Investing in Reading, PA

50 Replies

Hello BP Nation. I am a fairly new investor and am looking to try and break into the MF and small apartment niche. I have been doing a lot of research in this area after listening to several of the podcasts and have seen a lot of opportunity in Reading, Pa. I also am considering  a couple other markets in Eastern Pa. Just curious if anyone has experience in the Reading area and if so, what should I look for? . I live about 20-30 minutes from their but haven't really spent any time in Reading. Thanks for any feedback or advice.

I used to live there/ rent. I loved it there. The only thing is mostly lower income city. The crime rate over past 10 years is really high. Like most towns and city there is many nice areas and bad areas. Plan on dealing with college students as well. Two colleges there Albright and reading community college.

@Ryan Craig  

Hey Ryan, 

I'm right around the corner from you and was looking at the same markets due to their low entry price; have you had any luck in researching Reading? What other markets have you been looking in to? I have read a bunch about the other inexpensive areas but haven't decided on a farm area, yet. Pottstown is another one i've considered but some members on here have denounced it, so I am still researching. Feel free to PM me to discuss, I've been doing quite a bit of research...

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@Mason H.  Pottstown is looking like a decent area for cash flow as long as you find the right tenants. Right now I am considering the student rental market in West Chester. Sorry for the late response.

@John Geldert   sorry for the late reply. I am not familiar with Saylorsburg. I t looks likeits two   hours from me sorry I couldnt be more help.

@Raymond B.   Thanks for tagging me.

You are in a more populated area than I am. I'm by Lake Raystown 2hrs form state college 3 hours from Pitt. You will do well there! I have to travel 2 -  3 hours to get to the highest populated areas.

Good luck!  :)

@RyanCraig Once you initially get that first  property you will have equity in it if you purchase it the right way. Then it rolls right along....I have been doing  blanket mortgages all along with no money down.

@Barbara Long ,

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@Ryan Craig  

 I have family in that area, my mother was raised there (this was decades ago), I spent summers there with the grandparents.  Reading breaks my heart every time I think about it . . . and now with the pathetic Christmas tree that made national news . .. . ugh.  

I could go on and on as to why the city is now in the state it is but I will save that for another time.

That said, I think you need to hook up with a real estate agent that works the Reading market, and attend meetups/REIAs that have ACTIVE Reading investors in them. Doing actual deals. Reading reminds me of Baltimore City in a lot of ways, just not on such a big geographical scale. Reading is a market where you can find deals on the MLS but you will need the services of a good agent to help you. I think you have tremendous opportunity but it will not be forgiving if something goes sideways really quickly.

@John Geldert  

Hey John, 

Sorry for the slow reply, I've been traveling for work recently. I did a couple quick searches and Saylorsburg seems to be a place worth looking more into. I saw you have a construction background, so a place like this would be perfect for you...

@Ryan Craig  

I would love to get into the West Chester student rental game, but the prices seem outrageous. Since there aren't any more student rentals being created, it keeps the value up on those that have the permits. Since the school is trying to expand, I wonder how the city is going to change regulations to accommodate the additional students. 

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I have a duplex and triplex in Reading, PA. Not likely to see much appreciation. I buy in Reading strictly for cash flow purposes. And I have an agent there who I send deals to and vice versa - he know WAY more about the neighborhoods than I do. 

If you're patient, you can find small apartments in Reading that work with the 2% rule. 

For those of you asking about Reading I would look at the surrounding areas. There are a few issues, very low income means very difficult to find good tenants. Another problem is the city government, they will tear your home apart to find things wrong with it to feel good about being an inspector. I've owned 2 properties for over 10 years and they will still find little itty bitty things that have been there for the last 10 years and were never mentioned. Also those properties have likely went down $5k-10k in the 10 years. I would look at the surrounding areas outside city limits to avoid a lot of hassles!!!

Owned an investment property for about 6 years but, due to poor property management I had to sell.  Lost money and had to go through 2 eviction process.  I recently purchased another investment property and looking at purchasing another this coming summer.  The potential is there in Reading, you just have to screen the Property Management to the tee and hope their screening process for tenants is also bullet proof.  Like everyone has mention, look at the surrounding areas.  You will be surprised!