estate property worth $200,000, and made down payment of 10%, equitable to $20,000, while financed the rest amount of $1,80,000. Over the year’s time, the value of your property appreciates by 10%. In this case, what would be the total return that you’d incur on your down payment of $20,000? It would be 200%. Yes 200%. Putting in simpler words, the down payment of $20,000 made by you has an appreciation of 10% over it, i.e. (10% increase of original home price of $ 200,000), 200% return on your down payment investment of $20,000.

On the contrary if you invest all the money in buying the property of $200,000, and in wake of appreciation of 10% over the year ($20,0000 would then be accrued to as 20%.

Synonymous with leveraging is pyramiding, where you borrow on the appreciated value of your existing property. Pyramiding applies the principal of leverage that enables you to purchase even more properties. This appreciated value over the real estate property in some selected areas results in accumulation of rich financial virtues.

Real Estate Appreciation

An appreciation is an average increase in the property value over original capital investment, taking place over a period. There are some neglected real estate properties that have an appreciation below the average mark, whereas, some of the properties located in maintained geographical areas, showing high demand, have an above average appreciation. In such centrally located and high demand areas, the average appreciation can reach up to 25% in a year. I will discuss appreciation in the chapter on real estate cycles. For now, for general understanding, appreciation is what goes up.

You Make Your Equity

As you gradually pay your mortgage debts, you are creating your equity. In other words, you would be reaching to original house price on which you have no debt. Your equity is absolutely free of percentage increase in appreciation. From the investor’s perspective, in real estate market, equity is the amount that is free of debt and it is the amount that an investor holds. When you sale your property, then the net money you get, after paying all the commissions and closing costs, becomes your equity. Lenders don’t want to take risk by allowing a loan on over 90% of equity. Therefore, in this manner, the lenders take the safety measures in wake of their loan being defaulted.

The Federal Bankruptcy act says that all the first mortgages of over 75% of the appraised or purchase value must be covered under high-ratio insurance schemes. However, there are certain conditions, wherein, CMHC offers the purchasers of real estate property qualifying the insurance, a mortgage of up to 100% of purchase price over your principal house value. In the wake of an event where borrowers want more money from the lenders, they would ideally settle for second and the third mortgages.

Low Inflation

Inflation is the rise in the prices of the products, commodities and services, or putting it another way, it is the decrease in your capacity to buy or hire the services. Supposing, a commodity was worth $10 a decade back, will now cost $ 100 as the result of inflation. For people who have fixed salaries feel the real brunt of the dollar, as the inflation rises. In Canada, the inflation rate varies and it varies every year. There was a time when Canada had a double-digit, but it was controlled to single digit, after the regulation of policy.

If we analyze closely, the land appreciation value for the residential real estate is 4% to 5% higher than inflation rate. Therefore, when you invest in real estate, then you are paying mortgage debts in high dollar value. Now as you are getting more, salary to pay less amount than the amount that you had paid in the original mortgage.

Tax Exemptions

You get various tax exemptions on your principal and investment income property. The tax exemptions available in real estate property investment are more than available in any other investment. In other investments, you lose terribly on the investments in your bank in the form of inflation and high taxes therein, but in real estate; you don’t actually have such hindrances.

Various tax exemptions available are:
•The interest receivable from your bank account, term deposit or guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is completely taxable as income. A little math here will do the magic work for you. Supposing, if you get an interest of 8% on the deposit, and the on going inflation rate is 5%, the Real Return Rate will come out to be settled at 2%.
•You get completely tax-free capital gain on principal amount of your residential real estate property.
•You have the opportunity to ward off principal amount of your residential real estate property against the home expenses incurred by you.
•You can easily ward off the property depreciation against your income.
•You can cut the expenses incurred in real estate property investment through your income
•Tax rate reduced to approx. 50% of the capital gain.
•And many more

Net Positive and High Income is Generated

If taken in right direction and played seriously, a real estate investment can be your virtue making endeavor now and in times to come. You will not only be having additional assets building in your favor, but also with positive cash flow, your real estate property value will increase automatically.

