Discover the Most Popular Ways to Invest in Real Estate

By James Timothy White, GRI
Reviewed by
Published: Feb 6, 2023
Updated: May 4, 2023

Investing in real estate is a popular way for people to grow their wealth and secure their financial future. There are many different ways to invest in real estate, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. This article will explore the most popular real estate investing methods, including selling with owner financing, and why hiring a real estate advisor and real estate attorney is crucial to success as a real estate investor.

Buying and Holding Property

One of the most straightforward ways to invest in real estate is to buy a property, hold onto it for a while, and then sell it for a profit. This method, known as buying and holding, can be profitable if the property appreciates over time. Investors may rent the property to generate income while waiting for its value to increase.

Advantages of buying and holding real estate:

  • Potential for Long-Term Appreciation: Real estate has historically appreciated over the long-term, providing the potential for significant financial gains for the owner.

  • Cash Flow: Rental properties can generate a steady stream of income through rent payments. This can provide financial stability and a source of passive income.

  • Tax Benefits: Real estate ownership offers various tax benefits, such as deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, and depreciation.

  • Tangible Asset: Real estate is a tangible asset that can provide a sense of security and stability. It is also an investment that is not subject to market volatility in the same way as stocks and bonds.

Disadvantages of buying and holding real estate:

  • High Upfront Costs: Buying real estate requires a significant upfront investment, including the purchase price, closing costs, and ongoing maintenance costs.

  • Management Responsibilities: Owning rental property also means taking on the responsibilities of managing the property, including finding and screening tenants, maintaining the property, and dealing with any legal issues.

  • Market Risk: Real estate prices can be subject to market conditions, and can fluctuate based on local and national economic conditions.

  • Lack of Liquidity: Real estate is not a liquid asset, meaning it can be difficult to quickly sell or convert to cash if necessary.

  • Maintenance and Repair Costs: Real estate requires ongoing maintenance and repairs, which can be costly and time-consuming. This can also be a burden for those who live far from their properties.

Buying and holding real estate can offer several advantages, including the potential for long-term appreciation, cash flow, and tax benefits. However, it also comes with several disadvantages, including high upfront costs, management responsibilities, market risk, lack of liquidity, and maintenance and repair costs. It's important to carefully consider these factors and seek professional advice before making a real estate investment.

Developing New Projects

Another way to invest in real estate is to develop new projects, whether it is by building new homes, converting a building into a multi-family property, or constructing commercial space. This strategy requires more time and effort than buy-and-hold investing, but it also has the potential to generate much more significant returns.

Developing new projects involves finding a piece of land or an existing property, securing financing, and then working with contractors, architects, and engineers to create the new development. This process can be time-consuming and costly, but it also allows you to create something unique and valuable that can generate income for years.

The benefits of developing new projects include the potential for high returns, the ability to control the entire process from start to finish, and creation of unique and valuable projects. The drawbacks of this strategy include the need for a considerable investment of time and money, the potential for construction delays, and the need for a deep understanding of the real estate market and construction process.

Selling Property with Owner Financing

Selling a property with owner financing is another way to invest in real estate, and it involves selling a property and financing the purchase for the buyer. This can be an excellent option for those who want to sell their property quickly or for those who want to earn a steady stream of income from their investment.

When you sell property with owner financing, you will typically require the buyer to make a down payment and then make regular payments to you over a specified period. You will be responsible for collecting the payments from the buyer.

The benefits of selling property with owner financing include the ability to sell your property quickly, the potential for a steady income stream, and the ability to control the terms of the sale. This strategy's drawbacks include the need to collect the mortgage payments and the potential for the buyer to default on their payments.

How Selling Financing Works

Selling financing involves offering to finance a buyer purchasing a property from you. This can be done through a mortgage on the property, or it can be done through a more flexible and creative financing structure, such as a lease-to-own or a contract for deed.

This type of financing involves offering the buyer financing for the property, and the buyer makes payments directly to you. This financing is often used by real estate investors looking for a more flexible financing option or for those who want to sell their property quickly.

The benefits of selling financing include selling your property quickly, the potential for a steady income stream, and the ability to control the financing terms.

That being said, the drawbacks of this strategy include the need for a deep understanding of the real estate market, the need to be able to collect payments, and the potential for the buyer to default on their payments.

Fix'n and Flip'n

Fixing and flipping is a real estate investment strategy where an investor buys a property, typically at a discounted price, makes renovations or improvements to increase its value, and then sells it for a profit. The goal is to sell the property quickly, usually within a few months, for a higher price than what was paid.

