Real Estate Investing – Be Wary of the Real Estate Gurus

Are you a real estate investor or have you just started trying to get involved with real estate investing?The national housing market in 2012 is still the lowest that it has ever been in the last 30 years. Yet, positive reports about the real estate market are starting to crop up in the national news. So called, real estate gurus would have you believe that, now is a good time to get involved in real estate.Did you know that Real Estate investors popped up everywhere the last two times that the national housing market crashed in the last 30 years?What, the housing market crashed before?Yes, some of you may remember how things seemed historically bad in the early 1980’s. What happened then? Infomercials and books were written about ways for you to make tons of money by simply following simple strategies.Then the housing market tanked again in the early 90’s. Guess what, the same thing happened again. A flood of gurus popped up with magical ways to make money in real estate.What is going on?Well, when the housing market drops houses depreciate in value. This depreciation lowers the value of homes. The further the drop the cheaper the properties. The housing market often reflects what is going on with the national economy.Therefore, if houses are getting cheaper it would seem like a great time to get involved in real estate, right?WRONG!!!Look at what happened in the Las Vegas housing market. Back in the early 2000’s Nevada’s property values were shooting out the roof. If you held property between 2000 and 2005 you made a ton of money fast. Suddenly, the national housing markets tanked and guess what happened in Las Vegas?Yup, Vegas also tanked and tanked real bad. All of a sudden properties were underwater and real estate was getting cheap. Private investors who could not afford to invest in Las Vegas when it was in its heyday, now could afford multiple properties. A slew of investors rushed in hoping to see Las Vegas rebound and make everybody rich.Did that happen?No, unfortunately the Las Vegas market and the national average dipped some more. Many investors including real estate gurus lost tons of money. Did investors learn their lesson?What do you think? No, now there were cheaper houses than ever before. Newer investors started gambling on Las Vegas again buying up all of those great deals. Did these investors strike it big?Boom! The housing market fell harder and these newer investors lost their money.
What can we learn from all of this?Just because a bunch of real estate gurus tell you that now is a good time to invest does not always make it true in every market. Those who invested in the Las Vegas market learned this the hard way. Does this mean that all gurus are a bunch of scam artists not to be trusted?Of course not, there are many reputable gurus who can be great mentors. The point is that you need to understand that not all real estate markets reflect the national average. Let me repeat:Not All Real Estate Markets Reflect the National Average.Does that statement get your attention?You see, the news media get their statistics from national analytical and financial tools. This is not an accurate way to navigate investments. What is happening nationwide does not always reflect what is happening in your individual housing market. This fact also suggests that not all real estate investing strategies work in every single market.Every county and zip code has its own personality. Not one market is exactly the same. If the investors who went into Las Vegas understood this then they would not have tried to buy and hold property while the Las Vegas market was crashing way below the national average.Not all markets followed the national average. Let’s take Rochester, NY or San Antonio, TX for example. These markets stayed stable during the present national crisis. Some of the property values in these areas have even experienced an increase in value.The writer of this article has investment property in Rochester, NY. He started purchasing property back in 1997. One single family property was purchased for $45,000, in a desirable section of the city, back in ’97. In 2011, the city assessed the house for over $79,000 in a neighborhood where single family houses are presently selling in between $92,000 – $102,000. In other words, this house will sell for more than the assessed value now. In 2012, the house assessed for over $88,000. That is close to a $10,000 increase in just a year at a time when the national housing crisis was at an all-time low. Pittsburgh, PA/ Dallas, TX/ Raleigh, NC (to name a few) have also been affected very little by the national housing crisis.This previous paragraph simply illustrates the fact that not all markets reflect the national average. So, how do you avoid making the same mistakes as those who invested in the Las Vegas market?You need to understand the individual market that you are investing in. Do your research first. Do not allow real estate gurus to tell you that their strategies will work in any market. This is simply not true.Part 2 of this series will explain the markers to look for before choosing to buy and hold in a housing market that seems to have a lot of cheap and profitable real estate opportunities.