Buying First Rental Property

2 Replies

Hello BiggerPockets Community,

I am looking to buy my first rental property, which would be a duplex. I have some phone calls with realtors to talk about the properties. What are the main things to focus on discussing during those calls? 

Originally posted by @Robert Henderson :

Hello BiggerPockets Community,

I am looking to buy my first rental property, which would be a duplex. I have some phone calls with realtors to talk about the properties. What are the main things to focus on discussing during those calls? 

If you're in a reasonably populated area, I would first try to search the BiggerPockets Forums for other investors in your area and ask them for realtor suggestions. Most realtors are only used to working with home buyers. So they know absolutely jack squat about investing and how to value a deal as a rental property. They'll just tell you what a homebuyer would pay...which as an investor doesn't mean anything to you. 

The right realtor will be a resource for you, but under no circumstances should you be dependent on them. What I mean by this is that you need to run your own numbers. Don't just ask your realtor for expense ratios. They might be a totally different type of investor than you. Or worse...they aren't an investor at all...so they just pull numbers out of thin air! They might tell you an area is a great neighborhood, but that doesn't mean it meets your criteria for the type of tenant you want, or landlord you want to be. Sometimes you don't know this yet until you get started. That's fine...I'm just saying there is a fine balance between diving in head first...but also analysis paralysis. I liked having spent hours research markets and neighborhood and government programs, so that I felt more educated to have a conversation with my realtor, rather than him just tell me his opinion.