New member in Washington, DC

3 Replies

I have been a personal finance geek for a long time and found my way to biggerpockets.com through other personal finance blogs and podcasts. After listening to a number of the Bigger Pockets podcasts and reading up on real estate, I'm ready to dive into the Bigger Pockets forums and meet other real estate investors in the DC area. My girlfriend and I have stable jobs with the government and we max out our retirement accounts (TSP, Roth IRA, HSA), and we're now looking for ways to deploy our extra, after-tax savings. We've just starting looking into real estate. We rent a small two-bedroom apartment now and are interested in buying a SFH or a two- to four-unit property in the DC area and house hacking by renting out other rooms or units. We are also open to taking on some modest renovation work.

My first experience with real estate was as a young teenager, when I accompanied my grandparents as they shopped for a small, single family homes in my childhood neighborhood. They bought a house two blocks from where I grew up and I really enjoyed the summer I spent helping them fix up their place. I did a lot of odd jobs for my parents and grandparents, from mowing the lawn to painting a garage. In my 20s I moved quite frequently, lived in three countries, and rented a number of apartments. I’m now ready to settle down and want to get back into doing work on a house and dipping my toes into landlording through househacking.

I'm very interested in connecting with other Bigger Pockets members who have an interest in and/or experience with househacking and the programs available to first-time homebuyers in DC, MD and VA.

Welcome to BP. As you may or may not know, multifamily 2 to 4 unit properties are incredibly rare in the DC area compared to other metro areas. Last year there was only 219 that sold in the entire metro area out of 100,000 sales or so. 

Other options are rowhouses with accessory apartments in DC or single families with accessory apartments in Montgomery County. PG county and NoVa dont allow them.

@Sam Brummitt Congrats on deciding to start investing in real estate. You've mentioned that you and your girlfriend max out on all sorts of pre-tax accounts. Keep in mind that there is a way to diversify through these accounts into real estate as well. It is done by opening a self directed account. It can be HSA, IRA or even solo 401k depending on whether you meet specific requirements for them. Happy to share the resources if you'd like to learn more about it.

Best!

Russell, thanks for your reply. I rented a 2 br unit in a 4 unit building in Silver Spring, MD in 2012, and I didn't realize until recently how rare those types of buildings are in the DC area. Good to know the number of 2 to 4 unit property sales and the different rental laws in the area.

Alina, I hold a REIT in my Roth IRA, so that's my only real estate exposure at the moment. I believe self-directed accounts do not permit you to hold real estate that you live in or rent out to relatives, so I would only consider that route if I wanted to increase my passive real estate holdings. Right now I'm looking at investing in a property that I would live in, so self-directed accounts would not be an option.

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