Update: Planning road trip

16 Replies

Hello,

This is an update to my previous post on https://www.biggerpockets.com/.... I've decided to hit the road and hit 13 cities in the span of 34 days. I will be visiting Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburg, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Lansing, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and finally Allentown basically making a circle through the eastern Midwest. I'll be spending 3 nights in the larger cities and 2 nights in the smaller ones. My trip is essentially a vacation, but other than enjoying the unique touristy things each city has to offer, I really want to use the bulk of my time to explore markets and dip my toe in the water of investing, exploring different neighborhoods, looking at properties, talking to agents, investors, and whomever else can provide valuable insight on what I'd be venturing into when I'm eventually ready to buy.

My intention with this post isn't really to turn this into a sort of journal with periodic updates, but mostly I was hoping that this post, and perhaps others in the future, could help me connect with some of you more experienced folks out there who may be willing to lend a helpful hand in anything at all real estate related. If you live, or do business in, or know people in any of the above mentioned cities, I would love to just get to pick your brains about what these markets are like and to help a newbie investor get his bearings straight for when I finally pull the trigger. 

Feel free to ask me anything and shoot me messages! Looking forward to meeting whomever I can wherever I can!

Marvin

Originally posted by @Marvin Michel :

Hello,

This is an update to my previous post on https://www.biggerpockets.com/.... I've decided to hit the road and hit 13 cities in the span of 34 days. I will be visiting Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburg, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Lansing, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and finally Allentown basically making a circle through the eastern Midwest. I'll be spending 3 nights in the larger cities and 2 nights in the smaller ones. My trip is essentially a vacation, but other than enjoying the unique touristy things each city has to offer, I really want to use the bulk of my time to explore markets and dip my toe in the water of investing, exploring different neighborhoods, looking at properties, talking to agents, investors, and whomever else can provide valuable insight on what I'd be venturing into when I'm eventually ready to buy.

My intention with this post isn't really to turn this into a sort of journal with periodic updates, but mostly I was hoping that this post, and perhaps others in the future, could help me connect with some of you more experienced folks out there who may be willing to lend a helpful hand in anything at all real estate related. If you live, or do business in, or know people in any of the above mentioned cities, I would love to just get to pick your brains about what these markets are like and to help a newbie investor get his bearings straight for when I finally pull the trigger. 

Feel free to ask me anything and shoot me messages! Looking forward to meeting whomever I can wherever I can!

Marvin

 That's one hellava trip bro. Holy Smokes!

Originally posted by @James Wise :
Originally posted by @Marvin Michel:

Hello,

This is an update to my previous post on https://www.biggerpockets.com/.... I've decided to hit the road and hit 13 cities in the span of 34 days. I will be visiting Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburg, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Lansing, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and finally Allentown basically making a circle through the eastern Midwest. I'll be spending 3 nights in the larger cities and 2 nights in the smaller ones. My trip is essentially a vacation, but other than enjoying the unique touristy things each city has to offer, I really want to use the bulk of my time to explore markets and dip my toe in the water of investing, exploring different neighborhoods, looking at properties, talking to agents, investors, and whomever else can provide valuable insight on what I'd be venturing into when I'm eventually ready to buy.

My intention with this post isn't really to turn this into a sort of journal with periodic updates, but mostly I was hoping that this post, and perhaps others in the future, could help me connect with some of you more experienced folks out there who may be willing to lend a helpful hand in anything at all real estate related. If you live, or do business in, or know people in any of the above mentioned cities, I would love to just get to pick your brains about what these markets are like and to help a newbie investor get his bearings straight for when I finally pull the trigger. 

Feel free to ask me anything and shoot me messages! Looking forward to meeting whomever I can wherever I can!

Marvin

 That's one hellava trip bro. Holy Smokes!


Pretty good huh?  I like to travel in big chunks. Last time I did something like this, I road tripped from Vancouver to Tijuana, but back then it was all leisure. Now I'm incorporating business into it. I'd love for my life to turn into being something like a traveling RE investor. 

Originally posted by @Andrew Fidler :

@Marvin Michel - when you visit Toledo we’d love to show you our office, property management operation, and cruise some of the wiser neighborhoods to invest in! 

 Thanks so much Andrew. I'll be in Toledo from the 20th - 22nd of October. Hopefully I'll see you there.

@Marvin Michel

Super cool. Would Iove if you reported back on some of your findings.

Check out the suburbs of Detroit for some of the best price/rent/location ratios in the nation.

FIRE Realty Team could show you around.

Warren, Redford, Harper Woods, Taylor, Lincoln Park etc..

Buy: $60-$120k

Rent: $1000-$1600

Location: B- and C+

Admire your ambition, but can't help thinking that this is like one of those European vacations where you see 7 countries in 8 days.

Can't imagine doing one of those because what are you really going to learn about a country in less than 24 hours?

In my opinion, you're doing the same thing with your 13 cities. 2-3 days is better than 24 hours, but not by much.

Would recommend reducing it to a city/week and setting up appointments to see several properties in each city, to get a better feel for where you want to invest and who you want on your team. 

