First Time Multi-family Home

4 Replies

Hello all!

I am attempting to buy a live-in Multi-family home with a VA loan in San Diego. This will be the first time that I have every bought a home, but I want to get started investing before I retire from the Marines. I have a few question if I may solicit your advice:

1.  What the hell and am getting myself into?

2.  Where do I find the laws about being a landlord?

3.  What are the do's and don't that I need to watch out for?

1. You are getting into a wealth generating journey that has its ups and downs.

2. Contact your housing department to see if they give free courses in your area regarding laws effecting landlords. You can also visit your local REIA and Neighborhood Housing Services.

3. From previous experience its best to move in first then get your tenants.  When you do this then you will know what needs to be done.  After a week go get tenants and screen them carefully.  If you are getting a realtor, get one with experience.  Make sure they screen criminal activity, housing court records, bankruptcy. Make sure you ask them the questions that matter to you.  For example: I do not want people with animals, so I will ask them.  My uncle is asthmatic so if you smoke you cant live in his house. I am asking about hobbies, how long they have been on their job and in career.

Congrats @Neil Seip on taking action! 

  1. One of the best financial decisions you can make IF you choose a wise investment. 
  2. Check out this 2012 Landlord Rights and Responsibilities I found on a google search. Check to see if there is a new edition out. 
  3. This is a loaded question. Here are the ones I look out for. I am new to this as well so its still fresh in my mind. 
    1. Treat it like a business. 
    2. Read and listen to educational material. The podcasts are great! BP has plenty of books to help first time landlords. Many people find this book a good read. (Landlording on Auto-Pilot)
    3. Try to find an investment where you are living for "free". This means rent covers your mortgage payment. Even better if you make some off the top after all expenses. 
    4. Use the BP calculator and start farming your area for a great property. Look at every property that you see, this will help you tremendously when you find that great deal! You'll be able to differentiate between what is and what isn't a deal. No wasting time, got to pull the trigger! 
    5. Which brings me to the next one, ACTION! Just do it, don't wait to read that book or listen to that podcast. JUST DO IT! Force yourself to be a beast when it comes to action! 
    6. Patience. Learn as you go, experience is the best teacher. That doesn't mean be negligent and wing it but make the best decisions with what you have. 
    7. Don't be afraid to ask for advice. (Credible source of course)
    8. Go to your local meet up! I can't stress how much of a great experience this was for me and still is! It has grown my knowledge and has put me in contact with other professionals. 
    9. Did I say podcasts? I want to repeat this because this is the equivalent to an associates degree in Real Estate Investing. (IMO) Just put one on during your car ride. Also, successful people make the best of down time and you will to if you want it bad enough! You have the discipline! 

Best of luck Neil! 

Make sure it cash flows positive while you are in it so if you ever want to move to another place you can keep it as an investment property that pays you dividends. 

Hi Neil,

Sounds like your offer to a great start. Our goals are similar, I too want to acquire a live in 2-4 unit complex and self manage it. Being a broker I am more aware of major issues. Foundation issues. Validating current leases, rents etc are all good things to do.

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