Hiya BiggerPockets ATL, trying to get started (offers rejected)

4 Replies | Atlanta, Georgia

Former ATLiens, but we've been living in Seattle for the past 10 years.

All kinds of life events are pointing us back home, and we plan on being out there in two years or so.

What we'd like to do is kick start our investing endeavors out there in advance of our arrival . . .

We decided we'd like to buy, rehab (and either refinance to rent or just sell).

So we watched a million podcasts, read books, did mock deal analysis, and have already automated some of the deal vetting process to make an offer.

Comfortable with that, we pulled some cash and got a HELOC to serve as our own personal private money lender until that runs out, we can handle a few deals at a time, IF we could find them.

Lately, we're really liking Pittsburg, Mechanicsville, all the way over to English Avenue, for a multitude of reasons:

  • The cost of entry is relatively cheap there
  • We're not first movers so we have watched before/afters on properties in these areas for a year or so and it seems doable
  • I went to Georgia Tech, that area has always been near to my heart, sketchy or not
  • Historic civil rights area, I'd personally have some pride in making that more accessible 
  • I'd not mind moving my family into some of these areas when we leave Seattle

What we are finding is most homes are going over asking and even then our offers are getting rejected.  It feels an awful lot like the strategy that's been going on in Seattle for 1/2 a decade (list below market, frothy bidding wars ensue).

We are from out of state, and so says our earnest money checks.

We're getting about 5% of our offers accepted, and that's recent. My GC father is heading out to check them out tomorrow. We are finding them all on the MLS through a buyers agent. Is that the wrong way to go about this kind of strategy?

Now we've once again reached a point where we have more questions than answers.  Questions like:

  • Is it cheaper just to raze a dilapidated property and build new?
  • How fast does building happen in Atlanta, still relatively quick?
  • $/sqft for new construction?
  • Demo costs (with/without lead and asbestos)?  A few quotes have varied by 300%!
  • What are things going for over there?  10% over list, 20%?  
  • Our rent expenses are roughly estimated to be about 40% of a comparable rental rate, after a mortgage it leaves $100-$200 a month in cash flow, is that par for the course in Atlanta, specifically in those areas?  It doesn't seem worth it (rehab and rent) for those kinds of returns.
  • Is there someone a little further (or a lot further) along than we are that would be willing to dispense some knowledge?
  • Could any RE investor here benefit from some technology/software assistance?  I'd gladly swap my tech skills for some hard-earned RE knowledge.

I'm sure there are more, but this has been a long intro (and a not so veiled call for help).

If anyone has anything that could help move us along, or needs anything I can provide, just let me know.

Best of luck to everyone patient enough to read to the end of this :)

Steve

Hi, Steve.  Welcome to the neighborhood.  I live/invest in Adair Park and I just picked up a project in Pittsburg.  To give you a benchmark, I just bought a 3/2 1100 sq ft bungalow on a good street in Pittsburg for $90,000 with rental comps @ $1200.  My monthly cost basis is less than $550, so I'm sure you can do way better.  

Have you tried looking on Craigslist or Zillow?  I am finding lots of opportunities over there owned by small time relatively unsophisticated investors, but they often prefer the personal touch and some shy away from realtors who want a cut of the action.

I've personally squeezed into and crawled through dozens of these properties.  I find the build quality, broadly speaking, ranges from highly durable (1930s and below) to cheap as hell (1940-2000s, IMHO).  Most are not worth tearing down, especially the coveted bungalow style.  You will make better money on new construction to sell right away, rather than holding it.  I think you'll get the best spread on a 1920s/1930s bunglow style needing plumbing, electrical, and cosmetic updates with no major structural issues.  You'll start off with a bunch of equity and premium rents.

I'd love to understand how you've automated your prospecting and what your goals are.  I'm happy to do drivebys, take pictures, and poke around some properties since I live in that area on the weekends.  Shoot me a message.

Hi @Steve French

Below are my answers to your questions in general terms. Keep in mind the answers may vary depending on individual situation, deal, site etc. 

  • Is it cheaper just to raze a dilapidated property and build new?  You could spend  4-6K just for demo of labor plus you would need 30 yard 10 dumpsters to haul . Each 30 Yd dumpster cost between 400-450 so you may spend about 10K to demo. Again this is generally speaking brick house vs. hardi 
  • How fast does building happen in Atlanta, still relatively quick? No City of Atlanta is notoriously slow you can expect 6-8 weeks for the permit.  You can build a house in 6-8 months again generally speaking
  • $/sqft for new construction? 100
  • Demo costs (with/without lead and asbestos)? A few quotes have varied by 300%! see bullet 1
  • What are things going for over there? 10% over list, 20%? depends 7-15%
  • Our rent expenses are roughly estimated to be about 40% of a comparable rental rate, after a mortgage it leaves $100-$200 a month in cash flow, is that par for the course in Atlanta, specifically in those areas? It doesn't seem worth it (rehab and rent) for those kinds of returns. Would need more info. 
  • Is there someone a little further (or a lot further) along than we are that would be willing to dispense some knowledge? Sure- Check my profile feel free to hit me up and PM. I have a few project going. BTW I like the above areas as well. It scares a lot of investors but I am looking to buy there any day and actively looking
  • Could any RE investor here benefit from some technology/software assistance? I'd gladly swap my tech skills for some hard-earned RE knowledge. Sure - You know SEO?

Good Luck 

@Azeez K. thanks for all the info!

Although 6-8 mos sounds like a long time, out here in Seattle that would be pretty good starting from scratch!

I'll hit you up with a PM, though.

And yeah, I grok SEO but that's not in my normal day-to-day wheelhouse, as it's a moving target based on what the search algos are doing at that time.

MOZ's blog has pretty decent and current info (they sell services, too, more white than black hat hackery: https://moz.com/blog).

MOZ also curates a decent community of Q&A for all things SEO:  https://moz.com/community/q

Does most of your traffic come from Google?  If so, even not doing server-side rendering will still get some/most of the data (depending on site structure).  Otherwise, I believe as of now all the other guys will not be able to gleam anything useful about your site's content.

There are also sites that give you an idea of how the googlebot sees your site, so you can identify issues and fix them, like these:  

http://www.evolvedwebsites.com.au/googlebot/

http://www.seo-browser.com/

http://www.webconfs.com/search-engine-spider-simul...

I'm not sure if this helps or if you are way beyond that, however.  You can always PM me if you have specific questions, too!

Thanks!