Real estate can be a great long-term investment. It is a tangible, cash-generating asset and appreciates in value. Real estate investment has proven to be a powerful method of accumulating wealth over time and investors are getting a return on their investment (ROI) in three ways: cash flow, return on taxes and appreciation.
What are the benefits of real estate investing?
The main benefit of real estate investing is the profit that you can make if you handle your investment correctly. Having a rental property provides a source of regular income, but other than that, investment properties qualify for numerous tax deductions which may include cost of building maintenance and repairs and interest paid on loans related to the property.
Are you looking to rent or flip?
Before you start looking at properties, you should decide on what you are going to do with the property once you attain it.
If you choose to buy, hold and rent it, take into consideration the responsibility it takes to be a landlord. You will need a lease agreement specifying what you will be responsible for maintaining, fixing, etc. and what the tenants will be responsible for like amount of rent, date of payments, leasing length, etc.
Becoming a landlord can turn into a very profitable venture if you make sure you are well-versed in property management, including fair housing laws and eviction and collection procedures. While you can self-manage, it may be wise to outsource this to a local experienced and qualified property management company. Either way, you must maintain the property to best preserve its value so it can eventually be sold at a significant profit.
If you choose to flip the property, you must take into account any and all property updates and repairs that need to be made. The term “flipping” means that you purchase a home, repair it and resell for profit. Both renting and flipping can be substantial financial investments, so make sure you have a reasonable budget in mind for the possible updates that will need to be made. Flipping a home can be considered less of a responsibility than becoming a landlord, but you must keep in mind that someone will be living in the home you are flipping and you want to make sure they will find it worth their money to purchase and move into. Consult your attorney and lender for restrictions on flipping.
Understanding Landlord Insurance
By: Dona DeZube
Published: September 1, 2010
Turning your home into a rental or buying an investment property? Expect to pay up to 20% more for the right insurance policy to protect your property.
Rental properties require their own type of coverage–landlord insurance, which is different than the homeowners policy you buy when you live in a house yourself. Landlord insurance protects you against losses from fire, lighting, falling trees, wind and hail, water damage, and injury to your tenants and their guests.
But it doesn’t cover the renters’ household goods. So encourage tenants to buy a renters policy to cover their stuff. You can even include a clause in your lease saying they have to buy renters insurance, so everyone is clear about what’s insured and what’s not.
Landlord insurance is expensive
You’ll pay 15% to 20% more for a landlord insurance policy than you will for a homeowners policy on the same house–and even more if you offer short-term rentals. Start your policy shopping by calling the company that sold you your homeowners insurance, then check with an independent insurance agent selling commercial and business policies.
Ask how you can get discounts if you have fire prevention devices, burglar alarms, or multiple properties.
What a landlord insurance policy probably will cover:
- Lightning, windstorm, hail, explosion, riot and civil commotion, smoke, falling objects, snow, ice, sleet, vandalism, sonic boom, sprinkler leakage, frozen pipes, water damage, burglary, volcanoes, and sinkholes.
- Things that belong to you that stay at the property, like appliances, furniture, or lawn care equipment. Keep an inventory of what’s on site.
- Outbuildings, like sheds or garages, although this coverage will have its own limit (probably 10% of the overall insurance policy amount).
- Costs to defend yourself against lawsuits filed by tenants or guests, as well as the costs awarded if you lose the case. Some policies cover medical bills for injuries; some don’t.
- Lost rental income if the property is damaged and you can’t rent it.
What a landlord insurance policy probably won’t cover:
- The tenants’ belongings.
- Your rental property if it’s vacant for more than 30 days. Seek an exemption in advance from your landlord insurance company as soon as you know the property is going to be vacant.
- War and nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attacks.
Optional coverage you might want to buy:
- Vandalism (if the policy you buy excludes it)
- Pool and tennis court insurance
- Liability for personal injury, wrongful eviction, wrongful entry, libel, and slander
Don’t forget liability coverage
To cover yourself in case you lose a big court case filed by an injured tenant, buy an umbrella insurance policy that gives you liability protection for $1 million to $5 million or more if you have a lot of assets to protect.
Don’t file a claim unless you absolutely have to
There’s a limit to how many claims you can file before insurance companies start charging you more or canceling your policies. Claims can quickly add up as you buy more rental properties.
One time you always want to file a claim is when someone says they’ve been injured on your property. One claim you’ll want to avoid filing: water damage for less than $10,000 because worries about mold growing in water-damaged properties will lead some insurers to immediately cancel your insurance policy.
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Dona DeZube, HouseLogic’s News Editor, has been writing about real estate for over two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore 1970s rancher on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.
RISMEDIA, November 27, 2010–With winter months ahead, renters should make certain they have a contents insurance policy that covers fire damage. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, residential fires are more prevalent in winter months than in spring or summer months. A residential fire can completely destroy a home and all of its contents. RentersInsurance.net discusses the importance of having a comprehensive policy.
Residential fires are more common in winter months partly because of the increased number of cooking and heating fires. As the cost of heating homes increases with the colder temperatures, people will turn to using fireplaces, wood stoves, space heaters and other cheaper alternatives to expensive utilities. Although these are valuable options, they do come with major risks that are preventable. Safety precautions should always be taken to avoid residential fires.
Fires are detrimental to a home. If the entire complex and contents are not destroyed by the flames, they likely will be by smoke or water damage. Many people who rent think their personal belongings are covered by their landlord’s insurance policy; however, this is generally not true. Unless a landlord has a specific rider in their policy that covers their tenant’s contents and belongings, the responsibility of replacing the items is that of the renter. This is why a contents insurance policy is necessary.
Replacing all the items inside a home is expensive. A renter should consider the cost of their computers, televisions, DVD players, electronics, furniture, kitchen appliances and supplies, clothing, jewelry, and other items that would need to be replaced. Most people cannot afford to do so without assistance from a contents insurance policy.
Standard renters insurance policies cover 16 types of perils, one of which is fire. A general policy covers the following: fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosion, riot or civil commotion, damage caused by aircraft, damage caused by vehicles, smoke, vandalism or malicious mischief, theft, volcanic eruption, falling objects, and weight of ice or snow or sleet. They also cover specific water damage, plumbing damage, and electrical current damage. These items all are covered on a standard policy for the average of $10 to $20 a month.