Introduction for potential House Hacker in Nothern Utah.

19 Replies

Hello everyone my name is Jake Davies. I am 21 years old and am going to purchase my first home in this upcoming year or less. My wife and I have both agreed that purchasing a 4-plex would work great for us. We have only a family of 3, we had our first child in June of this year. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and one point co owned an entertainment company with a friend for 3 years. The market in Northern Ut is a little over priced i would say compared to what i hear on here for Multi family houses. I plan to use the first time home buyer program and maybe the 203k program. I would like to purchase in SLC which is closer to my job, but the market is cheaper in Ogden which is where I live now. I am looking for any advice, tips, or welcoming. Any leads for resources would also be highly appreciated. I am so glad that i have found this community! 

Hi Jake. I'm down in Sandy and we're looking to purchase our first multi-family this year as well. You're absolutely right about the market being overpriced, but Ogden still seem pretty reasonable. There's been talks about price correction next year. Good luck and keep us posted. 

Welcome Jake!  There aren't a ton of people from Utah on here, so it's good to see a fellow newbie jump on.  As someone who is in a similar situation, I can say finding multifamilies in Utah and Salt Lake county is very difficult because properties are so overpriced.  That said, Ogden seems to be a good market to get into.  I have been looking at several properties up there as well, but hesitate to dive in because it's an hour away from me.  Still, Ogden is an up and coming city and it may be beneficial to start up there while they're updating things.  If you are looking for solid resources here, I definitely recommend the podcasts.  Both the BP and #AskBP podcasts are packed with information that can help you as you look for multifamily deals.  Wishing you great success as you start your journey!

Hello, 

Good to see more members from Utah on this board!  I am in the downtown SLC area, and have been looking for a few buy and hold properties in the area that are well priced. It definitely takes some time to sort through as most of the properties are over valued. 

I look forward to meeting you all at local investor meetings in the future.

Welcome to the site Jake, I am from Ogden and invest in Weber County area as well.  I think you have the right idea, buy a multi unit and rent out the rest.  Good way to get started. Ogden has some good deals but certain areas will be cheaper than others and I would watch out for the really low priced properties.  They are cheap for a reason.  But if you do your homework and spend time getting to know the area I think you will be able to find something that will work great for your family.  I look forward to hearing how your progress goes.  Take care.

I a few SF buy and hold properties in SLC. How is the Ogden area? I've looked up there as well since the home prices are appealing, but how are the quality of tenants? It seems the low prices may attract poor quality tenants...are there areas to stay away from?

It sounds like you've got the right mind set. My advise would be to find that 4-plex with numbers that work for you. With It being your first place I'd stick to an area where you can snag B class renters since you will be sharing the dwelling. There are many things you can do to attract these B class renters. Utilize that 203k loan to rehab the units, the nicer the more attractive tenant you will attract. Be sure to be thorough with your screening. Beat of luck, keep an open mind, and keep learning!

Thank you so much every one for the advice and welcomings! I have analyzed many of the 4-plex's in Ogden and some of them seem pretty doable. Would anyone suggest that there is a big enough difference between renters in the salt lake area compared to the Ogden area? I know that there is some rough renters in Ogden but the appeal of Weber State College would add another demographic to possible tenants. I am already setting up a solid tenant screening process so that i can weed out the bad eggs. Also Salt Lake has more businesses and more likelihood of good renters i believe, but so overpriced.  Any advice?  

@Tyler Williams

Most of my experience with Ogden has been driving the streets every single day with a past job as an employment specialist. It was a lot of business to business interacting so i got a good feel of the area there. Anything West Washington Blvd gets into lower quality homes, tenants, and rents are lower. Between Washington and Harrison is mixed with mainly SF homes and multi families that varies on the condition of each neighborhood. Then East of Harrison is majority of nicer SF homes by the college. All of this is between 40th and 700 south, looking at a google map of Ogden would help make sense of all of this. 

These are not exactly facts just my opinion from living in that city. 

@Jake Davies

I saw your thread about multi-family, specifically in Ogden and thought I would chime in. I have wholesaled a couple homes in North Ogden and looked at many in the downtown area. I have a cousin that recently moved from California to Ogden and he likes it… That's because he was living in a real ghetto near LA.

If you spend a lot of time driving the streets of Ogden, you know the good the bad and the ugly. The biggest problems with land lording in Ogden are that tenant turnover is very high, rents are low and affordable homes are old and need a lot of maintenance. Also, if you look at historical values… properties never really appreciate, unless you get way up on the east bench. 

