Real estate is often termed as the safest investment avenue. In fact, real estate investments done with proper evaluation of the property (and its true value), can lead to good profits. This is one reason why some people pursue real estate investment as their full time job. The talks of real estate are generally focussed towards residential real estate; commercial real estate seems to take a back seat. However, commercial real estate too is a good option for investing in real estate.
Commercial real estate includes a lot of different kinds of properties. Most people relate commercial real estate with only office complexes or factories/ industrial units. However, that is not all of commercial real estate. There is more to commercial real estate. Health care centers, retail structures and warehouse are all good examples of commercial real estate. Even residential properties like apartments (or any property that consists of more than four residential units) are considered commercial real estate. In fact, such commercial real estate is much in demand.
So, is commercial real estate really profitable? Well, if it were not profitable I would not have been writing about commercial real estate at all. So, commercial real estate is profitable for sure. The only thing with commercial real estate is that recognising the opportunity is a bit difficult as compared to residential real estate. But commercial real estate profits can be real big (in fact, much bigger than you would expect from residential real estate of the same proportion). You could take up commercial real estate for either reselling after appreciation or for renting out to, say, retailers. The commercial real estate development is in fact treated as the first sign for growth of residential real estate. Once you know of the possibility of significant commercial growth in the region (either due to tax breaks or whatever), you should start evaluating the potential for appreciation in the prices of commercial real estate and then go for it quickly (as soon as you find a good deal). And you must really work towards getting a good deal. If you find that commercial real estate, e.g. land, is available in big chunks which are too expensive for you to buy, you could look at forming a small investor group (with your friends) and buy it together (and split the profits later). In some cases e.g. when a retail boom is expected in a region, you might find it profitable to buy a property that you can convert into a warehouse for the purpose of renting to small businesses.
Real estate loan is what a lot of people use to buy their home. Real estate loans have been instrumental in bringing joy to people by making that unaffordable house affordable. Some real estate investors too make use of real estate loans for buying properties. However, real estate loan is not free money and anyone who buys real estate or plans to buy real estate using real estate loan must understand the concept of real estate loan very clearly.
Real estate loan (also known as mortgage) is the money that you borrow from someone (a financial institution i.e. a mortgage lender) for the purpose of buying a property. The real estate loan generally covers a part of your purchase price and the remaining portion has to be paid by you upfront i.e. as down payment. The amount (i.e. the percentage of total purchase price) that you have to pay as down payment is dependent on a number of factors and you can generally reduce it to even 5% by going for mortgage insurance.
FHA and VA loans (i.e. mortgage insurances through FHA and VA) reduce the down payment requirement on real estate loan even further. Whatever you borrow from the mortgage lender as real estate loan needs to be paid back to the mortgage lender over a period of time (and, of course, you will also need to pay appropriate interest on that real estate loan). The tenure of your real estate loan and the prevailing market rate will determine the amount of interest you pay for your real estate loan. Generally, you are required to pay back the real estate loan in the form of monthly instalments which are composed of both interest and principal portions of your real estate loan.
Real estate investment can happen for various reasons. You could invest in real estate because you need a house for yourself (that house of your dreams that you so badly want). You could use real estate as a means for supplementing your income either by buying at a lower price and selling at a higher price or by letting it out. Sometimes you might buy a property for the purpose of resale but might want to wait for a few years before you actually sell it. In such a case, again it would make sense to rent out the property and earn some money till you actually decide to sell it off.
Whatever the reason, letting out real estate demands real estate management and real estate management is not an easy job for everyone. In fact, a lot of people find it so much of a hassle that they prefer keeping their property vacant instead of letting it. Real estate management demands time, which you will rarely have. Real estate management is not just about finding tenants and collecting rent from them. Real estate management is also about ensuring that you do all the duties that a landlord/landlady is required to do. Real estate management is about verifying the credentials of the tenants before you actually let out your property to them.
Real estate management is about ensuring that all the paper work is complete and correct i.e. the tenancy agreement etc are properly done. Real estate management also requires you to do repairs as and when required. Real estate management activities also include maintenance, painting, polishing etc of the house when the tenants move out and before the new tenants get in. So, really, real estate management is not that easy a job for someone who is in a full time job. However, there is a solution to this and that is hiring a real estate management firm to do all these activities on your behalf.