A friend of mine was visiting recently, and over dinner at the 317 he asked why he kept seeing signs that said Syracuse was “the heart of New York.” I knew what he was going to say next, of course: isn’t that New York City?
Well, look, I told him: New York City is great, the best in the world. But Syracuse is the heart. It’s a good-sized town that has world-class universities and has always been at the crossroads of the state. We were the connection between the Erie Canal and the smaller channels, the railroad hub of the region, and now the intersection of the state’s major highways.
This crossroads idea also applies to real estate—my profession. Syracuse real estate is always in flux. But, that means there are always opportunities for fixing and flipping. An older housing stock and a mobile population make it very possible for people to make money by buying, rehabbing, and selling houses—if you have the right tools and resources.
To be effective at real estate investing in Syracuse, you need training, mentorship, leads, and valuation tools. Those are what everyone needs in every market. But, when flipping houses in Syracuse, these are especially valuable. It isn’t the easiest market, but it can be done, right here in the heart of New York.
Old Houses, New Chances: Some Information on Syracuse Real Estate
One of the other nicknames for Syracuse is Salt City, given because of all the salt mining that was done in the region. So, mining, the Erie Canal, railroads…you’ve probably guessed that Syracuse is pretty old. And that’s reflected in the housing stock.
Most of Syracuse’s housing stock was built before 1939. Heck, not many houses have been built since 1970. So, there’s some great opportunity. So it is possible to buy older houses, fix them up, and make them more appealing to people who want something a little nicer—very common in a college town and growing research hub. Syracuse in many ways is ideal for a fix-and-flip business.
There are challenges though. There is a huge vacancy crisis—houses are staying on the market for a long time, with a lot of empty space, dragging down pricing. The neighborhoods are a patchwork of those that are booming and others that are stagnating, and buying the wrong house can set you back. That’s why you need to use the tools and resources we talked about above. Let’s go into them a little more.
Tools and Resources for Flipping Houses in Syracuse
When I talk about these tools and resources, don’t think of them as “The Rules.” These aren’t mandatory; you don’t lose your ‘Fix-and-Flip License’ if you don’t follow them. These are just what I’ve found to be helpful, and indeed crucial, to realizing the best possible ROI—or at least not losing your shirt! From my own experience, and from the thousands of hours of conversations I’ve had with other pros, these are mission-critical for Syracuse fix-and-flipping.
Look, this business has a lot of ins and outs. You might be really good at fixing a house, but what do you know about liens? About real estate law? Do you know the best way to buy a house without having to go through a lot of banks?
Training always helps. You can take online courses, read a book, or talk to people. These are all great. But in-depth training from a team that is on your side and vested in your success has no real substitute.
Training gets you out the door, but it obviously can’t cover everything. There are so many situations that simply can’t be dealt with in training. And, you are going to stumble into questions that seem to you to be unprecedented.
That’s where mentorship comes in. If you have an experienced fix-and-flipper to talk to, you can puzzle over problems, come up with answers to challenging situations, and find solutions. You can get practical advice and have a sounding board.
Mentorship is one of the most important things you can have, especially in Syracuse. It’s a complicated market, and you can’t really afford to make a lot of mistakes. Having an old hand, who can talk to you, understand your goals, and who takes the time to understand your problems, can guide you through difficult scenarios.
Leads are the lifeblood of this business. There are a lot of ways to find them, from checking out which Syracuse land bank properties are for sale to sheriff’s auctions and even looking for leads on Craigslist, but they all have their cons along with pros. When looking for leads, you have one major goal in mind:
Maximize your time by minimizing unproductive leads
What’s an unproductive lead? Well, it’s a few things.
A lead that you can’t afford
A lead where there is so much competition you can’t get a foot in the door
A lead where you’re going to have to do an enormous amount of work just to get them to talk to you
A lead where you don’t know if the house is even worth buying, forcing you to do a lot more research
A lead where the person isn’t really serious about selling
Everyone has a system for getting leads. As you’ll see below, I’ve found one that eliminates all those nonsense leads, so that I am no longer wasting any of my time.
If you’re just getting started, you probably know the basics—you want to sell a house for more money than you put into it. That’s pretty basic economics. But, that’s also easier said than done.
It can be hard to value your property correctly. If you calculate wrong, you can find yourself spending a lot more than you thought. That puts you in the position of having to ask for a lot, which could make it harder to sell—or be forced to cut your losses. Neither is ideal.
Having reliable valuation tools is the best way to avoid this.
So where do you get all these tools and resources? Well, I’m glad you asked.
How to Get the Tools and Resources You Need in Syracuse
My whole career, I knew that these were what I needed. Qualified leads were always crucial, and getting the valuation right was essential. And I was always going to seminars and talking to people. But, it wasn’t until I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee that I got it all together.
See, becoming a franchisee was like the ultimate fix-and-flip toolbox for me. I am able to get the Big Four:
- Training. Becoming a HomeVestors® franchisee starts with an in-depth and comprehensive week-long training session. This includes all the legal and technical aspects, but also how to use all the proprietary tools, how to value a house, and probably most importantly, how to build a relationship with your leads.
- Mentorship. HomeVestors®’ mentors called development agents are seasoned professionals, generally still working leads and making offers. They know what’s going on. And, they’re here for you. They’ll answer questions, and walk with you down the same paths to reach your goals. Having access to a mentor is invaluable.
- Qualified Leads. HomeVestors® is the company with the nationally-known and trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaign. So, when someone needs to sell in a hurry, they call a HomeVestors® franchisee like me. You still have to form a relationship, offer a price, and make the sale, but you eliminate all that wasted time.
- Valuation tools. HomeVestors® has a proprietary valuation tool called ValueChek™ that helps you assess the cost of repairs using local labor and material prices. You can then quickly and easily calculate what you need to approach hard-money lenders.
Ever since this area was all salt mines and canals, the principles of real estate investing have been the same. Find good deals, make good offers, do hard work, hopefully sell at an ROI that makes it worth it. As the city has changed, this has gotten more complex, of course. That’s why being a HomeVestors® franchisee has made such a big difference for me. It puts everything I need all in one place.
If you want the tools and resources to start flipping houses in Syracuse, request information about becoming a franchisee today. I think you’ll find that it’s the best way to build your professional real estate investing business here in the heart of New York.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.