Baltimore Rental Investing

5 Replies

Hi everyone,

I am new to Maryland, about an hour outside of Baltimore. I'm interested in investing in my first property. I had thought about multifamily which I would live in a unit and rent the others- however I'm not seeing many of those properties available. I have also been toying with the idea of buying a place and renting out the finished basement or bedrooms while living on the property, or buying a property just to rent out, maybe on a room by room basis to students. 


That being said, are there any investors in the Baltimore area that may be willing to share advice on renting in Baltimore as a new investor? I'm familiar with Baltimore's reputation so I need to know neighborhoods or blocks that are safe. Ideally, I'd like to find a location that is "up and coming" and maybe has a several block radius that is considered safe. 

Unfortunately  everyone's opinion of what is "considered safe" will vary as that is too subjective. My advice is to find some listings that pique your interest and then do some drive bys. You'll get a feel pretty quickly for whether or not its a neighborhood you want to invest/live in. Baltimore is a great market if you're smart, good luck!

Baltimore is block by if you are buying if you are investing less than 100K.

Around 150k+ there are ton of areas you would feel safe and they are not block by block. 

Obviously, everybody wants to pay less than 100K and rent it for more than $1000 but it comes with many risks.

If you have specific questions you can post here or send a pm to investors in Baltimore.Most of us are very helpful.

Good Luck!!!

Following. I've heard Baltimore is a GREAT place to invest. A lot of distressed properties, BUT tons of potential and young pros moving in.

Originally posted by @Gina Gohl :

Hi everyone,

I am new to Maryland, about an hour outside of Baltimore. I'm interested in investing in my first property. I had thought about multifamily which I would live in a unit and rent the others- however I'm not seeing many of those properties available. I have also been toying with the idea of buying a place and renting out the finished basement or bedrooms while living on the property, or buying a property just to rent out, maybe on a room by room basis to students. 


That being said, are there any investors in the Baltimore area that may be willing to share advice on renting in Baltimore as a new investor? I'm familiar with Baltimore's reputation so I need to know neighborhoods or blocks that are safe. Ideally, I'd like to find a location that is "up and coming" and maybe has a several block radius that is considered safe. 

Hey Gina, what I've found is that greater Baltimore has fewer multifamily properties than other parts of the U.S. - a lot of the traditional househacking - living in one unit and renting out the rest is harder to apply here. What I've done is curated multiple househacks in student and young professional hubs such as in Towson and Federal Hill - in these cases renting by the bedroom. 

My general advice would be to determine whether you are open to renting by the bedroom, which would require you to share common area space with roommates. In 95% of cases, I recommend finding a single family home (SFH) in the suburbs of Baltimore (think Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard counties, depending on where your work is) and renting to 20-somethings.

Key criteria for a successful SFH househack:

  • Suitable zoning criteria, i.e. room rental laws (county by county)
  • Within 1 mile of hospital, major company HQ, public university, and private university (to attract 20-somethings)
  • At least half as many bathrooms as bedrooms (i.e. a 4 bed / 2.5 bath could work, but 4 / 1.5 could get sticky)
  • Plenty of driveway space / street parking (1 per roommate)
  • Plenty of kitchen space (since the kitchen is the most occupied room other than individual rooms)
  • Basement or side entrance entry point (i.e. if you wanted to turn the basement into your living space, you could enter from a side entrance)
  • Un-involved neighborhood community (cul-de-sacs can be the worst spots)
  • Turn-key quality (i.e. you won't need to fix much of anything when you move in)

This list is by no means exhaustive, but things to think about when you work with an agent on a SFH househack. I generally recommend the following suburbs of Baltimore for solid rentership: Columbia, Glen Burnie, Towson.

Thank you everyone for the insight! I really appreciate the responses. I think, due to lack of multifamily home availability, I'm looking at a househack situation or purchasing a home with the intent of renting all the bedrooms. I have a pre-approval and some money stashed away. I think I'd be most comfortable in the 150-175 range, with a max of 200K. Any suggestions for good real estate agents in the area with experience working with first time investors? Feel free to connect/PM with information.