Best real estate route for first-time buyer with construction skills?

2 Replies

Hi all,

I'm a part-time attorney in the Puget Sound region; I've never bought a home and I have fairly comprehensive construction skills from years in carpentry. I was wondering if there is any general consensus on the best use of my skills in terms of a real estate investment route? In other words, perhaps a FHA 203k rental property, diy flip, subcontracted flip, basic rental property, etc? I only have access to 40k max in cash through family, but I have excellent credit myself and credit cards. I have the legal side of things taken care of. I would prefer to do the construction myself but I realize that may not be financially worth it if I can hire it out. I have the patience to do thorough research but I'm not really that socially connected in terms of finding cheap properties or the business in general. Getting a return in a few months is a priority over decades-long investment.

Thanks so much for any tips!

@Sven Li I have taken properties that wouldn't be appealing to most people, bought them, and not completely rehabbed them but made it so someone else could come in and finish it out, it cut down my capital and turn time. IE buy a ok house with a bad roof, replace the roof and sell it to another rehabber or buy and hold person. Just one thought.

Hi @Sven Li, 

Since you mentioned that you want a return on you investment in a few months, I wouldn't do a buy and hold rental. While the FHA 203k option allows you to finance the renovations and have little cash in the deal, you have to live in the home as your primary residence. I don't think they'll let you do this type of loan for a short term like that. If you sell your primary home without living in it for 2 years, you will have to pay income taxes on the gain anyway. The 203k loan is very specific on contractors, and you may not have the option to do the jobs you want to do yourself.

Instead, I would just do a flip.  Find a private lender, maybe someone local to fund the deal.  You could also try being your own general contractor.  This way you can do the jobs you feel comfortable with and sub out the rest.  This is not a bad option if you have both construction and management skills. 

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