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Ozzie girl living in San Antonio Texas

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Ozzie in Texas, 3rd Nov, 2015.

  1. Ozzie in Texas

    Ozzie in Texas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Nov, 2015
    Posts:
    497
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Hi everyone.

    Let me introduce myself by first saying that I truly have no platform or business to sell you.

    I bought my first investment property when I was 17-18 and my second property, a few years later.

    I am a Sydney girl who happened to spend a year studying abroad in 1998. Specifically, at University of California. During my scholarship year, I met my lovely Texan-born husband. We continued living in Los Anglese until 1999 and then immigrated back to Sydney, Australia.

    We bought our first investment home together in about 2009/10.

    The Sydney market was too hot and after doing a lot of homework / research on affordable places to invest in Australia, we decided that investing in the US property market just made more sense.

    That is - we could get a big bang for our buck and better return on our investment.

    We were looking at crappy, run-down apartments in Sydney on the market for $3-400,000......and knew we could buy so much more in the United States for way less money.

    We bought our first home in San Antonio. We decided that this was the place to be.

    San Antonio is expected to double its population in the next 10 years. It's median age is 34. It's a military town......and thus, has a stable property and rental growth. It is also one of the most affordable places to live in the United States.

    Unlike most other cities in the US, property prices in Texas.....and San Antonio.....were mostly unaffected by the property bust experiences elsewhere during the GFC.

    While making our first purchase in San Antonio, we started to think ...what the heck are we doing in Sydney.

    I have the advantage of being married to a US citizen. It was an easy decision for me to move to the United States..........and to invest here.

    I know how hard it is to live in Sydney. I been there.

    While I have nothing to sell you, I am happy to share with you my experience of San Antonio, Texas.

    My simple and humble advice to anyone wanting to invest in the US is DON'T focus on what may seem as cheap property deal.....as you may end up with a property in gettoville that noone will want to live in or buy from you when you realise your mistake.

    You want awesome investment potentials in the US ......look to invest in young/growth cities.

    From working and living in Australia, I know that Australians are fascinated about the United States.

    This is my pay back to Australia......the place I love ......but man, those property prices are just too ridiculous. :)

    I am happy to tell you about my experiences of buying and selling in Texas as experienced by me while I was living in Australia.........as well as by me, now living here in San Antonio, Texas.

    If you have questions or need free advice........I am happy to share my experiences.
     
    Gockie, WattleIdo, Kangaroo and 2 others like this.
  2. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Hi and welcome

    I like Texas, planning laws seem a lot simpler than here from what I've read.

    Would love to hear your opinions on your local market or other cities in your state (e.g. Dallas, Houston), if you're familiar.

    Where do you see yourself investing next? One of the Australian cities? Or American ones?
     
  3. Wukong

    Wukong Well-Known Member

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    18th Jun, 2015
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    Location:
    NSW
    Please do share your experiences buying in the US
     
  4. legallyblonde

    legallyblonde Well-Known Member

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    23rd Jun, 2015
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    Location:
    TAS
    I thought only Americans called us 'Ozzies' ;)
     
    WattleIdo likes this.
  5. Ozzie in Texas

    Ozzie in Texas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Nov, 2015
    Posts:
    497
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    While I was writing and thinking about my post, I found this article about how Texas avoided the Great Recession.

    I absolutely love Dallas. I wish I had bought in Dallas back in the mid-2000. But alas, I was raising babies back then. There are some great neighbourhoods in northern Dallas which have seen amazing rises in property values over the last 10 years.

    IMO, I think that there is better value elsewhere in Texas. I think Waco, San Antonio and Corpus Christi (and areas surrounding those cities) are much more attractive.

    Investing in Australian cities makes no sense. The rate of return on your investment makes no sense. The risk/reward ratio makes no sense.
     
