Now's a good time to start to build wealth through real estate.

If you've been thinking about buying a home or rental property, experts at say low prices combined with low interest rates make this a good time to do it.

As one real-estate specialist puts it, "When money is cheap to borrow and houses are cheap to buy, it's absolutely the best time to invest."

While the timing is right, these tips can help investors take advantage of what might be the opportunity of a lifetime, say Bankrate advisors.

* Find a rental property in your area. Your real estate agent can help identify good properties, will work with you and share investment knowledge.
Or, if you have the time and inclination, you can search foreclosure listings, read the newspaper ads, walk or drive through neighborhoods, and seek recommendations from friends.

* Look for the right location. Properties in highly populated areas can draw from a larger pool of potential renters. Renters are generally looking for properties with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms that are located in low crime areas. They want to feel safe and send their kids to good schools.

* At MSN Money, they ask, "Why buy a rental?" Their answer: "To get richer." In today's market, you may be able to buy a property for $35,000 less than its actual value. Over time, you will realize most or all of that value.
* In the meantime, you can generate a reliable cash flow from the property.

* Because of depreciation and other deductions, you won't pay federal or state tax on the income. 

* Some prospective investors worry about the work involved in owning a rental house or duplex. You won't have to worry about it if you hire a property manager to do the job for you. You'll still have income. The three-bedroom, two-bath rental home is an example: It rents for $1,200 a month. The mortgage payment is $880, and the property manager gets $120 a month.
 The investor still has income of $200 a month.

In this case, the $150,000 home was bought for less, and the mortgage was for $113,000. Upon signing it, the owner had $37,000 in actual real estate equity.