I'm looking to make some connections in Cincinnati

24 Replies

Hey everybody!

I'm Wayne- I'm from Chicago (Oak Park). I caught the bug a couple of months ago and I'm looking at Cincinnati as where I think I'd like to start. My wife and I (or maybe just me, we'll see what happens) are thinking about driving out next Saturday to look at a few places. Anyone know any brokers they'd recommend? Preferably one that invests. We'd like to get our feet wet with one or two duplexes that don't need too much work, and then we can look at BRRRR in a year or two when we're more confident about what we're doing.

I've got a ton of questions, both in general and specific to Cincinnati. Something I'm required to avoid due to my day job is section 8 tenants, is that going to be difficult getting started in the 100,000-200,000 range?  How's Evanston? Any other neighborhoods we should be checking out? Anybody looking to make connections? Anybody or anything I should run screaming from? Thus far, I've got a pretty good lender and that's about it. What else do I need to know? Is there anything I can tell you? 

Another question that popped into my head today about commercial loans. Is the more than 4 unit rule that black and white? Is there a little grey that you can squeeze a 5 unit though for conventional loans or anything like that? Or is it just 4 = conventional, 5 = commercial, regardless of other factors? 

I have always been told that you need commercial lending for anything more than four units. I have a duplex in Monfort Heights, just outside the city, with better schools and I never have a problem avoiding section 8.

I've house hacked this thing to it's limits and now my wife and I have bought a house. If your looking for a a duplex half rented and half ready to go I would entertain offers.

Joe

To your first question about section 8 in the $100,000-$200,000 range, I don't think you should have any trouble. Evanston is a pretty good area, C+ to B- properties if I had to paint a broad stroke. If you're looking for places that don't need much work at that range, you might also want to consider Norwood (but far enough away from Bond Hill and North Avondale, south or around St Rt 562).

As far as what else you need to know, I think it just comes down to getting more of your team together and asking more questions on BP! It's great you've found a good lender, now you need to connect with a good realtor and property manager since you'll be needing boots on the ground.

Is there a reason you are looking to Cincinnati instead of areas around you? There are definitely still some good deals to be found in the Chicago 'burbs if you wanted to stay local. Could always get your feet wet with a property near you that you can self-manage.

I would also echo what Joe said about financing multi-units with conventional loans. Anything above 4 units and you'll be needing a commercial loan.

hi @Wayne Popelka ,

(I’m a Cbus/ Central OH investor with ZERO Cinci market knowledge; thought I’d send some general advice).

I love that you are considering heading driving to Cincinnati first. Online property pics/data are one thing but nothing beats the boots on the ground neighborhood check. Check out the Queen City REIA (also Run by Vena Jones Cox who runs the Central Ohio group)- great education/training throughout the year and one of the best places to build your real world network. Find some Cinci PM's to get an idea of the right neighborhood (balance of solid rent without massive headaches).

Good luck!

Originally posted by @Wayne Popelka :

Hey everybody!

I'm Wayne- I'm from Chicago (Oak Park). I caught the bug a couple of months ago and I'm looking at Cincinnati as where I think I'd like to start. My wife and I (or maybe just me, we'll see what happens) are thinking about driving out next Saturday to look at a few places. Anyone know any brokers they'd recommend? Preferably one that invests. We'd like to get our feet wet with one or two duplexes that don't need too much work, and then we can look at BRRRR in a year or two when we're more confident about what we're doing.

I've got a ton of questions, both in general and specific to Cincinnati. Something I'm required to avoid due to my day job is section 8 tenants, is that going to be difficult getting started in the 100,000-200,000 range?  How's Evanston? Any other neighborhoods we should be checking out? Anybody looking to make connections? Anybody or anything I should run screaming from? Thus far, I've got a pretty good lender and that's about it. What else do I need to know? Is there anything I can tell you? 

Another question that popped into my head today about commercial loans. Is the more than 4 unit rule that black and white? Is there a little grey that you can squeeze a 5 unit though for conventional loans or anything like that? Or is it just 4 = conventional, 5 = commercial, regardless of other factors? 

 Hi Wayne - we are seeing a lot of investors look to Cincinnati as well as Columbus.  As there are still really good returns to be had and slightly less competition than Columbus, Cincinnati as well as other Ohio markets are great places to look at for investment property.  Best of luck with everything! 

