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Commercial Real Estate: Property Types And Classes

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Before you start investing in commercial real estate, regardless if it’s via online crowdfunding or through a syndication, you want to know what sort of investment you are getting into.

In general, crowdfunding and syndications both invest in commercial real estate. Single-family properties are too cheap for developers to raise capital on. There is a fixed cost of raising capital. So, developers focus on $1m+ properties.

And usually those are commercial real estate projects.

Since commercial real estate is new to most investors, we’re going to cover the different property types within commercial real estate, as well as the different classes of property and neighborhoods.

Asset Class vs Property Type vs Property Class

An asset class is a group of investments that have similar characteristics and behave similarly in the marketplace.

Equities (stocks), fixed income (bonds), and cash equivalents (money market) are the 3 traditional asset classes. Additionally, there are 2 alternative asset classes that are extremely common as well – real estate and commodities.

There are a whole host of alternative asset classes which professionals may agree or disagree on them, such as valuable art, numismatics, or other collectibles. Increasingly many are looking at crytpo currencies as an alternative asset class.

Each asset class can further be broken down. For example, there are 11 sectors for stocks (healthcare, industrials, technology, etc).

A lot of people will ask about asset classes in real estate. What they actually mean to ask is about property types within the asset class of real estate. There are no asset classes within real estate because real estate is an asset class.

Property types are what the real estate asset class is broken down into. Just like stocks have 11 sectors, real estate has a variety of property types from office to multifamily.

Real estate does have a “class” rating system as well, which may be part of the reason why people confuse the terminology.

Property classes in real estate are referring to a rating system we use in the real estate industry to help us categorize neighborhoods and property types. This is generally on an A to D rating scale where A is the nicest properties and D is the oldest and most run down.

Real Estate Property Types

The asset class is an overarching and very broad type of investment. Within real estate, there are 4 primary types of property which include:

  • Residential
  • Commercial Real Estate (CRE)
  • Industrial
  • Land

Each one of these can be further broken down. For example, farming and resource extraction (mining and oil) are uses for raw land.

We’re going to focus on commercial real estate because that is what most investors are buying when they want to buy income producing property.

Types of Commercial Real Estate

There is almost an unlimited number of types of commercial real estate, but here are the most common ones you’ll see.

Multifamily

Multifamily is a type of commercial real estate because the owners buy it to produce income, not to live in.

Multifamily is anything that is 5 units and above (in the United States).

There’s really no reason for it except that the primary mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will back personal/residential mortgages on any owner occupied property 1-4 units, but not 5 and above.

So, a homeowner can get a traditional mortgage on a 4 family, not on a 5 family.

4 family properties are technically multifamily. But, they are excluded because they are bought by typical homeowners. Commercial multifamily property is exclusively 5 units and above.

Garden style, mid-rise, and high-rise buildings are 3 sub-categories of multifamily to be aware of.

Retail

Retail is the subcategory of commercial real estate that includes all shopping. This includes everything from a building with a single retail tenant in it (such as a fast food restaurant), all the way up through shopping plazas or even shopping malls.

It is a really complicated space because there are a variety of lease terms that can directly impact the value of the asset. For example, a single tenanted building with a lease that is about to expire is worth far less than the same building with a new 10-year lease.

Additionally, there are different types of malls, shopping centers, outlets, and more that complicate the space.

Regardless of how they are broken down, they are all considered retail.

Office

Similar to retail, these can be multi-tenanted or single-tenanted. But, unlike retail, these can range from giant skyscrapers to small office condo developments.

Self Storage

Self-Storage is relatively new to the list and is not included in most other breakdowns of commercial real estate. But, it should be.

Self-storage is one of the fastest growing and most stable CRE investments available. Supply simply cannot keep up with demand in many markets, and available spaces are being leased up at unbelievable rates.

Hotel

These are properties that are owned and operated for the purpose of very short term rentals. Can also include motels.

Mobile Home Parks

Mobile Home Parks are a huge sub-category. It’s often overlooked or counted as a sub-category to multifamily, but that’s not accurate.

