Quote from imintrouble
I don't know anything about financials.
But I love the idea of buying real estate.
Like anything it is something that can be learned.
It has been amazing to me. I have done live-in renovations, which I no longer do because I'm older and sleeping with a dust mask on is less glamorous now plus I have more money. I have also done basic fluff up and rent out.
The big things to remember is real estate is not liquid nor is it for delicate flowers. If you are someone who will decide you need to move, leave, or sell your property immediately the market might not cooperate. In general and historically sensibly purchased real estate should increase in value, possibly slowly but it should increase over the course of time. If however the neighborhood is taking a bad turn, which is not something that happens overnight, you need to be aware and jump ship even if it means taking a loss. I'm all for buying and renovating in an upcoming area that is ready to hit but no way would I sit around and hope a declining neighborhood is going to magically turn around. You will be stuck with an unsalable property and glum tenant prospects.
Sensibly purchased real estate to me usually means something ugly in an excellent neighborhood so you are getting in lower than the pretty properties. Do basic upgrades to make gains in value early. If you are going to rent be prepared that renting, even to the best tenants is a PITA and requires some babysitting. You can't expect to just sit back and collect $15,000 a year in rental income without breaking a sweat in most cases. I've been very fortunate with my tenants however I'm very picky about the neighborhoods which naturally results in prospective tenants who are professionals and easily able to pay the rent. I am brutal about not even considering someone with poor credit even if their story tugs at my heart. People who have financial struggles are usually chronic and getting someone out of your rental property can be brutal.