Great answers so far and here is more help. You can go to my site http://www.fredeckertgroup.com and use the research the area link. You can see demographics, school information, rental vacancy rates, appreciation etc.. You can even compare two areas at the same time. The service is free. I would also consider asking for the seller to pay points towards buying your interest rate down, if you are financing. This would lower your monthly costs to make the property cash flow easier. You can also find useful inforamtion about any zip code at...
The other answer to your question was very informative. I think all the suggestions the other agent made are great. One thing I would like to add is that you may want to go for a drive when you have an opportunity. Statistics are very important, but I believe should not replace taking a look at what you are buying. Oftentimes I have shown property to friends of mine that looked great on paper or the computer, but upon seeing them in person people tend to get a better feeling for the neighborhood and it helps them to make a more confident decision in the future.
When you are considering investing in an area that you are not familiar with it is even more important to begin your DUE DILIGENCE process thoughtfully. Since you don't know the area well I am assuming that you are not up to date on the rental prices for the College Area. These are two resources I'd recommend for looking at current rental rates. Make sure to specify "College Area" in the search parameters.
Now that you have an idea of what rental rates are for the type of property you are considering it's time to talk to an experienced lender. Someone who understands lending specifically for investment properties. What are the current rates and terms available for investment property loans? Take the time to get Pre-Approved by the lender with a letter in hand for the next step.
Now that you are Pre-Approved for a loan it's time to talk to a experienced Real Estate Agent who understands both foreclosures and the College Area. Get some comparable sales for properties you are considering. Look at what homes or condos have been selling for over the past 3 months that are of the general location, style and condition as what you'd like to invest in. How many day have the listings been on the market? How long is it taking for similar properties to go into pending status? What is the average sales price for the area?
Now blend ALL the above data. Are rental rates acceptable for your parameters? Can you qualify for an investment loan and are the terms advantageous for investing? Next, are there properties that meet your strict criteria for being a solid investment? Take some time to really think this over. Once you've got your numbers and strategy together - Pull The Trigger and start seriously hunting for that deal of the century... which comes along about once a week these days.
Feel free to use this website below to search, sort and save San Diego Foreclosures. It's a great tool for investors.
Many Happy Returns... On Investment,
San Diego Foreclosure Specialist