Real Estate Investment Strategies for 2019

The rules of real estate investing are rapidly changing. With the rise of the digital era, investors must quickly adapt to new technology and new rules. In 2019, investors must remain flexible and be willing to adopt change in their investment strategies. What worked five years ago may not work today. Here are some tips to help make 2019 a banner year for real estate investors.

Study Real Estate Market Data

Investors should study real estate market data every year, not just in 2019. Data tells a story about neighborhoods and the climate of the housing market. Interest rates, construction costs and neighborhood trends are a short list of data points that investors should carefully study. Real estate apps and the internet make this easier than ever before.

Think of Market Slowdowns as an Opportunity

Many real estate experts suggest the market will experience a cooling trend in 2019. The deals that did not make sense last year or the year before might make sense this year. If rents stay strong and values start to decline, it could present a solid opportunity to invest in multifamily real estate.

Pay Attention to First-Time Homebuyers

With rising interest rates and tight inventories, most homeowners are staying put. However, there is always demand from first-time homebuyers. Experts suggest that flipping starter homes in 2019 could lead to nice profits, while the rest of the housing segment sits on the sidelines until the market stabilizes.

Focus on Equity

Some experts predict that housing prices will start to peak mid-year. If the predictions are true, it could be the right time to extract some equity. Cash in hand gives investors the flexibility they need to secure deals with a proven rate of return. Cash also helps investors transition into other classes of real estate.

Invest In Low-Income Communities

Congress created Opportunity Zones as part of the tax bill in 2017. These zones provide investors with tax breaks and incentives if they invest in distressed communities. Every state in the U.S. has locations designated as Opportunity Zones by Congress, and most real estate websites offer maps of the specific zones.

2019 could be a tricky year for real estate investors. Some experts say interest rates will continue to rise, while others suggest they will fall. What remains a constant in the industry is a sound investment strategy always delivers in any market conditions.

(I originally discussed this topic at JasonCohenPittsburgh.com.)

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Should You Rent or Own in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

Part of the American dream is to own a home. Unfortunately, the dream can quickly turn to a nightmare if a person invests in a “money pit.” Whether new to the area or a long-time resident of Pittsburgh, many wonder if they should rent or buy their abode. Those who want to build wealth and give their credit score a significant boost should take on the role of a homeowner. However, it all comes down to lifestyle and finances.

Pittsburgh is Rental Territory

recent study was conducted that looked at 23 cities across America. Pittsburgh was one of the 16 that fell into what was called rent territory. Being in “rent territory” means that renting is wiser and will help with wealth creation. Though the entire country has shifted to ownership territory, it wasn’t always this way. Back in 1999, the rental market was booming. People who wanted to make long term commitments by purchasing a home, however, plummeted.

Home Ownership Demands Drive Prices Up

The demand for ownership has decreased in some major cities throughout the United States. Places like Atlanta, Houston, Kansas City, and Miami have all seen a decrease in home sales and an increase in rentals. As more people look to rentals for their housing needs, it puts pressure on the housing prices to decrease. Part of the reason why rentals are up in some areas is that prices hit all-time highs and the inventory selection was low.

During the first part of 2018, homes on the market in the Pittsburgh area took an eight percent increase in price. Additionally, there was a ten percent increase in home volume sales. The cost of a home has a significant impact on shifting a market from a renting territory to an ownership one. If homes are affordable, then many people want to invest in something that they can own. However, if the home prices are inflated, many feel that renting is a great way to save money before making such a commitment as homeownership.

The Final Decision

As with any area, the decision to rent or own in Pittsburgh often comes down to financial comforts for each individual person. For some, it’s more attractive to have a landlord pay for repairs, taxes and insurance, while also avoiding the large initial down payment. Others are ready to make the financial commitment to have a place that’s all their own.

A financial advisor or real estate professional can be a great resource for people who are on the fence between renting and owning.

I originally discussed this topic at JasonCohenPittsburgh.org.

Looking to Sell Your Home? Become a Landlord Instead!

When a person owns a home and decides that it’s time to upgrade or relocate to another area, they have a big decision to make. Should they sell their old home or turn it into a rental property? To answer that question, it’s important to analyze all of the factors that are involved. Here are five of them to consider:

What Does The Cash Flow Look Like? 
The first factor that should be examined is if a property will produce a positive cash flow when it’s rented out. If the rental income is more than expenses like taxes, monthly mortgage, insurance, vacancy, utilities, repairs, etc., it will be profitable and may be a good candidate for creating rental income.

Considering Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service allows homeowners to avoid paying taxes on the sale of their home if it has been their primary residence and they have lived in it for a minimum of two of the last five years. This is based on sales that are at least $500,000 when married and $250,000 for individuals who are single. On most capital gains, an individual has to pay taxes that are equal to as much as 20 percent of the sales price.

Tough Markets
By renting out a home, it leaves a back-up plan during times when it would be difficult to sell. For example, if a person gets a job offer in a new city and the value of their house is currently below what they paid, they’d have to bring cash to the table. By renting, it would give them time to see if the market can recover.

Handling Tenants
Another consideration that should be analyzed is if a person wants to actually become a landlord. While there are a number of good tenants, some individuals require patience and time to deal with. There is always the option of using a professional property management company to handle everything, but that would cut into your bottom line.

How Does The Future Look?
If the future for appreciation looks bright, a person may want to keep their home, rent it out, and see if its value escalates in the next three, five or ten years. While no one has a crystal ball and can accurately forecast this, a person can gauge if growth is possible. Are current homes being renovated? Are retail buildings being constructed in the same location? These type of indicators are positive signs that the value of a home could appreciate in the future.

For more real estate blogs, check out my professional website. 

Pets are Taking Over the Real Estate Market

Millennials are now one of the biggest contributors to real estate markets across the globe. This means their wants and needs are significantly driving supply and demand.

More and more adults are waiting until later in life to start a family, choosing instead to focus on travel or career opportunities. However, it isn’t uncommon for young adults to have a pet. In fact, the American Pet Products Association claims that 73% of American millennials own a pet.  A recent study indicated that one third of millennials buying a first home were influenced by their pet’s needs when making their decision.

For many pet owners (especially those who own a larger breed of dog), renting isn’t an option. Properties that allow pets are either expensive, too small or non-existent. This means buying is more attractive, but the home has to be just right.

Yard Space

In past years, it was popular for people to want a decent yard for their children to play in. People with a dog now more commonly desire the yard for a different reason. Similarly, they want the yard to be private and somewhat fenced in. For people with larger dogs that can easily jump a 3-foot fence, the higher the better.

Flooring

Understandably, both cat and dog owners prefer hard floors over carpeting. It makes clean-up easier. There is also a concern with soft or cheap floors because a pet’s claws could cause expensive damage.

Stairs

Single-level homes aren’t just appealing to the aging population. They are also great options for people with elderly pets who have trouble with stairs.

Research suggests that the millennial desire for smaller, single homes that suit a pet’s needs are causing prices of those homes to rise because there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand. Assuming a high percentage of apartments continue to enforce animal bans, the desire for single homes will likely continue to rise.

The desire to keep their pets happy isn’t a second thought for many young people. It is at the top of their priority list, putting some properties out of the running immediately. Their pets are seen as part of the family, so ensuring their pet’s comfort and happiness is equivalent to ensuring their own peace of mind.

See my professional website for more posts on the real estate market.