Any advice on Washington house hacking?

18 Replies

Hey guys!

My boyfriend and I are looking to move out of state, and Washington is one of our top choices. We'd like to start our real estate investing career with by house hacking a duplex or triplex.

Any advice on the neighborhoods/cities we should be looking at?

Our budget is $250K and we'd be looking to cashflow or break even. (Or at the very least very low in the negatives -- the goal is to save up to buy more properties!)

Would appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!

Hi Haley,

With that budget, you could find some duplexes in Central Washington.  Yakima has a few in that price range right now.  Rental prices keep increasing and the inventory is very low.  Happy to send more info if you'd like.

@Haley B. $250k is doable in Tacoma, but it will likely need work. If you want turnkey, then you'll have to go further out or across the mountains.

@Haley B. , it sounds like you are flexible with where you can move to which will make it easier. Depending what your goals are you can try the Aberdeen area, the yelm/rainier area, and you can on occasion get a duplex in the olympia/lacey/tumwater area for $269k. This is based off the listings on the MLS, and there will be other areas as I work mainly the Tacoma south to Chehalis and Aberdeen east to yelm.

@Haley B. $250K can get you a SFR in Pierce County (Tacoma,Puyallup,Lakewood,Fife), Possibly in the outskirts of Snohomish. Which are areas in WA in recent years where rental rates & potential equity appreciation are solid. MFH, you may need to look east of the Cascade mountains or outside of the Tri-counties (KIng,Snohomish,Pierce).

Have you spoken to a lender? I have a couple of clients starting out in RE investing and are looking into MFH w/ an FHA loan. This seems to be a solid strategy for them. Minimizes the down payment but allowed them to increase price. I am not a loan officer, but maybe you can chat with one?

I hope this helped.

Hey Jeffery, thanks for replying! MFH with an FHA loan is our plan right now, but have yet to talk to a lender. Next on the agenda though

Originally posted by @Jeffery Lee :

@Haley B. $250K can get you a SFR in Pierce County (Tacoma,Puyallup,Lakewood,Fife), Possibly in the outskirts of Snohomish. Which are areas in WA in recent years where rental rates & potential equity appreciation are solid. MFH, you may need to look east of the Cascade mountains or outside of the Tri-counties (KIng,Snohomish,Pierce).

Have you spoken to a lender? I have a couple of clients starting out in RE investing and are looking into MFH w/ an FHA loan. This seems to be a solid strategy for them. Minimizes the down payment but allowed them to increase price. I am not a loan officer, but maybe you can chat with one?

I hope this helped.

@Haley B. Washington is a great place to live! Although my opinion is slightly biased. Are you and your boyfriend intending on paying cash for your acquisition?

If not, my guess is that the location for your purchase will be greatly influenced by where you will be working.

For cities to start looking I'd say focus on Tacoma area and South, or on the Everett area and North. Marysville/Arlington could be a good area for you depending on how much growth they will receive from the commercial flights out of Paine Field in Everett and the new MIC on the Marysville/Arlington border. You'll be able to stretch your dollars much further if you are in Eastern WA such as Spokane or the tri-cities, but again I'm assuming you will be limited to wherever you intend on working. Building a real estate portfolio is much easier if you guys have W2 jobs while you are starting out.

Good luck investing, let us know how it goes!

Hey Julian, thanks for the suggestions! 

We'd be looking to do an FHA loan -- so jobs will definitely be an influence. My only concern is that we'll have difficulty getting a loan without consistent employment in Washington. (We'd likely have to leave our jobs in MA if we moved).

But we'll see! I will let you know where we end up

Originally posted by @Julian Sibley :

@Haley B. Washington is a great place to live! Although my opinion is slightly biased. Are you and your boyfriend intending on paying cash for your acquisition?

If not, my guess is that the location for your purchase will be greatly influenced by where you will be working.

For cities to start looking I'd say focus on Tacoma area and South, or on the Everett area and North. Marysville/Arlington could be a good area for you depending on how much growth they will receive from the commercial flights out of Paine Field in Everett and the new MIC on the Marysville/Arlington border. You'll be able to stretch your dollars much further if you are in Eastern WA such as Spokane or the tri-cities, but again I'm assuming you will be limited to wherever you intend on working. Building a real estate portfolio is much easier if you guys have W2 jobs while you are starting out.

Good luck investing, let us know how it goes!

What kind of work do you guys do?

If you don't like traffic or rain or bugs or humidity, central WA would be my choice.  Duplexes here in Wenatchee run about $260, a nice tri $340.

We have large medical, ag and hydro engineering industries here. But don't tell anyone ;)

I'm in marketing at a software company. He's in finance. We also don't like traffic, rain, bugs, or humidity so that's perfect!

Do you think we'd be able to find our kind of work in central WA or at least close by?

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :

What kind of work do you guys do?

If you don't like traffic or rain or bugs or humidity, central WA would be my choice.  Duplexes here in Wenatchee run about $260, a nice tri $340.

We have large medical, ag and hydro engineering industries here. But don't tell anyone ;)

Originally posted by @Haley B. :

Hey guys!

My boyfriend and I are looking to move out of state, and Washington is one of our top choices. We'd like to start our real estate investing career with by house hacking a duplex or triplex.

Any advice on the neighborhoods/cities we should be looking at?

Our budget is $250K and we'd be looking to cashflow or break even. (Or at the very least very low in the negatives -- the goal is to save up to buy more properties!)

