Is it possible to buy a duplex in Northern California for $100k?

31 Replies

Hello. Is there anywhere in northern California where I can find a duplex for $100k that does not need major repairs? I would consider an SFR, but it seems like multifamily properties have better opportunities for cash flow. I am a new investor (I own one duplex in North Highlands that I basically break even on every month) and I do not have a large down payment. I should be able to come up with $10k of my own money, plus $10k+ from another investor. I really would like to buy a property that has positive cash flow and avoid paying PMI. I live in Sacramento and I hope to find something that is not located too far away (no more that a 2 hour drive, hopefully). Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

Only one listed on Metrolist MLS:

440 Leitch Ave, Sacramento, CA 95815

"INVESTOR SPECIAL for this duplex in need of some repairs/updates, but priced well! Each unit IS 1 BED/1 BATH NOT ATTACHED UNITS. GREAT INCOME POTENTIAL WITH ROOM FOR improvement. This short sale property is located across from the park/bike trail and close to freeways, downtown, and shopping."

Unit 1 Bedrooms1
Unit 1 Full Baths1
Unit 1 Half Baths0
Unit 1 Apx Sq Ft450
Unit 2 Bedrooms1
Unit 2 Full Baths1
Unit 2 Half Baths0
Unit 2 Rent$500
Unit 2 Apx Sq Ft400
Unit 3 Half Baths0
Unit 4 Half Baths0
# of Stories1
Total # of Bldgs2
Total # Indiv Units2
# of 1 Bedroom Units2
Total # Leasable2
Total # Leased1
Total # Mo/Mo1
Total # Vacant1

:-/

NO. At least nothing I would own or touch, probably not even a SFR. If you find one it will need significant repairs or be in the worst part of town, have bad tenants and the police won't even go out to it.

You may be able to find a condo, but that would be right at the limit.

You should hold onto your money and save up for a good home.  If you do find something for $100k you will either need to complete repairs, complete evictions or there is some other issue.  Don't rush into a bad deal!

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@Alex Gadbois   maybe Olivehurst,, Yuba city Marysville... maybe one of the little towns off of Hwy 20 between Williams and Colusa.. Maybe Arbuckle and that area..

Red bluff and surrounding areas may find something that cheap.

Clearlake FOR sure you could ... Covelo  ,  Layton Legget area maybe

Plumas county the little cities up there may have some...

Not as familiar with south of sac as I am north of sac but same thing one of the little outlyging farm towns may have what your looking for.

@Alex Gadbois seeing as how you want to stay small in getting a duplex... look into an FHA loan 3.5% down for up to a 4plex...5 units or more is considered a commercial loan...or see if you can get seller to finance. The less you use of your money the better...because you still control the full amount of that asset.

I saw one here in Redding sell for 122k last month. Not sure if you could find something under 100k. You might try Paradise, CA. I've seen some more discounted properties there. 

The property I mentioned was: 1935 East St, Redding, CA 96001

Hope that helps.

North of Sacramento you should be able to find duplexes for around $100k in the small towns surrounding Chico: Oroville, Orland, Corning. Maybe Paradise and Magalia. Tough to find one for that price that might not need some work but they are definitely out there. 

A lot of people here have recommended smaller towns around Northern CA, but remember that your tenant base will be smaller and the rent checks will most likely be smaller too. You might go a long time between tenants if either side goes vacant, and that will absolutely kill your cash flow for the year and can be the make or break difference.

Buyer beware, and as the other posters suggested wait to save some more money to get into a fourplex or try buying out of state. Best of luck!

@Joel Owens   contrary to popular belief not all CA properties are sky high in price.

Generally speaking from Sonoma County south to San Diego anything within about 60 nautical air miles from the coast will be what most in the US think as very high priced.

you get inland of that and things are much cheaper.. still not the bang for the buck like you get say in Henry county out your way in the 200k range.. but closer.

Jay I think you are forgetting slab city, hemet, and that town 45 miles east of Barstow. I am super impressed with your knowledge of these Podunk hot hellholes though. I agree with that other poster, you probably could find one but it would likely be terrible.

I wouldn't want a duplex in Hemet for any price. That property would immediately get the wholesale treatment. Too much ghetto trash cigarette smoking land whales with dirty kids who have foul mouths looking to rent multifamily out there.

You can absolutely buy a duplex for under $100K, but you won't find it listed in the MLS. You'll have to employ strategy. Buy a note and foreclose. Door knock preforeclosures. Drive for dollars and look for an abandoned properties.

The property you want exists, but it won't be easy to find.

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@Matt Leonard ,

Condos can make a good rental, but the biggest concern is the HOA. If you have one, which most do, they hold complete control over what you can do with the unit.

If one day the complex changes hands, or someone gets promoted in the HOA and wants to make a name for themselves, all they have to do is decide all units have to be owner occupied and no rental units are allowed, and you're screwed.

Beyond that, they could simply increase the monthly dues and sap all the cash flow out of the deal. I try to advise against condo rentals, especially for beginners, because of these reasons. Too much power over your wallet is placed is someone else's hands.

I sold my Sacramento SFR (REO) Several months ago for less than $70K.

Needed $30K full rehab.

Once you know what to look for, and where to look, you can find them.

Most people are lazy and not follow through, expect an agent to do all their research work (they won't nor should you exoect them to) and will give up.

If you learn the difference between off-market and listed opportunities, including distress and the various kinds of property auctions, you'll find deals. 

From an investor perspective, and if you're looking for positive cash flow, i would look for something out of state. 

With that kind of money as a down payment and with an eligibility for an investor loan (or other creative financing options) you can find duplexes or even fourplexes that will cashflow in the midwest or Texas. 

Yes- it means research, finding connections in a market you don't know and basically a lot of work but hey - that is the price of being an investor and living in Northern CA..

Good Luck!

Originally posted by @Steve B. :

Jay I think you are forgetting slab city, hemet, and that town 45 miles east of Barstow. I am super impressed with your knowledge of these Podunk hot hellholes though. I agree with that other poster, you probably could find one but it would likely be terrible.

 His knowledge of podunk towns is ridiculous. He's saved me a few pitfalls on some towns I didn't know the workings of. 

Thanks for the great advice everyone! It seems like it might be pretty much impossible to buy a multi-family unit in my price range somewhere in my area. Most SFR's seem to be out of reach as well (assuming a $100k price point). I have seen some SFR's close to that price listed, but it seems like they would need massive renovations, which I currently do not have the funds or experience to take on. I did see quite a few condos listed in my price range, but I am not sure if they would cash flow. Of course, then I have to take the risks associated with the HOA.

     Investing out of state is intriguing, but I am a bit concerned about getting screwed.  I have only ever bought one property (my duplex) and I have been a landlord for 15 months.  If I were to buy something out of state, I am not really sure where I would need to start gathering information.  There does not seem to be an easy solution here.  That being said, I don't mind a challenge.  

Cali has some cheap *** stuff scattered all over. Like mentioned above, if there is some significant upside on the arv that always helps. One question any investor might ask, and this applies nationwide, if you are picking up stuff sub 100k in 2016, there might be something fundamental off track with that location for long term investing. (Not always) One bedroom condos could be excluded. Good luck with your search!

Originally posted by @Matt R. :

Cali has some cheap *** stuff scattered all over. Like mentioned above, if there is some significant upside on the arv that always helps. One question any investor might ask, and this applies nationwide, if you are picking up stuff sub 100k in 2016, there might be something fundamental off track with that location for long term investing. (Not always) One bedroom condos could be excluded. Good luck with your search!

 How do you feel about 2 bedroom condos?