If you are looking for a first home that you hope will become an investment property after a few years when you're ready to move on financially, you want to talk with a real-estate agent. You need to understand the market, the listings you view online, and what properties are the most ideal for this.
Find a local real-estate agent and tell them what you hope to do and that you want them to send you a list of houses that are priced within your current budget and that they think could be more valuable down the road. Talk with the agent about these things when you are going through houses.
Potential Upgrades to Increase Value
You and the real-estate agent can walk through each property to determine whether there is a lot of room to upgrade materials and increase the home value. You can make a few changes here and there that will significantly increase the value, like changing the appliances and the floors, and then when you're ready to sell, the house may be worth far more than it was when you purchased it. You just have to be ready to put in the time and the work necessary to raise the value of the house.
School District and Growth
If the house is in a good school district where you know the schools are great and in an area that's growing, then you won't have to worry too much about resale in the future. Ask your agent what areas are the best for small families and growing areas.
Budget and Rental-Income Potential
Find out what the potential income from rent could be. If the amount of rent you could get would pass what you have to pay for the mortgage, this would be a good investment property. You want an income property that you won't have to worry about financially because the renters cover all the expenses.
The real-estate agents in your area are the experts that can help you find available real-estate listings that could potentially provide rental-income opportunities when you're ready to move on. Talk with the real-estate agents in your area to see what areas they think are the most desirable to purchase a home in, how much you should be able to spend and still get a good house, and what amount of rent you might be able to get for that house when you are ready to move out and move on.