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Real estate investing is an art form. While it also requires logic-based, math-centric practicality, there is also an instinctive element to making real estate deals. Just as it’s important to know the right calculations for making a profit, it’s just as valuable to trust your gut instinct about when to walk away if something doesn’t feel right.

Like most things, information is power. The more research you can do on your own, without being inhibited by another person’s agenda or influence, the better off you will be in the long run. The only true way you will receive unfiltered, unbiased information is by choosing qualified sources and researching questions on your own. If you are very new to the real estate investing game, it helps to acquaint yourself with a mentor. Find a professional to show you the ropes to avoid making dire mistakes down the road.

The first thing you should do when considering the purchase of a property is to look at its history. It’s important to look for red flags such as rapid turnover of ownership, or an increasingly changing price point. Fortunately, in this day and age, there are plenty of third-party tools you have at your disposal to monitor the journey of a commercial or residential property. Since these are all public records, you can look up the sale history of a house by going to your county recorder of deeds or tax assessor. You can also find records online using sites, but the government-based sites are free and most likely more current than the potentially fee-based sites. 

Another very important step before committing to a property purchase is to have it thoroughly inspected by a company that you trust will work in your best interest. It is unwise to choose an inspector who is working alongside the listing agent, as they might have ulterior motives for making the sale go through as quickly as possible. If any red flags jump out at you during the inspection process, or if you think it will cost more money to fix the property than you will be able to recoup, it’s important to have the strength to walk away.