New member residing in Arizona.

17 Replies

Moved to a smaller town in Arizona, East of Phoenix and North of Tucson from Chicago Illinois with the intent of delving into more of an outdoor lifestyle. Began looking into Real Estate investing as means of reaching some life goals and greater financial freedom. I have been listening to Real Estate podcasts and Biggerpockets with it’s forum are mentioned often. After lurking on the forum for a few months I am stepping out to participate. Something I don’t recall doing on any other forum.

Exploring what I am beginning to call Farm Hacking as an adaptation of House Hacking. Not being able to afford a farm/homestead and the full risk of running an operation of my own yet I am looking to offset the cost/risk with rentals, preferably long term and possibly short term.

The idea began with a Mobile Home Park that a portion could be a market garden and possible small scale livestock. Purchasing a Mobile Home Park feels like it might be a little ambitious. I have began to consider using SFRs that have large side lots. I could use the side lots for gardens while renting out the homes. Over time with a few SFRs a large acreage could be put to market garden purposes. I see this model offering a diversification of markets; Homes and Food being two things that people need in any economy.

There is a Mobile Home Park that I have been looking into that I intend to post about in the Mobile Home Park section.

After reading books and listening to podcasts for the past 6 months there are so many unknowns but I would like to get to the point of working through my first deal by the end of the year.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to everyone that participates in these forums, sharing their knowledge and experience. 

Interesting concept @Andrew Schmitt , very creative plan. I moved to Arizona myself from Illinois back in 2008...grew up in a farming community, so I have a lot of respect for them. Let me know if you need any assistance looking for the right property. Not sure exactly where you're located, but I'll do what I can!

Mobile Home parks are great. The mixed use not so much. Residents may not like the noise and commotion of a market garden. The other issue is the smell of livestock. You need to go sit downwind of a cattle ranch or pig farm to understand what your residents will end up smelling most of the time.  

So if this is how you would like to close the mobile home park be my guest. Otherwise do the other things somewhere else.

Ciiy zoning may also not be compatible.

@Andrew Schmitt

@George Skidis makes a great point... while the idea is interesting, there is likely a much smaller tenant base in Phoenix that's going to be interested in living in a place like that.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I would learn a proven business model and duplicate that as closely as possible. Trying to get creative may lead to some unforeseen problems like those George mentioned above. Let someone else be the pioneer and get the arrows in the back. 

Some other unforeseen problems you may have not considered: As a tenant, you're taking up the large yard I planned to use to play catch with my kids and let my large dog run and play with a garden that I have no intention of maintaining. In fact, my dog may eat your vegetables when he gets bored and hungry, or I may spray bug spray or weed and feed around my house to get rid of pests and weeds and end up killing your entire garden. Or my kids get bored and pluck all your fruit and veggies off the vine before they're ripe.

There's probably a million other scenarios like this that I haven't thought of. My suggestion is to keep it simple until you're more experienced in investing and are able to take a risk on a new business model like this. Best of luck!

@Kellen King   Thank you for your feedback and offer for assistance. Really appreciate it. Nice to hear from someone who has made the transition from Illinois to this wild west.  I like the Rattler Realty name.

@George Skidis Thank you for input and sharing your concerns. 

@Wes Blackwell Thank you for taking the time to comment and add some possible scenarios that provide a fuller picture to cattle ranches, pig farms, and closed mobile home parks. 

Originally posted by @Wes Blackwell :

@Andrew Schmitt

@George Skidis makes a great point... while the idea is interesting, there is likely a much smaller tenant base in Phoenix that's going to be interested in living in a place like that.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I would learn a proven business model and duplicate that as closely as possible. Trying to get creative may lead to some unforeseen problems like those George mentioned above. Let someone else be the pioneer and get the arrows in the back. 

Some other unforeseen problems you may have not considered: As a tenant, you're taking up the large yard I planned to use to play catch with my kids and let my large dog run and play with a garden that I have no intention of maintaining. In fact, my dog may eat your vegetables when he gets bored and hungry, or I may spray bug spray or weed and feed around my house to get rid of pests and weeds and end up killing your entire garden. Or my kids get bored and pluck all your fruit and veggies off the vine before they're ripe.

