Buy and Hold

If you desire to be a landlord or you plan to hire a professional property manager, the buy and hold strategy can be an excellent way to achieve the goal of generating cash flow and building long-term wealth.


There are some risks to the buy-and-hold strategy. The costs and hassles of dealing with problem tenants can quickly eat up the income from the property, and even cut into the value of the property itself.

Financing Leverage

One of the primary decisions when pursuing the buy and hold strategy is whether or not to use leverage. By financing your purchases you can spread your investment capital across more properties, diversifying risk and increasing overall returns in an appreciating market.

All-cash Purchase

Purchasing properties with all cash, on the other hand, decreases losses in a declining market and increases returns in a flat market, as no income is lost to interest expenses. For example, imagine you have $100,000 to invest. Using leverage you could buy five $100,0000 houses with $20,000 down on each vs. one house using all cash.

All Cash Leveraged
Number of homes purchased 1 5
Total purchase amount $100,000 $500,000
Cash invested $100,000 $100,000
Loan amount $0 $400,000 (5 @ $80K)
Annual rental income $8,000 $40,000
Loan payments $0 $35,000
Net income $8,000 $5,000
Return on cash investment 8% 5%
Gain/loss if properties increase in value by 20% $20,000 $100,000
Gain/loss if properties decrease in value by 20% <$20,000> <$100,000>

Note that in our hypothetical example above, using leverage has huge advantages in a rising market (returns on appreciation), has slightly lower returns in a flat market (return on cash from rents alone), but can be disastrous in a declining market (leverage amplifies losses).

Buy and Hold as a Hedge Against Inflation

As inflation increases, so should rents, which means while you hold and rent, the income you receive should adjust over time to match inflation.

In a normal market, free from government intervention into the availability of credit, home values increase at a rate roughly equivalent to the rate of inflation. When you decide to flip the house, say at the top of an inflation cycle, your return on investment has a built-in inflation hedge not necessarily found in other investments.

Buy and Fix to Rent

When buying or renovating a property for rental, keep a few things in mind.

Location. Consider areas with a consistent tenant pool such as neighborhoods near colleges and universities. Factors such as schools, proximity to public transportation, amenities, entertainment and community feel are also critical for long term investment value.

Durability and Low Maintenance. When it comes to appliances, carpet, paint, siding, and other features, price is less important than lifespan and time to maintain . Consider simple, drought-tolerant landscaping. Purchase stain resistant low-pile carpets, quality ceramic tile flooring, or quality laminates and satin or eggshell neutral paints when rehabilitating a rental property. The initial cost of quality products will withstand the abuse of renters, last through more tenant turnovers, and cost less in the long run.