Ready to Start Investing in DC

13 Replies

Hi everyone!

I've been perusing the BP site and listening to tons of podcasts for a few months now and it's finally time to get going. I live with my wife and six-year-old son in Washington, DC. I'm a systems engineer and commute at least 45 minutes to/from work every day. I have absolutely no passion for the job and am ready for a new chapter. We're currently renting and are looking to finally purchase our first property here. My goal (for starters) is to generate at least $5k/month of passive income so I can eventually quit my job and invest more/spend more time with the family.

I'm intrigued by house hacking and it seems like the most logical place to start, but here are a few challenges we're facing right off the bat. My son is going to a great school and he loves it. We want to keep him in that school, so our search is restricted to the school's zone, which is very expensive. We plan on using the VA home loan, but given that multi-family homes here are easily over $1M, we would need to take out a loan for the amount the VA loan won't cover, and we don't have enough to cover the down payment/closing costs.

The opportunities in the area for flipping are very slim. We had one opportunity and put in an offer, but were outbid by someone who was willing to pay $100k over the list price and all in cash. 

So we're leaning towards just buying a small condo to start out. Our mortgage payment would be much lower than our current rent, so we can save for down payment/closing costs on the next one. This is the much slower route though.

So, I guess my first question would be...how do people who live in affluent areas with little to no money for down payment/closing get started investing? Should we pursue partnerships?

Looking forward to meeting people and reading your input.

Jose

I live in the DC area, and while I am high income now, I was not at the beginning of my real estate journey. I lived frugally, as did my wife before I met her, and we saved up our down payments and bought primary residences. Then we saved for iur down payment on our first rental. Then our 2nd and so on. We lived cheaply, below our means, invested our money to grow it faster etc.

@Jose Vazquez @Russell Brazil hits the nail on the head. Read the millionaire next door - great and interesting book. Real estate is not a get rich quick scheme. In high income areas you may buy a starter home and then save and may have to wait 5 years before acquiring another property.

Thanks for the response, guys. I absolutely understand real estate isn't a get rich quick scheme. I'm not expecting to quit my job any time soon. Just interested in other ways of breaking in early on. 

Originally posted by @Grant Rothenburger :

@Jose Vazquez If you have to go the condo route, that's not necessarily a bad thing! Can you get one with an extra bedroom and Airbnb it? 

Hi, Grant. We've considered that, but my wife isn't crazy about having strangers in our home with our six-year-old. 

Originally posted by @Jose Vazquez :
Originally posted by @Grant Rothenburger:

@Jose Vazquez If you have to go the condo route, that's not necessarily a bad thing! Can you get one with an extra bedroom and Airbnb it? 

Hi, Grant. We've considered that, but my wife isn't crazy about having strangers in our home with our six-year-old. 

 Makes sense

Hi @Jose Vazquez congrats on taking the plunge, the process is sometimes daunting, stressful, long, lonely, BUT WORTH IT.  As others said, starting out, especially in pricier markets such as the DMV, if liquidity and excess cash isn't your strong point, you must first address your financial situation.  Frugality is great, but hard, especially when you are caring for 2 others, wife and kids.  Yes, you can cut out certain luxuries, but others you cannot.  So here are my suggestions:

1.) If you can utilize the VA Loan to get into a condo, as long as the purchase is a good buy, yes you should do this, especially if you are paying a large amount in rent and can reduce your monthly $$$ that is going out.

2.) With that excess that you are saving on mortgage to rent, put into a separate account and start saving that for your downpayment on your first and next investment property.  

3.) Any excess $$ that you do save by cutting certain luxuries out, put into this account as well, again saving for your first and next investment property.

4.) My personal favorite, utilize hard work: With any extra time that you may have, pick up  another side hustle that can generate extra income.  And again, put into this account saving for your first and next investment property, maybe Uber?  

These are just 3 simple ideas and ways to start saving $$ now, but know they aren't the only 3.  

Good luck!

@Jose Vazquez , I leave in the DC area as well, but we invest in Baltimore. If your goals are investing in an appreciating market, Baltimore may not be the best one. But if you are looking for cash flow, take a look at it. 

Baltimore is driving distance from DC and you can find cheaper properties that cash flow. Do not look only at the purchase price though, you really need to spend some time understanding the market there and driving around to see where do you feel comfortable investing.  Attend meet ups and REIAs to network with local investors, they’ll give you their thoughts about where to (and where not to) invest and what types of properties. 

Definitively real estate is not a quick rich scheme, but you can speed it up by investing in an area that requires you to save $10-$20k for a down payment vs. another area where you need $100k. 

Good luck!

Originally posted by @Cassidy Burns :

Hi @Jose Vazquez congrats on taking the plunge, the process is sometimes daunting, stressful, long, lonely, BUT WORTH IT.  As others said, starting out, especially in pricier markets such as the DMV, if liquidity and excess cash isn't your strong point, you must first address your financial situation.  Frugality is great, but hard, especially when you are caring for 2 others, wife and kids.  Yes, you can cut out certain luxuries, but others you cannot.  So here are my suggestions:

1.) If you can utilize the VA Loan to get into a condo, as long as the purchase is a good buy, yes you should do this, especially if you are paying a large amount in rent and can reduce your monthly $$$ that is going out.

2.) With that excess that you are saving on mortgage to rent, put into a separate account and start saving that for your downpayment on your first and next investment property.  

3.) Any excess $$ that you do save by cutting certain luxuries out, put into this account as well, again saving for your first and next investment property.

4.) My personal favorite, utilize hard work: With any extra time that you may have, pick up  another side hustle that can generate extra income.  And again, put into this account saving for your first and next investment property, maybe Uber?  

These are just 3 simple ideas and ways to start saving $$ now, but know they aren't the only 3.  

Good luck!

 Thanks for the tips!  

Originally posted by @David Fernandez :

@Jose Vazquez, I leave in the DC area as well, but we invest in Baltimore. If your goals are investing in an appreciating market, Baltimore may not be the best one. But if you are looking for cash flow, take a look at it. 

Baltimore is driving distance from DC and you can find cheaper properties that cash flow. Do not look only at the purchase price though, you really need to spend some time understanding the market there and driving around to see where do you feel comfortable investing.  Attend meet ups and REIAs to network with local investors, they’ll give you their thoughts about where to (and where not to) invest and what types of properties. 

Definitively real estate is not a quick rich scheme, but you can speed it up by investing in an area that requires you to save $10-$20k for a down payment vs. another area where you need $100k. 

Good luck!

I'd love to expand our search to other areas, but the VA home loan requires us to occupy the home we purchase for at least a few years before renting it out. I'd consider the commercial loan route, but coming up with the higher startup funds would be a problem.

As soon as we get going and can expand our search I'll definitely be considering areas that cash flow. 

Thanks for the response! 

Originally posted by @Michelle Nelson :

@Jose Vazquez I agree with @David Fernandez Baltimore has some opportunities for cash flow.  Partnerships can be a good start (if you find the right partners that have similar goals, experience, etc).  Are you looking in Baltimore at the present time?

 Hi Michelle. We're not currently looking in Baltimore, but it's definitely something to consider for the (hopefully) near future. Thanks for the input. 

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