Interest Only On Tri-plex?

Chad just finished college and is looking to invest in some rental properties.

QUESTION: Chad recently graduated from college.  He has no debt and wants to start investing.  He is considering building a tri-plex, living in one of the apartments, and renting out the other two.  Should he get an interest-only loan to pay for this?

ANSWER: You should not get the interest-only loan.  You must put this complex on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage that makes up no more than ¼ of your take home pay.  If you can’t purchase the tri-plex, or any other real estate investment, that way then you should not buy it.

If you buy this complex and live in the property as well, you need to set down some strict renter guidelines because living in the same building with your renters can be tricky.  They have access to you 24-hours a day, but it can be good to have access to them as well.

If you decide to buy a single-family home just for yourself you won’t have the cash flow, but you will have the appreciation and ability to resell.  And you may end up living there long term.

Just remember with real estate that your plans only work about half of the time.  Don’t discount the risk either.