1. Appreciation. Making money in real estate can be as simple as holding on and waiting. To really get the most appreciation in value, however, you should buy in an area where demand is growing faster than the supply.
2. Depreciation. Remember that after all the tax law changes, you still get to declare a loss for depreciation that doesn’t really exist. That can save you a lot at tax time, meaning more after-tax profit. To maximize this, buy property that has its value primarily in the buildings, because you can’t depreciate the value of land.
3. Loan pay-down. You gain equity with every payment you make. Get the lowest interest rate you can and more of each payment will go towards the principal.
4. Cash flow. When you buy income property the right way, you not only have your tenants paying all the costs and paying down the mortgage loan, but you also have positive cash flow.
5. Buy low. When you buy below market you get instant equity that will be converted into a profit when you sell. Offer a reason for the seller to sell low: fast closing, cash, assume some debts or liabilities, etc. Or just make a low offer. The seller may have his own reasons to sell it cheap.
6. Sell high. Clean it up nice, make it easy to buy, and find the right buyer to get top dollar. The next four on the list cover ways to create value, so you’ll get more when you sell.
7. Offer financing. You can often get substantially more for a property if you offer financing. This is especially true if you let someone buy it with little money down. You can also get good interest on the loan.
8. Change use. If there is a higher use for the property, you can convert it to make it worth more to the next owner. Sometimes this means making condos into apartments, or apartments into condos. Maybe converting a home into office space will get the biggest return.
9. Improve and repair. Repairing anything that needs it is obvious, but you need to look creatively and carefully to find improvements to make. Concentrate only on those that will raise the value several times more than what they cost you.
10. Sell in parts. In real estate, the parts are often worth more than the whole. For example, splitting off an extra lot to sell for $30,000 will rarely decrease the value of a home by that much, so you’ll make more money in the end.
Making money in real estate can be a wonderfully creative process. Just look at the sources of profits listed here, and think of how you can use a few of them on your next real estate investment.