How to Research Investment Properties Before You Buy

How to Research Investment Properties Before You Buy

There’s a level of risk inherent to any investment, but successful investors can tell you that making money in this manner should never be a game of chance. Research constitutes a significant portion of any investor’s job, and that’s especially applicable when dealing with real estate. Any number of factors could affect the value of your property, but these tips can help you get some sensible grounding in the industry.

Learn the Lay of the Land

The value of a property is about a lot more than the size and quality of the home. The neighborhood and city it occupies is just as important, and getting a feel from the street level can help you not just predict what the property is worth now but what it might be worth in the future. If possible, you’ll want to make sure to visit the house itself so you can get an understanding of the local traffic situation, aesthetics, and access to entertainment and public facilities. Driving around can give you a big picture understanding, but going out on foot is just as important. Speak with local business owners and residents to get an understanding of the attitudes and get to know about upcoming development projects. This can be a good barometer for how well you can expect your property’s value to grow.

Assess the Market

There are a number of online resources that can help you determine if the property you’re looking at is a smart investment or a money trap. Check with a local Realtor or with online rental directories to get an understanding of typical rent in the area, and then evaluate that against your budget and the cost of your investment. Zillow can be a great resource here. You can also dig up the mortgage and lien history on your property directly. This information is public record and can be uncovered online without too much effort.

Scope Out Total Expenses

Figuring out the cost of your investment is about more than just comparing the cost of your mortgage to the average rent. You also have to take utilities, maintenance, and insurance into consideration. This will help you more accurately determine what your overall costs can be. And while some owners may be reticent to give up this information, the promise of a reliable buyer can often encourage them to be transparent with that data.

After putting these tips to use and conducting thorough research, you are ready to make your investment!