you can do all the research you want, but ever changing markets, provide ever changing investments. Commercial, and I'll assume you mean commercial buildings, were mainly used by business's as a vehicle for business profits; they can be used in other ways, but that is the basics. In normal times investors would look for a return of 10-12%; today I would think that would shrink to about 6-8% if you measure it against other money vehicles.
in the end you can invest in any monetary vehicle, but you cannot control how the economy will respond to day to day world wide antics, so at this time, it's your choice on the vehicle you choose.
Pamela, safe as compared to what? So many factors apply (as in any investment) as to its viability and safety. Certainly owning a commercial shopping building is safer than owning an equivalent amount of Enron stock. But, if that building is financed 125%, it may not be as safe as that stock either. Miss a payment and it belongs to someone else.
As far as saftey from terrorist attack, four buildigs (actually only two......the Murrah Building in OKC was taken out, and the WTC was attacked twice.....once that did damage and once that took the towers out) attacked by terrorists/combatants in the hundred and fifty years since the Civil War indicates a pretty good safety record. I think building in general are more at risk from fire, infestation, flood, or vandalism than from terrorisim (although it could be said.....and at some point WILL be said that vandalism and the gang activity it indicates IS a form of terrorism).
The nice thing about real estate, is control. You have the ability to drive by and see it. You can tell the tenants they must move. You can adjust the rent according to the price index. You can raze it and build something else. You can leave it to heirs or to the humane society and they can do all o fthe above.
Overall, real estate is the safest investment available. The market will determine the return on investment capacity, but under normal circumstances, if you own it (unmargined) it will provide you with a decent income and will not be subject to inept accounting or overseas competition.
The owner of of a company who writes software for the appraisal industry told me a couple of months ago that he heard the phrase "The streets are paved with gold but most appraisers don't look down."
I was fortunate enough to get into the appraisal business gradually. I was working with my father who has been in the real estate business since the 50's. He taught me that you make your profit the day you close. In other words, never buy at market price.
We are in a business that provides immense opportunity for real estate investment..who better to sniff out a bargain than an appraiser. I've been investing/speculating for years and it has paid off very, very well. Back during the internet boom I would sit and wonder how in the heck could some company that had a negative cash flow suddenly be worth more than GE. I came close to spending some serious cash on some tech stocks but could never figure out the business plan of most of the companies I was looking at. I did invest in a tech fund in March of 2000 and you can guess what happened to that money..poof! Thank goodness it was a negligible amount and didn't even register on my overall financial screen.
I've had two friends come up to me the last few months and inquire about real estate. Two years ago, these guys were going to retire early via the stock market.
If you want a safe, solid investment, do your homework and buy some real estate. Your in the business...you know where to look. Do it!
I agree with you regarding investing in real estate! I do believe that the investments that are based in many real estate backed mortgages that were/are made by too many crooked loan officers are in trouble though. Those are the ones that are in the red the day of the closing.