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First-time investors key in on location

Proximity factor more emotional than necessity

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Alan Langston remembers his first rental investment: It was a Florida condominium located about 45 minutes from his home -- close enough to check up on the property if something went wrong. A few years later, Langston transferred to the West Coast and after some consideration decided to keep the property, although it was, obviously, no longer going to be within driving distance. That old "Hey honey, let's go drive by our condo and see if it's being taken care of" wasn't going to happen anymore. Originally, Langston placed the condo in the development's rental pool, but after relocating he made a strategy change, taking it out of the rental pool and making the property a long-term rental. Instead of frequently having people come and go, there would be more stability at the property. The disadvantage was the income. Instead of, for example, getting $800 a week as a vacation rental, he was bringing in $1,200 a month as a long-term rental. Still, Langston says, &q...