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Rental purchase: finance now vs. finance later

Question for mortgage specialists.  I have sufficient cash in bank from work income to purchase a rental house or two (+/- $200k), and will have enough in the next 12 months for a third.  I live in a paid off house (current value apx. $240k).  My goal is to have $3k/mo in net rental income.  I am not sure 3 paid off houses will do that, probably would take 4 paid off.  If I choose to finance instead of pay cash, that will mean I need more houses due to decreased cash flow, but of course I can do that because it takes less initial outlay of cash for down payment.  

Would it be better to finance the first house when purchasing it, or to finance the house after purchase and renter is in place?  There are further issues of timing.  My income last year tax form is about $150k, this year will be over $350k but next year I'm having a baby and the income will drop dramatically.  I suspect if I'm going to finance I need to do it this year and next when the tax returns look good.  My credit score is in the range of 795-805.
  • July 21 2012 - Spring Hill
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