Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

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Derivative
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Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Derivative » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:00 pm

Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

I have some money saved up and am planning to relocate to Houston, TX from the Bay Area (California) to find a new job. I am a UC Berkeley graduate (2012) with high academic stats (3.8+ GPA, excellent grades, etc.) and I hope to eventually become a doctor. I want to gain residency in Texas to go to medical school there since it is cheaper and less competitive than California. Based on the time away from school and the field, I probably will not get into a California medical school due to the fierce competition. I have a good amount of money and retirement funds saved up from working and saving in California (stayed with parents).

Cash saved: Over $130k
Retirements (Roth and Solo 401k) funds: Over 70k

Right now I work as an private and online tutor for several companies and basically run my own tutoring business as well with student referrals. The work I do does not provide any health benefits, time off, retirement, etc. I haven't really ever been fully employed (only contractor/part time/self-employed tutoring jobs). I want to find a W-2 work in the hospital. Is this possible with my degree in molecular biology? How high of a salary can I expect and try to aim for? What positions? Should I expect more job opportunities in Houston by so many medical centers or in the Bay Area? I basically need more recent medical experience to add to my applications for medical school so I think getting a job (instead of just volunteering) is the best route.

Lastly, I have been considering house hacking but not sure if that is a good idea or if I should just buy a small cheap 60k 2br/1bath condo near the medical centers and try to get a roommate. I am thinking the cheaper the better due to high property taxes (2.6% in Houston)? I would rent but I am not sure about the stability and whether that would be better than buying a 60k 2br/1 bath condo. I am considering house hacking to build equity during my time before medical school and maybe rent it out during medical school, but I don't like the idea of owning a huge property in a hurricane/flood zone.

Any advice/suggestion is greatly appreciated. I am somewhat lost on the next step towards my medical career.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:12 pm

IMHO
Keep things as simple as possible so you can focus on your medical career.
Renting gives you flexibility, simplicity, and doesn't tie you down compared to a purchase and depending on a roommate.
Work, and volunteer, as time allows in the medical field. A degree in molecular biology will open doors for a "real regular job" which you need.
Protect your momentum going forward by minimizing financial and personal lifestyle distractions.
Set incremental goals and stay excited about achieving those goals.

mahalo,
j :D

Random Poster
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Random Poster » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:20 pm

Derivative wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:00 pm
Any advice/suggestion is greatly appreciated. I am somewhat lost on the next step towards my medical career.
Apartment near the Medical Center.

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Ethelred
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Ethelred » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:31 pm

1. To answer the question you did ask: If I was moving to Houston as a single person who didn't know the city, I would definitely rent, at least initially. Partly because there are big variations in safety and character of different parts of the city, and partly because Houston is very different to the Bay area and California in general, and you might hate it.
2. To answer the question you didn't ask: I would particularly recommend you rent rather than buy. You come across as being pretty unsure as to the direction you want your life to take. That's not intended as a criticism.

I wouldn't worry too much about hurricanes and flooding. It is a serious issue for the city as a whole, but as long as you do your due diligence on location you should be fine. Just check the maps of flooding from Harvey, and live outside that.

livesoft
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by livesoft » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:45 pm

You should not buy. You should rent.

I know someone who moved to Houston to obtain TX residency and then applied to medical school. They worked at a laboratory technician in the Houston Med Center and later went to med school in Dallas.
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

3504PIR
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by 3504PIR » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:50 pm

livesoft wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:45 pm
You should not buy. You should rent.
amen.

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Watty
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:05 am

Another +1 on renting.

In addition to deciding what you want to do it also sounds like you are single and if you get in a relationship your housing needs may change.

Many single people do buy property though once their situation is more stable.
Last edited by Watty on Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chevca
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by chevca » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:15 am

Agree with others, you should rent.

OP, didn't you just start a thread about, why would anyone buy a SFH in TX? Now, you're thinking of buying? :confused

Derivative
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Derivative » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:27 am

chevca wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:15 am
Agree with others, you should rent.

