You Are Never Too Old, Part 1

Written by: David Wilkening

I can’t say I dipped my feet into surfing (the Ocean wave kind) at 60 years of age or struggled through an Iron Man contest at the same age, but the old saying “you are never too old” does apply here.  As it does in real estate investment, of course.

So even if you’re never too old, you might not want to ride the ocean waves or exert yourself to an extreme degree by running, bicycling and swimming extensive miles, but real estate requires more intellectual exercise that should sharpen those muscles as well.

So how you get a start in real estate investing (no matter your age)?

I do have some suggestions here. Also keep in mind, you are on a learning curve that will pay off in the future.

My immediate reaction for first-timers is a duplex, so you can pay your rent by collecting from someone else.

But condos are really the best for beginners. For one thing, they are low maintenance because the condo association does external repairs. From a physical standpoint, you only have to worry about interiors such as painting (and you may be able to do that yourself without hiring outside help).  But, of course, you have to factor in monthly maintenance fees. These can be very expensive and should be checked as soon as you have any interest in a property. You will also have to adjust your rents based on these fees, though you can expect to pass them on to the renter.

That looks good, of course, but the downside of condos is that your renters tend to be paying less than they would at singl- family homes. Appreciation is also slower when you sell. In general, it’s a more conservative investment though a good one  –  at least in generally healthy economic areas that are showing signs of population growth that also fuels housing demand.

So how about single-family homes?

One major advantage is that they often attract longer-term renters. That means families and couples who tend to be more stable and reliable when the rent is due (They also tend to be couples, who are almost always better renters because they have dual incomes in case of unemployment). Ask any landlord if you don’t believe me. Couples are your most desired (read stable) renters.

That brings us to another criteria that is particularly critical for first-timers: Find a neighborhood that couples find comfortable. Of course, in the best of both worlds, you want a property that is attractive BOTH to couples and even young singers to broaden your market appeal.

A PS here: If you have been doing this for a while, you already know or it has been pounded by now into your head that real estate investing does not start with what you buy, but what you can do with it.

So the moral here is like all things in life: don’t be hesitant to start.

You might try surfing while you’re at it, too.


You Are Never Too Old, Part 1

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