Newbie from New York, New York (NYC)

23 Replies

Hi Everyone!

My name is Alex Poh.  I'm a 31 year old jewelry designer and fabricator living in NYC.

I have no experience in real estate aside from riding shotgun when I was a kid with my mom during her open houses and property showings.  My mother was a residential and commercial agent and broker in NY and NJ during the mid 90s.  She still has her brokerage license, so I plan on getting a real estate agent license to reduce costs on closing deals in the future and to get a stronger background in real estate.

My short term real estate goals are:

- Get my real estate license in the next three months

- Purchase my first investment in the next year. I am looking to use an FHA Loan to purchase a multi family home in an outer borough of NY to house hack. I aim to make enough income from the property to cover my living costs or greatly reduce them.

My medium term goals are:

- Stack my first multi family home into more units.  

- Generate $5k in monthly income within the 5 years.

My ultimate goal is to create a portfolio of cash flow positive real estate investments to:

- Help my father retire so that he can travel with my mother, enjoy life, and discover new hobbies and passions.

- Allow me to make jewelry because it's my passion, not my passion that pays the bills

- Free up my time to pursue travel and my interest in martial arts.  Live in Brazil and Thailand for several months to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Thai kickboxing

- Learn how to invest and make money consistently so that I can partner with friends and family to help them build wealth as well

I found out about the biggerpockets community through their podcasts and the AudiboBook on Rental Property Investing.  I love the mentality and culture of the community.  I have been listening to the podcasts everyday while I sit on my bench making jewelry. 

I look forward to learning from all of you and to achieving all my goals and more!

@Alex Poh

Welcome to the BP family! Great that you joined the site! Here are some recommendations for you:

Find and connect with other BP members that are in your area:
Set up keyword alerts to be notified of the topics that interest you:
Read Beginner’s Guide:
Check out BP Podcasts:

If you wish to tag someone in the conversation on the forum, type @ followed by their name and then select the name of that person which should appear below the comments box. He or she will be notified of being tagged so that the conversation will continue.

Wishing you the best!

@John McSherry Thanks for the warm welcome John!

Flipping is definitely something on my mind.  I would like to build up my chops with a live in rehab first before moving onto house flipping.  

I will definitely get in touch with you once I have a bit more experience and have experience closing a few deals.

Do you specialize in a particular neighborhood in NYC?

@Dmitriy Fomichenko Thanks for the tips!

I've been working my way through the biggerpockets Beginner's Guide.  It's been a great resource for me to navigate my start in this topic.  I got a Bachelor's in Finance so the valuation stuff has been a lot of fun to review.

I also checked out the meet up function on biggerpockets and have already signed up to a cashflow seminar in September and a REIA meeting later this month! Can't wait to meet more like minded people in the area to learn from. Just this post has introduced me to a few already!

Hey @Alex Poh You're welcome, sounds good, keep me posted! I'll flip anywhere that I can reach within an hour - Including: Queens, BK, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Welcome @Alex Poh !  You have some really awesome goals there. I'm actually looking to house hack myself. I am meeting with my mortgage broker next week to get pre-approved. My goal is to be closed on my first investment by the end of this year. I also really admire your goal to help your father retire. 

I am a real estate attorney in Queens. If you ever need any help or advice I would be happy to lend a hand. My mortgage broker is also an incredible asset. He doesn't charge any points and he is an avid investor himself. So he's familiar with both lending and investing. 

Good luck to ya!!

If you are buying a multifamily property anywhere in NYC (outer boroughs just as much as Manhattan) using an FHA loan, you are really going to struggle to be cash-flow positive in that kind of time frame with the sheer amount of leverage that you are taking on at the start, because your monthly payments are pretty substantial after you put very little money down. I'm shopping for a first property myself and I've found in modelling out a bunch of deals around the city that for a buy and hold with high leverage it will take around five years to get out of the red on a lot of fixer uppers. Same time frame applies with buy and flip, renovating one unit at a time and then stabilizing the asset at a higher NOI, then proving that it will hold for another year. (I've found that buy and flip in 5 years seems to be best scenario with FHA loans, and that their levered returns are fantastic even on deals that would otherwise be mediocre if levered at a 70% LTV).

To put it simply, you aren't cash flow positive until your monthly rent receipts exceed monthly debt service and all of your expenses, and that can take some time to raise rents.  

@Odie Ayaga I share a studio with my father in Manhattan. In case you were wondering, commercial rent is a killer in Manhattan. One of my longer term goals is to own a residential property with ground level commercial space.

Originally posted by @Odie Ayaga :

Why is it a longer term goal? What's stopping you from doing it now?

Given how brick and mortar retail has been trending the past few years I'm a bit hesitant to take on a commercial retail space.  Our current space is zone for light manufacturing and given my father's business model we need the space.  However, the route I am taking with the business a brick and mortar location isn't a necessity it's more of a passion project.  i.e. cafe, lounge area, art gallery space, co-working creative space.

I would first like to:

1) Build up a larger client base for my brand online and see the the need for a brick and mortar location

2) Evaluate the trend of brick and mortar retail / coworking space going forward

3) Store up enough cash reserve to accommodate the increase operating expense tied with a commercial retail lease

4) Gain commercial residential experience which in my opinion has less risk of vacancy.  Of course this is a market to market issue as well

Happy to hear your suggestions if I am missing an unseen opportunity or loophole in my thought process.

Hello! @Alex Poh

Welcome to BP, and congratulations on making the decision to invest in your future via real estate.

I have written a few blog posts that may help you get started here on BP, and with your investing. Please click on the links, give them a read, and share your thoughts in the comments.

First is a post that I feel will help not get overwhelmed with the amount of info that is here on BP:

The second is a post that will help get you focused with your real estate investing goals:

The last one is a post that will help you choose an “investor friendly” real estate agent. There are many agents out there, but it’s important to choose the right one.

I love answering questions if you have any! Good Luck :)

Hey Alex,

Great to hear your short and long-term real estate investing goals and your plan on materializing said goals.

I find myself in a very similar situation. I'm leaving my current job at an artist management and booking agency to obtain my NY State real estate license at the beginning of 2019. With access to more deals as an agent, I also aim to house hack in one of the outer NYC boroughs, probably somewhere in Queens. 

Eager to hear more about how things develop for you!


@Alex Poh

Welcome to BP community!

In addition to education, networking is the key. Join REI meetup groups found through either BP or meetup.

We have a gathering in the City in about two weeks. More details under my profile.


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