New From Dallas... Newbie Questions

7 Replies


Hopefully I can get some help here. As the title says I live in the DFW area... no properties yet but I am looking to secure my 1st duplex or triplex so I can live in one side and rent out the other using an FHA loan.

So I recently saw a property I liked on Zillow, messaged for more details using the automated service and they got back to me with an automated agent and lender. With the DFW market seeming very competitive with multi family homes based on the research and browsing I've done on various listing sites, is it better to find an agent and lender first? 

That way you can get properties sent to you that are off market and not listed on Zillow, Trulia, etc? Seems as though if you message the listing on Zillow for example, you are given a lender and agent by default which may not be the best? Also, what is the best way to vet lenders? Are they all typically the same or is there advantages to doing your due diligence with vetting potential lenders for a property? This is all new to me, sorry if these are rookie questions but a bit confused on the process leading up to buying my first property and do not want to make any rookie mistakes. 

Any help or links to a thread on here would be appreciated. I hope to continue to post and document my journey with Real Estate on Bigger Pockets and excited to be here! 

Welcome to Biggerpockets!! Nice to meet you! Good luck going forward! As an agent I can send you some from MLS. I as investors am looking into MFR. I am going to search tax rolls for out of state owner and send them a postcard. Not sure how it would go. But I will keep you in mind.

Hi @Elliott Wolf and welcome to BP!

Based on your post, I'm thinking you should look for a lender first. A lender will be able to determine if you can qualify for a loan and how much you would qualify for. Once you have that information, it is going to narrow down the price point you can afford and refine your MLS search.

As far as DFW is concerned, single and multifamily are currently very competitive, however, I think the market has been cooling off and winter is always a great time to buy. I wouldn't work on Zillow, the information is often old and outdated and would instead get a MLS feed from an agent. There are also pay access options, but if this is your first property, you're probably going to need an agent to guide you through the process.

Also, don't worry too much about making mistakes. You can get advice here, from your agent, or your loan officer to explain things you don't understand. The most important part is knowing what you don't know and not being afraid to ask.


@Elliott Wolf

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@Christopher Brainard Thanks for the help and the suggestions! 

Sounds like I need to research some lenders first and figure out what I am qualified for. Expanding on the topic of lenders, what should I look for? Overall reviews of a lender will give a broad overview of the customer experience but anything else I should be wary of when looking for a lender on?

I have narrowed down my decision to FHA loan, I know there is some downsides to it such as extra taxes but I think it is the best option for me based on my situation and this being my first home.

Did not want to create a new post since I created this post recently...

So I have been doing more and more research and I have been drawn to the single family home and I could house hack the single family home by renting out one of the rooms and living in the other room. I could get a nice single family home in the 150K-200k price range in a neighborhood that I want with probably better cash flow than doing the duplex scenario. 

Of course the duplex would be worth more overall once it is paid off by the tenants but like others have mentioned the multi family home market is very competitive in DFW.

What do you guys recommend with your first property? Thanks! 

It really depends on what you want to do and what your investment strategy is. 

If you're doing conventional or FHA financing, just about any lender will do it. Make sure you read reviews and identify someone who is good to work with - I don't have any particular suggestions for you. As far as buying a SFR and renting out a room, that is a personal life decision, not an investment one. Your primary home should satisfy your needs first, any investment needs second. Many people buy a home with this same mindset, but find out they much prefer living alone than with a stranger.

If you do buy something that is a duplex or fourplex, then its more important to look at the investment side of things, since you will be buying your own home eventually. From an investment standpoint, this will cash flow more and will also introduce you to managing property, so you can determine if you really enjoy doing it or not. Down side is that is limits the number of properties you can check out, as there are far more SFR than small multifamily in DFW.


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