Mobile home parks were very popular in the 70’s and earlier, but few new MHPs have been built in several decades. As such, occupancy is high and stable.

On the other hand, infrastructure is aging and investments in underground water/sewer, roads, and electrical can be very costly.

Special Purpose

This just captures all the other unique types of commercial real estate out there such as amusement parks, bowling alleys, and more.

Classes of Property

In residential and multifamily, the property/neighborhood class is a rating from A to D. It describes the overall age and quality of both the neighborhood and the individual property. For example, you might hear that this is a C class property in a B class neighborhood.

Multifamily is anything that is 5 units and above (in the United States).

There’s really no reason for it except that the primary mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will back personal/residential mortgages on any owner occupied property 1-4 units, but not 5 and above.

So, a homeowner can get a traditional mortgage on a 4 family, not on a 5 family.

4 family properties are technically multifamily. But, they are excluded because they are bought by typical homeowners. Commercial multifamily property is exclusively 5 units and above.

Garden style, mid-rise, and high-rise buildings are 3 sub-categories of multifamily to be aware of.

Retail

Retail is the subcategory of commercial real estate that includes all shopping. This includes everything from a building with a single retail tenant in it (such as a fast food restaurant), all the way up through shopping plazas or even shopping malls.

It is a really complicated space because there are a variety of lease terms that can directly impact the value of the asset. For example, a single tenanted building with a lease that is about to expire is worth far less than the same building with a new 10-year lease.

Additionally, there are different types of malls, shopping centers, outlets, and more that complicate the space.

Regardless of how they are broken down, they are all considered retail.

Office

Similar to retail, these can be multi-tenanted or single-tenanted. But, unlike retail, these can range from giant skyscrapers to small office condo developments.

Self Storage

Self-Storage is relatively new to the list and is not included in most other breakdowns of commercial real estate. But, it should be.

Self-storage is one of the fastest growing and most stable CRE investments available. Supply simply cannot keep up with demand in many markets, and available spaces are being leased up at unbelievable rates.

Hotel

These are properties that are owned and operated for the purpose of very short term rentals. Can also include motels.

Mobile Home Parks

Mobile Home Parks are a huge sub-category. It’s often overlooked or counted as a sub-category to multifamily, but that’s not accurate.

Mobile home parks were very popular in the 70’s and earlier, but few new MHPs have been built in several decades. As such, occupancy is high and stable.

On the other hand, infrastructure is aging and investments in underground water/sewer, roads, and electrical can be very costly.

Special Purpose

This just captures all the other unique types of commercial real estate out there such as amusement parks, bowling alleys, and more.

Classes of Property

In residential and multifamily, the property/neighborhood class is a rating from A to D. It describes the overall age and quality of both the neighborhood and the individual property. For example, you might hear that this is a C class property in a B class neighborhood.

This article originally appeared on IdealREI. Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Real Estate Investing

VIDEO: 4 Myths About Real Estate, Debunked!

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From bubbles to recessions to risk, there are tons of myths surrounding real estate investments. Fortunately for you (and other WealthLAB addicts), most of them are untrue. In this video, WealthLAB’s investor/author Philip Michael debunks four myths about real estate investing.

(If you wanna know how Philip turned $79 into an eight-figure portfolio, cop a copy of Philip’s bestseller  Real Estate Wealth Hacking: How To 10x Your Net Worth In 18 Months.)

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Real Estate Investing

What’s The Best Way To Invest $100K?

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Let’s have some fun today and talk about the best way to invest $100,000.

It is a lot of money, but it’s also not a lot. You might have $100k after selling a house, rolling over a 401(k) or IRA, receive it as an inheritance, etc.

So, let’s dive into the best way to invest $100k.

Should I Diversify my $100k Investment?

The first thing to think about is diversification. Should I diversify?

This will depend on my current financial situation. If I have a bunch of other investments elsewhere, then I would consider dropping my $100k into just one investment.

If this was all of my disposable money that I want to invest, then I’d diversify it.

I will assume that this 100k is all the money available, so I’ll diversify it. But, if I ever wanted to dump it all in one place, I could just pick one of these categories and put it all in there.

