First to get a general idea of rental markets trends and rent comparable you might wish to give these sites a look.
You might want to begin looking at the Bank and Gov. properties for sale sites. Like these.....
They will allow you to see asking prices, addresses, who the property is listed with, anywhere in the USA for Free as they are provided for the public by the Banks and Gov. These sites all with provide you links to the Bank and Gov sites.......
These sites will also provide you with a lot of information on the purchasing and bidding processes involved.
When you feel ready to choose an agent you may want to read the information here...
Lastly, I'd like to say that I would suggest spending days (seriously) reading thru the Q&A as the amount of information in this forum will provide you with much knowledge about investing/buying/selling/renting ect..
Like this for example.......http://www.trulia.com/blog/dp2/2009/02/renting_doesn_t_build_we
Good luck in your investing, Dunes
or a natural disaster forum....http://www.topix.com/forum/news/natural-disasters
Good luck, Dunes
You do open up a very interesting question: if you had to pick one type of natural disaster, which is the most financially manageable?
Now that you mention it, I wonder if that wouldn't be tornadoes? Here is my reasoning: all other types of disasters potentially destroy a much larger number of properties in the same place at the same time. Therefore they are harder and more expensive to insure against, and claims are less likely to be paid. In the case of a hurricane, earthquake, or flood it might make more financial sense for the insurance company to go out of business.
With tornadoes on the other hand, it's just a few houses at a time here and there. That's the type of situation an insurance company can handle reasonably well and they will have some incentive to pay claims because they want to keep selling tornado insurance.
Tons of companies are still relocating here due to cost of doing business being less expensive. I personally would stay out of Dallas County... but thats just opinion. But taxes aren't too bad, insurance isn't sky high, and there are tons of great schools all around.
I guess you like suprises. Hurricanes are one of the few natural disasters that people know about in advance. Just wonder why you are willing to accept total destruction from acts that are totally unannounced.
Have you really thought about this?????
Lots of parts of Metro Detroit have homes that will sell for less than 70k and provide you with positive cash flow. We don't have any of the natural disasters you mention.
Why put money into a deal when you don't have to? If you can learn to invest with little to no money, you can limit your risk. I guess it all depends on the return you're looking for on your investment and the time period you want to have your money back in your pocket. Many of the people I know get 15% to infinite% ROI.