Advantages of fixing and flipping include:

  • Potential for high returns: With the right renovation and improvements, the investor can sell the property for a substantial profit.

  • Control over the investment: Fixing and flipping allow the investor to control the renovation and improvements, which can impact the property's value.

  • Opportunities to buy properties at a discounted price: Investors can take advantage of market conditions or negotiate lower prices for properties needing repairs.

Disadvantages of fixing and flipping include:

  • Risk of overspending on renovations: If the upgrades are not done correctly or cost more than expected, the investor could end up losing money on the investment.

  • Time-sensitive: Fixing and flipping require quick action and quick sales, which can be challenging if the market slows down or the property takes longer to sell than expected.

  • Physical demands: Fixing and flipping can involve a significant amount of manual labor and renovations, which can be time-consuming and physically demanding.

Fixing and flipping can be a lucrative investment strategy for real estate investors with the right skills, experience, and market knowledge. However, it also involves significant risks and requires careful planning and execution.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs and mREITs)

For those who want to invest in real estate without having to manage a property, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are a great option. REITs are publicly traded companies that own and manage real estate assets. Investors can purchase shares in a REIT and receive a percentage of the profits generated by the company's real estate holdings. REITs allow people to invest in real estate without managing properties actively.

An MREIT, or Mortgage Real Estate Investment Trust, is a type of real estate investment trust that invests in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. MREITs provide a way for investors to invest in the mortgage market while receiving income from the interest payments made by borrowers on their mortgage loans. MREITs can invest in various mortgage-related assets, including residential and commercial mortgages and mortgage-backed securities issued by government-sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

MREITs are a popular investment option for those seeking exposure to the real estate market and a steady income stream. However, like all investments, MREITs carry risks, and it is vital for investors to thoroughly research and understand the risks involved before investing in an MREIT.

As with any investment, especially when buying publicly traded REITs or MREITS, it is essential to conduct thorough research and consult a financial advisor before making a decision.

Why Hiring a Real Estate Advisor and Real Estate Attorney is Important

Hiring a real estate advisor and a real estate attorney are two critical steps in any real estate transaction, whether you are buying or selling property. Both professionals bring unique skills and expertise to the table, and working with them can significantly increase your chances of success and protect your interests. Here's why hiring a real estate advisor and attorney is important.

A Real Estate Advisor Offers Insights and Expertise

A real estate advisor is a professional who specializes in helping clients navigate the complex world of real estate. They deeply understand the local real estate market and can provide valuable insights and advice on pricing, market trends, and the best neighborhoods for your needs. Real estate advisors can also help you negotiate the best deal possible and ensure that you are not taken advantage of during the transaction.

A Real Estate Attorney Protects Your Legal Interests

A real estate attorney is a legal professional who specializes in real estate law. They can help you navigate the complex legal process involved in buying or selling property and protect your rights. Real estate attorneys can also help you review and understand the terms of your contract, identify any potential legal issues, and represent you in court if necessary.

They Ensure Compliance with Laws and Regulations because real estate advisors and a real estate attorneys are well-versed in the local and federal laws and regulations that govern real estate transactions. They can help ensure that you comply with all relevant statutes, which can help prevent costly legal issues.

Both They Save You Time and Stress

Working with a real estate advisor and a real estate attorney can save you a lot of time and stress. They can handle the complicated and time-consuming aspects of the transaction, leaving you free to focus on other things. This can be especially beneficial for those unfamiliar with the real estate process or who do not have the time to devote to it.

Hiring a real estate advisor and a real estate attorney are important steps in any real estate transaction. They bring valuable expertise, knowledge, and protection to the table and can significantlyd increase your chances of success. Whether you are buying or selling property, working with these professionals can save you time, stress, and money and ensure your interests are protected.

Final Thoughts

Investing in real estate can be a great way to grow your wealth, but it is crucial to understand the different ways that you can invest and what each method entails. Whether you buy and hold property, develop new projects, or sell property with owner financing, you must clearly understand the market and available opportunities.

By carefully considering the benefits and drawbacks of each investment strategy, you can choose the one that is best for you and your goals. With patience, persistence, a team of advisors, and a strong understanding of the real estate market, you can build a successful investment portfolio and grow your wealth over time.

Sell Street Real Estate Advisors LLC (“Sell Street”) do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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