Thank you Robert Kiyosaki for pointing this out: An important distinction between Real Estate and the Traded (Stocks Bonds etc) market is the aspect of control. When you buy a stock you have no control over your asset. It’s all in the hands of the company, the fear / greed driven investors, and the whims of the great magnet as Hunter S. Thompson said. You invest and you hope.
With Real Estate there are varying degrees of control. You can upgrade when it’s smart or refinance at a good point in time. You can leave profits in place or move them around. And so it goes. We refer to these controls affectionately as ‘levers’. What could be more fun than pulling a lever and watching money flow where it works harder for you? You can ramp up or delay upgrades for instance, tweak or delay taxable events etc etc. Levers, just like a Backhoe.
Which is a segue into ..
How to value Commercial Real Estate
When you get into smaller properties – the ones, the twos, the multiplexes – the value is determined by forces that are outside your control. You’re looking at general economic forces that cause house values to rise and fall, which means you don’t really have one of the big advantages in owning real estate as a long term investment – you don’t have the ability to create value yourself. …. ….. its value is based on its income stream, not on comparable sales. Frank Gallinelli (BP interview, podcast 004)
For the sake of redundancy
Smaller properties – Valued by outside forces (coolness of neighborhood for example)
Commercial Properties – Valued by income
The latter aspect has many consequences not the least of which is that buyers of CRE look to the financial statements to find the value not (mainly) to comps. Investors can compare property like they do bonds. Don’t misunderstand me, a lot goes into CRE property selection but the income to value function is a prime driver. Other drivers are largely concerned with outside forces that could impact that income such as a loss of jobs in that locality.