Author Topic: Books about Real Estate Investing?  (Read 8184 times)

Joel

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Books about Real Estate Investing?
« on: April 25, 2013, 12:25:58 AM »
I currently work and live in the Sacramento, CA area. I have no debt, a good job, and money in the bank for all my rainy day expenses. I have saved up enough to cover a 20% down payment on a house around 200k. You can buy a good 3bed 2bath house in the various commuter towns near Sacramento that is around 1500 sq ft and relatively new. Similar houses can rent for around $1300 per month.

Ideally, I would buy a house that I can live in for a few years, and then eventually it may become rental property if my career.

I plan to stay working for my company for another 4-6 years, but I will likely be looking for a new job after that point. My path is in public accounting, and it's very likely I would be looking at a higher level position in a private company, of which, I would potentially have to relocate to accept the job. So needless to say, I will almost guarantee a move in the next 5-7 years, if not sooner. The sooner stipulation depends on the significant other whose job/career path is less clear cut. It's a bit of a wildcard, but the ideal plan would include staying in this area long-term.

Needless to say, I've always avoided real estate until I had 20% down and planned on staying in an area at least 5 years so I wouldn't have lost my ass if I needed to sell it. I now have 20% down that I could easily use for a house, however, the 5 year thing is still not a for sure thing.

The thought is that if I were to end up moving, perhaps I could rent out the house. I would like to research more on this, and continue to go back and forth on the idea.

Are there any good books you guys would recommend reading about real estate investing?

And then, do any of you have suggestions on buying a house that you would live in for awhile, and then eventually turn into a rental investment?

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 08:18:11 AM »
I probably wouldn't buy a house for 200k I could rent for 130k.. Though there may be a small exception due to the ridiculously low interest rates for owner occupants today.

That same 20%, invested in rentals in a profitable area, could get you rents of more like 2k+, paying your 1300 rent and leaving you with a profit.

I tend to recommend "Building Wealth One House at a Time" by John Schwab as the best book for beginners.   If you do a search on the forums there's several threads with real estate book recommendations.

There's also many threads discussing this topic in particular (owner occupied to rental) that should give you some light reading.

Best of luck!
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Joel

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 05:14:55 PM »
I'm curious, at what point would you consider buying a house in a market that the house would not become a good rental in? Assuming I plan to stay in this area.

I've always through 20% down, 15-year mortgage, and plan do be here 5+ years. But the rent price is 150% of the mortgage price.

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 05:23:12 PM »
If you are buying based on emotions, rather than numbers.

You may be fine doing a financially inferior move, if you're going to be staying there long term.  But just be aware of what it is.

Also I wouldn't do a 15-year mortgage, not with today's rates, when you can lock in rates in the low 3s (or better)!  I'd lock it up for as long as possible and pay it off as slowly as possible, and invest the difference.

YMMV.
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Joel

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 05:39:29 PM »
If you are buying based on emotions, rather than numbers.

You may be fine doing a financially inferior move, if you're going to be staying there long term.  But just be aware of what it is.

Also I wouldn't do a 15-year mortgage, not with today's rates, when you can lock in rates in the low 3s (or better)!  I'd lock it up for as long as possible and pay it off as slowly as possible, and invest the difference.

YMMV.

So most of the decent 1 bedroom apartments that are 750 sq ft and livable, are renting for 1000-1200 per month in the area. I likely conservatively understated the rent value on a 3/2-bath house, and potentially overstated the actual cost.

I'm curious how the 1300 payment makes the house only worth 130,000.

But assuming that is the case, basically, you would NEVER buy a house in this geographic region, even if you plan to live and stay there?

I'm not understanding your logic there... I can pay let's say 1000 per month to live in a tiny apartment for the rest of my life here, or buy a 3bed2bath house with a let's say 800 mortgage per month + say 400 in expenses, and not move and eventually build the equity, and not even have a mortgage payment anymore.

I agree with the recommendation of a 30-year mortgage with today's rate. I was mostly meaning being able to afford 20% down and payments on a 15-year loan.

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2013, 05:43:50 PM »
But assuming that is the case, basically, you would NEVER buy a house in this geographic region, even if you plan to live and stay there?

There are certainly many places I wouldn't purchase, but would perpetually rent (and many more places I wouldn't live in at all).

A place that cost 200k and only rented for 1300 is probably an example of that, if we're just talking only making financially superior moves.

