Using the VA loan to help jump start investing

1 Reply

Hey guys, im recently new to Bigger Pockets, and I am currently serving in the Navy. I get out next year, and I plan to use the VA loan to purchase a multi family. I want to live in one unit and rent out the others. My plan is to find a good deal where I can walk into equity at a location close to a college so renters will not be hard to find. I should have a good amount of money saved up for any cost the deal will bring, and my credit is outstanding, so getting approved for the deal won't be an issue! I'm currently taking all the knowledge in that I can't about Real Estate investing. I'm going on my last deployment soon and I will have about 8 months of nothing but reading material to help me gain knowledge so I can succeed. I'm just looking for some advice from prior or current military members who invest that could help me from making mistakes or maybe instruct me on there point of view how to gain wealth and build a portfolio using the benefits I have earned through the military, also keep in mind I will be paid monthly for my "rent" by the government using the GI bill I will have earned. I'm going to finish college (business major) I'm thinking that would come in huge for me as well because the plan is to have a tenant already paying my rent. Please feel free to comment with any feedback you feel is necessary for a young and motivated investor like myself!
Thanks!

Steven,

Right on.  Deployments are clutch for doing a bunch of reading and stashing up cash.  Hard to blow through a paycheck when your biggest expense is typically Red Bull and snacks from the ship's store - assuming you can survive port calls without too much damage.  Two deployments went a long way toward saving up for my down payments.

I'd check out Darrell's post here (https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/build-wea...) on how he used VA loans to build up his rental portfolio. Really good intro to using them for RE investing.

I'd also seek out a lender familiar with VA loans and talk to them about qualifying for a loan. It sounds like you'll be using your GI Bill to finish up a degree, so a lack of W-2 income could be an issue. Lenders don't typically count your GI Bill benefits (including that BAH) as income toward a loan, so talking with a knowledgable lender ahead of time should be high on your to-do list. A investor savvy lender will be able to best help you figure out your funding options.

If you haven't already checked out the BP related books, I'd recommend you do that as well, particularly the Book on Managing Rental Properties and J Scott's books on Estimating Rehab Costs, since it sounds like you're planning on building some sweat equity and managing the property yourself.  If you have a Kindle or other e-reader, you can set up an account and check out e-books from the Navy Library (https://navy.libraryreserve.com). They'll stay on your device until you're back in wifi range and sync your device. I haven't checked in a while, but I remember them having a decent selection of REI related titles.

Big picture wise, zero in on a few possible markets and start searching around BP for info.  You'll probably be able to find forum posts of people either doing what you're looking to do (student rentals/house hacking) and/or operating in the markets you're looking into.  After some ground work, reach out to the folks who seem to know what they're talking about.  You can find realtors, property managers, lenders, etc. in the various forums.  Introduce yourself, give an elevator speech of what you're looking for, and ask for their advice.  Most folks are happy to help or refer you to someone who can.

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