Forget the Demographics and Focus on Researching THIS Before Investing Out-of-Area

by | BiggerPockets.com

I just got off a phone call with an investor, and I’m frustrated. Let me tell you why. I speak to around 10 investors a day who are looking to invest from out of state or out of the country. I speak to a ton investors every single day, from all over the world. So I decided to make this video blog article about how all of you out of state and country investors can successfully invest remotely.

Now, I got off the phone with an investor and think about how every single time I speak to someone, all we’re discussing is stats, demographics, employment rate, vacancy statistics, school districts, etc. Don’t get me wrong; this stuff is very, very important, I understand that. But that is not the first thing that you need to look at when you are trying to invest out of state or out of the country. Guys, change your mindset. Put the stats and demographics second. I’m begging you.


Related: After Only Buying Locally, I’m Managing Remotely for the First Time Ever: Here’s How

It’s the People Factor That Matters

I feel like the Red Cross most days because I talk to so many investors from all over the world who have been screwed by people—not by the stats, not by the demographics, but by people. Over the last five years, I’ve come to this conclusion that you have to focus first and solely on establishing trust and relationships with key people on the ground before you invest out of state or the country. Even if you’re looking into investing in your own backyard, you still need to have the right people to succeed. You need a good accountant, attorney, real estate agent, contractor, and property manager. This is what’s going to make you successful or not.

I’ve got a saying, and it goes like this: If you buy the best house, on the best street, in the best area, with the best capital growth projections but your property management company is incompetent or they’re cheaters and liars, they’re going to steal your rent or they’re going to lose your rent. So, it really doesn’t matter how good the stats and demographics are. It comes down to the people.

Related: What Moving Out of State is Teaching Me About Remotely Managing Rentals

Establishing Trust

So to everyone looking at investing from afar, out of state or out of the country, focus on the people first. Make sure that those people have your best interests at heart. Real estate is not a one night stand; it’s a marriage—meaning, you have to like and respect each other. It’s going to take 5, 10, or maybe even 15 years for you to build a substantial portfolio and achieve financial freedom and get to where you need to be. So, anyone who is looking at flogging you a property quickly is not someone you want a relationship with.

Remember the concept of delayed gratification within relationships. Plant the seed now and reap the harvest later. And then, once you have established trust and relationships with great people, it’ll be time to look at the stats, the demographics, the cash flow, the price points, the school districts, the vacancy statistics, and all of those jibber jabber numbers.

What’s the first thing you look at when vetting out-of-area locations?

Let me know with a comment!

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora “The Real Estate Dingo" is a successful property investor, motivational speaker and serial entrepreneur that quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at 18. He is also a soon to be published author along with becoming a TV personality in his very own real estate house flipping show. To find out more go to engelorumora.com . Engelo Rumora has been involved in over 400 real estate deals and founded five businesses in Ohio. The most successful is Ohio Cashflow, a company that specializes in providing turnkey properties in several Ohio markets. The newest venture is List’n Sell Realty, a real estate brokerage based in Toledo, Ohio and soon to be known as the #1 discount broker in the country.

18 Comments

  1. Ron Takeda

    I agree and know I need a trustworthy team before I start making offers on homes. However, the only thing that has kept me from starting to make connections and a team is that I don’t know what state and city to concentrate on. I know each team must be local to the city so most of my reasearch first is on determining just that. I may make some calls to local realtors and my questions are just on stats. When I find the city I want to work with them my plan was to make the necessary connections and form the team you mention is so important. Do you have advice on the most important stats and demographics in selecting a city?
    Thanks, Ron

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Ron,

      I would actually start the other way around and find a great team first before picking a city/market.

      It can just be 1 individual that you strike up a great relationship with that leads to building or finding a team.

      Stats to follow is how undervalued the properties are and what the cashflow is.

      I’m based in Toledo, Ohio and buying properties all day long at 20, 30 cents on the dollar that offer amazing cashflow.

      Lot’s of it will depend on your end goals and particular strategy when evaluating the stats of a market.

      Thanks again and much success

  2. Christopher Smith

    That’s always been my approach. I have had a number of folks approach me about investing in real estate at a distance because they know I have done it before and they are right I have.

    However, the only long distance investing that I have done is in locales where I already have all the business model infrastructure in place. In other words, I already have long term established relationships in place with a RE agent, RE management company, insurance agent and so on. That permits me to focus on the viability of investment because I have a tried and tested business model already in place that will deal with the acquisition and ongoing operational mechanics.