Allocating My Money

Since I’m going to invest my $100,000 in a diversified fashion, I’m going to plan how to allocate the money first. In order to do that, I need to lay out some options to invest in first. Here are a few.

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Real Estate
  • Business Ownership
  • Commodities
  • Venture Capital
  • Crowdfunding (venture capital, real estate, etc)

There are definitely more options but these are probably the most mainstream. I don’t want to dive deep into something that requires a lot of very specific knowledge or experience to get into.

Looking at this list, I’m going to cross a few items off right away.

Crossing Off My List

First, toss bonds. They earn too little and values are inversely related to interest rates. Since interest rates are going up, bond values are going down. Plus, who wants a few percentage points of return when everything else returns so much more?

The next thing I’d toss off is venture capital. The minimum investments are going to be too high and the cashflow is not there. Generally, VC companies have big pay days if they sell or go public, but won’t return any capital in between. I like good cash flowing assets.

The third item I’m going to toss is commodities. It’s an area where you can make a lot of money, but it requires a lot of specialized knowledge that most of us don’t have. Or, it requires a lot of speculation and that isn’t a solid investment strategy.

That leaves stocks, real estate, business ownership, and crowdfunding.

I personally would allocate my money into those 4 categories as follows:

  • 40% – Direct Real Estate Ownership
  • 20% – Crowdfunded Real Estate
  • 20% – Stocks
  • 20% – Side Business Venture

1. Crowdfunding:

I’m starting with crowdfunding because it’s easy to get started. I’ll be putting $20,000 of my $100k investment into this.

I’d jump right onto my favorite platform, Fundrise, and drop a portion of my investments right in there. The great part is you can invest with your retirement fund.

Investing With Fundrise

It’s a super simple process so this won’t take long.

I like Fundrise because it’s done well with the money I invested in it back in 2016. My return has average around 10% per year, and there has been some appreciation as well.

So, here’s how to invest with them:

First, go to the Fundrise website and pop your email address in there.

Next, select your plan.

Third, connect your account and fund the investment.

Simple, right?

2. Direct Real Estate Ownership

I’d put 40% of my $100,000 investment money into my own real estate. At the $40k mark that allows me to buy a property that is roughly $200k in value. I can get a good triplex or fourplex at that price.

I think real estate is one of the best ways to invest money, regardless if you have $10,000, $50,000, $100,000 or even more to invest.

I’d expect at least a 15% cash on cash return and another 2-3% per year in appreciation. So, this $40k should earn around $7,000 per year for me.

Getting started in real estate is a little bit more challenging than just dropping money into crowdfunding. You can get started making offers in the next 30 days by checking this course out.

There are 4 things you need to learn in order to succeed at investing in real estate:

  • Find a Deal
  • Run the Numbers
  • Finance the Property
  • Fill it With Good Tenants

Finding Good Real Estate Deals

There are really 3 ways to find good deals – MLS, Direct Mail, or Online Lead Generation.

Of course, some deals are found by worth of mouth, knocking on doors, etc. But the 3 methods I mentioned are the only 3 that are truly scalable.

Finding Deals on the MLS

I’m not going to go into this too much, but, here are the basics.

First, find a good real estate agent. I like to use Agents Invest for a few reasons. First, the owner of the company is a real estate investor and she finds and trains agents around the country how to work with investors.

Second, it’s totally free to the investor.

Third, her agents often find deals that are not on the MLS, so it saves a lot of work for me.

Direct Mail Marketing

If you want to cut out the agent and go direct to the seller, a good way is with direct mail marketing.

 

In a nutshell, you buy a list of addresses, put together letters, and mail to them. Then, you wait for calls to come in.

Every time I’ve done this, I get about a 3% call back rate. So, if I mail 1,000 addresses, about 30 call me. Of that 30, maybe 3 are good deals and of those 3 I might get one.

In some markets, it’s more competitive so the numbers may be lower.

I go into a lot more detail on this method in my course on creating deal flow.

Online Lead Generation

Most questions start with a google search. Everything from “how do I avoid foreclosure” to “how do I sell my house fast” are all questions that people go to the internet to solve.

