Upstate New York Good Cities to Invest

24 Replies

I am interested in investing in the Upstate New York area and I was wondering if any REI BP members have had good success in that market and specially cities such as Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany.

From my research, I know that the properties do not appreciate much but based on the properties purchase prices there seems to have good ROI and good cash flow.

Looking to invest in SFH and small multi-family (2 - 4 units) properties and apply the BRRRR strategy.

Any thoughts, feedback and insight on cities and areas that you have success investing as well as areas that do not do so well or to avoid would be very much appreciated.   Thanking you all for your feedback in advance!!!

I have invested in Syracuse in the 2007 and it was a big mistake. I was a novice investor and didn't know too much. The houses are "old stock", will require lots of repairs and maintenance. The taxes were very high compared the the value of the house. I believe there are 3 taxes, county, city and school taxes which I didn't know about. There are snow removal fees which I didn't know about. Also, I was an out of town investor. My biggest mistake was trusting my property manager. My properties were always vacant and time to time there was vandalism. If you live in the area and keep and eye on the property, I think it's a great idea. I invested in the Syracuse market because it was affordable. Get a great property manager and you'll be more successful.

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Thank you Ray and Patrick for your feedback and very much appreciated!  For sure when investing long distance and not locally, you need to have a good solid team in place in the market you are investing in such as the property manager, rehab construction general contractor and real estate broker which are your boots on the ground...

Wondering with Syracuse if this is the same with Rochester, Buffalo and Albany???

I live in the area and invest in Syracuse. Like anywhere location is important and being one block off can sink you. The housing stock is old. almost no single family or 2 -4 multifamily units have been built in the city in the last 40 years. Much of the housing has been neglected. If your not building in significant repair expenses you will likely get a big surprise. Others may correct me but I don't think there are many good choices for property managers interested in handling the type of properties that would offer cash flow to an out of town investor. In the suburbs you will generally find newer properties and better schools. This will be accompanied by tax bills that will amaze out of town investors and rents that don't produce the same kind of cash flow given the higher expenses. All that said there are opportunities for great cash flow but they aren't going to be obvious. Prices have come up the last couple of years and you need some way to add value to make the deals work. My last purchase on the MLS was an out of town owner using local property manager. Good location but property was a dump. Neighbors couldn't believe the low quality tenants the property manager kept putting in the property.

Better to look in ulster county where good deals can be found and value is higher . 

@Aldo Balatti Hi, I do invest in Rochester since 2013 and it is a great market for cash flow and affordable entry into investing. All my properties are cash flowing well since 2013 and I'm extremely happy for sure. Nowadays it little harder to find good deals on MLS when you are looking for properties in Rochester. For the BRRRR to successful work, finding properties in off market will work and it is very competitive to acquires properties. Very very competitive and sometime 10 or more people bids on a property.

Alex

Thank you @George Darcy for sharing and for your much appreciated feedback on your REI experience in Syracuse. All very good points and knowledge to have and know about...

Thank you @Marci Stein for your suggestion for Ulster County...  I will have a look as I am not familiar with that area.

Thank you @Alex Jones for sharing and for your much appreciated feedback on your REI experience in Rochester. Very good info to know coming from a local investor!!!

@Aldo Balatti, If you are looking to be directly inside the city of Buffalo then C/B neighborhoods will be harder to come by. I would focus my search on the northern region of Buffalo if this is the case. 

However I would suggest looking to the outer ring suburbs such as West Seneca, Cheektowaga, and  Tonawanda, where you'll find more C level areas, to begin your search. 

I have attached two maps that should help you find a location around Buffalo that fits your criteria.  

Make sure you check the new tenant laws they are writing. NY is not a landlord friendly state. 

SFH will see a better appreciation, granted its in the right neighborhood. For brrr strategy.

(That's what i do) from Raleigh.

@Art Perkitny  Thank you Art for your feedback and insight as well as the Buffalo area maps as this is very much appreciated!

@Cory Finniss Thank you Cory for your post as I have just learn a few days ago about the new proposed NY State tenant's law which will make it more difficult for potential landlords to invest in New York state... I might have to look at an other US State that is landlord-friendly... Do you have REI properties in NY State or in NC? I am interested in the BRRRR investment strategy. How is the BRRRR strategy working for you in your market and are you doing SFR or multi-family properties?

