I have been selling investment real estate in Memphis for the last 5+ years and only in the last 2yrs or so has the foreign market of buyers picked up with investors mostly from New Zealand, Singapore and Australia swallowing up most of the property. Many of these investors have found companies like ours through affiliates promoting USA investment properties. I have seen and worked with affiliates who are legit and have seen some who are only doing harm to the buyers who buy through them. Like every city in America, there are areas to avoid as a foreign, even out of state investor. For the local experienced investor it might be manageable to purchase in lower quality areas where you can manage the property yourself.
How does one know if the area is good or not? Ask for referrals or contact others in that city and get a referral. You have to understand that cities like Memphis, the neighborhoods can take a drastic change from good to bad in a matter of one block. For example, say you can buy a property close to a major college within a mile for cheap, that sounds great being close to a college but what if you found out that only the first 2 blocks around the college were good and everything past that was lower quality non college rentals? As a foreign investor you need to realize a few things: Low rent = low quality higher crime areas. Cheap is not always your friend.
So how does a foreign investor avoid the pitfalls of a deceptive countryman trying to sell them snake-oil? Sometimes there is no avoiding this. They will find out in a short amount of time that after the sale and things start going wrong is when they will find this out. By that time its too late. They have been fed lies and this is what gives real estate investing a bad name. You also want to do some homework on the company or person you are working with. If the person you are working with has ever been in jail or gone bankrupt or been foreclosed on you want to stay far away as your best interest is not theirs. They are only concerned about how many sales you will amount too. We all learn lessons in life and if you can avoid a few by doing some due diligence you might just save yourself a lot of money and heartache.