IRA Real Estate Investing When the Going Gets Tough

IRA real estate investments are booming in 2008 for soon to be retirees who are worried about their future retirement plans. With the economy looking wobbly, the stock market plunging and the big investment banks going under, with us bailing them out, some traditional forms of retirement investing are starting to look a little sick.

For these reasons IRA real estate investments are increasing. Increasing? Surely not. Along with an economic meltdown, a stock market collapse and all sorts of economic turmoil, isn’t the real estate market headed for oblivion as well? Who in their right mind would consider investing their IRA in real estate?

Surely in 2008 real estate is a one way trip to the poorhouse.

No, not quite. Have you ever heard the expression that there is opportunity in adversity? There is plenty of opportunity in real estate right now, if you know where.

But lets look at IRA real estate investing first. How can you invest your IRA in real estate? Is it allowed? Is it legal?

Traditionally the majority of the population invest their IRAs in investments that are promoted to them by their custodian. In fact some custodians limit allowable investments to their own. So, it’s estimated, over 90%, in fact around 96% of IRA funds are invested this way. Mutual funds, CDs and stocks, and so on.

No problem if the markets are pushing ever skyward, but quite a problem right now.

But what about IRA real estate investments? Yes it’s entirely allowed to invest your IRA in real estate through a self directed IRA. Although this is not widely recognised, IRA real estate investing is one of the best forms of wealth accumulation for retirement. Real estate is a traditional long term wealth accumulation model, and as such is in fact ideal for IRA investing.

If you’re not certain about the details of how to set yourself up for IRA real estate investing consult your CPA, that’s outside the scope of this article. However take my word for it, it’s quite legal, and many canny IRA investors are doing it right now, and have been for a long time. You may need to execute an IRA rollover into a self directed IRA, but the trouble is worth it.

And there’s powerful reasons to consider investing your IRA in real estate. Did you know, for example, that it’s estimated that 85% of all wealth in the US was created through real estate?

And that through your IRA you can secure up to 70% bank non-recourse financing to invest your IRA retirement funds in income producing real estate?

Its food for thought isn’t it?

Now back to the real estate market. After all there’s no point in IRA real estate investing if the value of your real estate investment is going down is there?

Although we all hear that the real estate investment market is dreadful this isn’t the whole story. PARTS of the real estate market are dreadful, but not ALL of it. It’s perfectly possible to find excellent opportunities for investing in the lower priced end of the market. Simple comfortable homes for the working class who live in those faceless suburbs in cities right across America. There are some fantastic IRA real estate investments available in the right place RIGHT NOW.

But if you’re looking to get out there and find them yourself then you may be in for a shock. It’s not something that is realistic for the individual IRA real estate investor. You need professional help.

Buy in the wrong place and you’ll probably get burnt, big time.

But right now there are some excellent opportunities available for securing a great real estate investment, no cash down, at under market value, with tenants supplied, rental guarantees and even a guarantee that you will double your current investment return.

All through a major US public corporation with a reputation for solid real estate investment returns, for both IRA real estate investing and ordinary credit investing in real estate.

Yes you can secure your retirement future through a good IRA real estate investment, or more than one. However it’s the time to leave it to those who really know what they’re doing in hard times, and you can relax and leave the hard work to someone else.

But which corporation could possibly offer an opportunity like this?

Real Estate Development When is the Right Time to Get Started in Property Development

The media is currently full of real estate ‘doom and gloom’ – real estate repossessions and arrears are up and real estate prices are down … its almost as if the ‘sky is about to fall’! This situation has seen many real estate developers, and property investors generally, leave the market – and for those thinking of starting out in real estate development, these are scary times indeed.

What seems like the worst time to get into real estate development can, in reality, be the best time. Successful real estate developers today realize that they can use time to their advantage – their real estate development projects will typically not be ready for sale or rent for 2 to 4 years from inception. So if they have bought well, they are less likely to be affected by the economic situation at the time of purchasing their real estate development site.

In fact, a weak market is a real estate developer’s paradise, because a weak market is a buyer’s market, and one of the first steps to any real estate development project is securing a viable real estate development site on the best possible terms.

