Which states or cities offer the most bang for your buck? I am looking to acquire American property for investment purposes, in other words to rent it out, with an eye on the long term (enough time for your markets to recover, maybe even 20 or 30 years).
I am not looking for the lower end of the market in San Francisco, which is equivalent in value to the higher end of the market almost anywhere else, I'm talking about homes in decent and safe neighbourhoods for $50k - $60k.
The obvious one is Florida, and I am looking at Florida as a distinct possibility, there have also been a hell of a lot of foreclosures in Vegas (some real bargains there, the 15% unemployment paints a grim picture but that is a result of construction being wiped out overnight).
Anywhere else? The only conditions that I have are:
1) safe neighbourhood, in other words a low chance of being carjacked or mugged. Also, and I hate to say it, safe for a white man to check on his investment without needing an armoured car.
2) Close enough to a decent airport, say two to three hour drive to a good domestic airport which offers flights to numerous major airports (e.g. to JFK or other international airports) or even better within 3/4 hour drive to an international aiport.
3) Not a hotspot for frequent natural disasters, a slim chance of an earthquake is fine, but a high chance of a hurricane every year wouldn't bode well for my investment.
4) low or lowish property taxes, or at least 'acceptable' property taxes, to ensure that I can manage them if I struggle to find reliable tenants.
5) actual homes, not trailors slapped in the middle of woodland plots with dirt track roads.
I would consider buying condos (in otherwords, the two adjoining condos). Any suggestions?
And anybody who says Detroit or Philidelphia is not being funny, I am not that stupid, if I wanted a home without utilities I would build one out of cardboard boxes or rent out tents.
Yup, here in Orlando Florida where I live is a gold mine for bargain homes. I want to buy one myself but I don't have enough money down yet, maybe in a year.
The Orlando area has a huge backlog of homes in fore closers. You can buy homes that were going for $200,000 for about $50,000 now.
Yet Orlando is always growing, so in a few years prices will be back up and sales strong again. It's a fairly decent area too, not like Miami.
Only problem with renting out a home now is that even rents are low. I can rent a 2 bed, 2 bath home for about $900 a month now.
I also would never buy a home to rent unless It's where I live. So many things go wrong, things to fix and so on. Getting a home you can't go to and see for yourself problems will be a bad thing.
My 2 cents.
And Orlando has an international airport doesn't it?
When you say rents are low, you may well being thinging in relative terms. How much would you say your home would cost now on the open market? I work by percentage yields, a 1 bedroom flat in my area would only yield around 5%-6% per annum!
I would use a rental agent if renting out a home abroad, although if I owned a nice enough property in Orlando I would no doubt rent it as a holiday let to British folk rather than leasing to a Florida resident, probably using a British letting agent with a Florida base for that purpose.
Where do you live Bill? Fancy making a second income being the local contact for my tenants?
Oh yeah, the Orlando International airport is one of the busiest ones in the US. In fact I live only 5 miles from it. The airport area is very nice, clean and safe.
Most homes have a nice screened in pool too that you can use year round. I rent an apartment myself so I have no idea about the percentage yields, what a home would go for now or that stuff.
I do know a friend that walked away from her home. 2 years ago it was appraised at 220,000. But now I know you could buy it for around $50,000 from the bank.
Of course you want to do a lot of paperwork checking. These foreclosures can have several different banks and lenders on it. If you want any more info about the area email me. Heck I run a Orlando tourist site so I know lots about the area.
Bill, would buying in a gated community such as this one:
http://www.homes.com/listing/126476032/ … 32828#stay
Make my life, as a foreign investor, easier? I know it would certainly be easier to rent for vacations.
Ah yeah, the old gated community stuff. Well, most people think they are safer, and in general they are more on the "upper crust" side of town. But not always.
So yes, gated communities are good, they have a ton of them down here. Vacation renters would feel safer too. Waterford Lakes area huh? It's nice, east side of town. a bit far from the airport and Disney however.
But the east side of Orlando is generally the better part, or close to Disney and SeaWorld.
