Investing in West Michigan

17 Replies

Hi all, first post here. My wife and I are looking at buying investment property in the West Michigan area. We live in Grand Rapids and are having difficulty finding properties that fit our requirements price wise so we started thinking about branching out to Big Rapids or Kalamazoo. Does anyone invest in either of these areas? If so, what are the pros/cons of each area?

Thank you for any responses. 

Hello Jordan! Welcome to BP! You can still do very well in Grand Rapids, but you have to be working with the right agent who has access to properties that might not be on the MLS or who is very knowledgeable of the market and can help you reach your goals with a sound strategy. I'm a listing agent for HUD, REO Companies and Kent County Land Bank tax foreclosures and I have access to these properties and can help you find what you need. Feel free to contact me if I can be of help.

As far as lower priced properties, the Muskegon Market is still quite depressed in some areas and can return very nice profits.   I'm seeing very nice Cap Rates over there and picking up a nice 3 bedroom home under $30,000 is quite easy.

That would be great! We're feeling a bit sad with the inventory we've seen in Grand Rapids. 

K-Zoo Has SO MUCH potential I feel it is a market that alot of investors are moving to. hop on zillow and look at what is for rent and what is for sale in that area! I love the Edison area and the revitalization that is going on. Jump on board before its too late.

Hi, @Jordan Puffer .  I invest in Kalamazoo.  I also work in GR a couple of times a week.  If you'd like to meet for coffee to discuss the Kzoo area let me know!

Regarding one of the replies to this post- I agree, Kalamazoo is a great place to invest... but I'd make sure you have someone with boots on the ground here OR come visit yourself before purchasing. I would advise the opposite of one of the previous recommendations to invest in the Edison neighborhood. Are you focused on returns regardless of how much stuff you have to put up with, potential vacancy rates, etc? Do you want hands-free longer term tenants? It depends on your priorities- there are multiple phenomenal areas here.

We'd like to have the least amount of gaps in vacancy that we can.

Grand Rapids has the lowest vacancy rates in the country so you're looking in the right place. Here are my recommendations depending on what you're looking for:

  • If you're looking in the <$100k price range I'd recommend looking in the SE areas Anywhere east of 131 to Burton (probably between Division and Eastern), and north of 28th st (probably between Franklin and Burton).
  • If you're looking around the $100k range, I'd recommend Creston or West Side.  
  • If you're looking in $150K+ and up range I'd recommend Eastown, Midtown, Fulton Heights area.

I'm not a big west side guy, so personally I like Creston, Midtown, and even Highland Park. Basically, as close as I can get to downtown on the near north and near east sides. Good luck!

I grew up on the westside!! Our budget is $100k and under and we are already looking into all of the aforementioned areas. What can we expect to see (rent wise) coming from those areas? I've done research and I'm seeing around $3-600 per room. Is this commonplace?

@Jordan Puffer When you get into rental amounts over $450.00 per room on a single family or small multi-family apt you start competing against the new construction, and its not a market you want to compete with.  I have completed several high end properties in the last year for my personal portfolio, and have shifted gears back into the middle/lower income area as this demographic is having a hard time finding quality homes that are reasonably prices.  In general wouldn't expect more than $400-425.00 per bedroom.  

@Randy Charboneau

Hi Randy - I would be interested in speaking with you about the Muskegon market. I live in Grand Haven and I'm looking for opportunities close to home for my first deal. I've seen a tremendous amount of properties listed for under 30k like you said. Sounds like the Muskegon market might be favorable for buy & hold but curious to get your thoughts on whether or not it could support fix and flips. Not sure the ARV's would be high enough in some of the distressed areas in Muskegon. Let me know your thoughts!


Hey @Ryan Dosenberry !

I'll shoot you a private message in a few.  I don't want to hijack Jordan's thread too much.   Check your inbox in a few

This is a great thread. I have properties in Holland, GR and Kalamazoo and have looked at several in Muskegon, near downtown. It is increasingly hard to find good deals in GR in the past year or so, and I have begun to focus more attention on Kalamazoo (only have 1 property there so far, a SFR in the Vine student area near WMU). Kalamazoo is definitely heating up. It's no GR, but not all that far off. And from the new construction I see going on in Muskegon, things are heading in a good direction there. I hope to buy something there in the next 6 months.

What an information-rich thread! We're looking to invest in W Michigan in the next few months, and have targeted Kzoo and GR. I'll now add Muskegon to our analysis. 

Hey guys, nice to see a change in the market.  Anybody starting to see more deals coming thru?  I have been on the hunt again, and starting to see better returns.

Makes me kind of nervous, is the market going to drop or should we start buying up everything we can find?  Whats your thoughts?

What about looking further west of Grand Rapids like Wyoming, Grandville, Jenison, Hudsonville, etc? There's some older homes in that area and they do come on the market. If you can rehab one yourself, there may be adequate spread between ARV and purchase price.

@Jordan Puffer this is a great post.  I actually was discussing this same topic today with a couple realtor friends of mine in regards to where I should look for my next opportunities.  They mentioned west Grand Rapids and also suggested we look in Muskegon, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo.  Best of luck!

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here