I want to get into the game, but I need advice!

4 Replies

Hello everyone, I know my title is a little vague, but it is as it sounds, I want to get into the game of real estate investing, but I need advice! 

My name is John, I'm 23 years old and I'm in the navy, and I'm new to the idea of real estate investing but am very intrigued by it. There are a few reasons I want to get into the "game" of real estate investing. To name a few, I want money for my my daughter's future, I want to help get rid of my parent's mortgage as fast as possible, and I want to give my family the financial freedom they deserve. I know it sounds a little cliche, but realistically, who doesn't want these things right? 

Now, being in the navy I have a great option called a VA loan. I've read a few posts, blogs, books, and listened to a few podcasts here on biggerpockets along with a few books on investing.

My plan as of now is to buy a piece of property every station I get assigned to and use it as rental property when I leave that said duty station. Here is where my problem resides. I want to get started into real estate investing now but I only have 18 months left here (in Virginia Beach) but I don't know if it is wise for me to buy a house to rent now, or if i should wait until I get to my next duty station. 

The VA loan is good for use once at a time until I am able to pay it off or refinance with another company. My intentions are to use the VA loan to buy a house, maybe live in it a few months, refinance with another company and rent it out when a move.

What I'm worried about is not being able to rent out the house as fast I can move. I'm not sure if I should be worrying about this since this city is a majority military personnel who are always moving in and out of the area. My wife feels like we would be paying two major bills (rent and mortgage) if I'm not able to rent the house out before we move. What are my options here? I feel like I have a pretty basic, but decent plan. I don't currently own any properties yet, but I feel like this is a good but cut-and-dry plan. I've been doing a lot of reading on 'why it's not a good idea to buy a first home if you're not going to be living in it for a few months' posts from sources like CNN Money and the like,  but again I'm not looking to settle just as of yet. 

Should I take the risk or is this something I shouldn't even be thinking of? 

Not sure why it posted twice ... Sorry about that ...

@John lagrimas

That is a solid plan. there have been many REI that were military and have done very well buying SFR at each duty station. As always if you are buying a SFR, or any other investment property, knowing that you will be transferring eventually you should make sure that you do your due diligence to minimize your risk by making sure it cash flows once you turn it into a rental property. Also, build up a your emergency reserves. I don't know what rank you are but I can tell you that if I had been carrying two mortgages as a Petty Officer I would not have been able to survive very long.

John continue to read, but question everything and make your own determination.  Build your reserves and prepare.  As stated above, ensure you cash flow conservatively and when you are ready, buy.

@John Lagrimas My boyfriend (marine corps) and I used used a VA loan about two years ago to buy a duplex. Here are a few things I found out when we were doing that deal.

You can use a VA loan for multifamily (up to 4 units), so you could potentially use it to buy several rental properties all at once, if you found the right property.

Also, there is a limit to how much you can borrow using a VA loan. I think the limit is 417k, but it might depend on the year you joined. That means that if you bought a property for 200k using the VA loan, then refinanced so that you could use the VA loan again, you'd have 217k worth of eligibility left. It isn't a loan program that you can continually refinance out of and use again.

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