I am currently active duty military, stationed in HI, with about 3 years left on my contract. My husband and I decided that we would like to start investing in real estate soon with the goal of eventually (like in a few years) making it a full-time career if it works out for us. I’ve read a lot about active duty members using their VA loan to purchase small multi-family units, occupy one (since the VA loan can’t technically be used to invest), and rent out the others until they can move out and rent all of the units. My only issue with this is that we have children and aren’t too thrilled about cramping up in a tiny unit if we don’t have to (even the single-family homes on this island are tiny). What are some other smart options for a military member to begin investing in RE or should we just wait? Would it be possible to start out with flips?
Fortunately, my parents have a real estate business back home in So Cal they’ve been running for the past 25 years. They are willing to help us get started but I just wanted some military-specific insight as well. Thanks for reading!
Thank you for your support and for the great advice! That’s actually what we were leaning towards doing- using a VA loan to purchase a home that needs a bit of fixing-up, moving in and gradually adding value over the course of our stay here and either renting it out or selling for profit. I’ve actually been monitoring the lists of foreclosures/REO’s in the area in hopes of finding a good deal to start off with but I’m not sure we’ll find something in this area that we can live in going that route.
If you do not mind fixing a home and reselling then moving and doing it over again - the VA loan will work really well for that. It is also a great way to make some money (as long as you do not overbuild) while reducing your living costs.
But do not let a lack of military financing hold you back from investing. You could always get conventional financing for your investment properties and save your VA loan for your homestead once you are ready to settle down.