Many real estate books advocate purchasing fixer-upper properties to increase your profit potential when you sell. I've got another great reason to buy this kind of property, though: neighborhood revitalization.
But what's in it for you?
-Major bargains on the purchase price
-Being a part of something bigger than yourself
-Learning new skills
-Potential for higher profits when you sell
-Older buildings often have more character and charm than newer ones
-Preserving historical architecture
-Contributing to city beautification
-Getting involved with neighbors and community groups who are undertaking similar projects
How does one find these types of properties?
-Real Estate websites like realtor.com (make sure to keep the minimum price at zero)
-City websites (may take a lot of poking around)
-Through neighborhood revitalization groups
-Some cities have rehab clubs that teach citizens how to rehab buildings. Any club like this would be able to show you how to find that city's fixer uppers (as well as teach you how to fix up your building once you buy it)
The downsides, as you probably already know, are that the cost to fix up a downtrodden building can sometimes exceed what the building will be worth after you finish fixing it, rehabbing frequently costs more than you think it will when you start the project, and it is very time consuming and requires a great deal of patience and vision. That being said, if I had the money, I would very seriously consider taking on a fixer-upper for all the reasons listed above.