Finding Investment Properties

by : Kim Lee

Finding investment properties is not as hard as it may seem. There are many avenues to choose from when trying to locate a good investment property. With thousands of houses on the market, it is actually easy finding investment properties. One of the first sources would be the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings of your local real estate agent. The multiple listing book has every property for sale in the local area. This usually means the entire county. Some MLS books have more than one county listed. Agents who live or work close to a county line may cover portions of another county. The agent is licensed to work in the state, not just the county.

When you search through the book, you can also generate some other interesting facts about an area. You can tell what the market is doing. This is one reason every good investor has a real estate agent he or she works with. The wealth of information gleaned from a knowledgeable agent is worth more than you can imagine.

Another great place to find investment property at superb prices often below the market value is at property auctions. Property auctions usually feature many home owners, who, due to financial misfortune or other compelling circumstances, have turned to selling their investment property to the highest bidder in an auction. There are many reasons why good investment properties might appear in an auction of this nature; lenders such as mortgage providers might have re-possessed a property, the property might be dilapidated to such an extent that the owner does not have the time or money to re-develop it, or a whole host of other reasons. Local estate agents will be able to advise potential investors of the location of auctions in their area.

Another good source for finding investment properties is to view local tax lists. This allows you to know what properties are in distress. Many times someone who can not pay their taxes can not pay the mortgage either. In some cases the taxes are included in the mortgage. If this is the case you know for a fact the property is headed for foreclosure. When the mortgage is not being paid there is no money for the taxes to be paid. There are some areas where it is mandatory for a finance company to put foreclosure proceedings in the local paper. For someone who is interested in pre-foreclosures, this is a good way to find investment properties. The listings lately have been very long. It is estimated that over one million homes will face foreclosure in the next year.

The government agencies like the Veteran's Administration (VA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) both list their repossessions on the Internet. The investor who is dealing with foreclosures can find many investment properties this way. There are some financial institutions which list the Real Estate Owned (REO') properties on their web sites as well. These are properties which the mortgage has been foreclosed on. Many good deals can be made on these properties by the savvy investor.

No matter where you look for an investment property there are some basic rules to remember. Never buy at full market value. You want to have at least 20% equity in the property for it to be a good investment. Know your market. If you do not know what is selling and what is not, there is no sense in even trying to invest in real estate. Have a marketing plan of action. You need to know what you are going to do with the properties you want to buy. Make sure there is a backup plan in case the first one does not pan out. Set up a real estate team to help you with any of your real estate needs. This means working with a real estate agent, an inspector, an appraiser, and even a loan officer. The more people you know who know real estate, the better off you are.