Not everyone is a real estate investor, that’s a given. Some who own rental properties perhaps inherited the home and are “accidental landlords.” Others make it a full time profession and are constantly on the lookout for the next deal. If you’re not a real estate investment tipsreal estate investor but are thinking about it, here are a few basic tips to get you started.

Know the Neighborhood

For starters, buy where you know. Real estate agents constantly repeat the mantra “location, location, location” but they couldn’t be more right. Not only do you need to buy in the right area but you should be keenly familiar with the area. How are homes selling? How are the schools? How is the access to public transportation? There’s simply no reason to buy “blind” in any area.

Find a Mentor

Don’t start out alone. Buying real estate isn’t exactly the same as buying any other good or service. If you make a mistake, you can’t exactly complain to the manager and demand your money back. Real estate involves a series of specific steps that must be done correctly and in order and without someone who’s already “been there and done that” you can make some costly errors. Find someone such as a real estate agent or real estate investor and pick their brain.

Know What You Can Afford

Before doing any serious shopping, get your cash lined up. Speak with a local lender and relate your plans and your goals. You want to be able to not just afford the property but comfortably cash flow. Your rental income should cover not just your mortgage payment but your property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.

Start Small, Then Grow

There’s no reason your first investment has to be a $2.5 million dollar apartment building. Start small and work your way up if that’s your goal. Learn the ins and the outs of owning investment real estate from collecting the rent to fixing the garbage disposal.

Surround Yourself with Pros

You don’t have to know absolutely everything so invite others to join your team. Find the best real estate agent that you can. Contact a reputable contractor, a closing agent and a real estate attorney. They can provide you with invaluable advice and they’ll profit all along the way.