Are you wondering if this is a good time to buy an investment property? What about fixer-uppers?
If you can find a reasonably priced fourplex, it could indeed be a good time to buy. Many authorities think real estate prices will be rising soon. In many areas, they already are.
* Look for a property with positive cash flow, including a maintenance history that you could live with.
If the property is owned by a bank, it could be on the market for much less than a seller-owned property. One problem with buying it: You could be asked for a down payment of 20 percent to 25 percent.
Always make sure the building has been properly inspected so you know what repairs you would have to make.
* If you have the skills, a fixer-upper or repossession could be a good deal for you. After increasing the property's value, you could flip it and pocket a nice profit. Some boasters say that on a nice property, if you install granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and get a new coat of paint, you can sell it quickly. It's not quite that easy.
Bloomberg Business Week recently ran an article titled "Flipper, Come Home. All is Forgiven." The flipper became the symbol of real estate fever a couple years ago. Many of them lost money when the market tanked.
Today the situation is different. Not only are flippers not frowned upon, communities are welcoming them. They buy a property that was repossessed and is declining in value for lack of maintenance and repairs. They fix it up so it's a credit to the neighborhood and sell it at a nice profit. They do it all quickly.
* The Federal Housing Administration is helping. In February, a one-year waiver of anti-flipping rules took effect. Borrowers can now get FHA financing to acquire homes from investors who have held title for less than 90 days.
* If you're looking for an investment and can do the work of upgrading a property, you could be pleased with the monthly income from rents. Over time, rents will rise, and when the property is paid off, you would have a nice income stream.