If you do decide to get something in Orlando make sure you talk to me. Orlando DOES have big areas that are bad. In general the west side of town is a bit, uh,, low class.
Also anything on Orange Blossom Trail, which is that big road that goes right in the middle of Orlando south to north. It's turned into an inner city ghetto, Florida style.
The tourist areas and east side of town are very nice however. Again shoot me an email if interested. You find many Brits around here.
I will defo do that.
By the way, are cab fares reasonable in Florida?
Oh yeah, very reasonable. Lots of competition keeps everything low around here. It's pretty cheap to live here.
Good, because if I bought in Florida I would use the property myself, to escape the British winter for three months per year, and I don't drive (wife does, but she wouldn't be able to do any more than one month a year).
I know some communities where all the homes are owned by people from overseas and so on like you. A vacation rental company rents out the homes to vacationers and does all the upkeep on the homes.
Something like that would fit what your looking for perfect. However you would not find the fantastic deals as far as price as a normal foreclosure.
There are many Brits/Europeans on the west central coast of Fl., from the greater Tampa Bay area south to Naples. I've read Robert Plant owns property in the Sarasota area, and he loves it because no one bothers him or follows him around. I hear Brits and Czechs every day when I'm out. There is a hubber named sarasota-florida who is a realtor. He may be able to give you some info regarding the market.
homeowners insurance here is expensive, as you can imagine. property taxes can be high, luckily I have the Homestead exemption which reduces mine substantially. As far as hurricanes, well, now it seems natural disasters can happen anywhere. Look at all the floods that have taken place in Mid-America.
Gated communities are sought after, but in reality, I think they are generally overpriced. The illusion is safety, but depending on local gang populations, transients, etc., it's easy to jump a fence and find a way in.
I live in what supposed to be a very secure building, and I'm amazed at how easily perfect strangers are able to wander in through the security doors. I think it's more illusion than it is reality in regard to security and safety.
Stay away from Bend, OR. There's nothing there but sage brush and rabbits. There are lots of places that have cheap real estate because they are in the middle of nowhere, and their economies and real estate prices have been depressed for decades. Thus, technically they hold their value through bad times, but it's just that the bad times never really did change to better times.
Just my thoughts.
I wasn't really leaning towards the security aspect, more that if a vacation tenant had a problem they could seek the advice of the residents association or the management etc, and that the decent sized communal pool and gym would make it more attractive to a British punter... although any perception of additional security, however false, is always a bonus
Nashville, for sure: city council here is passing Landlord friendly ordanances etc... houses cheep enough for investment speculation, lots of neighborhoods open, not closed by HOA's etc..
Florida has some really nice property for cheap. My parents made a killing before the bottom dropped out.
Anywhere you look in the US people are giving their houses away. I'd find something cheap that has access to the ocean, personally.
Why would you choose close to the ocean? Out of personal preference or does that make business sense?
I am looking for an investment property, rather than a vacation home, I've never been one of those people who would want to go to the same place every year - at least not until I reach 50+
Or is there another reason Mike?
Well for instance my parents bought a condo. This condo is in a private complex, and in that complex there is a boardwalk(my only creative hub describes it). You walk or bike just under a mile to get there, but there is a little gazebo that goes over the ocean and you can fish there and stuff. This condo is in Bonita Springs and it was originally bought for 99. It was all the way up to 250, now it may be somewhere around 150? I'm not entirely sure.
Sorry I think the reason you get so confused with me is I post and edit it like ten times, lol. This particular paragraph is my last edit. If you aren't big in to fishing, like I am, then ocean is a must. I live in Illinois, only largemouth bass there.
Everyone wants access to water when they come to Florida. And that particular condo has been rented out whenever we put it up, even in this rough economy.
I also recommend the Gulf side, I personally am not a fan of the east.
I am currently in Punta Gorda, Florida as I type this. This is an up and coming area I would suggest looking in to. Only thing is in most of the complexes you have a lot of older people.
My grandparents also have a place off of the water(Bonita Springs). I like it a lot too. It has a very nice community pool, HUGE! An incredibly nice work out room. The only thing is, it is an older crowd, not many people our age. I stay there 1-3 months a year. The nicer the community pool and perks, the more expensive you are talking though, usually. That is kind of obvious.