Although we know that the real estate development business is cyclical, and many parts of the world are in a property downturn, we also know from history that knowledgeable real estate developers are successful in any market – falling, flat or rising.

We’re working towards what we believe the economic conditions will be in 12 to 36 months time. Indeed we ourselves are still active in the market – seeking Council permission for a number of real estate development projects. This gives us the opportunity to act quickly and build our approved real estate development projects when the market does become buoyant.

It is our opinion that the following market signals are some of the key factors that will lead to increased future opportunities, especially for real estate developers:

· The pent up demand for housing. In March 2008 leading Australian economics forecaster, BIS Shrapnel chief economist Dr Frank Gelber argued that housing prices across Australia will rise by 30% to 40% over the next five years because of the built-up shortages of housing.

· The current Federal Government has stated that they will work towards increasing Housing Affordability and have begun to announce incentives including Tax Credits of $6000 per year if the housing is rented at 20% below market rent.

· We believe that an increasing number of people, in the short to medium term, are likely to require the rental accommodation that we intend to build. This is due to either their financial stress (can’t afford to purchase a home) and/or demographic trends (including Gen-Ys who are less likely to buy Real Estate).

Even if our ‘crystal ball’ is incorrect, we know we have the resources to hold real estate development sites during possible further market fluctuations to come, and increasing rents are certainly helping with that!

Our belief is that this is a golden time to act – perhaps a once in a generation opportunity. Maybe it is not the time to sell completed real estate development projects at the moment, but it is certainly a great opportunity to secure the development site and obtain development planning approval. Now this strategy is not for everyone – you must have the necessary resources to hold the development site and especially the knowledge of real estate development to take advantage of these opportunities.

The best approach for anyone contemplating real estate development will depend on his or her own personal and financial circumstances, but the key message here is that you must do something!

There are many strategies that small real estate developers are currently using, if they don’t have the resources to complete a real estate development project right now, including to turn their real estate knowledge into cash by locating ideal property development sites, perhaps taking out an option on the site, and on-selling the ‘Development Permit Approval’ to someone who does have the resources.

Successful real estate developers know that times of opportunity like this only come along once in a while, and they’re taking action so they don’t miss the boat.

Regardless of your immediate financial situation, this is the perfect time to leverage your real estate development knowledge into current or future income. If you have any doubts about your ability to do this, or you would like an experienced real estate development mentor to guide you, act now to get the knowledge and mentoring that you need. There is no time to waste!

How a Foreign National Can Buy Real Estate in America

Opportunities for real estate investment for foreigners is wide and varied in the United States. It doesn’t matter where you’re from and what currency you’d be using to purchase a property, you have a property waiting for you.

There are generally three kinds of real estate investment available to foreigners. These investments include the commercial estate investment and residential property investment. Residential properties are further classified into single family properties, apartments or condominiums and recreational properties. Regardless of what kind of real estate you are interested in, there are all sorts of tax ramifications, financing options and legal requirements that you have to deal with.

Why Should You Invest in the U.S. Real Estate Market?

You’ve probably heard of the increasing number of foreign real estate investments in the United States. This is not surprising. With the troubles that the real estate investment market is facing in the United States, greater opportunities in real estate investment were opened to foreign investors.

With the dollar’s value in its all time low, foreign investors are finding real estate bargains all over the United States. There are no shortages of deals in this market. More and more distressed properties are being sold everywhere and foreigners are pouring in millions buying these foreclosed or distressed properties. The United States real estate has become a fairly attractive long-term investment for foreign investors.

In November of 2006, the National Association of Realtors released a report entitled “Foreign Investments in U.S Real Estate: Current Trends and Historical Perspective”. The report showed that there has been a steady increase in foreign real estate investment in the United States. This is especially after the euro and the loonie became stronger in the face of the continuous devaluation of the US dollar. Prime bargains were opened to foreigners. Many foreigners have now looked into the possibility of retiring or settling in the United States.

If you’re a foreigner, you would find a lot of reasons why you should invest in the United States real estate market. Aside from the fact that the floating exchange rate has given you a lot of leverage over the bargaining table, the financial market is a pretty good reason why you should invest in the US real estate.

