Hi, Michael! I know this is late but if you're still interested in the Fresno/Clovis area, I'd love to help you out!
I am from Fresno/Clovis area. I have property in Clovis and just bought another one in north Fresno. I plan to invest in a multifamily home soon in this area. I really think its a good place to invest. I recommend it
@Michael Guydish congrats on getting started man! I love the santa cruz area, we vacation there often. Fresno has been really good to me and it's only 2.5 hours drive for you, so it would be pretty easy to drive your properties one weekend a month. Fresno has been really good to me since i started investing in 2011. I personally do MFH now but started in SFH. If it be helpful, i'm more than happy to give you a run-down of the current market in Fresno. feel free to send me a message if you'd like to chat.
I'm currently closing on a house in Vallejo, CA. A 3 bedroom 2 bath for $285k. Serious fixer.
Vallejo is a 50m ferry ride to San Francisco and 30 miles to SF on the freeway. Its also 15 miles to Napa.
A lot of people are still scared off Vallejo because of past gov bankruptcies and reports of crime. IMO, it's perfect time to get in. So far after talking to neighbors and researching, I find everyone friendly and the crime to be no where near as bad as San Francisco, where I currently live.
Once the blow up in construction is closer to done in Oakland and San Francisco we are going to see the domino effect through Richmond and Vallejo. Just my opinion, though I'm often right... :)
As far as house hacking, renting out two rooms and living in one will provide free rent while paying the mortgage. A house can work if you can't find an affordable multi-unit. To crunch the numbers, just use a mortgage calculator and view only rentals (take note of similar size rooms and location) on the same site. Calculate your payments against potential rent.
For numbers use Zillow or Redfin. Look at all house of similar square footage and rooms that sold in the last six months and within a mile radius. Take that average. This is what the appraiser does. This will tell how good of a deal you are getting on the house.
Robert, I think you are spot on about Vallejo. Are you working with an RE agent?
I am a real estate agent that exclusively services Vallejo, CA. Let me know if you have any questions.