Milwaukee,Wi

13 Replies

Hi my name is Jennifer. I've been a homeowner for 5 years and was an accidental landlord for two of those 5 when I decided to move back home and pay off my student loans.

Now that I'm debt free (excluding my mortgage ) I wanted to get started in investing in real estate. I live in Southern California and can not afford to get started investing in my local area.

After doing research I've narrowed my focus to Milwaukee, Wi. Based off of what I've seen online (Redfin), the numbers look good and I will be able to meet the 1 (even 2) percent rule.

My questions for anyone who could help are as follows:

1) How do I get accurate rental rate information (right now I'm doing my calculations based off of reported rental income on Redfin).

2) Before I get started, I know I need to set up my team. Does anyone know of a reputable realtor/ property management company/ contractor in the area?

3) what are the best areas in Milwaukee to invest? I'm currently looking at the river west
area?

4) Is Milwaukee even a place I should be considering? Are there better opportunities closer to where I live in Southern California.

I'm looking on obtaining my first property by summer 2017. I can start as early as spring. Right now I'm interested in building relationships and am eager to get into the real estate game.

Thanks in advance for your input!

Jennifer

Wanted to add that I'm looking for duplexes.

Hello Jennifer, 

I am basically brand new to all this, but I have been living in Milwaukee for 20+ years, so I would be happy to give an impression on any neighborhoods you are interested in.  Riverwest tends to be lower income than the neighborhoods closer to the lake (ex. Bay View, Shorewood, East Side).  I suspect that you will end up with a lot of turnover there.  In my search I have been looking at a few places in Riverwest, but the majority have needed a lot of repair.  While you probably already realize this, Milwaukee is a lot colder than SC.  Your heat costs will be a lot higher, especially in the older buildings that tend to be prevalent in Riverwest.  Also please be aware that snow removal is a real thing, and the city can fine you if you fail to clear it up.  Parking is premium on that part of town.  If you find a place with off street parking, even more so if covered, you would be a much more attractive to prospective tenants.  There are a lot of college students (UWM) in that area.

Good luck!  

Hi Jennifer,

I am a contractor and investor in Milwaukee. I use Ed at mkepm for all my property management needs, he's great. He can also help with purchase of properties and you can find him through his website. Paul vitulli at remax is a great investor friendly realtor and Matt Burdick at Allstate handles all my property insurance. Let me know if you have any questions or would like contact info. Good luck!

Welcome @Jennifer Smith  

Congrats on becoming debt free and best wishes on investing. Regarding your search for properties in Riverwest I own a duplex in Riverwest and would be happy to comment on my experience. @Michael Crane brought up several good topics to consider and there are some great ways to address those items. 

I personally have had success with longterm renters in Riverwest 3 and 4 years in my duplex and their have been many new businesses that have moved into the area over the past few years. I personally wouldn't consider it lower income compared to many other zip codes in Milwaukee but that is my opinion. In regards to heat and snow those are items to consider but I have written into my lease snow removal is the tenants responsibility and any fines they are responsible for paying and haven't had any issues with that. Also, they are responsible for heat separately. Parking is at a premium in some areas of Riverwest so if you can get a property with off street parking that is a big benefit and you can charge a premium. 

Riverwest is a great place to invest however the inventory is very low. If you are investing out of state and would not be managing the properties yourself the 2% rule would be easier to find in other parts of Milwaukee, I think you will be much closer to 1% in Riverwest. 

Best wishes!

Originally posted by @Michael Crane :

Hello Jennifer, 

I am basically brand new to all this, but I have been living in Milwaukee for 20+ years, so I would be happy to give an impression on any neighborhoods you are interested in.  Riverwest tends to be lower income than the neighborhoods closer to the lake (ex. Bay View, Shorewood, East Side).  I suspect that you will end up with a lot of turnover there.  In my search I have been looking at a few places in Riverwest, but the majority have needed a lot of repair.  While you probably already realize this, Milwaukee is a lot colder than SC.  Your heat costs will be a lot higher, especially in the older buildings that tend to be prevalent in Riverwest.  Also please be aware that snow removal is a real thing, and the city can fine you if you fail to clear it up.  Parking is premium on that part of town.  If you find a place with off street parking, even more so if covered, you would be a much more attractive to prospective tenants.  There are a lot of college students (UWM) in that area.

