my first duplex would appreciate some good pointers

4 Replies

hey bigger pocket community how is life? OK so my question today, I will be moving to co springs soon I just got out of the navy and am going to college while bunking it with my family. I should be able to get my first duplex while in college pretty easily with my rate of savings. so I actually have a few questions. how should I go about management? should I do it myself while I am in school? my major is electrical engineering so it is not exactly going to be the easiest major. if property management seems to be the best choice how do I go about choosing the correct one? were do I go looking for deals that give over 10 percent returns? or are those to dried up right now because of how hot the market is? I only ask that because my money is in the market currently and has been receiving that over a historical 10 year period with last year actually being a 20 percent return. I would just keep my money in the market until I am done with college and then obtain my first rental but, with how overvalued the market is as a whole, I would like to hopefully hedge even if it is marginally against a huge correction. any advice is welcome and thanks again for being the best!

@Brad Pietrzak ,

Regarding PM, you have to be honest with yourself if you can handle and prioritize it.     If you think it might be too much, hire out.. it's 10-15% but then you won't have any stress and it will just be straight checks.  

Regarding the properties, unfortunately zillow doesn't have a 10% or 20% returns, you have to go out there and find them, and calculate it yourself.   Determine what your strengths are, and how much time/money you want to put into a property, and then you'll narrow it down to whats the best fit.     We've been in one of the longest bull market runs in history, so just be wary, and IMO now is a great time to diversify!

As always, appreciate the service. 

As to whether you should PM it yourself, I would say definitely. In those early years every dollar counts and self managing a property is not as hard as you think. There's a huge difference in self managing versus doing the repairs yourself.

Self managing is incredibly easy and doesn't take up anywhere near the time most people think. If you're doing the repairs yourself then you're looking at something completely different.

But self managing only requires you to handle the vacancies and rent collections and to play phone tag with the tenants and contractors when repairs are needed.  But the time you spend compared with the costs you save are easily worth it.

Train your emails to text or email you. Don't answer the phone. When they report an issue, you need to have a contractor or list of contractors that can fix that kind of problem. Text them (find contractors that are text friendly or don't use them) the problem, the address and coordinate a time that works for them and the tenant. Done.

You'll likely only need to do that 3 or 4 times a year with most tenants. And managing turnover is easy too. Assess the property. Quick repaint - I roll my walls with the same color paint and don't have to cut anything in at all. It takes me an hour a room roughly. And then give your repair punch list to the contractor.  Oh, be sure to buy rekeyable locks so you can rekey the place yourself and stick a lockbox on it. 

I can't imagine giving a PM 100 or 150/mo plus a half or a full month's rent (1300 to 1500) to rent a house out for me.  I can get em rented in 2 to 5 showings.  

@Brad Pietrzak I would manage it yourself and house hack if you can!

Will you be living in the duplex?

Other posters on here are correct. PM is not hard when you live in the area and don’t do all of the work yourself. I use Cozy to collect rent and am sure to do proper screening on tenants before I put them in.

If you ever want to talk real estate or house hacking let me know.

@Brad Pietrzak - Choosing property management or not is going to determine just how hard you want to try on getting the right tenants placed and how quickly you want to be able to attend to tenant needs. Property Managers have the tools in place to properly do their due diligence on tenants to ensure they are quality and get them placed quickly. Vacancy is killer on any property and taking your time to find the right tenant could cost more than trusting a property manager. If you find a great tenant, then hopefully you'll rarely hear form them and they are quick to respond for when you come in to do your property checks, but even the best looking tenants on paper can turn out to be very needy. Sometimes there is just no way to know ahead of time.

As for finding a deal, give that you're getting out of the Navy, have you considered using your VA loan to purchase a multi-family property, live in one unit and rent out the others?

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.

Lock 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