Are you preparing to invest in real estate for the first time?
You’re making an exciting move, and you’ll find that Investing in real estate provides a number of financial benefits:
- You’ll have a valuable and tangible asset that appreciates over time.
- You’ll earn recurring and consistent income every month.
- Your tenants will contribute to your mortgage and other expenses that come with that investment.
- You can take advantage of tax breaks unique to rental property owners.
While there are dozens of good reasons to invest, you have to be aware of the potential pitfalls and challenges as well. First time investors can easily make mistakes if they haven’t done their research or surrounded themselves with experts.
We are here to help you avoid those mistakes. Here are a few tips that will help you successfully invest in real estate for the first time.
Estimate Your Income and Expenses Before You Buy
You have your own reasons for investing, and hopefully you’ve established some good investment goals for the short term and the long term.
When we’re talking about buying property and renting it out, you have to think about the money. Where will you get the money to buy your investment property? What kind of money are you expecting to earn on that property?
Money matters require you to understand what you’ll earn and what you’ll spend when you invest in real estate.
- Local Rental Markets Drive Income and Expenses
There are nuances and trends from neighborhood to neighborhood in this region. Whether you’re buying a property in Charlotte, Matthews, Monroe, Harrisburg, Stallings, or another local community, you’ll have to learn a thing or two about the market before you invest.
While it’s impossible for even experienced investors to know everything, you should at least get to know the local rental values, maintenance expenses, and vacancy rates. This will help you budget and plan.
- Establishing a Rental Value
First-time investors are often unsure about how to establish a reliable rental value for their property. It’s a good idea to consult a property management company before you invest so you’ll know what you can expect to earn in rent. You’ll get a data-driven idea about what rental values are in the area, and you won’t have to worry about how reliable the information is that you find on the internet.
- Expenses and Costs
Another part of smart investing is anticipating expenses. You’re going to have an easy time understanding what you’ll pay for insurance, taxes, your mortgage payment, and even routine maintenance. But, there will be surprise expenses, too. Put something away for vacancies that are longer than anticipated, turnover costs, and surprise bills that turn up when you have a tenant who damaged your property, broke a lease, or needed to be evicted.
Choosing the Right Investment Property
As you begin searching for your first investment property in Charlotte, Kannapolis, Midland, or in any of the nearby communities, you have to make sure you know what you’re looking for, and what’s going to earn you the best return on investment.
Buying the right property is critical, and to buy the right property, you need to think like a tenant. Will they be willing to pay what you need them to pay? That’s going to help you decide what to buy and what to ignore.
The right property is well-located. It’s in good condition. It’s in an attractive and desirable neighborhood, near good schools and shopping and entertainment. Some investors prefer a home that’s in an HOA. Others prefer to avoid those.
The right investment property will bring in high rents, attract great residents, and be easy and affordable to maintain over time. It goes back to the market. Get to know the local market and your potential competition. These things will impact what you earn and what type of investment experience you have.
Prepare to Invest in Maintenance and Improvements
Budget for those emergency, routine, and preventative repairs. In fact, it would not hurt to over-budget.
That’s because maintenance is expensive. The repairs your property needs will always be a priority, otherwise you’ll chase away good tenants and risk your investment deteriorating too quickly.
Once you actually have tenants in place, make sure you’re responsive to their maintenance requests. Good maintenance practices protect the value of your investment. It also protects you against turnover and vacancy costs. Make sure you’re willing to make ongoing upgrades and improvements. Adding value to your property will mean it’s worth more.
Work with a Local Property Manager
New investors can especially benefit from professional property management.
Smart investors are quick to partner with professionals who can help them succeed. You’ll need a reliable real estate broker. You’ll want to surround yourself with attorneys, accountants, insurance professionals, and fellow real estate investors. This is the best way to ensure success – by learning from the experiences of others and by having resources you can turn to when you need help.
Most importantly, you need a good property management partner.
Unless you have the time, knowledge, and experience to manage an income-producing property on your own, hire a professional property manager to help you have a better investment experience. You will be far more successful your first time investing if you have an experienced partner who can help you with marketing, leasing, and screening. You’ll rely on a property manager’s systems for rent collection, lease enforcement, and maintenance.
A good property manager will have relationships in place with vendors and contractors.
We always recommend you look for property managers who are experienced with first-time investors. You’ll get the help you need navigating the current market and setting yourself up for success moving forward.
We’d love to help you. As you begin to think about investing in local real estate, please contact us at Wess Cason Realty. We provide real estate and property management services in Charlotte and the surrounding areas in Mecklenburg, Union, and Cabarrus County.