Emotions, obviously, could change that, and one could be okay making a worse financial move.  Just realize it, and own it.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 05:45:55 PM by arebelspy »
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Joel

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2013, 05:46:28 PM »
But assuming that is the case, basically, you would NEVER buy a house in this geographic region, even if you plan to live and stay there?

There are certainly many places I wouldn't purchase, but would perpetually rent (and many more places I wouldn't live in at all).

So you would only buy a house that you could rent out and meet your requirements?

How does the 1300/month rent equal a house that is valued 130k? multipled by 100?

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2013, 05:52:30 PM »
So you would only buy a house that you could rent out and meet your requirements?

Is there like an acoustical problem in here?  :)

For the third time: yes, I would only buy a house that was worth renting out, if I was interested in just making financially superior moves.  Emotion could change that.

That can be absolutely A-OK, just be aware of your options and don't do it blindly.

How does the 1300/month rent equal a house that is valued 130k? multipled by 100?

Generally gross rents at 1% of the purchase price is the absolute minimum real estate investors target, and often higher (sometimes as much as 2, or even 3%).  I would be (ad do) target somewhat higher than 1% on a leveraged purchase (at today's low rates) and quite a bit higher than 1% on a cash purchase.
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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2013, 06:02:02 PM »
What makes a property a good rental investment and what an educated investor might therefore pay is different than the market value.  If you have a lot of demand for owner-occupied homes in an area with limited supply, the owner-occupants will generally pay a higher price for the property.  Silicon Valley is an extreme example.  A $1MM house will likely rent for $3,000 to $3,800 a month.  That's about 0.33 percent per month in rent.  Free and clear, the property only GROSSES 4 percent.  The net income on this free and clear investment is less than 2 percent.

Prices in the Sacramento area have risen to the point that buying a house to rent out does not make sense, although not to the absurd level here.  However, if you can put 20 percent down and finance the house for 30 years at 3.25 percent, it might make sense to buy a house to live in.  You have to consider the rent versus the total cost of owning.  If the house appreciates, that's gravy.  If the rent goes up to $2.000 before you move, then you have to ask the question about whether it makes more sense to rent or sell at that point.

Joel

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2013, 12:07:00 AM »
What makes a property a good rental investment and what an educated investor might therefore pay is different than the market value.  If you have a lot of demand for owner-occupied homes in an area with limited supply, the owner-occupants will generally pay a higher price for the property.  Silicon Valley is an extreme example.  A $1MM house will likely rent for $3,000 to $3,800 a month.  That's about 0.33 percent per month in rent.  Free and clear, the property only GROSSES 4 percent.  The net income on this free and clear investment is less than 2 percent.

Prices in the Sacramento area have risen to the point that buying a house to rent out does not make sense, although not to the absurd level here.  However, if you can put 20 percent down and finance the house for 30 years at 3.25 percent, it might make sense to buy a house to live in.  You have to consider the rent versus the total cost of owning.  If the house appreciates, that's gravy.  If the rent goes up to $2.000 before you move, then you have to ask the question about whether it makes more sense to rent or sell at that point.

Thank you.

I am specifically talking about the Sacramento people, and see so many people rushing to buy houses in the market as rental investments and it just seems like their logic is so much different than what arebelspy is saying. That probably accounts for the asking the same question over and over and having a hard time making sense of it never making financial sense to own a house in a city you plan on living in forever.

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2013, 07:57:10 AM »
see so many people rushing to buy houses in the market as rental investments and it just seems like their logic is so much different than what arebelspy is saying.

That same "logic" was used in Real Estate in 02-07, how did that work out?  Just because you see people rushing to do something, doesn't mean they're doing it smart (and often times may be an indicator of the opposite).

having a hard time making sense of it never making financial sense to own a house in a city you plan on living in forever.

Let's make the numbers extreme to make it obvious.   Let's say you could buy a house for $1,000 or rent it for $1000/month.  Here it's probably a no-brainer to buy, it'll pay for itself after a month (let's ignore the question of why a house would be selling for that price, location, safety, etc. and deus ex that away for our hypothetical).  Clearly a "buy."