There's probably a million other scenarios like this that I haven't thought of. My suggestion is to keep it simple until you're more experienced in investing and are able to take a risk on a new business model like this. Best of luck!

 I envisioned kids playing baseball with tomatoes from the garden...

@Grant Rothenburger Thank you for your perception.   I Have enjoyed listening to to the Best Ever Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Podcast.  I will have to check out the Blog. 

For me it goes beyond an itch to grow something.  I have an itch to create a land based economy emulating models of others that have been able to earn $5/sq.ft. to $100,000/acre.  It might offset the learning curve to have a diversification of income from a rental property.  I want to believe that the two models might still be compatible ex an AirBnB that provides breakfasts with hyper-local products. 

@Andrew Schmitt

If that's the model you're going after, you need to find a mentor who's been able to pull that off and learn EVERYTHING about the business model from them.

And then, come here and see if others can poke holes in it. It'll help you plan for potential problems way ahead of time rather than when it's too late.

You said you moved to a smaller town outside of Phoenix... is that an area where there is a hot AirBnB market? Are you in Apache Junction? I can't see many people wanting to travel there... best spots for AirBnb in Phoenix metro area downtown, tempe, oldtown scottsdale and kierland area.

Ultimately, the question to answer is "Is the product I'm trying to create something that people already want?" In other words, is this something that's already in demand?

It's much better to service a market that already exists than to try and educate the market... as the only one that usually ends up with an education is you.

Not saying it's impossible, as I don't know much about this business model and wouldn't be your target market. But just be sure to do your due diligence and research the hell out of this before trying something new. The last thing you want to do is invest a bunch of money but then the tenants never come. 

Perhaps as a test, steal some pics if you can from those other business models / places in the country where people are pulling this off successfully, and throw some ads on up Craigslist and see what kind of response you get for the rents you're asking. Might be quite eye opening (either good or bad). Best of luck!

@Wes Blackwell   Thanks for the insight.  I really appreciated this one: 
"It's much better to service a market that already exists than to try and educate the market... as the only one that usually ends up with an education is you."  

I am not in Apache Junction or the Valley.  Don't think i I will be entering that market anytime soon.  

@Brandon Knudtson   Thanks for the welcome.  I don't miss the Midwest winters.  My family went up to Flagstaff for some snow this winter.  Its nice to have the diversity/options so locally. 

Does anyone have any input on how to navigate BP; a guide page or something?   I am finding the forum difficult to navigate and to figure out where to post in a relevant category.  For example how to find local forums.   

@Andrew Schmitt

First, go here for Arizona forums:

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/546-arizona-real-estate-q-a-discussion-forum

Then, right below the page number navigator near the top, you'll see "Other Forums: Show 10 subforums"

Click there to see the hyperlocal subforums for Arizona.

But to be honest the only two worth posting in so you get some eyes on your post are either Phoenix or Tucson.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/600-phoenix-real-estate-forum

The general path to get to any subforum is Education > Forums > Browse Forums > Local Real Estate Forums > State Forum > Local Sub Forum

Hi Andrew. I am surprised that with all the members in the Phoenix metro, nobody has mentioned this before. Check out the Agritopia development in Gilbert. It's a larger scale than what you are talking about doing, but it is in the same spirit. If you ever get a chance to track him down and pick his brain, Joe Johnston (developer of Agritopia) is one of the most interesting people you could ever meet and my experience is that he is completely willing to share advice and wisdom. I like your idea ! 

@Wes Blackwell Thank you.  That was helpful.  I notice the sub-forum tab now.   
I am still finding it difficult to find relevant posts to continue a conversation rather then just start a new one.  The search functions are limited without Pro membership.  On other forums its been my impression that its bad taste to start new conversations if a similar conversation has been started but on this forum I find it difficult to find a relevant conversation to join. 

@Hunter Sauls Agritopia looks like a really encouraging creative response to urban sprawl.  I will be looking into it more.

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