New member from Los Angeles(Santa Clarita), CA Duplex/ FHA loans

6 Replies

Hi Everyone!

My name is David from Los Angeles. I just turned 22 years old in July. I was originally born in New York, but raised in California. I'd love to connect with some of you in this community. That is why I upgraded to the Pro membership, because I believe it's a great opportunity to learn from all of you. I have decided that I want to start with buying a duplex, because I will be able to live there for a year. This will give me a chance to learn how to landlord and teach my mom how to landlord as well. I've learned that one can get an FHA loan. However, I don't know if it's possible since my credit score is not great. Can anyone that has had experience give some advice on where I can get an FHA loan? Who can I go to? What are things to look out for? What are the right questions to ask? If anyone can share their story on how they got started with buying duplexes would be greatly appreciated. My goal is to find a duplex in the Los Angeles area by January. Thanks for reading and taking your time to help guide me in the right direction. It's greatly appreciated.

@David Le

Welcome to bigger pockets. I live in Oxnard, but my wife's sister lives in Santa Clarita. Too hot there for me. ;)

We are getting a FHA loan for a property we are closing on next month. I can give you the POC info for our lender, if you would like, but I thought most (if not all) banks offer FHA loans.

From our experience, the things you need to consider when getting a FHA loan are that a FHA appraisal sticks with the property for 6 months, they only loan up to a certain amount (believe it's somewhere between 600-700K), it has to be owner occupied, and they can come after you for a certain number of months' worth of interest if you sell the property before a certain time period. Again, I can refer you to our lender if you have more questions or need more clarification.

@David Le

Welcome to Bigger Pockets. BP is full of resources. You will find resources here from blogs to pod casts and forums. You can also send messages to members. This is one of my favorite features of Bigger Pockets especially for asking specific questions.

Hey @David Le , I am a newbie too, but I thought I would share what little experience I have with you since we are similar in goals and location.

If you are intent on staying in Southern California, you may have to start looking in rural areas to find a property that you can owner-occupy with FHA financing. I looked for months in Los Angeles proper as well as Santa Clarita with no luck...made several offers, but was beat on price or terms by all of them. In a crazy seller's market like this, a seller has options, and that usually means that the FHA buyer will be at the bottom of the list, conventional buyers will be in the middle, and all-cash buyers will be at the top.

However, that was just my experience. Your mileage may, of course, vary. So long story short, this Thursday I am closing on a four-unit property in a little place called Sleepy Valley off Sierra Highway on the way to Agua Dulce that I am financing with an FHA 3.5% down loan. Will it be a good investment? I'm not sure, but since my down payment is so crazy low, I'll probably only be putting $35k into this deal after down payment + repairs are done, and at the very least I can now say that I've made my first move in real estate investing rather than tire-kicking like I have for years. If I would've discounted this area because it wasn't "ideal," I would probably still be looking for a property and not finding one. So bottom line: don't limit yourself in terms of location.

@David Le

Welcome. My first property was a 2 family a long time ago did everything wrong huge profit though. Later in life I learned the right way so much easier. Get educated remember you pay for your education one way or another.

Find a good local mortgage planner and develop strategies.

Take a good look at student housing see below.

Locate and attend 3 different local REIA club meetings great place to meet people gather resources and info. Here you will meet wholesalers who provide deals and rehabbers (cash buyers). Find them through Google and

Two Great reads, I bought both J. Scott The Book on Flipping Houses, The Book on Estimating ReHab Costs

Consider checking out HUD homes for small multi's owner occupied gets first crack.

You might consider Niche or Specialized Housing like student housing. Rents can be 2-4 times more. Remember you don't have to own a property to control it.

Download BP’s newest book here some good due diligence in Chapter 10. Real Estate Rewind Starting over

Good Luck


@David Le you can get a duplex with FHA financing up to $800K limit in LA county. Most probably it will not cash flow immediately but you can certainly bring it to cash flowing state either with little rehab or just getting the right tenants. Trick is to find the right property and that takes time and the right team in your corner.

Last Thursday I closed escrow for great non-rent controlled duplex in Los Angeles (West Adams area). Now negotiating a deal for another client but this time it's 4 unit building in Echo Park. The good properties do not come on a market too often though. I usually find only 1-2/month that are worth interest.  

FHA requires you to have minimum 580 Fico score. If you do not, you can still use FHA financing but you'd need to raise your down payment to 10%.

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