Exotic pets range from cold blooded reptiles to feathered avian varieties to fur covered guinea pigs. Choosing an exotic pet depends on the time and money you are able and willing to invest, what fits your lifestyle and time involved and personal choice.
First, be certain the animal you are considering is legal in your area. Start at the top, working your way down, from state to local level. Some cities, townships or local ordinances prohibit the keeping of some species. If it is illegal at the state level, don't bother looking for local ordinances as it could only be more inclusive, not less. Join groups or organizations to keep up to date after acquiring a pet. There are many species specific groups and some generalized to learn more.
Research the animal you are considering buying - do you have enough room? Can you provide for its specific needs? If possible, visit with someone already owning the animal you are researching to get first hand knowledge and tips. Often, an owner can tell you the pros and cons of the animal so you know what to expect.
Find a veterinarian willing to treat the animal you are considering. Exotic pet veterinarians are not as common as those that treat dogs and cats. Having the contact ready in case the need should arise is much better than waiting until an emergency happens and scrambling to find a veterinarian.