Vet Quest for 1st investment (house hack) 2, 3 or 4plex - JOURNAL

7 Replies

Hi there BP friends,

My name is Herson, my wife and I are Iraq war veterans. Our goal is to someday soon be financially free, maybe own a couple rental properties.

We don't know much about real estate other than what I've read and researched in Bigger Pockets podcast/books (waiting for delivery).

I want to share the journey of our first rental property. We would greatly appreciate any advice and knowledge you guys can provide.

Current Situation:

Living in DMV (DC,Maryland,Virginia) area, both working 9-5's, Renting a $2,000/month apartment. We have around $700 disposable income after all expenses paid and $20k in 401k, excellent credit.

Have a couple questions: 

1. Can I use a VA loan to purchase or build a multi family property for house hacking? if so, is this a good idea?

2. How about a construction to permanent loan? So little info on the web about this... Is this doable?

3. Being so expensive here in DMV, would you guys recommend to invest here? or is it a better idea to do it in TX where I have family interested in investing?

Side note:

I might be relocating for work to Houston,TX; where I have 2 brother in laws that are interested in investing with me. One of them is a residential painting contractor and the other one is a home building contractor.

Also, how could I arrange a deal (proposition) so my brother in laws and I can do this together? 

That's it for now. I have been postponing this thread for too long. I am so excited to start my endeavor and to hear and learn from you guys.

Thank you BP friends.

God Bless,


Hey @Herson Caraballo welcome to BP!  Here are my insights on the above questions:

1.) VA loan can be used to purchase a multi family up to 4 units. Now you will have loan limits for the VA loan making it hard in DC to get those 3-4 units but a single family or 2 unit is very doable. You can also explore the condo option to help get yourself from paying that $2,000/ monthly rent, allow yourself to start building equity, and learning how to "own" a property.

2.) You can use the 203k loan if you are looking to do renovations prior to closing and rolling those costs into the loan amount. This is a 3.5% down FHA loan.

3.) I do suggest investing in Washington DC. And I personally believe the house hacking and primary residence purchases are the best possible ROI builders in DC.

Good luck! 

Howdy Herson, 

You're researching exactly what I (and many others) have been doing. I'm currently using my VA loan for a primary residence that has a basement 1B/1B in-law-suite. We're renting it out to offset the higher housing costs in DC, knowing that any months of vacancies would need to be covered by us, until we get the unit filled again. I'm happy to answer any other questions, if i can!



Additionally, I have family in Texas and was contemplating an out-of-state investment project. However, I ultimately decided against it because I'm still active duty and my current assignment is 60+ hours a week with about 75% TDY travel. 


Seems the relocation to Houston is a no go. Have been in touch with a local BP member/ real estate agent/investor. Looking at MLS for deals and reading the BP books.

DMV area is super expensive and I really want to start on the right foot by creating passive income with my 1st investment (duplex,tri,four).

Can some one help by making examples running the numbers on properties from DMV area? Actual duplexes,tri,four... please..

I'm currently renting with a 1 year left on the lease agreement.

Sometimes feel that I am  in the analysis paralysis. Many times feel that what I'm trying to do is impossible. Discouragement is a hard one to fight.

Thank you all again for your support. 


Follow up:

My parents want to partner/invest with me. They are willing to use their paid off sfr home (appraised at $150,000) to somehow help with financing a deal.

Also, they contemplate the possibility of living in one of the units (rent free of course).

Can you guys help me brainstorm ways we could achieve purchasing a 3-4plex unit??

Also, is it a good idea or even feasible to purchase land and build a 3-4plex using what we have in equity???

Thank you BP friends again.

Hope you guys are having a blessed season!


I would recommend that you begin searching Zillow for multi-families to get an idea of what is available. If you want to buy as an investment then PenFed will do a loan for you on a multi-family but you would need a downpayment. One way to tap into the equity of your investors would be for them to apply for a HELOC on their place. If you buy a multi-family that is fully rented then just plan on ending a lease of one of the tenants as your own 1 year lease ends to allow you to move into the new place.