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How to Pick Profitable Rental Properties

(Investment Properties: Part 4 of 5)

From looking at various homes to actually making a profit, investing in rental properties takes many steps. A person that is new to the process may feel a bit overwhelmed. In order to reduce risk and increase your chances of making positive cash flow with real estate, here are some tips on picking a home.

Good School Zone

A good school zone will always attract families. Many families will be able to purchase homes in the area but some will have to rent a while in order to get their finances in order. These are the types of people who will stay in a home for 2 or 3 years and be potential good tenants. Focus on schools that have high standardized test scores and achieve well in the areas of math and science.

Avoid High Crime Areas

This may seem obvious, but it needs to be pointed out. Homes in areas that are subject to more than average rates of crime will be tough to rent out. Furthermore, the crime rate will drop the rental rate. This can cause a breakeven or even net loss on the monthly cash flow.

Demographic of Neighborhood

Each neighborhood will have its own miniature set of demographics. A community next to a college or university will likely be made up of homes rented almost exclusively to students. An older neighborhood with higher priced homes will likely have couples that are middle aged and higher. Study the neighborhood carefully to make sure there is an available market of tenants that fit the demographic.

Employment Opportunities

Another factor that can heavily influence the profitability of a rental property is the number of available jobs in the nearby area. A new factory, expanding hospital or growing university are places that will add on more people and need them for full time work. Many times people will obtain a job first and then start looking for nearby homes to rent. Sometimes these people can be short term renters but it is possible to find someone that locks in a home for 2 or 3 years.

Check for Vacancies and Homes for Sale

For a new subdivision that is under construction it is common to see multiple signs indicating new homes for sale. However, for an established neighborhood, a high number of for sale signs is a kiss of death. This typically indicates that the area is on the decline. An even worse condition is the presence of several vacant homes. These are homes that have been abandoned for various reasons. Steer clear of these areas in your own best interest.

Be on the Lookout for Problems from Mother Nature

Some areas are more prone to natural problems than others. Issues like flooding, mud slides and tornadoes seem to be attracted to certain areas. The insurance for properties in these areas can be quite high and chip away at the monthly cash flow for the property.

Finding a good property based on these guidelines does not automatically mean that your home will be a cash cow. However, it should increase your chance for success in a very lucrative type of investment.

Investment/Rental Properties (5 Part Series)

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