How bad of an idea is it to get into real estate at this moment?

My english teacher once told me that you can never go wrong by investing in real estate. My father is planning on investing time and money into buying anything available, including apartments and foreclosed homes. I’m wondering if there are any Dopers out there who also do this and if they can give me any advice to give my father about his new venture.

I haven’t done any real estate investing, but from all the conversations here and elsewhere, I’d say it all depends on where you live. You can hit areas that haven’t gotten caught up in the “real estate bubble” where you would have a solid, “you-can-count-on-it” investment, the way real estate has traditionally been. On the other hand, if you’re in an area where the bubble is about to burst, you’re going to buy high and will either have to hang on to it for a long time, or take a loss in the next few years. Or you can be very saavy about picking the “next big thing” and end up rich. Location, location, location.

ditto from a banker

I work in New Jersey real estate, and I can see the bubble is busting. Prices are going down. If you buy anything as an investment, you better plan on holding onto it for a few years until things hit an upswing.