Can You Profit From Rentals? Real Estate Investing by the Numbers


Carefully selected, appropriately maintained and properly managed rental properties can provide three things all investors look for: 1) income, 2) capital appreciation and 3) tax advantages. In fact, in more ways than you may realize, real estate investing mirrors investing in stocks and bonds.

For both, your goals are short-term income and longer-term capital gains. When you invest in real estate, your short-term income comes from rent, instead of from quarterly dividends or interest payments. And your capital gains come from the price of the property you own going up, rather than stock price growth.

That is not to say there aren’t big differences. (And that’s not to say that your portfolio should include only stock market assets or only real estate. Research shows that varied portfolios are much better over time.) Stock market investing is often much more passive. It may also be less time and research intensive than real estate investing.

I have found, however, that taking a more active investing approach reaps higher rewards. For me, it’s just more satisfying to own tangible properties than shares of stock that show up as numbers on a monthly statement.

Choosing a Property

Many people “fall into” owning a rental property. They get married, move in together and, rather than selling the extra home, decide to rent it out. Or they inherit a home from their parents and rent it out instead of immediately selling it.

Often these are not ideal rental property situations for a few reasons. The main reason is that the numbers don’t work. And that is because planning is always better than falling into almost any life situation.

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