Two main approaches to investing in real estate (or stocks) are commonly used worldwide when making a purchase. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and i wish to give a brief overview as to their approaches.
1) Value investing is essentially the bargain hunter approach to purchases. One asks why they would pay $100,000 for a property when they can a very similar one for $90,000. The motto here is to make the most amount of money on the day you buy a property. It is comparable to going to Walmart to do groceries rather than Safeway because they have lower prices.
2) Growth investing is someone who is willing to pay say $110,000 for a $100,000 property because they believe the property will be worth more in the future than today. This is all based on a through understanding of the economics of the area. I have used this method in Calgary and seen other investors lose out on a deal because they would not pay $500 above list prices.
At different times, one can switch between these two methods depending on market conditions but over time, they will build you a strong foundation for success.