If you can get something on the water, the price can sky rocket and make you a fortune. Even if you buy a hole in the wall. The property itself will most certainly increase in value, especially as there are less and less waterfront spots available. If the house sucks, but the property is amazing, 10 years down the road a millionaire might want to knock the house down and build a huge one.
In the middle of Bonita Springs and Punta Gorda is Ft Myers airport. FT Myers and Naples are very close as well.
Pictures are off topic a little, but this is my Uncle's house that I am helping him work on. It isn't in your price range, or mine obviously though. Haha. Not done yet! This is what is keeping me from hubbing! That picture takes you to Charlette Harbor, and from there the Gulf!
That looks lovely, as a fishing fan I could certainly see the benefits in extending my budget to around $150k if the result was a watefront property (just so long as the fishing was good).
The only real restriction is the downpayment, I wouldn't in the US buy without at least 30% down, hence looking down market, I would probably be able to put $40k maximum down, to shoot for a $150k budget would mean $45k+ down.
East Tennessee is nice as well as western North Carolina. These are great areas! Many from Atlanta and other neighboing cities(about 3 to 4 hours) use this area for weekend get aways. Properties there can be expensive during the booms, but prices are dropping. It's a GREAT time to invest in the smokies!
North Arkansas in the Ozarks is also a great place. Same upside as Eastern Tennessee but lower prices. Not many building restrictions which can be a problem.
Also, any decent alternatives to Realty.com? That site bugs the hell out of me!
Orlando and Florida's west coast are hot spots for vacationing Brits, btw. Look into places like Marco Island (not my fav), Sanibel, Anna Maria Island, etc. If you really want super-cheap, look into the Carolinas -- particularly the Myrtle Beach area. Great golf there. Not sure how the housing market is doing.
You might want to check out this CNN Money article too. It lists two cities that have also been mentioned in many other articles I've read -- Bend, OR and Tacoma, WA. I've got a few friends in Bend if you want to talk to someone who lives there. It's spectacularly beautiful!
Check out Zillow's picks too: http://www.zillow.com/blog/best-places- … 011/01/26/
They are also hot spots for British investment too, I know several people with holiday homes in Florida, even the local cabbies seem to buy there!
Not much of a golf fan, but I will defo look into your suggestions
That's the mad thing about America, it is effectively 50 countries, California is expensive, just like the UK, Florida is cheap, just like Turkey.
Ryan, another consideration is to look for land where new interstate projects are going through. The prices are dropping there as well. The new I-69 Corridor is a consideration.
Overall your best prices are going to be in the south. The gulf coast is great, but the weather can be a problem...huricanes.
I have friends who are buying several properties in Maricopa, AZ, near Phoenix. I've been there a few times. Homes are average, but toward the nice side. Neighborhoods vary, but there are areas considered safe.
Also, Las Vegas. A LOT of property turn over there. Neighborhoods are wildly divergent. You just have to do your homework, but there are some really great neighborhoods where prices have plummeted.
I met a man in San Fran, who lived in a very nice area of Vegas, he bought his property for $650000 about 6 years ago and recently the one opposite, precisely the same build, went on the market for $160000. I asked him if he was gutted about that, he actually saw the positives as he had purchased beneath himself anyway and paid cash. SO... instead of bemoaning his major loss, he simply bought the property, and when another appeared for $160000 too. So he now owns three properties in a sound neighbourhood, near to the best free school. Its nice to hear stories like that, of people seeing the opportunity rather than just the threats.
Anyway, I'm not too sure I would want to buy in Vegas, I wanted to live there at one stage but changed my mind on my recent visit! I will check that Maricopa place out, may I ask why they are buying there? Because they just feel that the price is right?
I wouldn't want to live in Vegas. Overall, it's transient, unpredictable and the heat is generally unbearable when you have to stay indoors for at least 6 to 9 months. I don't mind spending a weekend there once or twice a year. LA has about the same appeal to me.
