When buying property, consider the area, state, and growth. Buy in high-demand areas with strong population growth and low corruption.
When you purchase a property requiring repairs, you can use a hard-money lender to aquire the property, and the hard-money lender will also provide 100% of the repair costs. You must pay for the repairs piecemeal yourself, but the hard-money lender will reimburse you after each repair is inspected to their satisfaction.
Call around and find several contractors whom you trust will do the repairs to your satisfaction. After you close on the property, have them repair the property and when they are done, find a management company to rent it out.
When you evaluate property to purchase, take the gross annual rent, deduct for vacancy, management, taxes, insurance, maintenance, any utilities such as water, and home owner or condo association fees to arrive at the NOI, net operating income. Divide the NOI by the asking price plus repair cost to find the effective CAP rate. This would be your return on investment if you were to purchase the property in cash and fix it up to rental ready.
The CAP rate is similar to the dividend yield of a stock. As the stock price goes up, the dividend yield goes down. It is a fundamental analysis tool which allows you to purchase at a reasonable price, and reliably estimate your income. If the CAP rate is too low, then you know the price is inflated. If it is too high, then you know you have found a deal or further inspection is required to make sure there are no hidden costs.