Home Buying in San Diego>Question Details

John D., Home Buyer in San Diego, CA

I'm seeking a Real Estate agent *who has been or is a landlord in San Diego County*. I want to buy 2-4 rental properties in the next 1-6 months.

Asked by John D., San Diego, CA Thu Oct 28, 2010

The hardest problem for me is figuring out what area and property type to focus on buying for rental properties. My dileama comes down to should buy condos in "A neighbohoods" or SFR's in "C neighborhoods"? The numbers have to work, I'm looking for at least a .8% rent-to-price ratio (preferably 1%). The neighborhoods I'm looking at condos in are North Park, Univ Heights, Normal Heights (north of adams), Clairemont, Rancho Penasquitos,Serra Mesa, Misson Valley, Eastlake. The neighborhoods I'm looking at SFR's in are Old Chula Vista, Paradise Hills, El Cajon, Lakeside, Encanto, Spring Valley, Lemon Grove. I have chosen these areas as the best area where the rent to price ratio also works. I would love to get a SFR in say Clairmont or San Carlos as a rental, but the numbers do not work. I'm looking for a Realtor that has owned lot's of different rentals around SD County and can council me and guide me if I should focus on condos on A neighborhoods or SFR's in C neighborhoods

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Check out Jeff Brown who is a Broker that specializes in investment properties. San Diego can be very challenging but with the recent price drops it is making more sense then before. I have posted his website and contact information below:
Web Reference: http://www.bawldguy.com/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John,

You really did your homework. I like all of your condo areas. Be careful of Eastlake; if there's Mello Roos, it can really add to your monthly expenses. I like your detached home areas too, although some of the 'C' neighborhoods can really differ. Keep an eye on North La Mesa too, right next to San Carlos, and even a smaller house in Santee.

The only difference between condos and detached homes is the HOA fee, plus being sure a tenant follows the HOA rules. You'll want to find in-unit laundry and a garage to make your unit attractive.

I've owned rentals up in Riverside County and luckily sold everything right before the market fell. The rules are the same, and from working with investors, I know, and work, many areas of San Diego, from Chula Vista to Poway to East County - not just a small farm area.

Give me a shout if I can help.

Warm Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 29, 2010
Hi John

I currently provide Property management services in San Diego and have recently worked with investors like yourself looking for a upside property as well as doing 1033 tax exchanges, I can give you some insight that would possibly help you make sound choices. I do not think looking for investments with a 8 cap rate is unreasonable but everything depends on price and conditions.
John when you get a chance I would enjoy speaking with you and most likely narrow your choices
to what best serves you.

Lance Blackman, Broker

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 29, 2010
First let me applaud you for realizing that this is a great time to invest in income property. I just posted a blog this week about the topic: http://www.kristinaleyva.com/index.php/add-income-property-t…

While I have owned rental properties in the past I am not currently a landlord. However, I just helped clients buy a Duplex plus Studio in North Park . . . 3 renters one property. This is where your income can really increase. There are lots of similar multi-unit properties all over San Diego. I am also currently working with clients looking for investment properties in San Diego that are leaning towards newer neighborhoods. Which as mentioned by other agents here, is a problem when you have a HOA involved. Not good when you are looking at the numbers in the case of income properties. And yet, there could be an advantage in the lower cost of big maintenance items that in the case of an older home might be required.

There are so many variables involved, including your price point, that I would suggest sitting down with an agent you trust and having them help you navigate the process. There is not always one right answer here and there are many opportunities out there!

Best of luck to you!

Kristina Leyva
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Thanks everyone for the excellent answers, I will be making contact tomorrow!

I have looked at a lot of 2-4 units in B+ neigh's and have not seen the numbers work that well and I have some concerns about mainteance and repair costs as they are mostly pre-WW II built properties. I'm thinking 4 condos in B+ to A neighs may be better than one fourplex in a C neighborhood. Spread your risk out + better tenant quality. Even though there are issues and risks with HOA's. I like the lower end of the market fixer SFR's in East County, South County, Vista and O-side too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John:

You may wish to consider speaking with someone who specializes in multi-family properties. I would recommend Brian Nelson at South Coast Commercial Inc.. He not only is a commercial broker but has his own properties as well. He can be reached at (619) 226-6011 (office) or (858) 531-8226 (cell).
Web Reference: http://www.scc1031.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John,

I have owned many rental properties in San Diego and am currently in love with my condo in Pacific Beach. I get $3,200 per month and have had the same tenants for the past 3 years!! I was born in San Diego and work as a Buyers Specialist on the Top Producing team for Keller Williams Metro located right outside downtown San Diego. I also worked as a Property Manager for 1 year managing 50 different rental properties around town and I consider myself an expert in the industry. you can email me at ernesto@pacificalrealty.com if you would like another opinion, I am currently closing 3 deals for clients that are getting a 1.1% rent-to-price ratio.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010

