Hello! I have some cash that I need to invest. I could invest in the stock market but not looking to lose my shirt in a downturn, and the stock market is due for a correction if you ask me. I am thinking of investing in real estate/landlording in my general metro area. I have been looking at the Baltimore area east of the inner harbor, and have been bowled over by the charm and general adorableness of the area. I have spent hours driving around the area, and I've gone to open houses and looked at some houses with an agent. I'm looking in the "safe" areas of Canton, Patterson Park, Upper Fells, and Butchers Hill locations popular with young professionals and healthcare employees. Based on the prices I'm seeing over there, you don't meet the rough 1% of cost:rental rate if you're not careful, and you don't meet the 2% ratio regardless. My goal is to provide the initial 20% down payment and closing costs, then allow the renters to pay off the mortgage. Whatever rent is left over (after expenses) would go into paying off the mortgage as fast as possible. I would conserve reserves for upkeep and surprises.
My question to those of you who have invested in Baltimore is: Is this goal possible? Can I make this work even though I'd be working with narrow margins? Have you been able to keep your place consistently rented out? What steps do you take to analyze a potential investment property, specifically in Baltimore? Thank you so much for your thoughts. I am really excited to find this forum!
Is this goal possible? Yes or Sí or Oui
Can I make this work even though I'd be working with narrow margins? Yes or Sí or Oui
Have you been able to keep your place consistently rented out? No or No or Oui
What steps do you take to analyze a potential investment property, specifically in Baltimore? Find a good investment calculator. There are free ones available in the tools section right above. Then submit it to other investors, at least 3, to see if it's a good deal.
That's straight to the point hitting all the surface level answers to your question. I'll let others chime in.
You are doing the right things. I'm cosigning with @Lamont Marable here. Use the calculator BP has in the tools section, plug the values in and don't get emotional.
Thank you, Lamont and Solomon. I will sit down and carefully plug in numbers and see what the results show. This is really good advice.
If you don't have an amazing boots on the ground team in Baltimore, you will get crushed. You need a good agent, contractor, property manager, and tenant placement person.
If cash flow is your goals, you should be driving out of Canton, Fells Point etc.... areas
Learn the city, or find somebody who knows it
Ian, thank you. That's exactly my biggest fear and the reason why I haven't jumped into action. If I stick to the areas already mentioned, do I still need a property manager? I can see how finding the right tenants could be a problem. I would stick to people who can pass a credit check, verifiable employment, first and last month's rent, and a security deposit. That was my thought anyway, but what else should I consider? I live an hour's drive away. I plan to line up a reliable handyman for routine maintenance calls, and to have the names/numbers of reliable electricians, plumbers, hvac people for the times they're needed. Is that a good plan, or been there done that and not so good in real life? So far I've looked at turnkey rowhouses. That's part of the problem with the ratios, and I'm not adverse to finding something that needs work. I haven't explored that angle very carefully but willing to do all the background work if that's the way to go.
Hi Ozzy - I'm all ears about cash flow. If I could make some cash flow over and above targeted amounts for expenses and paying back mortgage within a target time, that would be awesome.
Lamont and Solomon, I did a "quick and dirty" calculation using the rental property tool, for one property, and the tool feedback was no, it does not meet the minimum ratios. I say "quick and dirty" because I haven't verified the full tax outlay outside of what is on the MLS system, and wasn't sure how to handle the questions about closing costs since I haven't received any estimated information from a mortgage company. I'm assuming mortgage and closing costs together will be about 7%. There is some money left over after all expenses and anticipated vacancy, but not much - about $400/monthly, on an upfront cash investment of roughly $42,000. A failed hvac or refrigerator could wipe that out very quickly. I'm thinking these areas are not looking so good for turnkey investment purposes.