There are some great answers here. One thing I would like to mention is that in my market (MA), there are some community developments that require homes to be owner occupied, as this is a "bylaw" for particular communities, so make sure there are no restrictions where you are looking into. Best of Luck to You!
Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI
The true answer will require you to formulate: 1. what you pay for the property (including equity and costs to close), 2. your cost to borrow, 3. the term of the loan and 4. the location of the home, 5. the condition of the home and state of required repairs (if any), 6. marketing costs to get it rented, 7. vacant time on the market and 8. competitive rental rates in the area.
I can tell you vacancy rates are stable (a good landlords market) and market rental rates are running .87 cents to $1.15 per foot per month. If the property is desirable you should be able to get a pretty quick rental in. But if the place is falling apart and requires a lot of repairs, if the insurance and the taxes along with the debt service eat the monthly rent then what's the point of owning it as an investment? (I'm assuming you want it as an investment property)
If you can borrow as a primary residence at a high loan to value your cash out of pocket will be less but your loan amount will be higher. If you can't then you should expect to get investor terms in which you'll have to put up around 25% down on a 5 year fixed rate amortized over 25 years. This might help it cash flow but you really need to analyze the asset on a cash on cash return basis.
If you asked a more specific question like: do we think a 1600 sq.ft. home in Port Richey can be rented for $1400 per month? I would say if it's clean, in good working condition and got at least 2 bath rooms and a garage, then yes.
Hope this helps.
Remember to include the mortgage payments, the homeowners insurance, the property tax and other costs, to make sure you can get enough in rent payments to cover your costs.
You can get some great deals on homes at this time and with the proper research you can do great.
I would be glad to recommend and expert Realtor in this area.