Where do I go from here?

6 Replies

Hi BP, I need some help deciding where I go from here. 

A little background: I am about to finish my first house hack in Baltimore City (Pending refi) and really enjoyed the process of screening tenants and handling the nuances of being the property manager. Sure, it's still early and only one tenant but I feel as if I would be good at being a PM because I am overly organized and highly systemized with what I do. (Already have standard operating procedures book even though I just have 1 tenant)

The struggle is where I go from here. I wouldn't mind being a PM, but I'm also not enticed to stay in the area. Baltimore City makes it difficult for being a landlord and the city does not have good overall statistics when I look at trends. That being said, there are numerous deals, cash flow is good, and I already have a decent network. Also, wanting to be a PM means I should stay around where I live.

When looking at data, it appears that the best area around me for the price point I want to work with and the general market is Lancaster, PA. This area isn't too far (Hour and a half) but would still make being a PM significantly more difficult. On top of traveling for showings, I would need to rebuild my network there, learn all the tenant/landlord laws and deals don't seem to be as prevalent as in Baltimore. But Lancaster does have significantly less strict landlord laws than Baltimore. 

Looking for some advice on where to go. Stay in the area I know and be a PM or follow the data and attempt to be a PM at a distance?

There are plenty of other jurisdictions in Maryland with more favorable landlord-tenant laws then Baltimore City.  Baltimore County comes to mind, why not focus your PM practice there?

@Robert Bodmer Well first Robert I would like to say congrats on getting your first house hack completed. Where exactly in Baltimore did you find your property? I only ask because I live in Alexandria, VA and I am looking for a less expensive local market to get my first deal done before looking outside of the DMV area. I know all about Baltimore and I know that can be a hit or miss area due to Baltimore trying to get itself together outside of just the Harbor.

My advice for you would be to ask yourself is your current goal to have a certain amount of properties first before expanding to less well known areas? Does the Baltimore market meet your current criteria for your investment strategies? Staying local does have its advantages and it seems like you have your team in place in Baltimore already. However, knowing there are markets close by that may meet your criteria as well, I see no harm in venturing out and Lancaster, PA as you said is not too far away. Maybe if you do go out there, consider getting a local Property Manager on your team which could put your mind at ease if driving out there over and over again, although understanding it is additional costs.

Hope this helps!!

I manage roughly 100 units currently and I can tell you first hand I would not take on properties more than 30 minutes away as you grow. I love my job and I love the day to day work that I do, but I would never think about making a commute more than 30 minutes for a showing. Best of luck!

Thank you all for the advice I truly appreciate it. Joe Norman, I have considered Baltimore County, Baltimore City fits my price range a little better but I've been looking at some areas outside as well. Right now I'm thinking the North Eastern side seems like it might be a good fit. If I can get similar deals in the county I would prefer that over the City due to less regulations. 

Brya Freeland, I am in the Morrell Park area. Like much of Baltimore, it's very block to block and I am in a good neighborhood but not too far away is a bad one. Proximity to my day job also factored into where I chose though. Baltimore does fit my criteria.  

Dont be PM,  finding a better deal makes way more money, or make have a local person to deal with day to day activities and do screening, leasing etc from distance.

Hi Robert, I am a local Real Estate Agent here in Lancaster County, PA and would definitely be able to give you good feedback on the area. My self and my business partner work with a lot of investors. Would be good to connect so message me if you're interested! Thanks, Josh Netz