    Blacky likes this.
  6. Ozzie in Texas

    Ozzie in Texas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Nov, 2015
    Posts:
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    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Legallyblonde.........I am a bottled blonde myself. I just received my US residency card a couple of weeks ago......I guess that makes me an "almost there" in the making Yank. And changing the way I write dates and spell words and dropping my slang is just par of the course. :p

    Btw - one of my teenage sons also called me up for my spelling of Oz.
     
  7. legallyblonde

    legallyblonde Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jun, 2015
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    686
    Location:
    TAS
    Haha you are quite naturalised then.. Just don't forget the letter 'u' and I will be able to forgive you for 'Ozzie' ;)

    P.S. Texas is great! I have only ever been to Austin, but it was wonderful! I had no idea it could get so cold in texas though!
     
  8. Handyandy

    Handyandy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
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    119
    Location:
    Sutherland
    Hi Ozzie

    I have certainly found that my US based properties give me great returns but that is as a result of buying really well (2011) and with a exchange rate that was in my favour. Things are not so good now and worse when you take into consideration that we have real problems getting loans, although I am aware that we can now get money at 7.5% fixed, but there are establishment costs and substantial penalties for early surrender.

    Anyway, I am about to enter into a 1031 Exchange in Atlanta and wondering whether you have ever dove one and if so could you share your experience, particularly any pitfalls apart from the time limits which are pretty well spelt out.

    Cheers
     
  9. Ozzie in Texas

    Ozzie in Texas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Nov, 2015
    Posts:
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    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Handyandy. I hear you. Over the decade or so of travelling back and forth between Australia and the US, I developed the knack of picking the worst time re: the exchange rate.

    Yes, the AUD is down from its high.....but it is probably at the rate where it should be.

    However, you are also benefiting from a strong USD in your rental income and property valuations. Swings and roundabouts. Just like investing. When is it a great time to invest? Whenever your ready......because if you wait for perfect conditions, it may not ever happen.

    I bought my first property when interest rates where around 17-18%. Yeap - it hurt.......but in hindsight, property prices in Sydney in the 1980's were also selling at better market valuations than now.

    Thank you for letting me know about 1031 Exchanges. I wasn't previously familiar but it seems interesting. I wish you well. Please keep me informed on your progress.

    Your US portfolio is impressive. Well done.
     
  10. Ozzie in Texas

    Ozzie in Texas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Nov, 2015
    Posts:
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    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Legallyblonde. You must have been in Austin around December/January. Last winter caught us by surprise as well. One day, the temperature was in the 80s and the next, below freezing. And that was our introduction to winter in Texas.

    I had to keep my children home from school that day because we weren't prepared for the suddenness of winter.

    Austin is a cool town. My hubby and I were there about a month ago enjoying a performance of Cirque du Soliel. Austin is only about an hour or so drive away.
     
  11. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney
    Hello Ozzie, can you share a few links of good deals/properties in the areas you mentioned? What are typical rental yields there like?
     
  12. datto

    datto Well-Known Member

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    Mt Druuiitt
    G'day Ozzie. Very interesting read.

    Sydney housing ain't all that bad. I made a absolute killing. True, she's in the back of my car under a blanket - I'll dispose it later lol just joking.

    Anyway, I've always been fascinated about the US esp the trailer parks and the likes of Ted Bundy.

    But seriously with US$200K, what would you go for in terms of yield?

    And I was only joking about the scary things I mentioned. I'm not sick.
     
  13. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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  14. SeafordSunshine

    SeafordSunshine Well-Known Member

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    24th Jun, 2015
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    Location:
    Sydney
    Hello Ozzie! I went to San Antone as a recent graduate, I learnt to eat rice and beans there! I stayed at the Youth Hostel and the lady who ran it gave be the biggest hug! She was a Real Southerner! Happy memories! I took the bus to Laredo, walked to Nuevo Laredo.. Frontiersville...
     
  15. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Sounds awesome. Which campus?

    Go Spurs!
     
  16. datto

    datto Well-Known Member

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    Where's dicky knee?
     
