An income property is a property bought or developed to earn income. Keep in mind that while there are many advantages of investing in real estate, there are also significant risk factors to consider.
Here are five reasons why an income property can be such a lucrative investment.
1. You Are the Boss of the Income Property
When you decide to invest in an income property, you become your own boss. You choose what property to invest in, what tenant you will rent to, how much you will charge in rent and how you will manage and maintain the property as a whole.
In the average 9 to 5 job, you are subject to the wishes of your boss and the company infrastructure in general, such as adhering to a dress code. As your own boss, you can wake up at 11 a.m. and wear your Kermit the Frog tie if you so choose.
A stock or mutual fund is another example. Although you can choose what stock or mutual fund to invest in, you are still allowing someone else to manage and control your money.
2. Potential Appreciation of a Highly Leveraged Asset
Leverage, in layman’s terms, means you invest a relatively small amount of your own money, and borrow the rest, often four to twenty times more, from a lender. If you purchase a property using significantly more debt than equity, the investment is said to be “highly leveraged.”
3. Rental Income Is Money in Your Pocket
Assuming that you are investing in an income property to occupy it with tenants, you will be able to receive rental income.
Suppose you have one tenant. You charge that tenant $1,100 a month in rent. Your PITI mortgage payment is $700 a month. Thus, subtracting $700 from $1100 will leave you with $400 to go into your pocket each month, right? Not exactly.
From this $1,100, you will want to assume about 5% in monthly maintenance costs and 5% in vacancy costs. Therefore, you will put $110 into a designated bank account each month to deal with maintenance issues and potential vacancy costs. When all is said and done, you will have about $290 each month going directly into your pocket!
4. Your Tenants Will Amortize Your Mortgage for You
The most popular type of loan is a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. It has an interest rate that will remain the same for the entire 30 year term of the loan. In the beginning of the loan, significantly more money is paid to interest than to principal, but by year 15, it is close to a 50/50 split. Therefore, the longer you hold the property, the more of the loan principal your tenants are paying down and the more wealth you are creating for yourself.
Say you have a $90,000 bank loan with a monthly mortgage payment of $500. In year one, approximately $385 of this payment will go towards paying the interest, while $115 will go towards paying down the principal on the loan.
Every year that you own this property, you are using the tenant’s money to pay off your debt. By reducing the amount of your loan, you will be building wealth as you will eventually be able to access this money either by refinancing your loan or by selling the property.
As a rental property owner, you are entitled to huge tax deductions. You can write-off interest on your mortgage or on any credit cards used to make purchases for the property. You can write-off your insurance, maintenance repairs, travel expenses, any legal and professional fees, and even your property taxes. You can see a more extensive list at Nolo.com
On top of all of these deductions, the government also allows you to depreciate the purchase price of your property based on a set depreciation schedule, even if your property is actually appreciating in value.
Using our above example, you receive $3,480 in rental income for the year ($290 each month * 12 months). If you made this money at a regular job or in the stock market, you would lose a significant portion of it to pay income taxes. However, by owning a rental property, you can offset the $3,480 income with the depreciation expense for your property, thus being able to reduce or completely eliminate the amount of taxes you have to pay on this rental income.
Speak to an accountant to determine all of your specific tax write-offs.
Being an income property owner is a huge commitment, but, if handled properly, that huge commitment can bring equally large financial rewards.