Criteria for Cincinnati Ohio

17 Replies

This question is for both flippers and buy and hold investors:

-What are your top 5 neighborhoods you prefer to buy in and why do you prefer those neighborhoods?

-What are the top 5 neighborhoods you AVOID buying in and why?

Northside, pleasant ridge, around the UC area, the suburbs north of the city are my favorites 

I avoid certain parts of Avondale and price hill, a section between downtown and the UC are the areas I avoid

@Kari D.

I am a long term buy and hold investor. I look in 45236, which is Deer Park, Silverton, Sycamore Township, but not in Cincinnati Public Schools. I recently bought in Union Township (clermont county, east of Cincinnati) which has much lower taxes and water/sewer cost. 

I avoid areas that have extremely difficult tenants in general. Lincoln Heights, parts of Price hill, Westwood, and many other west side neighborhoods. One they are too far from me, and two they are lower income in general. 

@Sean Carroll 's thoughts are going to be shared by a whole lot of investors in the area, flippers and landlords alike, and that's definitely a great piece of advice. 

And a lot of landlords prefer to avoid Cincinnati Public like @Joseph Cornwell .

I think a lot of it comes down to your personal risk tolerance and what you're trying to do. Flipping is a little more cut-and-dry, but there's good money to be made as a buy-and-hold investor in lower-income neighborhoods and places you wouldn't personally want to live or even go to at night. Plus, if you're investing from Washington state, it comes down to hiring a good property manager who knows how to handle the area you own in more than anything. I have a PM who does really well with the parts of Avondale that most investors avoid.

We have done well in Kennedy Heights and Silverton.  We have several buildings in Roselawn that have performed well but I would avoid most of that area.  We have also avoided the west side, Norwood, Evanston, Avondale.  I am sure there are plenty of people investing in those areas and making money but we have tended to focus on areas where our property manager has properties.

I am currently in College Hill, Pleasent Run, and Colerain with buy and holds. It's interesting to me to see @Joseph Cornwell  and @Slocomb Reed  avoiding Cincinnati Public by as a blanket statement. To me, that knocks out a lot of good areas where rentals are strong and there is decent money to be made. 

We have done one flip in Mason and it was a success. 

I have lived in Cincinnati my entire life and there are some places that are a little rougher than others. But as with anything, with proper management and teams in place, you can really buy anywhere for the right price. 

@Nick Vehr two of my three buildings are in Cincinnati Public Schools. I was trying more to point out that a whole lot of investors would follow Joe's or Sean's advice, and do well, but that we need to decide for ourselves what we want and what issues we're willing to tolerate with our investments.

The "better" the neighborhood, the lower you should expect your return to be. "Worse" neighborhoods tend to have a lot more upside, while they seem much more risky on a tenant-per-tenant basis. That, again, is why I think a remote investor should spend more time worrying about finding the right manager than the right sub-market or neighborhood within Greater Cincy.

@Nick Vehr

I think it is largely dependent on what type of asset and what type of tenant you are looking for. For example, if you are renting out 1 bedroom units in a decent area of Cincinnati, even with Cincinnati Public Schools, you are most likely not dealing with school age children. I specifically do not allow more than 2 occupants per bedroom, so it would have to be a single parent with a child to even occupy a one bedroom unit. However, when you get into 2, 3 or even 4 bedroom single or multi family rentals. More than likely you are dealing with families with school age children. My personal strategy is not to go after 3+ bedroom units, and I do not want to deal with multiple children, particularly in a poorly rated school district. To me that all adds up to more time and stress on managing my tenants, and potential cost on damage or wear and tear. This is just my preference, I would buy in Cincinnati if the deal made sense, but I would target C+ or better neighborhoods, multifamily with 1 or 2 bedroom units. 

@Joseph Cornwell being from the west side, I’m a curious as to where you’re referring to when saying, “many other west side neighborhoods that are loware t income and tough areas”....maybe our definitions of west side are different. It just bugs me when people blanket. an entire side of town, when they really don’t know the areas with anything other than surface knowledge. There are great parts of Westwood and great parts of Pricehill.... obviously for the uninitiated some streets and portions you’d want to stay away from. But at the same time, there are people who make a lot of money in those very neighborhoods. I just 

@Jake Walroth

When I define West vs. East I use I-75 as the defining line for Hamilton County or Greater Cincinnati. While I have never lived west of 75, I have sold and assisted clients in purchasing numerous properties all over the West side of Hamilton County. So I would not consider that surface knowledge, but I am not professing to be an expert on the exact inter working  socioeconomic factors of every house and street in Western Hamilton County.  However, I do have several family members who live on the West side and constantly complain about crime, the quality of the school districts, and other negative factors of their neighborhoods. I would consider the areas they live in very nice in perspective to the majority of other areas in Western Hamilton County. While this is simple anecdotal evidence to support my general statements, you can use to easily compare any given zip code on the east and west side to compare median income levels. If you compare the "worst" and "best" neighborhoods apples to apples, in general, the east side neighborhoods have higher median income levels, better performing school districts, and lower crime rates. All of which is factual data you can research, which is the basis for my statements to my clients and on biggerpockets. 

With that said, I am not anti west side by any means. There are a lot of very nice neighborhoods, there are great rental and flip markets. I do a lot of business in those neighborhoods and I enjoy it. I personally do not invest there, mainly because its about 45-60 minutes from where I live, and would make no sense while I manage my own portfolio. 

I agree with everything you’ve laid out.... I was pointing more to the “many other west side neighborhoods” being lower income/high crime. Like it’s not Fallujah, and there are equally many solid neighborhoods. 

Hey Guys - Thanks for all the insight...really great info here. 

@Slocomb Reed  - You mentioned you have a PM who does well in the Avondale area. Would you mind sharing? Also what are your thoughts on this particular place/street? -

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hey all, following this thread with much interest - I'm looking to buy in Norwood/Pleasant Ridge and wondered if anyone has any advice for finding contractors who can rehab rental units?

I think we can expect Cincinnati to start to "boom" in the coming couple of years, as parts of the city (OTR/Oakley/Hyde park- where I live :) ) are REALLY starting to have buildings EVERYWHERE) + with Cincinnati winning the bid on the MLS soccer stadium/team to be completed by 2021, I think we will see some big things the next couple of years. But, as some people have mentioned; I think if you have the right team in place and know the numbers, as @Nick Vehr said: But as with anything, with proper management and teams in place, you can really buy anywhere for the right price.

I think everyone has their own criteria to fit the specific type of investment they are looking for but for us it's population growth and inventory of buildings larger than 8 units.   

1- East Walnut Hills  

2- Norwood

3- Evanston

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