What factors do you consider when searching for Nomad properties
I recommend Nomads consider a number of factors when searching for a Nomad home. Here is a brief list of the some of the factors I recommend.
- # Units
- Square footage
- Style of home
- Lot size
- School district
Realize, that these factors are not weighted equally… for example… location may be much more important to me than age. School district may be less important to me than cash flow (financial metrics).
Do you consider cash on cash return when looking for Nomad properties?
Absolutely. Cash on cash return is a very important financial metric to me when considering buying a property for Nomad. It is so important I’ve done entire classes just on Cash on Cash.
Do you recommend using Zillow to find properties?
While the interface and browsing experience for Zillow is pleasant, I don’t usually recommend that people use Zillow to search for properties.
Why? In our local market, the data feed to Zillow is fraught with errors and inconsistencies… properties listed for sale that are not for sale, properties that are for sale not showing up, Zillow’s estimate of values off by large amounts encouraging people to eliminate a property that would otherwise be a great Nomad property and much more.
Instead, I’d recommend that people use the emails directly from their real estate to shop for properties.
If you’re going to ignore my advice and use Zillow, I’d strongly recommend that you do check the status of properties you’re interested in against a more accurate database of properties for sale (like your local MLS website) to verify it is truly for sale before investing too much time in researching the property or asking your real estate agent about it. In Northern Colorado, the public facing MLS website is ColoProperty.com. So, if you’re using Zillow… be sure to check the property on ColoProperty.com before investing too much time into it.
Do you usually stick to a specific price range when looking for properties?
Yes, I do recommend that people stick to properties in what I refer to as the second quartile.
In Gary Keller’s book “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor” he has a chart that shows why many millionaire real estate investors believe you may want to consider owning average properties to maximize appreciation and liquidity, minimize hassle and have a reasonable cash flow.
Based on this chart and my experience with my own investments and those of clients, I typically recommend that you select properties in this second quartile… that is below the median priced property in your market, but higher priced than the lowest 25%.
What price range of homes do you recommend for Nomad?
I usually recommend that people consider properties priced less than the median but not the least expensive properties for sale in the market. I often describe this price range as the second quartile. It would eliminate the bottom 25% of properties by purchase price to get rid of the very low end in less desirable neighborhoods and eliminate more expensive properties where cash flow, liquidity and appreciation tends to go taper off.
Do you recommend a certain number of bedrooms for Nomad homes?
I like buying typical homes. So, if it is typical to have 3 bedroom homes in your market, that’s what I recommend.
There are people that directly ignore this advice and specialize in the non-typical. For example, maybe you want to cater to people that are looking for two bedroom homes or one bedroom studios. I’d be OK with that if you’re deliberate and intentional about it.
Do you recommend a certain number of bathrooms for Nomad homes?
Just like bedrooms… I like typical homes with a typical number of bathrooms. In most cases, I prefer to have two bathrooms over 1 bathroom.
Do you consider garage spaces when looking for Nomad homes?
Yes, but it is not usually a major factor to me. I’m more concerned when a property is unusual for the area. For example, all the homes in an area have two car garages… I’d be concerned if the one I was looking at had 1 garage space or, even worse, no garage spaces.
Do you recommend condos for Nomad?
Yes. I think condos can be fine for doing the Nomad model.
Pay extra special attention to any restrictions the condo may have on your ability to execute the Nomad model. If the condo prohibits rentals, it is NOT a good fit for Nomad.
Also, look closely at the HOA costs for condos and what they cover. You may want to modify how you run your cash on cash calculations with condos if some of the costs you’re accounting for elsewhere are covered (in whole or in part) in your HOA fees.
Do you recommend townhomes for Nomad?
Yes, similar to condos, I recommend townhomes for Nomads as well. Just like with condos, I do recommend you verify that you consider the HOA restrictions and the HOA costs when looking at doing Nomad with a townhome.
Do you recommend single family detached homes for Nomad?
Yes. While condos and townhomes will work with Nomad, I originally model Nomad after single family detached homes and still believe they’re excellent candidates for the Nomad model.
Do you recommend duplexes for Nomad?
Yes. I am especially fond of Nomads buying a duplex, triplex or fourplex as their first Nomad home to give their cash flow a boost as they begin the Nomad journey.
I’ve heard that loan underwriters are reluctant to approve moving from single family detached homes to small residential multi-family likes duplex so it is probably better to move into a duplex, triplex or fourplex first whenever possible.
Do you recommend triplexes for Nomads?
I do like Nomads to consider multi-family properties like triplexes to start their Nomad plan.
Do you recommend fourplexes for Nomads?
Yes, if you can find and finance a fourplex as a Nomad home, I approve.
Do you recommend larger multi-family for Nomads?
By larger multi-family I am assuming you mean 5 units or more… and if that is the case, I do not recommend these for Nomads. With duplexes, triplexes or fourplexes you can get owner occupant financing and for that reason I recommend those, but with 5 units or more, I am not aware of any owner occupant financing. That means you’ll be getting commercial financing. So, while they may make sense as an investment outside of Nomad, they do not make good Nomad properties.
Do you recommend buying outside the city for Nomads?
Sometimes it makes sense to purchase a Nomad property outside the city limits to take advantage of special owner occupant financing like zero down USDA. So, yes… I approve if the property makes sense otherwise and the financing is acceptable.
Do you recommend fixer uppers for Nomads?
I have mixed feelings on recommending fixer uppers to Nomads. I’ve said I don’t recommend them in the past, but the more I look at the math for fixer uppers for Nomads, the more I think I’m OK with them.
