What would you buy as a first time investor: condo, 2-flat or 3+?

10 Replies

If you had to do it all over again and start fresh what would you purchase?

For those who are seasoned, share your story of a first or second purchase and what went right or wrong. Would you have done anything differently? 

@Matt Rasich - Well, I would never buy a condo, we have high HOA's here so it eats your CF and a lot of our HOA's have rental restrictions, even if they are not currently enforced they can be.

I would stay FAR away from Condo's. There are lots of reasons a few key ones being the hoa cost along with the restriction. I buy in a hoa but never condos. Honestly hoa is bad enough! 

I would go with a 3+  especially if you can float the numbers AND live in the house. Therefore putting as little down as possible. I am all about others paying off my mortgage  and ME living as cheaply as possible. 

That being said it all depends on your goals, risk tolerance, etc. 

@Matt Rasich  

I agree with @Brie Schmidt that I wouldn't buy a condo as an investment. I rent a condo that my wife and I used to live in and it sucks to pay HOA every month.

My first two deals were a 2 unit and 3 unit bought within 3 weeks of each other. Last few properties I have bought have been all SFHs.

If I could go back and start all over, I wouldn't have changed anything about the kind of properties I bought, I would have started working on creating systems a lot sooner.

@Elizabeth Colegrove

What was your first deal? And what are you looking for in a deal (if you're still investing)?

@Sharad M.  That sounds great. I really want to do a 2 or 3 flat as my first deal but as I haven't gotten my feet wet yet I find it hard to dive right into that. I'm also trying to convince my wife as well.

Did you use any federal programs for financing on your first deals? And what made you move to SFHs?

@Matt Rasich  

I bought both of those properties with my own cash. One of the reasons I do SFHs is because I buy everything cash, so as soon as I have money saved up for a SFH, I buy a rental.

@Sharad M.  

 Would you elaborate just a bit on what you meant by "systems"?

@Gabriel Mabry  


For example, I have a spreadsheet now that I can give to my newly hires project manager and he will know the order the rehab needs to be done. Which tradesman to call for the job.

I was in India for couple of weeks last month and during those two weeks I was gone, my carpenter/electrician/plumber/HVAC guy worked together to finish a rehab without my supervision to the point where we had 6 offers in first 2 days. This was due to the fact everyone on my team knowing exactly what the end product needs to look like and working towards it.

I have spreadsheet that goes through everything we need to look at from the time we buy a house to the time we sell to make sure everything is done the same way for each project.

Does it always work very smoothly all the time? No, but that's the goal to keep improving and making it work better on all future projects.

Hope that helps.

I would like to answer this question from my experiance. I started real estate invest at very young age, to be specific I started as soon as I completed college along with my two elder brothers. For the time, I dought a 3 BHK flat in mumbai, India. Though I got all the returns I invested on it, buying a 3 BHK for newbie was not a good move. Mainly because I was left with no cash after making such a huge investment. Alongside fear of returns was killing me every single day. For first time investors I would like to suggest to make small investments in large numbers because if one goes in loss other can componsate. Currently I hold 3 flats, one is 1 bhk in baner, pune and other two are 2 bhk in andheri, mumbai. This assures my returns.

For first time invester following are some important information.

  1. Pay Down Debt First
  2. Get the Down Payment
  3. Beware of Higher Interest Rates
  4. Calculate your margins
  5. Determine your returns
  6. Find the right location 

@Matt Rasich

Hi Matt, I can definitely share some insight as to how I'd suggest you get started after owning over 2,000 homes and apartment buildings. I'd avoid the condo and single family route, and if possible, "house hack" a plex to get started. Many successful investors I know and have interviewed on my show got started with a plex and now own hundreds or thousands of units.

If you didn't want to house hack a plex I'd suggest you get started with a small, 5-30 unit, multifamily. This size range has a lot of mom and pop sellers that you can often get into with seller financing.  

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