If you’re on the hunt for a long-term real estate investment, you need to understand what you’re looking for, and you need to know what your prospective renters are looking for, as well.

Here’s what we think should be at the top of your checklist…

Location

An enticing location is key to getting a great return on your investment. It determines the amount of rent you bring in and the quality of your renter. A town with access to plenty of amenities is your best bet when you’re looking to hold-and-rent. Good schools, a thriving job market, public transportation, parks, restaurants, shopping centres, post offices, medical centres, libraries and entertainment venues are just a few of the things that will make your rental appealing to prospective tenants. The safety of the town factors into the locations appeal. Do some research into crime trends before you invest in a property.

Low maintenance

Some investment properties take more time to maintain than others, properties in low-quality areas that aren’t in good shape also have higher turnover rates and will require more work. The most low-maintenance properties are the ones that attract stable, long-term renters. These probably won’t be the flashiest investments on the market.

If you’re planning on managing the property yourself, then location also comes into play when you’re looking at maintenance. Make sure your property is close to your home. Otherwise, driving to deal with every little problem that occurs will become a big headache.

Numbers

Make a financial strategy before you buy, and don’t forget you’re covering more than just the mortgage. You must also factor operating costs and property taxes into the equation, as well as the average vacancy rate.

Remember to keep in mind that just because rent prices are higher in certain areas, doesn’t mean you’re going to come away with positive cash flow. Be sure to calculate what the real payoff will be against your initial investments.

Appreciate

A smart investment is a rental property that appreciates in value. For you as an investor, appreciation works on two levels – the first is when you buy the property, and the second is when you sell it. When you buy, look at the appreciation potential that you can get from doing a few cosmetic updates on the place.

The other thing to look at is how much the property will be worth when you sell it down the road. Land is going to appreciate over time, but you want an investment that will increase in value more than the rest. Some areas are more up and coming than others, however you can take it even further than that.  Look at the appeal of the specific location of the property within the larger town. You can also check with to find out about plans to build new amenities, which will boost future property values in the area.

Normality

When we say “normal” we mean that you’re looking for something practical. An example of practical would be: A three bedroom, two-bath house with a normal layout located near local schools. You’ll also want to know the basics about who you’re renting to, so that you can meet that target groups basic standards. For an example, if you’re renting to a younger crowd, you want to invest in a property with units that have an open layout.

We hope our investment tips will help you if you do decide to become a property investor!