Newbie from Bayamón, Puerto Rico!

18 Replies

Hello everyone, I'm Julio Navarro, from Bayamón, PR. I'm a US Army vet, working as an electrician for a private contractor, and desperately wanting out. I first came to know about RE thanks to Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad, and now found BP, initially by podcasts. Great show BTW! I've been hearing them from the beginning, going on #40 in less than a week. My girlfriend is joining me in this new venture, and we're really excited! 

So we're most inclined to start off with buy and hold, with a multi family unit. Then adding fix and flip to the equation. But first need to choose where we want to start, not sure if PR is the best place ATM. 

Really excited for what's to come! Hopefully I can find a fellow Boricua here in BP! 

Michael,

Welcome.  Like you I am new on the site.  Thank you for your service.  I have a brother in the Navy.  Like you I am enjoying the podcasts and starting from the beginning.  I listen to them on my commute to work.  I am not an expert and I know that Puerto Rico is recovering from Maria.  I am sure there are people here on the site that can help you find opportunities in those circumstances.  Good luck and welcome to BiggerPockets.

Mark

Hi @Julio Navarro - welcome to BP! I'm in Ohio but my husband & I would love to invest in PR someday. We really love it there and were just there last month for a short trip. We didn't make it all over the island but I understand that some areas have been put back together a bit better than others. I also understand that the population is declining rapidly, especially with younger folks fleeing. As a resident there, I would love to hear your thoughts on investing on the island if you're willing to share?

If you have any questions about Columbus, OH, I'd be happy to share what I know too! :)

Amanda 

Thank you Michael, Mark and Amanda, for the welcoming! 

@Amanda Roderick, I love PR, it is a beautiful island. But as you said, population is declining at a very fast pace. Huracane Maria hit us very hard and 13 months from it, there's still a lot of recuperation to be done. 

I've only been listening to audibles and the podcasts for about a month or two now, but I know this is a great vehicle to achieve the lifestyle I want for me and my family. My grandfather owns some rental property and I will practice PM with him to start off. As you know, construction here is very different from that of in the states. So I look forward in seeing how could the estimation calculators help me here. Maybe I'll be able to get PR more involved in the BP community. I certainly hope I'm not the only puertorican in BP. 

My GF and I, however have been thinking about moving to the states. I have a 4yo boy, and think he would have a better lifestyle in a safer place. Only time will tell. But I will deffenetly learn more about the local REI opportunities. Amanda, if you or anyone have any questions, please feel free to ask away. I will do my best to answer them.

Julio

Thank you @Julio Navarro ! If we do decide to buy there it won't likely be for a few years so we still have time to research. I'm sure I'll have a million questions when we get closer to making that happen. Do you have any opinions on which parts of the island are more stable? We were reading that home prices in the northwest didn't decline quite as sharply as other parts of the island. What are your thoughts? 

I've definitely seen other Puerto Ricans on BP, so you're not the only one! It's great that you have family in the business that you can learn from too. Where are your grandfather's rentals? 

If you do decide to move to the states, have you thought about where you would move to? Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about Columbus, Ohio if you have any! It's about to turn to winter here so not as nice (in my opinion) but overall it's a great city to live in. 

Best of luck with everything!

Amanda 

@Amanda Roderick, my grandfather's rentals are located in Bayamon, one of the largest and most populated cities. He owns a two building lot, with a total of 7 rental apts. One of these is big enough to be a commercial rental and I believe it might be rented soon to make it a pizza restaurant. 

Some of the places my GF and I are looking into are Florida and Mass., since we have family there. But are keeping an open mind as to where we'd like to move to. We're more inclined to a warmer weather state, but nothing is written in stone. If moving out of PR, our goal is to do so next summer, most likely starting with a house hack, and moving on from there. 

Are you native to Ohio? How do you like the general lifestyle and education? How available are employment opportunities (construction wise)? Any other info you'd like to chip in from your area would be greatly helpful. 

