Hello from Chicago, IL!

16 Replies

Hello BP,

My name is Matt Koczwara. I am a longtime resident of the Chicagoland area and a new member of the Bigger Pockets community. I have recently graduated from The Ohio State University and I am currently working in suburban Chicago.

I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to save aggressively straight out of college and want to use these savings to invest in a owner-occupied multiplex.

I am looking forward to engaging in the community and learning from its mentors and members. My main goal is to utilize real estate as a vehicle for financial independence.

Thanks for reading!

- Matt

@Matthew Koczwara

 Welcome to bigger pockets. I do have to ask, why "THE" before Ohio State University? I have always and will always view that as a statement of nothing short of arrogance. 

Be proud of your school, yes, but it is said in a way to belittle other schools, in my opinion.

With that said, an owner occupied multi-unit is definitely a worthy aspiration for you. I know many people that have utilized the FHA 203k Loan program that allows acquisition and renovation costs with as little as about 3.5% down I believe. That could allow you to haev your savings towards other investments giving you a larger return when you add all the investments in.

Good luck to you!

@Matthew Koczwara

Glad to have you onboard Matthew. The route you want to take to get started is an excellent one. I am currently on my second owner occupied property and doing the multiunit  (4) thing.

What area are you trying to focus on? Turnkey multis are hot in chicago right now (in good neighborhoods) and its easy to overpay if you are not careful. Keep an eye on HUD and Fannie properties because owner occupants get first crack at them so they are a great way to go.

Good Luck!!

Originally posted by @Dale Stevens :

@Matthew Koczwara

 Welcome to bigger pockets. I do have to ask, why "THE" before Ohio State University? I have always and will always view that as a statement of nothing short of arrogance. 

Be proud of your school, yes, but it is said in a way to belittle other schools, in my opinion.

With that said, an owner occupied multi-unit is definitely a worthy aspiration for you. I know many people that have utilized the FHA 203k Loan program that allows acquisition and renovation costs with as little as about 3.5% down I believe. That could allow you to haev your savings towards other investments giving you a larger return when you add all the investments in.

Good luck to you!

 Hey Dale, thanks for responding.

I respect your opinion in regards to the "The" in The Ohio State University, but I most certainly did not say it to belittle any school or individual. The "The" was actually part of the state legislation when the university was renamed in 1878 and is commonly used when referring to Ohio State. I have found that most people will bring up the "The" by themselves when I state that I am an OSU graduate and have yet to meet someone who is genuinely insulted by it. 

In regards to the FHA loan, I am trying to save aggressively enough where I would be able to put down 20% and avoid the PMI. However, I do the see the value in having liquid assets. I'd like to convert my first multiplex to a full rental unit as fast as possible and invest in additional properties. Thanks for the insight! Go BUCKS!

Originally posted by @Nnabuenyi Anigbogu :

@Matthew Koczwara

Glad to have you onboard Matthew. The route you want to take to get started is an excellent one. I am currently on my second owner occupied property and doing the multiunit  (4) thing.

What area are you trying to focus on? Turnkey multis are hot in chicago right now (in good neighborhoods) and its easy to overpay if you are not careful. Keep an eye on HUD and Fannie properties because owner occupants get first crack at them so they are a great way to go.

Good Luck!!

Hello Nnabuenyi,

It's great to hear from someone who has been able to put into practice a plan very similar to mine. I'm not certain this is the appropriate place to ask, but if you don't mind, what kind of long term plans/goals are you trying to achieve through real estate?

 I have not yet focused on any single location. I am living at home now and will have the ability to move where I choose. That said, I would ideally be looking for investments south of Glenview, east of 355, and north of 55. I realize this is a huge area, but I have just started looking and do not want to limit myself.

Hope to hear back from you!

- Matt

I would concur that many people are interested in multi-units such as these and I have seen bidding wars ensue on them. So be careful to not let emotion enter your brain and stick with rational thought, evaluation and numbers.

@Matthew Koczwara

haha. That is a huuuge area. Its a good start though and then as you do research you can narrow it down

My long term goal is to actually replace my W2 income with passive rental income. My goal right now is to buy a new owner occupied property once every year (have to live in it for a year due to the type of loan) for the next 5 years. In between that i will focus on some fix and flips to build capital and also hold on to any good properties i come across. 

Living at home is great. I lived at home for a year while working and going to grad school. I saved up and bought a condo in the city (chicago) and have not paid to live since then. I bought a HUD property, fixed it up, and rented out my spare room to my friend. His rent covered 97% of my PITI + Hoa fees so i have essentially lived free for the last 2 years. I saved up all that money and bought a 4 unit that i moved into and the other 3 units cover PITI + vacancy+ cap ex + maintenance. When i move out it will cash flow since i can rent my unit out. I believe this is one of the best ways to get started.

While living at home you can also take the time to start learning fix n flip if you are inclined to do that. I wish i discovered that back then because it is a good way to build capital for the buy and holds if done right.

Looking forward to seeing your success.

Welcome to the site @Matthew Koczwara

Always good to have another Chicago investor with ties to Ohio. As others have stated, an FHA loan is a great way to get in to a small multi with little out of pocket costs. It does not require the 203 rehab loan and you can put down as little as 3%. With that said, keep in mind that these are not just tenants, but they're also your neighbors. So choose your location wisely and SCREEN, SCREEN, SCREEN potential tenants.

Welcome to BiggerPockets Matthew, I too have in mind to head to the Chicago area for my continued investing in real estate. I think its a good area to build a real estate career and it has plenty of varying classes and types of properties to build a nice diversified portfolio. 

My gut feeling is that the Chicago area offers both the ability to build capital gains as well as structure a good cash flow and it offers an affordable entry into the real estate market that other markets may not. Of course I won't know for sure until I get there and start looking around for actual deals to do and build on over the years. 

I strongly suggest you do your best to educate yourself on real estate as soon as possible and network, network, network. Just to give you an idea of what can be accomplished through real estate I became a millionaire at least on paper within 18 months of getting started with real estate but it was my lack of knowledge, education, and resources that also lead to me losing everything just as quickly. Oh yes I made mistakes, the same ones you might read about in other people's posts on here but hopefully I have become a more seasoned investor now and will have better luck holding onto properties , value, and money and I will be able to build lasting success this time around. Who knows maybe I will bump into you there in Chicago, feel free to connect with me and become colleagues. 

Welcome @Matthew Koczwara it’s a pleasure to have you here! You will find this a tremendous resource for all of your real estate needs. You may want to set up some “keyword alerts” to notify the topics that interest you the most.

All the best!

Welcome, @Matthew Koczwara. I'm on a similar path myself. I bought my first property in December, a duplex that I owner occupy. I have had a great experience in starting this way since the rent check nearly covers the mortgage so I am living nearly mortgage free at a young age. I think it's an excellent way to go, at least in my experience so far.

Good luck!

@Matthew Koczwara , welcome to the site! Please be informed that even if you save 20% for downpayment, when taking an FHA loan, you'll have PMI until you pay the loan off or refinance it. That's FHA's business model.

If you do not want to pay PMI, and you can qualify, you'll have to take a conventional loan!

Good luck in your investing!

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