Syndicated — The media and real estate professionals continually report that 2012 is the year to buy real estate. Since home values have dropped considerably, the U.S. median list price has dropped considerably, too. Couple that with interest rates that are the lowest they've ever been and it's a perfect storm of real estate buying opportunity, especially for starting out your career as a landlord.
Note: If you are one of those folks that believes you can predict the future and hopes prices will go down, they may. But interest rates might go up which would nullify any gain you would hope to obtain from any price decrease. But more importantly, all investments fluctuate in value over time. You should not be concerned about short-term fluctuations in a long-term investment, like real estate. If you buy sooner over later, ten years down the road not only will you own more properties overall than someone who waits, but you'll most likely have earned significant equity in all of them. And you won't care about any price fluctuations that might have occurred in 2012, 2013, or 2014.
Here are tips to get started. And, if you start a few years out of college, and amass several properties, you will probably be retiring early.
Go for the long haul - Rarely do people increase their wealth by owning property for short periods of time. Long-term investing in cash flow-producing assets like real estate is the way to go.
Don't' give up your day job! - You need a solid job to be able to save money for a down payment and be able to obtain financing to buy properties.
Buy cash flow-positive properties - If you don't understand why to do this, you might want to skip real estate ownership. See "What is a Good Real Estate Investment" article.