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Buying property and holding it can be a decent investment over the long haul. A lot of that will depend on the area some areas of the country have more voliatile prices than others so timing can affect your overall return. If you buy and pay cash that is the best way to keep the "overhead" of the property lower. Keep it leased out and it will help you obtain a good return on your investment and return some of that locked up cash to you monthly. Keep in mind the cost of ownership including taxes, insurance and maintenance.
Purchasing and holding a property can be a good investment. You should consider the 2 sides of the investment: 1. the income stream.... if the property is purchased at the right price, in the right location and improvements can be made to increase leasing income stream, maintenance cost are kept low, and you are able to make a profit at the end of the month after expenses..... thats a good investment (*everyones IRS" right off / deduction" needs and "rate of return on investments" reqirements may vary) 2. the profit at the time of sale.... estimate the time of holding the property (7-10 years minimum) and estimate average appreciation for the area. Calculate the capital gains tax and the rate of return on the investment. For more detail seek out a real estate professional and accountant in your area for more help.
Unlike the other agents here, I'm going to give you both sides of this question.Owning a rental home is a horrible investment if you have no clue what you're doing. Things WILL go wrong, and your agent will long be gone when you get calls about your tenants being loud and disturbing the peace. But if understand that you WILL get calls from time to time, if you have a long holding period (10 years or more), and you're OK renting the home every couple of years, you'll do great.As a sidenote, I own rentals and I've never recieved the dreaded "3:00 AM" toilet-overflowing call. It just doesn't happen. But I have had units destroyed...people just don't respect rentals. Nothing surprises me, and my strategy has always been to buy in strong neighborhoods that people HAVE TO live in, whether it be because it's within close proximity to a college, a train, or work. The units will always be full, there'll always be investors wanting to buy, and you'll never have to worry about liquidity. I never prefer crummy locations at cheap prices (they're cheap for a reason).
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