Your age is not the main issue, but your business inexperience very well could be.
If you have deep pockets for a 24 year old and good business savvy, a real estate owned (REO), also called a bank owned property, might work out for you. I would suggest working with a broker who specializes in these properties (I do not).
But the problem with REOs is the possibility of unexpected costs--hence those deep pockets. You also need a lot of patience, as odd things can happen in these deals. I speak from personal experience, as I bought an REO in June 2009.
From a financial planning perspective, I would recommend no less than 50% down on whatever you buy. Being slave to a mortgage is no fun, especially for someone who might want to travel, get another college degree, etc.. But, if your job is high paying enough, or if you have assets from your family to draw upon, your situation may suggest a more relaxed approach--and interest rates are still excellent. But if you can swing 50% down, and still have money in the bank to cover housing expenses and a six-month emergency fund for yourself, then I think you can buy and sleep very well at night.
As far as condo versus 2-family house, in my opinion 2 to 4-family properties have many investment advantages for small investors compared with all other options, including single family houses and larger apartment houses. I think these size houses provide the best balance of carrying costs with returns for most middle class and upper middle class investors.
For an owner-occupant of a two family house, the advantages are clear. You only share walls with one other household, yet you get enormous help paying your mortgage, maintenance and insurance expenses. Also, the maintenance, taxes and insurance costs are usually only slightly higher than if you had bought a one-family home. These houses can also be sold to future owner-occupants, whereas larger properties are really only of interest to investors, usually.
Regarding a condo, you might want to research how well, or how not well, condos in Long Beach are selling right now, if that's where you're shopping. (I live in Long Beach.) I hope you are considering properties in Queens, because there is a strong bias, I think, here in Nassau County, for people who really prefer a detached property and a yard for the kids/dogs to play in.
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Charles Rutenberg Realty, LLC
127 East 56th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(917) 365-0876 cell and text messages