I thought the market in Maricopa was really, really depressed -- something like 40k homes in foreclosure at the end of the year or something. Just check out what you would actually be able to rent out a home for vs what you're going to pay for it there.
In certain states (Arizona, Florida, California), I would absolutely recommend a gated community if you're going to rent, or a condo/townhome with in-house security. Not all states go the gated community route, but those few do. You'd be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of gated communities up here in Connecticut, for instance, but they're pretty much the norm in many parts of Florida.
If you're going to rent out the home (at least to vacationers vs long-term rentals), make sure the home or the community has a pool and/or other amenities. I've rented my fair share of private homes in Florida over the years, and I don't even look at those without pool access.
Ryan, also keep in mind that in areas where there are high foreclosures the complexion of the neighborhood can change quickly and drastically.
We've been looking at buying a house in the DC metro area. The problem with affordble housing that could appreciate, is the condition you find them in and the neighborhoods that are on the verge of decline.
When you find a good one with prospects, the competition bids the price way up.
The short-sale houses we've looked at between DC and Baltimore, have been dreadful.
I have a masters in regional economics and planning. The bubble still has a long way down to go before we reach what this stuff is truly worth.
Look for people who've owned their houses 25 or 30 years. They paid a reasonable price and have gotten their investment and will take a reasonable price. The people who bought at the height of the real estate boom, will only go so low - and it's no low enough.
You wouldn't believe how little $350,000 gets you in the DC market.
Oh and meth is a problem EVERYWHERE. Read the book Methland. It's a real problem in small town America across America. If it isn't meth it's another drug.
"...homes in decent and safe neighbourhoods for $50k - $60k..."
Wow. That's a tall order.
You may want to consider getting a partner or two involved so that you can get something a little more upscale and still keep your own investment amount down. This would also split up the responsibility for dealing with the inevitable problems 2 or 3 ways.
Just thought I’d post a reminder note about FBI.gov keeping easily accessible city crime stats.
Three blocks can make all the difference; unless, of course, it’s expanding.
Obviously the Sales Agent isn’t going to volunteer this information.
Oh I didn't see the 50 to 60k. There is nothing anywhere in America for that price range.
You need deep pockets to play in the real estate investment game - even today. You'll pass out when you learn about the property taxes and yearly fees you'll pay here as well.
They are skyrocketing as the federal and state governments cut discretionary spending, and local governments have to pick up the difference. Police, fire and schools are very expensive. And if a community doesn't invest in these, it will tip at some point.
Everything is that price in Florida! I am talking about 1 or 2 bed Condos, or one house for the whole sum, so $120k, I could manage that in Florida easily.
Lol, you haven't been to New York state then? I nearly bought a nice little home in a non-gangland part of Rochester for about $30k in 2007, with the intention that my fiance (now wife) could live there rent free whilst she worked there.
I'm not talking about something off of Desperate Housewives, I'm talking about low end of the market, in any area where drive by shootings aren't a daily occurance.
Basically I am left with Vegas (rentals to UNLV students and occassional non-term time use myself) or Florida (see link, easily manageable, I would use something like that myself).
I am clearly shooting down south, rather than up north, if I could spend $250k then I would be upgrading to something bigger here
Basically my wife wants to build equity in something, I own this flat outright (pre-nup too), and we are happy to stay here for 6 years. Six years rent alone for this flat in the UK would be £28000 ($42000) so the intention is to use a large proportion of that saving to put a downpayment on property somewhere. Florida looks to be my best bet (just ask Bill Manning how cheap Florida is!).
I was looking at Spain, where people are having to give away apartments, but interest rates are heading towards unprecedented levels there so I would only buy in 100% cash there. Then there is Turkey, where many Brits are buying right now, but the unrest in that area does concern me, there is a growing fundamentalist element in Turkey which could well rise to the forefront in a decade or so. I could become Sufidreamers neighbour in Greece, but I was hoping for something which would require nothing other than minor cosmetic changes rather than a wholesale renovation, the mid-market in rural Greece doesn't really cater for turnkey buyers, as much as I would love to get a cement mixer and start building walls, I just don't have the luxury of time.