The financial market in the United States in relation to the real estate market is quite liberal and the restrictions against foreign investors are pretty reasonable. This is ideal for foreign companies that are seeking to invest in the real estate market in the United States in order to avoid tariff restrictions and are considering setting up an office or a company in the United States.

Furthermore, despite the devaluation of the US dollar and the wide foreclosures of a lot of property, the real estate market remains to be stable, though slightly shaky, due to foreign investors’ capital appreciation. Domestic real estate buyers may not necessarily share the same opinion, but the market has remained to be strong for foreign real estate buyers. This may be largely credited to the fact that there is minimal risk for them.

Why are Foreign Real Estate Investments Safe and Profitable?

There are a lot of investments you can make, but the safest you can make right now is investing your money in real properties. This is another good reason aside from the fact that you can make a pretty nifty profit, if you like, particularly now with the widespread property foreclosures and seemingly continuous US dollar devaluation. This is especially true if you are going to use the euro or the loonie when making your investment.

But why is US real estate investment safe for foreigners?

It is undeniable that stock investments are not a safe avenue at this point. The recession has not only affected the US economy; the same recession has greatly affected worldwide stock investments. Stocks values are dropping. It is also a fact that even without the current economic situation, stock values fluctuates.

On the other hand, real estate investments are pretty stable if you would compare it to stock investments – or even bond or mutual fund investments. With real estate investment, you’d be putting your money in an investment that would grow in value as years go by.

What are the Benefits of Foreign Real Estate Investment?

US state government supports foreign investments and along this line has formulated various tax breaks to encourage foreign investment on real estate. Many of these tax breaks are not available in many countries. In fact, most countries would frown at foreigners owning real properties within their territory.

Foreign real estate investment in the United States is open to everyone. As long as you can afford to buy the property or at least comply with the mortgage requirements and payments, you can secure for yourself a pretty good property in the United States. Again, with the current economic situation of the United States, this is the perfect chance for you to make an investment.

Another great benefit that you can take advantage of is the availability of mortgage financing. Lenders have opened their doors to foreign investors who are looking into purchasing a property. So, you don’t have to actually deplete your bank account. You can actually secure a mortgage loan and gradually pay it off.

I’m Canadian, What Are My Financing Options?

There is a steady increasing rate of Canadian real estate investors in the United States; and accordingly, the government has made certain that they have attractive financing options available to them.

If you’re Canadian – or if you’re a foreigner – you’d find a lot of reasons why you should buy a piece of real property in the United States. For Canadians, the parity of the currencies or the apparent devaluation of the US dollar is a pretty good reason itself. But how do you finance your purchase?

There are various financing options available to you depending on which state you are in. In Arizona, for instance, you’d get favorable financing terms if you are purchasing a property for recreational purposes, that is, you do not derive any income or benefit from your purchase or ownership. You will be required, however, to sign up a disclosure agreement and give a 30% down payment for your loan. To qualify though for a loan, you may be required to show availability of liquid reserves for a period of three to six months. You may also be required to present a minimum of 3-month bank statement.

If you are purchasing a property for investment, you’d probably meet stricter terms. Requirements may be more stringent. For instance, you could be required to give a down payment of more than 30% and you may be required to show one year worth of liquidity reserves.

Regardless of your reasons, if you feel like you can fulfill the requirements of a financing loan, you can then proceed to actually applying for a mortgage loan. Also, keeping yourself updated with the financing terms flux may be a wise idea.

Understanding the Tax Ramifications of Real Estate Investment

The first foreigner to have ever bought a real estate property in the United States was Peter Minuit. This opened the doors to foreign real estate investors. After a couple of centuries later, foreign real estate investment has grown into huge proportions, accounting for billion-of-dollar worth of industry.

The low risk attached to US real estate market, the availability of countless properties, and the steady market liquidity attract foreign investors in droves. The initial snag, however, is the process of understanding the legal ramifications of foreign real estate investment.

