So, you want to be an investment property owner?
As home prices and interest rates continue to climb, you may be understandably wondering whether it still makes sense to buy an investment property. But figuring out the real estate market at any point can sometimes feel like trying to predict your future with a crystal ball.
What if it's too late? Or too early? Are you too young? Too old? Don't have enough funds? Too risk averse? Not risky enough? Did you fail to accurately predict and pounce on that mythical, perfectly ideal investment window 10, 12 or 15.75 years ago? The answers will depend on numerous factors.
Factors to Consider If You're Looking to Buy an Investment Property
Property costs and mortgage rates are typically at the top of the list when considering whether to pull the trigger on a new property investment. The good news is that despite slight upticks from this time last year, mortgage rates remain relatively low, and locking a favorable interest rate is a strong incentive to consider if you're looking for the best time to take on a mortgage.
Mortgage Rates and Down Payment
The last week of March saw interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) average 4.14%, down from 4.23% in the previous week, and compared to a 3.71% rate at the same time just a year ago. Interest rates will vary according to a number of factors, such as your individual financial picture, and the cost and location of the property, among others.
Mortgages rates are a great starting-off point when considering whether real estate is a good investment, but it is important to understand the differences between purchasing a residential primary residence vs. an investment rental property.
Depending on your situation, the required down payment for an investment property may be larger than a primary home purchase. It is also important to weigh the amount of the mortgage payments against the ongoing expenses required in maintaining a rental property. This helps to determine a realistic range of what your profit margins and yield will actually be from month to month.
How Much Should You Spend on an Investment Property?
Again, the right investment amount will vary from buyer to buyer. If you are an experienced real estate investor with adequate resources to invest in potential secondary expenses, you're in luck. You're more than likely in a position to pay for construction and necessary repairs and upkeep, property taxes, and even marketing and administrative costs. With a higher price range, you may have more flexibility. But you don't need a Warren Buffet budget or the backing of a cable TV network home improvement show to carve out your own little piece of the real estate investment pie.
First-time investors with budgets in the $200,000 range could consider looking for value properties that might be underpriced. These require minimal investments in redesign or refurbishes that can (and will) quickly eat into your budget and profit margins.
Making an honest assessment of your overall financial health and short- and long- term financial outlook is a great place to start when trying to decide the best time to buy property. Examine things like existing (and type of) debts, your overall credit picture, existing assets and liquidity, and income stability. Also, consider projected future expenses, which could include anything from starting family, to budgeting for medical expenses, or paying for college.
Why It's Not Too Late If You're Ready to Take the Plunge
Although prices can rise at any time, you can still find a property within your price range with research, patience and a little bit of effort.
Great Deals Can Still Be Found
It might help to begin by outlining the factors that matter most to you, such as price, location, budget, projected length of investment, and how much you are willing and able to spend not just in money, but also in time and labor. Consider whether your resources allow for a home in an established or an up-and-coming market, and what the capital and time requirements, as well as the pros and cons, might be for each.
Technology Is Your Friend
It has never been easier to engage in high-level research and even data analysis from the comfort of your own couch or kitchen table. From property values to information on school districts, nightlife, culture, transportation and projected trends for any area, use the information available not just to research, but to connect with others in the community you're interested in. Social media can help some people make an informed decision and get a more realistic picture of how successful your investment can be.
Conditions Can Change at Any Time
In real estate, as in life, we can only work with the conditions we have at the moment. If you are ready to take the plunge, there is no time like the present.
If you're ready to find the competitive mortgage rate that's right for you, get started with our online application or give us a call today at (800) 251-9080.
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