When you invest in real estate, try to remember that you're not just investing in a building and/or land plot. You're also investing in a neighborhood. Make sure to carefully research the neighborhood surrounding your potential investment property before you decide to purchase. The location of your investment will dictate what caliber of tenant you can attract, or if you can attract a paying tenant at all.
Buffalo is a large city that plays host to dozens of neighborhoods- all of which are unique in their own ways. Some Buffalo neighborhoods have very high crime rates; so high if fact, that Forbes.com rated Buffalo, NY among the "10 Most Dangerous Cities in the United States" in 2012. This despite some other Buffalo neighborhoods having earned prestigious accolades, such as the Elmwood Village neighborhood being named one of the "Top 10 Great Places in America" by the American Planning Association in 2007.
If you are an out-of-town investor buying properties "sight unseen," use Google street view to scout the neighbors and count how many houses have boards in their windows and doorways. This is a good visual indicator of vacancies in a run-down area. It's also a good idea to call the Buffalo Police Department (716-851-4444) and ask them for per capita crime statistics broken down by neighborhood. Ultimately, steady rent income will the lifeblood of your investment and vacancy losses can cripple your venture. If your research reveals little-to-zero tenant demand in a particular area, you won't want to invest in rental property there!