Research is overwhelming. Where to begin?

11 Replies

Hi BP community,

First off, so happy to be a part of the BP community. I recently decided to learning more about real estate investing and joined Bigger Pockets by extension. Now that I am here I am finding things quite overwhelming. There is so much to consider: business plan, market, team, financing, etc. Couple things before I start spraying questions.

Our goal(s): My wife and I are looking to build enough cash flow from our REI in order to retire and spend more time with our two young children. (Shocking, I know.) About us, we are southern California residents who are considering a "buy and hold" strategy out of state due to the purchase prices here. Being new to real estate investing, buying a rental property, let alone an out of state rental property makes us a bit anxious to say the least.

I've read BP's "Ultimate Beginner's Guide" which was great, but also left me with more questions. For the experienced buy and hold investor with out of state experience, where should someone like me begin? How do I find the best markets to purchase a single family rental? How do I find and screen a property manager? Should we even consider out of state investing the first time out?

 Thanks BP community! Any advice is much appreciated.


@Mike Ruangutai Welcome to BP.  I know starting out can be very overwhelming and definitely starting out out-of-state.  I have yet to do an out-of-state deal, as I prefer to really know my area, but I understand this might not work for some.  If you search out of state investing you will find some good information on here that might help you out on some steps you can take.  I linked a blog that might be of some help to you.

@Carolina E. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. That video was very helpful. I'll try searching out of state investing as well! 

Hey Mike! My business address is Walnut :) But I actually live in Venice. I've always bought out-of-state properties, so if you'd like to chat about places to start and markets and what to do, etc., shoot me a message anytime and I'm happy to share experiences.

Hi Ali,

Oh really? Do you also work out of Walnut? Interestingly, I work out near Playa Vista and commute from Walnut. I'm looking to be a sponge so I'll certainly take you up on the offer to share! I'll shoot a private message. 



1. Listen to the BP podcasts

2. Choose a vehicle

3. Read 5 books on that vehicle

4. Network with people who are already proficient in that area

5. Take action 

Thanks @Rosston Smith ! I have been listening to the BP podcasts nearly every day and just bought Brandon Turner's two books on rental properties. 

I've been trying to research areas looking ESRI, city-data, etc. What's the best advice on researching areas?   

I've also been researching turnkey as a vehicle considering the out of state situation and from what I have read it's all about sifting through the legitimacy and experience of turnkey providers. 


Honestly, just driving an area and looking around has been the most profitable for me. 

Turnkey is a pretty solid idea for out of state investing. 

Hi @Mike Ruangutai and welcome to BP!  I wish you the best of luck as you start investing!  One piece of advice on out of state turnkey investing: independently confirm the market rent for the property you're looking to buy.  While annoying, bad managers can be fired.  Bad rehabs can be dealt with.  But buying in a bad area where the rents aren't what you originally thought can't be fixed.  I have a guide to investing in turnkey I can send you if you'd like to connect sometime.  Take care!

@Steve Olson Thanks! That is certainly sage advice. Would you mind sending me the turnkey guide? I'll send you a private message with my email address!


@Mike Ruangutai

Welcome to BP.

I would suggest that not knowing and area, not knowing the people, and, by your own admission, not having much real estate experience could put you in a very vulnerable position.

Start by figuring out what you do know or are skilled at and leverage that.  Where do you have people you trust (relatives, friends, etc) who will know an area?  Have you lived in any other markets (for school or otherwise)?  Do you own your own home?  Are you a skilled manager?  Start with your strengths and figure out how to build on them.

And remember all markets have opportunities.  As investors, our job is to find below market opportunities.  This is possible in SoCal too.  Perhaps find an operator there and partner or apprentice to get some hands on experience.

Good luck!

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