What to Do if You’re Located in an Expensive Real Estate Market

by | BiggerPockets.com

Often, certain investments are working in your town, but they are just not working at your financial level. In other words, the numbers work, but they are so high that the barrier to entry is keeping you out. If so, there are creative methods you can use to get involved. For example, forming a partnership, raising private money, or engaging in real estate wholesaling can allow you to still be involved. There are also a lot of creative ways you can invest in properties that require far less money.

I understand, of course, that in some areas, a home selling for $300,000 still may only rent for $1,000 per month. I understand that in some areas, the relativity between rent and price is out of whack. Sometimes, properties are just not worth buying.

What then?


Related: AirBnB vs. Traditional Rental Income: A Creative Way for Investors to Cash Flow in Expensive Cities

What Is Working in Your Area?

Perhaps your goal is to buy and hold single-family homes in Manhattan. I’m sorry, but that’s probably not going to work out real well for you. Each location is optimal at certain things, but not at everything. If the math doesn’t seem to work on a certain type of investment in your area, perhaps it’s time to consider what is working.

  • Would wholesaling commercial properties be a better use of your time?
  • What about multifamily properties?
  • How about condo conversions?
  • What about fast food triple-net leases?
  • Have you considered subsidized low-income housing?

Before blacklisting your entire town, make sure you take time to investigate exactly what your town is good at. Perhaps you’ll discover a highly profitable investing strategy that your “expensive town” is excellent at.

There are dozens of different ways to invest in rental properties; you might just need to find the right niche. To find what is working in your town, simply connect with investors who are actively engaged in your market. What are they investing in? How are they making a profit? Discover the secret to their success, and you’ll find the path to yours.

Have You Checked the Outskirts?

How much do Starbucks’ employees make in downtown New York City? My guess is not a whole lot more than they make in my small rural town. My point is this: the large percentage of society who make less than $15 an hour and work in expensive cities still need to live somewhere near their place of work. Baristas are not making six figures, yet they still manage to work in expensive areas. How?

Related: 4 Things to Understand BEFORE Investing in Markets with Declining Populations

In nearly every expensive city, there are pockets of low-priced properties. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating slumlording or investing in a dangerous ghetto. Those areas have problems and extra expenses of their own. Location is still key in any real estate investment. I’m referring to the middle-class neighborhoods on the outskirts and in the suburbs. Generally, these areas are found 20 to 40 miles outside the city center, in smaller towns and communities.

Speak with a good real estate agent about these areas or get on BiggerPockets and connect with some local successful investors and see where they are investing. Find the best location with the lowest prices, and focus your efforts there.

If still you find that there are no decent locations nearby that you can invest in, perhaps it’s time to look outside your area and consider long-distance investing.

Are you located in an expensive market? Have you found ways around prices that just don’t make sense?

Leave your comments below!

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, FoxNews.com, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.


  1. Robert Beryl

    I’m trying to start out, reading as much as possible and loving the Podcasts. I’m in one of those high priced areas; South Florida.

    I don’t feel I know enough yet, but they are building new ocean high rises which are condo hotels. This seems (though need to run more numbers) like a possible way in for me.

  2. I live, work, and play in an expensive area of Cali. The numbers just are not working at this point. I met a 90 year old real estate investor that gave me a good tip….harvest cash now and enjoy the view until the opportunity rolls back again.

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