As Lynn has stated. Buy where you live. Yes, Tampa is a strong rental market, whether seasonal or long term, but being a landlord is not always rosy. And you're not sure you want to live here when you return. Investment in real estate is not as liquid as other investments. Last, this sounds like it would be your first foray into being a landlord.
Don't get me wrong. I think real estate is the best investment out there, and safer than our stock market when we have such a precarious economy running up billions in debt every minute. But there's a downside to real estate also. If you get a tenant that destroys the property costing you thousands of dollars. If you have any emotional connection (since you're living there first) and it's destroyed when you return. As a new landlord you need to consider vacancy rates in your economic projection as well. You need to select a diligent property manager (and yes, make it a professional, licensed one)
You have 6 months to learn how to do this, and it can be done. But plan for the worst in order to get your positive results. Selecting the right tenant is key, and MUST be intentional. Don't leave it to luck.
Senior Loan Officer
800.930.7334 Ext 1477
Individual NMLS ID: 1001484
Broker, Lightning Realty
Innovation and Experience
Fax (813) 443-0118
Prices are on the rise. In my opinion rentals are a good source of income as long as it covers the expenses and you can clear positive cash flow. Later on if you decide Tampa is not your home you can sell the property. I am a licensed Community Association Manager (Property Manager) and a Realtor. Should you decide to move forward I can assist you with both the purchase and the management of the property. Call me to discuss. 813-447-5495.
Ask Gina Harris with Iberia Bank about the question about getting a conventional mortgage and then converting it to an investment property. Here's her info, she's VERY experienced and knows what she's talking about so you can be assured you'll get the right answers to your mortgage questions:
NMLS # 419423
3550 Buschwood Park Dr., Suite 295
Tampa, FL 33618
Office: 813-933-6611 Ext 204
All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
From your comments, the significant message you have indicated is "however, I do not particular want to make my life in Tampa/St.Pete when I get back."
Rule #1, buy a property where you want to live and enjoy the community.
In one year you might have completely different thoughts, best to check with your CPA regarding tax implications of owning a rental and converting it to a homesteaded property. Research the damage and no pays impact if you are in Europe and the tenants are not cooperative. You will be paying for a mortgage without the rental income. Then pay for repairing damages to the property upon your return.
The tenants could have repairs completed to the property and not pay the vendors, then mechanic liens are placed on the property and you are responsible.
Your theory has lots and lots of holes when applied to the field.
Best of luck
Brock Realty Inc.
Websites to best learn how to market and manage your seasonal rental property.