Berlin could be an alternative, where I could get two big flats in an up and coming area for around $150,000, a lot of paperwork and bureacracy though. Bulgaria is another but I would have to be quick, they are fed up with British investors so will be changing their land ownership laws.
I am basically left with Florida or Berlin, or Bulgaria apartments (apartments are long term leasehold, so foreigners will be unaffected by land reforms).
There is of course the UK, where I could just about buy a one bedroom apartment in my county with a $120k budget, but I was hoping for something which provides a potential escape route from the general misery of the UK, albeit a temporary non-working one if outside of the EU.
Most of the cities in New York along the Erie Canal (Buff, Syr, Rochester - I know for a fact )will have houses available in the 50-65k range, if you are familiar with the cities and not shopping on the net, you can find thriving, safe, pedestrian friendly areas often close to the major universities, transportation hubs and teeming with live music and restaurants.
Of course, many could use some renovation and updating,
To top it all off, these houses were built when the Erie Canal was thriving and IF you get a home that was well maintained you can enjoy all sorts of fun woodwork, stained glass and built in personal touches.
I know this because I am currently buying a house in this area as an income property and inbetween home as I work my way west.
But - I really dont see any of these areas as being viable as vacation spots for UK visitors - unless a 7-5 hr train ride to NYC is desirable.
Also, grant money is everywhere for restoration projects, green building practices, historic homes and solar/renewable.
- Just for fun here is a listing in Niagara Falls (possible tourist attraction although the US side is not the better view)
http://www.huntrealestate.com/listing/n … 01-B361962
it doesnt match my description of the homes im drawn to, but they seem to have the same subaru as me so it caught my eye, again im looking for income properties to rent out as I move around the country, so these are the type of things in my bookmarks currently.
-was supposed to be response to Nelle- I know you know the area, Ryan
I am not neccessarily looking for a vacation home. If I bought in Florida I would use it myself as a vacation home in the winter months, and subsequently allow British friends and friends of friends to let it from me.
If I were to buy in Rochester, which is a distinct possibility and something which I have long considered, I would rent it out on a permanent basis. I already now an investor in Rochester with a portfolio who could help me out with that. Not saying that I wouldn't WANT to spend time in Rochester myself, I love that part of the world, but that is the only model that would be viable to me there. Unless I rented to students, and enjoyed the property in the summer (or, more likely, had to summer fixing their mess)
It is the equity that I want mainly, and now seems like a good place to buy in the States. The attraction to upstate New York, Rochester in particular, is that I must know 15-20 people there very well and my wife must know more. In the longer term I could effectively build a small property empire there, and whilst that would be a major gamble, it would make visits sustianable.
I have seen a fair bit of the states, the only place that I am seriously attracted to the prospect of living in (permanently) is upstate New York. If I were ever to move to the states it would be on an investor visa, in other words I would have to buy a business, and the only place that I could truly see that happening is Rochester. And, its a good night out, which is a major plus. Moving there in any other way would involve finding employment, a backward step for somebody who can make a living on a laptop whilst playing with puppies, unless the opportunity was too great.
Of course, there are plenty of no go area for folk like me.
(oh and anybody who comes along with the standard "America is full" line, I would also happily live in almost any other developed nation in the world).
How about a Student Visa for the wife?
for fun I pulled this up, more for the threads continuity for someone who would be shopping in a higher price bracket.
This is the standard in rust belt architecture - woodwork, stained glass etc.
http://www.enormo.com/ls/Buffalo%2C+NY% … aa3459a26a
its 160k and is in the same neighborhood as two homes built by Frank Loyd Wright and a world class art museum, plus is in between two colleges and all the entertainment and bars and restaurants one would expect and has Delaware park in the area, which was designed by THE original american city planner (olmsted) .. this is like a 5 minute walk away
I used to sneak onto that little island at night
http://www.google.com/images?um=1&h … mp;bih=857
Here's a good site for getting information on various locations - crime, tax rates, etc.
Hey Ryan, if weather doesn't bother you, which I don't know if it would?, but I'm sure you could find something in Mass.
