Thought this would be a good place to post some general questions as a real estate novice and gather some perspectives from people in-the-know. Currently in IBD, and in the near term (~1 year), I'm looking to diversify my income stream by adding a multi-family income-generating investment property with 3-4 units total. I live in NYC in west Harlem where you can still find bargain properties with enough effort and I know the area will only continue to attract long-term tenants, short-term renters, tourists, and in general people who want to stay on the island but can't afford Midtown. I may or may not choose to live in one of the units based on the difference in terms of the mortgage I'm able to secure and ideally would not want to be a live-in. Also, I've experimented with renting units out on AirBnB in the past and have been very successful; unclear if I would want to pursue that and I know this is currently a controversial, in-limbo subject in NYC, so there's that. I'm going to do extensive research before proceeding because I'm clearly new to this. In general, the idea would be to buy as cheap as possible, use the property to generate income for 4-5 years, and then sell. That's the background, and now for some questions if you would be so kind as to entertain them:
* I know there are some government-backed programs out there that support mortgages with a LTV of up to 97% - how feasible is this for someone in my position or is it just pie in the sky dreaming?
* I've looked into properties in the foreclosure process or REO; what are some of the mechanics behind buying these? Are all of these total cash up-front deals, or can you still put a mortgage on in some cases?
* Can I still engage in multi-family investing without a substantial liquid asset / net worth foundation?
* In general: What are some of the biggest pitfalls of multi-family investing and first time real estate investing in general? Is there any advice you would give to someone like me, in terms of where to spend my time doing research, what to avoid, etc.?