What to Know About Buying Rental Property Outside of California

Real estate investment can be a great way to grow wealth and even provide a steady stream of passive income. However, as every Californian knows, real estate prices in the state are often prohibitively expensive, leaving many people with few options. As a result, it is often necessary to look outside the state for more affordable opportunities.

For those who are drawn to the idea of buying rental property outside of California, here are a few critical points to consider.

1. Know the Market

Real estate values vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood, even street to street. Most of us understand this intuitively regarding the area where we live, but it can be easy to lose sight of this fact when searching for property in another city. Without local knowledge, it’s easy to get lured in by a “great deal” that turns out not to be so great. Alternatively, there may be a part of town where real estate prices will likely  skyrocket in a few years, but you wouldn’t know about it.

If possible, it’s better to buy property in an area that you are already familiar with. If not, it’s a good idea to get to know the place and try to be physically present as much as you can throughout the process.

2. Find a Good Agent

Having a real estate agent you can trust is always important, but it is doubly so for people buying an out-of-state investment property. Tying in to the point above, a good real estate agent can be an invaluable source of knowledge about the local market. They can guide you toward great opportunities and steer you away from a money pit.  The wrong agent, or even just an indifferent one, may prioritize closing the sale over looking out for your best interests.

What’s more, your relationship with a real estate agent can be a great start to building a local network of connections. From inspectors to contractors to property managers, you’ll need a lot of help to make your rental property a success, and a good real estate agent can put you on the right path.

3. Property Managers Can Be a Big Help

It will be tough to administer an out-of-state rental property on your own. For starters, someone has to be on hand to show the property, collect rent, inspect the property for damage, etc. If maintenance issues crop up, they must be dealt with promptly, which may be challenging to orchestrate from another state. Also, you’ll need to be familiar with state and local laws regarding leases, evictions, and more.

Hiring a local property manager simplifies all of this. For a fee, often a percentage of the monthly rent, property managers will find renters, oversee the signing of the lease, collect rent, send maintenance workers, and take care of other problems as they arise.

4. Tax Implications

Owning an out-of-state rental property can be a great investment, but it will complicate your annual tax return. If nothing else, you will almost certainly have to file a return in the state where the property is located. 

You’ll want to take advantage of deductions for depreciation and other associated costs, such as fees paid to a property manager. If you operated at a net loss for the year, you may or may not be able to deduct that loss from your other earnings (like salary). To navigate all of this without incurring the wrath of the IRS, you should strongly consider hiring a tax professional.

Talk to a Real Estate Specialist

If you are considering purchasing a rental property, whether it’s in California or elsewhere, our team of experienced real estate attorneys can provide the expertise and assistance to make the process go smoothly. From minimizing tax exposure to reviewing contracts, we’ll be at your side every step of the way. 

Contact our office today to start putting your investment plan into action.

Written By

Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law