Houses will cost you something aside from just the mortgages, they always need some kind of patching up, painting, routine inspections, rates, excess water bills and so on. Provided you pick your tenants from the start you're usually free of property damage, but you also just have to bill for that if they run off and you'll want to insure it as well, all = $$$
Yeah, keep away from family investments if you can, really depends on the family I suppose. Knowing some of mine they're waiting in the wings for 'Crazy Aunty Lilith' to kick it off, go visit Africa or USA again and get shot, or sighting up their telescopic lenses somewhere so they can swoop in and cash in if the locals don't do it...
I'm going to be a bitch and probably leave it all to the cat, couple of my maltreated, freaky cousins and my 'not quite the social norm' partner