When asking questions on Trulia, it's better to include pertinant information in one question rather than multiple ones. Agents are then able to give you better answers.
See my previous answer and reference to CPDE and short sale agents.
Pertaining to this question. Your financial planner would be the best person to advise you if you should pay cash for a property or obtain a mortgage and leverage your cash. I suggest taking a step back and speaking to your advisor first. Your business decision, make it based upon facts, not emotions.
Have you thoroughly investigated the potential return on investment you may have for a property. In other words, if your cash offer is accepted, without any contingencies other than a clear title, once rehab is complete, will you be able to rent or sell and still make a profit in TODAY's MARKET?
What did the 5 year forecast indicate? In general, multi-family may fair better than single family but run the numbers for any if you are choosing to rent.
The reason I ask these questions is, I see investors failing all the time. They purchase a property, get in over their heads with excitement, run into trouble, and the property ends up back in foreclosure 6 months later.
Take some time, speak with a Distressed Property agent, verify what non-foreclosure properties are selling for in that area, and make an informed offer on a property. In general, you may find you get a better return on your investment purchasing a pre-foreclosure or short sale property. These may require less work. But, this is your business decision.
If you need the names of some agents let me know. I am not a CPDE or CCIM but know some that may be good choices.