My Dilemma

So I have decided that I want to invest (and live) in a residential multi family unit. More than likely, a duplex or triplex at first to learn what I can with fewer tenants.

Here is my dilemma-
-As posted earlier, im a recently separated vet attending school with my GI bill.
-No income apart from the reserves which is about ~$300 a month, and my housing money from the VA as part of the GI bill which only last about 30 more months.
-No foreseeable income in the near future apart from part time jobs (poor income) as im a full time student.

Now, ideally I would purchase a multi unit property that needed some work within the next 3 months. I would not be overly worried about cash flow immediately, as my GI bill payment + my roommate (longtime girlfriend) can easily pay the mortgage. But as I said earlier, my payments will run out in 30 months, and I will still be a student. By then, IDEALLY, i would have positive cash flow and my payments will be slightly reduced, but I will still more than likely be working part time for pocket change and living off student loans. Will that pocket change be enough to pay the bills? Who knows.

There is too much speculation in my equation which makes me nervous about the whole thing… I know most of you have a 9-5 that supports your RE on the side. If you were in a similar position, would you buy the property? Or would you play it safe and continue to rent until financially set in a career before rolling the dice

Since you plan to finance the purchase, how do you expect to be approved for a loan with no sustainable source of income? Since your GI bill benefits are temporary, I don’t expect a lender will consider them as enduring income that can be used to repay the loan.

Do you already have financing in place?

I would only consider doing that if you found a really, really, really cheap property. That depends a lot on where you live. If you are in New York or San Francisco … forget it.

I am talking financing no more than $100k. Finding a duplex or triplex like that could be hard, again depending on where you live. That way your monthly mortgage can be payable by you if you had a worst case scenario where you had to go for a while with “0” tenants, and assuming you had a part-time job still. That scenario is doable in Dallas, where real estate is relatively cheap, but still only in not-so-great parts of the city or very old parts of neighboring suburbs with duplexes or triplexes. What might be a smarter idea - since you are a college student is just buying yourself a 20 to 30 year old 2-bedroom condo (one room for you and your girlfriend and another for in case you get into a fight - haha). In Dallas you can find those for next to nothing - I am talking well under $30k in NE Dallas or southern Richardson (not a great part of town, but definitely not the worst part of town). Heck, I have even seen them for $15k-20k as foreclosures. And if you find it’s easy to make the payment on, then buy yourself another condo, and build your empire one piece at a time. Condos do not appreciate much in this part of the country, but they can rent quick & cashflow well if their HOA fees are under control. That’s something to consider.

Also, living next to your tenant could be far worse of a problem than you imagine. Most landlords do NOT like living anywhere near their tenants. There is a reason many of them use PO Boxes as an address on their leases, website, etc. Why? What if you have to evict the person? What if they come to your house at midnight, knocking, looking to get their toilet unstopped? What if they pay their rent late and you have to confront them? Do you really want them knowing where YOU, your car (which will probably be sitting outdoors waiting to be keyed), your girlfriend and your belongings all are??? I would not.

Good luck…its good that you are thinking about your future already. I bet you will do well