Are your real estate investments not living up to your expectations? Do you blame the market or think it’s just a game of luck and timing? It’s a familiar tale – people who have invested in real estate and lost money often point fingers at the industry itself. They conclude that participating in the real estate market is simply an unpredictable gamble. While market conditions do play a role, it would be a mistake to live in fear.

Before you point fingers at external factors, consider this: the number one reason real estate investors lose money is often within their control. Let’s delve into a few crucial factors that separates successful investors from those who struggle. 

Negative Cash Flow

To thrive in real estate for long-term gains, consider holding onto your real estate assets. Positive outcomes emerge over time – loans decrease, rents rise, and property values increase. However, investors encounter challenges when they acquire a property that incurs monthly losses, impeding their success in the long run. Focus on purchasing properties that generate more income monthly than they cost to own. Steer clear of “negative cash flow” to protect yourself from market downturns. Maintaining positive cash flow also gives you control over when you exit a deal. 

Investing in non-performing assets can be strategic when accompanied by a well-thought-out plan aimed at enhancing the asset through effective management, renovations, and other improvements. However, acquiring such assets without implementing changes to enhance their performance can be foolish, ultimately yielding suboptimal results.

Lack of Reserves

Owning rental property involves unpredictable expenses like HVAC malfunctions, roof leaks, water heater breakdowns, and unexpected events like evictions and property damage, adding to financial strain. Moreover, considering the rising trend in property taxes and insurance premiums, maintaining proper reserves is crucial to prepare for these escalating expenses effectively.

While holding a property long-term can yield positive returns, financial setbacks can occur. Having ample reserves is crucial for success. Conventional wisdom recommends maintaining six months’ expenses in reserves for each property, adjusting based on your unique financial situation to weather unforeseen circumstances comfortably.

Buying in Undesirable Locations 

Properties in undesirable locations might appear promising on paper, but the reality often falls short. Investing in areas where good tenants are unlikely to reside forces landlords to accept less desirable tenants with lower credit scores, less reliable income streams, and problematic rental histories. The disadvantages outweigh the benefits, leading to multiple challenges such as evictions, property damage, and theft. Resist the temptation and focus on buying in areas where reliable tenants wish to live.

Investing in in-fill, in-town locations ensures that properties remain highly desirable and consistently occupied. Constructing new buildings on the outskirts of town, where land seems limitless, can seem appealing. However, it’s challenging to maintain occupancy due to the distance from amenities and the potential for continuous development, leading to increased competition. Downtown locations offer limited land availability, making them prime investments. Downtown locations are increasingly popular, and you can’t make more land downtown. 

Doing the Work Yourself

The assumption that you can save money by handling rehab work yourself is a common mistake. While some individuals can successfully manage this, don’t underestimate the actual costs or unexpected challenges you may encounter. You can’t predict life’s uncertainties or future time constraints. Additionally, consider the value of your time. It might be more beneficial to focus on finding additional real estate deals while hiring a professional to handle the rehab work. The profits from securing more deals can cover the rehabilitation costs and even contribute to expanding your portfolio further.

Assuming you can manage everything independently is taking a significant risk, which is not advisable in financial investments. If you possess the skills to do the work yourself, consider it a bonus rather than a primary strategy.


 The Crucial Role of Knowledge and Research

The reasons mentioned above contribute to wise investment practices, but they all boil down to one key factor: the primary reason investors lose money in real estate is a lack of knowledge and research about best practices. Here’s why:

  1. Market Dynamics:

Understanding the dynamics of the real estate market is essential. Factors like supply and demand, economic indicators, and local market trends should be thoroughly researched.

  1. Property Valuation:

Investors often falter when it comes to accurately valuing properties. Without a comprehensive understanding of valuation methods, they may end up overpaying or underestimating the potential returns.

  1. Risk Management:

Real estate investments come with risks. Successful investors are those who assess and manage these risks effectively. Lack of knowledge in risk management can lead to significant financial setbacks.

  1. Niche Market Identification:

Successful investors know how to identify niche markets that are on the rise. Without in-depth research, one might miss lucrative opportunities in emerging markets.

If you’re considering real estate investment but lack the time or expertise for thorough research, consulting with an investment professional is a wise move. At Cornerstone Commercial Investments, we have done our homework. Our proven track record demonstrates not only an understanding of best investment practices but also an ability to identify niche markets with potential.

Make Informed Investments

Investing in real estate can be rewarding, but success requires more than luck. It demands knowledge, research, and a strategic approach. Visit our website or contact us at Cornerstone Commercial Investments to learn how to make real estate investments that pay off. Your financial future may depend on it.