Lost vet in need of a vector. Starting out fresh...but where?

7 Replies

Hi everyone! Just joined the ranks here at BP and I continue to be amazed daily with the amount of information that is readily available at our fingertips. So much so, that I'm having a tough time figuring out where to start with my current situation. I'm transitioning out of the military currently waiting patiently to start a new career that should allow enough time to jump into real estate investing with plenty of time left over for family and fun...or so I think, ha! My wife and I are undecided on where to settle down but are aiming somewhere between Philadelphia and the Annapolis/DC area. We are considering the idea of purchasing a multi-fam unit and living in one for at least a year before moving onto the next adventure. Side note...we have a 16 month old son and are planning another soon just to put living requirements into perspective. If necessary, we have about 100K to work with and I also qualify for VA loans (zero down with NO PMI...but a funding fee of 3.3% of the loan amount) which can really assist if we are aiming to maximize leverage. I know there's some great stuff out there if you look hard enough but like a lot of newbies, I'm kind of stuck at the starting gate unsure of which direction to leap...especially in this seemingly forever climbing market. Is the timing right? Which area is best? Are multi-fams even a good idea right now? What size should we aim for? If not, what should we pursue? Should I bag the whole idea and just toss our savings into Silver?? These are just a few of the questions jumping around the grey matter every morning before being pelted in the eye with breakfast sausage released from the hand of the aforementioned toddler. He's not too keen yet on expressing his views in a succinct manner but if he could, I'd be asking him too! Thanks in advance for any ideas!

@David Reinke

I think it's best to start with the Financial Independence Blueprint video course on this site. There's a lot of information on real estate investing that will put what you're trying to achieve here into a framework.

@Scott Trench 's book Set for Life has absolutely the most persuasive arguments I've ever seen for starting in a small multifamily, as you are planning to. The boy's very young and this is a good time to go on a househacking adventure, before your family grows more and it becomes progressively more difficult.

This is not, at least in my limited view, the very best time to buy that sort of small multifamily property. But it is the time that is NOW, and in many things real estate, NOW in the only time you have.

I would aim for a small 2-4 multifamily that can be financed and refinanced through traditional means easily.

The silver bugs do have a point. There might be something to someday there being an uncontrollable global demand for silver that cannot be fulfilled and will therefore drive the price sky-high. I very much doubt it will happen in a lifetime, and I think a lifetime is more than what's left. To get out there pretty far and just match gears with the precious metals people, I don't think that hoarding precious metals has much of a future past the next thirty years as humanity develops asteroid mining capabilities.

Here's sausage in your eye!

@David Reinke  

Your overall life goals will drive most of your investment decisions, so that's where I would start. Do an honest assessment of what you are willing and not willing to do, but also what you are capable and not capable of doing. Then I'd pick a part of the country to live in; that will also inform a lot of your investing options. 

For example, Philly has lots more MF which you could house hack. Annapolis, not so much. Or at least I wouldn't want to live where the MF is around DTA.

@David Reinke  

Many of us started in your situation. My point of view at this point would be due to the fact that you have a wife and a toddler, then that would be my primary concern in figuring out where you want your primary residence to be in. That being said if I were you I would find the best school district in the area you areas you are focusing on and find the worst most dilapidated home/ duplex/ triplex in the area. Some place that you would not mind raising your family in. I would fix it up and live there. Getting into a neighborhood like this under value will almost instantly give you equity. After this you can start using this equity to invest with while having your home in a nice area.

I take this position because when I bought my first house, I allowed my wife to convince me to buy a house with a bigger yard and detached garage and half mile away and in a lower regarded school district than another home in an award winning school district.  

Well 26 years later I still live in the same home and has appreciated greatly, but the home that I let get away 1/2 mile away from me is worth $200,000 more.  I look back at my decision and say if I only would have bought in the award winning school district area I would be $200,000 richer than I am.  

After getting your primary home situation settled, then you can mess around different rental situations. 

If you were a young single person, I would be giving you different advice.  

Hope that helps.

Good Luck!

