- Start small: Buy a single family residence or condo, or even a duplex. This should be a straightforward transaction for both the novice or experienced investor, very similar to buying your primary residence. The lending rules are virtually the same as for a primary residence, and the process is easy to understand.
- Hands on or hands off: You can choose to manage the property yourself, or outsource to a professional Property Manager. Even though it impacts your cash flow, it is probably best for the first-time investor to use a professional Property Manager. Once you get the hang of it, you can start taking some of the management responsibilities on yourself.
- 5+ Multi-unit: Larger apartment buildings (5 units and up) have different lending rules and property management requirements. These are a great way to leverage your investment, but they need quite a bit more experience, plus a higher tolerance for risk and problem solving ability.
- Owner Occupied: If you live in one of your units, such as one side of a duplex, you can lower your investment mortgage significantly, and still leverage the full value of the property while it appreciates! With duplexes, for example, you can usually reduce your mortgage by about 1/2.