Selecting neighborhoods and areas to invest

5 Replies

Hello everyone, 

Like many on BP, I am new to the real estate world.  I joined bigger pockets about 4 years ago then took a hiatus.  In that time I got married, purchased my own home in NJ, and had a baby so learning about real estate took a back seat.  Now that things have settled down a bit I want to begin learning about the business again.  I'm mainly interested in buy&hold rentals.

One question I'm always wondering about is how are investors selecting areas to buy in?  New Jersey as any resident knows is a tough market and very expensive (it took us over a year to find our house), but I assume that it is relative wherever you may be.  

Are there any tools investors use to select neighborhoods?  If so what are some strategies/things to look for?

What are some things to avoid when looking for areas to buy?   

If anyone can offer any insight or advice I'd appreciate it!  

@Jeff Pagano housing desirability partly depends on the type of housing. For example single family homes are more desirable if they are close to good schools because they are more likely to attract families. People want a nice yard and quiet street when they are looking at homes. Apartments may be desirable if they are close to employers. Low crime makes any location more desirable, so you can usually search crime maps. You can tell a lot by driving down a street or "virtual driving" using Google street view. Look at how well people maintain yards. Look for trash piles, boarded up windows or other signs the neighborhood is deteriorating. 

Location is the single most important factor when selecting a property. Everything but location can be changed. 

Welcome back to BP!

This post is a good start that will get you out of anonymity!  Though I have not purchased my own real estate in NJ so I might be unqualified to speak about it; I would say attend Brandon Turner's webinar which he typically holds every week on this very topic!  He likes to say, property may not be a deal at seller's price but every property is a deal at your price or something along that line!  Also, while your town might not be economical; there should be towns within 30-60 minutes that may be where the workers might come from so those might be towns worth looking into and these exist everywhere.

Multifamilies on commuter lines (bus, train) or in college towns are good place to start in NJ for buy and hold rentals. SFRs in the suburbs are for growing families who want to be in certain school districts--these properties will have high property taxes and be at the more expensive end of the spectrum, but you can find fixer uppers and sell them at a good price after rehab if you are patient and look deep--try auction sites like, Williams & Williams, Xome, Hubzu. Remember, you make your money when you buy--buy low!!

@Jeff Pagano congrats on getting back into RE. What type of RE are you looking into? buy and hold SFH or multi unit? I am also from NJ but invest out of state. I like business and landlord friendly markets. Markets that people are migrating to and where jobs are going. Once you narrow down a market or two then deep dive into towns and submarkets. Any other questions lets grab a cup of coffee to connect!