Newbie Question on potential investment

I’m looking at getting into Real Estate Investing to buy and hold rental properties to generate income. I’ve started reading to learn as much as possible, and have been doing some neophyte calculations, when I stumbled across this:

4-plex housing unit in decent neighborhood:

Asking Price $129,995.00 (County Tax Value $85,000.00 )
Down Pmt $25,999.00
Financed $103,996.00 (assuming full price)

Mortgage Pmt $763.09
Tax Pmt $224.00
Insurance $100.00?

Total Payment: $1,087.09
Current Rents: $1,800.00

Potential Cashflow $712.91

Even at the asking price, isn’t this a great income generator, and even better if I could knock off 10-15,000 off the price? What are the pitfalls I am probably overlooking? Any insight is appreciated!!


San Antonio


From your figures I see there are several things you are not taking into consideration with this investment.

Vacancy, repairs, any maint. (lawn service, pest control) or utilities that must be provided by the landlord, can add up quickly. These things can bring that 700 per month down to nothing fast.

Look at the history of this property for vacancy #'s to use, find out if it is metered seperately or if you are responsible for water or garbage, look at past repairs as listed on present owners tax returns to get a possible idea for how much is normally spent on repair. Inspect the building closely for any defferred maint. issues. These are repairs that will have to be made soon by YOU if you buy.

Not trying to discourage you at all, this looks like it could turn out to be something, there are just many factors to look at especially on multiunits.

I second William’s opinion that there might be something here, but you can estimate at least 33% in expenses above and beyond the ones you listed. If you have someone else manage it, add that on.

So, again like William suggested, it’s good to get some more details on past experience and real estate shouldn’t be bought off of rules of thumb, but those “rules” are a guideline to start.

What sort of deferred maintenance is there? Will you have to replace the roof, the parking lot, heating and cooling systems, etc. anytime soon?

How much will you put aside for replacement reserves each month?

Hopefully, you get the idea that the gross spread can disappear very quickly depending on the specifics.