No single property can fit all of the investment goals and rules an investor has set. Even if the investor tried to build a property to specifications, he would find some things “not quite right”. The investor is, therefore, wise to anticipate problems and have some basic strategies for dealing with them. Here are some suggestions to help the investor devise other approaches to meet special needs:

•   Energy saving potential is more important than style or appearance. Given increasing shortages of natural gas and rising prices of fuel, energy saving has become paramount for successful real estate investing.

•   Location is usually more important than the buildings on the lot. You can always make repairs and improvements to a building, but you can’t do anything to change the qualities of a location.

•   An older property is preferable to a new property if you want to be reasonably certain about income and cost potentials and are seeking the most rentable space for each investment dollar.

•   Good workmanship is preferable to good materials if you have to make a choice. Workmanship can overcome the defects of poor materials, but you would pay constantly for poor workmanship. Hopefully, you can avoid this kind of choice because poor workmanship and poor materials mean extra costs and continuing problems.

•   Low down payments are preferable because they increase the earning rates on your equity. However, be sure you have a financial reserve in case the property does not produce enough net income at times to pay for the financing.

•   Plain properties without distinctive architecture or other characteristics are the most durable investments. Luxuries or extras may make the property look better, but they do not improve the income potential.

•   In a given market, smaller units will usually be more saleable, easier to manage, and easier to keep rented in changing markets. Any apartment property with more than 20 units will require professional management.

•    Size of the property and units within the property should fit the average for the market. Smaller or larger units often present problems that result in lower prices and higher costs.

•   Use experts when in doubt. The costs of using appraisers, builders, lenders, and lawyers are considerably less than those associated with making mistakes. If your investment cannot produce enough income to let you pay for expert help, then it may be the wrong investment.

•   Convertibility. The property should lend itself to changes as the market changes so that you can always maximize the rent potential.

•   Flexibility. The space in the property should be easily changed to meet different user needs at minimal costs of time and money.

•   Specifying repairs to be made before buying is a safer, less costly financial strategy. Estimate them ahead of time, thereby being able to negotiate for a lower price.

•   Financing trade-offs. To keep loan payments low, negotiate for long-term payout bases at  equivalent rates. Include in your estimates the initial costs of the loan and the repayment costs and privileges.