@Wayne Popelka , welcome to the club!  I'm also an Illinois person (Joliet area) that's looking for a multifamily in the Cincinnati area.  However, my full time W2 employer's home office is in downtown Cinci and I'm needing to start going there more often...and it's grossly expensive for them to put me up in a hotel for a week.  I'm looking for a 3 or 4 unit that has a 1BR that I could "live" in while the other 2 or 3 units bring in enough to cover the expenses.  I've only been passively looking but am also starting to look more in earnest over the coming months and hoping to make something happen.

My wife and I bought a turn-key on the South side of Chicago (South Deering area) back in Dec 2016 and it's been good so far with only a few minor issues.

@Kyle Bale , I can't speak for Wayne but just in general, the state of IL is in major financial debt (IL is already in "junk" status) and the only solutions being proposed by most law makers are centered around raising the property taxes..which are already out of control around here.   We have 2 boys left in the house and they'll likely be leaving in the next year and I'm starting my exit strategy to get out of IL....my wife wants somewhere warmer than Chicago LOL...she doesn't consider Cincinnati to be warmer.  

Originally posted by @Andrew Hargreave :

@Wayne Popelka , welcome to the club!  I'm also an Illinois person (Joliet area) that's looking for a multifamily in the Cincinnati area.  However, my full time W2 employer's home office is in downtown Cinci and I'm needing to start going there more often...and it's grossly expensive for them to put me up in a hotel for a week.  I'm looking for a 3 or 4 unit that has a 1BR that I could "live" in while the other 2 or 3 units bring in enough to cover the expenses.  I've only been passively looking but am also starting to look more in earnest over the coming months and hoping to make something happen.

My wife and I bought a turn-key on the South side of Chicago (South Deering area) back in Dec 2016 and it's been good so far with only a few minor issues.

@Kyle Bale, I can't speak for Wayne but just in general, the state of IL is in major financial debt (IL is already in "junk" status) and the only solutions being proposed by most law makers are centered around raising the property taxes..which are already out of control around here.   We have 2 boys left in the house and they'll likely be leaving in the next year and I'm starting my exit strategy to get out of IL....my wife wants somewhere warmer than Chicago LOL...she doesn't consider Cincinnati to be warmer.  

Makes sense -- thanks for the additional context! Property taxes are getting pretty steep in the more developed areas of Cincinnati as well, but probably nothing in comparison to Chicago.

There are definitely some good places in Cincinnati within 10-15 minutes of downtown you could house hack if you wanted to get a non-hotel place to stay nearer your employer. I'll PM you one that I was looking at a few weeks back before I found the one I'm currently closing on.

PMs are probably one of the biggest challenges out of state investors will find.  While there is rental property galore here finding effective and responsive management is another story.  Definitely recommend visiting and getting a lay of the land as Cincy does have a unique layout.  

Paul

Thanks @Paul Sian , I've been visiting for over a year and it's very nice area.  I've been in the Chicago burbs for over 35 years and Cinci is so laid back compared to Chicago...I worked a few years downtown on Michigan Ave and the hustle-bustle is just insane...I didn't enjoy that environment.  When I'm in Cinci, everyone is friendly and I don't feel crushed.  I also like that you can find reasonable nice housing 10-15 minutes from downtown....in the Chicago area, those two are mutually exclusive!  

I've been doing a little web research on PM's in the area but haven't contacted any yet...recommendations always welcome!

@Andrew Hargreave

I am originally from Michigan, Detroit area so am familiar with the cold and snow that Chicago also gets.  Been here for 10+ years and enjoy it.  Feel free to send me a PM and am happy to share local contractor, lender, PM contacts and more. 

Paul

Hey @Wayne Popelka ! Glad to hear you're interested in Cincy, and I fully support your boots-on-the-ground approach here. We work heavily with out of state investors and have been flying them out to Cincy to get the perspective that only a first hand look at the 52 neighborhoods can provide.

If you'd like, I'd be happy to do a bit of driving around with you next Saturday and show you what you need to see. Ideally, that drive will conclude at one of the local breweries :)

Let me know; I'll send you a connection request here too.

Thanks for the response, everybody! 

@Joe Verkamp - I'd love to take a look at the details - could you send me some info and numbers? 