Originally posted by @Aldo Balatti:

@Art Perkitny  Thank you Art for your feedback and insight as well as the Buffalo area maps as this is very much appreciated!

@Cory Finniss Thank you Cory for your post as I have just learn a few days ago about the new proposed NY State tenant's law which will make it more difficult for potential landlords to invest in New York state... I might have to look at an other US State that is landlord-friendly... Do you have REI properties in NY State or in NC? I am interested in the BRRRR investment strategy. How is the BRRRR strategy working for you in your market and are you doing SFR or multi-family properties?

Im investing in NY right now . Syracuse area. SFH just because of less turnover. I do own 2 multi which do well.

My recent success has been at auction. Good luck.

@Cory Finniss Thank you and glad to hear you are having success in Upstate NY!  

I am looking at Upstate NY but the properties seem to have very little appreciation, some cash flow but the property taxes seem very high and recently, NY State is rolling out new tenant-friendly laws which will scare the ER investors away and scaring me as I am looking for landlord-friendly states & REI markets...

@George Darcy i am a newbie in the area, and i do not know what direction to take. However, my first target is to be close to work which is in Syracuse. So, from your experience it did not turn well. What is the market as of now (2022) ? good to invest now inside Syracuse to get a great cash flow or still better to look outside ? I am looking to buy a multifamily and hold it but i want a good cash flow

@all do you have an idea of the market directly outside Syracuse ? like Oswego, Owego and etc (where there is best cash flow not too far from Syracuse like about 1h max from it) ?

@Alfred Kamga Binghamton is one of the best upstate cities for cashflow. Historically it's been economically depressed (see: cheap) but rent is climbing because of a rapidly growing university. There are other locations like Ithaca where cashflow is slim but appreciation is pretty much guaranteed- Binghamton is the opposite. You can find a property at a 10-cap, but you'll sell it in ten years for what you bought it for.

I like Cortland and Owego, too.

@Aldo Balatti

I run Airbnbs out of the Cortland and Ithaca area. I make a decent chunk of change. I’m looking to expand into small hotels on Cayuga Lake. If you’re into wine and a good return on your investment, feel free to message me.

@Stephanie Jacobson and @Nick Rutkowski Thank you i just made a series of comparison from town around Syracuse versus Syracuse to assess the situation. Here are my findings.

Town with great cash flow but very slow appreciation over time are: Syracuse, Binghamton, Owego,

Town with less cash flow and high appreciation over time are : Ithaca, Rome, Cortland
Unless you have something to add on where i am wrong. i will be glad you guys give me inputs on my searches, please. Additionally, do you know town still around that have both (cash flow and appreciation over time) criteria or on which of these town here i can make move so that i have both criteria at my advantage ( that is actually my target in order to purchase an investment property)? 

@Alfred Kamga

Yeah that’s generally the idea. I’d take a closer look at the relations between cities - Cortland and Ithaca, Rome and Utica. You’ll notice small migratory patterns that effect each other. It might help in your investment decisions.

@Alfred Kamga if you find a town cheap enough to have great cash flow with high rents and guaranteed appreciation, let me know. I want to buy there too!

In my experience, you have to focus on one or the other. Sometimes you can find a unicorn- remember when UB in Buffalo was building their new south campus? People were picking up properties for under $100k that were worth three times as much a few years later because the students moved in. Johnson City is the location for a new Binghamton University campus and could do the same, but development has been slow thanks to Covid. You can pick up a duplex for under $100k there, but if the students don’t start moving in, you could be stuck with a dud.

Your greatest limiting factor here is the budget for your first purchase. Are you comfortable sharing? If it’s under $300k, you might be best off buying something in Bing that will cash flow, and graduating to a more stable area like Ithaca once you get rolling. 

Thank you @Stephanie Jacobson and @Nick Rutkowski. Hahaa, @Stephanie Jacobson i am not sure if that is possible because it is either one or the other in those proximities town. There is a city i know that i had both appreciation and cash flow before covid. It is Worcester in Massachusetts. However, since Covid everything shift to remote and there is a drop out around the city. I think from my conclusion, finding both criteria at the same place is extremely hard as Covid does not back down. So, either you buy and do the brrr to increase the cash flow. But one criteria does not guaranty the other criteria down the road. No matter what, i need a secure exit for any of the target town whenever needed on the long run (that is my opinion)