When you want to get into the real estate market, the very first thing you have to do is build your real estate headquarters. To do that, go to the build page, and click on the Arch icon on the navigation bar. When your build page option screen appears, choose the Headquarters icon to display the various headquarters, then select real estate headquarters (the same thing you did with your company headquarters). Choose the location you would like to build on, ensuring that it's properly zoned; in this case you will need a light-blue zone since this is a commercial building. If no city zones have yet been defined by a mayor, then you can build anywhere you wish.
After it has been built, it will automatically research basic housing technologies that allow you to build houses. Now if you would like to improve your residential buildings, all you have to do is click over your real estate headquarters and then go to Researches in the Inspect panel. In your research list, you can research a long list of building technologies, thereby directly improving the beauty, safety, privacy, resistance to pollution and crime rate of your buildings.
When you start building different houses, you have to take into consideration that there are three classes of people with the corresponding house types and zones. You have your high class residential buildings which go in the zone with lightest shade of green. The information available on each building prior to construction includes the class for which it was designed. The zones with the darkest shade of green is for low class residential buildings, and middle class goes on the medium shade. Be careful where you build, remember, that none of the residential buildings like to be close to industrial areas.
Once you've started building your real estate buildings, you may then adjust the rent and the maintenance by going to each building's Inspect page.
If the occupancy rates are low, you might consider lowering the rent or raising the maintenance level. If you would rather do it in another way, you might want to refer to the green tickertape, it will tell you statistics on crime, pollution, beauty, neighborhood quality and quality of life (QOL). If those statistics seem low, and you have enough money, you can go to your real estate headquarters and research what is needed. If occupancy rates still remain low, you might consider lowering the rent even more, but there could be a bigger problem. It could also mean that there are no jobs in the area, or the area you have built in isn't populated enough and there were already a lot of vacancies in other buildings. Therefore, before investing in improving your building, make sure the problem is not lack of people in the city. Actually, this should be the first thing you do before entering into the real estate business.
There are also more factors that could come into play, such as pollution or crime. Pollution is obviously produced by factories, and in this case, researching anti-pollution technologies might improve your buildings' performance. In the case of crime, the population generates it, mostly the low-class, because of the quality of life or other variables affecting it. To help reduce crime, a police station in the area might help. Anyone can build one as long as they have a civic affairs headquarters. As it was demonstrated, these statistics are essential to a good neighborhood and quality of life.
Building a high class residential can sometimes be tricky. High class people want to be secluded from everything else. But they still have to be somewhat close to shops and civic buildings, which is why it's very hard. If your city has a good mayor, and you stick to the zones the mayor has created in the town, you shouldn't have a problem. Just remember that you cannot be too picky about the location you choose for them. As for maintenance, you should keep it high enough because they like the best service available. But along with maintenance comes rent. High class doesn't mind paying high rent prices as long as the services are good and readily available. You can check what rent rates are considered acceptable by clicking on the Go Town Hall button and inspecting the town hall for the average rent of high class residency. Public facilities are also essential to the high-class population. The most important of them would most certainly be parks.
Middle class people aren't as picky as the high class, but it would still be wise not to mix them with low class housing. You should proceed in the same manner as with high class. The middle class are more sensitive to rent, but still discriminating when it comes to services, and they love being near the high class, although the high class isn't crazy about having them all that close. You are better off keeping most middle class buildings together in order to ensure your company's stability.
Low class residential buildings can be built anywhere, that is, anywhere on the dark green shaded areas. This class doesn't really care about where they go, but the others are certainly watching. So when you do build low class dwellings, keep them far enough away from the others, because the other classes might move out.
As you can see from this outline, entering the real estate market is actually very simple and easy. All you need to do is build your headquarters, choose locations, segregate classes, and adjust your properties' different parameters. As with every venture, you must keep an eye on the bottom line, and don't spread yourself too thin. Now it's up to you to keep your real estate empire up and running. Good luck!