Norfolk a good place for investing?

31 Replies

For a first time buy, is Norfolk a good idea to start my Real Estate career? I want a Duplex to house hack but I don't want to live in a dangerous area. So in that regards I'd rather use my VA loan to buy a single family home in Norfolk and flip it. Any response could really help me.

I currently live in Norfolk and it's not a bad area. Duplexes in Norfolk are running $750-850 monthly in rent. So I think buying a duplexes would be a great investment in Norfolk cash flow potential great!

Hey Emerson, my name is Sheen and we have the same niche. Not only do we have the same niche, but our backgrounds are the same. I am a Marine Corp veteran, and I had a Va loan that was sitting idly by until Jan 20th. On Jan 20th I closed on my first duplex in Oceanview, Norfolk. I live in the top and rent the bottom out for $900. I too when starting out had an unbalanced debt to income ratio, and looked at the same avenue to get my life on track. Everything that you could ever ask for is in the forums, on podcasts, and in the books. If you don't have someone to bounce questions off of, and don't feel comfortable using the forums feel free to ask me. I'm definitely not an expert, but I feel like I can relate to your profile so well that I may be able to shine lights in some dark areas you may have. It's kind of crazy, but we had the same 2016 goal written out! Hope to hear from you, or good things about you!

I've looked a lot at oceanview as well. A lot of small multifamily there, and neighborhood is on the rise (thought there's still quite a big gap in income - 500k homes often sit right beside section 8 multifamily). Probably a great play for longterm hold, especially if development continues. 

@Tysheen Ford - do you have to pay flood insurance? And are units metered seperately?

Hello Thomas, you have definitely done your due diligence! I do have to pay flood insurance, and it was based off of my elevation certificate. You're completely correct about the setup and difference of homes on a monetary scale. I do hope that the area would continue to gentrify, that would just be nice. I ultimately chose the area for the school district and the proximity to military bases. Those were the demographics I used in my search. The property is also separately metered (part of the criteria, because of a podcast I heard). What niche are you involved in @Thomas Fortune ?

Hey Sheen, nice to meet you. I find it pretty awesome that you've already established the idea that I'm trying to accomplish. I'm aiming around the end of the year to have mine set in stone. I just started a year lease in a apartment and when its over I plan on having my duplex already scoped out and hopefully financed by then. Also having the same goals in mind I wouldn't mind learning what you know and possibly experiences you've had so far while "house hacking" your duplex currently. I would definitely like to keep in touch and ask questions if I'm unable to find the answer via online or through books I'm reading.

Also thanks Thomas for that insight. I am new to this, so its pretty cool that my first forum post I got some great feedback!

@Emerson Hyatt Nice to meet you. I just saw your post as I tried to find posts in Norfolk area. Currently, I lived in ocean view and it is nice. Mine is single family and closed to the base. I am planning to buy my investment property in the area but the price is beyond my affordability. I have already used my VA on my house and now looking at out of state turnkey property. As for Norfolk, I looked at the school rating and I tried to view houses in those area. There are some areas that the school rating is really bad. So, I tried to avoid it. My idea is if I want to sell in future, good school would be one of the selling point.

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Hi everyone! I'm joining in this conversation because I'm also interested in house hacking a duplex in Ocean View. I'm not sure how to find one though. I don't see many listed on the mls, so there must be another way. Would either of you mind sharing how you found yours?

Hi Mila,

I was at a meeting last week and found out that both Norfolk and Portsmouth are great for investing. However, be careful if flipping! If you spend 50% or more of the assessed value on your flip, you will be forced to bring the property to new construction code, and 30% in Portsmouth. We were not aware of this and thankful a local investor passed it on. We are from the Williamsburg area and have not reviewed the code personally; However, it's worth looking into to avoid a costly run over. Hope this helps you out!

Drive for dollars!! There are a ton of small multi-families throughout OV... YOU can also network your butt off and find a investor-friendly realtor.

On the same but a different note, check out TRIG if you have not already... One of the best ways to network and get educated.

Tidewater Real Estate Investment Group.

Best of luck!

Question for this group.... Let's say you own a property that's not in a floodzone and thus you don't have flood insurance.  What happens when a big flood comes and you incur significant flood damage to your non-floodzone property?  Do you spend a bunch of cash to repair, lose your equity and walk away from the mortgage thereby killing your credit, or pray that uncle sam comes in and rescues you?  Or is there another alternative I'm not thinking about?

@Emerson Hyatt @Tysheen Ford Hey guy's, just wanted to get linked up and see how reaching your goals is going? I am transitioning military SOF, investor and agent and have studied a great deal on the VA loan-enough to call myself an expert! I have used it twice myself, one for a SF and once for a duplex. In the next few months I will use it again for a 4-plex in Ghent. Either way, hope the investing/cash-flow is going well. Reach out if you want to connect or have any questions!

I’m an investor in California and am looking to purchase 1-2 duplexes, triplexes or fourplexes when I have enough for a down payment. Does anyone know which zip codes to buy in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake or Suffolk? Also, which cities order would you put for best ROI? 1. Norfolk 2. Portsmouth 3. Suffolk 4. Chesapeake 5. Etc.... I honestly have no idea what the better and worse areas are. I’m just trying to stay away from ghettos and war zones. Areas where I can get good tenants that pay and don’t break and steel everything. Also, where places cash flow. Thank you all. I would really appreciate if you guys had any insight.

Hi All, I am looking to invest my first Rental property in Norfolk. I saw the prices are affordable as I live in Northern VA and everything is at an all time high so I am priced out of the market here. Any suggestion what zipcode in Norfolk is best?


The gang activity is primarily in the neighborhoods Huntersville (23504) and Berkeley (23523). I also suggest avoiding 100 year old houses and flood zones.  The reason for flood zones is obvious.  100 year old homes 1) are hard to keep in rental standard compliance and 2)  tend to be so poorly insulated that tenants don’t stay after a lease term because of the utility cost.

@Muneef Alfadli Welcome to the Norfolk area! I am looking for my first rental property in Norfolk as well. Tomorrow, actually, I am looking at a few MFHs in the area. 

Areas in Norfolk to avoid: Olde Huntersville, Hunter's Square (east of Church St in general), around NSU, Park Place can be shifty.

Areas to avoid in Portsmouth: areas south/SW of the Shipyard and generally south of 264.

In terms of Flood zones, this factor is huge in my decision making process on this area. My wife's brand new car was totalled after Hurricane Matthew swept in a couple years ago and flooded Ghent, Norfolk and Portsmouth. 

Flood zones in Norfolk: and search for your address

Flood zones in Portsmouth:

Hope that helps! Good luck!

Yesssss, it absolutely is! You can find great deals on properties and, it was voted America's Favorite City in 2018 by Travel and Leisure! Why? Because Norfolk is doing some of the most progressive things out of all the cities in Hampton Roads! Get in while it's still affordable!!

I'm up in Hayes, VA, but I was stationed in Norfolk while in the Navy. Some areas of Norfolk are really nice, and with the world's largest naval base there you could get a lot of military tenants. I've been looking there as well.

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