Cash flow is the net income from a real estate investment after mortgage/bond payments and operating expenses have been made. A key benefit of real estate investing is its ability to generate cash flow. In many cases, cash flow only strengthens over time as you pay down your mortgage/bond—and build up your equity.
Tax Breaks and Deductions
Real estate investors can take advantage of numerous tax breaks and deductions that can save money at tax time. In general, you can deduct the reasonable costs of owning, operating, and managing a property.
Real estate investors make money through rental income, any profits generated by property-dependent business activity, and appreciation. Real estate values tend to increase over time, and with a good investment, you can turn a profit when it’s time to sell. Rents also tend to rise over time, which can lead to higher cash flow.
Build Equity and Wealth
As you pay down a property mortgage, you build equity—an asset that’s part of your net worth. And as you build equity, you have the leverage to buy more properties and increase cash flow and wealth even more.
Another benefit of investing in real estate is its diversification potential. Real estate has a low—and in some cases negative—correlation with other major asset classes. This means the addition of real estate to a portfolio of diversified assets can lower portfolio volatility and provide a higher return per unit of risk.
Real Estate Leverage
Leverage is the use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital (e.g., debt) to increase an investment’s potential return. A 20% down payment on a mortgage/bond, for example, gets you 100% of the house you want to buy—that’s leverage. Because real estate is a tangible asset and one that can serve as collateral, financing is readily available.
Competitive Risk-Adjusted Returns
Real estate returns vary, depending on factors such as location, asset class, and management. Still, a number that many investors aim for is to beat the average returns that many people refer to when they say, “the market.” The average annual return over the past 50 years is about 11%.