I'll get back to you with more details on the northwest area. Are you looking to rent for short or long term? Airbnb maybe? 

Kind regards, 

Julio 

@Julio Navarro Buen Dia, amigo!

Bayamon is nice but I've been looking in Carolina, Isla Verde Avenue for 2/3Bed 1.5 bath Condos.

How's the compensation for electricians?

Hi all! 

@Mike Hurney, most jobs here begin paying off minimum wage. If your licensed and lucky, you can get a few extra bucks. In August I was visiting my father in Chelsea, MA and my jaw dropped when I contacted a couple companies regarding employment opportunity, to which I was told starting salary would be about $27-$32/h. Here in PR I'm working for $10/h, that being said I'm more than ready to jump into REI. Currently I work for a private contractor in the Isla Verde area. Are you in the island?

Best regards 

Julio 

Hey @Julio Navarro , welcome to biggerpockets!

I'm positive you are not the only Puerto Rican on BP. And you have found a great community here, because dozens,  hundreds or even thousands of members here are interested in investing in PR. You will find mixed feelings from the members here about where, when, and what properties to invest in, in PR. And it seems that in general, we are all confused as to HOW real estate transactions take place in PR (attorney only?) and how LONG does a transaction take. So YOU will probably be able to educate many of us, in at least some way, so please jump into our discussions!

Personally I think there is HUUUUGE opportunity for someone, or a team, who can be a liaison on the island for investors from the states. Whether that be as a real estate agent, a contractor, a property manager, a deal finder, or in some other capacity.  Plenty of Americans want to invest there, and I would guess most of them are at least familiar with the Puerto Rican lifestyle and work pace, and what we really want is someone we can trust to help make smart investment decisions and get things done in a fairly expedient timeframe.  I believe whoever can succeed at becoming the eyes and ears on the island by supplying good information and service, will in turn be rewarded with a very wealthy lifestyle.

Best of luck to you in whatever path you choose, staying on the island or moving to the states! Keep learning and listening to those podcasts.  Also, jump into the forums and discussions here on BP.  I have keyword alerts set up so I am notified anytime someone mentions the words Puerto Rico, that may be of benefit to you too.

Luke

@Luke Aubut, thanks for the welcoming and for such positive vibes. I am really inspired to do this business locally to help out the community, PR is a beautiful island and I really do love it here. My GF and I have begun networking with a relatively green investor real estate agent (atm  flipping his first), and seeking out our first deal. We've found a few potential opportunities and will soon be sharing our findings here to see what you all think. 

Gracias, 

Julio 

Hello! @Julio Navarro

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:

https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/5868/52761-the-simple-guide-to-getting-started-on-bp



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

https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/5868/52743-im-new-to-bp-any-advice-would-be-appriciated

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.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/5868/52724-im-new-to-investing-how-do-i-find-an-investor-friendly-agent

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

@Julio Navarro Hey Julio fellow boricua here. I'm in the process of fixing up my first property in Santurce, San Juan with an FHA 203k loan. It's a 7-room 4-bathroom big 1960's house in excellent shape. I will house hack with girlfriend and will try to create 6 airbnbs from it. The house even has a pool, very rare for the area. I bought this property because I stumbled into biggerpockets right after hurricane María and I saw huge opportunity. While in the US the real estate market is almost at it's peak, here it is at it's bottom. I believe that Puerto Rico will bounce back, so the only way is UP if u buy correctly. The prices are the cheapest they have been and there are truly great deals if you have boots in the ground and know what u r are doing.

In construction news, I just read in newspaper that federal government is giving millions to Puerto Rico in the next 5 years for construction and repairing hurricane damage. This means that the construction sector will grow in these years and maybe u can find higher paying job? Just thinking out loud...

Anyways, feel free to PM me, will love to meet up and share what I have learned from the process. Good luck!