So, by creating that resource online, you might be the one they contact!

I use Investor Carrot for my online lead generation sites. Getting started with them is super simple too!

Simply go to the Investor Carrot site and pop in your email address.

Go through the prompts and set up your free trial.

Then start building content!

It does take about 3-6 months to generate any movement on Google, so be patient when first getting started.

Running the Numbers

This is the hardest part and there is no way we can get into it all here. But, we’ll cover the 4 basics you need to know, which are:

  • Determine After Repaired Value
  • Estimate the Rehab Costs
  • Know The Rents
  • Budget for Ongoing Operational Costs

Determining After Repaired Value

After repair value, or ARV is what the property will be worth after any necessary repairs are completed. Hopefully, the ARV is higher than whatever you are purchasing it for.

The goal is to buy it for a certain price, do some work, then have the ARV be significantly more than what you put into it.

The best way to estimate the ARV is to do a comparative market analysis (watch this video and subscribe)

Estimate Rehab Costs

There are a lot of rules of thumb and none of them apply everywhere. It also depends a lot on the size of the property in question.

The best way to estimate costs is to bring a contractor with you to give a rough idea.

You could use the $25/foot method which assumes a full interior upgrade costs about $25/foot, but that is fairly substantial.

There is also the $3,500 – $7,000 rule for interior upgrades on smaller apartments.

or…

You get the point. It’s hard to estimate!

Know Your Rents

Similar to doing a comparative market analysis, you’ll want to look at comparable rents in the area.

Here are the keys to estimating rents:

First, find 3 or 4 apartments for rent in the area that have similar characteristics such as age, amenities, size, number of bedrooms, etc.

List their rent prices from cheapest to most expensive. If one is way out of alignment with the others, you want to know why. If it’s an outlier, I’d discard it.

Look at the remaining comparable apartments to see if they have rents that are similar then simply average them if it’s true. If they have a wide variety, then look to see which one is most like yours. Then, go find more apartments for rent that are more closely aligned with yours.

Operational Costs

This is one of the biggest mistakes that most new investors make – they forget to budget properly for operational costs.

The easiest thing to do is to simply use the 50% rule. Basically, this says that 50% of your income will go your your expenses (everything except the principal and interest payments).

3. Create a Side BusinessI’d take $20,000 and invest it in a side project.

While this is not an entirely passive investment, it can become passive if it grows. Additionally, if it’s set up in a smart way, I can dedicate just a little bit of time to hopefully get outsized returns for the time commitment.

Honestly, not investment starts as completely passive, not even rental property. The key is to set it up well and have good systems in place.

There are two ways to go about this. I could start something completely unrelated to my other investments such as an eBay or Amazon FBA site. The other option is to start something that has synergy with one of my other investments.

Me personally, I’d rather have a business that ties in with other things I’m doing. So, I’d start a business related to real estate, but that isn’t actually investing in real estate.

4. Investing in Stocks

This is the most boring of all the options and the most well understood, so I’ve put it last.

I would invest the remaining money into a low cost index fund that tracks one or more of the major indices such as the DOW, Nasdaq, or S&P 500.

I’d probably divide my total investment between 2 or all 3 of them.

There are other low cost ETFs or funds that mirror other indices in the US or around the world, so you can get creative here and just go with the ones you think will perform the best.

For me personally, I like the S&P 500.

I’ve covered a lot of different ways to invest $100k. Like I said before, it really depends on your personal situation and risk tolerance.

It also depends on any other investments you might currently have as well.

This article originally appeared on idealrei.com. Read the full article here.

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Real Estate Investing

VIDEO: How To Do Your First Deal In 5 Steps

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Ah, so you wanna invest in real estate. But don’t know where to start. Or maybe you do know where to start? Either way, if you want to get into the game, the key is to follow a plan. In this video, WealthLAB’s Philip Michael lays out a 5-step blueprint to get started.

(Also! If you want a great handbook for real estate, pick up Philip’s bestseller Real Estate Wealth Hacking: How To 10x Your Net Worth In 18 Months.)

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