Plans on Starting in Louisville/Cincinnati – Suggestions?

11 Replies

Hi everyone,

My name is Evan Carrico and I am new to REI. I am currently in my last semester at the University of Kentucky and will be graduating into a full-time position in Cincinnati this summer. I am from Louisville, so I am interested in focusing on the Louisville and/or Cincinnati markets for my long-term outlook. My current plan for starting my portfolio includes a Cincinnati house hack in early 2022 through an FHA 203(k) loan.

I am currently educating myself through books, podcasts, and networking along with practicing "running the numbers" for deals off Zillow. While I am excited about my plans to start my portfolio next year, I am interested to see if you all have any suggestions of how I can better prepare myself for then and/or get involved in REI now. Are there any specific books or contacts you would suggest?

I am excited to hear from you all and appreciate the feedback. Feel free to message me as well!


Hey Evan! Welcome to BP. It's a wonderful community. I strongly encourage you to continue what you're doing (reading, research, and learning the numbers). REI is all about numbers. I would save as much as humanly possible from now until 2022. FHA loans suck and 203K is difficult. It's not the easiest or best way to get into investing. That's just my opinion.

If you're using Zillow for research be sure to search "sold" properties. Never use list price to determine anything. It's also helpful to look at the history and dive deeper. Look at property records, taxes, and previous sales. You can determine of the direction of the target neighborhood and see what other investors are doing. You probably won't rewrite history on your first deal. I certainly didn't. 

I love Cincinnati! I have some friends living over there, actually in Hebron, KY but we visit downtown all the time. So much activity over there. Excited for the FCC matches in the new stadium! Cheers. 

Congrats, Evan! Both on graduation and the planned house hack! Great way to start and sounds like your education is well underway. My wife and I are REI in Cincy and although the market is very hot, it only takes one right deal to get started. Good luck!

Hey congrats on graduating and moving to Cincinnati. I have a meetup at Madtree Brewery for local investors. You can find it by searching in the events tab. We always enjoy new people. 

If you'd like to talk, feel free to reach out.

Hey @Evan Carrico , it's great that you're interested in getting started in REI at such a young age. I think house-hacking is the best way for a young guy like you to get started. My friend, Bryce Stewart, was just on the BP Podcast and he wrote a book about house-hacking. I would suggest you read that book or another like it.

@Jaron Walling

Thanks for your reply and I really appreciate your feedback! I can see why the FHA loans can be difficult to deal with for investing purposes. Is there a different pathway you'd recommend taking for financing my first deal?

The way I understand it, the more personalized a deal becomes the better it is.

@Evan Carrico Congrats on wanting to get started straight out of college. I'm a fellow UK grad, lived in Cincy after college and now back living and investing in Louisville. House hacking is the best way to start. Happy to connect 

You're smart to be thinking of house hacking.  The cheapest money you'll ever borrow will be for owner occupied housing.  The first three homes I ever purchased and lived in were duplexes.  I still have two of them today and wish I hadn't sold the third one.  :)

@Evan Carrico , welcome from another Evan in Cincinnati.  With a house-hack, but also with all of my investments too, I used the approach of would I live here?  If the answer is yes, then I know others like me will want to live there too, and therefore I never had issues finding tenants.  The one property I ever had issues with, was the one that my wife WOULD NOT go to, and sure enough we had more turn over, more vacancy, and higher turn over costs for that property.

Back to house-hacking, I always say look for the property you want first, and know others like you will be willing to be your roommates.  If you want walkable, great.  If you want a subdivision, that's fine too.  Cincinnati had been one of the hottest markets for single families in the country, and most neighborhoods are still extremely hard to find properties. As you start looking, please feel free to reach out with any questions.  I have lived here far longer than I care to admit :)

@Evan Carrico House hacking is an incredible way to get into buy and hold real estate investing with a relatively low financial barrier to entry… plus the added benefit of reducing housing costs!

Getting your mindset right, setting goals, and creating a strategy are essential first steps to investing in real estate. It's also crucial to surround yourself with the right people.

There are many people that you will need to surround yourself with. To ensure success you will definitely want to associate with like-minded people, people with experience and who are already doing what it is you want to do, and people who inspire you… not naysayers, negative people, nor critics. BP is a great place to find these people, both virtually and in real life. You can find local meetups in your area by going to Network>Events up in the menu bar. I’ve found that people on BP are incredibly friendly and willing to help.

Besides surrounding yourself with the right people, the two initial and essential members of your professional team will be a lender and a realtor. You need to make sure you find quality, experienced professionals. These two members of your team can make the process great or terrible. They can make a deal happen when it looks like it’s going to fall apart or they can kill a deal that is on track to close. These two team members will help you fill out your team by leveraging their professional networks (inspectors, lawyers, escrow officers, CPA’s, etc). It’s never really too early to start making these contacts.

When it comes to Realtors, they will help you identify which areas of town are good to invest in and what to expect in rents, quality of tenants, how to analyze deals, provide you with investing opportunities (both on market and off market).

Besides figuring out what your goals are, how you want to get started, and meeting like-minded people, the first action item would be to talk to a lender. In my experience working with house hackers, the majority of the questions center around financing the deal.

When it comes to finding the right lender there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Lenders, like realtors, are not all created equal. In order of importance, here’s what I think is important to look for in a lender. You want to make sure your lender:

  • Has worked with house hackers before; the rules change depending on what loan type you use and how many units you purchase. There are A LOT OF TRAPS along the way that can/will make the deal fall through (and cause you to lose your earnest money). You want to be sure the lender you choose has navigated them before.
  • Can help you strategize the lending piece for this purchase AND purchases in the future
  • Is an investor themselves

Best of luck!

Hi Evan,

You are for sure ahead of the ball. Getting all of your research and due diligence done up front is the key. I do agree, owner occupied is the way to go. Less down payment and they have great rates as well. I would recommend browsing certain areas in Cincinnati in person as well. You have multiple resources in these forums, so reach out to anyone that might be of service to you.