Updated January 13, 2022
How can a property investor in Seattle know if they're considering a property that will be a good investment? There are no guarantees that you're making a good choice when buying your next investment property. However, without the correct information and a little investigation, there's absolutely no way of knowing if you're about to purchase an excellent rental property or drag down your portfolio with a lemon.
When it comes to the Seattle rental market, you can't afford to guess on a property and assume it will offer you the return on investment to keep your long-term wealth growing strong. Even if you're looking in some of the best areas for rentals in Seattle, you need research and experience to keep from investing in a money-losing property.
Before you buy your next investment property, use the information we've gleaned as an expert Seattle property management company to help you evaluate a potential property! Making an informed decision is a profitable decision.
A Seattle Property Management Company Suggests You Read the Market
To understand market cycles, you need to be able to recognize if the area you're looking at is a seller's market or a buyer's market.
When looking for a great rental property, buying during a buyer's market can help improve your returns. A buyer's market is when many homes are on the market and not many buyers—giving buyers all the power.
Buy during a buyer's market. Sell during a seller's market.
Not Every Property Is a Gold Mine
Just because a property is available—or cheap—doesn't mean it will make an excellent rental property. The most successful investors in Seattle know that it's not always wise to snatch up property just to keep it out of the hands of other investors or because it seems like a claim worth staking!
A lousy property will be more expensive than it's worth to have in your portfolio. "Affordable" isn't always the best litmus test when choosing a new investment. This is where research worth its weight in gold comes into play! The right market research can make or break your portfolio regarding the properties you pick.
When evaluating a property, go beyond the sale price of the home. A successful rental property includes several must-have features before you consider adding it to your portfolio. As an expert Seattle property management company, we're intimately aware of what's hot on the rental market. Here's the information you should mine for regarding the real estate gold rush.
A Quiet, Friendly Neighborhood
- Is the property located in a desirable environment?
- How many vacant homes are in the community?
- Are people out and about, enjoying and interacting with each other?
If a neighborhood has too many vacant houses and you don't see active involvement, you might have difficulty finding renters for your home. Seattle is a city known for its vibrant and welcoming community—it's why millennials love to live here!
If you don't see these features in your potential rental, this is a red flag as a property pick.
Proximity to Parks and Other Conveniences
- Choose a property near parks, restaurants, and plenty of shopping.
- An excellent property has easy access to major highways to get around town or to and from the airport. Nobody likes a 50 minute Uber ride!
- Depending on which age group you're catering to, the walkability of your property or its convenience for cyclists can be a big point of interest for potential residents.
Many renters also enjoy having a place to play with their pets, so nearby green spaces can be a serious draw for interested applicants.
Even if your residents don't have children, choose rental properties in areas with excellent schools. Area schools can affect the value of your property and attract better renters—with or without kids.
If your potential residents do have children, proximity to the best schools Seattle has to offer can be a significant driving force for the demand of your rentals—and a great way to reduce vacancy.
Safety and Security
Does the property offer a sense of safety for potential renters? Your renters need to feel safe living in your rental property. To evaluate this for a potential real estate investment, check the crime statistics for the area surrounding a potential investment property. If you can't find residents for a rental property, you'll lose money.
When you buy an excellent rental property, it must be located in a good neighborhood with good schools and close to jobs and local amenities. This will ensure that you have a good return on your investment. With the features we've mentioned here (and more), your next property should be an excellent addition to your real estate portfolio!
Think About the Single-Family Rental Property
A single-family home is a great way to start real estate investing. Many experts agree that this is the best type of investment. Look for a single-family home with at least three bedrooms and two baths that will be a good choice. Families look for this type of home because it meets their needs. In addition, in certain areas—think the suburbs—it's easier to rent and sell a single-family home than a multi-family home.
An additional benefit of buying a single-family home instead of a multi-unit for rental property investment is that it's easy to find a company specializing in property management services for these types of homes. In this case, you will need to make sure the property manager takes care of all maintenance issues, handles your rental agreements, and collects rent from tenants.
When trying to sell a multi-unit property, it's essential to know that other investors will be interested. Investors are always looking for a good deal, so they won't want to pay the full price for your property. In contrast, single-family homes can be sold to the public at retail prices. So if your property is affordable to the average buyer, you can expect to have plenty of demand when you choose to sell or rent.
Remember: Rental Properties Are Not Really for You
Let us rephrase this: every property you add to your portfolio is an engine for your long-term wealth. However, as you grow your real estate portfolio, you'll get used to buying homes that you'll never live in. At times, it can be challenging to look at potential investment properties through the eyes of a renter while putting your preferences aside.
Successful residential property owners must separate personal taste from professional amenities when evaluating a new Seattle investment property. You might want to upgrade the countertops and add high-end hardwood floors—but will you be able to recover those expenses? Renters don't want to overpay for amenities they don't want or need in a rental home.
As a professional Seattle property management company, we stress to investors to pick amenities the market will bear. This will ensure you get the maximum ROI that keeps your portfolio golden.
- When it's time to decide on your next property, make sure it's renter-friendly.
- Choose a property with upgrades and amenities that justify the monthly rental amount.
- If you have to raise the rent too high to generate a profit, potential residents will choose another rental home with a monthly rent that makes more sense.
If you can master the art of thinking like your ideal resident, you'll be able to see the potential in a property that might not fit your preferences.
It's Okay to Walk Away
Washington is known for our apples, so it's probably no surprise when we tell you that one bad apple can spoil the whole bushel. Your long-term income is only as strong as your weakest property: if one rental home keeps bleeding money, the revenue from your other properties goes toward "un-sinking" that ship—even when it's not a houseboat.
When looking into a new investment property, it's okay to walk away if it's not a lucky strike. Your next property doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be more "good" than a "disaster in the making." There will always be another property to consider for your portfolio: knowing you can say "no" is the sign of a successful investor!
Start Your Research Off Right With a Seattle Property Management Company!
Successful Seattle investors know that they don't have to build their real estate portfolio independently. An expert property management company in Seattle can be your guide to your next golden investment; it all starts with the proper research.
Real Property Associates has the Seattle rental market experience you need to make good decisions when it comes time to add properties to your portfolio. If you have your eye on a property, we can run a FREE rental analysis to discover its full potential! Not every property is a winner: put our robust market research to work for you!