Best markets to live and invest?

74 Replies

My wife and I have finally made the decision to leave Southern California and seek greener pastures.  We are in our early 40s and don't have a retirement plan or much saved, and we've come to the realization that the status quo is unsustainable and that we need to start making better financial decisions to set ourselves up for the future.   We currently rent in an affluent neighborhood and pay through the nose for the privilege.   Additionally, I have a pretty decent tech job and what I pay in taxes every month is enough to float a mortgage on a decent house in most other markets.   And it kills me a little inside to know that.   But as much as we love California and all of its amenities, living here isn't in alignment with our financial goals and it's time for us to leave.

And now we're confronting the decision on where to move, and where in the country would best serve our financial goals of reducing our personal living expenses and present the most opportunity for acquiring and operating income property.    We also want to find some place we enjoy living, or at the very least, tolerate for 5 years as we build our portfolio.  I personally would love to live in Texas... San Antonio is the most likely candidate, but I know that Texas is a hot market and I am left wondering if maybe I'm just too late to the party there.   The property tax situation there seems like it could be a significant risk to cashflow, especially given the appreciation we've been seeing there.    And I wonder if we'd even be able to compete as part-time/beginner investors there.   So what do you guys think?  Does Texas still make sense for small/part-time investors?   Or should I be looking elsewhere?

Or, let me re-frame the question just a bit.   If we wanted to optimize our lives for a low cost of living/tax burden the most opportunity for building our real estate portfolio in a beginner-friendly market, where should we be looking?  We're pretty much open to any/all possibilities.   What do you think?

Appreciate all of your input!




@Josh Deeden I think San Antonio is a good bet honestly. The rents are a little low comparatively to the home prices from what I have seen, but if you end up looking there I can recommend you my agent/wholesaler! 

I live in Austin and tons of Californians moving here (I just moved here from NYC). The market is piping hot, but that is not necessarily good if you are buying a rental!

@Josh Deeden would definitely consider your daily/weekly activities and what you really enjoy doing outside of work as moving to a cheaper place to live does have its negatives in regards to amenities and outside activities. In a larger metropolitan area like San Antonio, there will be deals as long as you stick to the grind of looking for them and committing to making offers. We just relocated to the south-east and putting in a plug to look into areas here. I know Knoxville/Nashville are seeing some growth as well as Atlanta, and areas in South and North Carolina! Sometimes you just need to commit to a place and figure the rest out on the fly!

@Josh Deeden
You didn't indicate your tech background, but the first objective, IMO is to establish yourselves in paying occupations in your new location. Once you are established in your new location and are meeting your basic needs with some left over, then you can begin to think about investing for the future. 

As for locations, I would suggest Austin which has a number of High-Tech Companies and is continuing to attract high tech businesses from CALI. You can live in some of the outlying communities more economically than in the Austin inner-core, and the schools are better - if that's a concern for children. Some suggestions, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Georgetown, Cedar Park & Leander on the North side of Austin. On the south side, Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, & Bastrop are all possibilities. 

San Antonio would also be an excellent choice as there is a burgeoning High Tech Community. Generally speaking,  Cost Of living is thought to be less in San Antonio than Austin.  As with Austin look for outlying communities where you can have a lower cost of living, but still have access to all the amenities and facilities of the major metro area. As for specific communities, Helotes, New Braunfels, Boerne, Schertz, Universal City, and Converse are potential destinations. 

Once you're meeting your basic needs and beginning to stockpile some savings, the best way to satisfy your housing needs and also begin to invest is to purchase a Duplex or other Multi-Family (MFR) property. You live in one unit and rent the others. This would enable you to get into the property using an FHA Loan (3.50% Down Payment) with a total out of pocket of about 7.50% Of the Sales Price. If you buy a duplex, ideally a large percentage of your Mortgage is paid by renting out the other unit. Or if you bought a Triplex / 4-Plex, all of your Mortgage Payment would be covered by rental income from the other units, allowing you to stockpile additional Cash for future investments.

Check out "7 Years to Seven Figure Wealth" by Brandon Turner. It's a ambitious roadmap, but doable with relentless drive and perseverance

It's NOT too late to start. But you do have to begin. 

Good Luck.

Let me know if I can answer any questions for you. 

