Best Air Force Military Duty Stations for multifamilies

19 Replies

I'm shipping out for the Air Force this month, my job is geospatial intelligence, I have no clue where the best place to get stationed is so that I can invest in a four Plex when I get there using the VA loan. Poeple with my job get stationed mainly at five bases, but only three are in state CA(Beale), VA (Langley), HI(Hickam). There's a less likey chance I could be stationed at FL(Hulburt), NC(Fort Bragg), or NM(Canon). CA and HI are really expensive to my knowledge, and I CANT be stationed in Virgina, I just cant. Any tips on how to choose the main bases where I want to be stationed in relation to multifamily properties? It's a luck game in the end but I'd like to influence it as much as possible. I'm really anxious I'm going to be stationed with no investment opportunities, any help is appreciated

What's going on, Macy. Congrats on shipping off to the Air Force!  \I would be more than happy to help where I can. Are you married or single? Officer or Enlisted? 

If you are married then you will have the option to live off base no matter what and if you are an officer you will have the option to live off base. However, if you are going in enlisted and you are not married you will likely be required to live in the dormitories on base. What will be your status? That will greatly change my advice.

Originally posted by @Macy Stevenson :

@Adam L. Single enlisted, I read somewhere that if you get stationed in the states it’s likely you’ll be able to live off base anyway, don’t know how true that holds though

There are some bases where that may be possible; however, they usually let E-4 with 3+ years move off before anyone else. I would not count on moving off for a few years. That DOES NOT mean you cannot prepare yourself and play the game correctly. Make sure you keep your financial house in order and save up your money properly. Get educated and learn everything you can so you can take advantage of the opportunities you have when you are able to move off base. Make good connections with other people who are interested in the same things and invest together as a team. You can do a lot with your VA loan and you need to know how to use it correctly. Let me know if I can help! Feel free to send me an email or message here.

Originally posted by @Kevin M. :

@Adam L. in the Navy it's E-5, E-4 cannot live off base unless married.

 Ya, the Marines you need to be married or an E-7 in many places. It is nuts... Thankfully this guy is going AF so its better for him. Ha ha.

@Adam L. "If you are single and of relatively low enlisted rank, the choice is pretty simple. You will probably not be allowed to live off-base at government expense. Note that I didn't say you would not be allowed to live off base. After you get to your first permanent duty assignment, most commands will allow you to move out of the dormitories/barracks/ship and move off-base, if you want" https://www.thebalancecareers.com/single-members-on-off-base-3353946

I’m going in as a e-2 because of college credits, and will be an e-3 by the time I’m done with tech school. Not yet an e-4 but it’d be nice to already be in a location that would have investment opportunities when I do get there (unless I decide to move out without BAH). Thanks for the advice, but I still don’t know where to put I want to get stationed. And I’ve read the books that BiggerPockets recommends you read, I plan to do further in-depth research in tech school and then be semi prepared when I get out.

@Macy Stevenson

Congrats on joining the AF. I'm Active duty also with 18.5 yrs in. I would advice you be frugal and save up as much cash as possible during training. I would not recommended moving off-base without BAH (AKA ghosting), as I have seen several Airmen get into a deep hole financially doing that. When you get to move off base is pretty dependent on dorm capacity at each base more than rank, sometimes as E-3, sometimes as E-5 select. I will also strongly advise against getting married to get off-base ( I've seen many get burned doing that too).

As fas as how to rank your bases, if you do your homework and are patient, you can find a deal almost everywhere, specially for owner occupant. For each base you find some that love it and some that don't. I've been to all the places you have listed, and if given the choice I think Hurlburt Field would be my #1, because I really loved the area and the cost of living is not too out of control. Not a big fan of Ft Bragg because the area is not too desirable in my opinion so that would be bottom, but there are some nice pockets in the area too.

Bottom line, focus on your training pile up cash and keep an eye out for a deal wherever you end up. Good luck!

Let me know if you have any other specific questions.

-Angel

@Macy Stevenson I was stationed at both Hurlburt and Pope (Ft Bragg) when I was in and you’re probably going to have to be an E-4 with 3 years total time in service before you can move out unless the dorms are at capacity (which won’t happen at Pope). Rules might have changed but I would rather you manage your expectations about the most likely scenario as a young enlisted person. Best of luck. It was done if the best times of my life.

