September 21, 2023

Epic Law

The Law Folks

Real Estate Investment Properties & Ownership

The different types of investment properties that real estate investors consider vary in many different ways. We’ll identify the different types in this article and briefly discuss each one. We’ll also discuss the different ownership structures available. The basic types of investment properties include retail, office, apartment, mixed developments, and hotel/motels.

Retail properties include freestanding buildings and shopping centers. A freestanding building is one where it stands alone, not connected to any others. Shopping centers range from strip malls to super regional malls with many stores located in one area.

Office properties can be small (one, two or three tenants), office parks where many building exist serving different businesses or high rise complexes where many tenants are located in one building. Most will be located in downtown urban areas or in or near suburban towns/developments.

Apartments range from multifamily homes or “mother-daughters” to commercial units. A commercial apartment building will consist of at least 5 units. The larger the apartment complex, the higher the need for on-site management of the property.

Mixed developments consist of a combination of residential apartments, houses, and condos with office space and retail stores. Many communities that are growing at a fast pace have developers who are maximizing the feeling of community by mixing all different types of structures, creating small neighbhorhoods with all the essential aspects of small town, such as restaurants, entertainment, jobs for the local public, and of course, shopping.

Hotels and motels require excellent management if they are to be successful. Their locations near airports, business parks, inner cities and other active areas help to keep their doors open. Their failure rate is relatively high and must be managed correctly in order to remain in business.

These are the basic types of investment properties. The single family home is of course a consideration as well as other types of investments, however the properties featured in this article are appealing due to their income potential.

There are several different types of ownership and ownership structures. These are usually referred to as business entities in which investors hold real property. To keep things simple, we’ll simply cover the very basics of each structure and how each owns property.

A corporation is considered an artificial person. It is a separate legal entity. The corporation conducts its business according to the state law where the entity was created. The key here is “separate legal entity”. Due to the fact that the corporation is considered an artificial person, the real property is considered to be owned by one person, the corporation.

The management of the corporation depends on its board of directors which are elected by shareholders. The important point here is that any person who wishes to form a corporation and purchase real estate must speak to an attorney about managing the corporation appropriately, so that it operates the corporation according to state and federal law (if applicable).

Another business entity that is becoming more popular is the Limited Liability Company. This business entity takes advantage of the same type of liability protections as a corporation, however, it differs from the corporation in that it takes full advantage of the federal tax benefits and flexibility of a partnership. Again, check with your attorney in order to take full advantage of the benefits of this “pass-through” entity. Ownership of real property is also different and consulting an attorney to discuss how the LLC takes ownership of property is wise.

Some of the other entities include real estate investment syndicates, both private and public organized into a corporation, limited liability company, general partnership or limited partnership. Syndicates usually involve one or more projects and different types of ownership (tenancy in common, joint tenancy, etc.).

In conclusion, it’s very important that the new investor has, at the very least, a basic understanding of the different types of investment properties and ownership. It’s often something that is overlooked by new investors due to the complex nature of learning the business of investing, however, without at least consulting an attorney and doing some reading, the new real estate investor is bound to make costly mistakes that are definitely avoidable. It’s a great thing to learn from mistakes, however, making stupid mistakes like avoiding education due to a lack of patience is just plain old dumb!

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