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Hello BPs community,

My name is Randall Owens and I am new to the BPs community. I have been browsing through the bigger pockets chats and felt that it would be best if I reached out to you all for advice with future real estate investments. I am currently deployed in Afghanistan with the US Army and will not return home to Chicago until July 2020. However, since being here I am continuously reading and educating myself on investing in multi unit apartments. I was wondering if you all can give me some advice on the best tactics to purchasing 3-4 flat multi units with a good cash flow. I plan to house hack and hold onto these units long-term in the Chicagoland area.

@Randall Owens - First off thank you for giving up your time and serving in the military.

Sounds like you are on the right path and have a good plan.  I also house hacked here in Chicago, Bucktown neighborhood to be precise.  At this point, all you need to do is keep saving your money for your down payment and continue to learn/prepare.  Here a few good steps you can take while still overseas.

1.  Narrow your search down to a tight area and set your purchasing criteria

2.  Continue to research your area so you know exactly what houses are selling for.  (Maybe start talking to a realtor)

3.  Figure out your price range

4.  Start running deal analysis on all the properties that fit in your price range/criteria so when you are back you can recognize a good deal immediately.

5. Talk to a lender and determine down payment (also make sure you have reserves for construction and other issues that arise). Maybe get prequalified if possible.

6.  Set a goal of when you want to reach your downpayment goal + reserves.

Other than that I think you just need to keep doing what you are doing like networking, reading, listening, etc.  Best of luck and thank you again for your service!  When are you back stateside? 

Hello there @Randall Owens , welcome to BiggerPockets! I remember being in your shoes, my husband and I were stationed overseas and we wanted to start our REI journey, but couldn't find a lot of information on real estate investing while overseas. @Jonathan Klemm has very good points drawn out for you. If you have any other questions, I'd be very happy to help you out, my company Afield specializes in helping investors who are looking to invest in real estate in the United States while living overseas.

Best wishes!

@Jonathan Klemm,

I would like to thank you for your support for military service members and for responding in such a fast manner. Since being here I have been saving diligently for the down payment, reserve money, and will return home with a good amount of capital. I have narrowed my purchasing area to the neighborhoods of South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn which are all on the South Side. I grew up in the South Shore community and heard about the new development of the Obama library, Tiger Woods golfs course, and lake access and felt that this is a good time to take action in those areas. A year ago, I did get pre-approved by a lender for 300k and that was when I started my career with the Chicago Police Department (since then I have obtained numerous raises and decreased my debt). I failed to mention that I am a full time Police Officer and a part time solder in the Army National Guard. As I stated before, my goal is to house hack a 3 flat multi-unit. I plan to buy a cheap building that needs to be rehabbed, rent it out, refinance it, and repeat (BRRR deal with house hacking). I will be back stateside in July of 2020
Can you briefly explain your involvement in Real Estate? How many investment properties do you currently manage and are any of them on the South Side.

Mari Pearce,

I would like to thank you for your response. I am very excited to get started on my REI journey. I have questions such as should I use FHA or VA loan for my first home or can they both be used at the same time? Mari I am interested in purchasing a 3 flat multi-unit building in the areas of South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn which are all on the South Side of Chicago. I would like your assistance on the markets that I listed above and if in fact these are good areas to invest in or could there be better areas in Chicago.

@Randall Owens - I personally like Washington Park out of the 3 neighborhoods you named. You can still can get good cash flow and the neighborhood is in the middle of a lot of change, which is great. 

I currently have a few buildings on the NW side of the city, in the bucktown area, which I house hacked. I also work for NestEgg a property management platform that specializes in helping busy landlords with their maintenance issues.  Our tech based company is here in Chicago.  And to answer your question, we do manage a handful of properties on the Southside mostly Hyde Park, Washington Park, and Bronzeville areas.

Also, outside of the VA and FHA loan programs you may want to look into the home possible loan program which is a great low down payment program that doesn't have the purchase price ceiling like the FHA loan does.

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