CA Newbie Tackling Large Rural House + Land In Upstate New York

5 Replies

Hi –

I’m a new investor, and have an opportunity to help an owner sell their inherited large country house, along with 50+ acres, in a rural part of upstate New York. I would greatly appreciate feedback as to whether or not my approach makes sense. Here are some general specs:

  • 8 br/4 ba
  • Over 4300 sf
  • 3 stories
  • Majority of the house outdated
  • Lots of knotty pine ceilings and walls
  • Unfinished basement
  • Missing copper pipes (stolen last year out of the basement and never replaced)
  • Roof 10+ yrs
  • Well water
  • Septic system
  • Pond on property (large enough to paddle boat on)

My plan of action is to first see if the owner will allow me to get a pest inspection that I will provide to a contractor and ask for a bid. I will then do my due diligence to determine the ARV (this will be challenging due to the size of the house/land), and finally put together an offer.

To complicate the situation even more, I live in California and the owner lives in Nevada, so we don’t have easy access to the property or local resources.

First of all, am I on the right track or should a take another approach due to the uniqueness of the situation? Also, because of the size of the home and the amount of land its on, how should I go about finding comps? Is it okay to look at similar properties that are outside of upstate NY, i.e. other rural parts of the Northeast?

As I mentioned, any thoughts/ideas would be appreciated.


"Upstate" is not a singular neighborhood (and for that matter, there's great debate over what is considered "upstate".  Personally I consider it to include only areas north of Interstate 90 (Thruway) or Syracuse north.

That said property values will vary greatly even throughout my narrower definition of the term. I suggest you hire an appraiser (my personal preference over a real estate agent/broker for this situation) to do help determine your current market value and ARV.

Unless it's a 1 in a million property, there will be comparable sales within reasonable distance (25 miles?) that will eliminate the need to consider sales out of state.  Remember - real estate is local....

(full disclosure, I hold both an appraiser's certification and associate broker's license... and live upstate).

Cheryl - sounds like you have dome pretty big challenges to deal with, should you decide to become involved in this project. 

What exactly is it that you believe you will add the most value to this situation? Have you overseen rehabs in your home market? Are you good at attracting, vetting and managing contractors? Logistics? Contracts? 

Before you step in "it" you might take a step back. Look at this situation and with a detached perspective, ask yourself if this is truly an opportunity and what the upside and downsides are. Remember that finding people to get things done in rural areas is often different that in urban areas.  

Most of my rural experiences with contractors have been delightfully positive, however timetables are not the same. Tip: never expect to get much done during deer hunting season.

@Britt Abbey Thanks for the suggest. That may be a better option. I also appreciate the disclosure. 

@Rick Harmon My mistake...I wasn't clear about my role. My involvement would be to wholesale the deal, nothing more. My value to this potential deal is to get the property under contract, and then assign it to more capable rehab hands. Your point about stepping back is a good one. I need to really think this through.

If you can get it for the right price there is potential for a return.

I can help in the Central New York/Syracuse Area.

Best of Luck.


Thanks Ted. 

Are you familiar with the Binghamton area? If so, I may take you up on the offer if I can get the owner to let me do some due diligence.

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