CHAPTER 1Do Your Homework: How to Gather the Data Needed to Make an Investment Decision

Before you delve into the basic calculations that underlie all real estate investments, you need to address a very fundamental issue: You can’t calculate anything and you can’t make projections unless you have the raw data with which to start. Information is a valuable commodity; you shouldn’t start off with any illusions that good information will fall into your lap without some effort on your part.

These guidelines are necessarily somewhat general. Data will be easier to find in some localities than in others, even within some transactions than in others. Still, if stock market debacles like Enron and WorldCom have taught us anything, it’s that investors ...

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