What you have to understand is that foreign investment in the United States can take a lot of forms. A foreigner has various options. He can acquire direct interest. He can acquire an interest in the real estate through a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability company. The latter is the typical structure used by foreign investors.

Limited partnership or Limited Liability Company offers financial protection or indirect asset protection, especially in cases of bankruptcy, law suits and taxes. Foreign investors are generally taxed on the property as if they hold the property in direct interest.

Ideally, you should secure the services of a real estate accountant to help you out with the tax ramifications, but it would help if you, at least, know the basics before you actually talk to an accountant.

There are tax consequences that you have to deal with when you buy a real estate in the United States. You would need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number which you will use with all your tax transactions. Your investment in real estates can be treated as a portfolio investment and will be accounted for as an investment income which can either be fixed or a periodic income. This is typically taxed at 30% on gross revenues. This tax though does not apply though to all foreign investors. Tax rates would vary depending on the tax personality the foreign investor opted for. For instance, a corporation would be taxed differently.

Other things that you should take note of are availability and requirements of tax refunds and state tax laws on real estate properties as they may differ from federal laws, among other things.

By knowing all these things, you may save yourself from a lot of hassles when you finally approach a real estate accountant. You’d be in same wavelength when you finally get down to talking business. It is, however, very important that you secure the services of an accountant. You’d have an easier time dealing with the taxes ramifications. You’d also have assistance ensuring that you comply with all the accounting aspect of your investment. This is especially true if you are purchasing a real property for investment purposes.

Do You Need to Secure the Service of a Real Estate Lawyer?

If you are considering buying a property in the United States, you need to secure the services of a real estate attorney – someone who could help you with the legal issues concerning your purchase. It is tempting to forego securing the service of a lawyer to save money, but this could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Make sure that you have an experienced and trustworthy lawyer to help you out. Make sure that you have thoroughly checked out his credentials, profile, history of successful cases handled by him, and other factors that would influence your decision. You could check online and look for a lawyer working within the state where you are considering purchasing a property.

Functions of a Real Estate Lawyer

There is no actual distinctive function for a lawyer in a real estate case. However, you would really need the assistance of a lawyer for various tasks. A real estate lawyer would review the sales contract for you. He would also check on the title and other documents relating to the property. A lawyer would also review your mortgage contract and make the necessary adjustments or corrections. You could also get him to review with you the legal and tax issues concerning the purchase. A real estate attorney could also make the necessary adjustments relating to various expenses and costs involved in the purchase. He would assess your eligibility for tax refunds and draft the documents and statements relating to this.

Putting it simply, a real estate lawyer will be your watchdog. He would guide you through the whole process of purchasing a real estate in the United States in order to make sure that you will be legally protected. You will have a capable and trustworthy liaison to help you out with the contract. He will also face legal disputes if any arise.

Tips on How to Invest in Real Estate Successfully

Now, if you’ve fully bought into the idea of real estate investing in the United States, you might just want to know how to go about investing in real estate successfully. If you want to be successful in this venture, the first thing that you have to avoid is overanalyzing. Of course, it is a good idea to carefully think through your actions but it is a bad idea to overanalyze your investment to nonexistence. You might lose a great opportunity.

Before you purchase the property though, it might be wise to check the property value. If it sits well with you and you can reasonably afford the property, go ahead and make the purchase.

If you are considering the property for a quick flip, make sure that the property is in perfect condition and in good area. This is to ensure that you could double or actually triple your return of investment. If you can inspect the property yourself, do so. If not, a good and trustworthy agent can help you with this task.

Another important thing to remember when you’re buying real estate is good financing. You should take your time to carefully consider all your financing options. Foreign investors can email in their queries to various lending institutions. It is a good idea to make sure that you’ve had their terms and rates on paper because they tend to change these terms and charge you with a lot of junk. Your real estate agent can help you with reviewing the escrow charges.

