It’s pretty obvious that when you’re looking for a home for yourself, you’ll want to do plenty of research and scrutinize all the details. But when people are making investment purchases, their bottom line is often the only thing they look at. That’s not a good practice — there is definitely research to be done before deciding how to invest.
First you’ll want to decide whether or not this actually is just an investment property, or there’s a possibility you’ll want to live there in the future. If you have long-term plans, you’ll certainly want to consider much more about the property than your bottom line. Multi-family residences are generally higher income, assuming all or most units are rented out, but most people would prefer to live in a single-family residence.
Even monetary considerations don’t stop at the buying and subsequent renting of the property. Make sure that any necessary repairs are within your budget. Whether your plans are short or long term is also important here; it may be okay to take a loss early if the rental income over time is going to make up for it in the future, but you don’t want to buy a fixer if you want to see an immediate return on investment. The bottom line also doesn’t tell you whether you are going to get an income at all. If no one wants to rent in the area where you’re buying, it’s going to remain vacant. Look at crime rates and school ratings for the area. Crime rates are especially important, since even if you manage to get a tenant in a high crime area, you don’t want to suffer the losses even if you aren’t the one living there.