Sunday, September 20, 2009

Real Estate 101 and 102

Posted By Adam Lindheim

After the housing bubble nightmare, does it still make sense to invest in real estate?

That depends on whether you've done your homework. As I suggested in my last column, check the data and ask tough questions. If you have concluded (as I have) that residential real estate prices are heading higher, you could put yourself in a position to benefit.

In this column I want to help you understand the different ways you can put your money where your intellectual conclusions are (without risking your entire net worth). You have six straightforward options.

1. Buy a house. As I've repeatedly written, I think this is a great time to buy—whether you convert from renting to owning, or upsize to your dream home.

2. Buy an investment property, be it a single home you rent out or a two- or four-family dwelling.

3. If you are in the market for a high-end vacation home, there are tremendous deals out there right now. While certain high-end markets (think Vail or Aspen) have held up well during the recent downturns, most vacation areas have not fared as well and there are deep discounts to be had.

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