Happy New Years! So I began to start looking into Schuykill County properties. Mainly in Pottsville, Schuykill Haven and Tamaqua. I currently live approximately 60 miles east. The obvious play would be for the low purchase price/cash flow. I'v began to research the area and found limited info on here, looking to hear from people who invest in these areas. My main concern would be vacancy rate, since I know there is still a good amount of vacant houses in some areas. I visited Pottsville and I liked the feel and seems like a nice little town. Also, I would plan to self manage and from looking on their site I believe if you reside more than 20 miles away you need to have a representative who is local.
Sorry if this seems vague, my main concern would be what the vacancy rates look like. Any further info or resources (meet ups, local investors who would mind chatting about this area).
@Daniel Vandenbos Pottsville is the county seat so the county government is there, also Yueugling Brewery is there. With the cash flow play you need to buy low, negotiate hard on price, expect no appreciation and get a very healthy cash flow, nothing marginal, And expect when you sell to make little to no appreciation, then any gains are icing on the cake.
Hi @Daniel Vandenbos ,
I own a small multifamily in Pottsville and another one in St. Clair and I very much agree with what @David Krulac indicated. I think you would have to force appreciation via property improvements to see any appreciation gains. But it can a good area for cash flow because rents are high in comparison to house prices and seem to be stable. Pottsville's downtown had been in declined with empty store fronts but I really think the arrow is pointed up with a couple of new restaurants opening up in the downtown. The Wheel has generated a lot of buzz including being named the Travel and Leisure Magazine's 12th best diner and the owner, Savas Logothetides, is very involved in revitalizing the downtown. (https://wnep.com/2018/06/26/wh...) I am less familiar with Schuylkill Haven and Tamaqua but I think they are good cash flow areas as well.
I have self managed these properties and while for the first 2 years that I owned each property, I lived in Schuylkill County, the last 2 years I have lived in Philadelphia. I think it is doable to self manage from afar but you are correct that you are supposed to have a local representative. But you might be able to work out some sort of agreement with a tenant to fill that role for a slight rent reduction.
Like with any rental, tenant screening is crucial in this area because opioids and other drugs have hit the area hard. 2019 has been my first year without an eviction so it has been a learning process. Accepting Section 8 can be a great way to add stability and I have found success with this approach. All three of my tenants in the Pottsville property are enrolled in the Pottsville Housing Authority and I have had good experience working with that organization.
There is a Schuylkill County Real Estate Investors Group on Meetup.com which might be worth checking out. Feel free to message me with further questions or if you are interested in some numbers.
@David Krulac Thank you very much! I agree with you on that plan of attack from everything I’ve seen.
@Joseph Adelmann Thank you very much for all the info, fantastic response, I appreciate it!
How has Pottsville been for you? Still have the properties? Any pro cons you want to share?
I still have both properties and all available units are still rented out. The Pottsville property has been really stable as of late, knock on wood. Even with the pandemic, my tenants have still received their housing assistance. One of my tenants in my saint clair property is interested in purchasing the property so we're reviewing our options to make that work. During that process, I am seeing some appreciation in the property but it's because I remodeled a lot of it. I see updates about Pottsville's revitalizing effort every so often and maybe with remote work gaining popularity, inexpensive cities will be on the rise.
Do you guys have a property manager you would recommend for Pottsville?