I bought my first property in Salt Lake City and wanted to say Hi

22 Replies

Hi Everyone. I'm relatively new to real estate investing and even newer to Bigger Pockets. I found this community a few weeks ago after listening to @David Greene 's book--Long Distance Real Estate Investing.  (Thanks, David.) I just wanted to say, hello, and join the conversation.

Over the last 5 to 6 years or so, I kept crossing paths with people who owned investment properties. Some even started out owner-occupying one of the units in their property while tenant rent covered the mortgage. The idea of having someone else pay your mortgage sounded like a good plan. So, for years, my wife and I saved and tried to learn what we could. Salt Lake City, Utah is one of the hottest markets in the country right now and everything seemed beyond reach. At least for someone like me. We felt like we would never be able to afford an investment property. Through what we believe was divine intervention, we were introduced to a broker who helped us find the financing we needed as well as an agent who also buys and manages rentals. (It really was cool how we connected. At least I think so. If anyone is curious let me know 😊) I'm happy to say we closed on our first home/investment property last summer--a legalized duplex that was converted from a single family residence. We live upstairs and rent the basement apartment. Based on some of the quick formulas I've learned from the Bigger Pockets community (NOI in particular), this probably wasn't the best deal in hindsight. However, a theme I hear constantly from the podcast is that learning about real estate is great but at some point you need to take action. So while the tenant's rent doesn't completely cover our mortgage, we've only had to pay a little more than we did when we were renting ourselves and we feel pretty good about that. At least now, we're in the game. I'm hoping to make connections within this community and soak up as much as I can so I can be better prepared for my next deal and hopefully share what I've learned with others that find their way to Bigger Pockets. That being said, are there any Bigger Pockets members in the Salt Lake City area? If so, do you ever have meet ups? I'd love to make some local connections. Even if you're not local, I'd still love to connect so don't be shy. I tried to be brief but if anyone (especially newbies like me) has any questions about the deal or things I learned my first year as a property owner feel free to reach out.

Hey David congrats on getting your first place and welcome to biggerpockets. Take the “formulas” or “rules” that you find here with a grain of salt. If you can get a tenant to cover at least half your mortgage, you are doing pretty well. This is what I have done on my last 3 homes. It worked as a great strategy for me, so I did it a few times. 

Time to prep for the next one!

@David Fairall Welcome to the forums and congrats on your first rental property!  There is a great local community of investors around with meetups in Salt Lake City.  I forgot all the dates and times of the meetups, but I am sure someone will be able to post them for you.  In the meantime, keep setting goals and have a vision of where you are trying to get to.  My husband and I set yearly goals each year, which helps us both stay on track and stay motivated.

@Cody Steck Thanks, Cody. And you’re right, perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. Having half the mortgage paid is definitely not lost on me. I’ve had to put a lot more money into it this first year than I ever expected so I guess I’m feeling if this is the norm for this place and not the exception than maybe this wasn’t such a great buy. It’s really old (1944). But I guess that’s part of the risk, right? However, I think there is a lot of potential upside to the place. Assuming I don’t continue to have years like this one, this place should cash flow positively once we move out and rent the upstairs as well. That’s what I’m working on now. The big selling point, according to the agent that helped us, was this place was listed and appraised as a single family and they were renting the lower unit for a few hundred dollars below market. We were able to get the rent up and I’m looking into getting it appraised as a multi family so they take the rents into account. We’ll see how it goes.

Congrats on getting started in real estate investing David! Getting started is the hardest part so jumping in and getting some education through getting a deal done is valuable in itself. 

My husband and I just got started here in Salt Lake a couple years ago using a similar strategy (owner occupying), and even though the first intentional investment purchase wasn't a killer deal and didn't initially follow all the rules, it's turned out really well and we've learned a lot along the way. We are definitely way better off now than we would have been if we hadn't started investing in real estate then.

We haven't made it to too many of the investor meet ups but we love connecting and networking with others. All of our conversations eventually lead to real estate regardless of who we talk to (lol) so we'd love to connect up and nerd out about real estate sometime. I also love those serindipitious stories of things falling into place so I'd love to hear the story of how you happened upon all the right people to get you into real estate!

Best of luck!!

@Amy Kendall Thanks, Amy. I’d love to attend some meetups. I did look for some on here but couldn’t find any. At least not in Salt Lake. Maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong place? If you hear of any could you drop me a line? I would appreciate it.

I just talked with my wife tonight about some goals. I think we still need to decide what our end goal with this is. Do we just want to have a few properties to help supplement our retirement, do we want to have enough properties to replace my income and have this be my job or do we want to swing for the fences, grow a large portfolio and then sit on the beach somewhere. Once we figure that out we can probably reverse engineer how to get there, right? If you’ve got any input on what you guys do to stay focused I’d be interested to hear it.