Hope it works out for you though:)

Wow - that is quite an ambitious and interesting undertaking!  You will learn quite a bit and gather a lot of information. My husband/partner did a similar trip just a few weeks ago - targeting some similar areas to see if there are markets we are not yet in and should be.  It is a great beginning but to really truly learn a market takes quite a bit of time. No market is perfect. In fact, I believe that you can screw up in the "best" market and "succeed" in the worst one because almost any region has opportunities and it is mostly about knowing how to read the map, analyze the data and work with the right people - not about picking the perfect place.  I have done over 60 projects in Philadelphia and 30+ in Lehigh Valley (not Allentown however) alone in 5 years and there are still neighborhoods/zips that I am not familiar with - every neighborhood is it's own micro-market, for example.  Every project I do has its own unique strategy.   When you visit a city as a tourist or even with an investor mindset for the first time, your head tends to pull to the emotional side -- what a cool town, love the vibe, I feel comfortable here, this looks too rough ... etc. Getting into the backstory, the risks and benefits, the political trends that impact investors, the unique challenges of a particular population, the opportunities to work with solid teams in that particular place -- that is the level where the decision making needs to happen.   if you can work with people in those areas that will help you jump the learning curve, it can save you time and money.  We used to drive investors around Philly and give them in a few hours an investor's view of the city that I see people trying to understand for months on their own via apps, forums, articles...  Try to be methodical from the beginning. Enjoy the trip!

Originally posted by @Drew Sygit :

Admire your ambition, but can't help thinking that this is like one of those European vacations where you see 7 countries in 8 days.

Can't imagine doing one of those because what are you really going to learn about a country in less than 24 hours?

In my opinion, you're doing the same thing with your 13 cities. 2-3 days is better than 24 hours, but not by much.

Would recommend reducing it to a city/week and setting up appointments to see several properties in each city, to get a better feel for where you want to invest and who you want on your team. 

Hope it works out for you though:)

 I have thought about this for sure! My feeling is that since it'll be my first time visiting these cities, and this is my first major step towards property investing in general, I wanted to get a taste of some of these places first, meet some people, visit areas/neighborhoods, and see whatever properties I can, and then zero in on where I liked best for perhaps a longer stay with a deeper immersion in those markets at a later date. Admittedly, this may very well be a mistake, but I figured it was better than spending a week in a new city that turns out not to yield much in the way of interest. And since I am reserving Airbnbs and a rental car with fixed dates, I couldn't be flexible with changing up my strategy if I chose one approach over the other. All in all, I expect this whole thing is going to be a major learning experience either way so I'm excited for whatever that ends up happening.     

Originally posted by @Marvin Michel :

Hello,

This is an update to my previous post on https://www.biggerpockets.com/.... I've decided to hit the road and hit 13 cities in the span of 34 days. I will be visiting Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburg, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Lansing, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and finally Allentown basically making a circle through the eastern Midwest. I'll be spending 3 nights in the larger cities and 2 nights in the smaller ones. My trip is essentially a vacation, but other than enjoying the unique touristy things each city has to offer, I really want to use the bulk of my time to explore markets and dip my toe in the water of investing, exploring different neighborhoods, looking at properties, talking to agents, investors, and whomever else can provide valuable insight on what I'd be venturing into when I'm eventually ready to buy.

My intention with this post isn't really to turn this into a sort of journal with periodic updates, but mostly I was hoping that this post, and perhaps others in the future, could help me connect with some of you more experienced folks out there who may be willing to lend a helpful hand in anything at all real estate related. If you live, or do business in, or know people in any of the above mentioned cities, I would love to just get to pick your brains about what these markets are like and to help a newbie investor get his bearings straight for when I finally pull the trigger. 

Feel free to ask me anything and shoot me messages! Looking forward to meeting whomever I can wherever I can!

Marvin

 I can connect with you when you are in Columbus, Ohio

Originally posted by @Sheryl Sitman :

Wow - that is quite an ambitious and interesting undertaking!  You will learn quite a bit and gather a lot of information. My husband/partner did a similar trip just a few weeks ago - targeting some similar areas to see if there are markets we are not yet in and should be.  It is a great beginning but to really truly learn a market takes quite a bit of time. No market is perfect. In fact, I believe that you can screw up in the "best" market and "succeed" in the worst one because almost any region has opportunities and it is mostly about knowing how to read the map, analyze the data and work with the right people - not about picking the perfect place.  I have done over 60 projects in Philadelphia and 30+ in Lehigh Valley (not Allentown however) alone in 5 years and there are still neighborhoods/zips that I am not familiar with - every neighborhood is it's own micro-market, for example.  Every project I do has its own unique strategy.   When you visit a city as a tourist or even with an investor mindset for the first time, your head tends to pull to the emotional side -- what a cool town, love the vibe, I feel comfortable here, this looks too rough ... etc. Getting into the backstory, the risks and benefits, the political trends that impact investors, the unique challenges of a particular population, the opportunities to work with solid teams in that particular place -- that is the level where the decision making needs to happen.   if you can work with people in those areas that will help you jump the learning curve, it can save you time and money.  We used to drive investors around Philly and give them in a few hours an investor's view of the city that I see people trying to understand for months on their own via apps, forums, articles...  Try to be methodical from the beginning. Enjoy the trip!

 Thank you for your advice, very greatly appreciated! I would be interested in learning more about the tours you give in Philly. You say "used to", is this a thing you still offer investors? 

Originally posted by @Kevin Manz :

@Marvin Michel

What are your plans for Ft Wayne?

 At this time, very open. I plan on talking to agents and lenders, making some appointments to see properties, exploring places where construction is occurring, meanwhile getting a vibe of the city from a traveler's perspective. Do you do a lot of work in Ft Wayne? I'll be there between the dates of 13th - 15th October. Hopefully we can connect.