Curious about Norfolk

17 Replies

Hello BP! I am hoping to breach the condition of paralysis by analysis and finally get started on my highly anticipated/researched venture into long distance real estate investing. One of my biggest holdups was choosing which market to invest in but I think I can finally past that hurdle! My boyfriend lives in Norfolk as active military and after visiting the area and researching further I realized this could be a great cashflowing place to start especially if I keep visiting the area and move out there next year. This market is nothing like San Diego (where I currently live!) and being able to physically see the area first hand gives me the peace of mind to want to pursue investing out there as long as the cash flow numbers make the sense.. which seems to be the case out there! I am in the market for a duplex-quadplex for around a 200k. I'd like to potentially airbnb one of the units and rent out the other(s). Hoping to get a bit of advice from any investors in the area on a couple of pending questions:

1. Flood zones- I hear its a problem! Im struggling with deciphering the flood zones maps and determining which areas to avoid. Looks like most just have a search bar for specific addresses to see if they are in a flood zone. Are there more general areas that are known to avoid? If a property isnt in a flood zone do I still need insurance? Does flood insurance kill cash flow and am I making a bad decision by wanting to invest out here? Based on my research seems like the Ghent, Edgewood, and Lakewood areas seem to be the most desirable. 

2. Looks like the city is going to enforce Airbnb hosts to get licensed and pay taxes on rentals starting in 2019 but its not strictly enforced yet. Are there any current Airbnb investors in the area that can shed light on this?  

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Also welcomed would be referrals to local realtors experienced in working with investors and bonus if they are familiar with military investors as well(bf looking hoping to use VA loan to purchase MFL in the near future as well)

 

@Priscilla Quintana , You mentioned in your profile that you have a well established career. What is it that you are good at? Without knowing you and the market you are thinking of, I still suggest you play to your strengths. If you are good with numbers, great. If you have a flair for design, cool. The more you play to your strengths, the easier it will be to move forward with confidence. You can build from your strengths as you develop new skills and become aware of things to watch out for.

Give yourself time and room to make some mistakes. Once you can recover from. None of us can get it perfect. It is how you deal with the situation that matters. Play the long game. RE rewards those who stay int he game.

Cashflow is how tenants keep you in the game. They need a place to live and for some reason, being an owner is not right for them. That is fine. You fill their need and they give you the cash to play the long game. Even if appreciation never happens, the debt can be paid off.

Good luck. Stay in touch.

Welcome! It's hard to find units for $50k/door in the Hampton Roads area right now unless you are doing a fixer upper. All the B class quads I'm seeing are $250k-$300k and I would not be able to cash flow at that price with paying management and keeping reserves. I use the FEMA website, linked below. If the property is in the blue, it requires insurance. If it is on the border, check the revisions and amendments to see if it is listed as an exception. I personally avoid flood zones to maximize cash flow.


https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search

@Priscilla Quintana , I live in and invest in Carlsbad. I am also very well connected to the Tidewater area through family. I was out in VB last month.

One of my family members owns and operates a real estate brokerage in VB. While I was there we talked investments. His advice was to stay away from Norfolk and Hampton (where most multi family units are) primarily due to they are in bad areas and your tenant base will be rough. Instead, if I were to invest in VB I would likely pick up SFH blocks from the beach or condos that I could rent out on AirBnB.

After much review of the market, I decided I would rather continue to invest in the San Diego market.

@Kevin Sack is right on. Our market is mega competitive right now. In Lakewood there are only single family homes, and they are not priced to get anywhere close to the 1% rule. Edgewood is really Bayview and that neighborhood and Ghent you would have to spend more than $100K/unit or more, and that will likely only get you two bedrooms per unit. I'm trying to attached screenshots of our MLS history for you but BP isn't attaching the photos for some reason. I sent you a PM with the screenshots.

@John Corey I’m a sales manager in a fast paced corporate world. So working with people is my strength along with managing projects and staying organized. I can decorate but not creatively... I more so copy inspirations from

Others! I’ve made 6 figures consistently the past few years but I’ve spent most of it on high rent, leisure & travel to be honest so only have about 40k liquid for a conventional downpayment on a 200k property. This is why the Virginia market is so attractive to me. I read in the forums that properties were cash flowing 2 years ago and that it was a great market for that but after reading some of the replies it seems as though that may be changing which is disheartening!

