Many people start their real estate investing with multi-family properties, which makes perfect sense on many levels. An important consideration when buying is how your investment will be managed. Will you do it yourself to save money, or hire a professional to collect rents and field maintenance and complaint calls 24/7?
What separates residential property value from commercial is the economic performance. Residential has none, and commercial has nothing but. As investments, residential property is pretty lousy – no offense to readers who are homeowners – I am one too. But, look at your home purchase and its ROI (return on investment) after 10 years.
In 2005, the Maine Real Estate Commission introduced “buyer agency”, a way for buyers to be professionally represented with an exclusive buyer agency agreement. This service is free and levels the playing field between buyer and seller in the process of buying real estate. The seller pays a “co-broke” fee to the buyer’s agent, and for that fee, the buyer agent is duty-bound (with a signed buyer agreement) to keep all information confidential, explain contracts, disclosures, review buying options, and pitfalls and advocate for the buyer’s best interests.
As the baby boomers gather into retirement, a significant portion doesn’t have savings to carry them through their elder years. Many will rely on investments that provide a safe but paltry income of 3-5%, or a risky but enticing income of 10-15%. The bottom line is: to get a decent return on your investment, you sacrifice safety. There is a very attractive alternative: the multi-family investment.
Maine has one of the oldest housing stocks in the country, and this poses special problems for owners of older homes, where taking advantage of cutting edge technology is far more difficult than buying or building a home with the technology embedded. As the chasm widens between cost-effective energy-efficient homes and budget-busting older homes, there may be an approaching tipping point that will push the green revolution into hyper-drive.
Real estate is the most powerful investment vehicle that exists. There are three huge benefits afforded to real estate investments that typically don’t occur in other investments: 1) Leverage, 2) Depreciation and, 3) Loan Interest Deduction. These accomplish very powerful results for income sheltering and equity appreciation. The compounding of these produces returns that dwarf stocks and bonds. Running a successful business would be the only way to beat it, but that is accompanied by greater risk and a lot of work.
Most people expected a downturn in Maine’s real estate when the pandemic hit in March. There was a pause as buyers and sellers alike decided to wait until there was a clear direction in the economy. That direction is not yet clear, and remain cloudy for some time. However, real estate prices have held firm, and in some cases, buyers are paying premiums over asking price.
When a buyer goes under contract on a home or commercial building, the due diligence period begins. Now it is the buyer’s chance to unearth anything that needs repair or replacement. An attorney or title company will look for defects in the title, encroaching lot lines, hidden easements, etc. Most of the time it’s a material defect that needs attention, and this can only be revealed by a knowledgeable inspector. Sometimes, even an experienced inspector can get lazy and make a mistake.
If you’re planning to sell your home, there are many online tips to get it sold quickly and for the most money. What follows here are the best of those suggestions, and some of my own.
If you want to brave the “for sale by owner” maze, Dirty Harry might say “you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’” If you do, also ask: