Things to Look for When You’re Considering Investing in Properties

Things to Look for When You’re Considering Investing in Properties
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Learn what considerations investors should keep in mind when deciding to invest in real estate.

In this article:

Investing in properties can offer a unique array of benefits to bolster an investor’s portfolio. First, unlike stocks and bonds, which are subject to the rapid fluctuations of the market, real estate typically appreciates over time, offering a relatively stable investment. 

However, as enticing as it may be, investing in real estate requires careful consideration of numerous factors to ensure profitability. This article will highlight some important things to take into account before making any major decisions. 

Why you should invest in real estate

Real estate investments can serve as a hedge against inflation. As the cost of living increases, so too can rental incomes and property values, allowing investors to maintain the strength of their buying power. 

Real estate investment can contribute to a diverse investment portfolio, which is critical in mitigating risk. Mixing asset classes that are not closely correlated—like adding real estate to a stock-focused portfolio—can reduce the risk of experiencing total losses if one market underperforms.

That’s why, despite numerous changes in market trends, real estate remains one of the most compelling investment avenues for cultivating wealth, providing passive income, and ensuring long-term financial stability. 

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What to look for in an investment property

The benefits of property investments are manifold, yet success hinges on solid analysis, savvy decision-making, and a profound understanding of the real estate landscape.

Here’s what you should look for when investing in a property:

Type of property

Identifying the right type of property is the foundation of a successful investment. Residential properties, such as single-family homes, appeal to those envisioning a traditional rental space or a personal dwelling. Multi-family properties like apartments can offer multiple revenue streams in one location. For those seeking diversity, commercial properties such as office buildings or retail spaces might be more suitable. Choose a property type that aligns with your investment goals and market familiarity.


The age of a property can greatly affect maintenance costs, energy efficiency, and the potential for upgrades or renovations. Investors should be mindful of the balance between the charm of older properties and the modernizations required to meet contemporary standards. While older properties might represent golden opportunities for renovation investments, newer constructions might appeal for their lower maintenance profiles and up-to-date features.

Budget and financing

Budgeting and financing are crucial; understanding how much capital is needed, the expected return on investment (ROI), and how to manage it effectively can determine success in real estate investing.

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Strategic planning is paramount to maximize profitability from rentals or sales. Tax implications, such as capital gains and possible deductions or deferments through mechanisms like the 1031 exchange, can influence net profits and must be factored into any investment plan.

Payment plans

Be aware of various payment plans offered, especially during incentive periods. Options range from down-payment plans to construction-linked and time-linked plans, with considerations for post-possession payments. Each comes with its pros and cons in terms of cash flow impact and risk exposure.


The adage “location, location, location” remains timeless in real estate investment. A property’s location influences both its current value and its potential for appreciation. For instance, a property in a developing area, near good schools, or within proximity to amenities, is likely to be more desirable. Analyzing location metrics such as safety, local infrastructure, accessibility to transportation, and community growth indicators can lead to a smart investment.

Real estate laws

Laws pertaining to real estate, which can vary by locale, need to be heeded to avoid legal pitfalls and to capitalize on any opportunities provided by local regulations. For example, some states might have strict rules about the tenant-landlord arrangements while others may have stringent policies about how certain types of land may be used. Depending on the type of property and the ROI you desire, these laws may heavily influence your decision. 

Investment purpose

Define whether the property is for passive income through rentals, capital appreciation, or a flip project. This can dictate your approach to the investment, from property management to marketing strategies, ensuring that every move is purpose-driven. For example, those seeking passive rental income might spend time and money looking for tenants while those working on a flip project might consider investing in the right tools or teams to transform the property. 

Property management

Selecting a capable property management team is essential for retaining tenants, ensuring property maintenance, and managing day-to-day operations effectively. Well-managed properties typically yield better returns and preserve long-term value.

Market timing

The real estate market is cyclical. Knowing when to buy or sell is crucial. Analyze economic indicators and market trends to understand the best timing for transactions to optimize returns.

Taking the time to scrutinize these critical factors can lead to a wise investment decision, allowing your real estate endeavors to flourish and align with your financial roadmap.

Alternative investment strategies

Investing in real estate offers a variety of strategies beyond the traditional approach of purchasing a property to hold and lease. These alternative investment strategies cater to different levels of involvement, capital, risk tolerance, and expertise in the real estate market. Here are some popular options. 

REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) provide a more passive investment option. These trusts own, operate, or finance income-producing real estate and offer shares to investors. A key advantage of REITs is the access they provide to diversified property portfolios without the need to directly purchase or manage the property. 

Online real estate investing platforms

Online platforms have emerged as a means to simplify investing in real estate for both accredited and general investors. Platforms like Fundrise allow investment in commercial and residential properties with a low minimum, making it beginner-friendly and opening the door to commercial real estate, previously inaccessible to most individual investors.

Flipping properties

Flipping involves purchasing a property with the intent to renovate and sell it at a higher price for a profit. It requires a keen eye for undervalued properties, knowledge of renovation costs, and market trends. Successful flipping often hinges on quick turnaround and the investor’s ability to perform or oversee the necessary improvements. While potentially lucrative, flipping also carries a higher risk as markets can be volatile and unseen structural issues can turn a hopeful flip into a financial drain.

Each of these strategies has its unique set of risks and rewards, and investors should conduct thorough research or consult with a financial advisor to determine the most suitable approach based on their financial goals and capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to find an investment property?

Investors can start their search for investment properties using various online databases that allow filtering based on specific criteria, or by seeking out auction sites where properties, including foreclosures and bank-owned REOs, can be found at potential discounts. Working with real estate agents and exploring listings on platforms like Craigslist,, and can also help identify potential investments. Investors should also consider their networks or real estate investor groups for leads.

What to avoid when looking for an investment property?

When searching for an investment property, avoid problematic areas, like those with high crime rates and lack of amenities. If you’re not willing to be super involved or spend significant money on improvements, avoid “projects” or properties that require heavy restoration or ongoing maintenance. It’s also important to avoid big risks unless you have the appropriate funds set aside to absorb the financial hit.

What are the characteristics of a good investment property?

A good investment property should offer the potential for a solid return through rental income or capital appreciation. Low property taxes and properties that are easy to maintain or in good condition can be indicative of a promising investment. Investors should look for properties that align with their budget and have evaluated maintenance and renovation costs.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.