3 Lesser-Known Ways to Invest in Real Estate
Investing in real estate has long been a path to wealth-building. Real estate is an asset that can provide both ongoing income and value appreciation, making it attractive to those who seek long-term growth and mitigated risk.
For many investors, the approach is the same: Acquire a property that can be rented out for recurring income, then sold at a profit. However, there exist some real estate investing strategies that sometimes fly under the radar, so to speak. Here are three lesser-known real estate investing strategies that might pay off in a big way:
There are plenty of investors who like the idea of perpetual income and the security of signing tenants to long-term leases. However, for that security, they might be trading away some of their potential income.
Thanks to a few online rental businesses, short-term rentals are now accessible to more property owners. And short-term rentals, which charge a nightly rate - more like a hotel - can often provide more rental income than properties rented out over longer terms.
For example, a place in a desirable location with a ton of tourist demand might be rented for $1,000 per month on a long-term lease but go for $100 a night as a short-term rental. If such a property was filled with visitors just half the days in any given month, the investor is looking at 50 percent more rental income ($1,500 vs. $1,000).
Properties on or near college campuses can often generate more income than similar properties not near campus. The reason: The college housing model is set up for property owners to rent space not just per month but per student.
That means a place that can house, say, five students generates more income per month than a similar residence that sleeps only three. If the investor can convert more living space into additional sleeping space, he or she can increase the monthly income from a property.
Like short-term rentals, the income potential is more than in a traditional long-term lease. A $1,000-per-month traditional property might be one for which students pay $300 a month each, so having four or five students means income of $1,200 or $1,500 instead.
Land without buildings might not be the most attractive real estate investment in terms of income, but land is durable, versatile and scarce. As Mark Twain once said: 'They're not making any more of it.'
Vacant land typically has lower acquisition and carrying costs than does land with structures on it. Those lower costs can make land attractive to 'flippers' who seek to buy low and sell high. And just like with buildings, land can be had at auction or similar distressed sales. An investor might have to do more legwork to find vacant land at bargain-basement prices, but those deals are out there.
Finding a piece of vacant land with a current owner who has no plans for it can be lucrative if it can be developed down the road. On the income end, land can be leased to farmers, hunters or other business owners who need it.
The bottom line is that it's no secret that people have built considerable wealth throughout history by investing in real estate, and there are some less common ways to go about it that might provide greater returns.