@David Fairall  , Welcome to BP! Congrats on finding this awesome community! Finding deals is hard. Period. Especially in Utah! So congratulations! Every investor struggles with it. If it were easy, everyone would do it, right? I would highly recommend coming out to the local meet-ups and meeting people. Networking is one of the most valuable tools you can have in your toolbox. Meeting good wholesalers is a great strategy. Surrounding yourself with like minded people is extremely valuable. Check out these websites for the most valuable, inexpensive, networking groups and start attending! There are several events, in multiple different locations, at different times, etc. So find one that works for you and We will see you around!





@Kenya Arnett Thanks! I know what you mean about just getting started. I usually analyze things to death and I surprised myself at how quickly I decided to move once we had an opportunity to buy our place (it was the first and only place we looked at!). But home prices aren't getting any cheaper around here and I think we've definitely benefited from getting out of our comfort zone and buying when we did.

How we ended up getting connected to the right people was one of those right place right time moments. We were renting an apartment a block and a half from the Capitol. We had been there for 7 years. Not sure if you've ever been up there in the spring but the blossoms on the trees are in full bloom and it's really pretty and becomes a really popular spot for photo ops. We drove by it all the time but we never in all our time there went to go see them. It was a Sunday and my wife said I feel like we should go for a walk and go see those blossoms for once. I just like to lay around on Sunday and didn't feel like it but we got the kids ready and went. If you're not familiar, there is a walking path around the perimeter of the building that is lined with these blossoming trees so we were going to do a lap around and then come home. When we got to the front of the building there are these large stone benches and things that are definitely not meant for climbing on but kids see what they want, right? And they saw a jungle gym. So instead of getting back on the path they decide to dart off and start climbing on these things. As I was trying to corral my kids back on this walking path, I see an old acquaintance from college walking up the Capitol steps with his family. We lived in the same apartment complex and crossed paths but didn't really know each other that well. I haven't seen this guy for 8 or 9 years but it was fun seeing an old familiar face so we started catching up while we both ended up letting our kids run around. As we were trading stories he tells me he's building a house and I tell him about how we want to buy a rental but finding the right lender was a challenge. That's when he tells me about the guy he is using and that he helped his buddy close on a rental in the Avenues with a smaller down payment percentage than I thought possible for an investment property. So I got his lender's info who then connected me with the agent we used and we got it done. That never would have happened if I hadn't gone. It wouldn't have happened if my kids weren't doing what kids do. I nearly got them back on the walking path when my friend came walking up those stairs and I nearly missed him. Perhaps that's not a super cool story but, man, it sure was to us. 

One thing I did learn from that experience though was open your mouth. Don't be afraid to talk to people about your goals. If I hadn't said anything about wanting to buy a rental property I never would have gotten that contact from my friend. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about wanting to pursue something like this because maybe you've got impostor syndrome and feel like a poser because you don't know a lot or you don't own multiple properties or even one for that matter. After having this experience, I try to find some way to mention to people that I'm interested in real estate (without being obnoxious) because you never know what it will yield.

Thanks @Jaiden Olsen !  I was hoping you would post that!  @David Fairall you are on the exactly the right track with your goal setting!  Your overall goal will probably change over time as ours did.  We first were thinking of retirement, but then changed our goal after meeting and talking with more investors.  Then, we really got serious and set out a five-year goal to make 5k/month in passive income and made an outline of how to get there.  Now, our goal has changed again.  At the beginning of the year, we go out somewhere nice and set the goals for the year and review the previous year's goal.  Then, we revisit them a few times during the year.  We have found it to be a huge help throughout.  It really pushes us to accomplish more than we think is possible.  

@David Fairall Great job!  That first step is the most important.  There's a lot of people on here that will read and analyze all day, but never do anything.  Keep it up!

@Amy Kendall That's a great strategy!  Constantly reviewing where you are at and re-evaluating where you want to be is super important and motivating.  Good luck getting to your next goal!

@Andrew Dean Thanks, Andrew. I’m actually a little surprised with myself that I made the plunge and bought a property. Especially now that I’ve been in it a year and have learned that I knew less about real estate than I realized. Haha.

@Mike Palmer Thanks for reaching out, Mike. I did see that but, yeah, it's a little far for me. However, @Jaiden Olsen let me know about all the REIA meetings in Northern Utah so I think I have some options for connecting with people a little closer to me. But I'll never say never so I might check one out some day. Thanks again.

@Andrew Dean Awesome! I've been investing since 2016 but sold everything before relocating to Utah. 

That's something I've been thinking about (local govt./politics), the rental laws and rules are completely different in Arkansas. Where I was investing, the local govt. didn't have any regulations on rental property. 

What's the #1 thing people should know about local govt. before investing here?

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