Am I Crazy? How do I assess Viability?

I am currently living in LA and would really like to own property and start renting, whether that is with a duplex or units. I am currently renting for about $1900 a month and ideally I would like to buy a duplex/triplex and rent it out while living there as well. Just some quick numbers, I have about 150k in assets including my 401k, I make about 4k a month and have a 775 credit score. I seem to be able to qualify for a 600-700k mortgage, and my Realtor thinks that I can find a duplex in that range, even if it is in a less than ideal community.

However I see a lot of posts talking about how you need to make 1-2% of your property value a month to be viable, and I just don't see any way of that happening. I mean the worst houses are around 300k and I am very liable to be robbed/vandalized in those communities. My Realtor has strongly suggested that renting farther outside of town is not a good idea since I will lose most of my time to the commute if I live there or ever have a vacancy. Is there a good method to assess the viability of my situation?

Another question: My father recommended I use Rocket Mortgage since he has had 2 good experiences with them, however while browsing this sub I have found dislike for them in general. Is there a better service I should be using? Is there any reason I can't/shouldn't contact another company? Aside from the small credit score hit?

More real estate tips at Program Realty Wix site

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