Shop your investments like you shop for a car.
What’s the process you go through to purchase an automobile?
- Fit – What fits my needs? Do I need an off road vehicle that can weather a bumpy ride? Is speed the most important factor? As an investment, am I okay with only getting a return on my money when I sell? Is cash-flow important?
- Mileage – What kind of mileage will I get? Does this investment provide a good reliable return for the desired time? How does this compare to similar vehicles?
- Reliability – How long will I reliably get value before it breaks down or requires a significant investment of my time. How have similar investments performed in the past?
- Value – How much equity or cash flow do I get for the price? Am I buying at a premium or a discount? Should I buy something brand-new from a broker or a fixer-upper?
- Cost to Operate – What sort of investment fees will I pay to an advisor or syndicator? Does the return justify the fee? How tax efficient is this investment?
- Image – Do I care how it looks? What my friends will say? Do I have a desire to own Class A real estate in San Diego at a 6% ROI or would I be okay with a syndicated passive investment owning mobile homes in Alabama earning 12%?
- Controls – Can you drive a manual transmission? Does the vehicle fit my skills and ability to operate? Learn to ride a bike before you buy a motorcycle. You can start with something small at lower speeds for safety and scale up later to avoid considerable danger.
- Size – A two person coup isn’t great transportation for a large family. Does the size of the required capital fit my portfolio and risk management strategy.
- Reviews – What do others with ownership experience say about the investment? Often people express opinions about an investment they have no personal experience with. Will you trust the opinion of your “Ford only” friend who dislikes Tesla’s but has never driven one? Strangely, many listen to the unqualified opinions of others than seeking qualified reviews from trustworthy sources.
- Financing – What kind of loan can I get? Low interest? Fixed-rate? Long-term? Low down payment? Assumable loan? Is the cost and hassle of financing worth the risk?
- Study the Market – How can I compare options to get the best deal? Is it worth the hassle to buy outside of my area? Is this a good time to buy? Is this the good deal for me and my needs?
- Resale – Can I exit the investment? How easily can put it on the market and sell it? How will the value change in the future?
Most people put more time and energy into shopping for a car they do for their investments. If you apply the same due diligence in studying the market, analyzing investments, and seeking a good deal I bet your average ROI on your money would increase significantly.