Moving to Des Moines IA - SFR or Multi-Fam?

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Hello team, 

My name is Jose Ruesta and I'm soon be living in Des Moines IA. I am an active duty Soldier and have been in for close to 14 years. The only real estate experience I have is when I bought my first home in San Antonio TX almost 7 years ago and has been rented out for the last 3 years. I bought a really nice SFR with the intent of renting it once the Army moved me but didn't really do my DD taking into account expenses that come with renting out a property. I pretty much break close to even minus expenses such as paying for things around the house when they break.

Now the Army is moving me to Des Moines IA and i'm looking to buy SFR that my wife and I will truly enjoy while we live there for the next 3 years but keeping in mind that we need to rent it out once we leave. I want to be cash flow positive when it's time to rent it out. I have entertained the idea of buying a multi-family residence (duplex-triplex) but the down side for us would be having to share walls with tenants. I am sure that buying a duplex or triplex could be a better financial decision but we also don't want to share walls like we have been at current duty station (I know I can't have it both ways).

I think I'm also open to an easy level of a fixer upper to fix over my time there.

I am hoping to connect with people who have already gone through this type of dilemma and hear what your thoughts are.

*I will be using my VA loan to purchase this home.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all and i'm extremely excited about starting this process. I want to do it right this time. 

@Jose Ruesta :


Just thought I would check in to see if you ended up getting a property (SFH/duplex/triplex) here is the Des Moines metro that cash flowed for you.