@Patti Robertson thanks Patti! I see that you’ve been fairly active within that area so you’re advising to avoid for now due to the market changing? When I visited I didn’t get the vibe that those neighborhoods were sketchy.. if anything I thought that having a strong base of military tenant pool would help alleviate that along with families coming out to visit those serving. Most of the Airbnb’s were booked which led me to believe it would be a good area for that too.... do you think more inland like Richmond would be a better option??

Originally posted by @Nick Foster :

One of my family members owns and operates a real estate brokerage in VB. While I was there we talked investments. His advice was to stay away from Norfolk and Hampton (where most multi family units are) primarily due to they are in bad areas and your tenant base will be rough. Instead, if I were to invest in VB I would likely pick up SFH blocks from the beach or condos that I could rent out on AirBnB.


Let me guess - your family member broker doesn’t actually own investment property, right? No one who is an intentional investor can make the numbers work in VB. VB landlords are or were owner occupants unless they are short term rentals.  I am also a broker who does personally invest in all our cities and my #1 favorite city to do business in, by far,  is Norfolk.  Rents are stronger than VB, purchase prices are lower, and they have programs for landlords that no other city in our market has.

 

Originally posted by @Priscilla Quintana :

@Patti Robertson thanks Patti! I see that you’ve been fairly active within that area so you’re advising to avoid for now due to the market changing? When I visited I didn’t get the vibe that those neighborhoods were sketchy.. if anything I thought that having a strong base of military tenant pool would help alleviate that along with families coming out to visit those serving. Most of the Airbnb’s were booked which led me to believe it would be a good area for that too.... do you think more inland like Richmond would be a better option??

None of the neighborhoods you mentioned are "sketchy". On the contrary, they are so expensive you won't find anything close to the numbers you quoted. Check your PMs. I sent you the actual data from the MLS from each of the neighborhoods so you'd an see what the numbers really are.

 

Hi Priscilla! I just moved to the Virginia Beach area and it looks like you and I have similar ideas of investing in this area. I went to a great meetup last month with a lot of BiggerPockets members, Melanie McDaniel is an agent who specializes in working with investors. She puts on the meetup for free and I highly recommend chatting with her, she is a wealth of information! Here is the meetup, feel free to message me for her number. In August the meetup will be about Airbnb if you or your boyfriend is in the area!



https://www.meetup.com/Real-Estate-Investors-of-Hampton-Roads/

@Nick Foster . Hi, I disagree that Norfolk is a bad area. Some parts are but not all of it. I am a Cet and I lived in Norfolk while I was stationed there for 5 years and lived in a SFH from 1992 to 1996. And one year in an apt. I still have the property as rental and there has never been any trouble there since I owned the house. It's worth doing the home work because the prices are better and a lot of military will rent there.

@Priscilla Quintana , the properties I have there in Norfolk is and have been cash flowing for the last 20 years. I get about 500.00 cash flow on one of them but I have owned since 92 on that house. The others I’ve owned for 8 and 9 years, and they cash flow $400 and $385.

@Tracy D. Garrett-Numa thank you!!! I am going to be patient and keep looking. I didnt get the vibe about areas being bad once I was around there so as long as I can find a cash flowing property out of a flood zone i am not too scared to get started. I have waited way too long and know the hardest part is getting started! Just need to get the right team going and be patient and diligent. Hoping to be able to attend a meetup next time I am out there at the end of this month. Appreciate all the input and replies so much.  

@Patti Robertson , actually he owns over a dozen investment properties in the area. Not sure if they are all in VB, or spread throughout.

Originally posted by @Priscilla Quintana :

@John Corey I’m a sales manager in a fast paced corporate world. So working with people is my strength along with managing projects and staying organized. I can decorate but not creatively... I more so copy inspirations from

Thanks for the reply.

Your corporate skills will be a great asset. The devil is in the detail. 

In terms of decorating, here is what one lady does and her properties 'pop.'

Once a year, Ikea updates its catalogs. She browses the isles and takes note of the layouts that they have on display. Ikea provides a full list of the items. She pick the layout she likes the best and then uses it that year. The logic is Ikea has paid experts designing the items and color patterns. Use it rather than try and complete. Granted, most people do not need all the items as we rent unfurnished. In this case, the lady stages the properties and brings in a pro photographer to create the images she will use with her marketing for the year.

@Melanie mcd

@Melanie McDaniel Saw that your MeetUp is on August 5th... Im so excited because I will be in VA that week so I can attend! I look forward to meeting you there!

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.

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