With Market and Interest Rates Down – Does That Mean Property Investment Is a Good Idea?

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So many people are wondering these days whether it is a good time to invest in property.  It’s no secret that interest rates are at an all-time historic low and when combined with the low housing prices we are still seeing these days, more and more people are considering real estate investment.

How can you tell if it is the right thing for you?  And if you do decide you want to venture into buying property for the sake of investment, how do you go about it and what type of dwelling makes the most sense? 

The answer is largely dependent on your individual investment goals.

Overall Appreciation Perfect for Long-Term Security
The easiest way to enjoy significant returns on investment is through the purchase of a single-family home.  Historically more popular, these properties are easier to rent out, entail less day-to-day management and they can be assumed as primary residence at any given time the investor would so choose, providing an added sense of security.  Home values do appreciate with time and single-family homes typically rise in value faster than other rental property types.

It is important that the property is located in a desirable location and also that it is easily rentable.  Your Realtor can assist you with an analysis of the area’s statistics in term of rent versus buy situations as well as a look at what other similar properties are renting out for.

Slow and Steady Monthly Income
Rental units that comprise of anywhere from 2 to 12 (or more) family units within the property are perfect for monthly real-time cash flow. While they may not appreciate as much as single-family homes, they provide the comfort and safety net of steady monthly income.  If increased cash flow is the goal then opting for multi-unit rental properties may be the best route to take.

Demographics play a key role in determining your investment.  For instance, if you live in a college town then a rental home near the college or downtown would be ideal for many senior or grad level students that prefer easy access yet quality housing.  Conversely, resort homes are also attractive and as long as they are located near some tourist attractions you may be able to yield decent rental income. Rental units in big cities are also popular in the more bustling areas of town.


Given the increase of rental units and investment properties being rented out, there has been an influx of property management companies set up.  Ideal for the silent investor or someone that does not have a lot of time to put into the actual management of properties, property management companies handle anything from market analysis, finding and screening tenants plus managing the move-in process to handling day-to-day affairs like collecting rent or property maintenance.

If you can afford it and have investment goals that line up with some of the returns that are apparent with property investment, contact your Realtor to get a feel for what is available out there.  This is definitely a very interesting time to pursue an investment property.

What’s a Real Estate “Short Sale” and Why Should I Buy One?

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The best way to explain a short sale is with an example:

Assume a homeowner has an unpaid loan mortgage balance of $200,000, but the property will sell for only $175,000. The lender holding the mortgage agrees to sell the house for the $175,000 amount, which, of course, leaves it “short” of the full amount of $200,000. Thus, the name “short sale!”

Obviously, lenders don’t like short sales since they’re not in business to lose money. But such situations do occur for various reasons often related to “hardship” situations. Examples include:

• Permanent injuries
• Financial insolvency
• Job layoffs, etc.

This is a sad situation for the homeowner, but it does offer an opportunity for you to pick up a bargain. However, there are several potential downsides you should be aware of before you make an offer.

Pitfall 1: Allow time for the lender’s decision.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, the contract will be sent to the seller’s lender for approval. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months, and there’s oftentimes no way to know beforehand exactly how long the lender will take.

Pitfall 2: The lender is under no obligation to accept the short sale.
Often times, lenders will come back with a counter of a higher price, or will sometimes reject the offer outright. There is no way to know beforehand exactly what the lender is thinking. This risk can be reduced by pre-qualifying the seller and making sure he or she has a genuine hardship, and by making sure you offer close to market value.

Pitfall 3: The seller must be committed to the process.
A great deal of paperwork and commitment will be required of the seller. There have been cases where the seller does not complete everything that is necessary and causes the lender to reject the deal. Additionally, there have been cases where the seller backs out to declare bankruptcy. Make sure the seller is committed to the process before you begin!


You can pick up great bargains in the short sale market, but you have to be very knowledgeable and very patient! And, as mentioned earlier, there are risks and often times you will face disappointment. Hiring a professional realtor who has experience with the ins and outs of short sales can help reduce these risks.