CNN scoured the Trulia website last week to find a bunch of cheap condos offered for sale for less than the cost of a new Prius. As a side note, let me say that one of the biggest complaints that I hear about Trulia is the site shows homes for sale that are not really for sale. A buyer’s best option for online listings still lies with those a real estate agent can obtain.
I looked through Sacramento condos to see if any matched those prices and was surprised to find fewer than the number I can count on one hand priced under $30,000. But once I bumped the price from $31,000 to $50,000, more than 5 dozen popped up. Good luck trying to buy one, though. Lots of agents, especially in California, don't like to work in that price range because the net commission is too low for the effort expended.
Moreover, if you’re thinking you can pick up a cheap condo and rent it out, you better check with the homeowner association to find out if rentals are allowed in the complex or if the HOA determines the rental percentage allowed. Check the financial health of the HOA. Some distressed condo complexes are saturated with foreclosures and short sales, and can’t collect enough money in dues to cover obligations.