What Is Real Estate?
Real estate is property attached to land and may also include air rights above the land and underground rights below the land. It may be owned, leased, or controlled by an individual or a company. It can also refer to the practice of buying and selling land, buildings, and other structures on or above the land. Real estate transactions typically take place through a broker, but can also occur directly between parties.
The housing market and commercial property are two main categories of real estate. Residential property includes new construction and resale homes, with the most common type being single-family houses. Other types of residential property include condominiums, co-ops, townhouses, duplexes, triple-deckers, quadplexes, and high-value homes. Commercial property comprises strip malls, office buildings, and hotels. Apartment buildings are also considered commercial, even though they’re used for homes, because they’re primarily owned to generate income.
Industrial real estate is a subcategory of commercial property that includes buildings and land for manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. It is a more specialized form of real estate and generally more costly than other forms of commercial real estate.
As the housing market continues to recover from the pandemic, home prices have steadily risen and mortgage rates have remained low, offering good news for prospective homeowners. Investors are also regaining interest in properties, with the goal of earning rental income and eventual capital appreciation. However, it’s important to remember that real estate investments come with risks and that returns aren’t always guaranteed.
A successful real estate business plan requires extensive industry research and a clear understanding of your niche, market area, and competitors. In addition to in-house real estate professionals, including appraisers, attorneys, and financiers, you’ll need brokers and other external parties to facilitate your business transactions.
The development and construction phase of real estate is where most businesses get their start. Real estate developers purchase raw land and work with municipal officials to obtain land entitlements, build, and sell or lease their assets. Construction companies and architects can help develop the right type of space for your specific needs.
Once the building is finished, it’s time to manage and operate the asset until it becomes stabilized (typically referring to 95% occupancy). Real estate management firms can assist with this process by helping fill vacancies and maximizing a property’s value.
Investors can make direct investments in real estate by purchasing a property and converting it to a rental property. This is known as “flipping,” and it’s a popular strategy for first-time investors who want to earn quick profits before investing in additional properties. Another way to invest in real estate is through indirect investments, which include a stake in an ownership company. This can be an excellent way to diversify your portfolio and increase your returns, but it comes with more risk than direct investments.