@Kyle Bale - There's a number of reasons, @Andrew Hargreave had it right though - our state ain't in great shape. Another reason is that I'm looking to (eventually) get away from work and make my living from rents. We plan on using a management company from the start regardless of where we purchase, so I wouldn't save on that cost if we stay local. I want to be flexible and able to go where we stand to do best. Learning local won't teach me to do that. I can learn elsewhere and bring that knowledge back here if it starts to make sense. 

@Paul Sian - Property management is another knot I'm working on. From what I've read, it's unclear to me if I can count on a PM company to arrange for and manage maintenance work and I just foot the bill, or if I'll be on the hook to set that stuff up remotely. I'm guessing it probably varies from PM to PM. I got a few names from another Cincy thread - Propertymanagercincinnati, Equity Team, Home River. I was going to reach out to them to say hello and get some rates, but any recommendation from anyone would be welcomed. 

@Andrew Hargreave - I grew up around Joliet (Romeoville, New Lenox)! I'd be interested in talking to you about your experience on the South Side. 

@Wayne Popelka

Propertymanagercincinnati is one I refer to as well though have not worked with them directly.  Also there is FFP Realty and another I ran across earlier but lost his email in my emails.  Will try and find it if I can.

@Wayne Popelka I'd be happy to recommend a PM who's done great work for my out of town clients in the past. And if you're looking for an investor/agent to get coffee with while you're in town, I'd be happy to make the time! I'll send a connection request as well.

Hello @Wayne Popelka I've also just began looking into investing in the Cincinnati market this year from California and I'm looking to be closing on my first MF in the next month.  There are plenty of steady pockets and there are a few good "up and coming" areas.  I'm purchasing in the Norwood area south towards Xavier for this first property but also Cheviot seemed pretty nice and a few others I've driving through the times I've been visiting to research properties.  I'd be happy to hook you up with my realtor, she's great and has been very attentive and quick to respond.   

@Paul Sian I could definitely use some contacts for PMs and contractors.   I've spoke to a few PMs but would like to speak to a variety of them to get a good feel of who's I'd like to get into this with.  Also, I'll be doing little bits of remodeling so contractors are always a good contact.  Do you mind if I PM you to get a little info?  @Slocomb Reed I'd love to get some PM info from you also if you don't mind.  

Thanks

Alex

Hey Wayne,

I’ve I grew up in L.A. and lived in a few different states. Ohio, in particular Cincinnati, has been by far one of the best cities I’ve live in. It is a great city to invest in as well. Real estate here has a lot of potential. My wife and I live in the city and invest in SFR here. She is a realtor so it make it easy for us to check out properties, plus I work for the PD so I have a good grasp on what an area is like. If you need any other insight let me know, I’ll be happy to help.

The only gray area with maybe squeezing a 5 unit through conventional financing is if the seller agrees to 'convert' the 5th unit into storage space before sale.  If one unit is empty, or smaller than the other then that could be a good option if you have a cooperative landlord.  Sometimes doing this can actually increase value in the property due to better accessibility of residential financing for smaller properties.

Hi Wayne! I'm in the education phase on my real estate investing journey, but I'm happy to be a local connection. I have only been in Cincinnati for a year, but I think it is a great town. We ended up on the East Side in Anderson, which is 20 minutes from downtown. 

I'm a traditional index fund investor, but I'm looking to do something different on the horizon.

@Wayne Popelka , I am about to close on a triplex in Westwood.  I worked with a great agent that I can recommend with confidence.  As for the PM, it's too early to tell.  Good to hear you have financing in place - I found it difficult / near impossible to get a local bank to loan to me.  They hear I'm from CA and they run the other direction.  One bank to remain nameless even told me that Californians "ruined" Ohio during the last crash.  I got a kick out of that.  Good luck - agent info below.  Can't provide contact info in this thread, but you can easily find him online.

Rick Louallen ABR

Coldwell Banker West Shell

Commercial & Investment Property Specialist

Fully qualified in Single family homes, as well

Serving entire Greater Cincinnati Area

Hey everybody!

Thanks for reaching out! Long story, short- I couldn’t really get anyone in Cincinnati to take me seriously enough to get anywhere, so I moved on. And everything worked out! We’re closing on our first duplex in Milwaukee tomorrow, and we’re looking to do another in Wisconsin or Michigan in the next 6 months. 

Thanks again, everybody!

Wayne

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

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

Start here