With the amount of inventory on the market, there are plenty of opportunities for buyers and investors like yourself. Have you spoken with a lender or mortgage broker yet to get pre-approved? That will help you get a better idea of your buying power before you start looking. I work in the commercial real estate arena, specializing in apartments and land - I actually have a couple of opportunities that may work for a hands-on investor like yourself.
First scenario: At 65th Avenue & Maryland in Glendale, I have a duplex ($249,000), a single family home ($164,900) and 1.07 Acres of R-4 Zoned land ($493.000). Zoning allows for 17 Townhomes to be built in the vacant land. Purchase all three for $806,900, a savings of $100,000. The 1,850 SF Duplex has current leases in place ($1,150 + $600 =$1,750/mo). The 700 SF Single Family Home is also leased at ($850/mo). With the additional parcels, the total land area is approx. 1.46 acres - Glendale's Zoning would allow up to 34 Townhomes at this site. The owner of all three properties is motivated to look at all offers (including a joint venture) and is also willing to carryback (provide seller financing). Feel free to visit the property website at: http://listing.loopnet.com/15162635
The second scenario, is more of a Value Add Commercial play: Two 2,000 SF houses located on 59th Avenue ($500,000 for the pair), just south of Bethany Home Road in Glendale. 59th Ave is a major thoroughfare, so probably not the ideal situation for a single family residence to live in - but here is the Value Add. Several of the adjacent Single Family Homes have already been re-zoned to Commercial to allow for Office and Retail use. You could live in one house and rent out the other while you work with the City thru the re-zoning process. These two homes sit on an approximate half acre and there is an additional adjacent 2.35 acres of multifamily zoned land to the west of the property which could be purchased separately ($720,000) and developed at a later date into apartments or condominiums. Sound too big, not really. The owners are willing to carryback (become the lender) on the land and the two homes and would also consider a joint-venture. For the details on this opportunity, feel free to visit the property website at: http://listing.loopnet.com/15443363
Now the above are just a couple of smaller deals that I have listed. There are many other opportunities out there. I am sure that there are a few brokers on Trulia that can also tell you about some similar deals. My advice to you is to first, get pre-approved by a lender to find out your buying power, hook up with an experienced realtor and start asking as many questions until you find the right deal that makes sense to you. Keep in mind that you can get residential financing on single family homes, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. Once you hit 5-units or more, you are now in the commercial lending arena. The difference being, commercial loans generally have tighter requirements, including larger down payments. Also remember that in this buyer's market, there are many owners offering to help with closing costs or carryback (become a lender) to help with the sale. Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions along the way.
Broker, Managing Principal
Red Door Commercial