NEWBIE!!!O. C., California Question: Condo, SFR, Multi~Unit???

13 Replies

Hello BP Community!

Question: I am looking to purchase a first property (again!), and I would love some input from the BiggerPockets Community. Love to hear from all! I live in Orange County, California, and am seeking to make a RE purchase over the next few months. I would love to "House Hack" for this first property, but I am afraid that it might be too far from my workplaces in Orange County. Condo, SFR, Multifamily, which way to go? Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Lake Elsinore area? Out of state? I had a 2+2 Condo in Rancho Santa Margarita years ago that I bought as a B of A foreclosure ($77,000.00!!!), same properties in RSM are around $375,000.00 now (Ugh!) I really don't want to spend that much right now for 900 square feet.

I work for a hospital, a free~standing Imaging center, and two Radiology registries. I have about $78,000.00 saved, am renting super~cheaply (I am a minimalist), and am saving about $3,500.00 monthly. 

Thank you in advance, everybody , for your expert thoughts and advice!

Excellent  investing to all. 

Daniel F. Harb

Just an idea; There are houses that has a "mother in law" unit (Attached or Detached) where you can live and rent the main house. I am saying this based on your quote "I am a minimalist ". 

Lake Elsinore was one of the fastest growing cities in CA and will likely continue to grow with more business are moving in so LE might be a good idea. 

Msg me if you need help in LE. 

Thank you, @OzStark! Really appreciate the info on LE.   ~Daniel 

Another thought is buy the most affordable home you can find with the most bedrooms because when house hacking Rooms=Income. Think of a 4 bedroom home as almost being a mini 4-plex, I'm not sure exactly what your market rents are down there but if they are anything like up here on the Central Coast then you should be able to get between $600-850 per room! Put just enough down in order to cash flow or to live for free and you'll be in the clear. Do account for some expenses though although the other great thing is you can split the utilities equally between all the roommates. 

Being from Los Angeles, Ben brings the most reasonable point I can think of for someone in your situation unless you partner up to buy in a higher price range. It's the reason why there are so many multi-generational homes where multiple incomes can help pay the rent.   Get an agent that knows the areas you're considering and figure out your risk tolerance and then hunt for a deal were the numbers work. Buying a home in an undesirable area "can" get you undesirable results. Best of luck.

Wow. Excellent input Ben & Bryan! Thank you very much.  As soon as I leave the hospital today (work), I will speak with you further. 

Thank you!

@Daniel F. Harb I am a California real estate attorney and real estate broker based in Orange County.  I live in Mission Viejo and have my office in Irvine.  There are certainly some places around Orange County that can work.  PM me if you want to discuss more and give me your further criteria.

Thank you, Bryan. I am in the ER right now working, but I look forward to talking with you.

My father lives in MV. :)

Talk soon and thanks!


@Daniel F. Harb I'd suggest you buy a 2-4 unit. Not a SFR. This protects you when you have a vacancy.

Whether its a house hack or not depends on if you want to live in the area of the home. 

Try to buy something that is delivered vacant to avoid previous tenant issues. 



Thank you, Shawn. I would really love to purchase a Multi, I just need to do my due diligence with no rush. I have never bought a 2~4 plex,  but I would love to get started in that area. So much to learn, but excited! 

Thank you kindly, and best of investing,  SJW!

Hey @Daniel F. Harb   -How about really being a minimalist and buy some rural vacant land, say Kern or San Bernardino County for a $500, sell for $1500 and keep growing your acquisition balance to where you are comfortable enough to make some other decisions? And while you are doing that you can sell a few of the nicer properties with owner financing and sit back and collect $199/mo per property for doing nothing. Totally not crazy. A ton of us are doing it. Great way to get rolling in real estate and since you are paying cash for everything you don't have to worry about credit - AND - you will sleep well at night because everything is paid for.  Let me know if I can help!

Thank you, Anthony M!

I will have to look into that, very interesting information. 

Cheers!  $$$

Hey Daniel,

Would Long Beach be too far from your workplace?  There's some great opportunity there to "house hack" a 2-4 unit property.  

Hello Bill,

Long Beach is definitely close, is it in an OK area? Long Beach has some good areas, midline areas, and some gang infested areas, right? Thank you so much for reaching out. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here