Time to Get Into the Game
With my background, you would have thought that I jumped into the real estate investing game a long time ago. I grew up the son of an electrical contractor, working mostly on residential remodels. Since college, I’ve been a California real estate licensee, a real estate appraiser for a major national lending institution (that has since bit the dust), and spent 20 years as a business journalist covering the residential real estate industry nationwide.
With such a varied background, it isn’t that I haven’t thought about trying my hand at real estate investing. Even more so since I’ve been with RealtyTrac these past five years. In that time I’ve interviewed numerous investors all over the country. And one question I’ve asked time and again is whether it really is possible (as you hear on television infomercials all the time) to invest in real estate with no or little seed money to start with.
The answer has been a resounding YES!!! So with that in mind, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and buy a rental property.
One common denominator I’ve heard from many investors over the years is to stick with buying property “in your own backyard” — in other words areas/markets that you know the best. It’s a lesson that’s been ingrained into my memory banks as I launch what I hope will be a successful first venture into the world of real estate investing.
I grew up in Los Angeles County for many decades before moving to Orange County 17 years ago. Plus, I have spent a considerable amount of time in San Diego County since my son has been attending college down there. So I can really say those three Southern California counties are my market, and they are all within reasonable driving distance from my home.
Now that my son is graduating, he’s planning to stay in San Diego another two years to earn his master’s degree. Since he can no longer live in on-campus housing or fraternity houses, he has to move this summer. So I’ve embarked on a quest to buy an investment property in San Diego for my son to live in with one or more friends renting out the extra bedroom(s). But in the long-term I have a buy and hold strategy to keep the property as a rental long after he has left the area to embark on his career.
I’ve asked my son for a list of the areas where he’d like to live (hopefully not too far of a commute from campus). His wishlist of locales was really pretty typical for college students in the area — he would like to be where the action is, of course — in other words, either somewhere in close proximity to the beach, or popular inland areas to students for their night life.
I’ve already contacted a Realtor whom I’ve come to know over the past couple of years — having interviewed him for stories and spending time with him down there looking over foreclosures in various parts of San Diego County.
His brokerage, which represents numerous lenders in selling their REOs, is a long-time member of RealtyTrac’s Agent Network. He has put me in touch with one of his agents who will do the legwork with me, but I will stay in touch with him as well as we go through the process.
So with that in mind, it’s time to boot up the computer and start scoping out properties on the RealtyTrac website.
To be continued…