Investing in Baltimore MD

18 Replies

What is YOUR opinion with buying and holding real estate in Baltimore MD.. I have been seeing what I think are decent deals with town homes selling between 25k-$35k.  Some properties need some remodeling and some needs major remodeling.  What is your opinion or experience in taking that plunge?

Baltimore is a nice place for buy and hold, in my opinion, but you need to be extremely careful about the neighborhoods in which you invest. "Avoid the boards," (vacants) as they say. There are quite a few threads on this, and I'd encourage you to search the archives. Best of luck!

Originally posted by @Eric M. :

Baltimore is a nice place for buy and hold, in my opinion, but you need to be extremely careful about the neighborhoods in which you invest. "Avoid the boards," (vacants) as they say. There are quite a few threads on this, and I'd encourage you to search the archives. Best of luck!

Thanks @Eric M, I've seen some good deals, where the properties are not too bad, some were priced right and ready to be rented. The only thing I dont know is the neighborhoods. Do iyou think I should get some insight from an agent in Baltimore?

Baltimore can literally be block by block. Just a block or two on the same street can make a tremendous difference in value. It is not hard to see why when you drive down the street but it is harder to asses when you are doing it from afar. 

Baltimore is full of deals that easily meet the 2% test, (monthly rent is at least 2% of all it price) With a little bit of searching you can get in decent homeowner neighborhoods and still meet that test. However be warned there are some very rough parts of both Baltimore city and Baltimore County. they would be tough to manage from out of state.

@Ned Carey is right on about a difference a block makes.

About a month ago when I was in Baltimore to take a closer look at neighborhoods, I discovered what a difference a block or a cross street can make.

I was staying (AirBnB) in a Union Square rowhouse on a lovely street and knew of another row how for sale, same street, one block over that was in my target price range.  So a day after settling in, I walk towards the house for sale and my gut feeling was "NO!" Not just 'no', but "NO" &"NO!" And this was just one block over, crossing a 4 lane (incl. parked cars) road.

Union Square has some beautiful homes and blocks that house some UMBC students but those homes are surrounded by blocks that aren't there yet. One day a no can become a maybe, and a maybe can become a yes one day. For now, I'm avoiding the nos.

@M Marie M. yes I know the area and that block around Union square. It cause me to come up with one of my first theories about the city. 

Even in the middle of the hood the houses that face a park are the nicest in the area.
Originally posted by @Andre McCullough :Do iyou think I should get some insight from an agent in Baltimore?

Personally, I think you're better served learning the areas that interest you on your own. Most agents will appreciate working in or searching two to three neighborhoods, as opposed to an entire city. Drive around for a day, check the various websites, etc. You'll probably find that several areas start to become your preferred spots. Bringing an agent in at that time is probably the better choice.

Originally posted by @Eric M. :
Originally posted by @Andre McCullough:Do iyou think I should get some insight from an agent in Baltimore?

Personally, I think you're better served learning the areas that interest you on your own. Most agents will appreciate working in or searching two to three neighborhoods, as opposed to an entire city. Drive around for a day, check the various websites, etc. You'll probably find that several areas start to become your preferred spots. Bringing an agent in at that time is probably the better choice.

 Gotcha, the thing about it is,  I live in Houston, what caught my eye about Baltimore was the prices, and the buy and hold opportunities. 

Andre McCullough

Take it for what it is worth but, since I invest in notes, I use a number of key point indicators to determine if an area will be sustainable, then if the numbers make since, I pull the trigger. Hopefully this helps you in some kind of way. I'm from Houston as well.

plenty of opportunity. I solely invest in such properties in Baltimore city. requires experience on the ground to manage them. key to victory.

Baltimore City can deliver some high yields but you have to be very careful in what neighborhoods you buy in. 2 years ago a lady offered to give me her house and I turned it down b/c the street was so bad...

I agree with all of you guys, looking at the properties through Trulia,  it's very good at showing the high and low crime area's.   If i were to do this I would take a flight to look at the property to make a final decision.  If purchased I would have property management manage the property be it that I reside in another state.  

@andremccullough, if you don't partner with someone on the ground in Baltimore that knows the neighborhoods, and does buy and hold investing in the city, you'll be one of the many people that loses money in the city.  I buy places from people all the time for half of what they paid a year before, cause they bought the property for asking and thought it would cost 10K to renovate, when it ends up costing closer to 30k.

Originally posted by @Ian Barnes :

@andremccullough, if you don't partner with someone on the ground in Baltimore that knows the neighborhoods, and does buy and hold investing in the city, you'll be one of the many people that loses money in the city.  I buy places from people all the time for half of what they paid a year before, cause they bought the property for asking and thought it would cost 10K to renovate, when it ends up costing closer to 30k.

 Interesting, I will definitely think about that. @Ian Barnes.

Originally posted by @Michael Fortier :

Why not invest in Texas? I am new here, but i keep hearing and reading that Texas is a great place to invest. Then you are near your investments.

 Yes Mchael, I am investing in Texas also,  I was just interested in other markets also for certain deals I think are great. 

I'm on the other spectrum of this forum. I don't mind going into the bad areas. Some people would run from the some of the areas I'm in but I don't mind it. I manage myself but after renovations are done I don't think it would be too hard for a property manager to take care of with the owner being out of state.

I don't have anything new to add, but I will reiterate that just a few blocks can make a world of difference.  Having someone you trust in town to give you that kind of advice is an incredible asset, and equally important is hiring the right management company who is experienced with the lower end rental market in town.  Good luck!