Thinking of buying a home and renting it

I live in a large city with some nice neighborhoods near a large university. There seem to be a lot of good homes for sale at reasonable prices due to the housing crash (my own house would sell today for less than I paid for it). As an alternative to letting it sit in high-risk investments like stocks, I am considering buying a house, getting a mortgage, finding a tenant to pay rent which covers the monthly payment including taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc., and then just managing the rental to build equity and hopefully appreciation in value. Is this a viable investment strategy?

Yes, but your mortgage taxes and insurance are not going to be your only expenses.

You will have repairs, advertising, and vacancies.

Tenants are hard on a house and college students are extra hard on a house. They break stuff, so you do a lot of repairs when you are a landlord.

When your tenants move out, the rent stops until you can get a new tenant. Sometimes that is not quick.

Occasionally, if you aren’t careful about choosing your tenants, you will get a tenant stop paying rent and refusing to move out. Then you have legal expenses to get rid of them along with a month or so of no rent.

There are expenses to show a vacancy. You must drive back and forth to be there, and you might have many showings before you find a tenant.

it’s a great way to build wealth, but get educated before you start buying.

These forums, books on real estate investing (you can find several recommended on this site), I don’t recommend high cost seminars.

If possible find someone in your area that is a real estate investor, take them to lunch and get information from them,this is a very unusual business, where we know we can’t ‘get it all’ so most investors are happy to help you,but make sure they are actually an investor, not a “I want to invest”,you get knowledge from people that have done it