One of the touchiest subjects in investment properties is that of housing for low income tenants. Many investors consider having a portion of their portfolio dedicated to cheap homes to be a waste of time and money. But it doesn’t have to be either.
In fact, there are many supplemental government programs available that make offering an affordable housing program a sound investment. With tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, special financing, and other opportunities available to investors in low income housing, the personal financial risk can be greatly minimized. And if you’re able to be certified to accept subsidized government housing vouchers, you’re almost guaranteed constant 100% occupancy due to the waiting lists in many areas for such properties.
When considering adding low income housing programs to your real estate investment portfolio, among the key points to consider are:
1. The need for affordable housing in your community.
2. The availability of tax breaks for affordable housing resources.
3. Your property’s ability to qualify as government housing.
Find tax credits and tax-exempt bonds available for low income housing in your areaThe government loves to promote affordable housing whenever it can do so. However, there are often limits on the amount of subsidized housing that can be in any area. So many state and local governments offer tax breaks to investors who make the rent on their properties appropriate for those tenants who need cheap homes.
Offer your property to tenants using subsidized housing vouchers if possibleIn many urban areas, there is a shortage of properties open to those using subsidized housing, or Section 8, vouchers. These programs therefore have long waiting lists for prospective tenants. By opening your property to these tenants, you can work towards having close to 100% occupancy due to the sheer demand for quality properties that accept Section 8 vouchers.
a section for landlords, chock-full of information on accepting Section 8 vouchers for your low income housing.
Assess the need for affordable housing in your communityIn most urban areas, there is no question as to the need for low income housing. Many families struggle to make their monthly rent and are always looking for cheap homes for rent. However, in some suburban or rural communities, the need is less great and other investors may have already met this.
- Most investors offering low income housing expect a decent amount of tenant turnover. Make sure you have designed your property to turn over quickly with the minimum necessary between tenant rehabilitation, such as carpet cleaning and designer painting.