Duluth, Minnesota

9 Replies


Happy New Year to you all!

I see there are quite a few investors on this forum from Duluth, MN.

I'm looking to see who the best property managers are locally ahead of my visit there later this year. While vacationing, I drove through Duluth on my way to the boundary waters a few years ago and really liked what I saw. 

I'm wondering how the University impacts the rental market there especially since students are almost 1/10th of the cities population. Pros and Cons if anyone knows. 

As of now, I don't see that many multi family units that come to market but I could be wrong.  If anyone has done business with a realtor in the multi family arena, I'd appreciate a name also.  

Thanks so much in advance!!

I don't invest in Duluth, but my wife's cousin does. He lives there and self manages. He does not do rentals within city limits because the license is expensive.  You might want to look up the cost of the license because it might be important to run the numbers. 

Sorry, no help on the pm.

@Dan Vleck

Thanks for the input!  Can you expound with regards to the cost of doing business in Duluth versus say Superior, WI which is right across the bay (about 6 miles or so)?

I see you're about 100 miles from Duluth? What are you seeing with regards to multi family rentals in your area. And by that I'm referring to the 100 mile radius of Deerwood, Duluth, Superior, Wi etc. Thanks againfor your input and a prosperous new year to you and yours!

Hi Francis, we have two rentals near the Universities in Duluth. Messina property management has been great for us. We purchased both through Mike Messina (Messina Realty) and immediately placed both in the hands of their management company. Professional and great communicators from our experience.

Rental licenses are expensive in the city limits, around $2,500 for a student rental, a bit less for a single family. Details, exact pricing, and renewal duration can be found on the St. Louis County website.

@Seth M.

Thanks for your insightful response.  Your "good karma" is off to one heck of a good start this early in 2016. It looks like you're in my situation - living in California and investing in Minnesota. I have also been looking that the twin cities area. As I mentioned, I drove through Duluth on a vacation trip and was quite impressed with the city even though it's quite small. Breathtaking views from up high. 

I'm assuming that Mike came referred to you before you got into the Duluth market? I'll definitely check out the rental license fees and will also seek out Mike. Thanks so much again!

My wife and I both have family in Duluth and visit a couple times per year, which made investing in the area especially appealing to us.  

We found Mike's property management company first, while working with a realtor recommended through our lender (bank).  We switched to him after being unimpressed with the other agent.  Although Mike is a full time realtor now, he used to run the management division and has proven to be very insightful when helping us evaluate rental properties. Also, it's nice to have the same company cover the purchase and management.

We plan to purchase two more properties through Mike this summer following the sale of our CA home.  If you have additional questions about the area feel free to reach out to me directly.  I'm not an expert, but know the areas around the Universities well and plan to focus all of our future investments in the area.

I don't know about any markets outside of the 25 miles around me. It has become difficult to find good deals here. MLS isn't showing much for multi families, unless you buy 1800's pigs, or overpriced duplexes.

A great new year to you.

@Seth M.

I just sent a colleague request to make it easier contacting you moving forward. Thanks again!!

@Dan Vleck

"unless you buy 1800's pigs or overpriced duplexes" would make a great line for a country song. I've send a colleague request. How is the multi family market in your area and is it comparable to the coastal towns like Duluth, Superior, WI etc? 

Slightly off topic. What are nice vacation spots in your neck of the woods? I've been north to Ely and the boundary waters. Anything of note around you?  Thanks again for your thoughts!!

I went to the University of MN-Duluth. No investment properties there personally, but I was a renter there for 3 years and know it would be a great place to buy a large single family or a multi family home. With 3 schools in close vicinity and many students in a fairly small area, it was a fight to sign a lease around the location of the schools each year I had to renew. IF you have any questions about the area, feel free to pm me

@Francis A. Welcome to Biggerpockets!

I believe most guests on the podcasts have loved having rentals in college areas as they've implemeted great property management systems. If you do decide to go into buy-and-hold I would check out a few books on landlording. Biggerpockets just published a brans new one, which I myself found very helpful.