There are a number of warning signs in your post.You need cash at hand and enough $$$ float to be able to deal with problems that inevitably come up on houses. Houses cost more than rentals, period. It sounds like you may not be prepared for that.As far as renters, they can destroy a house or turn a house into a money pit unless you are very careful to screen and monitor Tenants carefully. Plus you still have to deal with all the maintenance for the property - leaking roofs, wonky water heaters, trimming trees and maintaining fences, etc. That takes time and money, and can't be put off if you have Tenants. This happened to my brother who was forced into a short sale of both his house and his rental property as he wasn't prepared financially or logistically to deal with managing a rental. There is no "rule of thumb" that tells you if a house has issues. You need to inspect a property carefully with a qualified GC or someone who knows construction to know if it has issues. If buying a condo, do check that the HOA has properly funded its obligations and that vacancies aren't causing it to press remaining owners for extraordinary expenses for maintenance.
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