July 26, 2014

Investing: Real Estate vs. Stock Market

I have had a little over a thousand dollars sitting in my sharebuilder account waiting to be reinvested and I just haven't gotten around to doing it.  As much as I have tried and tried reading about investing and learning as much as I can, I just can't seem to really get into it or truly understand it.

But real estate excites me.  I love reading articles about real estate investing.  Every couple of weeks, I look at the real estate listings.  On Thursday, I saw a house a couple streets away from us that was reduced to only $55,900.  It looked like it was going to go to auction but then it didn't.  After talking to our Realtor, it sounded like the owner probably filed bankruptcy.  He hasn't lived in the house for 2 years and he lives out of state.  The house had been on the market for over a year now.

I was really excited to look at it.  The houses around it were selling in the 80s and 90s. I knew that there had to be something majorly wrong with it for it to sit this long.  But in the back of my mind, I was really hoping it was just cosmetic stuff.  The house was a mess.  It amazes me that they didn't bother to at least try to clean it up a bit.

Unfortunately there was some major structural issues.  The basement walls were cracked horizontally and bowing inside.  I feel bad for this guy.  There's no way I would pay more than $20,000 for the house knowing all the issues.  He must not have had a house inspection when he bought it.  The paper work said the cracks had been there for 22 years so they were there when he purchased it in 2001.  Our Realtor said to reinforce the basement walls would cost around $15,000 to $20,000 plus everything else that would need to be done like some electrical work, landscaping, new flooring, painting.

It was definitely too much for us.  We probably shouldn't purchase another property just yet anyways as we are still rebuilding our savings after the last property.  But we are at the point that if we found a really good deal, we could do it.

But my criteria really limits us:

  • Must be in our neighborhood.
  • Must be $60,000 or less; preferably less 
  • Must not need too much work
We live in a really nice neighborhood.  Right by a really nice park.  I am confident that we would have no trouble renting any property.  

Within 2 weeks of purchasing our last investment condo, we had about 10 people view it and a lease signed.  I set the price at $825 and every one I knew said that was too high even though after doing research I knew that I could get that... and I did.

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