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Old 07-31-2012, 04:09 PM
QIS
 
870 posts, read 3,816,059 times
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I recommend flipping instead of owning SFRs and being a landlord. In SOCAL if you can buy and clear up the mess(es) attached to most distressed homes thee days you will find a very nice first time homeowner market awaiting you. I feel this is best accomplished with a strong(yet nice)agent and a very patient and businesslike attitude.
On the other hand, if I were to be a landlord, I would buy three or four-plexes near large employment sources like hospitals or manufacturing areas and/or institutions of higher learning. Sometimes the tenants of multi-family units look after each other.
Multi-unit properties are also experiencing lower prices and the further east from LA and Orange counties you are , the less expensive they are as you probably already know.
The buying process can take a while these days. I can't see the logic of waiting to buy when you are in a down market, unless you don't feel you have your ducks in a row etc...
The CRMLS site has a great, ad-free search engine: CRMLS Active Property Search, powered by Immobel.com
It's a blessing to even be employed and so you are in a great position. You are doing the right thing by front loading the process with as much education a you can consume and digest before you start signing things......
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:35 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,182 posts, read 14,305,184 times
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Read accounting books or high a good accountant.
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:35 AM
 
6,365 posts, read 7,369,788 times
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There are many strategies in real estate, but here is what I would recommend:

Your first investment house should be one you buy to live in. If you can handle repairs, it's best to find a house that needs cosmetic repairs, but not extensive major ones. Fix up the house and live in it for 2+years. Under current tax law, much or all of your gain will be tax exempt. You could repeat the process.

Southern Cal is much different than my home territory of Michigan, but I bought my first house (residence) at 25. I paid cash for a fixer-upper. It worked out fine (I saved a ton of money by not paying rent) and after 30 years of living there I'm just getting around to selling it. By the time I was 32 or 33 I had purchased another dozen fixer-uppers. In retrospect, my mistake was in fixing them and renting them out. I should have just sold them. Being a landlord was not fun and I had to fix up some of the houses multiple times after they were trashed by tenants. If you go the rental route, and plan to manage them yourself, make sure they are nearby so you can check on them often. Otherwise, I would advise having a management company deal with the rentals. (I wish I would have done that!)

This is a good time to buy, but it all depends on the local market. The market in Michigan has some great opportunities (I recently bought a foreclosure at half price), but I'm not familiar with the southern Cal market. In any case, I think a good strategy is to buy something that needs obvious, though very fixable, repairs. As long as you are handy, that's a reliable way to build up instant equity.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:08 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
3 posts, read 2,720 times
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I'm with Brandon Hoffman on this one. If you have enough saved up for a down payment and are comfortable in terms of pricing, budgeting, and location then why not buy now? Interest rates are low coupled with low housing prices.

If you want to go the buy & hold method: What you can do is buy a small SFH or Condo to live in for a few years (and fix it up), refi or collect another down payment and move up to a new property while renting out the prior. Talk to a CPA about owning multiple properties.

There are plenty other options to invest in real estate, and this is just one scenario.
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