One of my favorite sayings is that passive income is the best income. Passive income is money that you don’t have to put any effort toward earning. It’s money that you get just by waking up in the morning. Passive income would definitely be a form of earning money in pajamas. You might wonder where that idea of earning money in pajamas and real estate investing would come in.
You Can Make Money in Real Estate
When most people think of investing in real estate, they think of the common slumlord who owns a property or ten that they bought to make some money of some poor, unsuspecting college student or fast food employee (sometimes these demographics are one and the same). This is definitely one way that people have made money in real estate–buy a property with other people’s money and then have your renters pay the loan back. After the property gets paid off, the rent that hopefully continues to come in becomes a solid cash flow, or if you don’t want to continue to deal with renters, you can sell the house off and pocket the cash. At least this is how it’s supposed to work.
Real Estate image. Wikimedia Commons via GregoryJ77, Public Domain
You Can Make Money in Real Estate, But…
Many landlords find that they can make money at times, but there is the issue of finding people to rent out the property, or more importantly, the right people to rent out the property. Some renters will stiff their landlords and fail to pay on a regular basis. If you’ve bought the house and still owe on it, this lack of cash flow from derelict tenants can lead to negative consequences for your budget. Then, if this problem becomes habitual, you might find that it’s necessary to evict the renters. I don’t know about you, but getting the courts involved does not really sound like passive income to me. Furthermore, renters are less likely to treat your property with care. Many landlords have found that they have to clean up big messes when their renters move out, be it voluntarily or in a more forcible manner. Some of this cleaning might require some light construction work. I’m not terribly handy, nor do I like cleaning up messes. How then did I come to decide that I’d like to become a landlord?
Enter the REIT
As I’ve been noting in recent months, I’m investing in equities in an attempt to slow down how much I have to work for money as more of my money goes to work for me on a daily basis. If landlording sounds like a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be. I’ve decided that my real estate investments (at least outside of my own personal residence) will come through Real Estate Investment Trusts, otherwise known as REITs. These companies own properties that they then rent out to make money. The REITs that I’m investing in directly have businesses that tend to sign multi-year leases with annual increases built in as renters. I’ve owned some shares of Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI) for a few months, and I just pulled the trigger on 10 shares of Realty Income Corp (O) this past week.
Both OHI and O pay out healthy dividends at this point. They are also on sale from the levels that they were at in the summer. Additionally, the dividends that these REITs have been paying have also been growing on a regular basis. Where most companies who increase their dividends on a regular basis do so annually, Omega Healthcare Investors has been increasing its dividend on a quarterly basis for the past few years, and Realty Income has been announcing multiple increases each year. Additionally, Realty Income pays out every single month, much like a property that I’d own outright. That’s 12 payments a year. I’m planning to build up the position over time, so my income should grow from a small beginning.
I’m getting a dividend yield of nearly 4.5 percent on O and nearly 7.5 percent on OHI. I don’t have to find renters. The management of these companies do that for me. I don’t have to clean up for tenants who move out. The companies will do that for me. Finally, I don’t have to evict anyone. The companies will do so should it come to that point. I don’t have to do anything related to management of the property. I get all of the benefits of being a landlord (as well as some of the risks) without actually having to deal with most of the hassles that come with the territory. Of course, there are risks with any investment, but I feel that the passive income that I’ll hopefully be earning while sitting in my recliner or in my office for years or decades to come will pay off big in the long run.
Disclaimer: Long O and OHI, I am not an investment professional. Information on this site is intended for educational/informational/entertainment purposes. It is NOT a recommendation to buy. Please do due diligence before investing in anything at all.
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