As Indians we all like to built Assets, especially Real Estate Assets, in an environment that is lacking in social security, these assets work as a perfect friends you can count on when you need. Acting like a perfect cushion of comfort and security. Real Estate is in our DNA, from childhood, we are programmed that there is no better investment than Real Estate and that we must keep building these assets as they are more secure than any other asset class, no wonder they are called “Real”.
A typical Indian household would take the baby steps to build the first shelter with savings and leveraging of mortgage and continue to service the loan to finally own a home that gives the first sense of security to the family. So far so good…With the income levels soaring and more disposable income at hand, apart from various other investment tools, almost every Indian family for sure looks at acquiring more real estate assets.
I would like to bring the attention of the owners of these fabulous 2nd and 3rd real assets that we all have invested in. Are these really assets or liabilities? While they are as real as the name, there is one angle that in short term would term them as a liability. A friend of mine hit upon a big idea and over the last 5 years he made tons of money and kept parking them in various forms of Real Estate Assets like Homes, Office Spaces and Retail Shops. Most of these assets he picked up either in the initial launch stage of the projects or somewhere during the construction period. As the properties started getting to the stage of possession and deliveries of projects started happening, he saw his cash flows depleting and these assets becoming a liability.
After almost a year, he called on me and discussed the problem, we discussed and found out that, what had really started happening was, that all these assets after possession attracted a maintenance cost which is charged by all developers for the upkeep of the common areas as well as the various services provided within each community, he was writing checks month after month for almost a year without realizing that when all his assets put together, it was a substantial amount to part with. Not only this, there were issues within each property that needed maintenance and also attracted further costs, all put together, it almost felt that he rather than owning assets, was in a trap that felt like liabilities.
We worked out a plan to find quality tenants for each of the properties that were not in use by the family, moved his own office (Which was on rent) to one of his own properties, saving him the rent that was flowing out, converted his own office rent as an income for the family by paying rent to himself. We worked for 3 months to find suitable tenants for his properties and now not only the maintenance and upkeep of the property is the tenants onus, but he makes a handsome return on each of his assets, while they continue to grow in value. Creating a Win-Win for all.
Needless to mention that we did make money in the bargain, by offering our services to him, which were much appreciated.