I am new and looking to buy in Delaware County, PA.

10 Replies

Hello, I am looking to buy a duplex or multi level home and am very new to this.  I am seeing there isn't a lot in my area, but there are homes in Lansdowne, PA.  I am thinking of living there for a bit.  I am very new to this.  I have decided to do this to help pay for where I live, but I think ultimately I will not want to live there for a long time.  I am looking to do this to buy a place for me to live elsewhere.  

Has anyone else bought in Lansdowne and are you happy with it?  I figure it is close to the city and could be a wise investment.  I was wondering what your thoughts were on this.  I currently live in Delaware County, PA.  

Hi Holly, sounds like a good plan. Looks like you are from Swarthmore. Lansdowne is not as nice as Swarthmore, but most of it is not as bad as West Philly either. It is somewhere in between. I have 2 rentals in Lansdowne and they cash flow really nicely but the location is only so so in my opinion. Somewhere between C and B-. If you stay further west in Lansdowne, then you will find nicer neighborhoods. I have seen some nice duplex and small multi families as you get closer to Ridley and Springfield areas. Values are much higher but if your goal is just to control living expenses then you may enjoy those areas a little more. 

If you are looking for better cash flow later on down the road then you are on the right track with Lansdowne. 

Sorry that's so all over the place but I think for a straight answer we need a little more on who you are and what exactly you are looking for. 

Hope this helps!

@Holly Thomas Welcome to BP! I'm originally from the Delco area so I know it pretty well. I agree with Rich, Lansdowne is in the B, C class. Depending on the financing and what you are approved of, there might be other options as well. Obviously the numbers have to make sense. What I noticed about a few multi family properties in that part of Delco is if you can find a Triplex then you are essentially living for free (not factoring in other cost) because a duplex and triplex are somewhat in the same price range. 

Here is what I recommend

1. Get in contact with a mortgage broker to see what your financing options are. 

2. Get in contact with realtor who understands multi unit properties and can give you solid advice on the rental market.    

3. I wouldn't rush into it but check out a few properties first and get a feel for the type of properties and the maintenance that comes along with it. 

Overall, this is a great strategy to almost live for free and when the time comes to keep it as a rental going forward. Please let me know if you have any questions, more than happy to help. 

Originally posted by @Rich O'Neill :

Hi Holly, sounds like a good plan. Looks like you are from Swarthmore. Lansdowne is not as nice as Swarthmore, but most of it is not as bad as West Philly either. It is somewhere in between. I have 2 rentals in Lansdowne and they cash flow really nicely but the location is only so so in my opinion. Somewhere between C and B-. If you stay further west in Lansdowne, then you will find nicer neighborhoods. I have seen some nice duplex and small multi families as you get closer to Ridley and Springfield areas. Values are much higher but if your goal is just to control living expenses then you may enjoy those areas a little more. 

If you are looking for better cash flow later on down the road then you are on the right track with Lansdowne. 

Sorry that's so all over the place but I think for a straight answer we need a little more on who you are and what exactly you are looking for. 

Hope this helps!

Honestly Rich, I would love to live in Springfield as I am not a Lansdowne kind of girl.  But I see nothing in Springfield.  Media is out of the question as I am seeing.  I am not sure whether to buy something in like Lansdowne and rent it out and live elsewhere.  I have never done this and honestly, there is a lot I need to learn.  I need a guide, but not sure where to get one!  I grew up in Ridley.  I always wanted to get out of here, but not sure that can happen.  Ultimately my goal is to buy something, make some money off it and live elsewhere.  

Originally posted by @Tom Doherty :

@Holly Thomas Welcome to BP! I'm originally from the Delco area so I know it pretty well. I agree with Rich, Lansdowne is in the B, C class. Depending on the financing and what you are approved of, there might be other options as well. Obviously the numbers have to make sense. What I noticed about a few multi family properties in that part of Delco is if you can find a Triplex then you are essentially living for free (not factoring in other cost) because a duplex and triplex are somewhat in the same price range. 

Here is what I recommend

1. Get in contact with a mortgage broker to see what your financing options are. 

2. Get in contact with realtor who understands multi unit properties and can give you solid advice on the rental market.    

3. I wouldn't rush into it but check out a few properties first and get a feel for the type of properties and the maintenance that comes along with it. 

Overall, this is a great strategy to almost live for free and when the time comes to keep it as a rental going forward. Please let me know if you have any questions, more than happy to help. 

Hey Tom, I think ultimately I would like to buy and rent out.  If it was in a nicer area, I would live there, but Lansdowne is not my ideal location for me to live.  I would live there if I really liked the location.  Otherwise, I just might want to buy it, fix it up and rent it out only to live elsewhere.  

@Holly Thomas A real estate agent familiar with the area would be a good place to start, along with a mortgage broker like @Tom Doherty said. @Ray Peslar helped me get my first one and he is really good. I think he also does property management so you could possibly do that as well. I am a licensed agent as well but I generally do not work with clients other than my own purchases. 

Strategically, depending on what you can qualify for, you could buy one or more single families in a Lansdowne type area (others are Collingdale, Upper Darby, Sharon Hill, Glenolden), then take the cashflow from those to help pay for something a little more desirable for you to live in. Ex: Cashflow $500-900 a month (depending on financing) and use that to help supplement part of a $800-1200 mortgage which can buy you a lot of house in some nicer parts of Delco. 

Plenty of options here but I think you need to boil down exactly where you want to live and come up with a strategy to get there. If you give us a little more details I am sure the forum here would be happy to help you form that strategy once you decide your goal. 

Hey Holly! @Rich O'Neill and @Tom Doherty have said it well. Also keep an eye out for property taxes. Growing up in Ridley I'm sure you are familiar. They will take a huge bite out of any cashflow. Don't totally discount places like Media, but yes, generally the more desirable the area for homeowners, the harder it is to make money as an investor. The competition is tighter.

There are some good networking groups in our area that you might start to find the guidance you are looking for. DIG (Diversified Investors Group) has a Delaware county subgroup that meets in Havertown monthly. Give it some thought like Rich said and start to hone in on your real goals and how active you want to be in it! Feel free to message me if you need anything.

Hi Holly

I also live in Swarthmore and invest in Delaware County. Look in Glenolden, Homes and Secane  I have seen duplexes in these areas. Also not a bad place to live.

If you are willing to put some work into a place go the the auction sites and buy someting well below market value but you will need cash to buy.

Ryan

Originally posted by @Ryan Mackfee :

Hi Holly

I also live in Swarthmore and invest in Delaware County. Look in Glenolden, Homes and Secane  I have seen duplexes in these areas. Also not a bad place to live.

If you are willing to put some work into a place go the the auction sites and buy someting well below market value but you will need cash to buy.

Ryan

 If you do this....the auction aspect, it doesn't look like you can see the place.  Is that the case?

That is correct most of the time you can not enter the property before purchase.

@Holly Thomas Hit up @Ray Peslar like Rich Oneill said. He also helped me get my first property. Great guy and knows what he’s doing! 

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