There are a lot of different ways to make money in real estate. I don’t want to sound too much like Forest Gump cleaning the toilets with his toothbrush and rambling, but your options include: fix and flipping, single family rentals, multi-family apartments, house hacking, new development, note buying, triple net investments, etc…
Over the years I have learned that when looking at a given investment opportunity, it’s just as important to know if the investment is a fit for your unique talents and your desired lifestyle as it is to know if it will make you money. Will the real estate investment strategy you chose bring you joy or potential misery? To answer this question some inner reflection is required. You must know what brings you energy and excitement, and what brings you down.
For me, banking steady cash flow brings me energy, and managing tenants brings me down. Therefore, I seek to make the most amount of money with the least number of tenants. I also greatly enjoy the creative process of taking dated properties and updating them. Therefore, I like to buy and hold properties that need work, and my current product of choice is duplexes.
I used to own single family homes, however, quickly learned that single family homes are great when they’re full and suck when they’re empty. With a duplex, on the other hand, if one side goes vacant, the other side helps pay the bills while I find a new tenant. I try to find side by side duplexes with 3 bedroom, 2 baths units, and garages in the middle. The units live like single family homes with a yard so I get great rents, and quality tenants who typically stay for years, resulting in very low turnover. I would own a higher density apartment building but know I would need to hire the right property manager, and would need to factor that into the financial analysis.
I have a client who makes a killing on college rentals. Personally, I would hate having to turn 50% of my units every summer but it doesn’t bother him at all. I have another client who partners with a builder to scrape lots in Denver and build high end duplexes. He doesn’t do any of the construction, he just provides the capital because he has a full time IT job. And yet another client owns large multi-family properties and has a great property management team, and he makes a killing.
Again, there are a lot of ways to skin the real estate cat, so before you jump in ask yourself if your chosen path is the right fit for you. Ask people who are doing it what they like and what they don’t like about it. Write your own list of what you like and don’t like, then take action with the objective of making your life better, not worse.
Brad Uhlig is a Broker/Owner with West Peak Properties, a full-service brokerage company specializing in investment properties in the Denver Metro area. The brokers at West Peak Properties have over 40 years of combined experience with 100’s of transactions closed. Their mission is to help investors build their portfolio, exchange and sell when the time is right, and live a better life through the financial freedom real estate investing allows. Contact Them Today!