As the real estate industry emerges from the harrowing roller coaster ride of the past eight years, things are definitely looking better, but not for everyone. Unemployment is down so people's earnings are expected to be more consistent and reliable, interest rates are still low (for now), new home construction is up, and people in the know are predicting a construction boom over the next 15 years. Add to the new construction the re-claimed housing inventory emerging onto the market from the financial crisis, and housing might become a buyer's market. That's not a bad thing if you're a buyer, but what if you're a real estate investor? This new housing landscape could be calling for an alternative to the "house-flipping" phenomenon that's been so heavily portrayed in reality shows. Markets change, and so must strategies.
Part of being a successful entrepreneur is anticipating market trends and capitalizing on them when they change. Real estate investing partners Danny Perkins and Drew Levin learned about this vital skill in a very painful way when their business failed in 2007. Real estate agent Drew and contractor Danny were put out of business by the dramatic change in market conditions so they decided to look at acquiring some rental properties. Renting became a viable option for many people looking for housing, so it seemed a logical pivot.
Drew would find a property, Danny would fix it up, and then they'd find a renter. It was a business model tailored for the market conditions presented. Naturally, having found a successful model, they started replicating it and brought in an investing partner to grow their new real estate rental business.
The economic climate has improved a lot since Danny and Drew were pushed into the landlord business, but that doesn't mean that the time for investing in rentals has ended. Real estate markets are famously regional, but overall, rents are staying high, and lots of former homeowners are now renters because of the damage done to their credit by foreclosure. It is estimated that more than 5 million homes were lost to foreclosure as a result of the financial crisis. That's a lot of former homeowners with serious credit issues who need to rent. In addition, there are a lot of folks that are just scared to buy a house after witnessing the damage done to their friends and families. The point being, the world is populated with eager renters, regardless of the overall economic conditions.
Between 2008 and 2010, Danny and Drew acquired more than 30 foreclosure properties in nice areas, renovated them, and rented them. Today, they own and manage more than 70 rental homes and have no plans of returning to a "flipping" or selling model. They like being in the rental housing business. And they are very successful at it.
If you're a real estate investor, or are thinking of becoming one in light of the stock market's recent volatility, research your area and determine where your best return is. You might be better off choosing to Renovate to Rent. Or, whatever your business is, become aware of the winds of change that might be guiding you to a new strategic approach; one that will keep you ahead of your competition.