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Investing in real estate used to be the domain of moguls and millionaires. But public uncertainty over the stock market and double-digit-a-year appreciation in residential real estate has helped to turn millions of small investors to the housing market. Result? Last year, almost 23 percent of all houses sold in the U.S. were bought by investors. And that does not include another 14 percent that were sold as vacation homes. But that profit potential can be like a siren's call, pulling the unsuspecting onto the financial rocks. While there's plenty of money to be made this way, investing in real estate should be viewed like most other complicated investments -- with a great deal of research and careful planning.

Investing in real estate

Financing your real estate investments -- You'd like to pull your money out of the market and put it in real estate, but how do you go about getting financing for investments? Read on.

Quiz: Are you ready to be a real estate mogul? -- The idea sounds great. Invest in rental property and then relax and do nothing but collect rent. If that's what you think, you're definitely not ready.

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'Anti-flipping' rules can hurt investors -- Stricter lending rules on homes that are bought and quickly resold are having a negative effect on investors.

Investing in foreclosures: for novices, it's a crapshoot -- Getting rich from buying foreclosures is the fantasy of many Americans, but it's much like most other things that seem too good to be true.

Buying rentals: profitable but perilous -- Some 23 percent of all home sales in 2004 went to investors. Why? Because there are sizable profits to be gained, but the perils are also substantial.

Renovating for fun and profit -- The single most cost-effective investment you can make to increase the value of your home is to buy a roll or two of plastic trash bags. Stuff them with junk outside the house -- from beer cans to raked leaves.

Good screening process identifies good tenants -- They all put on a pretty face when they want you to let them rent your property, but is there a wolf in that sheep's clothing?

Top 10 mistakes by novice investors -- Real estate has become the investment everyone sees as their ticket to easy wealth. It's not that easy.

-- Posted: May 16, 2005

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'05 Real Estate Guide
30 yr fixed mtg 3.54%
15 yr fixed mtg 2.72%
5/1 jumbo ARM 3.26%
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