How do I Find a Good Investment Property?

As prices plummet, some solid investment opportunities are starting to emerge…but how do you identify good investment properties?

  • The first thing to do is to consider long term (e.g., 10 years) appreciation potential. Think about area employment (and more importantly where those employers are—commuting time is a big factor). Also think about long term demographic shifts like BRAC, as well as infrastructure projects like new metro stations or light rail lines.
  • Consider the neighborhood. Ideally you want to find the lone problem house in a great neighborhood, but that’s easier said than done. Also consider neighborhoods that previously had been more desirable in terms of age, location, and home condition, but perhaps were hit hard by this recent wave of foreclosures.
  • Consider the price range – While you hope to ultimately find a property that will be cash flow positive, you nonetheless have to front the money to buy it, and getting a loan these days isn’t easy, especially for investors. Financing remains a problem, and lenders require investors to put 20-30% down, plus closing costs of about 3%. Interest rates run about a percentage point higher than owner occupied properties. Figure out how much cash you’re willing to put into the property, what you can qualify for in a mortgage, and back into a price range from there.
  • Look at rents the neighborhood can command. Once you identify a few target neighborhoods, begin collecting rent data. The best place to collect rent data is on Craig’s List in addition to the MLS. This is because many landlords conduct the process themselves and so the listings are never in the MLS. You also can’t be sure how aggressive a listing agent was in procuring a renter, which may skew the price. If they put it into the MLS but then never on Craig’s List (by far the more popular site for finding renters), then it’s likely the rents there are lower than what the market actually commands. Unfortunately there’s no easy way to gather historical Craig’s List data – you just need to keep watching and see which rentals seem to go quickly. Consider calling some of the landlords to ask whether they’ve had a lot of responses.

Looking for help in finding an investment property?  Contact us to discuss a strategy for building your real estate investment portfolio.

More Resources:

Is it the Right Time to Buy an Investment Property?

Foreclosure Properties: A Good Investment?

Search the Entire MLS for an Investment Property

Contact us to discuss your search for an investment property.

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2 thoughts on “How do I Find a Good Investment Property?

  1. Good and valid points, especially in regards to thinking in the long term. Investors are finding a buy and hold strategy to be more effective then trying to flip properties. Thinking in the long term can help investors look at the reality of things rather than the short term.

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