Rookie investor in DMV [DC, MD, VA]

8 Replies

Hi everyone! New member here from the DMV. I grew up in the area (Maryland) and attended school in state before moving up to NYC and then SF for work in professional services (consulting, strategy) and technology. Sadly, living in Manhattan and California all my early working years and through my 20's (ridiculous rents and millennial lifestyle...) has left me with little opportunity to save, let alone save anything remotely close enough to a downpayment in areas where studios and 1 bdrms start at well over half a million dollars...

This being said, I'm very interested in learning as much as I can about real estate (especially on the smaller scale - such as SFH and perhaps duplexes...). Though I have very limited capital, and am very cognizant of where we may be in the interest rate cycle and economic cycle..(was an ambitious college sophomore studying finance in '09 when all hell broke loose) and am wary of trapped capital, I recognize the merits of having exposure to a less volatile asset class. Plus I like the tangibility of something physical..

I'm interested in learning how to structure deals (optimal legal entities, tax implications, risk mitigation), financing options, and have some familiarity with this on a high level (albeit in a corporate and and global context). I'm hoping to bridge my theoretical and macro-level knowledge with the real colour and nuance that comes from being a hand's on and active investor and owner. 

Specifically, I've been browsing opportunities in Fort Washington, MD (in PG county near MGM and national harbor) and Baltimore, MD (brooklyn). The former for its proximity to DC, and VA and highways and the latter because an MBA classmate told me to look there... (know very little about bmore other than about its potential 'affordability'). Ideally, interested in small rental properties around $150k (2 bedroom apartment?) or so (does that even exist anymore) and potentially, SFH between $3-400k (3 bedroom SFH around 2k sqft?).

What would be most helpful for me would be to get into the numbers...and to hear what kind of returns (on equity...but maybe also ROA) would be considered 'decent', 'mediocre', or 'great' at this type of scale.. What to look for and what to stay away from... [I've been inspired by an old friend of mine whose now accumulated 3 units, starting with a place he got a few years back for $120k in Jersey City that now rents for over $1200/mo.. and has appreciated 50%+]

Longer term, I want to build a network of local people with varied skills and to employ some of my underemployed friends in a variety of value generative ways. Perhaps not only for their labor or skills but also as a co-investor and manager... Anyways, what's up! Happy to join and to learn =D

Welcome to BP @Jason Chan ! I'm also a newbie from the DMV area starting out, looking in the PG and Montgomery county areas. There's definitely lots of opportunity around here, it just takes a little more digging to get good deals since the property values in the area are much higher. You may want to link up with @Jason Taliaferro who can get you lists of absentee owners in MD to start searching for potential properties and opportunities. @Ken Nyczaj gave me some good tips on books to learn more about the process and strategies for investing, which are (1) Brandon Turner's - Book on Rental Property Investing, (2) Brandon Turner's - The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No and Low Money Down and (3) Jay Scott - Book on Flipping Houses. He also has a great post about his strategy in getting his first property under contract. Welcome to BP and happy investing!

@Jason Chan , sounds like you are off to a good start identifying the areas that you want to invest. What have you thought about how to find deals? The markets you are looking at are pretty hot, so you should consider finding off market deals with a mail campaign. 

An Off-Market Mail campaign will target people who haven't put their homes on the market but share characteristics that would indicate that they could be motivated sellers. Think about working with a mailing list broker to make some suggestions.

Also be sure that the list you get has been run through the National Change of Address (NCOA) so you don't waste printing a postage mailing to bad addresses.

Welcome to BP @Jason Chan & @Kyle Jiron ! You've chosen a great place to learn more and get started. My team and I are very familiar with the DMV area, so if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Happy to connect and help if we can. Happy investing to you both! 

@Jason Chan  welcome to Bigger Pockets!

BP is the ultimate learning center for real estate investment.  At BP, not only can you network with other real estate investors, you can learn from the informative forums posted daily on the site, find properties that are for sale, and take free courses.

You have come the right place and I wish you best of luck.  

You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Grew up in the DMV, and moving back next month. Been watching the market. It sucks right now. Everything is overpriced. Off market are the only real deals I am seeing. Get with a connected agent and you may do okay.

1. Avoid Baltimore.
2. If looking in Montgomery County, Silver Spring may take a mini-dump and some deals may spring up, once Discovery Communications moves it’s HQ to NYC early next year.
3. DC is difficult unless you know the area well. Not easy going in and out and getting stuff done.
4. NoVA condos are okay if you can swing the investment costs. You will get a lot of young, well paid professionals, or military/politics ppls (ambassadors, embassy workers, etc).

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