Introduction: Noob in San Diego, CA.

9 Replies

Hi everyone! My name is Riku and I am a 23 year old male from San Jose, California, but now reside in San Diego. I, like many others, am looking to start building my real estate portfolio and start racking in some passive income. My goal is to reach financial freedom by the age of 40. I currently have zero experience in real estate investing, but have a working knowledge of the basics.

I made this post to introduce myself to the community, and because I have a question that I have a hard time googling the answer to:

I plan my first investment to be a house-hack, financing through a FHA loan and living in it for a year. I know I will not have trouble finding housemates and I have enough money for the down payment and upfront costs, but my personal income is low enough to disqualify me based on the DTI requirement. What are my best option(s) to work around this issue? Or should I ditch this strategy and pursue another (search in more affordable cities, partner up with $$$$$, etc.)

Thanks in advance! Looking forward to connect with you all. also, I'll have a picture up soon - for some reason the website isn't letting me upload for now. 

Hey @Riku Tajima
Welcome to San Diego and Congratulations on deciding to pursue REI. House hacking is by far one of the best strategies in my opinion, specially here in San Diego since it's an appreciation market you'll be able to build up your equity while upgrading the home as you go (if that's a possibility)

Did you already reach out to lenders to see how much you pre-qualify for? Have you been looking into what neighborhoods you want to purchase in? I would probably start looking at some numbers just to see where you stand. 

One option would be to find a distressed home that you can increase its value by doing a rehab using private money, cash or hard money and then refinance. This is referred to as the BRRR method (Buy, Rehab, Refinance, Repeat). You would still need to find a private money lender if you don't have enough cash, and pre-qualify with a hard money lender.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. 

Best of luck! 

Hey Brutha,

Glad to see more people thinking ahead. If you're looking to house hack, buying a fixer might not be really ideal. That doesn't mean it's not doable! Just depends on if you have some buddies you're planning on renting rooms to or if you're doing more of a "Room for Rent" approach. Different situations have different strategies! Not bashing any of them. Just that I find most people looking for a room aren't looking to live in a construction site. 

As far as DTI, I'd recommend speaking to a lender and making sure your assumption is true. I won't say either way since I'm not a lender. @Jon Lallande has helped a lot of my clients that are doing the exact strategy you are, so that may be a good place to start. 

When it comes to area, it's also going to boil down to personal strategy and what makes sense for your scenario. Location is key in real estate. You know the saying. I'd say even more so when you're looking to fill a room. One of my current clients is doing it in Lemon grove. He got a really solid place because we found a property that had unaccounted for sqft on the MLS. A 4/3 and his buddies are renting rooms. Plus, there's a ton of space so it won't feel crammed. With your strategy, I would recommend something more like that vs a fixer or maybe a spot with an ADU/guest home already in place.

San Diego is very much buy and hold. So if you're thinking long term make sure you truly enjoy the property and don't just buy it due to the numbers. I know I know, someone on BP saying numbers aren't the most important thing!? Yes, they most definitely are important, but if you're going to house hack you don't want to hate where you live for X amount of years just because it gave you a couple hundred dollars more a month than a place you really liked. I've seen it happen and I caution you on getting to focused on that side. I have people tell me the numbers are all that matter to them, then 8 or 9 showings later they understand what I'm saying. You're investing your personal lively-hood as well as your financial situation. Find the balance.

You're just starting and it sounds like your not super familiar with San Diego. So look around and get some more perspectives before you pull the trigger! It's a big investment so make sure it's right for you. I hold REI meet ups in downtown once a month. The next one is posted here on BP. "Military Investing Meet Up" is the name of it. BP>Network>Events. It's not exclusive to military and has a lot of new and current investors that come out. Come by and join us for a drink and get pick some of their brains as well. Of course, feel free to reach out if you have any questions as well. Happy to help in anyway.

Hi @Riku Tajima

Welcome to BP! Investing local and out of state both can be great options depending on what your goals are. I'm an agent here in San Diego and also have properties out of state. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Happy to share what my experiences have been.

@Riku Tajima , no you should not ditch the househack strategy, make adjustments. If you know you don't qualify now, a experience thoughtful lending partner will provide you with info of what you need to do to qualify sooner than later. We have help clients make slight adjustments to help them purchase their first househacks. A couple of my clients this year are younger than you. This week we helped a 21 year old close on a househack, who originally reached out to me in April. Find a good lender and agent that will help you with realistic expectations, and set you up on a path for success. 

@Donald E Appleberry
Just to clarify, my suggestion was to do the rehab first before getting any tenants. By doing that, you're increasing your equity by adding value to the home. After that, you can refinance at the ARV value, pay back your lenders and house hack it.
Again, this is just a scenario that I've seen multiple people do. I'm actually shopping for a house myself in San Diego to do that same exact thing! 

Just wanted to clarify what I meant to eliminate any confusion. 


Hi @Ray Alsaigh , thank you for reaching out! The BRRRR strategy is something I've read up on and certainly plan to use in the future. I chose to pursue house hacking first because I feel it's the best way to dip my toes in the water. Thank you for the tip on reaching out to lenders, I haven't thought of doing that, but it'll tell me where I currently stand.

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