Originally posted by @Macy Stevenson :

I'm shipping out for the Air Force this month, my job is geospatial intelligence, I have no clue where the best place to get stationed is so that I can invest in a four Plex when I get there using the VA loan. Poeple with my job get stationed mainly at five bases, but only three are in state CA(Beale), VA (Langley), HI(Hickam). There's a less likey chance I could be stationed at FL(Hulburt), NC(Fort Bragg), or NM(Canon). CA and HI are really expensive to my knowledge, and I CANT be stationed in Virgina, I just cant. Any tips on how to choose the main bases where I want to be stationed in relation to multifamily properties? It's a luck game in the end but I'd like to influence it as much as possible. I'm really anxious I'm going to be stationed with no investment opportunities, any help is appreciated

My advice? Live where you want ! Life is too short to live somewhere for years because you think the numbers on a 4-plex will work out better. When I came to Hawaii, I didn't even dream of becoming a real estate investor. Was going to buy a condo and only have 1 for a long time or sell.

There are deals everywhere. Often, the places that people will tell you stink for deals, where there isn't any "cash flow", are actually the most profitable places to invest !

Needs of the Air Force really is going to determine where you are stationed.  You can of course fill out your dream sheet, but it doesn’t really carry much weight in the PCS location selection to be honest, especially for a new A1C.  I don’t say that to crush you, just to make sure your expectations are in line with reality.  Good luck on your future endeavors.

Hi @Macy Stevenson ,

It is great to hear that you're looking at using your VA loan to house hack and get into investing! My husband is in the AF and stationed at Hurlburt and I am a Realtor in the area. We have multiple investment properties, both single family and multi-unit, so I hope I can be of some assistance. Unfortunately, I cannot speak for the other locations because I am not too familiar with them, but I will say that the area around Hurlburt does have some multi-family units available, just not too many... If you're looking specifically for a 4-plex, close to the base, there's even less inventory. You may have a little better luck if you open up your search to a duplex or 3-plex to still be able to use a VA loan and live in it, but even then it's slim picking.

It is a Seller's market in the Panhandle right now with very low inventory, so a lot of the people that are selling, are asking ridiculous prices. With that being said, there will always be sellers that want to get out of the investor/landlord game and may be willing to make a deal, you just never know until you ask!

One of the first things you will want to do is to talk to a lender about getting pre-qualified. I recommend using a local lender no matter where you go, because they often have less fees and better customer service! For example, none of the local lenders I use in the area charge a lender's fee for writing the loan, which could save you thousands! When talking with them, let them know your job and plans. Sometimes the lender will require you to be in your job field for at least two years before being able to be qualified, so that is something to look into also.


If I can be of any further assistance, please let me know!

Jen

@Macy Stevenson you will go where they send you. Then they will send you somewhere else in 2-4 years. For this reason, I would not recommend buying anything unless it is a dirt cheap foreclosure that you can fix and flip. A live in flip would work because you could sell it tax free after 2 years. I'm sure some will disagree, but I've been there, done that for 24 years.

@Macy Stevenson you’ll definitely get stationed where you’re needed especially given your AFSC, the people that are commenting are correct that you won’t be able to move off base until you hit a certain rank until then you can continue to do research on possible locations you can go and that the real estate market is like at those locations, with time and intel on your desired locations and after you’ve had some service time and grade under your belt then you may be able to PCS to your preferred location, at least you have time on your side per se to prepare.

Hello @Macy Stevenson ,

Geo-spatial Intelligence in the Air Force sounds quite impressive! I can't even begin to think of what that means. ;) Thank you for sacrificing your time, mind, and emotion to serve our country. God bless to you and your family.

I can sense you are anxious and excited to become an investor. You are certainly in the right price as this website will provide the wealth of knowledge to make you an excellent real estate investor.

I understand that your focus is "How to Choose the Base I Want to be Stationed at so I can Locate, Negotiate, and Close my First Multi-Family Property with a VA Mortgage Loan (2 unit, 3 unit, or 4 unit)?"

