LEVEL ONE RESEARCH (Gathering Your Information): Research can begin in a number of ways. As with any endeavor, finding the right people is your key to success. Start by researching who is top in their game. Chances are, a top real estate agent, didn't get there with only a passive knowledge of their subject. Spend some time finding that top agent, and this will open up many doors for you as to finding the right property. A top real estate agent, can help educate you on what you can expect for certain price ranges, they can help you with investment counseling and income rental projections. Understand what you want, and where best to find it. This is the time to gather as much data as you possibly can about what you are looking for. This may be the time to put together a list of things you are looking for in your investment. It is a time to study your market areas, so you understand where the best investment deals can be found. Then an experience real estate agent can help guide you in the right direction. Gather your data, know what you want, find the right real estate agent.
LEVEL TWO RESEARCH (Selecting Your Team of Experts): This is the time when you can hit the ground running. You may travel to your proposed market destination and meet with your team area experts. This is the time where the research you have done, goes into action. This is when you look at the financial sheets, review the property data, and tour various properties.
LEVEL THREE RESEARCH (Making Your Decision): Once you have gathered all your information, and seen the market that you are interested in - you then to start narrowing down which properties meet your investment criteria. This is when an experienced real estate agent can (be worth their weight in gold), they can help point out positives and negatives about various investment properties. Thus helping you to avoid common pitfalls that many others make. Often this real estate expert will have information that will help you, which often compliments your own research data. They may have additional things to consider, points to share, dangers to avoid, before you ultimately make your final decision. A second pair of experienced eyes is always a good idea before signing on the dotted line.