One of the biggest costs to weigh when looking at SFR vs condo is HOA and maintenance cost. Condo will be higher, but you may end up saving on insurance and maintenance. SFR will generally have lower fees but you will be responsible for more costs like landscaping, insurance, etc... However, it's not a cut and dry situation. Each property is different and if you have the ability- you should have a mixture of property types in your portfolio.
The areas to focus on- find the areas where tenants desire your property and your property is in demand. In years past: condos in downtown Orlando, metrowest and Kissimmee were in high demand by investors. Because of that, inventory of those units has gone down and prices up. That has been driving investors towards other property types and areas. Winter garden, Oviedo, and Davenport buying single family homes and townhomes. One particular area that you should pay particular attention too is Lake Nona. I have recently closed on a few new construction townhomes here to investors. Those investors have either owned other property types or searched for other types and after weighing all the costs and benefits decided to purchase new construction because of the development of the area. I happen to agree.
If you would like to see my past results, send me an email. I will send you a breakdown of all the costs and net returns. Also included will be a step by step process of searching, purchasing, tenant placement and management.
Oh and to answer you last question: you can search on my website by the link below. (no sign up required) click on the investor search. You can find property you like. Then my site does an automatic radius search around that listing for rental property. That will give you a good idea about the current rental prices surrounding the listings you like.
Best of luck with your investments!
1) Cost is the big difference. If you are in the bargain end, a $100,000 condo will be a much much higher quality property than a single family house. A lot of beginners like condos because of the protective blanket they get from being part of an association that takes care of exterior maintence and insurance. In a single family house you are on your owner for all that. Return wise a single family house will produce better returns in the long run, all esle being equal.
2) You want to be somewhere that can leverage the tremendous growth being driven by the new medical city at Lake Nona. It is an area that will add 100's to 1000's of new well paid jobs every year for the next 6 to 10 years. The vast majority of those new employess will need a new place to live.
3) You read the referals written by investors here on Trulia and over on Zillow about agents like me who have helped many investors just like you get started. Then you pick one of us and get started.
Good luck, Mark
Single family homes will definitely have a better resale value than a condo. They are in demand more than a condo. However, the pro with a condo is that you will have less maintenance to deal with as an owner. Great areas are just a matter of working with a REALTOR like myself to help you determine the viability of the area for your return on investment. As far as research, visit a couple of websites to search and view if the property(s) are meeting your standards then discuss with the REALTOR; and I'm sure you will get great feedback.
James Williams, III
RE/MAX Premier Properties