I gave a kind of impromptu talk last week over at Marco’s Italian Restaurant on home rehab loans for investors which then sparked another conversation about whether or not the climate for buying, renovating, and selling homes around town had gone cold. I’d stumbled into this young group of new and would-be investors by accident. They meet monthly at the restaurant to discuss investing in real estate and I just happened across them while taking my wife, Grace, out for dinner. I have to admit, it was a good time. I especially enjoy talking about flipping houses in Buffalo, NY and my wife, who’s also my business partner, enjoys it too. And, since it’s a topic there’s a lot to say about, we all stayed on it for a while.
Is the Climate Right for Flipping Houses in Buffalo, NY?
There was a time in Buffalo when simply becoming a real estate investor who flipped houses carried its own set of risks that made the market less than favorable. Fraudulent property flipping had become so rampant that the city created an Anti-Flipping Task Force (AFTF) in 2005 to monitor investors’ activities. Of course, not every local investor was buying property on the cheap, making minor cosmetic changes, then selling at a price that reflected major improvements. But, this unethical practice happened often enough and it gave the rest of us who were making a legitimately good businesses out of flipping houses a bad name. As a result, many of us had to work that much harder to prove ourselves—to the AFTF and to our buyers and sellers.
Luckily, times have changed since then. Thanks, in part, to the popularity of reality TV shows, house flipping is now seen as a legitimate industry where investing in real estate can even have a positive social impact. Neighborhoods get revitalized, property values go up, new industries move in, and job opportunities increase. As a result, cities that were once considered the last place anyone would want to move to or invest in become the very places where the demand for housing rises swiftly. Buffalo has become one of those cities.
In fact, the demand for housing in the Buffalo area has already started to outstrip supply and, as a result, other factors in the market are shifting. For example, with the continued drop in inventory—it’s currently down another four percent from last year, according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors (BNAR)—home prices are continuing to rise. In fact, BNAR reports that median home sales prices for the region have gained another 6.7% since this time last year. Additionally, days on the market have fallen by more than 11% and sellers are getting close to 100% of their asking price. All of this means that, even though Buffalo’s market may not be the biggest real estate market boons in the country, it’s still a pretty hot place to live. For you, that means that the opportunity to participate in furthering Buffalo’s revitalization and meeting the increasing demand for housing, while also successfully growing your real estate portfolio, could be shrinking.
However, if you take another look at what some of the more experienced real estate investors have been able to accomplish in Buffalo, it becomes obvious that the deals are there. By the second quarter of the year, Buffalo was ranked among the top five cities with the highest average gross flipping returns in the nation, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. But, be careful not to misread the data and assume that flipping houses is easy or cheap in Western New York. You still have to find the leads and you usually have to work hard to convert them when you do. And, you’ve got to have a real estate investment analysis and valuation tool handy to help confirm the numbers and ensure you don’t spend too much on the purchase or the renovation of a potentially good flip. Those factors, more than anything, are how you join the ranks of those making a good—even very good—living by investing in Buffalo real estate.
Your success at flipping houses, however, starts with having access to an ongoing source of distressed homeowner leads. Although all market indicators are looking up in Buffalo, the number of people under financial duress is still significant. Everything from death, unexpected or prolonged illness, and job loss can throw an individual or family’s ability to meet their financial obligations under the bus. If you have a way to reach them, or a means to encourage them to reach you, before things go from bad to worse, then the climate for investing in Buffalo could be very warm indeed.
Weather Any Market Conditions With Marketing That Works
Grace and I rounded out our talk at Marco’s by recounting a time when the market in Buffalo had actually grown a bit cold and how some investors found they couldn’t stick with it. When their leads on undervalued properties with the potential for good ROIs seemed to dry up, so did their incomes. But, as independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisees, Grace and I were—and still are—able to connect with distressed homeowners who need to sell their properties quickly for reasons that have little to do with the market’s climate. Distressed homeowners know who to call, thanks to the effectiveness of HomeVestors® “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaign. Since we are there to answer their calls, Grace and I got some great investment opportunities. And, we’re still going strong regardless of the market climate.
Keep your investment business strong with a marketing campaign that delivers qualified leads in any weather. Call HomeVestors® to learn more about the rewards of becoming a franchisee today.
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