Something that more people are doing is buying property as an investment instead of as a primary residence. That new property will be rented out, allowing the new owner to both pay the mortgage and make some extra money. If you're looking at homes for sale with this goal in mind, you'll want to find a house that you don't have to do too much work on before you rent it out. Unless the price is truly great for a fixer-upper, look for one that's as close to your rental ideal as possible.
How up to Date Are the Wiring and Plumbing?
Older houses have a lot of charm, but they also sometimes have a lot of old wiring and plumbing. Your future tenants aren't going to want to deal with old fuse boxes or circuits that don't provide enough amps to power a hair dryer; they'll want wiring where they can plug something in and not worry that they're overloading a circuit. The same goes for the plumbing. No tenant wants to worry about pipes breaking, and no landlord wants to spend money replacing bad plumbing. Look for homes where the wiring and plumbing are new or were upgraded recently.
Is That "Bedroom" Really a Bedroom?
So many homes now have bonus rooms that are often treated as bedrooms in listings. Make sure that all the bedrooms are really bedrooms, and buy a home that has enough bedrooms for you to confidently advertise the future rental without feeling like you're fudging the numbers a bit. If that house you see is advertised as a two-bedroom, but one of those rooms is really a den without a closet or even a real door, move on unless you want to advertise it as a one-bedroom plus den. On the other hand, if that three-bedroom is really a two-bed plus a den that actually has storage space and a real door, you may be able to count that as a bedroom in your future listing when you look for tenants if you add a free-standing wardrobe.
What Does the HOA Allow?
Are you looking at buying houses in HOA-controlled developments? If so, check the regulations to ensure rentals are allowed. Generally, whole-house rentals are OK in most developments; HOAs are a little less amenable to dorm-type rentals, where you're renting out various rooms to people who may not know each other.
Real estate agents can help you find those homes that meet these conditions and more. Be sure you tell the agent why you're buying because that will change how the agent determines whether or not to show you a property.