High Return on Investments (ROIs)

Real estate investment gives you potentially high ROIs before and after the taxes levied on your income. In fact, investing in real estate gives you high ROIs after the taxes.

Demand for the Real Estate Increases

As a natural instance, when the population of a region increases, the total usable land decreases, and this provides the impetus for high real estate prices. There are many communities that can or cannot have growth and development regulations, thereby, resulting in limited land available for use. Therefore, the real estate prices of the area shoot up. Remember housing is the necessity of an individual and therefore it is much in demand than any other single commodity taken. Furthermore, there are people who purchase additional houses for their recreation, recluse or as a past time. This in turn increases the demand for land

Insurance and Commercial Real Estate

One of the least considered, but perhaps most important aspects of successful real estate investment is insurance against losses. Even though the market for residential real estate has begun to cool, commercial real estate investment opportunities abound. Commercial properties have additional risks that need to be mitigated and in today’s litigious society, it is important for investors to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their investments.

As the housing market begins to cool off, the investment risk of real estate has increased somewhat. Residential and commercial real estate investors can no longer rely on a continually increasing market to bail them out of mediocre or bad purchases. The only real insurance you have here is to study investment analysis further and to really check your market before committing funds to a transaction.

There are other risks in commercial real estate that you can mitigate through third party insurance policies. The most common form is title insurance. Most real estate professionals recommend that buyers obtain title insurance on any property they purchase and if a loan is involved, the lender will make it a condition of obtaining the loan. The purpose of title insurance is to protect the buyer in the event that problems are found with the title after the close. Even though all sales of real estate include a title search, it is a good idea for the buyer to purchase separate title insurance as an extra measure of protection against mistakes in the search. This extra insurance will help protect the buyer in the event of any undiscovered liens, disputes over property lines, or other matters affecting title.

Another common, but important form of insurance for investment property is liability insurance. This provides the investor protection from liability in the event an individual is injured while on the property. It is all too common for individual property owners to be sued for seemingly frivolous reasons, so it is vital for all property owners to carry a sufficient amount of liability insurance to protect themselves and their personal assets. It may also help to have your insurance professional “walk” the property with you to point out potential hazards before they become law suits.

Hazard insurance provides protection in the event of damage from fire, accidents, theft, and vandalism. Depending upon where you live, you might want to look into adding protection from storms and natural disasters. All owners of real estate should have this insurance and again, if a loan is involved, the lender will require you to purchase it and name them as an additional insured.

Environmental insurance is a new form of risk management that is gaining in popularity with lenders. Instead of performing Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental studies, more lenders are opting for insurance against this type of loss. Because lender liability is limited in current law, the focus is on paying the outstanding loan balance or the cost of clean up, whichever is less. A word of caution here: Make the lender get the insurance (you’ll still have to pay for it) … it’s not your job to understand the intricacies of environmental pollution and its risks.

In addition to these basic forms of real estate insurance there are other types of coverage that you may wish to consider. For instance, those properties located in or near flood zones may wish to purchase flood insurance, while those in earthquake prone regions may want to consider the purchase of additional earthquake insurance. And in the wake of 9/11, there is even the opportunity to purchase terrorism insurance!

In the final analysis, each real estate investor has to look at his or her own level of risk tolerance and what might actually affect the real estate investment. From there, with the help of an experienced commercial hazard insurance broker, you can then purchase the right mix of insurance needed to adequately address and mitigate those risks.

Introduction to Real Estate Insurance for Realtors and Mortgage Brokers

Insurance requirements have become such an integral part of the real estate and loan transaction, they must be included in any comprehensive discussion of real estate finance. Every purchase transaction will require title insurance, and every mortgage will require homeowners insurance. In some situations, lenders may also require flood insurance and/or mortgage insurance. Even purchasers of condominiums and townhouses will have other insurance options to consider.

Title insurance was devised to eliminate most of the problems created by abstract attorneys and the abstract opinion. Title insurers examine all the recorded documents pertaining to a specific property to produce an insurance policy that covers the purchaser, the lender, or both, from any defects to the title. Title insurance policies are now fairly uniform, and the insurance companies have the financial resources to defend and compensate their insured.