DC. Highest incomes in the country. You are in tech....DC has the 2nd most tech jobs in country right behind the bay area, but with housing costs half the bay areas.

You can't just base it on a spreadsheet calculation, need to be able to tolerate living there, as you mentioned.  What's the weather going to be like, are you ok with it?  What are you going to do in your free time?  What are the taxes like?

Have you been to San Antonio?  It's not for me.  Friends and family have moved to: Reno, Boise & Salt Lake City. All are happy there so far. They all have +/-, 

Originally posted by @Antonio Cucciniello :

@Josh Deeden I think San Antonio is a good bet honestly. The rents are a little low comparatively to the home prices from what I have seen, but if you end up looking there I can recommend you my agent/wholesaler! 

I live in Austin and tons of Californians moving here (I just moved here from NYC). The market is piping hot, but that is not necessarily good if you are buying a rental!

Yeah, I can imagine buying a primary residence in Austin and investing elsewhere in Texas.    I've been in big cities most of my adult life (ex-NYC too...SF, etc), and now I'm all about living in the suburbs or generally less densely populated areas.  

How are you liking Austin?   What part of the city are you in?  

 

Originally posted by @Jim Cummings :

@Josh Deeden
You didn't indicate your tech background, but the first objective, IMO is to establish yourselves in paying occupations in your new location. Once you are established in your new location and are meeting your basic needs with some left over, then you can begin to think about investing for the future. 

As for locations, I would suggest Austin which has a number of High-Tech Companies and is continuing to attract high tech businesses from CALI. You can live in some of the outlying communities more economically than in the Austin inner-core, and the schools are better - if that's a concern for children. Some suggestions, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Georgetown, Cedar Park & Leander on the North side of Austin. On the south side, Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, & Bastrop are all possibilities. 

San Antonio would also be an excellent choice as there is a burgeoning High Tech Community. Generally speaking,  Cost Of living is thought to be less in San Antonio than Austin.  As with Austin look for outlying communities where you can have a lower cost of living, but still have access to all the amenities and facilities of the major metro area. As for specific communities, Helotes, New Braunfels, Boerne, Schertz, Universal City, and Converse are potential destinations. 

Once you're meeting your basic needs and beginning to stockpile some savings, the best way to satisfy your housing needs and also begin to invest is to purchase a Duplex or other Multi-Family (MFR) property. You live in one unit and rent the others. This would enable you to get into the property using an FHA Loan (3.50% Down Payment) with a total out of pocket of about 7.50% Of the Sales Price. If you buy a duplex, ideally a large percentage of your Mortgage is paid by renting out the other unit. Or if you bought a Triplex / 4-Plex, all of your Mortgage Payment would be covered by rental income from the other units, allowing you to stockpile additional Cash for future investments.

Check out "7 Years to Seven Figure Wealth" by Brandon Turner. It's a ambitious roadmap, but doable with relentless drive and perseverance

It's NOT too late to start. But you do have to begin. 

Good Luck.

Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

Hey Jim!   Thanks a ton for the thoughtful response.   And you're right, I should have been more specific about our work situations.   I am in the fortunate position that I work remotely and my job will follow me.   It's a stable job at a stable company and they will continue to pay my current salary wherever I happen to move.    Even if this job were to go away, finding another remote gig at equal or more pay is pretty much given.  

My wife has a source of passive income that's not insignificant and any additional income she would make from working is pretty much disposable income.    That being said, proximity to a tech hub isn't all that necessary and commuting times for us are not a factor in where we decide to live.    We just care about proximity to amenities and activities we enjoy doing, especially outdoorsy stuff like fishing, shooting, hiking, swimming, etc.

Another constraint I should have mentioned is that we are accustomed to having a lot of living space, so any sort of house hacking or living in a multifamily unit is pretty much off the table for us. We have 2 big dogs and a lot of stuff, so buying a SFR is probably the only thing on the menu for us. But man, I do love the idea of buying a multifamily and moving into one of the units. That would be ideal, but I just don't think our situation will allow for it.

And thanks for that book recommendation.   I will pick that up.   Our goal is to have enough passive income in 10 years to make working optional for us.   So if Brandon Turner has a 7 year plan, well I'm open to hearing what the man has to say :)