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The 4 Wealth Generators of Real Estate

Updated: Jan 29

by Trevor Calton

Most investors know that real estate creates wealth, and sometimes often significantly. But today we are going to discuss the four actual ways that real estate creates wealth for the investor.

Cash Flow

The first wealth generator from real estate is cash flow. Cash flow, or more specifically net cash flow after debt service, is the cash flow from operations that is left when all revenues have been collected and all operating expenses have been paid, and all debt service has been made. Whatever's left over, the net cash flow to the investor is the first generator of wealth.


The second wealth generator from real estate is appreciation. Appreciation is the amount that the asset has gone up in value, which is determined by, of course, the sale price minus the original purchase price. Appreciation can be significant in many cases, and is often the greatest driver of wealth out of the four.

Principal Paydown

The third generator of wealth in real estate is principal paydown from leverage. Principal paydown is when the loan that is used by the borrower to acquire the real estate balance is paid down by the cash flow from operations. Effectively, the investor receives more money

at the beginning than they owe at the end, and the difference adds to the investor's wealth.

Tax Benefits

Finally, the fourth generator of wealth in real estate, which can be quite significant, are the tax benefits. Deductions for interest expense, non-cash expenses such as depreciation and amortization can be extremely beneficial; especially to investors who are looking for ways

to offset other income. When all four of these wealth generators from real estate are combined, it's not uncommon to see internal rates of return well over 20-30% in real estate.

For more lessons like this, check out our YouTube channel or visit Real Estate Finance Academy.



Trevor T. Calton, MBA is the President of Evergreen Capital Advisors and founder of Real Estate Finance Academy. A longtime industry veteran and former Professor of Real Estate Finance, he has analyzed, acquired, or sold more than $5 billion of commercial real estate assets, financed over 500 commercial investment properties, and overseen the asset management of over 6000 units of multifamily housing.

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