Newbie investing while transitioning out of the Military

3 Replies

Hello Everyone! I'm a newbie investor looking for some advice as I transition out of the Military. I'm currently stationed in Korea and looking to retire in 18 months. I'm interested in picking up some Single Family/Duplex units back in Oklahoma/Fort Sill area, but my wife and I are not super comfortable purchasing property while I'm overseas. The idea of not walking the house and driving the neighborhood before a purchase is a little scary. We currently have 1 rental unit, but see the opportunity to purchase more in this fast paced market. Looking for some advice on either biting the bullet and getting more properties or just saving capital till I retire back in the US? I'm looking forward to meeting people on BP, if you have experience with military investment areas and VA loans please hit me up.

Updated 5 days ago

I wanted to provide and update on my progress since my post three months ago. I took all the advice and chose to find more properties to purchase. I closed on a 3/2 SFH on the 31 Dec, and I have a Duplex under contract. Hopefully we can close this month. Now my eyes are focused on the Florida short term rental market. Hopefully I can utilize my VA loan and land a multifamily near Kissimmee this year. If anyone knows of lender's who work with VA loans please send them my way. Thanks again for everyone who provided responses.

@Benjamin Hazlett more than 80% of my clients are out of state investors, and most of them never step foot in the properties they buy. Find an agent that will provide thorough video tours for you and get an excellent property inspector. There really isn't a lot that you'll get by being there in person that you won't get from that combination. Be sure to ask your agent about things that the camera doesn't pick up like smells or sloping or spongy floors. If you plan to use a property manager, they'll be the best source for information about attracting tenants in any given neighborhood. Be sure to get them involved early as well.

@Benjamin Hazlett

I purchased one of our homes while long-distance and understood the hesitation. However, If you know the market you want to invest focus on building a Team or, how David Greene calls it, your core four. Once I knew the market I wanted to invest in, I built my Team and quickly moved into acquisition mode. 

Reach out if I can ever help. I have done two VA Loans so far and have invested in several military markets. 


@Benjamin Hazlett Welcome to bigger pockets! I'm also on active duty and have purchased 3 investment properties sight-unseen. 

Here's my take: unless you're a professional home inspector or appraiser, what value do you bring by walking through the property and assessing it? That's why I hire an inspector to walk through the home before I buy it: they actually know what they're looking at! Regarding the neighborhood, you can learn A LOT about a neighborhood via the internet. This is also where having a great agent is helpful - he or she is likely a local expert (which you are probably not) and can give you much more info about the neighborhood than you can even know by driving around. 

It's all about having the right team and getting past the emotional discomfort of not walking through a house before you buy it. 

Before you invest in stock in a publicly traded company, do you tour the facilities? Do you interview the C-suite? Do you pore over the financial statements of that company and dig deep into everything? Probably not. This is one of my pet peeves: people are not comfortable buying real estate sight unseen but will put 50k into a company they know nothing about because a buddy told them about it or they read an article online. 

Best of luck with your decision! I'm always happy to chat more about RE investing with fellow military members. Make sure you check out David Greene's book "Long-Distance Real Estate Investing" if you haven't already read it.