The Deal With Cheap Vegas Real Estate

As I mentioned in other posts, I’ve bought a place in Vegas and have officially moved there (although I still spend a lot of my time traveling). Living in Vegas is a weird sort of loophole that most people probably aren’t even aware of, so I figured I’d talk about why I decided to do it, and the unique advantages that Vegas presents.

If you work independently or remotely, Vegas is very likely to be a place you should consider moving. If doing so would require you to find a job, Vegas is probably not for you. The job market here is terrible, which is part of why this opportunity exists. That barrier is suppressing demand for housing.

The biggest reason to consider Vegas is the very low cost of living. There’s no state income tax, and housing is cheap. Ridiculously cheap. My place would have cost approximately twenty-two times as much if I had bought it in San Francisco. Thats crazy! I bought a 1000 square foot place for under $45,000.

The thing that makes this amazing is the location. My place is six minutes from the airport, eight minutes to the center of the strip, twelve minutes from downtown, and five from Chipotle.

It’s in the East Strip area, which is universally trashed as being dangerous and sketchy. And while sketchy is at least true for some streets, my street is really nice. There’s no trash in sight, and the cars parked range from nineties Hondas to brand new Mercedes. My neighbors leave their doors not only unlocked, but open.

They all tell me that this area used to be bad, but has drastically improved recently. Prices don’t reflect this, and neither does general sentiment from people outside the area.

There are still streets in East Strip that I wouldn’t want to live in. People told me that things vary drastically from street to street, and I didn’t understand how correct they were until I saw it for myself. Some streets are perfectly maintained and safe to walk at night. Others have cars on blocks, trash, and lots of homeless people on them. I bought my place sight-unseen and got lucky, but in retrospect it would have been a much better idea to check it out first.

Vegas is also a much cooler city than people give it credit for. It has something for everyone, from beautiful hiking at Red Rock to the some of the best clubs in the world, huge world-class buffets to top-ranked foodie restaurants, major concerts to the best selection of Cirque shows. Some of my personal favorites are The Mandarin Oriental Tea Lounge, Merkato Ethiopian, Red Rocks, Pizza Rock, O and Mystere.

Maybe my favorite thing about Vegas is the fact that it’s a major hub. The most interesting people in the world live in San Francisco, but they all visit Vegas. It seems like everyone goes to Vegas sometimes. It’s also the cheapest domestic airport in the United States, so visiting or having visitors is very inexpensive. You can frequently go to San Francisco one-way for $39 or $49 after tax.

The downside to moving to Vegas is also extremely limited. There’s a state program that allows you to buy property with 0% down. Todd just bought a four-plex that way. While I’m not an expert investor, it’s hard to envision a city (besides, possibly, Detroit) with more upwards potential. And because of Vegas’ reputation as a destination, you can lazily Airbnb your place out once in a while and easily cover your monthly expenses. It’s hard for me to see a scenario where buying a place in Vegas goes bad.

To summarize: it’s one of the cheapest major cities in the US to live in, is a deceptively cool place to be, may possibly be a great investment, and is probably a very good hidden opportunity right now. If you do not need to have a local job, I suggest hopping on a cheap flight, checking it out, and seriously considering relocating. I’m really glad I did. If you need a referral to a realtor, let me know.

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Photo is the Dale Chihuly flower piece in the Bellagio entrance.

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