Navy officer looking invest out west

14 Replies

Hello, BP Community!

I work in logistics in the Navy and am excited to get into RE as a means for financial independence, and because of the high-risk/high-reward people-based industry that it is. I love that it seems to be e a venture where the amount of work you put in roughly correlates to what you get out.

I am originally from Hawaii, went to school in Florida and Michigan and currently live in New England (whew! that was a mouthful..). I am looking to invest in multifamily out west, in either Greater Seattle or San Diego, and I am open to long-distance property management. 

I would like to leverage heavily with a VA loan but also would not mind conventional loan financing properties up to $200k.

I enjoy traveling, running and a nice beer during/after both.

As I said, excited to learn and to participate in such a vibrant community!


@Travis Bautista I do a lot of multi family properties in Everett, WA. It is a great place to invest and we have a handful of tenants in the navy. However, you will not find anything in the 200k range. Duplexes are running for a minimum of $350k these days.

@Grant Fosheim Are you familiar at all with RE across the sound in Kitsap county? I am starting my search there but buying in a neighbor city to Seattle (have read about northern Seattle and heard about Everett due to the light rail) looks interesting as well. Nice to know about the price point, thank you!

A couple of things, VA loans will only be for owner occupants so as a strict investment property, a VA loan won't be an option. If investing in Seattle be aware of the landlord/tenant issues currently being fought over. Liberal city charging head tax to corporations and the landlord restrictions they keep pushing in that city.....buyer beware!

Hi Travis,

I echo what @Grant Fosheim and @Joe Scaparra have said.  

Look outside of the city.  The rental rules within Seattle city limits are a joke.  Finding cash-flowing properties anywhere close to here is hard, but they can be found.  Most of the investors I work with are investing for appreciation + cashflow (if they can find it).  As with anything out here right now, you have to be on your toes and able to move at warp speed to acquire properties.

Hello Travis!  1st of all... Thank you for your service! 

San Diego is a great city... Very military friendly.  

And if you're looking for a run/beer kinda city... my friend you've hit the JACKPOT in San Diego. 

Awesome running/hiking trails and some of the best beer in the country! 

Unfortunately for buyers looking to get into the market here, everything that makes our city so great has also caused our housing prices to rise and keep rising.  Sticker shock is a real thing. 

My understanding of a VA loan is that you can use it to buy an investment property (i.e. duplex, 4-plex) but you would have to live in the property for a while. You're VA loan officer can give you the specifics.

Best of luck Travis! 

Originally posted by @Travis Bautista :

@Grant Fosheim Are you familiar at all with RE across the sound in Kitsap county? I am starting my search there but buying in a neighbor city to Seattle (have read about northern Seattle and heard about Everett due to the light rail) looks interesting as well. Nice to know about the price point, thank you!

 Not really. I looked into Bremerton a few years back before we landed in Everett. I wasn't a fan back then but I know they have a fast ferry back up and running that is half an hour to downtown so that would make me look at it in a better light these days. Regardless, I am not a fan of anywhere you need to transport over water to(just my personal opinion).

@Travis Bautista welcome to BiggerPockets!

BP is the place to be! You are definitely in the right place to begin your REI career, Travis.

Get deals done right and network with seasoned investors only on Bigger Pockets.

Congrats and I wish you all the best.

@Travis Bautista can I ask why you chose those markets specifically? I invest in Kitsap and while sometimes you can find $200k MFR, they are at this time in C class neighborhoods, C class condition usually so it may be difficult to deal with long distance if you go that route be prepared :)

@Joe Scaparra plan is to rent first to feel out the market, then house hack with the VA loan with a lot of leverage. If that doesn't stick or I cannot find a property local, I will see if there is less stick with a conventional loan. Thank you for the feedback on the recent ordinances. I saw that head tax voted on and the ensuing blowback. Disconcerting, to say the least. Will keep this all in mind!

@Jake Alger Thank you for the insight! So, if looking for cashflow anywhere in the area, understand that it will be very competitive and I likely won't be anywhere near Seattle center. Duly noted - thanks again!

@Aly Vizcarra   Thank you both for your thoughts! 

@Grant Fosheim Have been looking at Kitsap county because I will be stationed on that side of the sound, and if house hacking that is where I would use out the VA loan. Weighing all options of getting into the market, though, so am very much open to the idea of renting for work and buying a property in neighboring Seattle if the numbers look better. Thank you both and for the food for thought !

@Rachel Luoto

@Travis Bautista instead of renting have you thought about buying a fixer upper SFH? If you purchase a property that will cash flow in todays numbers when it’s brought up to standards then it will likely cash flow even better than when you move.

You probably won’t be able to do this with your VA loan benefits (most fixer uppers wouldn’t qualify) but could use the FHA loan combined with the 203k loan to get forced appreciation too. Then you don’t have to rent at all and you save you VA loan benefits for another PCS and hopefully get stationed somewhere with a little more affordable housing.

Even if it doesn’t cash flow; if you are able to buy below standard market value get a little forced appreciation and use all of your BAH towards the debt pay down. I bet you could have built in some equity for the sale by the time you PCS. Try running numbers like that before you decide on renting for sure.

@Jared Viernes I was actually opening up to this after someone got in touch with me about this! That may be a better tactic in such an expensive market, thank you. Have you had success with BRRRR or flipping in a market like Seattle (or surrounding a market like Seattle)? I am thinking about buying across the sound which may be a bit more feasible giving my background.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

We hate spam just as much as you