Starting out on my real estate journey

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Hi all, I’m just starting out in real estate and have become borderline obsessed with absorbing as much knowledge as I possibly can. I live in Downtown Tampa, which seems to be a high potential market for rental properties at the moment. I have enough saved for a down payment on a single family rental property, and have been browsing the MLS sites for a few weeks. Here‘s the catch - I’m renting right now in Downtown Tampa, and it isn‘t cheap. I‘m still making decent cashflow from my job, but I’m considering buying a condo/townhouse for myself first to lower my monthly living expenses (I could move just outside the city for ~$600 less per month). My current apartment is AWESOME, but freeing up that extra cash might be a more logical/prudent first step. Looking for some thoughts/guidance from the community. Definitely appreciate feedback, and referrals on a good realtor - going to need one eIther way

Try looking at the surrounding areas which will not increase your commute as much. you should be able to buy a 2 family if you go out a little. If not try getting a 2 bedroom condo and renting out the 2nd bedroom to a good buddy of yours to help pay the mortgage and cut your expenses. They are options but it is up to you on how comfortable you feel.

Go to meetups in your area and network as that is the most important thing you can do. you will find a good realtor who can help you with your goals. 

Best of luck.

@Mike Petrocelli If you can own for less than rent, I would jump on it. However after condo fees would it really be cheaper? 

A big advantage to owning is the mortgage stays the same. Rent will go up over time. The longer you live in a home you own the better. Transaction costs can eat up a lot of equity if you move n a year or two.