  17. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Location:
    Perth, Melbourne, USA
    Hi O in T
    great post
    love to hear know more about your story, what you purchased and your experience

    I followed HandyAndy and purchased properties in Atlanta, so far so good.
    I think Texas was higher entry level?


    mtr
     
  18. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
    datto likes this.
  19. Ozzie in Texas

    Ozzie in Texas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Nov, 2015
    Posts:
    497
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    [QUOTE="datto, But seriously with US$200K, what would you go for in terms of yield? [/QUOTE]

    It depends on what you have the stomach for. If you're willing to spend money renovating, you can buy a rundown 2/3 bedroom homes in up and coming inner city neighborhoods for $45-50,000, or ok to decently maintained rental homes for $80-90,000.....or a 3/4 bedroom home in growth neighborhoods in Northwest San Antonio.

    If you are game to enter the renovation game, you need to take note the age of the property - just like Australia, asbestos is an issue in older buildings and will cost you more to rip down walls, etc.

    I wouldn't recommend buying apartments, as the HOA fees (equiv to strata fees) truly bite. Also watch out for closed communities/neighborhoods as their fees can be high as well.

    There are neighborhoods that are too scary for me (particularly south and east of SA).....though you could negate risk in lower income neighborhoods by perhaps applying for Section 8 (Assisted Housing) where you are guaranteed rent.

    My favourite websites to start researching are redfin.com and truila.com. You can use the school ratings to identify good neighborhoods. Unsurprisingly, there is a strong correlation between good schools and level of family incomes, crime rates, etc.

    A good buying agent can also help steer you through the process. You better make them your friend as they are vital to the process of buying/selling. Real estate agents in the US are very different beasts from their Australian counterparts. Real estate agents in the US take on multiple roles. They represent either the buyer or seller, and will not only negotiate the sale but as manage the conveyancing as well.

    As for my current progress ........I'm stuck in no man's land at the moment. We started the immigration process nearly 4 years ago. We've been here for just over a year (after being granted temporary residency) and only recently, have I obtain my work permit, social security card ........and permanent residency is still about a month away.

    I need to work for at least a year or two to re-establish a credit history in the US.

    In hindsight, it would have been better and wiser for me to spend more time in Australia building an investment portfolio before relocating. Man.....don't you hate hindsight. What a useless ability. :rolleyes:

    There are a few banks that offer loans to foreigners (which of course I can no longer access). It takes some digging but they are out there. They are also lenders who are willing to offer loans at scandalously high interest rates as well. Again, a good buyers agent can help. I love him and will continuing using in the future.

    Our first purchase/venture in San Antonio was all done online, while living in Australia. We were cash buyers and the transaction was completed in 2 weeks. Our second transaction, our family home, was more stressful because of the emotional attachment.

    I've started looking around at parcels of land as my next target. It is something that can be done with little cash as land is cheap. My immediate goal is to target parcels in new subdivisions or just outside cities like Corpus Christi...and just sit and wait. It beats having savings sit in the bank earning nothing.

    Man......I could go on forever. I will leave it at that for now. I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have.
     
    Gockie likes this.
  20. Ozzie in Texas

    Ozzie in Texas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3rd Nov, 2015
    Posts:
    497
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    OK - just one more thought because it appeared as a banner ad at my end. I just saw one of those silly ads selling you another "how to". Don't spend money on anyone who is selling you something that you can do and learn for yourself. They are rampant in the US.

    For what its worth - foreclosure and short sale properties eventually all make it to market. In some instances - eg Fannie Mae, homes will be held off market for a short period of time to allow low income earners/those with poor credit first shot, and then if not sold (which is often), the property becomes available on the market.

    Short sales are still around - but require patience and lots of time with no guarantees that after months of waiting around that you will be successful. But if you have an attitude of nothing ventured, nothing gained......go for it. Though beware .....buyers agents don't like dealing with short sales.....because they live off commissions and don't want to be sitting around on a potential deal for months.

    Investing in Australia or the US or anywhere else........is about relationships. You need a team of good people that you can rely on and trust. Or if you're lucky, find that one person who can bring that team together for you.
     
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