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How To Search For Investment Properties

Knowing how to search for investment properties is paramount in real estate. The journey toward a prosperous investment begins by identifying income properties that offer a robust return on investment (ROI).

A pivotal step that every investor must take within real estate investment involves pinpointing the optimal investment property. However, the process of scouting for available properties, especially for those who are new to the world of investment, can often prove to be a challenging feat. Despite the many resources, not all are equally proficient at uncovering properties that balance affordability with profitability. The heartening news is that several well-proven methods exist for identifying suitable rental properties.

If you are a newcomer to the domain of real estate investment and find yourself pondering the intricacies of locating promising investment properties, we’ll assist you in learning how to search for investment properties.

Why Buy an Investment Property?

Experienced real estate investors recognize the various benefits of investing in real estate, such as passive income and wealth growth. Preapproval for a mortgage is crucial before starting the journey.

Different motivations drive individuals in real estate, like house flippers seeking profitable deals and rental property investors aiming for long-term income. The key is learning how to search for investment properties to establish a viable income stream or business.

Things to Consider Before Starting Your Search for Investment Properties

Spending time looking at property listings and dreaming about homes can be enjoyable. A firm concept of your tastes is useful when you search for investment properties. Below are a few points to consider before you start your search for investment properties to make the process smoother.

Decide How Much You Want to Invest

Be realistic and consider how much you can afford for a down payment and mortgage. Remember to include property taxes, closing costs, and homeowners’ insurance. Websites like Guardian Property Management can help you estimate monthly mortgage payments and other expenses based on property value, expected interest rates, and historical data.

Choose the Type of Property You Want to Invest In

Before you search for investment properties, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want and your goals. Do you want to rent out homes, or do you prefer commercial land development?

Are you looking for a long-term investment or quick profits like flipping houses? Consider the type of real estate that suits you best so you can search for properties more effectively and filter out ones that don’t fit your needs.

Know Where You Want to Invest

Before beginning your search for investment properties, research markets of interest and define your investment goals. If you’re new, even if the first deal isn’t perfect, it’s a starting point to understand local prices.

Alternatively, if you’re attracted to a different market, focus your search and explore options, including using platforms like Arrived for investment opportunities without a full down payment.

Plan for the Best Return on Investment

Knowing how you plan to use a property helps you filter choices and discard those not aligned with your goals. For instance, consider the house’s state and local regulations if you’re targeting vacation rentals.

When evaluating single-family or multifamily homes, factor in rental income, living arrangements, and tenant management. Balancing these aspects is crucial for successful property ownership.

Where to Find Investment Properties

No matter your location, real estate investment opportunities are available almost everywhere. Thankfully, there are numerous methods for potential buyers like you to discover sound investments without needing to travel first.

After setting a budget, outlining your property preferences, and understanding your expected returns, you can begin your search for properties that align with your ambitious goals.

Here’s where you can initiate your search for investment properties.

Real Estate Listings

A real estate agent or licensed REALTOR® is a valuable partner in finding investment opportunities. They have local expertise and connections that can provide advice and leads, saving you time for property management. Going alone isn’t necessary, as agents offer valuable insights, making them crucial advisors for aspiring investors.

Through Multiple Listings

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a valuable resource, offering a comprehensive repository of available properties in your region. However, since others, including fellow investors, also use it, the key is swift action when a property of interest emerges.

It necessitates familiarity with the area and having proof of funds or a preapproval letter ready to back your offer. Having a real estate agent or attorney on hand can provide guidance and address any inquiries when you’re prepared to make an offer.


In today’s era of perpetual connectivity, with apps and smartphones in abundance, online real estate auctions emerge as a beneficial avenue for leads and purchasing chances. Although certain auctions persist as physical events in specific states, most now unfold online, accessible to buyers nationwide.

Remember that auctions usually demand buyers to have sufficient cash available for completing the transaction. If necessary, you can later organize delayed financing to reclaim your invested cash, which can be utilized for forthcoming purchases.