OP, didn't you just start a thread about, why would anyone buy a SFH in TX? Now, you're thinking of buying? :confused
There were people on the thread that stated reasons to buy? I just want to know whether it would be wise in my situation and with my grad school and wealth-building goals.

faboinvesting
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by faboinvesting » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:15 am

First off, congrats on being able to save so much money. Wow...I'm a noob here so maybe that's the norm but wow lol.

I live in Houston. As you probably know, Houston is known for it's Medical Center so I imagine that here would be a good place to start your medical career.

Since you're new to Houston and don't really know if you'll like it, I'd say go with renting first. Even if it's just a 6 month lease somewhere. During that time you can feel the city out. Learn the different parts of town and where you may or may not wanna live. Find out what kind of commute to and from school you're willing to deal with. Assess the housing market. Find out things like that before you purchase a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo. And whenever you do finally purchase something, I'd say definitely rent out a room if possible.

audioaxes
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by audioaxes » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:18 pm

I think thats a good idea if you are planning to be a landlord once you move on from whatever place you buy. Plenty of properties that will pull in well above the 1% rental return rule. Obvious advise is to be aware of any property that could have been hit by the flood last year.

Saving$
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Saving$ » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:36 pm

You have a goal, but not a specific plan for the next x year.

Rent. Do not buy. You need to structure your life for maximum flexibility to implement a plan to meet your goals.

Moving to Houston and renting an apartment hoping to get a job at a nearby medical center may not be the ideal way to move forward with your goal. Brush up your resume, and start sending it out from California. Apply for LOTS of jobs. Don't move until you get a job. Don't do anything to affect your current income stream until you get a job.

Given what you have written about your background, an 8-5 job in a structured environment would be VERY helpful to your resume. Take any one you can get in Houston close to a field you are interested in, that you can do for a year.

Chuffly
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by Chuffly » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:51 pm

I'm with the rest of the "you should rent" chorus. After living in Houston the past couple years, I'd be a little skeptical of the safety of any condo you could scoop up for $60k.

Given that you have expressed reservations about flood risk, it wouldn't hurt to consult this tool:

http://www.harriscountyfemt.org/

The one major word of warning is that some areas depicted outside that map's 500-year floodplain still experienced flooding. So the tool isn't bulletproof. But it will at least it will give you an idea of the highest risk areas to avoid.

Another helpful tip - look at Zillow. If you start to look through houses in a neighborhood close to a bayou, you can start to get a sense of where the transition occurs from houses that took on floodwater to houses that stayed dry. The latter are more than happy to tell you, while most of the former have pictures of drywall missing from the bottom half of the house's 1st floor.

Just a few helpful tips.

fasteddie911
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by fasteddie911 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:44 am

Rent. The rental market is pretty good. Lots of rental complexes and availability, move-in specials, etc. You should have no problem finding a nice studio or 1br unit for less than $1500. You may have to move within a few years for school and renting makes that easy. This is a pretty bold move for the sake of med school acceptance and tuition savings, but good on you. I actually looked up stats on med school applications and I didn't realize the difference between UC and UT schools was that significant.

letsgobobby
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:53 am

i went to med school in Houston as an out of stater. PM me if you want to talk.

essbeer
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Re: Should I buy a house, duplex/multiplex, or condo in Houston, TX? Any advice?

Post by essbeer » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:11 am

Chuffly wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:51 pm
I'm with the rest of the "you should rent" chorus. After living in Houston the past couple years, I'd be a little skeptical of the safety of any condo you could scoop up for $60k.
You could, potentially, get a nice condo for $60k in an historic building with a sky high HOA fee. The OP might be able to float that. I'm kind of assuming that the OP is far more affluent than most of the other posters in this thread assume. The guy has just graduated from college and never been fully employed, but has $130k. To me, that sounds like a graduation present. It might be specifically for buying a condo to help establish residency.

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