Military Active Duty investors

20 Replies

Hello Everyone, I am a active duty marine looking to invest in my first property before the year is out. I’m looking for any advice before I hop into this. I have read plenty books and I attend my local Realestate meet ups. I have received a lot of good advice, but nothing when it comes to investing while in the military as far as benefits or problems I may come across. Any feedback will help.

@George Walker IV , While I appreciate your service, your employment to the US Gov doesn't hold any more water than those that work other jobs and are doing deals. I will say, the one benefit that you'll have is the VA loan and your ability to use it for a house hack. You may want to search this strategy out first, as you continue to learn the ropes. PM me and I would be glad to give you some pointers as well as the benefits if you decide to have rentals in a military town, or you can search them out here on BP. Good luck!

Here is some valuable advice from a crusty old retiree. Don't do it. If you want to wholesale, which isn't investing, then go for it. If you want to actually buy a property, consider that you will probably be moving in the next couple of years. You can't take it with you, so unless you are buying distressed property that you can add value to and sell them, I would not want to see you going to Japan and your house in GA is managed by a crappy manager and you lose your ***. I've seen it a lot.

@Matt Crusinberry - actually, the fact that he is in the military has a significant impact on how he invests in real estate. Are you in the military? Do you move around every 2-3 years? Do you deploy with little notice for 9-12 months to the middle of nowhere?

@Justin Tahilramani , I don't know what unit your in, or what past units you were in, but it doesn't work like that for SOF guys. I was in 5th SFG and I put 13 years in the community. We don't move around that much as reg. army, or so I'm told (or based off of your response). I also spend more time down range than I do in the states and continue to build my portfolio. So, please tell me how it works!

@George Walker IV There are quite a few active military investors on this site that will be willing to help you out (including me). I disagree with Anthony and think you should absolutely invest in real estate while you are active. Yes, there are some additional challenges when having to deploy or PCS to an overseas location, but if you have a good team and a network of people that can help you out (especially other military investors and veterans), you'll do great. Let me know how I can help; message me with questions  you have. Good luck! 

@Matt Crusinberry - so your personal experience is supposed to be representative of the entire US Military? You are the one who indicated that the OPs military service has no impact compared to other professions. I wonder why BP has a military specific thread???? Anyways - don't have time to argue the point. Best of luck to you and the OP.

@Justin Tahilramani , You're like a contradiction of terms... You don't have time to argue the point, but have time to post that you don't have time (officer???). My initial post to this question was in regards to it being tough all over. Every single person out there is going to have an issue in one way or another. While you took it as a negative, I was attempting to present it as "It's more than possible and rewarding," with risk mitigation. Along with, "Hey reach out to me and I would love to give you pointers and show you the benefits." You're comments have added zero value, but thank you for giving them! Please feel free to PM me yourself, as I will make time to have this discussion with you. Thanks

@George Walker IV , I do think you can do some amazing things in RE from the military's perspective. Being in the mil town alone will work in your favor. If you're stationed at a base where there are schools that soldiers have to attend, they all get paid per diem. I would be glad to give you some info, and what to look for if you want to move in that direction. Good luck!

@Matt Crusinberry - I may have misundestood what your original comment was implying. If that's the case I apologise. Yes, I'm an Officer. In my experience professional NCOs understand that we all serve a purpose. It's immature to perpetuate an "us vs. them" mentality.

@Matt Crusinberry

Not sure how you can say that it has no impact.

I am downrange right now, while trying to get a section 8 out of a property that I am 1031 exchanging. It’s absolutely more difficult than if I was at home. The time difference for calls, the spotty internet service, the POAs, the fact that you need trusted people, etc. It’s challenging AND my husband is not military and is a realtor! I have some serious work to do on my investment business before I deploy, and it would be amplified if I didn’t have my husband. It’s totally possible, but there are definitely added considerations. Don’t even get me started on PCSing considerations....

@Matt Crusinberry I understand what you are saying, and you're right. However, I think it was worth mentioning, since being in the military opens the door to some slightly different investing strategies (as you well know).

@George Walker IV I disagree with Anthony as well, I on 14 units in Missouri, and haven't lived there for the last 3.5 years. Still going strong, it is quite possible with the right team.

As Stuart said, there are many real estate investors floating around BiggerPockets, and several thriving communities for military real estate investors to grow and network! Feel free to hit me up anytime

@George Walker IV, welcome to BP Marine. As a current active duty member myself, I will give you my two cents. It is absolutely doable while serving. In some ways it is easier: VA loans, periodic moves which force an understanding of multiple markets, easily targetable rental populations. On the other hand, in some ways it is more difficult: managing from a distance (if you choose to do so), lack of ability to physically check properties, location uncertainty (deployments, training Xs, schools). I would tell you to conduct some evaluation. How well do you handle uncertainty? Is this a long term plan or are you looking for short term affects? Are you extremely hands / a micromanager, or can you allow a property manager to do what you pay them for? Are you risk averse or are you comfortable with some risk? How do you manage that risk? Do you bite your nails and not sleep, or can you develop a numbers system and trust it?

Not an all inclusive list of questions, but in 20 years, and 21 units currently, they are questions that I have had to answer and have allowed me to grow my portfolio.

Please feel free to reach out directly and I will help in any way I can.

Semper Fi!

@George Walker IV while everyone in here does have a different way of looking at it there is a ton of valuable information listed above. Being active duty myself I definitely think it's doable. The two biggest things I would point out that I don't think got enough emphasis above. If you plan on house hacking, understand that the house you buy is not for you, it's for the tenants who are going to live in it after you, my points in this or don't fall in love with the property, will the numbers actually work for you if this is the wrong property, if you can't cover your mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and CAPEX with what you can charge for rent the numbers don't work, I made this mistake when I bought my first house. Next, I don't advise self-managing property, the reason I say this is it if you do move every two or three years which I have throughtout my career it could potentially affect your work, and I'm going to make the assumption or right now that's your primary source of income so you don't want to mess that up. Last, if you can find properties that you can work on while living there you can definitely make your money throughout the years. There's a Facebook page called Active Duty Passive Income that I would recommend, full disclaimer the page try to sell you stuff which I haven't bought but it is a good way to connect with other service members that are actively investing. Hope this helps out some.

@George Walker IV

I’m also an active duty investor. In fact, I’m a realtor now as well! I’m located in Clarksville, TN and I invest in rentals in town. If you have any questions about local rentals or the realtor side of things feel free to reach out!

@George Walker IV I'm an active duty Navy Corpsman. What works for me is buying multi family home with va loan. Find another active duty to rent the other unit while I live In one unit. It's pretty much military housing except I get all the money. If you deploy or something just ask your tenant to look after your house just like you would in base housing.

@George Walker IV as everyone mentioned, it’ll be just as tough to invest because we are always gone. It can be just as tough to invest at the location you are stationed as it is investing long distance. I’ve been TDY a lot this year and I feel like it’s investing long distance. The main thing is it’ll be easy to set up your team since the team is in the area you are stationed and you have a good idea of how things work. While I’m TDY, I’m constantly checking out properties online and if one peaks my interest, I try to set up appointments with my realtor to check out with my wife. My wife and I DIY most of the minor repairs of our first property and due to TDY timing, I didn’t have much time to do it. However, this is an easy mitigation by hiring people. I’m also a newbie, but these are the current challenges I have. Good luck!