Searching for Investment Properties in Offline Mode

Please be aware that not all properties are listed on the MLS, and some (those sold directly by motivated owners) may rely on word of mouth for promotion. House flippers seeking properties that can be easily improved and resold for profit should pay attention to off-market options.

Explore the Neighborhood

Driving through desired neighborhoods can yield potential leads. Look for homes that are for sale, about to be listed, or in need of repairs. You can approach homeowners directly by knocking on doors, noting addresses for research, and then contacting owners for appointments. Alternatively, you can put up signs in the neighborhood to signal your interest in buying.

Network & Spread the Word

Utilize word of mouth by informing your real estate agent and local professionals about your search. Be respectful of people’s situations, but be alert to signs of potential sales due to job changes, family reasons, or divorces.

Visit For Sale by Owner Properties

If you spot a For Sale by Owner sign, take the chance to schedule a visit. Tour the property, discuss repairs, and understand the seller’s motivations. This hands-on approach can help you identify promising opportunities. Additionally, check Craigslist classifieds, as they sometimes offer properties for sale by the owner.

Explore Pre-foreclosures & Foreclosures Online

Online platforms provide details about pre-foreclosures and foreclosures, which can benefit diligent investors. Regular searches at the local or county level can reveal attractive options.

Consider Short Sale Opportunities

If you encounter homeowners facing financial difficulties, consider approaching them about a potential short sale. It can be a win-win situation financially, benefiting both parties. Keep in mind that short-sale properties are usually sold as-is.

Things to Look for in Investment Property

Determining the criteria for your search for investment properties hinges on your financial objectives and strategies for new real estate ventures. For house flippers, the focus is on finding appealing homes in sought-after locations that are undervalued and can be swiftly refurbished for a substantial profit.

On the other hand, rental property investors seek budget-friendly acquisitions in popular neighborhoods with future demand, ensuring consistent passive income and property appreciation. There are several factors to contemplate when purchasing your initial rental property.


The adage “location is everything in real estate” holds due to its importance. Owning a desirable property in a thriving area on an economic upswing guarantees a favorable return on investment.

When exploring options, particularly as an emerging rental property investor, consider areas with a consistent population influx and potential renters, such as college towns or rapidly developing business districts.

Property Taxes

Property owners are obligated to pay annual property taxes to the government. These amounts can vary over time. High property taxes associated with a property can negatively impact yearly cash flows, investment profits, and the property’s resale potential.


The cost of repairs, especially if involving professional services, can significantly affect profits. Investors who can’t manage property maintenance tasks themselves must factor in expenses for contractors or property management services. Alternatively, if you’re inclined toward do-it-yourself projects, online tutorials and videos offer valuable guidance for maintenance and repairs.


Crucially, the numbers need to make sense. Creating budgets, analyzing financing figures, and calculating potential profits before committing to investment are essential. Metrics like projected return on investment (ROI), internal rate of return (IRR), and gross rent multiplier (GRM) assist in making well-informed decisions grounded in rational analysis rather than emotions.


  • How do you find the investment value of a property?

You make this determination by examining the prevailing average return yield in the market. Therefore, consider conducting research on rental yields or business returns specific to your locality to ascertain an average figure. Once you have accomplished this, proceed to divide the net operating income by the cap rate. This calculation will yield an approximate market value estimate for your property.

  • What is the 1% rule in real estate?

The real estate investing 1% rule evaluates the cost of an investment property in relation to the total income it will produce. To meet the 1% rule’s criteria, a prospective investment must have a monthly rental income that equals or exceeds 1% of its purchase price.

  • What’s a good ROI for rental properties?

Factors such as location, property type, local market dynamics, and investment objectives all come into play. Typically, a favorable return on investment (ROI) for rental properties is often deemed to be approximately 8% to 12% or even higher.

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