Originally posted by @David Reinke :

Hi everyone! Just joined the ranks here at BP and I continue to be amazed daily with the amount of information that is readily available at our fingertips. So much so, that I'm having a tough time figuring out where to start with my current situation. I'm transitioning out of the military currently waiting patiently to start a new career that should allow enough time to jump into real estate investing with plenty of time left over for family and fun...or so I think, ha! My wife and I are undecided on where to settle down but are aiming somewhere between Philadelphia and the Annapolis/DC area. We are considering the idea of purchasing a multi-fam unit and living in one for at least a year before moving onto the next adventure. Side note...we have a 16 month old son and are planning another soon just to put living requirements into perspective. If necessary, we have about 100K to work with and I also qualify for VA loans (zero down with NO PMI...but a funding fee of 3.3% of the loan amount) which can really assist if we are aiming to maximize leverage. I know there's some great stuff out there if you look hard enough but like a lot of newbies, I'm kind of stuck at the starting gate unsure of which direction to leap...especially in this seemingly forever climbing market. Is the timing right? Which area is best? Are multi-fams even a good idea right now? What size should we aim for? If not, what should we pursue? Should I bag the whole idea and just toss our savings into Silver?? These are just a few of the questions jumping around the grey matter every morning before being pelted in the eye with breakfast sausage released from the hand of the aforementioned toddler. He's not too keen yet on expressing his views in a succinct manner but if he could, I'd be asking him too! Thanks in advance for any ideas!

A post I wrote a few years ago, VA loan and 2-4 unit properties, what you need to know. DC is a hot market, so that'll present additional challenges when sellers see that you're writing the offer with 0% down. Might be a little easier in Philly, though admittedly I don't know east coast markets all that well.

Grats on the boy, my girl is also 16 months old. :)

Originally posted by @Chris Mason :
Originally posted by @David Reinke:

Hi everyone! Just joined the ranks here at BP and I continue to be amazed daily with the amount of information that is readily available at our fingertips. So much so, that I'm having a tough time figuring out where to start with my current situation. I'm transitioning out of the military currently waiting patiently to start a new career that should allow enough time to jump into real estate investing with plenty of time left over for family and fun...or so I think, ha! My wife and I are undecided on where to settle down but are aiming somewhere between Philadelphia and the Annapolis/DC area. We are considering the idea of purchasing a multi-fam unit and living in one for at least a year before moving onto the next adventure. Side note...we have a 16 month old son and are planning another soon just to put living requirements into perspective. If necessary, we have about 100K to work with and I also qualify for VA loans (zero down with NO PMI...but a funding fee of 3.3% of the loan amount) which can really assist if we are aiming to maximize leverage. I know there's some great stuff out there if you look hard enough but like a lot of newbies, I'm kind of stuck at the starting gate unsure of which direction to leap...especially in this seemingly forever climbing market. Is the timing right? Which area is best? Are multi-fams even a good idea right now? What size should we aim for? If not, what should we pursue? Should I bag the whole idea and just toss our savings into Silver?? These are just a few of the questions jumping around the grey matter every morning before being pelted in the eye with breakfast sausage released from the hand of the aforementioned toddler. He's not too keen yet on expressing his views in a succinct manner but if he could, I'd be asking him too! Thanks in advance for any ideas!

A post I wrote a few years ago, VA loan and 2-4 unit properties, what you need to know. DC is a hot market, so that'll present additional challenges when sellers see that you're writing the offer with 0% down. Might be a little easier in Philly, though admittedly I don't know east coast markets all that well.

Grats on the boy, my girl is also 16 months old. :)

Spot on Chris. In DC proper a VA loan is incredibly rare to get an offer accepted with. The last one I was successful with was an off market deal purchased from a flipper I had a relationship with. In the suburbs, its possible, but still difficult, at least in the high demand suburbs. East of the city its a little easier.

Thanks for the input, @Jim K. I'll have to check out Set for Life for sure. I'm deep into the video series which I agree has some great info. Totally agree that NOW is the only time we have and you can spend an entire life waiting around for the "best" time, right? 

@David Reinke

The American middle class is full of otherwise capable people who have immense difficulty contemplating the prospect of personal failure. They spend their lives waiting to be at the right place in the right time to make the smart move to get the sure thing.


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt