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5 Common Real Estate Investment Risks and How to Avoid Them

Real estate investments are risky by nature, but there are ways to mitigate your risk and reap the rewards that can be realized. Those who invest in real estate wisely can potentially find additional passive income as well as financial freedom and independence.

While the lure of passive income may sound appealing, real estate isn’t as hands-off as it sounds. There are real estate investment risks that investors should research and be aware of before jumping into the real estate industry. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top risks that any prospective investor should consider before they jump in feet-first.

Figuring out what kind of investment property to purchase is only half the battle when it comes to determining your real estate investment risk. Thankfully, if you understand the most common risks and what to look for beforehand, you can minimize your losses. Here are some of the most common real estate investment risks to be aware of in today’s market.


The market for real estate investments has strong connections to how well the economy is performing at any given time. Because of the unpredictability of the real estate market, it’s important for investors to do some research on the market before they purchase a property. The last few years have been especially good for investors who currently own residential income properties, as the housing market has continually grown. However, it’s important to do your research as a new investor because if you purchase when the demand is high, and the economy is good, you may end up having to sell when the economy slows and lose money on the sale of the property.

Keeping up with market trends and understanding the dynamics of the real estate industry is vital for investors looking to lower their real estate investment risk. Understanding the risk before you buy can help you determine if you are purchasing a property at the right time, or if you should wait.

Bad Location

The most important aspect to take into consideration when determining if a property is a good real estate investment risk is the location. Supply and demand dictate the value of a property. If you purchase a property in an area with too many rental properties, poor job market, or low population growth, you will find it more difficult keep tenants in rental properties. Do your homework before you purchase a property and look for areas that have a growing job market, and an increasing population.

Choosing to purchase properties in high-crime areas is another real estate investment risk. Properties in high-crime areas may be attractive due to higher potential cash flow, but tend to have low appreciation rates, and are difficult to sell. However, because of the crime rate, these properties tend to be cheaper to purchase, and high-crime areas also have higher rental rates because fewer people are buying homes in high-crime neighborhoods. Even if the initial property price is low and you have a good opportunity to rent in a high-crime location, that doesn’t mean you’re getting a good deal. If you find an investment property with a lower purchase price than similar properties on the market, look at the reason the price is low and find out if you’re really getting a good deal on the property. Don’t make the mistake of automatically equating a low price and higher rent with a good investment.

Bad Tenants

After you’ve done your research and found a great location for your property, you’ll need tenants to turn a profit. While you may not think it matters who you rent to, it can cost you much more money and time if you have bad tenants than if you had no tenants. Bad tenants don’t pay rent, destroy property, and leave you scrambling to pay the mortgage and take care of the repair bills.

Sometimes the only option to deal with bad tenants is to evict them. However, the eviction process wastes a lot of time and money on your side as well, and you may not recover the funds that you’ve lost from a tenant who refused to pay their rent.

The best way to minimize this real estate investment risk is to thoroughly screen tenants before you approve them to live in your housing. The tenant screening process typically involves getting references from previous landlords and performing credit checks on potential tenants to make sure they are responsible renters.

Negative Cash Flow

After all the bills have been covered, you’ll need to make sure you actually have some profit from your property. Many investors fall into the trap of negative cash flow, which is when expenses equal more than the revenue you receive from your rental property. It’s not a good situation to be in, and this real estate investment risk can be mitigated by conducting a real estate market analysis before you purchase the property.

Take some time to sit down and figure out how much your income will be from each of your rental properties and how much the monthly and yearly expenses will be. Keep in mind that even small expenses can add up over time. An investment property should help you increase your income, not drain it. The advisors at FGG can assist you to complete an analysis of your investment properties.

Paying Capital Gains Tax

When it comes time to sell your investment property, you may end up having to pay capital gains taxes on any appreciation of the property value plus depreciation benefits. Capital gains taxes apply whenever you have an asset that appreciates in value during the time that you are in possession of the asset. For example, if you purchased a rental property home for $150,000 and sold it for $200,000, your appreciation would be $50,000, and you may be eligible to be taxed on that amount. You may also be required to pay 25% tax on applicable depreciation benefits plus a 3.8% Net Investment Tax. Total taxes owed at time of sale can reduce your net proceeds by as much as one third or even more.

However, there are ways to defer and potentially avoid these taxes, especially if you’re planning to use the funds from the sale of your current investment property to purchase a new investment property. In this case, a 1031 Exchange with the help of our advisors at First Guardian Group can help you potentially keep more of your money from in the sale of your investments.

Reduce Your Risk

In general, the more responsibility you take on as a real estate investor, the greater your risk. The common approach that we see among our clients to mitigating risk is to seek out properties in growing locations that have experienced in-place management and perform thorough due diligence, usually with aid of a qualified real estate professional, before making an investment.

Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) Options

To reduce risks, many of our clients seek out investments in properties structured as a Delaware Statutory Trust which can offer the following:

  • Opportunity to diversify among multiple properties due to typical investment minimums as low as $25,000 for cash investments and $100,000 for 1031 Exchange investments.

  • Typically, larger, institutional grade properties, that have been evaluated by experienced real estate firms.

  • Substantial due diligence information and risk disclosures provided in offering documents.

  • Availability of third-party reports and appraisals to provide added information on the property.

  • Information on background and track record of the manager/trustee.

  • Loan liability is solely the responsibility of the manager/trustee.

Nothing can prepare you to handle real estate investment risks like talking to the right people and getting good advice. With over 16 years of experience, the professionals at First Guardian Group can help you find suitable investment properties. We know how to help investors save money and make the most of the real estate investment risks they’ve taken. Call us at 408 392-8822 or email at info@FirstGuardianGroup.com to learn more.

BIO : Paul Getty

Paul Getty is a licensed real estate broker in the state of California and Texas and has been directly involved in commercial transactions totaling over $2 billion on assets throughout the United States. His experience spans all major asset classes including retail, office, multifamily, and student and senior housing.Paul Getty’s transaction experience includes buy and sell side representation, sourcing and structuring of debt and equity, work-outs, and asset and property management. He has worked closely with nationally prominent real estate brokerage and investment organizations including Marcus Millichap, CB Richard Ellis, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley among others on the firm’s numerous transactions.Paul Getty also maintains a broad network of active buyers and sellers of commercial real estate including lenders, institutions, family office managers, and high net worth individuals.

Prior to founding First Guardian Group/FGG1031,Paul Getty was a founder and CEO of Venture Navigation, a boutique investment banking firm specializing in structuring equity investments made by institutions and high net worth individuals. He possesses over 25 years of comprehensive worldwide business management experience in environments ranging from early phase start-ups to multi-billion dollar corporations. His track record includes participation in IPOs and successful M&A activity that has resulted in investor returns of over $700M.

Paul Getty holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan, graduating with honors, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Wayne State University. He is a member of Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), a Certified Property Manager Candidate (CPM), and a member of the US Green Building Council.Paul Getty holds Series 22, 62, and 63 securities licenses and is a registered representative with LightPath Capital Inc, member FINRA /SIPC .

Paul Getty is a noted speaker, author, and actively lectures on investments and sales and management related topics. He is author of The 12 Magic Slides ,Regulation A+: How the JOBS Act Creates Opportunities for Entrepreneurs and Investors , and Tax Deferral Strategies Utilizing the Delaware Statutory Trust (DST), available on Amazon and other retail outlets.

There is no guarantee that any strategy will be successful or achieve investment objectives. All real estate investments have the potential to lose value during the life of the investments. This material does not constitute an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. Such offers can be made only by the confidential Private Placement Memorandum (the “Memorandum”). Please be aware that this material cannot and does not replace the Memorandum and is qualified in its entirety by the Memorandum.

This material is not intended as tax or legal advice so please do speak with your attorney and CPA prior to considering an investment. This material contains information that has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, FGG1031, First Guardian Group, LightPath Capital, Inc., and their representatives do not guarantee the accuracy and validity of the information herein. Investors should perform their own investigations before considering any investment. There are material risks associated with investing in real estate, Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) and 1031 Exchange properties. These include, but are not limited to, tenant vacancies, declining market values, potential loss of entire investment principal.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future results: potential cash flow, potential returns, and potential appreciation are not guaranteed in any way and adverse tax consequences can take effect.  The income stream and depreciation schedule for any investment property may affect the property owner’s income bracket and/or tax status. An unfavorable tax ruling may cancel deferral of capital gains and result in immediate tax liabilities. All financed real estate investments have a potential for foreclosure. Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) investments are commonly offered through private placement offerings and are illiquid securities. There is no secondary market for these investments. Like any investment in real estate, if a property unexpectedly loses tenants or sustains substantial damage, there is potential for suspension of cash flow distributions. Costs associated with the transaction may impact investors’ returns and may outweigh the tax benefits.

IRC Section 1031, IRC Section 1033, and IRC Section 721 are complex tax codes; therefore, you should consult your tax and legal professional for details regarding your situation. Securities offered through registered representatives of LightPath Capital, Inc. Member FINRA / SIPC. FGG1031, First Guardian Group, and LightPath Capital, Inc. are separate entities.

DST 1031 properties are only available to accredited investors (generally described as having a net worth of over one million dollars exclusive of primary residence) and accredited entities only (generally described as an entity owned entirely by accredited individuals and/or an entity with gross assets of greater than five million dollars). If you are unsure if you are an accredited investor and/or an accredited entity, please verify with your CPA and Attorney prior to considering an investment. You may be required to verify your status as an accredited investor. Member of LightPath Capital, Inc.

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