The sustainable food movement has been touting the concept of buying local for years now, but how does that relate to investment properties?
Well, as a person who has invested in both local and distant properties, I can say unequivocally that buying local makes so much more sense than searching for investment properties in far flung regions. While I certainly cannot deny that a 12-unit apartment building that I bought a few years ago in Hawaii wasn’t an excellent investment, the travel involved in managing it, along with the incessant phone calls and emergencies I needed to deal with from afar were extremely taxing. Late rental payments, evictions, tenant-on-tenant disputes, late-night parties, etc. all added to a stressful period of time during my ownership.
The cash-flow margin on this investment was very tight, making it unfeasible to hire a professional management company. I therefore hired an on-site manager and gave him one of the smallest units to live in. But that presented its own problems, so I eventually decided to sell the property about 1.5 years into my ownership – and for a tidy profit, I might add. The current owner is managing this cute property as vacation rentals.
I currently own a condo in Manhattan’s Upper West Side neighborhood, which represented a diversification of my holdings. However, with the Wall Street doldrums pervading the NYC market, rents have plummeted and it is turning into an albatross around my neck. The flights back east are not as daunting as they may seem, since it provides me an opportunity to see my elderly father and old friends, but as a pure investment, this has not been an enjoyable experience. So this summer, I am planning to sell the apartment and start to look for a local investment that will be easier to manage.
My number one investment has been a two-unit house that I bought “at the turn of the century” in the Mission Dolores neighborhood. I lived in this house for several years and then converted it to a rental property three years ago. When a maintenance issue arises, I can handle it myself or hire someone to fix the problem and be there to oversee the repair. I have a direct connection to this house and am proud when I am able to address a problem myself.
So my next property will be closer to home. I have always heard that an investment property should be one that you can drive to within an hour or so. In this current economic environment there seems to be an opportunity to find a rental property that might actually pencil out! This hasn’t been the case for many years, so as soon as I sell NYC, I will be on the lookout for a replacement property in the greater Bay Area.
If I can help you find a new home or investment property, please contact me. I’ll be on the lookout for great opportunities all over the region.