How to Find and Evaluate Profitable Properties

Tony Ketterling • July 5, 2024

How to Find and Evaluate Profitable Properties

The essentials of identifying potential investment properties and assessing their profitability.

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In this week’s blog, we’ll dive into the essentials of identifying potential investment properties and assessing their profitability. By the end of this post, you’ll understand various property search strategies, key metrics like cap rates, cash-on-cash returns, and the 1% rule, and why location plays a crucial role in real estate investment.

Property Search Strategies

Finding the right property is the first step toward a successful investment. Here are some effective strategies:

  1. Online Real Estate Marketplaces: Websites like Zillow,, and Redfin are great starting points for property searches. They provide detailed listings, including photos, price history, and neighborhood information.
  2. Real Estate Agents: Leveraging the expertise of a knowledgeable real estate agent can save you time and provide access to exclusive listings not found online.
  3. Networking: Attend local real estate meetups, join investment groups, and network with other investors to learn about off-market deals.
  4. Direct Mail Campaigns: Sending personalized letters to homeowners in desirable areas can uncover potential properties that aren’t actively listed.
  5. Driving for Dollars: Explore neighborhoods and look for distressed properties that might be available at a discount.

Key Metrics for Property Evaluation

Evaluating a property’s potential profitability involves understanding and applying key financial metrics:

  1. Cap Rate (Capitalization Rate): This measures a property's return on investment. It is calculated by dividing the net operating income (NOI) by the property's purchase price. A higher cap rate indicates a higher return
  2. Cash-on-Cash Return: This metric evaluates the cash income earned on the cash invested in the property. It’s calculated by dividing the annual pre-tax cash flow by the total cash invested.
  3. The 1% Rule: This rule of thumb suggests that a property should rent for at least 1% of the monthly purchase price. For example, if you buy a property for $200,000, it should rent for at least $2,000 per month.

The Importance of Location

The location of your investment property significantly impacts its value and profitability. Here’s why:

  1. Economic Growth: Areas with strong economic growth offer better employment opportunities, attracting more renters and buyers, which can increase property values
  2. Neighborhood Quality: Good schools, low crime rates, and proximity to amenities like shopping centers, parks, and public transportation make properties more desirable.
  3. Future Development: Research upcoming infrastructure projects and zoning changes. Areas slated for development often see property values increase.
  4. Market Trends: Understand the local real estate market trends. Are property values rising or falling? Is there a high demand for rentals?


Finding and evaluating profitable properties requires a blend of strategic searching and thorough financial analysis. By using the right tools and metrics and paying close attention to location, you can make informed decisions that maximize your investment returns. Stay tuned for next week’s blog, in which we’ll discuss the various financing options available to real estate investors. Happy investing!

Tony Ketterling

CEO of Equity Real Estate

As the CEO of Equity Real Estate, I bring over four decades of management and leadership experience to the real estate market, where I have been actively involved since 2000. Equity, the #15 independent real estate company in the nation, boasts a constantly growing network of over 3,500 agents. My passion for the industry drives me to support and guide my team in delivering exceptional client service.

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