With a crowbar? Seriously, though, lending standards have tightened, especially since a good portion of this subprime mess was from flippers using OPM (other people's money) and missing mortgage payments (many not making ANY payments). Make sure you have a good credit history and means to pay the mortgage (even if you have a paying tenant, you should be able to handle the property until you have enough cashflow and some in reserves in case your tenant turns out to be a flake.) You should start by having a decent down payment (at least 10%, if not 20% to avoid PMI and to make it easier to get a loan) and choosing a good location. If you're planning on renting out, you should try to have property that's convenient for a potential tenant. How long would an average commute be? How close are shopping centers? What are the schools like (if they have children)? Also, try to make sure the property is pleasing to the eye. Consider taking depreciation out on your taxes (though this may hurt you later if you decide to sell the property). Get a competent lawyer to draw up the lease and keep it on file. DON'T BE A SLUM LANDLORD. Reputation can stick with you and it isn't right to treat a tenant that way.