Owner’s Policy

The owner’s policy insures a purchaser that the title to the property was transferred free of any defects, except those which are listed as exceptions. The settlement agent will obtain and record the documents required in the title commitment. In most real estate transactions, the seller will pay for the owner’s policy. The buyer pays for the lender’s policy and endorsements.

The owner’s policy is valid as long as the ownership of the property remains the same. Transferring ownership of the property to another ownership entity, such as a family trust or a spouse by a quit claim deed may void the title policy. Whenever possible, the owner should use a special warranty deed instead of a quit claim deed to facilitate changes in ownership. This will keep the title insurance intact.

Lender’s Policy

Often referred to as a loan policy, this is issued to mortgage lenders to protect their interest. Typically, lenders require standardized forms be used. The lender’s policy will guarantee the validity of the loan documents, and will follow the assignment of the mortgage or deed of trust when the loan is transferred.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Also referred to as Hazard Insurance, homeowner’s insurance provides protection against damage to real estate improvements, damage to contents, and liability coverage. Every time a home is purchased with a mortgage, the lender requires the owner (borrower) to obtain property insurance as a condition of the loan closing. This insurance must be maintained until the home is paid off. This is a comprehensive policy that provides coverage for most available perils, including full replacement of improvements, liability, temporary living expenses, outbuildings, and contents. The contents coverage extends to losses away from the premises, such as in a car or storage unit. The insurance premiums are usually included as part of the mortgage payment (the ‘I’ in the PITI payment).

Flood Insurance

Prior to 1968, flood insurance was virtually unavailable through either the private sector, or the federal government. Until then, the Federal Government attempted to control coastal and river flooding through re-channeling of water, and using dams and levees to restrict the flow of water. The dams had the added benefit of producing hydroelectric power, and providing storage for irrigation. But the increasing cost of these projects, as well as the high cost of flood- related damage, influenced the government to explore offering flood insurance to reduce the disaster related payments. Typically, floods affect entire communities or towns, so the local leaders often looked to the federal government to provide disaster relief for the victims. The question debated by the Federal Government was whether they were better off using their limited funds to provide disaster assistance to flood victims, or to provide federally sponsored flood insurance coverage. Congress realized the government could not keep absorbing the escalating costs to taxpayers for flood disaster relief. This led Congress to establish the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage Insurance is provided to enable lenders to close loans with small down payments. It is usually required when the down payment for a purchase is less than 20%. Mortgage insurance is strictly for the benefit of the lender. In the event of a default or foreclosure, the mortgage insurance company will pay the loss suffered by the lender. Typically, when properties are foreclosed on, the sale price at the auction is less than the current loan balance. This difference (along with the foreclosure costs) is the loss suffered by the Mortgage Insurance Company. Depending on the situation, the MI Company may attempt to recover this loss from the borrower. They can file for a deficiency judgment in court. Mortgage Insurance is provided by both government agencies (FHA) and private insurance companies.

Condominium insurance is a master policy that protects both the condominium association and each individual owner.

Credit Life Insurance

This is insurance that pays off the loan with the death of the borrower. This is basically Decreasing Term Life Insurance, where the benefit amount decreases at the same rate the principal balance of the loan decreases. The beneficiary is the lending institution. Very few mortgage lenders offer this type of insurance, and even less require it as a condition of the loan. However, deeds and deeds of trust are recorded and become public information. Many insurance companies ‘fish’ this information, and send notices to all listed borrowers. They will send out official looking documents trying to entice the owners to purchase insurance. These offers are not a good value and should be avoided.

Summary

Title insurance protects both the purchaser and the lender for hidden defects in the ownership of the real estate. There are many endorsements that provide the lender additional protection that are charged to the buyer. Even though the seller provides the buyer with clear title, it is the buyer’s responsibility to pay the necessary premium to have the lender included in the coverage when purchasing a property.

Crippling Real Estate Insurance Costs in Florida

So many Floridians are complaining about the increased costs of insurance premiums on Real Estate and to add insult to injury the taxes have also increased as well. It is especially tough on new residents and one man we interviewed stated; “If you ever wanted to move to Florida, think again, warn your friends!”

