Long time BP listener, first time poster from Chicagoland

12 Replies

My name is Jill Buhrfiend. I’ve been a landlord since 2004… so I guess, by default, I’ve been investing in real estate for 14 years. My husband, Mike, and I have been slowly acquiring properties since 2002. We started with condos that we lived in and then rented out when moved out. We’ve moved on to small multi-family properties. We currently own and manage 21 doors…. And we’re always looking for our next deal.

I am a licensed IL Real Estate Broker, but I only participate in my own deals. I received my license back in 2005 when Real Estate agents would refuse to submit the “low ball” offers Mike and I wanted to make. We’ve always been focused on cash flow. Listing price is irrelevant in our deal analysis. We offer a price on a property that will allow it to cash flow. Simple.

The first few properties we purchased were in the City of Chicago. Now that we’ve moved to the Western Suburbs we’ve been looking for deals and buying in that area as well. (Elmhurst, Villa Park, Lombard, Westchester, Lyons, Riverside, Brookfield, Bensenville, Addison)

Mike and I have been listening to the Bigger Pockets Podcast for about 2 years. We’ve found endless inspiration and ideas there. I’m joining the community to network with others in the Chicagoland area. I’m always looking for deals as well as good (possibly great) trades people.

Hi @Jill Buhrfiend , welcome, it'll be good to have your experience and knowledge on the boards. A few questions for you and your husband:

1. About how many of your offers are accepted? Do you do a lot of marketing, or do you just scour MLS and offer what will cash flow?

2.  21 doors starts to get into serious management needs -- do you and your husband manage those properties yourself or have you teed up management to someone else?

Hi @Joe P.

Thanks for your questions.

1. My husband may have real data, but my guess is that less than 25% of offers are accepted and then half of those deals fall apart before close. We know its a numbers game (the more offers you can make, the more you can get to stick). This is our side hustle, so we would like to make more offers, but we just don't have the time. We do no marketing. We find most deals on the MLS.

2.  Like I said, it's our side hustle (we both have full time professional jobs and a houseful of kids), but we do the management ourselves.  Mike does the majority of it and I help where I can.  He does outsource almost all labor (cleaning, mowing, shoveling, trades work).  Although we've both been known to grab the cleaning supplies and do a move out cleaning if we need to.  For us to scale much bigger, one of us will have to quit our day job or we'll have to hire a management company.... we'll jump off that bridge when we come to it ;-)

@Gordon Mcfarland - for my properties in Lombard and Riverside, I use craigslist, Zillow and PadMapper.  Make sure to take LOTS of good photos in good natural light.  I usually bring in fluffy white towels, toilet paper and some throw rugs into my vacant apartments to make them photograph and show better.  Super simple stuff that you probably already have, but it makes a big difference.

@Jill Buhrfiend welcome to the site! I live, work and invest in the near western suburbs and would love to connect. I most recently purchased a 19 unit with a partner in Berwyn, but I also own in Lyons and North Riverside. Feel free to reach out at any point. 

@Jill Buhrfiend Absolutely, I wouldn't touch anything that didn't. I have found them through MLS, and then through people knowing a specific area I like. Neighbors of surrounding properties have thrown me leads to units/houses in the nearby area I already own in.

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