If you decide to explore areas further north of Miami there are plenty of excellent properties with great cash on cash returns. There are two aspects to consider when looking into the purchase of an investment property; the return on revenue you can reasonable expect based on the purchase price and the location and how it might be affected by future price appreciation.
When looking at project returns you need to carefully evaluate the purchase price and ongoing expenses like association fees, property taxes, insurance, etc. You also need to thoroughly investigate the current rental climate in the area surrounding the property. What are similar properties renting for, how quickly are the renting, how many similar properties are out there for rent, etc. Also take a very hard look at the financials of any association as some are in very bad shape.
You also need to carefully evaluate the condition of the property and determine what expenses may be incurred in getting the property into rental condition. Many of my clients prefer to put hard surface flooring throughout as it stands up to wear and tear better than soft goods. I have some excellent sources for contractors able to handle any repair requirements at very competitive rates. One thing many investors overlook is if you are in an association will they accepts pets. Many pet lovers have a difficult time finding home that will accept their pets and this can be a huge benefit to investors. If you find a pet friendly situation it will make it easier in most locations to find tenants willing to pay a little more.
Future appreciation is hard to put a precise number on but the better the location the higher that appreciation will probably be.
The best thing you can do is locate a qualified Realtor who can properly assist you in locating good opportunities and be ready to act quickly when the right opportunities present themselves. If you are going to interview agents in Palm Beach County to work with I am very active with investors and would love the opportunity to be considered. The current market is really a perfect storm and in my opinion Florida real estate in the right location is one of the absolute best investment opportunities we will see in our lifetimes.
Best of luck and if I can offer anything additional please let me know.
Always at Your Service,
Tom Priester e-PRO
"Results Driven Real Estate"
Keller Williams Realty