    I’d be very reluctant to invest at a distance starting from scratch. Can’t say I would never do it, but the opportunity would have to be extraordinarily compelling to take on all the additional risk of ab initio investing.

  3. ChokSheak Lau

    Good reminder Engelo. I know you have said the same thing multiple times, and I do agree with this concept. Wish that you will continue being the right people on the ground who believes in win-win deals! If you succeed, that means everyone around you are succeeding together with you and your team! The last thing that the world needs is another dishonest dealer to cheat other people’s money, or another self-serving political figure. It seems like your team has been doing a great job so far and wish you much continued success!

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks for your comment Chok,

      Great to hear from you.

      I’ve been “preaching” the same words for many years now.

      A good team will either make or brake an investment thus being much more important than the stats/demographics of an area.

      Take care and speak soon mate 🙂

  4. I currently live in California and am about to invest in a property to live in on the East Coast. Never having lived there, I first made my choice based on climate (not to hot nor too cold) and size (I need to have at least one big hardware close by as I intend to flip more properties there). I then “toured”, on Street View, towns I found interesting. Once I got that far, I started looking at properties on the various real estate websites. Each one I found in my price range, I first checked out again on Street View; this can be an invaluable tool, not only to become familiar with a new area but most importantly to weed out the undesirable neighborhoods. I now have 2 towns pinpointed. I had originally thought to wait until I moved out there before buying my first property, but after 2 years of scoping out this much I feel I can make a pretty informed decision. I have since been in contact with a realtor who is somewhat older and who has lived his whole life in the area. He obligingly called me from a property I had found interesting and as we walked through it together he gave me his best advice. I’m looking at properties in these two towns every day and feel confident that if I find a great buy, he will be able to help me decide whether or not to put in an offer sight unseen; I know he’s the right realtor as he did nothing to pressure me on the first property, as well as the fact that he’s been working in the area for many years thus he will have all the contacts I need. In fact, he suggested having an inspection done on any property before I even make an offer.

    I’m well aware that none of this is technical or stats-based in any way, but adhering to the law of “location, location…”, plus having an inspection up front, plus having a realtor to be my eyes on the ground and to run the comps, I feel quite confident that I can make the right decision even before I move.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks for your comment Maggie,

      Sounds like you have been very active in your target market and I’d like to commend you on that.

      To be honest tho, I think you are quite a few key people away from running a successful operation.

      Other folks that your team should also consist of are contractors, property manager, maintenance personal, attorney, title company, etc…

      It takes a bunch of great people in order to successfully make deals happen.

      I’m fortunate to have an amazing bunch of folks around me that took me 5+ years to establish.

      I’m proud to say that i’m the dumbest of them all lol

      Much success

  5. Edward Synicky

    Living in California all of my life but stopped investing in my home state since 1989 as it became painfully clear the numbers did not work. The best way to invest out of state is not to reinvent the wheel. Just focus on an area then ask our big pocket members who own property in the chosen city for their team members. I am in many states for many years and have a great team in Phoenix, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, Birmingham, Salt lake and others. I would be glad to share my team with anyone. I know they are good as I have honed them to perfection, some did not make the cut but their replacements did.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Awesome Edward and great advice.

      Bigger Pockets definitely has a wealth of knowledge with many folks doing great things in different markets.

      I get bombarded daily for my contacts but am a bit selfish when it comes to giving out their details lol

      We do many deals every month so i don’t want them distracted with other inquiries

      Much success

  6. Hank Keller

    Engelo – I would put Trust of the company at the same level as the metrics. It is hard to find a good company that you can trust AND understands what metrics to look for in a market. Population, Jobs, Cheap houses and government are the four keys i look for in a market.

    For the company, they should have construction, property management and brokerage in house. They should have dedicated customer service, great systems and NOT be high pressure.

    I’ve been fortunate to find all that in a turnkey company in Indianapolis (good market) and have built up the trust in knowing the company over the past four years. Rather than high jack this post, PM me if you’d like to know more about good markets and good turnkey companies..

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Hank,

      I disagree and would put finding the right people first way before the metrics of a market.

      Experience with investing all over the world has lead me to believe that the people will either make or break an investment and not the metrics found in any particular market.

      Congratulations on your success in Indiana and have a great day

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