Tips for First-time Property Investors in San Diego - article banner

San Diego is a dynamic rental market with some outstanding opportunities for real estate investors. With a large military presence, a strong economy, and a steady stream of people re-locating for work, school, and retirement, there’s a strong tenant pool.

Most first-time investors find there are numerous benefits to buying a rental property in this market and plenty of challenges as well. And, there will always be some unexpected surprises. 

If you’re investing in real estate for the first time, check out these tips from a San Diego property management company that specializes in residential rental homes. 

We’re here to help you avoid the expensive and time-consuming mistakes that many first-time investors tend to make. 

Buy the Right San Diego Investment Property 

When you’re investing in real estate, you need to know what you’re looking for and how the acquisition will fit your investment goals. Don’t get emotionally involved with the homes you’ve viewing and remember you aren’t choosing a property for yourself. It will help you to think like a tenant. Look for a well-maintained home in a desirable neighborhood that will be easy to rent. 

If you were buying a property for yourself, you might want a view of the water or custom closets or granite counters. Tenants in San Diego aren’t necessarily looking for those things. They want something located in a good neighborhood that’s well-maintained.

Many first-time investors make the mistake of buying a property that needs a lot of work. This is not a great strategy when you’re starting out as an investor. The work that’s needed means there will be a delay in getting that property listed on the market. While the prices are certain to be lower than other homes on the market, the amount you’ll have to spend to get that property into rent-ready condition may be more than you expect. Not only will you have to invest in repairs and rehab, you’ll also wait longer to begin earning rental income. 

Pricing Your San Diego Rental Property 

Rental value can be difficult to establish as a first-time investor. It’s important to gather some reliable data before you buy your property so you will know what to expect in terms of rental rates and tenant pools. 

Find out what you can expect to earn and how long it will take you to find a well-qualified tenant. 

Your rental price is almost totally market-driven. It doesn’t matter how much cash flow you’re after or what you’ll need to make your mortgage and tax payments. Evaluate the San Diego market thoroughly and check the prices for competing properties that are similar to yours. 

Once you’re ready to list your rental home, price it competitively. An overpriced home will lead to a longer vacancy, and that’s going to hurt you financially.   

Prioritize Preventative Rental Property Maintenance

Maintenance is always going to cost money, and that can be difficult for new investors to accept. But, you don’t want to risk devaluing your property or allowing its condition to deteriorate. Deferred maintenance will also lead to frustrated tenants who are unlikely to renew their leases. When a tenant makes a maintenance request, respond to it right away, or at least let the tenants know when you’ll be able to take care of the problem. 

Handling problems while they’re small will save you money and avoid headaches. Think about how you’re going to maintain your HVAC system, your roof, your landscaping, and your plumbing. A good maintenance plan and a budget will be essential.

Work with a San Diego Property Manager

Work with Property ManagerUnless you have the time, knowledge, and experience to manage an income-producing property on your own, hire a professional San Diego property manager. You need someone who knows the local market and understands the property management industry. Find a company that can accurately price the home, market it, and screen for highly qualified residents. 

Look for a management company that has good relationships with local vendors and has a reputation for helping owners earn more and spend less on their investment. 

Consider our team when you’re looking for great management. We have a deep knowledge of the local market, and we stay up to date on all the changing laws, technology, and best practices that lead to better management. Contact us at Chase Pacific Property Management & Real Estate Services.