Syracuse NY Area-A decent market to invest in?

16 Replies

Hi all! My husband and I are looking to purchase a house in the Syracuse area and rent it out to a long term (non-college) tenant. We are looking in Syracuse because I am from there (currently in the military) and familiar with the area. We are also interested in the surrounding towns/cities of Syracuse. Any advice on potential growing areas in Upstate NY? Also any advice on how to best factor in the yearly tax payment for NY houses while still generating a small cashflow? Long post short, just looking to learn from those who have bought a house in the Syracuse area and see if they have any tips/trick on how to best go about doing so. Thanks!

I am not 100% sure about the Syracuse area for buying a house but if you do make sure you understand the NY landlord laws. NY state is very tenant friendly and will eat all of your profits if you don't know the law. I live in Rochester and work with these laws everyday. It's not impossible to make money here you just have to be smart about it. 

@Leah McNell I used to live in Syracuse in fact I rented there while attending college for construction management at Suny ESF and my wife attended Syracuse Unigersity. I would look at purchasing a house near the colleges there are three great schools right there. You could rent out room to medical students they should treat your home very well if you screen them with some effort. But if you are looking to make a few hundred dollars a month I'm sure you could do well purchasing in the DeWitt, Camillus or Fayetteville Manlius areas as well. There are some nice areas around the outside of the city that attract better renters I would imagine. Best of luck to you!

All great advice thank you! We knew the Syracuse was not going to make us millions, but if we can generate a few hundred dollars a month we will be happy....more of a learning experience for us right now. I will have to look into the NY Landlord laws. That plus high property taxes may be a deal breaker for us. Again, thank you all for your inputs! 

I have several rental units (mostly SFRs and 2FRs) in Syracuse. It's a real struggle to make money. Tenants are not great, city rules and regs are hard to comply with, and don't expect any appreciation on the value of the property.  I'd say about 1 in every 200 I look at are worth considering and 1 in every 300 is investible. Best of luck. 

@Leah McNell pick a neighborhood that is not in the city system school district. Also I would suggest getting close to the hospitals so you draw in those tenants. You can make money amywhere with real estate as long as you buy well, dont let people discuriage you... Be patient. DM me if you need anything else!

@Leah McNell i have 16 properties in Syracuse and have been doing it since 1996. Some things to think about:

Are you going to live in Syracuse? Maybe buy a 2 family and rent out the other side?

Are you buying with cash or need a mortgage? All those horrible closing loan costs are even worse in income property.

Do you have a good nest egg? I got a call on Tues that my tenant's fridge see. A new one is over $500.

As far as DeWitt, etc the taxes dont justify the extra rent. I made that mistake, taxes on one property as $6000!

Lastly, the new laws. While before jine 2019 I could get someone out within 1 month. Now it is minimum 3 months. Can you afford to carry the property for 3 months with no income?

Just some things to consider.

I am moving my investments out of syracuse. Taxes , politicains, National grid, working with the city. Tenant laws, type of tennant. All reasons to not invest in upstate NY.

Love this insight. Real property owners renting to others in Syracuse is just what we were looking for. Thank you all for your inputs. We will continue to analyze houses in Syracuse, but may need to look elsewhere. 

I still actively invest in Syracuse because I already have the network and connections and affordable property management in place there.  Trustworthy property managers and contractors are few and far between, so when you find them, treat them right and keep them happy. (duh)

 Money can be made, but there are better markets.  Property management and upkeep and taxes get most deals pretty close to 0 cashflow, unfortunately, unless you get a killer deal or do a significant value add to minimize capex.  

Winters are brutal on the aging housing stock.

Tenant laws in NY have recently swung and make it extremely difficult to evict tenants for non-payment.

Combined Prop taxes are around 3.5% in the city.

NY legislative body mostly interested in passing regressive (progressive) policy and making the situation worse.

@Leah McNell - @Pat Goodyear has been investing in the area and is very knowledgeable, plus lives here and understands the nuances.

I recommend communicating with her more thoroughly about the pros and cons are if you haven't already, before making a final decision.

I run a local Meetup but do not yet have the experience Pat does, hence my suggestion.

Food for thought...

@Pat Goodyear @Patrick DiDomenico @Mike Alt  

From doing a few hours of research, it looks like you can get a fairly stabilized building at $45,000 a door that has government-backed (subsidized) voucher for $900 a month? Even with flat asset prices and slightly high property taxes, there seems to be plenty of margin for cash flow. What am I missing?