Whether you are planning on buying a house in a new city or looking to spread out your investment portfolio with a targeted buy in your local market, real estate offers a unique investment opportunity that simply can’t be beaten. In order to make the most of any real estate buying opportunity, you must be sure that property investments fit within your structured needs — investing is all about maximizing your savings to create a brighter future for you and your family, so ensuring that property management fits within the scope of those needs is crucial.

Start with the research.

Real estate, like any other investment opportunity, relies on rock-solid research to make the investment a worthwhile one. Each property that graces the local or broader U.S. marketplace offers a unique benefit over its competition, but also some potential pitfalls that are unique to its four walls. This is where real estate really shines over the alternatives and putting in the work that will make all the difference. Understanding that each property is different is the first step toward building a winning investment strategy. In order to succeed you have to determine the costs before committing to a purchasing decision.

Going to many open houses before settling on a property that you are thinking of buying is a great way to get your head around all the information out there about the various property draws and issues that prevail in your local market. Alternatively, if you are moving to a new city and want to get to know realtors and sellers in the new location, hours of combing through virtual tours might be your best bet. With the coronavirus pandemic pushing more work online, there has been a unique bump in the number of virtual tours and online pictures available to prospective buyers all around the United States.

Investigate mortgage options.

The most favorable aspect of the real estate marketplace is that potential buyers have no end to their mortgage options. With the help of a mortgage calculator, you can game out prospective rates that you may be able to bag as a buyer from banking institutions like Citi, Bank of America, or Chase. When looking to buy a new home, whether for a place where your family will live or as a real estate investment property, borrowing from a lender is a great way to gain access to the home’s leveraged value immediately.

With a down payment and an eye for renovations, you can get a property listed back on the market as a flipper or rental property in a matter of days or weeks, regardless of your level of equity in the new home. In order to lock in the best mortgage rate possible, you should spend at least six months paying off any existing credit card debt in order to boost your credit score in advance of a mortgage loan application.

Hit the ground running with a high-quality open house.

Any realtor worth their salt will share tips for throwing a successful open house. With the help of a real estate agent, you can stage your home and present it as a relaxing and high-quality option for either renters or buyers — depending on your approach to the investment property. Either way stands to make you a favorable return, so identifying where your preference lies is crucial.

With a realtor on your side, it’s easy to list the home and cash in on its value. For those looking to become landlords, the rental income that you generate can go directly toward paying off the mortgage for the first year or two while you build equity. Afterward, you can begin to draw a second paycheck from the profits. Alternatively, you could look to fix up the home and shift it back onto the market at a markup.

Either way, the property investment game is a lucrative one that promises great returns.