Q: I would like to invest $100,000 into something that does not require too much time and effort on my part. One option is that I buy my parent’s property which they bought for 75,000 dollars and is now around 150,000 dollars. It is currently on a monthly rent of $1,000. Would it be a good idea to buy it or should I be looking at other options? Thanks.

A: I think you should always look around and try to figure out how you’ll be able to make your money work harder for you.

Let’s start with the house. How much would your parent’s charge you for the property? If they’re willing to sell it to you for $150,000, and you need a $50,000 loan, you’ll pay $291 per month for the loan (at 5.75 percent), which will allow you to net out a little over $600 per month. But add in taxes and homeowner’s insurance, and you will be walking away with perhaps $200 per month on your investment.

On a $100,000 investment, you’ll earn $200 per month or $2,400 per year, a return of 2.4 percent. That’s okay, but if the property appreciates at 3 percent per year, your return is bigger. Over time, the rent should rise, but you will have to put some cash into maintaining the property.

What if you put less money down and got a bigger mortgage. If you got a $75,000 loan, you’d pay $438 per month, leaving you with about $560 in cash each month. You’d still probably clear something each month, but because you have less invested in the property, your 3 percent return might feel more like 6 percent on your investment. Plus, you’d still have $25,000 to invest in stock or bonds, adding to your total return.

I’d sit down with a fee-only financial planner to calculate all of the possibilities for the investment of this cash. If it’s possible that you’ll someday move into this home, you may be able to live there for 2 years and keep all of your profits tax-free when you sell.

That may be the best investment of all.