Would appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!

 Solid way to start building for your future. Wish you both luck.

Thanks James!
Originally posted by @James Wise :
Originally posted by @Haley B.:

Hey guys!

My boyfriend and I are looking to move out of state, and Washington is one of our top choices. We'd like to start our real estate investing career with by house hacking a duplex or triplex.

Any advice on the neighborhoods/cities we should be looking at?

Our budget is $250K and we'd be looking to cashflow or break even. (Or at the very least very low in the negatives -- the goal is to save up to buy more properties!)

Would appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!

 Solid way to start building for your future. Wish you both luck.

Cowlitz county has a few quads in that price range. Portland/Vancouver is a short commute, where there are jobs in any field you would want. Bring your umbrella though.

Hi, welcome to BP. I house hacked in Burien. It’s just south of Seattle next to the airport. House hacking is a great way to get started. I agree with others on this thread that if you want cashflow you should stay away from King County and focus on Pierce County to the south. I bought 4 years ago in King county, but at today’s prices there is no way my duplex would cashflow. I’m glad I bought when I did. Tacoma isn’t as “cool” as Seattle but I believe it’s up and coming. Seattle has gotten very expensive and a lot of high income earners are starting to move south for the less expensive real estate. Also, they are expanding the light rail system south to Tacoma in the future. Eventually you will be able to commute from Tacoma to downtown Seattle on the train. This will make Tacoma much more attractive to commuters. I believe Tacoma is a great appreciation play, but that’s just my opinion. I lived in Tacoma for 4 years and every time I go back it seems just a little better. As far as neighborhoods go....North Tacoma is the nicest part of town. The east side is lower middle class. I have noticed a LOT of flips on Zillow on the east side. South Tacoma is about the same. I’d say lower middle class. This includes Lakewood which is pretty rough. It has a bad reputation. The West side around University Place and Fircrest are solid middle class. I’d say they are B neighborhoods. Then you have good old Hilltop/downtown. This area is the “ghetto” but it is improving at a faster rate then all the other neighborhoods. I used to live there when I was single and just wanted to save money, and let’s just say I have some stories lol. Now it’s starting to look like a “hipster” neighborhood for lack of a better term.

I grew up in the Puget Sound, but it’s been 5 years since I lived there. So take what I say as just my opinion. Any Current Tacoma locals feel free to critique my neighborhood breakdown. Hope this helps.

This is super helpful! Thanks for this Jonathan!

Originally posted by @Jonathan Hulen :

Hi, welcome to BP. I house hacked in Burien. It’s just south of Seattle next to the airport. House hacking is a great way to get started. I agree with others on this thread that if you want cashflow you should stay away from King County and focus on Pierce County to the south. I bought 4 years ago in King county, but at today’s prices there is no way my duplex would cashflow. I’m glad I bought when I did. Tacoma isn’t as “cool” as Seattle but I believe it’s up and coming. Seattle has gotten very expensive and a lot of high income earners are starting to move south for the less expensive real estate. Also, they are expanding the light rail system south to Tacoma in the future. Eventually you will be able to commute from Tacoma to downtown Seattle on the train. This will make Tacoma much more attractive to commuters. I believe Tacoma is a great appreciation play, but that’s just my opinion. I lived in Tacoma for 4 years and every time I go back it seems just a little better. As far as neighborhoods go....North Tacoma is the nicest part of town. The east side is lower middle class. I have noticed a LOT of flips on Zillow on the east side. South Tacoma is about the same. I’d say lower middle class. This includes Lakewood which is pretty rough. It has a bad reputation. The West side around University Place and Fircrest are solid middle class. I’d say they are B neighborhoods. Then you have good old Hilltop/downtown. This area is the “ghetto” but it is improving at a faster rate then all the other neighborhoods. I used to live there when I was single and just wanted to save money, and let’s just say I have some stories lol. Now it’s starting to look like a “hipster” neighborhood for lack of a better term.

I grew up in the Puget Sound, but it’s been 5 years since I lived there. So take what I say as just my opinion. Any Current Tacoma locals feel free to critique my neighborhood breakdown. Hope this helps.

Hi @Haley B.

I'm working on my first real estate investment in WA right now, a BRRRR in Bremerton, WA. A SFH runs for around 240k. I've seen duplexes in high 200Ks.

It's across the water from Seattle, and a 30 min pedestrian ferry ride to downtown Seattle as of last year. Two more fast ferries have been purchased for the route, and commuters for Seattle are now scoping it out. There's also a 1 hour ferry for cars and people to Seattle that's been running forever.
  

Traditionally, it's been a sleepy Navy town with a bit of crime, but that's beginning to change. There's an up and coming downtown, and Olympic Mountain hiking nearby. 

PS: I'm a digital marketer in tech as well who's been working in the Bay Area, but grew up in Puget Sound (feel free to connect! - I assume you are working remote, which is great for opening up real estate locations). You can learn more about my first investment here: vagabuilding.com/bremerton-remodel-brrrr-project/

Your budget is $250k... how much do you need in rents? 1% rule is $1250/door. What class of neighborhood/property are you looking for? 

I think your main challenge will be finding a property in that price range that can command that rent in Washington. I’d look up the average rents of your markets of interest first, because rent price is set by the market and not something you can control. Then, look for the deal in that market (that is not in the worst neighborhood or you won’t get that rent price) - your buy price is, to an extent, more within your control. Good luck! 

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