Relocating to Wisconsin; Where to look?

5 Replies


Will be moving as a geographical- bachelor to WI. This is job-related, so I don't anticipate it being permanent. Only requirement is that I live within 50 miles of one of my sites. Currently, I have 5, which are mostly in the south and east of the state- from Madison to Kenosha to Greenville.

My plan is to purchase a small MF and rent out the extra unit/s, then rent out the remainder once I leave the area/company (Home is OH). 
Here's a few wants/concerns:
- Am using remainder of VA benies, so not likely to qualify for, nor be interested in a "project". Focusing on move-in ready . 150k budget.
- Not a big fan of the older properties. Been looking at post-1950. Change My Mind.
- Milwaukee returns the most results, but a bit worried about crime; Both historically and with recent "developments". Some properties to the west look relatively "cool" on the Trulia crime maps. Any areas that are no-go? I'm not a "city mouse" but realize I may have to go urban for the best deals. Any other resources that show crime better than Trulia?
- Get to work remotely with a pretty flexible schedule, so will try to get home (OH) every other week or so. Would prefer not to have to change planes 4Xs or have a 12 hour layover. From what I'm seeing, the only non-stop to CLE-LCK-CMH-AKR is out of the Chicago airports. That would be a long haul from Green Bay, so have been looking near the IL border.

@TJ P. I am born and raised here in Kenosha and invest locally between here and Racine, if you are looking for post 1950 move in ready it will be tough to stick to the 150k range, however you can find deals on older multi family but it’s going to be early 1900s I see a a lot of 1910-1930. My 3 properties are within this range. If you have more specific questions about this area I would be happy to answer.

Why 1950? Usually if people say they want newer they go towards post 1972 so they don't have to worry about lead paint. I prefer older homes but they aren't for everyone. They have their challenges sometimes for sure. But I like the history, architecture and details you find in older homes. Sometimes rentals with older charm sell themselves because of their character.. They are easier to get into because there tend to be more of them and the price points will generally be lower.

Edgar is right that getting into a newer property that is move-in ready under 150k will be less probable but not impossible. Your best bets for markets will be Beloit, Racine, Janesville/Edgerton.  But I know you already had some picked out. 

Good luck, reach out if any questions about any of markets. 

@TJ P. - that's going to be tricky: post 1950 "shoebox" style duplexes in a decent neighborhood and in move in ready condition (but dated) usually sell in the low 200s with multiple offers, which is rendering a VA loan (or FHA loan) a non starter.

The trulia crime maps are pretty good, but don't make the mistake to think that you are fine just outside the blue areas - you want to be more than walking distance away or on the other side of the freeway or river. Crime is only an issue in the inner city - which of course is 1000% of the cheap deals, the majority of Milwaukee is at least fine.

New style duplexes (1960s) are generally easier and less expensive to work on; the basement is made of cinderblock, you have drain tile and a sump pump, modern style electrical and plumbing systems, forced air with AC instead of radiant boiler heat, more closet space and bigger bedrooms/open-er concept. They lack however the curb appeal of a 1920's duplex.

Thanks all so far for the replies.
@Edgar Perez Yes, it is difficult to find "newer" in that range, but as @Marcus Auerbach mentioned, there can be a LOT of upkeep with older properties. Maybe I'm too pragmatic, but curb appeal isn't toward the top of my lists. Plan to hold this thing for a while. It may seem arbitrary @Corina Eufinger , but I haven't had luck with century old properties. 1950's puts that at 70 years old. Amazing that we refer to those as "new".

Just refreshed the search on Trulia. 18 results when I scroll out of MIL, with the bulk of those NW of the city. Options seem to open up as I move north towards FdL and Appleton. Any opinion of these areas?

You might be able to find a decent duplex in a B class area in the 150K range.  Kenosha is a great market.  Otherwise if you are looking for something closer to Milwaukee check out West Allis, Wauwatosa, and Waukesha.