Add Leverage (Mortgage) and you greatly increase the ROI especially from the perspective of using Rents (other peoples money) to pay down the mortgage and increase your equity in the property over time. At this point then yes price appreciation is secondary bonus and we have an arguement of how and why Real Estate can be better than Growth Stocks in some scenarios and for some investors.
The first application of residual income, the remaining money after debts are paid each month, is relevant when analyzing a person's financial status or ability to qualify for financing. The second application, the more widely recognized meaning of residual income, is money that is received on an on-going basis for work that is completed once. This form of income allows the recipient to generate revenue that is not based on time limits. Residual income is the foundation for wealth because it offers flexibility in earning and maximizing income. It also allows income to be generated long after the work has been done.
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Residual income is when you continue to get paid after the work is done. This includes royalties from books, movies, or songs and also income that comes from real estate or business investments where you don’t actually have to be present to earn it. For example, Bill Gates is still making a residual income from Microsoft even though he isn’t working there anymore.