Susan Ormont - RISK VERSUS REWARD: A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE

deciding what kind of return you’d like.

Investing With Your Own Money

If you don’t have access to private lenders or partners, you can still start your investing career without having all the money on hand. One way to do this without paying any money upfront is through home equity. You can use this by taking out a home equity line of credit (which leaves your mortgage as-is) or rewriting your mortgage and getting a cash-out refinance. Of course, this works only if a) you currently own property; and b) there’s capital in it. Another route is a lease-option, also known as option to buy. In this situation, you would rent the property, but sign an “option to buy” at a later date for an agreed-upon price. This legally binding path to property ownership might take a little longer, but is still a viable option if you have the funds. In the Boston Metro marketplace, this option is not popular. Seller financing is just like getting a loan through a bank — except you agree to the payback and terms directly with the seller. This loan should include a repayment schedule, interest rate, and consequences, should either party default on their agreement. Often, these agreements include a significant down payment (sometimes higher than mortgages). Most of these agreements also involve the seller holding on to the deed until the buyer has completed all the payments. An option that may or may not work for you is investing your retirement funds. This typically doesn’t work for people over the age of 60 because there’s not enough time for rental income to pay off the mortgages. The so-called “sweet spot,” age-wise, is around 35 to 40. This is because people this age have theoretically been paying into a retirement account for about a decade and might have a fair amount to spend. Also, there’s time to get a good

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