Now let's say in your market you could buy a house for 20 million, or rent it for $1000/month.  In this circumstance, you could stick the 20 million in bank account earning a paltry 1% interest, which would be 200k/yr, or 16.7K/month.  You could pay your $1000 rent and still have 15K left over for fun money (or to reinvest, or whatever).  That's a clear "rent".  If you can invest the money you'd use to buy elsewhere, have it pay your whole rent, PLUS give you lots of money in your pocket, it's a no-brainer, rent (emotions aside).

Somewhere between these two extremes is reality.  Often it's a close call between what is better, renting or buying, and it becomes an emotional call.

But other times the pendulum swings too far towards renting or buying, and you should jump on that (or avoid it like the plague). There are absolutely times I would not buy, even if I planned on living there another 40 years, because it would mathematically make sense to rent and invest the difference.

Does that help you wrap your mind around it a little more?
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Joel

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2013, 09:23:05 AM »
It certainly helps.

I've been looking for reasons not to invest in real estate and this definitely puts it in perspective. Needless to say I'm sure my numbers were probably a little conservative regarding a higher price than I would probably pay and lower rent than I would probably receive, but I still think the difference is huge enough it wouldn't matter. Back to my original plan of putting excess into index funds that I have been doing!

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 09:27:08 AM »
It certainly helps.

I've been looking for reasons not to invest in real estate and this definitely puts it in perspective. Needless to say I'm sure my numbers were probably a little conservative regarding a higher price than I would probably pay and lower rent than I would probably receive, but I still think the difference is huge enough it wouldn't matter. Back to my original plan of putting excess into index funds that I have been doing!

Make sure you run all the numbers, you went from one extreme (running rough numbers, assuming it's better to buy) to the other (running rough numbers, assuming it's better to rent).

Have you checked out resources like NYT Buy vs Rent Calculator?  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html?_r=0

Also just because your market may not be good for real estate doesn't mean you can't invest elsewhere, or in some other aspect (private lending, notes, etc.).  Keep your mind and eyes open, rather than haphazardly picking a plan and plowing straight forward.  :)
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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 09:41:02 AM »
There are a lot of folks willing to accept low returns on real estate right now.  They can't get much on other investments, and rentals have tax advantages.  Some folks insist on investing near where they live and a low cash on cash return is acceptable for that reason.  A lot of folks are trying to lock in low interest rates for the long haul and are therefore willing to accept zero or tiny cash flow today.  Still others are betting on appreciation over the next few years and don't focus on cash flow.  Finally, there is a huge influx of cash from overseas and many of these folks think of holding real estate for generations.  Current price matters less to these folks.

If your situation is not stable, I would not buy a house.  If it stabilizes and the cost of owning is favorable relative to renting, then buying might make sense.  If interest rates rise and other investments produce higher returns, the demand for real estate will drop.  Prices will stabilize and could go down if interest rates rise to the point a large percentage of buyers are forced out of the market.  As long as you accept that risk, then buying is a reasonable option.

Joel

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 09:44:17 AM »
It certainly helps.

I've been looking for reasons not to invest in real estate and this definitely puts it in perspective. Needless to say I'm sure my numbers were probably a little conservative regarding a higher price than I would probably pay and lower rent than I would probably receive, but I still think the difference is huge enough it wouldn't matter. Back to my original plan of putting excess into index funds that I have been doing!

Make sure you run all the numbers, you went from one extreme (running rough numbers, assuming it's better to buy) to the other (running rough numbers, assuming it's better to rent).

Have you checked out resources like NYT Buy vs Rent Calculator?  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html?_r=0

Also just because your market may not be good for real estate doesn't mean you can't invest elsewhere, or in some other aspect (private lending, notes, etc.).  Keep your mind and eyes open, rather than haphazardly picking a plan and plowing straight forward.  :)

A few more questions:

1. How do you estimate the rent price of a house?

I just used similarly sized houses in the area and used a conservative low number. Is there a way to get a more accurate idea?

That calculator you just posted shows that it is better to buy vs. rent after 3 years. Thats for 1300 rent, 200k house, 20% down payment, 4% interest, and 1.04% california property taxes. I don't have a specific house in mind, so the house could range from 170k to 200k, and the rent could also fluctuate as well, but it ultimately depends on the individual house, and I'm not even looking at individual houses yet to do that.

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2013, 10:02:49 AM »
1. How do you estimate the rent price of a house?

Use a compilation of resources (since no one resource will be accurate) including rentometer.com, zillow.com rent estimate, Craigslist ads for the area, and have a realtor run rental comps from the MLS for you.

