When I first started out in this business, I once drove about an hour from my house to look at a deal in the middle of nowhere. And when I say nowhere, I mean cow pastures, farmland and not another living soul around for miles.
I didn’t end up doing the deal and I was ticked off I’d been foolish enough to drive all the way out there in the first place. But that’s part of the learning curve in this business. You make a lot of mistakes early on that you’ll never make again. But the reason I didn’t do this deal is because it would have been extremely hard to find a tenant. After all, who wants to live in the middle of nowhere? Sure, some people do, but not enough to take the chance at having a property sit vacant for months.
That’s why, when you’re looking at properties to pick up as rentals you need to ask yourself if you’re going to be able to get tenants for it. The beauty of the real estate investing business is that you get to choose where you buy houses. If you buy houses in a terrible area and it sits vacant for months, you have nobody but yourself to blame.
So where do I love buying houses?
Close to military bases.
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A great way to find the best tenants is with military housing
For example, on December 1st, I had tenants in one of my single family houses give me their 30 days notice. Of course, I was sorry to see this happen since right now is a tough time of year to fill a vacancy. However, in less than a month, I found a family of four (he’s a Marine) and they move into my property on January 3rd.
Of course, no tenant is perfect, but military families are about as close as you can get. I own several properties near military bases and I haven’t had a problem yet. Also, since military personnel are moving at all times of the year (like now) you can fill vacancies quicker during the winter months.
If I were you…
Look into Military Rentals!
I’d get online and find all of the military bases within a 60 mile radius of your house. Then find the quality neighborhoods that are close to the base, buy a mailing list of absentee landlords and start a direct mail campaign.
When you get your first deal, not only can you advertise it with signs, craigslist and in the newspaper. But most military bases have a housing page where you can post your rental properties too.
Also, military people obviously have lots of military friends who will be great referrals for you and the other properties you pick up in the future. (When I pick up new properties I send a letter to my tenants asking them for referrals.)
So, if you’ve got less than desirable tenants, start buying properties in better locations.