When people first decide to buy an apartment building it is common for them to make a few easily preventable mistakes. The most common error that I see new investors make is not having what I like to refer to as the “investor tool chest”.
For example, if you wanted to build a house you would need a few things to get started. You would need first to have a blue print for the home drawn up by an architect. Second, you would need to have the proper tools to actually complete the building, You would need the nails, hammers, saws and drills to work on the raw materials. Thankfully, investing in apartment buildings doesn’t require any physical tools or skills. However, investing in apartment building does require the same kind of mental planning and in this case your “tool chest” is actually a “tool chest” of knowledge.
To Be a Successful Apartment Investor, You Must Have a Plan!
The best way to acquire these essential educational tools is to read many books and magazines on the subject. The first and most important tool that an investor can have is the ability to determine the investment value of apartment building. There is no way that an investor can be sure that he or she will be buying a cash cow or a money pit without the necessary ability to analyze the value of a building. There is an endless array of information available about debt coverage ratios, cap rates and real estate evaluation. In my opinion the first time commercial real estate investor should operate with one simple mental “tool” or presumption and that is to determine what the building is worth to him or her and to ignore almost everything else. What this means is that investor should virtually ignore what prices other similar properties have recently sold for in the area. Instead, the investor should figure out the price that will allow him or her to buy the property and make the profit and cash flow that will make it a good investment.
In order the figure out what price you should pay for an apartment building, assuming for example that you want to realize a certain return, or Cap Rate on your investment annually, simply use the following formula:
Net Operating Income
__________________ = Price You Can Pay to Realize a Desired Cap Rate
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