Real Estate Investing Guide for New Investors

For many people, real estate is the easiest to understand investment because it is simple, straight-forward and involves a fair exchange between a property owner (the landlord) and the property user (the renter).  As long as the hot water keeps flowing and the rent arrives on time, everyone is happy and benefits.  Investing in real estate is much more complex than this, though, because there are several different types of real estate investments including residential, commercial, and industrial, as well as real estate that trades on stock exchanges, which are called REITs.  This guide was designed to help you.

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Real Estate Investing 101 for Beginners

Real Estate Investing 101 for Beginners
Real Estate Investing 101 for Beginners. DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

When you invest in real estate, your goal is to put money to work today and make it grow so you have more money in the future. You have to make enough profit, or "return", to cover the risk you take, taxes you pay, and the costs of owning the real estate investment such as utilities and insurance.  This overview explains the basics of real estate investing for beginners to help you learn what to expect and how investors make money from their real estate properties More

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The 8 Different Types of Real Estate Investments

Each with their own set of benefits and drawbacks, there are eight different types of real estate investments.
Each with their own set of benefits and drawbacks, there are eight different types of real estate investments. courtneyk/Getty Images

There are eight different types of real estate investments that new investors need to understand: Commercial real estate, residential real estate, industrial real estate, mixed-use real estate, retail real estate, REITs, mortgage lending, and sale/leaseback transactions.  Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. 

This basic guide gives you a brief explanation so you won't be intimidated or overwhelmed when you are examining potential investments and see the terms used.  Learn the eight types of real estate investment... More

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Where Is the Best Place to Invest My Down Payment Money?

Best Places to Invest Down Payment
It is incredibly important that you don't take any risks with the down payment money you are saving for real estate purchases. Under no condition should you invest in the stock market if you require the money at any time within the next five years!. Getty Images

If you are considering buying real estate, whether it is a primary residence for your family or an investment property, you need to know how to keep your downpayment money safe and easily accessible.  Here are some ideas for the best places to invest your down payment money... More

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Which Is Better - Real Estate or Stocks?

Real Estate Investments vs. Stocks
Real Estate Investments vs. Stocks. Ratnakorn Piyasirisorost/Getty Images

As a new investor, do you ever wonder which is better: stocks or real estate?  Both have certain advantages and drawbacks but the answer may depend just as much on your personality and tastes as it does your portfolio and situation.  Find out which investment may be a wiser choice... More

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What are REITs? Are They Better Than Buying Property Directly?

Real Estate Investing through REITs
Real Estate Investing through REITs. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

One of the most popular ways to own real estate is through a special type of investment known as a REIT, which is short for real estate investment trust.  Real estate investment trusts come in nearly-limitless  "flavors" - for example, some invest only in commercial real estate, and others only in apartment complexes.  You can trade REITs just like stocks through a brokerage account and the dividends are taxed differently than dividends from stocks.  Discover how REITs work and whether you should consider owning them instead of direct real estate property... More

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Should You Pay Off the Mortgage on Your Real Estate Early?

Should You Pay Off the Mortgage on Your Real Estate Early?
Should You Pay Off the Mortgage on Your Real Estate Early?. PeopleImages/Getty Images

Some financial advisers will tell you to send extra payments to your creditor to lower your real estate debt.  Others will tell you to keep more money on hand instead, so you can stockpile a decently sized emergency fund.  Which is correct?  Here are some things to consider, especially if you don' have enough liquidity on hand to avoid financial danger... More

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Using LLCs to Own Your Real Estate Investments for Risk Management

Using LLCs and Limited Liability Companies to hold your real estate investments
Using LLCs and Limited Liability Companies to hold your real estate investments. maybefalse/Getty Images

You should almost never, under any condition, own a real estate investment directly in your own name!  Most of the time, serious real estate investors own properties through something known as a limited liability company, or LLC.  These special types of companies can protect your personal assets from lawsuits and other dangers.  In fact, most wealthy investors own their home through an LLC as a risk management practice.  As a potential new real estate investor, it is imperative that you understand how LLCs work and why you may want to use them to hold your rental properties or other real estate investments... More

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The Great Real Estate Myth

The Great Real Estate Investing Myth
The Great Real Estate Investing Myth. Don Hammond/Getty Images

One of the biggest investments someone will make in their life is their primary residence.  Unfortunately, few new investors/homeowners realize that once you factor in the cost of insurance, maintenance, net interest costs on the mortgage and other expenses, your real rate of return after inflation on a home is roughly 0%.  That doesn't have to be the case, but you should go into your first major real estate investment with your eyes wide open.  Here is what you need to know about the great real estate myth... More