I’ve been reluctant to recommend them for many Nomads because they often require additional cash invested into the purchase. If the extra cash that is required will prevent you from completing additional Nomad purchases you want to make, then I still would discourage the fixer upper.
However, if you have enough down payment to do a fixer upper (or several) and complete your desired Nomad purchases, the math for fixer uppers is often beneficial for Nomads and so I’d recommend them.
How do you sort properties when looking at Nomad homes online?
Typically, I’d recommend you limit your properties by price to show just properties in the second quartile (below the median and above the 25th percentile). Then, I’d sort them either by cash on cash return (if you have the ability to search by cash on cash return in your local market) or by price from lowest to highest.
How do you decide which properties to look at when looking for a Nomad home?
I decide to look at homes that, from a distance, I’d consider living in and that would make a good rental property.
The factors that would hit both of those criteria vary from person to person, but for me… it would need to be a nice home, in a nice neighborhood and the cash on cash return (in our local market) would need to be break-even or better with 5% down. I would be willing to go slightly negative for an exceptional good property.
Do you run cash on cash return on each property you’re looking at?
Yes and no. For me personally, clients often ask to see properties and I do not run cash on cash return on properties before I go look at those. They may have run cash on cash returns on them before they ask to see them.
If I were looking for properties myself, I’d likely being using a tool that does cash on cash return so I’d be looking at that as a factor when looking at properties.
Also, once you’ve looked at hundreds of properties, you can get a sense of whether a property’s cash on cash return will be close just by looking at it, the number of bedrooms, baths and price. So, while I may not have run the number, I can tell that a $270K property with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in that part of town will probably be close to break-even cash flow in our market.
When do you typically run cash on cash return when looking at Nomad homes?
Often I will be using a tool that does cash on cash calculations up front. Clients may opt to run a formal cash on cash return calculations after they’ve seen a property, but they may have an idea of what cash on cash might be from running cash on cash on a few properties with similar beds, baths and price previously.
Does your real estate agent run cash on cash return for you?
If you’re super lucky, maybe. But… probably you’re real estate agent will not run cash on cash return calculations for you. There are quite a few assumptions you need to make to calculate cash on cash return so you really should be running them yourself.
I do provide clients with tools to run cash on cash return themselves, do classes to educate them on how to do it and go over it with them if they need help. But except for the exceptional case where I ran cash on cash on a property and I was then sharing that with several clients, I won’t usually be running cash on cash returns for clients in advance.
Do you recommend buying Nomad homes on land?
I don’t usually recommend buying Nomad properties on large lots with lots of extra land.
I am sure there are some Nomads that would outright ignore than advice and specialize in Nomad properties on land (maybe for horses). It is not something I’d recommend as a good general rule… often you’re paying for land and not getting income for that extra land which makes your cash on cash return for that property less than it could be.
Do you recommend getting instant email notifications of properties when actively looking for Nomad homes?
In normal markets, you may not need to emails instantly each time a property hits the market.
As I write this though we are not in a normal market. We’re in the hottest market we’ve ever seen with multiple offers on properties often the first day or two that the property hits the market and timing matters. So, in today’s market, I do recommend you get instant emails of the newest properties to hit the market.
What are the options for getting property emails from your real estate agent?
While this may vary depending on your market, in our real estate market in Northern Colorado, your real estate agent can set it up to receive emails about properties instantly, daily (up to three different times per day), weekly or monthly.
Will my real estate agent analyze the Nomad properties for me?
Probably not. They’ll likely be willing to sit down and go over a property you’re consider with you to answer questions and help you run your numbers, but it is less likely that they’ll run numbers on a group of properties for you in advance without your input on assumptions.
I provide tools to my clients that allow them to easily analyze properties themselves. I am happy to sit down with them and go over numbers on properties they’re considering.
How many properties should I go and look at before I should expect to find one?
It varies widely. I’ve had clients look at homes and the first one they’ve seen they loved and they bought it. I’ve had clients where we’ve looked at a couple dozen homes before they found one that worked for them.
Should I get a list of all the properties that are listed sent at the beginning and look through those?
Yes… I’d recommend that if you’re just starting to look for homes that you ask your real estate agent to send over a list of all the homes that are currently for sale that meet your criteria.
Then go through that list to see if any that are currently listed for sale would work for you.
Once you’ve gone through all the homes that are currently for sale, you just need to keep up with the newest homes that come on the market to stay on top of your home searching process.
Should I be concerned if a property has been listed for awhile?
Yes and no. There are some properties that are listed for sale where there is legitimately something going on with the property that would make it a property would be horrible for a Nomad to purchase. But occasionally, there are properties that have been on the market where there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the property. It may have been overpriced to begin with and now it just seems stale.
I’d encourage you to ask your real estate agent about properties that have been sitting on the market that you’re curious about. There were two properties recently that had been on the market for some time that ended up being great Nomad properties. For one of them, the seller’s agent did not realize it qualified for financing (which it did) and so they had scared away all the other buyers except my buyer and I knew that it would qualify for financing, verified that with a special lender that could do the financing and purchased it. For the other, the property had fallen out of contract multiple times and people assumed something was wrong with it. There wasn’t.
What ways could I analyze properties for Nomad?
There are many factors to consider when analyzing properties for Nomad including net operating income (NOI), cash flow, capitalization rate (cap rate), internal rate of return (IRR) and others. I personally think that cash on cash return is the best indicator to consider as it takes into account the estimated income produced by the property as well as the financing and cash invested to purchase the property.
Do you analyze a property first or go see it first?
Most of the time, I will do some initial analysis first (at least a quick rough check of estimated rent to price) and if it is remotely close, I will go see the property.