@Julio Navarro

Julio I'm visiting PR right now.  Currently in the Fajardo area, spending the night.  I've been here a week.  No return flight yet planned - been on an R&R tour but also with a side goal of learning what I can about RE opportunities or other business opportunities.  I wanted to ask some questions, if that's OK.  For myself- and the community:

Observation is that wages are low.  Confirmed by your data point/perspective but also other data points/conversations I've had.  Wondering if rental market to local wage earners is even viable, given that.  If not, seems that the rental world is confined to catering to tourists unless something substantial changes.  Challenges with this will exist, certainly.  Would like to get your thoughts on this.  More specifics that'd help us all to get some intuition here would be - what does your grandfather do with regards to rentals - vacation rentals or rent to local residents?  In either case, it would be great if you could guess on numbers for rent revenue etc

Prices: I'm seeing most prices for houses in a comparable range to many midwest metros - perhaps 140-300k range for retail level on market listings. It's extremely odd though after Maria that there are probably 90% + places that haven't even begun being rebuilt, whereas other places have come back pretty well. What's very odd to me in observing prices is that with the glut of houses that have been pretty well hit hard, and are not appearing to be lived in - why there is not a glut of properties on the market for sale at cheap prices. I'm not really sure what to make of this as it looks like it should be closer to a Detroit situation just by the supply and demand part of things. Are people just not listing? Is it a huge time lag in people getting their FEMA money? Are there way more stock of houses than residents? All the above?

Seems that a huge slice of the economy is devoted to services/tourism.  Seems also some challenges politically in fostering a stable macro picture for the future.  I'm certainly not trying to be a debby downer but I'm just looking for some context on the political situation here.

I talked to one person who insinuated that a large portion of the population was 'on the dole' as he put it, whether that be FEMA or some other form of welfare. I do pick up a vibe of valuing lifestyle, family, etc over industry, etc but it's hard for me to make a cultural statement or put my finger on what changes there to encourage the wage situation to turn around. In observing businesses there appears to be virtually NO heavy industry that I can see thus far which is problematic. When I speak of heavy industry I'm talking about strategic self sustaining resource production such as steel, capital equipment for construction, petrochemicals, among others. I see major capital investment as risky here but also just as risky/problematic for the island to not have these resources for their long term growth prospects.

I'm wondering about the power grid.  That's my background (Electrical engineering) so part of why I came was to get some data points related to this specifically.  I did see one wind farm with the propellers sheered off which was unfortunate but other than that it seems like issues are being solved.  None of the places I've stayed have had intermittent power failures or anything.  Wondering if you can comment on that.

OK that's all I can think of now.  Thanks for the contributions Julio and I'm looking forward to your perspective.

@Jim Goebel

Hey Jim, thanks for the wright up. To answer some of your questions, renting to local wage earners is possible, however, getting over a 1% rent would be very difficult in most parts of the island. I do believe it be best leaning towards the tourist service. In regards to my grandfathers rentals, he does rent to residents. I'm currently seeking for creative ideas on taking over his apartment business, he's already agreed to carry the note.

Many people left the island after Maria, some have returned, but their are many houses still empty. My guess is probably as good as any, with no money to invest in repairs and the length of wait on FEMA aid it was probably safer for many families.

I am not very inclined in the subject of politics, but I can say, I don't believe the government here will get any better in the coming years. They have made a huge deficit in the last four decades, I do not see how they intend to get out from under any time soon.

I'd say, a large portion of the population is on some kind of welfare. I understand some people may have limitations, but there are many that don't and abuse of the system. 

The power grid here is not that bad, however it is VERY outdated. I do believe we have many other viable power source options to exploit, but it seems someone in the higher ranks doesn't like the idea of loosing money to green energy.

I know its been almost two weeks for my reply, but are you by any chance still in island? Would love to meet a few BP folks, if any are up for a drink or coffee. LMK your thoughts on the situation here in PR.

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