Kim Cook's Blog
24 Ridgeway, Billerica, MA 01821
Property owners got clobbered in the Great Recession of 2008, but that was the exception rather than the rule. Real estate typically weathers hard times well compared to other investments. Still, there’s always the possibility you could get squeezed if property values drop or if your personal or business income takes a hit. Whether you’re an individual homeowner with perhaps a second home or a rental or two, or you have significant investments in many kinds of real estate, here are a few thoughts about readying yourself for a recession.
Preserve and Increase Liquidity
A big recession risk is that your income will decline (either real estate rentals or unrelated income) and you’ll have trouble meeting mortgage payments or other expenses such as upkeep and taxes. You may be forced to sell property at an unfavorable time. Having cash, or assets easily converted to cash, helps you meet your obligations. In addition, there will be others eager to sell and bargains to be had, and if you have cash on hand you’ll be able to take advantage.
If you suspect hard times are on the horizon, consider some these options:
Get rid of low-performing assets. This includes selling real estate that produces inadequate return or is at risk of depreciating. It might also be time to rebalance your non-real estate portfolio toward more recession-friendly assets.
Defer major expenditures. Put off buying that vacation home or taking that expensive vacation. Don’t get in a position where you hold assets that are hard to turn into dollars.
Be prepared to reduce your good tenants’ rent. They may be struggling too, and getting something from them is better than if they move out and give you nothing at all, or if you acquire problem tenants in their place. The goodwill you generate may pay off.
Own the Right Kind of Real Estate
All properties are not equal when the economy retracts.
The most hard-hit are vacation rentals, industrial properties, office buildings and hotels.
Apartments will generally continue to do well. Also multi-family units such as duplexes, triplexes, and multiplexes. In many parts of the country there are high occupancy rates and demand for your apartments could actually increase. Student apartments in college areas are another good bet.
Self-storage units do well when families have to downsize and store belongings.
REITs and crowdfunded real estate follow the same patterns. Those investing in apartments and multifamily dwellings are the best positioned.
Invest based on cash flow rather than hoped-for appreciation. You may be in for a few years where cash flow is all you get.
When the next recession comes, it’s unlikely that real estate will bear the brunt, but that doesn't mean you can pooh-pooh the risk. However, if you have access to enough cash and own recession-friendly properties, you have a good chance of coming through in solid shape.
Generally, the length of the homebuying journey depends on the individual. In some instances, a buyer will purchase the first house that he or she views in-person. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer several weeks or months to find a house that matches his or her expectations.
There is no need to rush the homebuying journey. But if you know what to expect when you pursue your dream house, you may be able to seamlessly navigate the property buying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the homebuying journey.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know where you want to live and what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can tailor your house search accordingly. And as a result, you may be better equipped than other property buyers to discover a great house at an affordable price.
As you put together homebuying criteria, it is important to consider your long-term plans as well. For instance, if you enjoy city life and want to spend as much time as possible in the city, a house in the city may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to raise your family in a small town, you may want to hone your search to houses in small towns.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A home purchase likely will require you to obtain a mortgage. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are available nationwide, and these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Meet with several banks and credit unions so you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you're on the lookout for your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns – and much more.
Typically, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you find and buy your dream home. He or she initially will learn about your homebuying goals and develop a custom homebuying strategy for you. Next, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events. And if you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will help you craft an aggressive offer to purchase this house.
Let's not forget about a real estate agent's homebuying expertise, either. If you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them. That way, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed home purchase.
Simplify the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble finding and acquiring your dream house.
45 Stony Brook Road, Westford, MA 01886