Young Real Estate Investor: Where to Stash Extra Cash?

Andy Buman, 29, got interested in real estate a few years ago while working in construction. Since then, he has purchased two bank-owned single-family homes near Omaha, Neb., as rentals, and last fall bought a primary residence for himself and his fiancée, Valerie (both pictured at left). He has managed to save $20,000 in cash, and is looking for the smartest way to apply it.

Buman, an Iowa State graduate who now manages a call center, comes from a family of strivers. His great-grandfather emigrated from Germany and started the farm in Harlan, Iowa, where Buman grew up -- and where his uncles and grandfather still raise 2,000 head of cattle and 1,000 acres of corn. (His dad went into banking.)