Military Investor

31 Replies

Hello everyone! I am in the military currently stationed overseas, but do to return stateside in the spring. I am looking at purchasing rental property upon my return but it would be my first investment. I am looking for other military members/veterans who could help guide me through the process, since our lifestyle is much different then those on the civilian side.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

@Travis Callihan , I am also overseas and investing.  I have been able to expand from 5 units to 15 units over the last 18 months by getting to know my target market, getting tapped into resources & developing a team in that area and staying on top of things.  My market is Cincinnati & Dayton Ohio area.  I return to the states in the spring also and my goal is to double my rental portfolio next year if I can.  One of my big challenges now is finding a portfolio lender to tap into my "free & clear" rental properties.  What areas are you interested in when you return to the states?

@Travis Callihan ,

Welcome to BP,

There are quite a few active duty military and vets on the site here.  I personally find that the best way to elicit the most response is to make your posts rich with key words.  Be specific as possible about where you are investing (city, county, state, area name, local bases).  This will not only get you more responses, but will likely give you the best shot of connecting with the people that know your exact area the best.  Also be specific about the type of investing you are looking at doing, to include the kinds of financing that you may be looking for.  

Also, there are a lot of individuals that are stationed overseas that are doing meet-ups in their area.

Where are you headed on after you rotate back?

Let me know if there is anyway that I can help.



@Travis Callihan Thank you for your service.

What I would recommend is to figure out your market, property type, price point. Also, you need to decide if you are going to fix/flip, fix/rent or buy/rent (rehab is already done). This will help you narrow down your source of finding properties.

This is very specific to you. What works for someone else may not work for you.

A good mortgage banker can help to narrow down what you can afford, and help you identify the sources of financing.

Build a team and stick with them (unless of course they are not worth). Don't nickle and dime folks. Relationships is everything in this industry.

Thank you all for your comments and advice.

@Bryan C. where are you located at overseas?

I am having trouble finding my market. I am interested in the Pittsburgh market, but am not sure if I want to invest there or wait until I return to the states in April and invest wherever I get stationed at next.

@Dan Call Thank you for the advice. I was just trying to give an overview but I should have included more specific details in my post. I am not sure what area I am looking to invest in yet, I am debating being a landlord from afar, and investing in either the Pittsburgh or Colorado Springs area or just hold off and invest in a unit at my next duty station. I am looking for buy and hold properties. Either SFH or MFH 4 units or less. I have enough to comfortably put 20% down on most SFH's in the markets I am looking at, but may need different financing for a MFH. I am scheduled to head back in March-April timeframe but have not found out my next assignment yet.

@Upen Patel Thank you for your response. I agree with you that building a great team is very important, which is one of the reasons I am on this website. I am looking for a buy and rent, my price point is dependent on which market I choose but my high point is around $275,000-$300,000. I would prefer a MFH but would buy a SFH is the location/numbers were good.

Hi there, @Travis Callihan - thanks for posting! The $275k - $300k price point is right along with average to median prices which, absent a significant down payment, tend to fall outside of acceptable profit margins from a buy and hold perspective. With some exceptions, for single family the sweet spot is likely closer to the $200k range, where market rents are more likely to provide a decent (@10%+) equity return. 

With about a thousand doors under management, we are an investor minded brokerage providing turnkey, buy and hold solutions from Colorado Springs to Denver. We look forward to serving you. Feel free to connect. 

@Bryan C. I'm AD Army and looking to get started but trying to figure out where (geographically speaking) to start.  My instinct is to invest back near "home" as opposed to my various stations.  How did you decide on DYT and CIN?  (Go Flyers!)

Great to connect!

My husband is active duty navy and we own 8 houses all currently rentals. This life while having its many moments has been a huge blessing in investing in real estate. The way we got started was buy a personal and than renting it out. We bought every house with the idea that it would have the exit plane of being a rental. So this way we were covered no matter what. Thanks to our rentals it has given us financial options. This tour I was able to stay home and work on our investments instead of stressing about finding jobs in an area where jobs in my field are rare. 

Great to connect!

My husband is active duty navy and we own 8 houses all currently rentals. This life while having its many moments has been a huge blessing in investing in real estate. The way we got started was buy a personal and than renting it out. We bought every house with the idea that it would have the exit plane of being a rental. So this way we were c

@Travis Callihan & @Larry Joshua , I am in England but will move to Mississippi spring '17.  I decided on my market because I am from that area & it is easier for me to develop my team with my knowledge of the area etc.

VA loans are awesome! Look into those. Study the podcasts as well to figure out what you like!

If you plan to occupy the unit, VA loans are a great option (0% down!).

Also, listen to BP Podcast 183. The guest is one example of service members succeeding as investors!

@Travis Callihan , like @Larry Joshua and @Bryan C. , I am also active duty military.  I have 9 units right now and am looking at another property.  I have investments across the country.  I would be happy to discuss one on one.  Just PM me.  We should all link up and discuss do and don'ts and some point.  Good luck!

@Travis Callihan Hi Travis, Welcome to Biggerpockets and Thank you for your service. I am a former military member and willing to help. 

@Travis Callihan ,

If you're thinking about investing in Colorado Springs, I would love to connect and we chat about our market, discuss what is realistic to achieve here, how you can use your VA benefit to invest, and any other general questions you may have. Feel free to call me any time.

