In his Rich Dad book series, Robert Kiyosaki trumpets the benefits of investing, especially those of real estate investing. Those include tax benefits, and the ability to have your money go to work for you without your lifting a finger. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The idea that you can turn a dollar into two just by placing it in what can seem like a magical realm can seem very enticing.
In order to actually turn a good idea into money in your bank account, however, you have to know a little something about how the magic works. It is a good idea, for instance, to take apart this term “real estate.” Just what is real estate, and what are the types of real estate investing that are open to you?
“Real estate” is a term that refers to a piece of land and everything that sits on it, usually meaning structures. In terms of investment, its value is affected by local market conditions more than global conditions. There are several different ways to invest in real estate.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) allow you to make money by investing in real estate, either by owning the properties themselves or by owning the mortgages on them, or to do a combination of both. The benefits of this type of investing are high yields and tax considerations. This is also a highly liquid type of investing, which means that it is easily converted to cash.
In a real estate partnership, you are pairing with (who or what?) in order to make money from existing structures or to build new ones. You can even make money off the sheer appreciation of undeveloped land itself. This is a good bet because of high growth potential and tax benefits (shelter).
The rental of vacation property is pretty self-explanatory. Your vacation property is one that is used for recreational purposes and is not your primary residence. (Define primary residence.)
Rental property is another almost self-explanatory concept, as we have all done business with landlords at some point in our lives. However, there may be a difference between residential and business rental property.
You may also invest in raw, or undeveloped, land.
It is a good idea to learn about each type of real estate investment to determine which yields the greatest benefits, determined by your particular needs. Kiyosaki named tax benefits as a good reason to become a real estate investor. After all, money you keep in your pocket is just as good as money earned.
If you are particularly interested in pursuing real estate investment because of tax benefits, you may even wish to become a real estate professional, as the IRS allows people who spend at least 750 hours a year to have nearly unlimited tax deductions. If you are not considered a professional, and your salary is high, that can actually cost you deductions on your real estate. You must have the time to participate in your real estate activities yourself, even if you have hired another real estate professional, to qualify for all tax benefits.