Real estate is an area where you can make enough money to last you a lifetime – or lose as much, if you are not careful. The recent crash of the real estate market has been a shock to people riding the high wave of skyrocketing prices and unceasing demand. Due to the mismatch between the buying frenzy and timely repayments, prices have crashed and many houses are left owner-less with banks evicting homeowners. It seems like the real estate boom has burnt out. Understandably, there is a lull in the market right now.If you are interested in buying real estate as an investment, this is your best opportunity. It’s a buyer’s market and your chances of landing an amazing deal at affordable rates are very high.There are two different strategies in which you can buy real estate and convert it into an investment. The first strategy is to buy a property and hold it until the price increases naturally. Keep in mind, this may take anywhere between a few months to a few years. While you wait for the price to reach sale-able levels, you may rent the property so that your maintenance costs and tax liabilities are covered.The risk associated with ‘Buy and Hold’ is obvious. The moment there is an indication of bad news, markets crash. The value of your property will go down. You may experience a similar crash in renting rates too. This is what experts call a negative cash flow. Your aim is to avoid a negative cash flow at all costs.The other strategy is to flip the property. This is the best way of making money by buying real estate as an investment. You buy a property when the price is low, renovate it if you want to and flip it on a profit the moment prices go up. Your risks are limited because you hold the property only for a short while.In the wake of the real estate bubble bursting, people who have some money to put away are making huge profits from buying real estate as an investment. The core reason for this is the current pricing in real estate. Experts agree that prices have bottomed out. So, the moment the economy picks up a little and property prices start looking up, you can sell your investment and make a neat profit.Just as in other investments, there are some risks associated with buying real estate as a long term investment. One way to keep yourself out of the red zone is to amass enough information, all the time. Monitor share prices, look out for predictions regarding a slump in the economy and assess the job markets. If there are signs of a slow down, cash out immediately.It makes a lot of financial sense to invest in real estate just now, even if prices in your area are registering an increase. Real estate is a limited commodity and as the population increases, the demand for good housing will continue to rise. That being the case, investors are assured of high returns, provided they do it with enough caution.