@Travis Callihan

I am Active Duty Navy and stationed in Bahrain. I JV'd a rental property (with another military member) that we bought in 2014 and that we currently manage from overseas (both of us are overseas now). It is condo that we rent to college students, but overall it is low maintenance.

I can tell you that I had not found BP at that time and did not know as much as I know now. My experience included purchasing 2 personal residences and managing one of them (after I transferred and could not sell) though an awesome management company in Jacksonville, FL.

I'm sure you probably know by now, but I would recommend to practice running the numbers on a few properties in your target markets and based on your strategy (buy/hold, flip, etc) to get comfortable with that before your return.

I also intend to get my real estate license before my return through an online course (I believe that if there is a place where members can take college classes on base, they may be able to proctor your RE exam). Otherwise, you may be able to use the GI Bill to take a course when you return.

No matter what don't be afraid of jumping in. I'm sure that whatever you are doing career wise is a lot more intensive than acquiring your first property.  

@Kevin Hunter @Gary Swank @Colin Smith @Ramon Purifoy I sent you all PM and colleague requests

@John Delosreyes I agree, I would love to use the VA loan and then house hack a multiple unit property, but with a wife and 2 kids I do not think my wife would approve.

I am currently deployed to South West Asia with my home station being in Germany. I am scheduled to return to the states in April but I do not know where I am headed yet. I would love to talk to you all of you guys who own real estate that is geographically separated. The hardest thing right now is that I do not have a team, or group of people I trust in any of the areas that I want to invest in, which is why I have been so hesitant to pull the trigger on a deal.

Active Duty here to. We're "overseas" in Alaska right now but are saving aggressively to purchase a MF home when this tours over. We're doing buy and hold. Tons of info here and the podcasts are awesome. Overall the difficulties of being a military investor is worth it after talking to friends that rent out old homes while active duty at a new duty station. If y'all put a military investors meeting together please let me know! Good luck brother

@Travis Callihan

In my target market of metro Atlanta, I do not have a "team" in place. To my benefit I have family where my property is. My father helps with maintenance issues but that is the extent of my official team. I hadn't developed a lease until we were in the purchasing process (which I am still revising 3 years latter) and I didn't know much about marketing except that I was going to use Trulia/Zillow to advertise. Luckily it workout. 

The good thing about having a few months before you begin is that to a degree, you can get these systems in place now. Google Voice/Hangouts allows me to call to the states at no cost from my computer. You can find interview questions for realtors, contractors, and others on BP to start you off. Imagine if you were moving to live personally (which you will be). There would be less hesitation because you HAVE TO get the job done to find somewhere to live. You can search/ask in the forums from recommendations and start there. If nothing comes through, find reviews online for a few companies, ask them a few questions measure the responses.

Don't wait till everything is in "perfect" to get started. It never will be. You'll figure out things/people/documents/what you need as you progress forward, BP helps you to start at level 25 vice level zero.

I will admit that not knowing anyone in town is tough, but 4/5 months will go by quick. I would figure out where you want to be by the end of 2017, work backwards from there and set an immediate gameplan for things that you can do before you leave station.

Also, alot of people are not aware of this, but VA is a good option. Know that, depending on how much the purchase costs are, you can purchase a second house with your remaining entitlement. I believe you have around $417,000 (a few areas may have more) but if your purchase is less than that, you can use the remainder on your next house once you move out. You can always refinance to a non-VA loan, but if you do not have the capital to begin with, it a good option. You will have to live in it (at least a year I believe).

@Ramon Purifoy I would love to invest in real estate where I have family as well, because then I know I could trust them, but my family is from a tiny town in the middle of nowhere and my wife's family is from San Jose, where it is too expensive for me to invest. I think that I am going to do alot of market research and post on here when I find out where my next assignment is and hopefully build a team there so that I can feel confident and secure and begin investing in a property at every duty location. I see success stories on here about it and I think it is a solid strategy in the right markets. 

I also did not know that about the VA loan. That is good option if I buy at my next duty location and then am able to PCS and still used the left over funds to purchase a second home.

Sounds like you have a plan. BP is here to help. 

I am a realtor with Keller-Williams of North Atlanta do multifamily properties in Atlanta and I specialize in VA benefits so maybe I can help

Like many on this thread, and @Braden Coast , please let me know if there is a military investors meeting! I am junior in all this (only read a few books, watched a webinar, adn don't own a property yet) but my wife and I are building an real estate education and down payment for this. we are coming up on our second set of orders (first PCS move) and will begin to entertain the idea of where/when to buy over the coming months. I like the idea of SFH bought near base then turned to rental when PCS comes around but also curious if I should focus on where we plan to settle post-military life. Sounds like there is experience here so I look forward to rereading through this thread and learning more. Cheers to all and Semper Fidelis.

last time I transfered from overseas back to stateside I used the first week of my leave days in the area I was being transferred to. I had a realtor line up a whole bunch of properties for me to look at. Found a home with a mother in law quarters in the back that I use as a rental now. Found that on day 3 of looking at properties. Put in my offer and it went into contract. Took 3 more weeks on leave back home with my family by the time I checked into my command I had closed on the house. Just 1 option for ya. Worked pretty good for me. I did a lot of research the months prior to me getting there and learned the market though. 

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