Opinions on Cleveland suburbs?

9 Replies

I am looking for advice or opinions from Cleveland investors on the Garfield Heights area. I am looking to purchase my first rental property and would like to know if this area is good. Houses seem affordable and the neighborhood seems ok. Is this an area that if the house is vacant or under rehab is a concern for theft or vandalism? And is this area flooded with rentals already?

You're so nearby, have you come up and driven around it yet?

Garfield Heights is VERY street-by-street. There are some areas which are perfectly fine and where I would be happy to purchase an investment. And then there are some areas where I would be hesitant to get out of my car.

why not go drive the area and camp out near the property you're going to buy at night. That will give you a feel for the area first hand. Personally I'm more of a fan of homes south of the 480

I have a similar question. I was looking forward to invest in this area. I was looking for a turnkey provider, so how do the experts have to say about Holton-Wise group? I don't have any prior experience with the company...

Thanks for the responses. I will take a drive around that neighborhood soon. I moved to the Cleveland area about a yr ago, so trying to narrow down a target area that would be good to start out in.

Originally posted by @Aaron James Stingis :

I am looking for advice or opinions from Cleveland investors on the Garfield Heights area. I am looking to purchase my first rental property and would like to know if this area is good. Houses seem affordable and the neighborhood seems ok. Is this an area that if the house is vacant or under rehab is a concern for theft or vandalism? And is this area flooded with rentals already?

 Garfield Heights is very middle of the road in terms of it really depends on the street. It is not an area I often work in, but I know it is very mixed. There are other areas you may be more successful in if you want to look around more. You seem to be close, maybe come on up and look around!

It's a better than neighboring Maple Heights, but probably worse than most of Euclid.  The further South you go in the suburb, the better it is.  I agree with Federico that the houses South of 480 are better.  However, the only area I'd definitely stay away from is the area off of E 131st, on the far Northeast side of the city, which is actually in the Cleveland School District.

Originally posted by @Aaron James Stingis :

I am looking for advice or opinions from Cleveland investors on the Garfield Heights area. I am looking to purchase my first rental property and would like to know if this area is good. Houses seem affordable and the neighborhood seems ok. Is this an area that if the house is vacant or under rehab is a concern for theft or vandalism? And is this area flooded with rentals already?

 We have had some pretty solid sucesses in Garfield Heights. Garfield Heights is a C-Class area. The closer to the Cleveland boarder you are the rougher it becomes.

With any of these C-Class areas theft & vandalism is a very real concern. The thieves are after the copper. What you can do to limit your exposure to this theft is the following.

  • Buy multifamily & do not let all the units go empty at the same time. If you have a duplex you should aim to have at least one unit rented at all times so you do not incur a break in.
  • If the copper is stolen do not replace it with copper. Replace it with PEX. From that point forward you don't really have much to worry about. They typically just break in cut out your pipes & leave. If there is no copper they will see that & simply leave after they break in or they won't break in at all. 

Also worth noting that we find that homes that have already had the copper removed are less likely to be targets of break ins. Based upon my experience of managing over 800 rentals in these neighborhoods I have surmised that the thieves will pose as renters to view the homes & check to see if they contain copper piping during the showing. Those that due are broke into much more often then those that contain PEX. 

@Aaron James Stingis

IMO it's mostly B class with some C class, depending on where exactly you are. It should perform very similarly, from an investor's perspective, as several other east side suburbs like South Euclid, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, etc. You're only a short drive away from Streetsboro, I'd recommend driving past any property you're considering as well as the surrounding areas to get a better feel for what type of neighborhood you're in.

Aaron, I have some experience in Garfield, with flips and rentals. I agree with the other commenters that it varies, depending on the neighborhood. I personally prefer South of 480 and West of Turney. I avoid the North and East sides. I'm not sure I agree with Tim Murphy's assessment that it's "mostly B". In my opinion, Garfield is almost exclusively C and D. You stated you are buying your first rental property. What you didn't say is whether or not you plan on managing the property yourself, or using a "turn key" or property management company. There are a lot of advantages to "turn key" companies and property managers, especially if you're a new or out of area investor. BUT... it comes at a price. A "typical" Garfield Heights house is 3/1, 1000-1200 SF, and if in good condition, will earn about $950 per month. Not bad. You can buy them all day long in move in ready condition in the $60's, or "ready to rehab" condition for $35-40,000, and put $15-20,000 to get them in nice, rent ready condition. If you buy from a turn key provider, you're going to pay top dollar PLUS (think $80-90,000"ish"; nothing wrong with that, because everyone has a right to make a profit), AND they will be paid your first month's rent and 10% of each month thereafter. $1,995. annually. That's 17.5%. And here's something that hasn't been discussed: Garfield Heights has VERY high property taxes. That same $35-40K house might cost you $24-2700 in annual property taxes. Add up the high initial cost of a "turn key" property, the property manager's 17.5% and the 21% you're paying the city for the privilege of improving their city, and if you get quality, pre-screened tenants and nothing breaks, you MIGHT net a couple of hundred bucks a month. Run the numbers. 'Bigger Pockets' has great analysis tools. If it were me, I'd be looking in A-B areas. Moral of the story: don't buy yourself a headache, ESPECIALLY for your first rental property. Good luck.

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