Want to get in to this great market but don't know how?
If you're waiting for a great deal to come to you, let me ask you this - when was the last time that happened? Did someone just walk up and say "Hey! I know where there's a great deal on some Real Estate, would you like to know where it is?". I didn't think so. And if the title of this post caught your eye, you may have some money, be interested in investing in Real Estate, and just don't have a clue how to get started.
One thing I would like to make clear from the start - it's generally pretty hard work, for someone at least. That doesn't mean you, necessarily, it just means someone, preferrably someone you would trust with your investment money, will have to do the legwork and find the deals that will make you a good return on your investment. So, that said, you're now aware that you have to start out with the idea that either you are doing to do some pretty hard work, or you're going to have to hire someone to do that work for you. I'm not talking manual labor here, although sometimes it feels like it, but just a lot of research, comparison-shopping, and just good old-fashioned knowledge-gathering.
So where do you start? Probably with someone who knows a little something about the subject at hand. Another investor, perhaps, hopefully one who is reasonably successful. My husband and I own (or are partners in ownership) seven properties ourselves, and I can assure you it was a lot of work. Two we had to remodel - they were not fit for habitation and therefore not for rentals or for flips. We actually have our offspring in two of them - great way to make sure you have tenants, they don't want to have to move back home!
I have worked with investors, and find the professionals are definitely out there grabbing up the lowest priced properties very quickly, so you have to be ready to move quickly if you don't want someone to beat you to the punch. Don't think you can go look at a property that is at 30% of market value and take a week to make up your mind. The only way you get that kind of time is under the First Look program, where owner-occupants are given a certain amount of time to submit bids before investors are allowed into the bidding process.
A Real Estate Agent with some investor experience is another good place to start. An inquiry on a website like Trulia, for instance, can lead you to an agent, but you may have to go through some trial and error before you find someone you like and can work with. I advertise on Trulia and Zillow, as well as my own web sites, as do other agents and Realtors.
The rental property business may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for a ground-floor opportunity, I definitely encourage you to step out there, if you have the means and the desire. If you don't want to manage rental properties, you can hire a property manager for a nominal fee and let them deal with the headaches while still turning a moderate profit. There are definitely some bargains available, and real estate is the only consistently-performing investment in history. So we've been set back a few years - it will come back, you can count on it! It always has.