Real estate can be a tremendous investment opportunity. And for those who are in for the long run, rental properties really can’t be beat.  But when it comes to taking that crucial first step, most people aren’t sure where to start. If you are thinking about investing in real estate, here are 10 considerations to help you to get off to a great start.

1.Get Your Finances In Order

Before you take the plunge, take stock of your financial situation. Is there anything that you can do to put yourself in a stronger position to invest? Things such as paying down or consolidating debt, along with working on improving your credit score, can help you to qualify for a better loan. You’ll also want to save up for a down payment. A larger down payment is ideal for reducing your monthly payments, your insurance and even your risk.

2. Do Your Research

Next, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about real estate investing and rental property management. Brush up on the basics of landlording, and get some good books that offer sound investment advice. There is a lot more involved with becoming a landlord than meets the eye, and being prepared will help you sidestep many common pitfalls along the way.

3. Start Small

While you may feel pressured into “going big” when it comes to your first investment, there’s nothing wrong with starting small. In fact, it’s how many successful investors get started. Starting small offers a number of benefits; namely, it’ll give you a chance to gain an understanding of how investing works before there’s a lot more at stake.

4. Know The Numbers  

Before you commit to a property, it’s important to know exactly what type of returns you’re looking for. Start by establishing your investing criteria, and resolve to only invest in properties that meet your standards. So be sure to have an idea about cap rate and cash-on-cash returns, along with net yield and cash flow.

5. Scout Out A Location

As a new or first-time investor, you might be looking at property that’s close to home. However, be careful that you’re not limiting yourself. When you open yourself to the possibility of an investment property outside your local area, you’ll be able to take advantage of up-and-coming markets that may have better opportunities. With the property management options and resources available today, investing in out-of-town property is easier than ever.

6. Adopt A Business-Owner Mindset

Investing is a business, and you should treat it like one. Just as you’d have a solid business plan in place for a company, along with clear and actionable plans, key milestones and systems, you’ll want to do the same for your investments. Remember: Your goal is to generate a profit, so make sure you lay the groundwork necessary to do so. Don’t simply invest in the first property that catches your eye. Just as you would in a business, make sure every opportunity checks out. __Full Article Forbes

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