Tips When Visiting and Scoping out Potential Real Estate Cities

7 Replies

I'm planning to buy an investment property within the next 6 months, hopefully around the the Reno or Sacramento area. I am visiting both locations next week and will have a day in each city. Does anyone have tips on what criteria to look for? I've found articles online that say I should be looking for things such as population growth, job growth, property tax, but these are all things that can be found online. I'm specifically looking tips to evaluate a city by actual visiting in person. 

City-data.com is great for various data to add to your list of stuff that's useful before visiting (or after)

When there, drive around obviously :)

Line up meetings with contractors and ask things like: what building materials and/or codes from your experience are unique to the area?  When were most of the housing stock built out?

Depending on what model you're using (ie: buy and hold or flipping) I'd recommend acting like you are either a renter or a buyer and go see some houses that are already fixed up and 'top of the market' or whatever area of the market you think you'll be shooting for.  

Actual real data points are invaluable

I think you need to start with your own goals,budget and investment criteria. There are several strategies that will work in Sacramento but my advice on which areas to target would differ based on your current criteria and future goals.

If you find an area of town that interests you, drive there at night and see if you are comfortable or not.

@Derek Lee If you haven't done so already, I would definitely contact some commercial brokers or property managers in the areas as well to figure out what specific neighborhoods might have the characteristics you want.  Good luck!  

It sounds like you're looking for a long-term hold. In Sacramento, you'll generally have to pick between modest cashflow on a small multifamily (2-4 plex) and 0% cashflow on a mid-range or nicer house. It's not a great market for monthly cashflow, but there's money to be made out there if you're comfortable banking on depreciation (tax benefits) and appreciation (in market value).

@Derek Lee Drive around on sat & sun and after working hours on weekdays to see what really goes on in your target areas. If you only drive the area during school/working hours, you may be missing out on how it really is when everyone is home.

Great tips and advice! Thank you all for taking the time to respond. 

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