The bottom line, however, is that it is very important that you do your homework before you actually buy a real property. Investing in real properties in the United States can be profitable especially during these times. In fact, it may be the wisest and most perfect investment you can make right now.

nvesting In Real Estate In Up And Down Markets

Some people who doubt that there is a right time to get started in real estate investing worry that there are too many people buying houses to find a deal. Competition is everywhere. If you can’t understand – that in business, competition is normal – then real estate investing is not for you. Just take a look at the marketplace in companies such as Coke and Pepsi, Nike and Reebok, McDonalds and Burger King, and a million other services and products out in the marketplace. So if you see a lot of investors competing against you then know that it’s a rewarding business to be in because you are not the only one that sees the potential for profit. Plus, there are more than enough deals to make everyone rich, in due time. At any given time there are hundreds of properties for sale in your own local market niches, enough for each investor looking for them.

Some investors know that events such as the September 11th tragedy, the huge number of job layoffs and the decline in the stock market will kill the economy, and anything they buy will go down in value. But, once again, this need not be the time to fold-up your tent and quit before you get started. In order to be successful in investing, learn how to make money in “up” and “down” markets. Have strategies to utilize in both “up” and “down” markets to survive when the economy is bad or thrive when the economy is booming. And if everyone else is forecasting “doom & gloom” it only clears out the competition as you have more market share to profit from, as this is a good thing!

Ask yourself: “When do I want to make money?” And the answer is usually right now!

Thus, go out and get your investing business going, right now! And not base your actions on what others are saying because the majority of the population is not rich, only those few who dare to take the right risks and take the necessary steps to be successful.

Stay in ‘the Game,’ and stay ‘the Course’ (persist)

One of the major disappointments of the conventional, ‘rental real estate’ approach is there’s just no money in it NOW, only after a long period of ownership. There’s not enough spread between the income realized from rent – versus – the expenses of mortgage payments and repairs for the investor to make any money today. You barely get by in the early years of your property’s ownership. You’ve got to have other income to support your lifestyle. You can’t just count on the rentals to support you.

Most likely, in the beginning you’ll be supporting your properties with your other income if you bought via the traditional way. That’s not too attractive. A lot of investors don’t have the stomach to endure the rough and tough financial stresses of the rental business. Even more so – people just don’t have the desire to hang in there to make it work, in due time. Thus, if you persist you will outpace your competition because they will no longer be in the business, and you will have “no competition”. This business is a long-term commitment and over 80% of real estate investors – who have been in the business for that long, go on to become millionaires. What I’m saying to you is this: Stay the course, and you will beat most all of your competitors because you can ride the ups and downs of the market in the Real Estate Game, in due time.

Opportunity is everywhere

This is ‘NOT’ a common statement I hear from new investors. True, it may work differently in some markets than in others, but there are investors making money in every city (large or small, metro-area or the rural-areas), every day of the week. You have to learn your market: the rents, the trends, the local customs, the lenders, the title companies, etc.

Then, learn the techniques and adapt them to your market. One thing is for sure, everyone needs a roof to live under, either renting or owning. People need to live somewhere. So study your market carefully, because there are tons of opportunities in every marketplace. You just have to learn your market and be able to service your market accordingly. If you don’t believe this, simply read the ‘Success Stories’ of all my students achieving financial independence and earning big profits using my field-tested and perfected real estate investing system.

Typically, the main argument of real estate “Nay-Sayers” is by associating real estate with toilets, bad tenants, property damages, tenant evictions, etc. – all the bad tasting things that may happen to an investor getting ready to jump into the real estate game.

For somebody who believes the only thing to real estate is getting a loan and buying a run-down duplex, in a bad part of town, entering the real estate game most certainly could turn into a major nightmare very quickly. However, an individual open to possibilities and who is willing to learn various techniques and strategies – will very quickly discover that’s this methodology is not the most profitable way to be transacting real estate deals.

A True Wealth Builder

Well, if you shudder at the very thought of spending your nights and weekends unstopping troubled toilets, painting scarred up walls, and pacifying angry/upset tenants, you are in good company. I have no interest in dealing with ill-affecting and time consuming renter-problems or their negative attitudes. When you follow a systematic approach to investing, you won’t have to deal with negative outcomes!! There are other creative ways to manage properties that involve no hassles and no headaches whatsoever, such programs exist in our “Automated Management System” which take away those ownership nightmares.

