House Hacking in Lower Bucks County (PA)

4 Replies

Hello,

I'm currently renting in Center City and want to start my Real Estate Investing journey soon (3-6mo) by house hacking a 2-4 unit property. My budget is $300k.

 Lower Bucks County has piqued my interest due to it's proximity to Trenton (easy train to NYC for work) and I can't wait to stop paying this Phila wage tax (lol). So far, Morrisville and Bristol look most promising judging by the previous year's MFH sales.

I'm still very new to PA and would like to hear other people's thoughts on Lower Bucks County and REI experiences in the area. Any local gotchas / pitfalls that I could be overlooking? Thoughts on which areas tend to be B-grade vs C-grade?

I plan on taking a day to gain experience with the area but would appreciate any of your thoughts too. Thanks for reading :)

@Daniel C. - Hi Daniel. I live in Ewing which is right across the river from Morrisville. Are you 100% sold on a multifamily house hack or would you consider a larger home that you initially rent bedrooms in like a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom or a 6 bedroom 3 bathroom? The more award winning school district in the area is Pennsbury and school district will have a lot of effect on your overall appreciation as families choose to buy / owner occupy more in places with premium schools.

There’s a lot of demand for cheap furnished single bedrooms from recent college graduates, commuting workers, college students, etc. In Ewing, the big employers are Church and Dwight, Merrill Lynch / BOA, State of New Jersey, Capital Health, TCNJ / Rider.

Most multifamily in these areas were built 1900-1960, so you won’t get modern floor plans or luxury finishes in most housing unless it’s been hard core renovated with wall removal. You can always do these renovations yourself after you buy it.

I prefer PA taxes over NJ taxes any day, both property taxes (usually 50-80% of Nj taxes) and income taxes (3 vs 6%). However if you’re commuting to NYC on a regular basis you may consider Hamilton or Princeton Junction NJ areas to save more time since time is $$$ and life. Many Nj houses will have a lower price tag for the same size house but the total mortgage payment will be the same or higher because of the property taxes.

If you work in Philadelphia I think you pay their wage taxes regardless of where you live.

Let me know if you want to go on some tours.

Lower bucks has a lot of opportunities but just like any other market now it’s pretty saturated with many investors bidding for the same properties. So you need to be knocking on more doors than before. Good luck!!! 

Hi @Natalie Schanne , thanks for the reply :) I am set on a MFH house hack for this initial investment.

I'm okay without modern floor plans etc. and actually prefer to not have that so I have the opportunity to do the value-add work myself.

Thanks for the note re: NJ/NYC. I would be commuting to NYC 1-2 times/week and definitely agree that I need to find a balance b/t time commuting / $ saved. With that said and for other non-financial reasons, moving to NJ is out of the question.

Hi @Daniel C. , I grew up in Lower Bucks County and still reside in the area.  There aren’t many small multi-family (duplexes/triplexes) properties available in the area outside of the aforementioned Morrisville and Bristol.  You have to be careful with these cities as they both have “B-grade” and “C-grade” areas within a few streets of each other...just like Philadelphia and most areas.  As mentioned above, the competition is tough when the multi-families pop up as they are few and far between.  I have a few clients who have given up in Bucks County and only are looking in NE Philly.  These clients are also not living in the properties so the situation is different.  If you have any specific questions on the area just send me a PM anytime.  Best of luck.