The rental units that have been the best for me are the duplexes in and around the North Park/Normal Heights areas including South Park, Talmadge and University Heights. It is hard to make enough income on a SFR in these neighnorhoods but the duplexes are priced near the SFR's and bring in additional income.
I am a real estate broker and own my brokerage, Innovative Realty. My brokerage, beside managing my own 7 properties, also manages 23 other properties (33 doors total) right now. On behalf of my clients I buy and sell owner occupied real estate as well as investor owned real estate. I have many clients for whom I've purchased property then managed that property after the purchase.
For instance, an investor client and I are in escrow for a duplex in Talmadge at $350K with fully occupied with rental income of $2700 monthly . . . not quite your .8% but a great investment in a great neighborhood. I just closed escrow for another investor on a condo in San Carlos at $170K with $1300 in monthly income. Again, not quite hitting your target of .8%. I have not purchased a SFR on behalf of an investor client in a very long time mostly because it is hard to make the numbers work in areas that my investors prefer to purchase in. Maybe you don't need to do one or the other but a mix. Unless you would like to geogrpahically group your investments together which is an idea I strongly recommend for ease of management and oversight.
So to answer your question I would not buy condos in A neighborhoods nor houses in C neighborhoods . . . I would buy duplexes in B neighborhoods.
Right now I am finding it relatively easy to rent out all of my units regardless of the size/location/quality as long as we are asking for fair market rent. The interior condition of the unit is the single biggest factor in the marketability of the units. If you keep it clean and fully operational, they will come.

I hope this helps and I would love to work together to help you achieve your goals.

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John,

I'm a Real Estate Investor. I'm also a Real Estate Broker and I own and operate a Real Estate Brokerage and Property Management Company here in San Diego. Trinity Homes and Investments is my brokerage. Trinity Property Management is my management company.

I own rental property and manage my property as well as others. I bought about 25 properties over the last 2 years.

I don't beg for buyer business as I work primarily with Sellers (from a Realtors perspective). But, I do love to work with investors and/or inspiring investors. I love to build relationships and share experience and grow as an investor community. I'm going to a great REI meeting Tues Nov. 9th to see Mike Cantu. Mike is a great investor and he manages his own portfolio of 40+ properties. I have learned a lot from him and I know you will too. Call or e-mail me if you are interested in attending or speaking further about buying good investments, property management, etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hello John,

I know a Realtor in San Diego county who is very knowledgable in all areas of the county and has several of his own San Diego County rentals. His name is Chad Danneker and his website is http://www.welcometosandiego.com. You may reach him at 619-309-8011. Please give him a call.

Good luck, John,

Lisa Anderson
(858) 722-6234
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John,

I am an agent who works for a Property Management Company, and can assist you in renting these units out once purchased. Our company handles all of San Diego County from Escondido and Oceanside down to the Border. We have a very straight forward fee system, and if you would like more information, check out our website on the below web reference.

Ken Schwartz
KM Realty
3530 Camino Del Rio North #101
San Diego CA 92108
Web Reference: http://www.kmrealtysd.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John,

I am a real estate broker that works primarily with investors. I own and manage my own rentals and have an MBA from SDSU. I work with local and out of state buyers and some of my clients purchase properties sight unseen based on my recommendations that match their investment needs.

The value I bring is knowledge of market rents, vacancy rates, and analysis of the tradeoff between higher cash flow or higher expected appreciation.

If you would like to discuss in more detail please contact me offline.

Nick Rhea, Broker/Owner
Bombora Investments, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John D, I agree/you've got some good answers so far. I'm warning people away from condos or anything with HOAs right now-- many of these have severely depressed finances or are on the verge of seeing dwindling reserves. We're seeing some great pricing on units now and the numbers are starting to work again for investors... have you considered this in the neighborhoods you like??
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
Hi John. First I will tell you that while I am a real estate agent in San Diego, I am not currently a landlord. I am actively working with an investor client acquiring rental properties and here's what we have come to as far as a conclusion. Single family homes are difficult to get the return that you are looking for and so are condos in "A" locations. We have found in the current market the best return on numbers seems to be 2-4 unit properties in high rental (density) areas such as City Heights, Logan, National City, etc. You might want to look into those areas as well and expand your search. We were fortunate to have found a 2 bedroom condo in the College area that had zero HOA (only two units in the building) and he is very happy with that return.

I do have a colleague who is an active agent and owns a number of rental properties in the area and I would be happy to make an introduction if you would like.

Mark Bosola
Ascent Real Estate
2900 North Park Way
San Diego CA 92104
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
OCEANFRONT condos - Vacation condos & homes in desireable areas where people want to vacation is what I recommend.
Coronado and Imperial Beach are great places for investors because they bring high rents and stay rented. Areas where people can get along on bicycles, without automobiles are very much in demand and are the trend, in my opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010

I have and am getting a lot of Buy and Hold properties in my inventory all over the county. Mainly I have a lot of properties south of the I-8 which fit your business model. Contact me if you need would like more information about more of the properties in my inventory which are not yet on the market. Have a good day and enjoy your Halloween weekend.

Web Reference: http://www.sdire.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010

Will you be purchasing with cash or financing? Start from there first, We cannot give you exacts without knowing how much your purchase price will be. Different price markets have different rental rates.
I highly suggest SFR's because some HOA's frown on Non Owner Occupied units.

My suggestion would highly be SFR's in C neighborhoods.

Good luck,

Web Reference: http://www.NickRuiz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 28, 2010
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