Newbie looking to invest in PA

5 Replies

Hey folks, I've been lurking on these forums for months soaking up everything that I can before I make the jump on my first investment property.  

Background: I'm in NYC so investing locally is not an option as things are WAY overpriced around here. My family used to own a vacation home in PA many years ago so I sort of know the Pocono area a bit. However, from what I've read it's better to focus on places like Harrisburg or Carlisle. The way i figure it, these locations have good opportunities in terms of both cashflow and appreciation, are far enough from NYC to be smart investments, but close enough that I can travel there within a few hours by car if ever the need should arise. Ideally I'd do a SFH as a first run, but my subsequent purchases may very well be multi-famly.

What I think I need to do is get in touch with local realtors to actually start seeing properties. The stuff I see on Zillow and Trulia just don't have the COC and total ROI numbers needed once I factor in things like property management, vacancy, repairs, etc. So I'm hoping that a realtor who understands what I'm looking for might be better able to feed me leads where the numbers work.

With all of that out of the way, would anyone care to offer contact information for a realtor (or anyone else for that matter) that could help me in my search within Harrisburg or Carlisle?  Preferably someone with whom you've conducted business and have had a good experience.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any help.

Thanks @Dylan Thomas for the mention.  @Jay Bedovoy I'd be happy to help you out.  You're correct in that Harrisburg and surrounding areas (Cumberland and Dauphin counties) you're going to get both cash flow and some appreciation.  If you're investing in the Harrisburg city limits make sure you or your boots on the ground understand the various sub markets well because things can change drastically in just a block or two.  

As Dylan mentioned I'm an investor as well as an agent.  Dylan is a great wholesaler as well who may have a solid rental for you in the near future.  I'm happy to share my experience in the Central PA area and you can form your own opinion if it will work for you or not.   

Don't know anyone in that area, but many OOS investors set themselves up for failure because they don't truly take the time to understand:

1) The Class of the NEIGHBORHOOD they are buying in - which is relative to the overall area.

2) The Class of the PROPERTY they are buying - which is relative to the overall area.

3) The Class of the TENANT POOL the Neighborhood & Property will attract - which is relative to the overall area.

4) The Class of the CONTRACTORS that will work on their Property, given the Neighborhood location - which is relative to the overall area.

5) The Class of the PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES (PMC) that will manage their Property, given the Neighborhood location and the Tenants it will attract - which is relative to the overall area.

6) That OOS property Class rankings are usually vastly different than the local market they live in.

7) That a Class X NEIGHBORHOOD will have mostly Class X PROPERTIES, which will only attract Class X TENANTS, CONTRACTORS AND PMCs and deliver Class X RESULTS.

8) Class A is relatively easy to manage, can even be DIY remote managed from another state.

9) Class B usually also okay, but needs more attention from owner and/or PMC

10) Class C can be relatively successful with a great PMC (do NOT hire the cheapest!), but very difficult to DIY remote manage.

11) Class D pretty much requires an OWNER to be on location and at the property 3-4 times/week. Most great PMCs will not manage these properties as they understand most owners won’t pay them enough for the time required and even then it’s too difficult successfully manage them.
***Only exception is if an owner has plan & funds to reposition Class D to Class C or higher.