That said, plenty of money has been lost in the same. So what is the difference between the investors that make it, and the ones that don't?
First, savvy investors do not over extend themselves. The smart investor will make sure that they spend what they can afford--even if there is a market downturn, or a natural disaster, or a major expense. Too many people who buy property buy more than they can afford, and then run into problems. In fact that is the simple explanation for our current economic woes!
Next, savvy investors choose the right property or properties. "Location, location, location!" and don't forget it. A high end boutique will not thrive on the back of a country road next to the chicken farm. An ice-cream shop will not survive if it is the only shop on a busy highway. You have to decide what kind of investment property will best suit you and your area, and what area will best suit the kind of investment property you want. Do not skimp on the research here! Take your time, be observant and make smart choices.
Finally management of the property will make or break your investment. Choosing the right property manager who can successfully market your property, and who can screen tenants, handle upkeep, etc. is give you the best chance at a positive ROI. Property managers and property management companies have different areas of expertise and specialty, and you should look for one that has worked with similar types of businesses in your area and has a positive track record.