That's great thinking! I can't tell you how many first time home buyers I've helped to purchase their first home as 4 unit multi-plex. I've written numerous posts on Bigger pockets, check it my reply here:  first time home buyer, FHA, multi-unit

VA Loan is even better than FHA because there is no down payment! The other really cool thing about a VA loan is that the seller can contribute up to 3% of seller credits which generally covers all your closing costs and enabling you to purchase a home with nothing out of pocket.

You are considering these 6 bases listed in order of interest. I've listed the county loan limit for each base and unit size, as well as nearby universities.

-1- Hurlburt Air Force Base, Okaloosa County, FL

Avg Price - $322,000


Loan Limit

1 Unit - $370,300

2 Unit - $474,050

3 Unit - $573,000

4 Unit - $712,100


Colleges & Universities Nearby

University of Florida

Okaloosa Technical College

University of West Florida

Troy State University-Florida Region

Northwest Florida State College

Silver Sands School

-2- Fort Bragg Air Force Base, Cumberland County, NC

Avg Price - $165,000


Loan Limit

1 Unit - $314,827

2 Unit - $403,125

3 Unit - $487,250

4 Unit - $605,525

Colleges & Universities Nearby

Methodist University

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville Technical Community College

Troy University

Shaw University

University of Phoenix

Grace College of Divinity

Campbell University

-3- Cannon Air Force Base, Curry County, NM

Avg Price - $160,000


Loan Limit

1 Unit - $314,827

2 Unit - $403,125

3 Unit - $487,250

4 Unit - $605,525

Colleges & Universities Nearby

Eastern New Mexico University

Clovis Community College

New Mexico State University

Mesalands Community College

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Wayland Baptist University

Wayland Baptist University

-4- Beale Air Force Base, Yuba County, CA (expensive)

Avg Price - $282,000


Loan Limit

1 Unit - $324,300

2 Unit - $415,150

3 Unit - $501,800

4 Unit - $623,650

Colleges & Universities Nearby

California State University - Chico

Sierra College

Yuba College

William Jessup University

Brandman University

Butte-Glenn Community College District

Cambridge Junior College

Brandman University

-5- Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu County, HI (expensive)

Avg Price - $565,000


Loan Limit

1 Unit - $721,050

2 Unit - $923,050

3 Unit - $1,115,800

4 Unit - $1,386,650

Colleges & Universities Nearby

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

University of Hawaiʻi - West Oʻahu

Hawaii Pacific University - Hawaii Loa Campus

University of Hawaii at Mānoa

Leeward Community College

University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus

Hawaii Tokai International College

Wayland Baptist University

Windward Community College

Honolulu Community College

-6- Langley Air Force Base, Fairfax County, VA (not interested)

Avg Price - $768,000


Loan Limit

1 Unit - $726,525

2 Unit - $930,300

3 Unit - $1,124,475

4 Unit - $1,397,400

Colleges & Universities Nearby

George Mason University

Virginia International University

Globe GMU

Stratford University

Sanford-Brown College

University of North America

Northern Virginia Community College

My Advice: At first glance it appears that all 6 areas would be great for rentals becuase of the high concentration of colleges. After knocking out the bottom 3 of which disinterest you, that leaves the top 3. I personally would choose Florida only because I know that's a place where I will will be excited about returning again and again throughout my life. If I were you, I wold personally visit the top 3 and get a feel for the area, and then make a gut decision after spending a weekend in each as to what feels best to you.

If you have any more questions, happy to talk.  Good luck! 

Jim 

Geo-spatial Intelligence in the Air Force -- hmmm, is your training school going to be out at Goodfellow AFB in TX?

If it is, probably don't want to make a habit of telling people what it is exactly that you do in the USAF.  At least not until you get there and find out what it is -- because if your gig was anything like mine, then they are going to 'highly discourage' you from talking about it at all.

Congrats BTW.  You are in for a fun ride, brother.

Needs of the AF, etc., all true. You will be moving a fair bit. But I don't think that in itself means you cannot invest. You can. Go ahead and use that VA loan. You just need to live in it for a period of time, if I understand correctly. Then you can use it as rental property (or resell it) and then you can do it again with another VA loan somewhere else.

Now what I do question is how much you are going to be able to afford as a junior enlisted in the armed services, even with the off-base living allowance included. 

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