Military in Okinawa - Worth buying?

9 Replies

Hello Bigger Pockets!

I'm active duty Army stationed in Okinawa with 6 months remaining on island. I have about $50,000 liquid and have been planning on buying a small multi at my next duty station, which will be in the US.

I have never purchased property before. I have listened to about half of the BP podcasts and have read 10+ business/real estate books, so I feel that maybe I am ready to begin.

After reading some post about other military members buying overseas, I realized that maybe now is the time to jump into my first BRRRR property and not just wait 6 months.

Is this something that I should do or should I just wait until I get back to the U.S. to start my REI adventure? Can't wait to hear back from you guys!

Welcome! Thank you for your service! Have you gotten your orders yet/have any idea since your MOS? For my first property, I will certainly wait to be stateside, utilize a VA loan and get your buddies to live there for a fraction of their BAH. Just my 0.02.

Thanks for the reply, Nick. I'll be PCSing to Fort Lee, VA for 6 months. I'm not sure whether or not Fort Lee has enough personnel that live off base to justify purchasing a place that would cater to military.

@Tyler Warner I am actually living in Okinawa as well and have a lot of the same interests as you do.  I recently started getting into real estate as well and have plowed through pretty much the same amount of material as you have.  The only difference is I am going to be here another two years, so for me waiting really isn't an option.  My plans are to go and spend a week or so in the states, find some property I want to purchase, and then do everything else from here....I know it will be tough, but I actually have a friend has has done it, so I know its possible.  Look forward to hearing from you.



I was stationed in Oki, so I am a bit jealouse. I'm back overseas now in Bangkok and just bought my first potential BRRR from over here. I usually recommend immediate action, rather than waiting, but I think in your case, unless you have a team on the ground in the Ft. Lee area you may want to wait.

I agree that the best possible route is to use your VA and house-hack...after a year you can move on if you so choose. A caveat to this may be the Ft. Lee area...I'm not sure about the specifics of that area, but make sure your numbers work.


@Tyler Warner and @Adam Treece

I was in the same situation a few years ago while stationed in the Netherlands.  I didn't want to wait two years to get back to the states so I went with a turnkey property and that worked great.  Some turnkey providers and properties are better deals and options than others, but there are a ton of people here on the site that can give recommendations.  I've since developed relationships with people in a few different markets and continue to invest out of state even though I'm back in the country and stationed at the Pentagon.  So while house hacking can be a great way to get started, sometimes it's better to just get started instead of waiting for your situation to fit a strategy.

I'm not a Richmond / Ft. Lee expert by my brother and business partner @Daniel Elbe bought a property when he was PCSed to Ft. Lee and he's kept that as a rental. It's doing pretty good, but I'll let him go into the details. Overall he felt the rental market was stronger closer to Richmond than Ft. Lee. So he bought in Chesterfield. Feel free to shoot him a direct message if you have any questions. It's nice to be able to leverage a VA loan into a rental property, but I recommend people consider other markets in addition to considering buying wherever they're stationed.

Let me know if I can answer any questions, but I can tell you I'm glad I got started when I did and didn't have any problems buying from overseas!


I closed on a house in North Chesterfield, VA while I was still stationed in Hawaii. It worked perfect while at the career course. After 6 months were up, we got our place rented, it's been doing great for about 15 months now (0 vacancy so far, on our second tenant). I recommend looking at the midlothian/chesterfield market. They have the best rent range compare to price and neighborhood class IMO. Shoot me a message if you want any advice, I'd be happy to tell you more about what worked for us and recommend neighborhoods.


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