I am Eric Tao, active military currently stationed at Fort Hood. I am looking to start investing in the Killeen/Cove/Harker Heights area and am looking for duplex properties at the moment. Any advice for duplex owning/renting and military investing would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Eric, i think I'm uniquely qualified to talk on this subject. I'm a 20 year retired Air Force member and I am very involved with RE investing with a distinct focus on duplexes. One of the advantages of being in the military is that you usually have a choice to move on base or receive a housing allowance and move off base. Your question asking for advice on owning a duplex is very dependent on where are you living now? Have you just arrived at Fort Hood? Do you own another property in the Killeen-Harker Heights area?
The disadvantages of owning property as a military member is that you are probably going to be re-stationed within 3 years. Most people will tell you that if your going to be selling within 3 years , then it might be better to rent. I think that is good advice. However, if buying a duplex, maybe the plan is not to sell in three years or so regardless of market conditions. Couple that with your planning on buying a duplex to live in one half and rent out the other then it is a no brainer!!!! But a word of caution. Don't buy in Killeen. Try and move out to Harker Heights or even Belton. Find a nice duplex, don't go for the cheapest out there. Owner Occupy it, fix it up nice, make it attractive to renters so that you can be somewhat picky when deciding your renters.
To rent is throwing away money each month that the military is giving you. But to buy a singe family home will put tremendous stress when you get re-assigned. But buying a duplex, with the idea of renting it will provide a positive cash flow day one when you move out and while you live there you will not be spending your entire housing allowance since your duplex will be providing additional income.
Why avoid Killeen. Precisely because of the military affect. What do I mean? Many, too many, soldiers buy single family homes in Killeen because they are talked into doing it using their VA loan. Buying a SFR and then having to sell it or rent it out after leaving FT. Hood is a recipe for disaster. This is going to cause the real estate market (buying/selling)and the rental market to stagnate. With troop strength always changing the RE market in Killeen is going to under pressure especially when this market turns south. Rental competition in Killeen is fierce.
Get away from Killeen as best you can, make your duplex as attractive as you can. Keep your profits separated from personal income, so that when repairs are needed you have the funds to do it. Additional income can be used to pay down the loan, and after about 12 years of ownership you will own your oil well out right. Yes I call my duplexes oil wells, each duplex has two wells. Providing income all the days of your life. I also call my duplexes chickens, groom your chickens, keep them healthy as they grow they produce bigger and bigger eggs. Eat all the eggs you want but don't eat the chicken!!!! Good luck!
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