Wow, that is a heavy statement, although you can imagine the frustration for someone with a fixed income who has moved to Florida and then makes it through a couple of Hurricanes and just cannot afford the real estate insurance any longer. Certainly the homeowners insurance costs are up that makes sense after 2005 Atlantic Tropical Hurricane Season.

Florida’s Real Estate has been blasting up for a long time and that has cost of living affects too, although many people made a lot of money on paper. Florida also has a favorable business climate, good market and apparently good laws for those who file for bankruptcy. It beats NYC for many folks and there are good reasons to be positive on Florida too, for instance this excellent weather in the Winter Months?

Apparently, others are echoing this gentleman’s sentiments and telling stories of their own dilemma. Is anyone listening? Well, the Online Think Tank has been watching these issues and would be interested actually learning more. In fact as the coordinator and after having done much business in Florida, I too am concerned.

It has been an excellent market, although I must say labor is very tough and a continuous hardship. One can completely understand fixed income folks are in dire straights when costs such as you mentioned rise too fast and that is upsetting indeed. I certainly hope this article is of interest and that is has propelled thought. The goal is simple; to help you in your quest to be the best in 2007. I thank you for reading my many articles on diverse subjects, which interest you.

The Big Secret In Selling Real Estate, Insurance, and Financial Services

I recently spoke at a national convention of real estate brokers and agents. After my talk to the hundreds of real estate professionals in the room, I had a wonderful conversation with a new real estate agent, attending one of these conventions for the first time. It was clear that he got the message of my talk, but he wasn’t sure he was happy. He cornered me as I was leaving the meeting room, scratching his head murmuring, “Andre, are you saying that I just went into business?” I had to reply honestly; “Yes, That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Each year millions of individuals decide to go into the fields of real estate sales, insurance sales, and financial service sales. You can also add travel agents, and many other professionals to this group. Attracted by the income potential, working with an established brand name, and great initial training, these new recruits assume that in a short time they’ll be “rolling in the dough.” But what many of these individuals do not know is that they’re not salespeople, but they’ve decided to become entrepreneurs. Their future will come down to how quickly they realize that they’ve started their own businesses and how quickly they can adopt the mindset and actions of an entrepreneur.

Real estate, insurance sales, and financial sales have very high turnover rates. A person will spend months, interviewing, studying to become licensed, and receiving initial training. Then the day comes when planning mode ends, and the person takes a seat in front of an empty desk and stares at the telephone. That’s when they must move with the intensity of a passionate entrepreneur nursing a start-up. And that’s where many new recruits become disillusioned and are prepared to call it quits.

During this period you have to prospect, fill your pipeline with leads, and persuasively present the benefits of your products or service repeatedly. And yes, you have to do this under pressure, often with little or no income, and in a hyper-competitive market. There are prospects just “kicking the tires,” quite indecisive, and those that ignore you entirely. As you look around, you may see your colleagues land a big deal or two, or drop like flies because the task seems so hard. Meanwhile weeks and months go by and your dreams of big earnings begin to fade, feeling like pure fantasy. If you make it through the first year, your earnings are modest at best and you’re totally exhausted. Many will walk away from their new career, determined never to go down that path again.

When I have an opportunity to give guidance to professionals in these industries, I always offer these five points:

1. Realize that you’ve decided to become an entrepreneur. You must learn the elements of running a successful business, which include selling, marketing, delivering the product, servicing, and accounting.

2. You must become an excellent marketer and go far beyond the typical guidance you receive as part of your licensing and corporate training. If you do not create a unique business, you might as well get out of the field.

3. Next to the skill of marketing, you must develop the skill of delivering an extraordinary customer experience. That means service, service, service.

4. In your first year or two, be prepared to work like mad, and despite your frenzied efforts at the end of the year, you might feel like you’ve just moved an inch, gaining only modest returns.

5. If you stick it out, and really do these things, you’ll make fewer and fewer mistakes, as time progresses and success will become natural to you. If you’re committed you’ll begin to succeed beyond your initial expectations.

The best sales organizations help their recruits understand these facts. The management of these companies know that despite working with a well-established brand name with offices across the country, you must learn how to make the business your own, differentiating between your offerings and the many other individuals that have gone into your field.