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what to look for when buying an investment propertyPurchasing rental property can be an excellent long term investment for buyers. However, it is important to purchase a property that is in good repair to avoid expensive maintenance issues later on down the road. Major problems can lead to long-term vacancy and financial disaster for many property owners.

Here are some major problems that you cannot afford to ignore when you are purchasing rental property:

  • Major structural problems. If your home inspection turns up significant structural issues, you should pass on that one and keep looking. Those problems will most likely turn into a major headache for you and your renters later on if you buy the property. While minor vertical cracks in a foundation can often be dealt with by applying sealer to keep out water, horizontal cracks usually indicate a severe problem. An easy way to check for foundation problems is to drop a marble on the floor and see how far and how fast it rolls. If floors are sagging or sloping, that can mean a serious problem with the foundation.

  • Black Mold. Although you should avoid a house with any major water-related problem, black mold spreads quickly and is known to cause health problems. Plus it is very expensive to remediate, sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and requiring the removal of all cabinetry and treating every surface.

  • Shoddy workmanship.  Because everyone in the chain of construction faces pressure to cut costs, there is always the danger of a lack of quality control. If you notice that windows or roofing material has been improperly installed, that could signal the major problem of water leaking into walls, which causes rot, mold, and structural weakness. Plus when materials are improperly installed, that usually voids the manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Bad Neighborhood.  You might find a potential rental property in a bad neighborhood for a good price, but that bargain might not outweigh future problems. If a rental house is located beside terrible neighbors, it might be hard to keep it rented, which will mean a diminished return on your investment at best.

Not only can these problems cost you a lot of money in terms of repairs, but they could also cause you to have a hard time keeping the property rented. Be sure to hire a trained, licensed home inspector. Most home buyers are not trained to look at homes in the same way that an inspector knows to look. An inspector can find serious problems with a home and prevent you from making a huge mistake.

Finally, if you are buying rental property, it is important to remember to separate your emotions from the transaction. This is usually easier for people to do when they are buying a rental property rather than what will serve as their primary residence. Remember, you want a property that will stay rented and bring you a good return on your investment.

If you own rental property in the Phoenix or Tucson areas, you can trust Fort Lowell Realty and Property Management to provide you with the highest levels of service.