Multi-Family Investing MA

16 Replies

Hey guys, 

I'm looking for a multi-family property in the north shore area of MA. Just wanted some opinions because in my area right now I feel that all the multi-family properties are overpriced. Do you recommend me moving to a different area or is there another way to find good deals for MF properties?


@Domenic D'Aurora that question is so opened that without knowing you personally, your goals, strategy ect, its hard to give an answer that will work your you. 

Anyone here on BP can tell  you what they would do, but that doesn't mean it will be the best advice for you. 

Why do you want multis and not SFRs? 

Why do you want Beverly, Saugus, Salem, Danvers, Lynn instead of Chelsea, Woburn, Quincy, Stoneham, Waltham ect?

My only advice is if that's where/what you want to invest in then keep on looking at deals until one that meets your criteria comes around.

@Bill F. My goal would be to house hack a multi family. I work in the north shore so it would be easier for me to get to my current job. Also I’ve lived in the north shore area my whole life and know it pretty well. I have been looking at areas around Fall River but I know that’s a rough area and I don’t know too much about it. They have cheap fixer upper multi families around there.

@Domenic D'Aurora that makes more sense, house hacking isn't a bad idea. I grew up on the North Shore too so I know the area. The issue with 4 units or less is the value method; comps drive up the price, especially now. 

-You could look for a property that needs a lot of work, but that requires time and capital in MA. You could look into the 203(k) loan for the repairs.

-House hack a SFR with roommates.

-Stay patient. Its hard to find a good deal in an exuberant market, but it could be a sign. 

-You thought of buying some where close to 95/495 like Amesbury or Ipswich and commuting in? My big problem with multis in the North Shore is a lot of them are in Salem, Lynn, West Peabody that are so far away from the highway.

@Bill F. I haven’t looked in those areas but it’s something I will take a look at thanks! I’ve been speaking with a lender about a 203k loan and is something I want to do. 

@Domenic D'Aurora You might consider the south shore, though commuting won't be much fun.  

Prices here are a lot more reasonable, particularly in areas like Plymouth, Brockton, Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford. There are other towns in between that work too - Pembroke, Hanson, Halifax and others.

For whatever reason, most of the north and west of Boston are much more expensive - not to mention Boston itself.

@Domenic D'Aurora I agree with @Bill F. in that you should look for a property that needs a lot of work. Everything else on the north shore, you're just going to be competing with dozens of other buyers.

I would think of some creative ways to finding a deal, not just looking on sites that everyone is on. Network with every agent you can and tell them what you are looking for.

I am based on the North Shore and have a couple of off market multis. I have been purchasing multis off market for the last year due to the hot market conditions. Message me to discuss.

@Domenic D'Aurora I agree with @Charlie MacPherson . There are opportunities in the South Shore area but that would be an awful commute. I commuted from Taunton to Waltham and it was not an enjoyable existence. I guess it depends on how much you like to drive and if you have a lot of BiggerPockets podcasts to catch up on.. 

I've talked to a few people that have found luck along Route 3 in Billerica and Lowell. I have heard that there are some rough neighborhoods mixed in that area but haven't seen it myself.  

@Domenic D'Aurora As @Patrick Wheeler said, looking for an MFR that needs work is a good strategy - depending on the kind of financing you have planned.

If you're owner occupying (house hacking) and using an FHA loan and the property needs repair (not just updating), you'll have to use an FHA 203K (construction) loan. That means getting a HUD project manager, bidding out the work, etc.

Ideally, you want an MFR that needs updates. Think avocado appliances, shag rugs, faded orange formica, etc. Those will pass appraisal, but will still be priced below ARV because of the work needed.

And for MFRs, don't forget that having completely separate utilities is crucial.  What tenants don't pay for, they'll take advantage of.

@Domenic D'Aurora I've just spend 2.5 years looking for a house hack in Woburn, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Melrose and recently closed and moved into my property in Wakefield.  I have a pretty good understanding of those markets and can recommend you to the agent I used.  

That being said, my personal opinion is that we are near the top with regards to the values of properties, but the market is still in a good spot to buy.  You just have to do your due diligence and take your time w/o overbidding.  I had a very good rent situation, so I didn't need to rush into any purchase.

I would recommend looking in the area that you want to live and will be convenient to for work.  If you pick the right property, house hacking can offset a lot of your costs and put you in a good position even if you needed to hire a PM at a later point

@Domenic D'Aurora there are still deals out there for small multi's that need work. I invest in Salem (and grew up on the north shore as well), which I think would be a great option for what you're looking for. It's a cool town with a good bar / restaurant scene and the commuter rail is like 20 minutes into Boston (you also have the ferry option). Happy to discuss in more detail if you'd like to chat!

@Brian Ortins do you currently have off market multis for sale in the northshore area ? I would be interested in speaking with you. Please shoot me a personal message on here when you have a moment. Thanks.

@Domenic D'Aurora I just closed on my first property in Everett in December. It's a very competitive market, but I agree with @Stephen Yablonski , there's deals to be had. 

Also, my agent/lender was very upfront about 203k loans not getting accepted anywhere around the Boston area. I got in with 3% down, and that took many bids and great timing. 

There's a lot of business' coming into the seaport area. So if the Everett / Chelsea / Revere is commutable for you, I'd suggest checking those area's out. 

Have you considered NH at all? I don't work in that area, but I do a general search once in a while and the prices in southern NH just over the border seem to lend themselves better to house hacking if you work in the North Shore. 

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