As for the weather aspect, many of the coastal cities on the East side of America are or could be very dangerous, because of the storms. Be careful in Florida, not only would weather be a factor, but also alligators come in the yards of some homes.
I am not sure about the price range you've asked about, but I'm sure you wouldn't find a nice one in a neighborhood of any value.
As a resident of Mass, I don't suggest anyone living here.
I would buy in Rochester,NY, tomorrow if I wasn't bothered about the weather, the snow there is mental, and that would defeat the object of potentially wanting to escape the British winters
Well, let's see.....
Texas, Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and others get hurricanes and tornadoes.
New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, Illnois, Michigan and some others get massive snow.
So, I guess a good place might be where I am planning on moving to, as soon as, I lose my only parent and that would be Arizona.
A place called Mesa, Arizona, the average temp is about 84 degrees. I've checked into it a couple of years ago, but not since.
Actually we've looked down south in Florida and spent two weeks driving around western New York. We fell in love with this farm house overlooking one of the finger lakes called Whiskey Point. (I just love oil guzzlers.)
I'll stand by my statement we have never found anything in that price range that we would invest in. We can't seem to find anything under $350,000.
But we are looking for another home to live in - not necessarily an investment
I'd like a small home in the metro DC area, and a condo in say Seattle or Portland, in addition to our home here. (Now you can see why I write so many sales hubs.)
Is uncertainty about the way that affiliates are going to be treated in your state driving that decision? Because I was once told that DC is only governed by federal law and not state law?
I don't want anything special, if I were buying a family home that would be a different story, something like this Condo would do http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhom … source=web
Subject to Bill and somebody else I know in Florida confirming that the area isn't too rough And despite only having 1 pic, this certainly looks like it will do me:
http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhom … source=web
Again, subject to it not being smack bang in the middle of a ghetto. My definition of non-ghetto is anywhere that I can feel reasonably safe minding my own business, walking down the street to the local convenience store. I don't need the whole exclusive neighbourhood thing, that's what I aspire to with my primary UK residence
I don't know anyone who has ever had an alligator in their yard, but it does happen on rare occasions. I once had a snake in my pool which my son rescued with a net and took to a wooded area across the street. It wasn't poisonous.
I saw an article last night that made me think of you, Ryan.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/e … de/1124585
http://www.britishflorida.com/index.php … Irish.html
Ft. Meyers area got hit especially hard with foreclosures and new homes can be purchased at fairly decent prices. Builders started to build and then had to stop when the market started dropping.
If you decide to buy in Florida, use an experienced Florida realtor who specializes in British investments. You also want to avoid areas known for sinkhole claims or flood zones, as you have to buy separate flood insurance (unless you don't mind). Even though there is no water in visible distance of my home, I'm in a flood zone because of land elevation, and a back river near my home at a much lower elevation. It's crazy.
I love it here in the Tampa Bay area. I like warm/hot weather and I love the Gulf of Mexico! It's beautiful. Now the doors are open, the sky is blue, it's 72 degrees F., and there's the scent of orange blossoms in the air. Did you know Florida means 'land of flowers'?
That article even made me think about me!
"I think that a lot of Brits like the idea of coming to Florida because people are very welcoming, you have a fantastic climate, you have a legal system that is very favorable and robust. I think that a lot of Brits in the past have invested in Spain and places like that, but they've had some unhappy experiences in terms of property rights and that sort of thing. …"
Precisely why I am not investing in Spain, they are effectively bulldozing down British owned homes without compensation. A very short sighted way of doing business, they are on the brink of ruin, you would think that they would need every penny that they can get going into the country!
By the way, whats the typical downpayment in America on a property? In the UK we are all the way up to 15% - 20% at the mo, is it similar in the US?
OMG! Miami Beach!
I was showing a 2 bedroom condo ON THE BEACH that was NOT a short sale but was bank-owned for 54,000 only!
Needed work but only about 12-15k worth
All of the comparables are 80,000+ for around 1100 square feet.
First of all, I will say you thanks because the information you have shared in this is really helpful in a way that one can get the complete understanding of all.
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