Good luck!  

@Michael are you planning on investing in the near future? I'd love to keep in contact with you as we are both going through this process as newbies :)

Thanks for the information about the other areas in Milwaukee and about the snow (something Im glad I don't have to deal with here in southern cali). Im hoping to get a team together and get out there to look at properties in Spring and summer (Im a teacher by trade so my schedule works great for this). Good luck to us.

Originally posted by @Shawn Ackerman :

Hi @Jennifer Smith PM me and we can discuss your plan and how my company can assist you with your REI goals.

Thanks for your information. I'll look at your site and PM you :)

Originally posted by @Nathan Schoenborn :

Hi Jennifer,

I am a contractor and investor in Milwaukee. I use Ed at mkepm for all my property management needs, he's great. He can also help with purchase of properties and you can find him through his website. Paul vitulli at remax is a great investor friendly realtor and Matt Burdick at Allstate handles all my property insurance. Let me know if you have any questions or would like contact info. Good luck!

@Nathan Schoenborn Thanks Nathan. How long has Ed  been managing properties  for you and what sets him apart from others? Also is Milwaukee considered landlord or tenant friendly?

Thanks for the references !

Originally posted by @Pat Parrillo :

Welcome @Jennifer Smith 

Congrats on becoming debt free and best wishes on investing. Regarding your search for properties in Riverwest I own a duplex in Riverwest and would be happy to comment on my experience. @Michael Crane brought up several good topics to consider and there are some great ways to address those items. 

I personally have had success with longterm renters in Riverwest 3 and 4 years in my duplex and their have been many new businesses that have moved into the area over the past few years. I personally wouldn't consider it lower income compared to many other zip codes in Milwaukee but that is my opinion. In regards to heat and snow those are items to consider but I have written into my lease snow removal is the tenants responsibility and any fines they are responsible for paying and haven't had any issues with that. Also, they are responsible for heat separately. Parking is at a premium in some areas of Riverwest so if you can get a property with off street parking that is a big benefit and you can charge a premium. 

Riverwest is a great place to invest however the inventory is very low. If you are investing out of state and would not be managing the properties yourself the 2% rule would be easier to find in other parts of Milwaukee, I think you will be much closer to 1% in Riverwest. 

Best wishes!

@Pat thanks so much for the insight on putting snow removal in the lease as the tenant's responsibility.  Also glad to hear that Riverwest has new business moving into the area. How do I find accurate rent information and the other data needed to plug into the bigger pockets calculator (currently using redfin for rent and tax information).

How much do you think I should have in reserves when getting started?

Thanks!

He has been handling my properties since January. He uses the latest technology to communicate with tenants and owners and to track money in and out. His company is very responsive and professional as well. I think Milwaukee is very landlord friendly as long as you're doing it right. I've never had an eviction process go in favor of a tenant if all my paperwork was in order. 

@Nathan Schoenborn @Jennifer Smith @Shawn Ackerman @pat parrillo

Hi Jennifer,

Best of luck to you.  Great advise in this thread.  I will add, stay laser focused.  What works for us may not work for you.  Do your research, find an area, and stick to it.  Don't get discouraged.  Feel free to message me with any questions.

Nathan, Shawn, and Pat,

I'm somewhat new to BP.  If you have any inventory you would like to sell, contact me.  I wholesale anything that doesn't meet my portfolio needs.  If you would like to be added to my mailer, let me know.

I look forward to working with you all

@Jennifer Smith to answer your question about rents. I've found Rentometer to be the best resource and pretty accurate. Also recommend checking Craigslist for the areas you are interested in. That gives you real time pricing and usually pictures so you know what you get for that price. In regards to reserves I don't have a firm answer. I've seen banks want 5-6 times the monthly mortgage for investment and personal mortgages but your 401k can qualify as "reserves" by the bank. I would never recommend liquidating a 401k for reserves though. For mutifamily properties I've seen $250 a unit but that usually means multiple units so that increases the overall reserve amount and there is only one roof etc for apartments. I personally have 6 months of mortgage payments on the side for reserves, not saying that's right for everyone, just sharing what I have done to play it safe. Hope that helps. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.