Don’t let a green opportunity blind you to red flags

There's nothing quite as satisfying as finding an investment property that ticks all the boxes you wanted.

House in great condition? Check. Near public transport. Check? Great schools in the region? Check.

At the same time, it's important to be on the lookout for properties that send up red flags. In some cases, these can be more important than ticking off the positives.

The house

Even the most inviting property can hold dark secrets. While that may sound like the tag line to a horror movie, nothing is scarier than an investment that ends up costing you more than it makes.

Of course you'll want to inspect a potential investment property yourself, but be sure to use professional help, as well. Some problems aren't visible to the naked eye, and unless you have years of experience analysing homes for potential issues, chances are you're going to miss something.

While some problems can be easily fixed – a peeling paint job, outdated carpet – others can be deal breakers. For instance, a serious mould problem is not only an unhealthy turnoff, it's also a sign that a home may have water damage and leaks.

The neighbourhood

Sometimes the real estate surrounding a residential investment property can be just as impactful.

For instance, you may have found a beautiful home at an affordable price, but if it's far removed from popular amenities, chances are not too many people will be lining up to rent it from you.

Other things to watch out for are high crime statistics, empty storefronts and generally shabby neighbourhood homes. These are all red flags that you may be buying into an area that won't give you the payoff you're hoping for.