The easiest way to make money in real estate is with emerging market real estate investing. With this type of investing you buy in a market that is about to start appreciating and you hold the property until it comes time to sell. It's very simple, you make your money off the appreciation of the home (and hopefully some cash flow as well).
Let me go into a little more detail. To begin with you need to identify the proper market for emerging market real estate investing. You do this with real estate timing. You analyze real estate markets to see which ones are going up and which ones are going down. That's no easy trick. The best way to do that is with a service that provides you the tools you need to do it. You want to analyze different markets and choose the ones that have the criteria you are looking for. Good criteria are things like solid population growth, strong employment or a desirable location. Maybe a new industry is coming to the area that is going to fuel a population boom. Maybe it's a "newly found" resort destination.
Once you identify the general area, with the proper real estate timing, you need to find where in the location you want to buy your real estate investments. Every city, town, large metropolis, etc. has more desirable locations and less desirable locations. Obviously the more desirable locations will cost more to buy than the less desirable locations. If you buy in the best area you are going to pay the highest price and will have a whole lot harder time making it cash flow. If you buy in the less desirable areas it's easier to cash flow but the homes won't appreciate as well when the market takes off.
I've found it's better to invest in the up and coming neighborhoods, they aren't as expensive yet but are starting to become more desirable. Up and coming neighborhoods have good amenities but may not be as well established as the most desirable areas. What types of amenities are we talking about? It depends on who is going to live in the area. If it's young professionals you'll want close proximity to restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment. These people like to get out and do stuff. If it's a family-oriented area you want good schools, playgrounds, parks and low crime.
Let's review the steps so far:
1. We want to choose our emerging market for our real estate investing - we do this with real estate timing
2. Through real estate market analysis we choose the real estate market we want to invest in
3. We decide where in the market we want to invest - it's best to focus on up and coming neighborhoods
The next step is to select a property to buy. Most people think that emerging market real estate investing means you have to pay full price for a property in a rapidly appreciating market and carry massive negative cash flow. NOT TRUE! True emerging market investing means you buy BEFORE the market takes off. You are buying when most people are selling and the market is down but about to turn. This means that there are LOTS of deals out there. You don't want to pay full price - you want a deal. Make multiple offers on multiple properties and negotiate strongly. It's a buyer's market. Not only that but you also want to look for value options. Value options are things like the only home in the neighborhood without a garage, but you can build one. The kitchen and baths haven't been updated in 30 years - so it's time to remodel. The house is ugly and has no curb appeal - nothing that a landscaper can't fix. In a down market most people won't put money in home improvements because the return isn't there. But if you buy at the end of a down market and put money in improvements you are going to see a return when the market shifts. Remember in emerging market real estate investing you want to focus on buying deals.