House-shopping in Syracuse - 1st home/owner occupant via FHA

5 Replies

Hello all. My name is Cerwin and I just joined here last week after checking out a few podcasts over the past couple of months. I'm in the market to begin my real estate investing - I am looking for a 3-unit (or the "right" 2-unit) as an owner occupant to cashflow. I'm looking inner-city Syracuse; while I don't need a "pampered" neighborhood, I also don't want to live somewhere where there's gunshots every night (I joked with my agent that once or twice a week is OK).

Within my financial parameters, I've been looking at houses between 30-70K. Lately, the 50K, 60-65K three-units I've come across are in higher tax areas (around $3800 annually) AND they need substantial rehab, like a total roof replacement. Mortgage broker then says "no can do", even if I consider a purchase offer that subtracts the cost of the expected rehab (203K) from the asking price.

My agent thinks I may need to "steal one" to secure a purchase on a house within my price range that doesn't need over 10, 15K of rehab. I've attained a list of properties from the Syracuse LandBank that aren't foreclosed on but are delinquent or set to be closed upon next year. I've checked out some youtube vids on door-knocking and such, but these houses aren't occupied by the owners (a lot of out of town investors/owners here). So any suggestions on how to reach out to owners of said properties? Thanks.

My direct mail campaigns are targeted toward absentee landlords.  That's what you're talking about here.  Your county tax assessor's office should be able to give you the owner's name & address.  You can Google them to see if you can find a phone number, if you don't mind cold calling.  Or, you can just send them a letter saying you buy houses and would like to discuss the house they own at xxx Main Street.  There's a million ways to phrase it.  If you need some ideas, has examples of letters.

@Hattie Dizmond thank you for the idea. I'm on that website now.

Quick question: I'm kinda cheap... not that I don't see the virtue of having that site handle the mailing, but I wonder if I can do the mailings/letters myself? What do you think? Would it be better to pay for the site to do it being this is my first time?

You can absolutely do the mailings yourself.  I do my own mailings.  The key is the list.  As long as you can get a relevant list, then it's just a matter of the cost of your time and what that's worth.

@Cerwin Haynes  

Syracuse here. Born and raised. I'm doing the exact same thing as you. # fam, FHA, Owner Occ. The problem I'm having is finding the properties here in the city. Even the decent priced ones are not fit to be lived in. The problem is out of town landlords and half @$$ property managers. I've decided to find that "right" 2 family.

I haven't' attempted to knock on doors or some elaborate marketing campaign but just from what I've seen the 3 family market needs work. I wish you the best of luck though. Good luck


ps. IF you can afford to buy and rehab. There is a fortune to be made.

Hello Cerwin, from my experience you are going to have a tough time finding a 2-4 unit property in Syracuse in that price range that doesn't need some serious TLC, and the taxes are going to be in the $3-$4k per year neighborhood regardless of what area of town you are in. 

You might try making your purchase offer on a place contingent on having the roof be properly repaired prior to purchase. That would satisfy your mortgage guy, unfortunately the type of owner who would let their property get so run down is the same type of owner who you probably wouldn't want in charge of a roof repair. 

You could try talking to the Landbank folks directly, they might have ideas on how to navigate their property lists. They might even be convinced to go through with a foreclosure if they had a buyer lined up. Again I fear you will have a hard time finding a place from the land bank that needs less than $15k in work. 

If you plan to actually screen your tenants and manage your property well you are welcome to buy in my neighborhood. 

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