New to real estate investing!

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I have been reading many articles and many forums and trying to educate myself on investing before I get myself financially tied in.  I absolutely love doing my own research and understanding every aspect possible in order to prepare myself.

I have done the majority of my research on purchasing a multi family home as a starter.  The reason is probably clear, but I would like to invest in a duplex, rent out one of the units and live in the other.  My hopes are to establish the rental to the point of essentially living there with the tenant paying the mortgage at least.  I am just inquiring for any helpful tips, hints, and knowledge to get started.  I would also like to gather knowledge of beginner mistakes that I should avoid and just expand my knowledge of real estate investing as much as I can and help establish myself and become comfortable and confident in my investments.  Thank you for your time!

That is a fine strategy.  As an additional point of interest, you can buy up for 4 units on a residential mortgage, and in this way you can have 3 units with tenants contributing to your mortgage.  Over this, into 5 units and up, is where you head into commercial lending.

Our family has occupied fixer houses and improved them while living in them, and then rented or sold the houses after a few years.  

Be sure to listen to the podcasts, and also check into the keyword notification.  Those keywords helped us to find a local meetup when we recently moved to a new location.  We searched for our county and city, which led to the meetup. There we found Realtors, lenders, wholesalers and title agents who were attending.  It is a good way to grow your team and your knowledge at the same time.  

My best advice for you at this point is to get started now. Once you have been an investor for a while your most valuable asset is time. I bought my first unit at age 29 and now I'm 37 with 34 units. I would be so much further ahead if I would have gotten going earlier.

I recommend doing research but don't spend forever researching. Just take the plunge and buy, you will learn so much more doing instead of reading or researching. I think the duplex is a good idea to start with. You will have to wait about 12 months before most lenders will consider your rental rates as income. So unless you are setting on a pile of money plan on waiting about a year before you can consider purchase #2. After that things will get much smoother and bank approvals will start to come quicker.

Good Luck!