REAL ESTATE can be a smart, lucrative investment, because it shelters property appreciation from taxes while allowing owners to deduct interest and depreciation. In addition, unlike financial investments, tax-deferred exchanges are common real estate trans-actions. However, many investors ignore real estate because it requires daily management. Still others invest in real estate and attempt to manage their properties themselves to save on management fees.
Most of us have seen infomercials about achieving financial independence by investing in real estate. During my years in property management, I have seen many people build wealth by investing in real estate. I have also seen time forgive some very poor real-estate investments, because fortunately, most bad real estate decisions are forgiven as property values appreciate. So, from my perspective, the key attribute to successful real estate investing is longevity—surviving the period between purchase and sale, while the property works to pay its way.
During the appreciation years, many real estate investors realize how poorly prepared they are to manage property. They experience the enormous stress from evictions because they have not developed appropriate credit-screening techniques that identify potential deadbeats. They are sued for discrimination because they do not understand fair housing regulations. They fall victim to downward economic spirals because they do not understand the relationship between curb appeal, occupancy rates, and rent. Worst of all, they often don't realize that their properties are under-performing by thousands of dollars each month.
Westlake Realty Group, has successfully managed real estate for over 30 years. They've dealt with a number of issues discussed above and can help you avoid them. You'll find this book a helpful and informative introduction to the fundamentals—and complexities—of property management.