I used to commute into Manhattan so frequently that I actually got possessive of my spot on the platform. You see, I had it all strategically planned out. From “my spot,” I could be the first to launch myself into the car and take “my place” on the train, which was exactly where I needed to stand in order to be the first out of the door upon arrival. Don’t get me wrong—I didn’t complain. But, at some point, I realized that commuting just wasn’t good for my blood pressure. I knew I needed to make some changes and, once I did, I started breathing more freely.

These days, as I look around beautiful New York City, I see so much opportunity beyond my old corporate cage. Building a real estate investment business can be tough—especially in a competitive city like this one—but, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So, if you’re also thinking of leaving your corporate job to start a business as an investor, there are some things I’ve learned along the way that I’d like to share. These tips could help you invest, and ultimately breathe, a little easier too.

building a real estate investment business in a competitive city

Gaining an Edge When Building Your Real Estate Investment Business

Starting a career in real estate investing in any city takes a great deal of drive, expertise, and support from other professionals. But, to improve your chances of succeeding as an investor from the get-go and sustaining that success over time, you also have to find a way to gain an edge over the competition. It’s not that hard to do if you know where to point your compass so that your focus on building your real estate business remains sharp. On that, I can help to lead you in the right direction.

Here are some of the things I’ve found most important to consider:

Understand Your Local Market

In New York City, where I primarily invest, it used to be that people who were priced out of Manhattan fled to Brooklyn. But, within the last year, Queens has become the fastest growing borough in NY. Comparably lower housing costs are drawing people here and neighborhood demographics have changed as a result. There’s been an influx of young professionals and couples. Their trade-off for living in Queens, of course, is a longer commute into Manhattan. Queens is a transit desert; many neighborhoods have a commute of 90 minutes or longer—with no realistic projects or plans in sight for remedy. (I feel my blood pressures rising just thinking of it!) It’s critical that you know this level of detail about your market too as it can impact where and when you invest. Read the paper, keep apprised of city hall happenings, and connect with more experienced investors who already have their fingers on the pulse of local real estate trends.

Target Your Home Buyers

Because homebuyer demographics vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, and can even shift over time, how you renovate a home depends largely on who’s likely to buy it. Queens provides a great example of how this can play out. With the all the new businesses and startups cropping up, especially in the Astoria neighborhood, it seems the Millennials and Gen Xers taking up residence here are looking to work closer to home. The younger crowd feels right at home with co-working spaces like WeWork’s new Studio Square in Astoria. Hundreds of younger people hustle and bustle within that modern-industrial office building every day, working for growing nonprofits, tech companies, and startups. It’s brilliant—renting co-working space in Queens can significantly reduce their transit time and allow them to establish a home for a relatively affordable price point. Knowing how to attract Millennial buyers, in addition to Gen Xers has been key to my investment strategy. By targeting types of potential homebuyers and renovating with them in mind, my rehabbed properties don’t sit on the market long. And, if you follow this advice, yours won’t either.

Know What’s On the Horizon

Though real estate markets rarely experience the kind of dramatic shifts we saw nationwide during the housing crisis, they do fluctuate—nationally and locally. So, formulating a real estate investment strategy based on what’s on the horizon is important for maintaining your bottom line. You may need to shift from a buy-and-hold to a buy-and-sell strategy, for example, if median home sales prices are on the rise and you have an opportunity to realize good short-term returns. I’m seeing this in New York City. Even with the increased frequency of landlord concessions, New York City rents remain some of the highest in the country. This has made homeownership look like a better deal, especially for young Millennials earning high incomes. Now, before you cock an eyebrow because you know where I’m going with this, just hear me out. Personally, I prefer to buy, renovate, and sell houses anyway. But, in looking ahead, you may find it better to hold on to a property for the longer term in your particular area.

If these things seem like a lot to consider and stay on top of, you’re right. But, as with any entrepreneurial venture, starting a real estate investing company with the future in mind is the only way to keep your business on track and get ahead of the competition. And, to do that, you’ve got to stay focused. Luckily, there is a way to start investing that gives you an edge right out of the gate so that you can focus on building your portfolio and, ultimately, your business.

A Real Estate Investment Opportunity that Edges Out the Competition

In any market, you will have to be poised to act swiftly to take advantage of windows of opportunity when deals become available. That’s why it’s critical to establish a support system that helps you navigate the complexities of building your real estate investment business and stay focused on what’s important. Of course, it can take time to create this support—time you may not really have, depending on how competitive the market is where you invest. That’s why, since I buy property in New York City, I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. As a member of the only real estate investing franchise in the country, I have access to an established network of regional HomeVestors® franchisees and a Development Agent who help me make good investing decisions to achieve my business goals. Don’t get me wrong—I still work hard. But, having a support system that’s been in place since 1996 gives me an edge over the competition that going it alone rarely does.

Perhaps it’s time for you to step off that commuter train for good too. Contact HomeVestors® today to learn how to build your business with the kind of support that can’t be beaten.


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