The cost of maintaining a real estate property is indeed treated an expense that must be spread over the asset's useful life even if it depreciates. In real estate, when you shed a sum for maintenance, repairs, and other property necessities to be used to generate sales, you treat the item as an expense. Let's put things in a much comprehensible example: let's say you purchased a van to be used for your business. The van losses its value the very minute you drive it out of the dealership and the measure of the loss in value is known as depreciation expense. This happens on both vehicle and property investment. But in the case of an asset, when what you're indebted cost more than the original value of the house, this only calls for one thing: a short sale.
Now how do you go about short sale investing? The following may answer this query in both an investor and a seller's end:
Learn the trades of a short sale like the back of your hand. Or to put simply, you should learn the dealings from inside out. Short sale is the process by which a homeowner deals with a bank or a lending firm concerning a property on the brink of foreclosure. This usually happens when the property is no longer a marketable one and the homeowner out of negligence or incapacity to pay the mortgage owe more than the entire cost of the house. Therefore, to make it simple and comfortable on both end, it is a must that short sale is well elucidated and detailed for the benefit and understanding of both parties.
Short sales are not a speedy course of action. If you're a homeowner who's in the process of short selling, you have to realize that this isn't a speedy process. This isn't the same as a 30-day release of results. It takes more than that and certain things would probably dishearten you. So for the faint hearted, this isn't the way to go. You have to deal with painstaking paperwork and formalities, red tape considerations, and a lot of other hindrances that may come along the way. So it pays that you brace yourself for the inevitable.
Consider your figures. You do not just invest on short sales without doing the math. This is of course on a buyer's perspective. On average, if the property you're rooting for has a value of no more than $150,000, aiming for at least $20,000 in the sale is already a sound number. However, if it goes the other way around, and basing on your calculation, you wouldn't be netting $15,000 at least, then it's not going to be worth it. Keep in mind, the property may require renovation and reconstruction cost that would perhaps cost you more, so you really have to weigh your options.
Finally, just take it easy. If you're a homeowner, expect to meet stumbling blocks that will stand between the short sale procedures. If you're the buyer, be emphatic. Understand that a homeowner is going through a difficult time. Make the homeowner comfortable in own your pace. When you're able to do this, you'll most likely end up getting the sale.