Much more profitable strategies exist if you are open to ‘non-traditional’ ways of investing in real estate. For example, in our System approach, there are “Rent Credits” used to maximize your time, while minimizing your overall risks, while creating positive cash flow versus, living with negative cash flow and tenant-troubles. There is a better way!! Your properties will be beautifully managed and maintained. Your Tenant-Buyers will be happy, you will pocket plenty of positive cash flow and you’ll be able to spend your free time locating additional real estate investments, doing the things you love and have passion for doing, which is the very point of becoming a professional real estate investor in the first place!!

If you really are serious about real estate investing and do extensive research into the real estate business, constantly learning and improving your knowledge level you will realize that your risks are minimal when compared to other business models.

If you talk to any knowledgeable real estate investor and compare the cost of starting a real estate investing company versus some other type of business, you’ll see that a real estate business has far less risks. I like to be upfront with you that you will need some marketing dollars at the least to launch your real estate business. You also need to have a long term vision of this venture and at least give it at least a good 6-12 months to make it work. Otherwise, your money (marketing budget) and time will be a waste.

I know this but most people don’t know that it takes at least some money initially to make money as a real estate investor. I don’t mean to scare anyone away but let’s compare a real estate investing business to a restaurant/carryout business. I know these types of businesses very well because relatives of mine own restaurants/carryouts, so even though I never owned a restaurant, my relatives have taught me the inner workings of that business and what it takes to sustain it to be profitable.

First, for a regular restaurant it takes $30K in gross sales just to break even each month. And this does not include the 15 hour days, and six days per week, and the initial investment of $120K down payment with great credit for a bank to even lend you the money needed to open it. You also have to have years of knowledge and experience before you invest your life savings to start a restaurant business. Then, it usually takes about 1-3 years until the profits really come in, thus, this is only if you can survive to stay in business that long. My father-in-law is currently running a carryout and he has had over seventeen years experience and he tells me how fed up he is with the restaurant business. That is why he’s also getting started as a real estate investor and he’s asked me to invest some of his money into our rehab properties. He sees the huge rewards and minimal risk involved in real estate compared to his restaurant business or other businesses he has been in. And he is seriously considering selling his business to do real estate investing full-time.

When you compare risks in real estate investing versus investing in other business avenues and/or endeavors, as you can come to your own conclusion: real estate investing is the ‘Best Game’ in town, when it comes to generating great wealth, while achieving your American Dream for financial independence.

Real estate investing has cycles just like any other business

The stock market has it’s cycles. We experienced that after the September 11th Tragedy. Only less than two years prior, we saw a peak in the stock market with high tech stocks soaring and making stock market investors ‘paper rich.’ The stock market has it’s ‘ups’ and it’s ‘downs.’

Modern real estate thrives on doing things smarter, wiser, strategically – not harder, more time consuming, with profit-eating outcomes. At the end of the day, the key to success is to focus on being a ‘great entrepreneur.’ I asked an experience investor (he owned about a quarter of Blacksburg, Virginia) what his specialty was in real estate investing and his response was not that he was good at Lease Options, Wholesaling, Short Sales, REOs, Rehabs, Notes, Residential, Land Developments, or Commercial real estate. But he said he was an ‘expert at making money.’ We both laughed at that but I will never forget that conversation. You need to know about the marketplace and technical factors involved in a deal, but your main duty whenever you are investing is always to make money. Thus, at the end of the day, your job is to make money in ‘up’ as well as ‘down’ markets. And if you focus on being a ‘great entrepreneur,’ you’ll be able to make money with many techniques, strategies, and skill sets to be successful in any market.

Minh is formally trained as a financial planning strategist for small businesses and individuals within the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC areas; Minh is also recognized as a real estate investment lecturer on the topics of creative real estate investing. He is the author of a Best-Selling Course, “Turnkey Profits Using Lease Purchase and Other Creative Investing Techniques.” Minh is also a co-author of a national best seller: “Mission Possible” along side Stephen Covey (author of ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”) and Brian Tracey (international top ranked motivational speaker). He is also an active member of three real estate investing associations in the Greater Metro Washington DC areas.