Primary Residence!?! What would you do?


I currently live in an apartment with my wife, (Yeah, I know we are throwing money away) but we just got approved for a Mortgage so we are going to buy our first property…

I was wondering what kind of advice would a Real Estate Investor give me to set me in the right direction. Would you go the retail route and buy a property from a Realtor? Or would you go out and find a Property at a deep discount?

The Real Estate Market is moving really fast here in Florida lots of properties under contract. Also the realtor that I spoke to wanted me to offer MORE then what was asked. His excuse was: “Well, people came in here and offered more than the asking price so I don’t want you to miss out” I just had a feeling that he was trying to get me to buy at a higher price.

What do you think?

Thank You,

I’m in FL. That agent is feeding you a line of BS to get your offer accepted and so he can collect a commission. While the market isn’t as god awful as it was two years ago, we are nowhere near full price offers being necessary. There are lots of deals to be made. Find yourself a buyer’s agent if you are going to use a Realtor. That agent works for the seller and it’s his job to get as high a price as he can for the homeowner.


Excuse me of my ignorance but I thought all Agents work for the Seller?

What part of Florida do you live in? I live in Saint Petersburg but I’m thinking about moving to Tampa so I am closer to work.

Thank You

Purchase a Multifamily with a FHA, Du-, tri-, or quad-plex. Move into one, rent out the others. I’d suggest that you find a realtor who is a Buyers Agent and also works with investors so that you can start getting you feet into the pool.

Agents do typically work for the seller. But you can request a buyer’s agent, who will then be required to look out for your interests.

All agents are paid by the seller but a buyer’s agent must by law work for the buyer’s best interest. That being said a buyer’s agent that overhears the seller’s agent and the seller talking and finds out that the seller will go down in price another $10k but the sellers agent doesn’t say that to the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s agent will act like she never heard it.

When I bought my home, I bought the house I wanted but I never buy anything unless it is a deal. Flips don’t work (generally) in Houston. What I did was found a house that was bought to flip and offered what she paid for it before the rehab. That is what I paid.

What I mean is that real estate agents talk about prices for houses all the time. Take what they say as suggestions. Get sold comps from your agent and offer some percentage (10%) less than that. Remember they don’t have to take your offer and you don’t have to buy that particular house.

Would you do the work yourself or hire a management company once you have tenants in the property of say a Four Plex?

Depends on your situation. I have 1plex being managed by a PM. It has been a continious nightmare. Rents barely getting collected, tenants not properly vetted, promises not being kept. But I don’t have the time thanks to the job to take care of these things. Fortunately the other two plexes are vacant and don’t need to be managed yet. But I would and should take over the property management. When you do live in one unit and rent out the other three make sure you represent yourself as the landlord and not the owner or you’ll have twice the headaches.

WOW!! If the Property Manager is doing that bad of a job why not fire them?

I simply am unable to manage the property myself. And we are interviewing new managers next week. The one we really wanted decided he was not going to manage multifamilies. So the guys head survives for another month.

I like Ashon’s advice. Do buy at least a duplex so that you have someone helping you with the mortgage payment. So that your nice tenants help you buy a property. Move into the ugly unit and fix it while you live in it. Keep on moving around until all the units are renovated. You can do a lot if you are a couple–once you have kids those moves get more difficult or even impossible.

Don’t HOUSE-POOR yourself into a beautiful and expensive single family home. Now is not the time for that.

I puzzle over why some owners don’t want the tenants to know that they are the owner? Instead they represent themselves as “management”.

Everyone here knows that I am the owner. If there is a problem, I for sure tell them that I am the owner. Tenants seem to like the personal touch: “The owner said she would deal with it.”

As the owner I can say things like, "I’m sorry, I would love to put in the dishwasher that you want (garage, central air, new couch) but I have to pay the property taxes plus the mortgage this month, and we just put on a new roof. We just can’t afford that now. You know how it is with budgeting, but let me know if there is anything else we can do to make you comfortable.

Keep looking for deals. Drive the areas you like looking for signs. Read the newspaper ads. Read the cheap free newspaper ads. Heck, even put in your OWN ad: “Young couple wants to buy 1-4 units direct from you, no Realtors. We have cash and are approved for a loan or owner financing. Fixer-upper ok”.
This should bring out those Realtor-phobic sellers, many of whom are scared of Realtors.

