5 Things You Should Know About Buying Your First Investment Property

Buying an investment property can be a smart move if done right. You stand to get a good return on your investment, as well as tax breaks and equity gains. But there’s also a good amount of risk involved – large upfront costs, ongoing expenses, and the possibility of a net loss. It requires some strategic thinking and planning that takes into account market trends and standard investment guidelines. So if you’re a new investor, here are 5 things you should know about buying your first investment property.

1. Context Matters

This is actually just another way of saying (as you’ve no doubt heard about purchasing any kind of real estate) that location is paramount. You simply must carefully consider the context – that is, the location – when buying your first investment property.

For example, “[a] stunning vacation home isn’t going to have much luck with vacationers if it’s located somewhere that people don’t tend to visit. Likewise, while a fixer-upper might be a good choice somewhere like the Bay Area, where housing competition is high and you can easily recoup your renovation costs, you might end up at a loss with a fixer-upper in a less competitive market.”

Industry pros advise, then, that you consider the “location first and the property itself second.” A great deal in the wrong location is no deal at all. So be sure to contact your Boston agent at (617) 657-9811 to discover more about a potential property’s location.

2. Down Payment Will Be Different

Another thing you should definitely know about buying your first investment property in Boston is that down payment requirements for an investment property will be different from those for a typical residential property – sometimes by a lot.

“Instead of being able to get away with putting down as low as 1% to 10%, you’ll typically need to put down at least 15%to 20%. Investment properties don’t qualify for mortgage insurance, plus there are stricter approval requirements when it comes to securing your financing, which results in the need for a more substantial down payment.”

3. The 1% Rule Rules

And before buying an investment property, you should see what the 1% rule tells you. This rule provides a good gauge of your return on a property, whether it is in fact a worthwhile investment. Here’s how the 1% rule works . . . 

“Under the rule, each month you should be set to bring in no less than 1% of the price you paid for it, including both the purchase price and any additional money you put into it, such as repairs or renovations. . .. Let’ssay you buy an investment property for $225,000 and put in $25,000worth of renovations for a total initial investment of $250,000.Ideally, you’d want to be pulling in at least 1% of that – so,$2,500 – a month in rent or other returns.”

There are instances, however, when it may pay to ignore this rule – for example, when you’re playing the long game and getting low returns now for huge returns in the future. But, again, you should consult your Boston agent before making such a move.

4. There Are Risks

Even if the 1% rule shows you that you can make a decent return on your investment, you still need to be aware of the risks. Typical investment property risks include:

  • Less interest in renting and/or fewer potential renters in the area than anticipated
  • More and larger repairs and renovations than expected
  • Drastic increases in property taxes
  • Damaging swings in the local economy and/or market
  • Bad tenants who don’t pay or cause a lot of damage or both

Certainly, buying your first investment property in Boston comes with a certain amount of inevitable risk, but it isn’t healthy to get too hung up on these risks. Just be aware of them and move forward.

5. Beginning Cautiously Is Best

Most experienced industry pros advise starting small and cautiously. So in buying your first investment property in Boston, you might be better off buying a property in the lower- or middle-price range.

And here’s why: “you will need to spend more money on the renovation of the house before renting or selling it. Furthermore, since it is your first investment property, keeping your investment as low as possible will help you stay in the safe zone. Even if you don’t hit the expected profits, you won’t risk losing too much on it.”

Bonus: A Good Local Agent Makes the Difference

It should be pretty apparent, then, that there are plenty of critical things to consider when buying your first investment property, some of which you may not have the skill or experience to tackle on your own. That’s where our experienced agents can help. So if you’re ready to take the first step toward buying your first investment property, contact us today at (617) 657-9811.


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The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.
MLS PIN data last updated at June 17, 2021 8:56 PM ET

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