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Is real estate a viable retirement plan?

Maybe you are one of those people who makes a detailed to-do list every day and goes to sleep at night content with the thought that you completed every item on the list. More than likely, you are like most people who end up stopping at the drug store for a card on your spouse's birthday and racing through the stores on Christmas Eve. You have good intentions, but time just gets away from you.

If the same thing happened with your retirement plan, you may be starting to feel a panic. Medical costs are soaring, and you may not be able to survive on your pension. Now is the time for you to consider some creative ways to build security for the future, and you may be wondering if real estate investment is a viable option.

Many opportunities to choose from

It may seem simple. You buy a building and put a "for rent" sign in the window. Before you know it, you have a steady income and no worries for the future. Unfortunately, if it were that easy, everyone would do it. Making a successful go at real estate investing requires research, planning and lots of good advice. Additionally, there are many roads from which to choose in the world of investment properties, for example:

  • Purchasing inexpensive land and re-selling it for a higher price
  • Buying less-than-perfect homes to renovate and flip
  • Finding office space or other commercial properties to lease to businesses
  • Renting units in a multi-family building
  • Renovating homes into rental properties

There are special skills and knowledge required to manage each of these kinds of projects. Before you make your first purchase, it may be helpful for you to do some research and learn as much as you can about the process. You may also find some helpful information by reading books, attending association meetings or taking appropriate courses at a community college.

Advocates on every side

To better understand the trends and insights into the areas of New York where you want to invest, you would do well to network with other professionals, such as real estate agents, contractors and other people who make their livings through real estate investments. These people may help you understand how to calculate the expected income of a property by estimating its vacancy rate and considering other factors.

However, your most important advocate may be an experienced real estate attorney who can guide you through every aspect of your investment. While real estate can be a good way to provide yourself with a steady income and some funds for retirement, your chances of success improve with the assistance of a professional.

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