Advice for investing in the Boston area

5 Replies

Hi everyone,

I know this is likely the overly-obvious, "goes without saying" question to ask around here, but I wanted to be bold and ask it anyways. 

What recommendations might any of you successful investors have for finding opportunities in the Boston area (or really anything inside 128)? 

I am a new real estate investor looking for buy and hold opportunities and targeting cash-flow.  I grew up in the Boston suburbs and the surrounding towns are areas I'm would be very comfortable buying in, geographically speaking. 

It's obvious that the prices on the market are red hot, which makes finding a good entry point difficult to begin with.  People will typically say that the C/C+ areas are where you get your best cash flow.  Around here, many times that translates to those areas in Central and Western Mass.  My difficulty though, is primarily that from being around the Boston suburbs, it's such a different world that I'm finding it difficult to really feel comfortable out in those areas.  I'd love to be able to target something in my area (since I feel like I know it best), but how can someone like me possibly hope to land a profitable property around here? 

I know everyone in my shoes is likely asking this question to themselves, but I wanted to see if there is anyone out there willing to work with me to help identify ways I can make some progress.  I'm a quick study very eager and hungry to learn and succeed.  I'm willing to do whatever it takes to progress, so anything those of you who have been successful in this area have in the way of advice or guidance is welcome. 

Thanks very much!  I hope everyone has a great week! 

Account Closed  Look at the south shore and the south coast.  South shore has some far more reasonable prices, though not so much inside RT 128.  

Look in Pembroke, Kingston, Marshfield, Plymouth, Taunton, Brockton, Halifax, Hanson and Middleboro to name a few.  

On the south coast, look at Fall River and New Bedford.  Definitely working class towns, but there are much lower prices there too.

Staying inside RT 218 would be nice, but unless you're willing to pay a stiff premium for it, it's probably not practical.

Thanks very much, @Charlie MacPherson .  I appreciate the recommendation of those areas you mentioned.  I will certainly take a look at those. 

I know the areas within 128 are super hot right now (and certainly if I look on the MLS the prices are practically untouchable). The one thing I keep wondering though, is whether there might be a method of finding off market properties within these super hot markets that might prove even slightly effective? I realize the hotter the market the more difficult it will be, but for a beginner like me I thought it would be worth asking the question.

Are folks in the Boston area finding off market properties in much the same ways we hear about on the BP podcasts and the rest of the forums?  Or is this area so hot it's not worth going that route?  Are there any methods I might not be considering?  Should I simply be networking with realtors in these super hot markets and trying to find a pocket listing?  Do mailers work in the Boston area?  Driving for dollars?  I'd love to hear what any successful investors may have done to find deals in and around Boston that might not necessarily be on market. 

Additionally, with respect to those markets you mentioned looking into, I don't have any pre-existing knowledge or familiarity with those areas either, so I'm hesitant to jump in there (at least for now).  What might people recommend for getting more comfortable with a particular area?  I don't know if simply driving around for a weekend would do the trick, but I'm open to any and all suggestions! 

I apologize for the loaded questions, and for rambling a bit.  But thanks again!

Account Closed  I don't think there's any silver bullet - especially not in this area.

Anybody who can fog a mirror knows it's a hot real estate market.  Unless there's a VERY unusual situation, anybody wanting to sell just lists their home with a real estate agent.  

Of course, the exception is still the desperate and ignorant - the most common prey for the wholesaler - which, by the way, is illegal in MA, unless you double close.  

But as far as your buy & hold strategy, I'd target out of state owners who either have delinquent taxes, run down properties or are evicting tenants (hover around housing court to find them).

That said, there are 1% and even the occasional 2% properties in the towns I've mentioned, so those really are worth a look.

Hi Account Closed said, theres no real silver bullet to finding a good deal even if it is off market because then most likely, there will be multiple other people that know about it as well looking for the same deal. 

Looking for deals a little bit further away from Boston is still the best bet unless you are able to find other deals that are a little closer and the numbers still make sense. There are also still areas that are further away but have easy access to Boston through public transportation, which is a huge plus for some people. I do sometimes come across off market deals that we offer only to people who work in our office and our contacts. What are your goals and what types of properties are you looking for? Are you interested in projects that include rehab or want them to be as ready to rent as possible?

@Phil K,  HOT is an understatement if you ask me.  Properties are going well over asking and numbers don't support it.  I think everyone is hopping for that $3k per unit rental income which is not something that can be sustained in the long run IMHO... some of these areas are no Zurich!