Your hard work can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Your hard work can jump-start you to wealth.

Good luck, and let us know how your plan works out. You have many experts here to advise you at all hours. For free.


I’ve learned that it is very difficult to say no to someone face to face. It’s not something people like to do. Obviously your approach is a very honest and forthcoming. But when you are confronted with an angry tenant, do you want them screaming and cursing at you? Or the Owner? It’s easier to deflect their anger and calm them down if you have that curtain to hide behind.

Frankly I would suggest you buy a single family home for a bargain price in a decent area that needs fixing up with a FHA fix up loan. I would also look for one unlisted and save the money and put it in your wallet.

You can fix it up, and after 2 years sell it and pay no capital gains taxes if you want. In the meantime you could start learning to wholesale and two years from now things could looking really good.

Thanks for the comment, What kind of requirements for an FHA fix up loan? I’m getting a Mortgage at 3% fixed for 30 yrs, (I read all of the documents like a hawk…lol).

I looked at many four plexes and a lot of them down here need a LOT of work. My wife is not going to live with me if I buy one of those…lol!!

I’m going to buy a primary residence (Single) but it’s going to be inexpensive around 100k.

Thank You and Happy New Year!

I also like the answer from Bay Area Brian. You have to find your own path…
I knew guys who moved into a primary residence every two years (ugly house) then fixed and flipped into a new residence or kept the old one for a rental. Their assets grew while they had jobs and moved forward. It’s a good way to make real estate an asset rather than constant debt.

As to the question about “angry screaming tenants…” why are they angry and screaming? Here we try to deal with tenant problems almost immediately. Tenants also sign acknowledgements that THEY will contact us right away if there is a leak or slow plumbing.

That way if a tenant contacts us on Sunday and says the plumbing has been slow since Friday they are reminded that we cannot get a plumber on the weekends.

Once or maybe twice a year we get a princess or prince tenant who is unhappy for whatever reason. That’s when I say, “You are right. This unit just does not meet your needs. I recommend that you check into the Marriott or the Holiday Inn. We will consider this 2-week notice and you may vacate whenever you wish. Thank you for staying with us.” That is the end of the drama.


I partly agree with what you’re saying. I don’t feel good about lying to people, so I like to take the best of both worlds and say I’m part owner (my lenders are also part owners in a sense as their mortgage is registered on title, are they not?). So, someone (you know will trash an apartment or cause problems if they ever got in) tries to persistently sell me on the idea they’ll be good tenants with bad credit? I say, “Sorry, I understand what you’re saying, but I know from experience that my business partners would have a problem with that and I think we’d just be wasting your time if we tried to process your application and kept you waiting while you could have found an apartment elsewhere. Maybe try public housing?”

Mortgage lenders are expecting you to follow a good risk management policy to reduce the risk of default on their mortgage because you didn’t have enough money at the end of the day from following an arbitrary one, are they not? So, you’re still being honest.

Something taking to long? “Sorry, I’m not going to argue with you. My hands are tied. I have to discuss this matter further with my business partners and get their approval before we can do anything.” It generally reduces abuse and arguing with someone being difficult. You get some pride of ownership, but also can deflect a bad confrontation if things turn sour. Perhaps you consider you and your intuition or subconscious as different entities and have to sleep on it before waking up with an answer from your subconscious. Some people even refer to their subconscious as God and their business partner as the Lord who they talk to in their prayers before going to sleep and who God answers the following morning with that lightbulb of intuition. Maybe your business partner is your cat or bird. In that fashion, saying you’ll discuss it with your business partner would still be true.

You also want to dress up normal, drive a middle class car and don’t give off the impression to people that you’re walking money. Finding as many ways as possible to save money, sweat equity, and giving the illusion of spreading responsibility IMO is the way you make real money on rentals.

I like the " part owner" bit. Yep, I’ve got some part owners too.

Also the advice about dressing and driving middle class is so true. For a while I drove an old vintage but mint-looking Mercedes while selling Real Estate in California. I always felt like someone was going to stick a hand gun in the window and demand cash. Life is much more comfortable in my mini-van. Plus I can haul even a 9-foot couch.