By Peter Andrew
My dad worked in real estate his whole life. By the time I was 10 years old, I'd learned more through breakfast- and dinner-table conversations about the jargon and mechanics of buying, selling and renting homes than most adults ever know. Later, I spent the first five years of my working life in the business.
And yet I still get sleepless nights whenever I'm buying property. Sometimes I worry I'm paying too much. Other times I wonder why the home's so cheap. What's wrong with it? The neighboring homes look fine, but suppose one's a crack den. Is the house structurally sound, or will I discover some defect when I move in that's impossibly expensive to fix? Does the seller have good title, and are there plans to build an airport nearby or run a highway past it?
I can while away hours (usually the later ones) pondering such things when I'm buying a home to live in myself. Some people buy multiple homes they plan to flip or offer as rentals, and I admire their nerves of steel. Now, a new generation of entrepreneurs is seeing real estate as an investment opportunity, and starting to get into the market. Are they being wise or foolish?Read the full article »