Rules for Buy and Hold Real Estate Investing

Rules for Buy and Hold Real Estate Investing

“BUY AND HOLD” IS A popular investing strategy that can also be applied to real estate.

Purchasing a rental property or other investment property for the long term can yield multiple benefits.

“Rental properties, such as multifamily units, offer investors rental income and asset appreciation at the same time,” says Christopher Dixon, a managing partner at Oxford Advisory Group.

Owning real estate that generates continuous cash flow can add diversity to your portfolio as well as an income stream that could see you through to retirement and beyond. There’s also the potential for more stability versus short-term, fix-and-flip property investments.

“A buy and hold strategy helps protect investors from housing price fluctuations when selling the property for a quick profit,” Dixon says.

When you’re looking at a decades-long investment, rather than one that may last a year or less, time is on your side for riding out housing market ebbs and flows. And real estate’s low correlation to stocks means your investment may continue to fare well during periods of widespread volatility.

In a sense, investing in buy-and-hold real estate isn’t that different from investing in the stock market, says Michael Morgan, president of TBS Retirement Planning in Bedford, Texas.

“With real estate, you’re buying property and holding it with the anticipation of it going up in value,” Morgan says. “Like picking stocks, you want to pick good properties.”

Knowing how to pick good properties is pivotal to developing your rental property investing approach. If you’re interested in buy-and-hold real estate, keep these rules in mind:

  • Start with your exit strategy.
  • Consider leveraging your individual retirement account.
  • Gauge a property’s potential.

Start With Your Exit Strategy

Focusing on your exit strategy first might seem backward, but it’s a sound approach to take when considering real estate as a buy-and-hold investment, says Eric Swanson, vice president at EP Wealth Advisors in Torrance, California.

“With any long-term investment, the market prices will fluctuate,” Swanson says. “If the investor is experienced enough, they’ll have a proper exit strategy in place before buying the property.”

You should consider how long you plan to hold a property before you scout out locations or rental markets in which to invest. This can be a crucial step.

Swanson says investing in smaller, more affordable properties can create a larger buyer’s market, which is advantageous for investors when it’s time to sell. But choosing a property based on affordability alone doesn’t necessarily make it a good investment.

Gauge a Property’s Potential

As with any investment, it’s important to crunch the numbers before pursuing a real estate investment to generate cash flow. For example, Dixon says investors should be looking for properties they can purchase at a discount while also considering location.

“Investors should be looking for income-producing properties and slightly distressed properties,” he says. And when it comes to the location, it’s all about traffic.

“You’re looking at traffic patterns; the more traffic, the better,” Dixon says. “No traffic means no tenants.”

Purchasing properties at market value is a costly mistake to avoid, as is not looking at the bigger housing picture in a particular market.

“Investors should look at the community housing growth percentage year over year,” Dixon says. “You want to see a positive growth percentage of people moving into the area instead of outside.”

That’s an indicator that a property investment could be a good fit to buy and hold if growth is steadily trending up.

Final Takeaway

Last but not least, it’s important to make sure you’re working with the right people when getting into the long-term investment property game.

“One of the biggest mistakes I’ve witnessed is investors not using professionals at every turn of the buying or selling process,” Swanson says.

He says you could be setting yourself up for failure if you don’t have the right people in the right corners when making a long-term investment in rental property. That includes having a real estate agent or broker, general contractor and a real estate attorney at hand. Your financial advisor can also play a part in helping to guide your property investment decisions.

Bottom line, there are too many moving parts involved in buying property, Swanson says. Having a team behind you can help ensure your long-term investment success.

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