Regarding renting to college students or families and which of them you might have more success with, college students will usually be a shorter term situation and a little rougher on the property whereas renting to families you'll typically notice they'll be there for longer periods and take much better care of your property.
I hope this helps!
Wow this question has so many answers which may all be correct. Single family residence, 2-4 units, Commercial type property, land for speculation, fractional interest, and on and on. I guess it depends on what type of property you're looking for, how many people will be investing in it, what price range you're looking in, recourse or non-recourse, and how long you plan on holding the investment for.
You'll need to consider things like, cash on cash return, CAP rate, gross multiplier, vacancy factors, buying a property needing some work, or a property needing much work, master metered, access, parking, your anticipated level of involvement, and again on and on.
However, in my experience the closer you get to the coastal areas the more you'll pay for property in general, and consequently the lower the CAP Rates. If you head out to the east county areas you will usually find higher Cap Rates and will most likely get more for your money.
I guess the best way to figure out where you should buy real estate in San Diego is to first determine what you're looking for in a property; consider the above information and then move towards the coast or towards the east county based on the value you think is best for you.
I hope this has been helpful!
2-4 units are good for this, but anything coastal is priced way high for any hope of even cash flow. I'd stay away from condo's that belong to HOA's with many units, because once the owner occupany ratio slips below 50% it becomes hard for future buyers to obtain conventional financing and then a spiral of death ensues from there. Lower end SFR's are good, but is comes a point where the property management issues outweigh the ROI.
Therefore, in my opinion the sweet spot for investment property right now is your basic 3/2 SFR with fenced yard and 2-car gargage, which you can pick up for around $325k.
Best bet is Oceanside in North County, Clairemont in central San Diego, and Northpark / City Heights area in the South.
Generally we have been more successful with families while college students are typically _very_ hard on a home. However, if the home is all tile or located within walking distance of campus, then your target audience should probably be students. Try to get their parents to sign the lease agreement.
For great investment properties, try http://FinestExpert.com they calculate rents and costs showing you cash flow without you having to crunch all the numbers yourself. Of course, when you find a prospective property, you still have to physically inspect it. The internet is not _that_ good... yet. :-)
I have had a lot of success in the Mission Valley and surrounding areas because you're pulling renters from SDSU, USD, Mesa and even UCSD. Not only do college students live in this area, but mission valley is a huge employment center and is in the center of san diego making it a prime rental investment area.
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Hope this helps!
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You'll probably get a shorter term rent out of college students and they may not maintain the property as well as with a family.
I would have to agree with Mark and Kari Shea. Hillcrest, North Park, University Heights are all excellent uptown areas that are very desirable to renters. I have multiple clients that have bought in these areas and are extremely happy, and I have constant traffic at the apartment building we manage that's right in the middle of Hillcrest. Let me know if you need any more information about the area, I've been working in Hillcrest for 5 years.
Best of luck!
Our investor clients have had the best luck in the Hillcrest/Noth Park areas. They provide a very stable rental market which investors love.
Mark and Kari Shea
Shea Real Estate
Real Estate Experts Serving San Diego County
Specialists in Investment Properties, Foreclosures, Short Sales,
Development Opportunities & Traditional Real Estate