What’s the purpose of the investment, capital appreciation, income stream?
In terms of a lot of work, I utilise a property manager that looks after finding a tenant, inspections, fire alarms etc. It comes with a fee (that comes out of the rent from the tenant) but worth it for me due to the convenience.
If you want a passive investment with low entry costs, look at some Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). There is likely a huge array on the platform you current trade equities on. You can look at residential REITS, storage REITS, industrial REITS, health care REITS, office REITS etc, or diversified REITS which is a combination of all of the above. The benefit of this type of investment is that you can have huge diversification with a small outlay as you are not concentrated in one area/property. The disadvantages is that in the short term, REITS have a high correlation with equities (but in the mid - long term perform more like direct property). Direct real estate also allows you to leverage your return (which could be done with a REITS utilising a margin loan but that’s a different topic) and also has the benefits of tax deductible interest and depreciation.
In terms of timing, jeeez, very hard to time any market. People have been saying Sydney’s property market has been in a bubble for a number of years now, yet it keeps rising. That being said, I am quite concerned about the disparity between household income and property value as a whole, a relationship that I do not believe can hold in the very long term.
In terms of good metrics, I purchased my property for capital appreciation over the next 10 - 15 years. Given this, I looked at factors that would likely increase the price in the future, such as; location, transport links, trend of migration into suburb and state, availability of housing around property, future development proposals etc.