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honobob

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2013, 10:09:50 AM »
It certainly helps.

I've been looking for reasons not to invest in real estate and this definitely puts it in perspective. Needless to say I'm sure my numbers were probably a little conservative regarding a higher price than I would probably pay and lower rent than I would probably receive, but I still think the difference is huge enough it wouldn't matter. Back to my original plan of putting excess into index funds that I have been doing!

Joel, I would not give up on real estate based on some incorrect/bad advice on the internet.  Rule ONE, all real estate is local.  I won't pretend to know about the Sacramento market but the example given pretty much matches up with a property I bought in 2003.  $200,000 market value and $1300 rents.  Based on the "rules" people want to slavishly adhere to this would be a no go.  But the property doubled in value in two years and rents are up $500 a month all the while I've been able to reduce my fixed costs.  I was able to anticipate this because I KNOW the historical appreciation rate and the rate of rent increases. 

You should talk to someone familiar with YOUR area and type of investment property.  You can't just look at the financials for the date of purchase.  Look at them over your holding period.  That can mean a totally different result.

Good luck


arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2013, 10:19:09 AM »
a property I bought in 2003 ... doubled in value in two years

Only doubled?  That's some poor appreciation for 2003-2005.  =/

Sorry that happened to you, better luck next bubble!  :)
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honobob

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2013, 10:33:49 AM »
http://www.mortgage-investments.com/resources/online-calculators/10-year-investment-in-real-estate/ 

Joel
Here's something to play around with.  Getting the knowledge to fill in the blanks is something you can't get from books.  Again, talk to local investors/realtors.

I invest in high demand/price/rent/appreciation areas (Honolulu, SF Bay area).  For me the most important part of the purchase is asking why, when the market cycle is down, will my place be in demand over the rest of the market.  In 2008 my realtor was given a bunch of listings in new developents to sell at a decent discount.  Unfortunately these were the dregs of the developement that hadn't sold.  On paper they looked good and would rent in up markets but anytime the cycle is down I anticipated that you'd have vacancy problems. 

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2013, 10:38:48 AM »
If I want to know what market rent is, I do all of what Arebelspy recommends and I drive the area, looking for rental signs.  I call on every sign, or if there is a web site listed, I will look there.  I also familiarize myself with all the property management companies that operate in the market, and I regularly review their listings.

I'm compulsive about estimating market rent and understanding rental trends in an area before I write any checks.  I NEVER rely on a seller or a seller's agent for that information.

honobob

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2013, 10:42:51 AM »
a property I bought in 2003 ... doubled in value in two years

Only doubled?  That's some poor appreciation for 2003-2005.  =/

Sorry that happened to you, better luck next bubble!  :)
Well my 1978 purchase tripled in 2 years.  So I guess I was a little disappointed.  But considering the state of the market then i'm a happy man with the outcome.


honobob

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2013, 09:06:04 AM »
http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2013/04/26/new-housing-permits-up-by-nearly-55.html?ana=e_vert&u=snqD/PXKN43Dl8N+YwTR3NON2Wg

I would read fast if you want to get in on this upswing.  Buying at the top of the market, not so good.

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2013, 09:15:32 AM »
Because more supply = higher prices?
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jrs

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2013, 10:12:39 AM »
I tend to recommend "Building Wealth One House at a Time" by John Schwab ...
Best of luck!

^^ will be the first personal finance book I ever read (If only I'd started 3 years ago >.<).  Thanks.

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2013, 10:21:35 AM »
I tend to recommend "Building Wealth One House at a Time" by John Schwab ...
Best of luck!

^^ will be the first personal finance book I ever read (If only I'd started 3 years ago >.<).  Thanks.

Sure!  There are some caveats to that book (I think his appreciation assumptions are unrealistic is the biggest flaw), but it's a very easy read and good for overarching concepts without getting bogged down in the technical details that often slow down beginners.

And, of course, that's the recommendation for someone wanting to start learning about Real Estate.  I'd recommend different books for someone with a proclivity towards equities, or just personal finance in general.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 10:26:37 AM by arebelspy »
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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2013, 11:18:55 AM »
There are some caveats... 
noted.

And, of course, that's the recommendation for someone wanting to start learning about Real Estate.  I'd recommend different books for someone with a proclivity towards equities, or just personal finance in general.

