Open to different ways of getting started.

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I am currently in the military so I am eligible for the VA loan. Right now I do not have a home and I'm sorta in a pickle. Should I buy a home for me and my family first and use that as a stepping stone or should I invest in a decent livable home rehab and go from there?

That's a tough call and one that only you can answer based on your situation. The VA will get you into a Primary Residence for little out of your pocket, but it's not really a vehicle for investing. Real Estate is a great place to invest, but I suggest having a little nest egg put aside before you do. You might be able to work with an investor in your area to learn the ropes in exchange for labor, door-knocking for leads, etc while you learn the business.

@Leo that depends on where you are stationed. the market should ALWAYS dictate whether you buy, or rent, the home for your family.

that being said, using the VA loan to house hack a duplex, triplex, or four-plex is one of the best strategies you can use when starting out!

yeah I definitely have some capital saved up however I read online that va home loan is a decent way to start off and depending how much equity I have in the home I can refinance it to convert to a conventional mortgage. Not sure if anyone is familiar with that but that would be the route if I were to start with a VA.

Right now I'm station at ft drum NY but I'll be ets the end of this year and will be going back to California so it's a big change of market in terms of the flow of it and the median price. I wish I would have aspired to REI when I first enlisted 5 years ago. But hey, it's never too late!