Out of town investor, or a busy at work one.
Boots on the ground can be helpful, but intent of those boots is important. As an investor, get a local pro who focus's on rentals in the area. Lots of companies and realtors avoid rentals/leases so their "opinion" on your deal won't be as helpful as someone who is into this sort of thing. Offer to pay them, upfront, if need be to help you out in the area's you aren't familiar with or able to access. If that works out then hire an inspector. I am an accredited inspector, but you won't find me climbing in attics and through crawl spaces on deals I am buying as an investor. But then again, I am willing to pay to not spend hours getting dirty and gross. Plus, I spend that time saved on looking for my next deal. I believe in what I preach about taking yourself out of the emotional aspect and focus on the numbers; knowing how to do something doesn't mean you should. Next you need a general idea of "repair" or make ready cost. Its also not a bad idea to calculate long term ownership cost. i.e. if the roof is 10yrs old, in 5-10yrs you are going to have to spend 10k+ on a new one. Thats 2-5k a year needing set aside for differed maintenance. The #1 reason I see people fail is that they FAIL to accommodate for maintenance cost. Rental property is expensive, and time consuming to keep looking 100%. And looking 100% is what gets you that "easy" money.
I have been doing investment contracting for 20+ yrs in Houston. Investing for almost 18. I have consulted for the 3 biggest retail/commercial property owners in Houston. The best advice to anyone I meet is to take a minute. Think past the typical or the facade.
"How its done" is touted most by people who aren't doing anything.