So how do you buy properties at a long-distance? Let’s talk about it.
1. Choose Your Strategy
Well, the first thing is you have to define what it is you want to buy. Like I always say, choose your niche, choose your strategy.
Your niche is a type of property, right? So single-family houses, multifamily, you want to buy commercial buildings, you want to buy retail, mobile home parks like I buy, with open-door capital, whatever. You decide what you want.
Then your strategy: What are you going to do with it?
“I want to do rental property.” Okay, great. You want to do small multi rentals.
2. Find Your Market
Now ask the question, where do small multifamily rentals work really well?
A great way to know that is by listening to podcasts. Listen to other real estate podcasts. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Listen to real estate podcasts like maybe the BiggerPockets Podcast or any interview-style real estate show and find guests who are doing multi-family rentals and then find out where they’re doing it and find out what their numbers look like.
Another way to do it is go to Realtor.com or Redfin or Zillow and start just digging around other cities. You can also dig into some really amazing data by going to BPInsights. There’s some information there for free, but a lot of it’s part of the Pro membership we offer at BiggerPockets.
But the idea is we take data from around the country, massive amounts of data, and try to figure out where are the best cash-flowing markets, where are the best appreciation markets, what’s the best market for flipping for rentals, for turnkey, whatever. So those are different options that you have for finding a market.
3. Research Your Market
Once you choose your market, because you know that it’s going to be a solid market for whatever strategy and niche you want to do, now it’s time to do some deep research into that market. Where are the neighborhoods? Where are they good, where are they bad? Where are the good school districts, where are all the jobs? Where’s the growth happening? What’s the scary late neighborhood that you don’t want to go in because you might get shot?
Those are all questions you need to know very well.
Now, how do you figure that out if you’re long-distance investing? One, you should probably fly there and go check out the property. I mean, check out properties in the area, but more important than that is to actually build what my friend David Greene calls your core four. He talks about that in his book Long-Distance Real Estate Investing.
4. Assemble Your Team
Your core four is a group of four individuals that must be on your team, whether you invest locally or far away. Your core four is your real estate agent, your property manager, a contractor, and a lender.
Most important there is going to be a real estate agent, and not just any real estate agent. Most real estate agents are terrible. Find a great real estate agent who understands real estate investing if you’re trying to buy an investment property and build a relationship with them.
If you’re not sure how to find an agent, by the way, you can always go for free to the BiggerPockets network. You can type in any zip code in the country and it will show you agents who are real-estate-investing knowledgeable, and you can even see how active they’ve been on the site. You can look at their conversations. You can see what deals they’ve done. They have reviews. It’s pretty cool and it’s free. So you have no excuse for not finding a real-estate-investment-focused agent.
So now you have your core four. You have your city. You have your niche. You have your strategy. You really have everything you need except for one thing…
5. Take Action
You’ve got to take daily, consistent action on that. So start analyzing deals in that market. Get your agent to set you up with automatic emails in that market. Start driving on Google Street View. Start having phone calls with lenders in that market daily—every single day, 15 minutes a day, five days a week.
I would challenge you to get to know that market and start getting leads coming in. Once you have leads on properties coming in, whether it’s from your agent or you’re doing some other creative strategy for leads, start running the numbers, start making offers.
When you get something under contract, go get your financing. Put down your 20% down payment or find a partner that can fund it for you and get it going.
6. Get Out There
The last tip I have for everybody on that topic of investing long-distance: if you fly into that city you want to invest in, I would definitely either attend or host a local BiggerPockets meetup.
BiggerPockets, of course, is the world’s largest network of real estate investors on the planet. And so we actually host meetups all the time, our actual members. Organic members of the community just start up and they’re like, “Hey, let’s meet at this bar, let’s meet at this restaurant, let’s meet at my rental house and I’ll show you what I’m doing.”
They happen all the time all over the country. Now, yes, they slowed down a little during COVID-19, but they’re already starting back up again.
So go to BiggerPockets Events to find an event in your area. And if you go visit a city, make sure you host one there so you can start building your core four from people who show up.
If you want to invest long-distance, it’s totally doable. You’re going to have to put in some work, though, because you don’t know that market like you know your own market. So do your homework, do your math, build your core four, take action, and you will find financial success through real estate even at a distance.
Check out the new BPInsights if you want to know more about focusing on a specific market. It’s pretty darn awesome.
What has your experience with long-distance investing been like?
Share in the comments.