Sure, I have about a year to spend learning before I have to make any strategic decisions.  Plenty of time for a few books.  Till then I'm keeping consistent with past decisions - even though they were suboptimal.

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2013, 02:41:57 PM »
Because more supply = higher prices?
lf you build it they will come. Seriously,  there must be current and or anticipated demand to marshal resourses.  Waiting until the new supply comes online is a typical novice mistake. Now you can jump ahead of new construction.   Early bird and all that.

arebelspy

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2013, 02:48:21 PM »
Because more supply = higher prices?
lf you build it they will come. Seriously,  there must be current and or anticipated demand to marshal resourses.  Waiting until the new supply comes online is a typical novice mistake. Now you can jump ahead of new construction.   Early bird and all that.

Gotcha.  Thanks for the thoughts.
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Joel

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2013, 10:25:04 PM »
Sacramento definitely is growing. Lots of overflow from the Bay Area at a much more affordable price. Being realistic though, it can't appreciate too much because its too damn hot here and if the price is comparable to the Bay Area, people will stay there.

There is a small supply of houses on the market here currently and the banks are holding onto their foreclosed homes and slowly releasing them out into the public to inflate the prices as well.

JasonK

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Re: Books about Real Estate Investing?
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2013, 12:30:43 PM »
Joel

Well, I'm certainly no expert, but I'll chime in with my thoughts. 

I, like you, spent time in public accounting (KPMG).  I agree with your analysis that there is a good chance you'll move when you make the transition into industry.  Even if the new job is still in Sacramento, you may want to move closer to work to cut the commute, bike to work, etc.  You can't count on being in the house for 5+ years.  So you're correct in looking at this from a purely investor/landlord perspective, not a homeowner's perspective.

OK.  So you're looking at a potential rent house now.  Do your research, but I agree on the 1% rule of thumb.  Use that as your litmus test.  My rentals were all purchased as distressed properties, and came in around $90K (including cost of improvements, but not the cost of my sweat equity) for $1,400-$1,500 in rent.  If you're buying a move-in ready house, keep the number close to 1% or it will be cash flow negative long term.

Keep in mind this is a rental.  Not something an up and coming professional might buy as a long term house.  My point?  Buy in a working class neighborhood, not a yuppie neighborhood.  $200K may be working class in Sacramento, I don't know, but you see my point. 

Yeah yeah, you can bet on the appreciation, get super low interest rates right now, blah blah blah, but cash flow is king in my book.  I want my properties to put money in my pocket every month.  I don't plan on selling them for a long time (if ever), so I don't care about the value.  That may mean you NEVER buy a property in Cali, even though the market is red hot.  So be it.

- Agree with the above posts on estimating rents in an area.  Go look at some properties if/when you get serious.  I did this and actually found my houses would rent for a bit more, so I adjusted accordingly

- I'd shy away from being an absentee landlord.  Especially starting out.  Until your job situation firms up, I'd hold off

- when I was younger I read a bunch of RE books, stuck money in index funds (including a Vanguard REIT), and when the timing was right and I was 'settled' I made my play.  Nothing wrong with that approach

EDIT:  A couple more thoughts...

If you COULD find a home (not condo) in a working class neighborhood close to the 1% rule, say an older $125K house that would rent for $1,000-$1,100 (most any SFR will rent for $1,000) I would seriously consider buying one house per year for the next four years as an owner occupant.  Stay the required 12 months and repeat.  Learn rehab skills.  Live cheap.  Hudhomestore.com would be a good site to visit.

- 9913 Nebula Way is something like I'm talking about

http://www.hudhomestore.com/Listing/PropertyDetails.aspx?caseNumber=043-756232&sLanguage=ENGLISH&zipCode=&city=Sacramento&county=&sState=CA&fromPrice=0&toPrice=0&fCaseNumber=&bed=0&bath=0&street=&buyerType=0&specialProgram=&Status=0&OrderbyName=SCASENUMBER&OrderbyValue=ASC&sPageSize=10&pageId=1

You still might be an absentee landlord one day, but you'd have four properties in Sacramento, not just one.  And, chances are, your next gig will be somewhere semi-close by.  Having one house off somewhere is a pain, having four+ is a business you turn over to a property manager and visit once a year. 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 12:55:08 PM by JasonK »