There are many factors to consider when making an investment property purchase. Jersey City and Newark are huge investment property markets. Most of the residents in those cities rent. I am very familiar with Jersey City and work with several investors in that market. If you have never been to Jersey City, I suggest you drive through it and become familiar with the neighborhoods. Like any investment, I recommend investigating the City and the various neighborhoods. See what development is going on in the area and what the future holds for the section and City. There are many foreclosures and pre-foreclosure/short-sales in Jersey City now. Most of the properties that are going to be in your price range are in the Greenville, Bergen-Lafayette, West Bergen, and Jersey City Heights sections. You can get a 2-4 family there for around $150,000 to $200,000.
I am not familiar with the Newark market. There may be an agent in that market who can respond to your question on this site and guide you there.
There are pros and cons to buying a multifamily and a condo. On a multi-family, there is much more maintenance involved. You as the owner are responsible for everything; yard maintenance, snow removal, interior and exterior repair, etc. On a condo, you are just responsible for the interior of your unit and usually a management company oversees the common areas. This is paid through the monthly maintenance fee.
Something else to consider is are you going to collect the rents personally and do repairs, or hire a management company to do this for you? Having someone do this for you can be a great benefit especially if you do not live in the area, however this is an extra expense that can eat into your profits.
From my experience, the rates of return are usually better on a multifamily, but this all depends on how much you put down as a down payment and how much you finance.
I'll be happy to speak with you further about investment properties. There is much more than what I just went over, but I hope this answers some of your questions.
If I can be of any assistance to you, please let me know.
Walter J. Burns
1 Newark St.
Hoboken, NJ 07030
201-653-8488 Ext: 230