It’s not about how much money you have; it’s about how you use it. When you build wealth, you increase the ways you can make an impact in your community. Real estate investing is my favorite way to build wealth because you can bless people every step of the way.
Investment properties have more value than just the passive income they produce. When you partake in buy and hold real estate, you give your tenants a home. That is no small thing! A home, unlike many other investment vehicles, has intrinsic value.
Cash flow is important—without it, there isn’t any wealth to give. However, at WealthBuilders, we see our resources as a means to show people the love of God. In other words, we want to be Kingdom-minded investors (more on that here.)
Real Estate investing can be a form of impact investing if you do it intentionally. There are several creative ways for how you can bless people through your investment properties, but here are four that my team and I like to practice:
1. Create a Space You’d Enjoy!
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (ESV)
The Golden Rule has several practical adaptations. I cannot stress the importance of subjecting yourself to this teaching daily—Jesus himself said it was the most important one, other than loving God! We need to change the culture around wealth, and in order to do that, cash flow can’t be the only thing you look for in your investment properties.
Consider what kind of space, within reason, you’d like to live in, and do your best to create that experience for your tenants. Karen Conrad, our Vice President, and her husband, Dave Metcalfe, do this extremely well. When they created their real estate business, Sweet Tea Properties, they prayerfully considered and committed to a list of standards that all of their investment properties would follow. Here are a few:
- New updates and renovations to ensure their tenants are getting the best
- A reverse-osmosis water filtering system to provide healthy drinking water
- If there’s not a garage or carport already, they build a shed for their tenants.
- Each property has a welcome basket with Sweet Tea branded items, snacks, and uplifting messages or scripture.
There are so many creative possibilities you can implement in your own investment properties. Just like any business, real estate investing is a great platform to serve people. Whether you’re already an investor, or you’re waiting to get in the game, I encourage you to start dreaming with God about standards you could implement!
2. Give Rent Breaks
There are a lot of people struggling to get a hand up, especially in today’s real estate market. There are barriers to homeownership, and investors are in a unique position to help people break them down. I’m not suggesting that you let everyone stay in your investment properties rent-free, or that you even give everyone a break. As with anything, you need to use discernment and prayer. Ask God for divine connections, and He will make abundantly clear the people He’s leading you to help.
In certain situations, Becky and I have let young couples, employees, and people who have experienced unexpected hardships live in our investment properties. In most cases, they pay a little rent, but it’s less than what they would pay to live somewhere else in the area. Then, they’re able to save what they need to get into a property of their own!
Here’s the thing: money is never static. If you give a rent break, you’re still gaining appreciation on the property. If you collect a little rent, great, but even if you don’t, it still works in your favor. This could be a win-win situation that provides someone a chance of homeownership that would otherwise be unattainable, or far off in the future for them.
3. Provide Yearly Bonuses for Good Tenants
Rewarding your tenants can be as simple as a thank you note and a $5 gift card. Personally, I like to use this as an opportunity to play Santa Claus. In the past, Becky and I have rewarded tenants who pay their rent on time and take care of the property. God really led us to do this for single moms. When December rolled around, we would provide prepaid gift cards so that they could provide a good Christmas for their kids. In some cases, we’d even exempt them from that month of rent.
There’s a plus side to this, too. The nicer you are to your tenants, the more likely they are to stick around. That’s a recurring revenue stream for you, and less work since you won’t have to screen and secure new tenants as often in your investment properties.
4. Pray Over the Property
This one is free. Before you rent out one of your investment properties to a tenant, take time to pray with God over the space. As a Christian, your investments are one of the ways you partner with God. Prayer acknowledges that. Here are some ideas of what to pray for: peace, safety, good memories, growth, and ultimately that people will come to have a personal relationship with Jesus while they’re in the property.