I am not from Utah but I have researched a bit of history in the Ogden area. In the mid-1800s, Ogden was the meeting point for the east/west railroad. (Look up "Golden Spike" on Wikipedia.) The railroads brought in goods, labor and riffraff. Nothing has changed much in Ogden in 150 years! Bars, brothels and gambling sprung up around the railroad and we still see a more "colorful" environment in Ogden. There are certainly some nice family neighborhoods in Ogden and the city is revitalizing the downtown slowly but the "affordable" neighborhoods can be a landlord's worst nightmare! Lots of drugs and welfare folks. 

You should really attend the SLREIA lunch meetings in Layton each month. You will meet some people with much more experience landlording in and around Ogden. (www.SLREIA.com)

I don't mean to pick on Ogden as if it were Detroit, (Josh Dorkin's favorite place on earth). And, there are some neighborhoods I stay away from in Salt Lake city as well, for the same reasons - Rose Park, Magna, parts of West Valley, etc. Just make sure you go in with your eyes wide open. Have fun, and maybe we will see you in Layton at the next lunch.

@Jake Davies

It is awesome that you are starting out at such a young age. While I am not really that old (27), I wish I had gotten started as early as you plan to. 

I am currently house hacking my first property which is a multifamily 4-plex in Salt Lake City. My wife and I purchased the property almost a year ago and have had an overall positive experience. As primarily a buy and hold investor, I plan to hold this property for the foreseeable future.

Going into the process I really planned on adding value to the property through renovations. We completely turned 2 units right away and made some improvements to the other 2 unit interiors. We also put in a new fence, new windows, etc. To save on costs, I learned as much as I could and we did most of the work ourselves. Apart from the value we added via renovations, I believe we bought some rent lag (meaning rents were below market at time of purchase) going in.

Since we acquired the property we have raised total rent by just over 20% and conservatively, after our recent refi of the mortgage, will be cash flowing well over $1000/month. Remember though that we put in quite a bit of capital apart from the down payment in order to add value to the property.

The two remaining tenants we inherited are leaving after this month and we will be doing some additional renovations and rent increases in order to stabilize the property.

While our result have been pretty awesome compared to my going in projections, it was no easy road. 

Qualifying for a mortgage isn't exactly easy because we are a unique type of buyers. It helps that most lenders will allow you to use 75% of in-place rents towards qualifying. Look into doing an FHA loan which only requires a down payment of 3.5%.

DYI renovations while cost effective will likely slow you down and with some projects will likely cost you more. Time is money so don't drag a renovation out too long if you are losing rent for long periods of time. Unfortunately I didn't have the luxury of contracting most of the work, but I would suggest it if you have little to no experience with renovating a property. The hardest thing I have found so far is finding a reliable contractor that doesn't charge you an arm and a leg for their services.

Price required that we buy in a less desirable neighborhood. We bought in Rose Park which is avoided by many investors. Parts of Ogden also seem to have a poor reputation. These areas are in most cases avoided for good reason @Douglas Larson , but if you have a good strategy and understand market rents, you should be able to be successful in certain pockets.

Sorry, this post went way longer than I intended. I wish you luck in finding an opportunity that works for your situation. Let me know if you have any questions or want to bounce ideas off of someone who has been in a similar situation. Best of luck in whatever opportunities come your way! 

@Douglas Larson

My wife would solemnly agree with you about Ogden city. She has been making her plea for us to go south towards SLC. Thank you so much for the advice and background that gives me a lot to think about. 

@Holden Latimer   

I am glad to see that you are successful in Salt lake city area. Thank you for your advice. As i said above my wife really would like us in SLC and my biggest concern is getting the cash flow in with how pricey the properties are. I have been looking at the Salt Lake City accessor which they have a fantastic program which i can find all the registered 4-plex's in the county and get a hold of the owners and discus with them about their property and possible purchase. How were you able to locate your property?  

@Jake Davies  

Kudo's for diving in at an early age and getting your feet wet. Lots of good advice and tips on this site and in this thread so far. 

I'm going to throw out some additional considerations.

Your advantage right now is your age and the ability to finance (at historic low rates) a 4 plex as a personal residence, with minimal amount down and use the income from the other 3 units to help qualify for the loan. 

Decide what area you want to live in, then find the best deal you can in that area that fits your overall housing budget. A property that doesn't make sense for a traditional investor right now could make a lot of sense for you because of the advantages I mentioned earlier. You need to evaluate the property differently than I would right now. 

Are you comfortable living there now and is it a property that you want to own 20-30 years from now. 

I like the approach going direct to the owners approach you are taking.

Good luck! 

@Jake Davies

My agent, who is also an investor and owns a neighboring 4-plex, brought the deal to me off market. Unfortunately the deal hit the market before we could go under contract which caused us to pay about a 4% premium over the seller's initial asking price. 

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