Kalamazoo Market - People to know

11 Replies

Hello BP,

Looking at some properties in the Kalamazoo, MI area and was hoping to connect with someone local to that market to discuss some of the details of the area. 

As far as the location I'm somewhat well versed from my time in town visiting friends and family over the years but could use some local insight on management companies, local realtors, contractors, etc. I have a couple contractors in surrounding towns I've been in contact with over the years but I'm still determining weather or not they operate in Kalamazoo.

Any and all insight is appreciated. 

Thanks for the read,


What kind of properties/ Investments  are you looking for?

What interests you about the Kalamazoo real estate market?
I grew up there, may be able to answer some questions.

@Josh Cunningham I'm primarily looking for buy and hold rentals. 

@Jeffrey Butler I'm from SW Michigan and have friends and family both in town and near by. Prices in my current area of residence aren't doing it for me and I decided to take a look at another area I know. That being said I never lived there so if you have any insider info on the neighborhoods I'd appreciate it. Based on my time there I think Vine will be my current target.

@David Edwards I have a few buy and holds (11 units) in Kalamazoo and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

@David Edwards I currently have a few rentals in K-zoo, sometimes finding off-market subject properties. If it hasn't been mentioned previously, one area that I often advise out-of-state investors is to be aware of the property tax rate for non-homestead, and factoring in the higher tax rate when running your numbers. I do have several contacts within my network who are based in the K-zoo area. Let me know if you need any assistance. Have a good one. Jacques 

@Jacques Cyr Great point, I wouldn't have even thought to look into that and my numbers have been based on local taxes. It looks like the state website has a calculator that will get me in the ballpark for estimating the new rates. 

Yes... the state does have a few options for estimating your taxes; however, you need to be careful and not identify as "homestead". For initial 'go/no go' calculations I plug in about $1200-1400 for lower end homes (40-60K), and 1800-2400 for mid (around 100K). Again... that's just for rough numbers. 

prices in Kalamazoo have risen in the past 3 years.  I currently own 4 buildings 16 units in the historical Kalamazoo area.

We actually are doing a full renovation on our Stuart property and let me tell you contractors are hard to come by. Over a year on the restoration project and we are still unable to find good contractors and keep reverting to our property management team at Icon.

Icon is a very decent property management company.

We pulled out of Kalamazoo with our investment money last year because price influx was too high and didn' warrant income or Cash flow back to us anymore.  At least not in the numbers we like to see.

Kalamazoo has ballooned past its historical average and every time the city has done that it has had small price drops. I expect a price drop by December 2018 to July 2019.

When 4 to 10 unit multifamilies become easily available for say 150k or less then maybe we will invest in Kalamazoo again.

It is a very decent market when priced right but you have to buy at very low prices to compensate for the low rental rates.  About the most I get for a unit is $1550.00 That's a 4 bedroom house.  Average is between $700-$900.

We base all our income comparisons at $750 a unit and you should be caahflowing at least 50% of your gross rental income compared to the purchase price.

-Research Heavy and Good Luck-

Updated about 2 months ago

We have since this post switched from icon managment to the JPM team as legal issues came about and we needed immediate change to a more honest property management team. Properties are still under renovation over 2 years later dealing with city permitting for the historical district, its almost as if the historical society wants its area of coverage to be condemned more and more.

Thanks for the info on the market and property managers @Christopher Neeson . Ill be sure to reach out to Icon to get their rates and services, I've been in contact with AIM and they have quoted me at 9% flat with no additional charges but I haven't spoken to anyone who has used them before and a referral goes a long way. If this deal goes forward and I happen to find a good contractor (because I'm going to need at least a semi competent one) I'll make sure to let you know. 

Well, I just had the inspection done on a property I'm considering in town and there's a substantial amount of work to be done. 

A good deal of it is cosmetic but as its an older building and the current tenants (month to month thankfully) are treating the place like the slum the current owner has let it turn into, there are plenty of less cosmetic fixes that will need to happen. 

I'd like to get a couple contractors over to the place to give me some preliminary bids and see what they think actually needs to be done. 

If anyone has someone they have worked with in the past, a referral for a decent local contractor would be most appreciated.

Thanks for the read,


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