@Danielle Champagne how to beat the fear and just go for it? My advice is to buy something that won’t bankrupt you even if worst case happens. For example, if you have $1000 per month extra discretionary income after all your normal living expenses, buy something that cash flows if occupied or that only costs you $500-750 per month if it’s vacant. That way you can float the costs even if you can’t rent it out or flip it as quickly as you thought.
Sort of a catch 22, lenders want to know about the property they're going to lend on. So you have to have the property lined up first, analyzed, etc before going to lender. That's been my experience in the NC market.
Listen to the basic resources on calculations, but I think on your first deal it all comes down to 2 things.
1. Does it positively cashflow after any costs, taxes, repairs and around 10% set aside for maint/vacancy? Google this question if needed. There are tons of calculators out there and I'm available if you'd like to talk through this. If it's positive (you're not LOSING money monthly)
2. Is the area generally nice and has a chance to appreciate? The reason for this is, unless you are comfortable with the area, you shouldn't be using your first deal to buy in a run down area. Make it a place you are comfortable purchasing.
It doesn't need to be a home run because guess what? Most real estate buy and holds (if you take care of the 2 items above) will turn into homeruns after time!
Good luck and have courage. If you want to have what most people don't you must do what they won't.