I am new investor but have been looking for deals for a couple months. My job is currently moving me out to Utah, from Cleveland, and I will be there for about a year. My question is should I rent in Utah or buy a duplex and house hack the home? I have a tough time paying rent to someone else. If I rent, I can pay cash for the year but it would leave me with little to invest if I wanted to purchase one back in Cleveland.
I'd house hack...
Based on the minimal info you provided I would rent.
If you have been looking for deals for a few months and not turned anything up there, it will likely take longer than that to find a deal here (in Utah). By then you are 1/2 way through the time you will be here (and I assume you would be renting during that time?).
Usually I have heard it doesn't make sense to buy (your own home) unless you plan to stay for at least 3-5 years, and you are looking at only staying for maybe 6-9 months after finding/buying the property. You would also need to find a lender that will finance a long-term mortgage with a 'temporary' job location (or find a seller finance deal).
Then you will move back and need to sell or find a management company to take over. And I think you are likely in for some sticker shock at the prices out here compared to where you are coming from.
So again with what little I know I think you would be better off renting and learning while you are here. When are you coming, and to what city?
I agree with some of what Mike's saying with regards to having to turn around a sell the home after one year or so all of your equity made would be eaten up in closing costs or realtor fees.
I recommend you locate a duplex or a place with a mother-in-law suite and house hack it. But base what you buy strickly on keeping the home long term and what the numbers look like if you keep it for several years. When you end up buying back in Cleveland, you'll already have the experience of owning a rental property, that is close by and easy to manage yourself, and your ability to qualify for another investment property is set.
Thank you for the advice everyone! I will be moving out there sometime in the next month, still not sure which city though. You are right Mike, the duplex prices are quite a bit higher than in the suburbs of Cleveland. My main goal was to buy a property and keep it for the long run as I would already have equity built up in the home already.