The neighborhood where I grew up still holds a good deal of sentimental value for me. My mom has lived there for close to 55 years and she remains one of the few residents who hasn’t passed on or moved to warmer climes. In this small, upstate New York town, the once-potent manufacturing industry has packed up and left, and so have a lot of the families who had lived here for generations. What was left behind amounted to a quiet street sprinkled with some grand single-family homes that were once the centerpiece of a thriving community. While some local residents saw decline, I saw opportunity.
It takes a little pride and a bold vision to restore a neighborhood to its former splendor. The challenge intrigued me. It pained me to see the old stomping grounds lose their luster, falling victim to blight and the occasional property crime spree. City officials focused much of their revitalization efforts on the downtown area so rather than waiting around for political support, I took matters into my own hands. Along with making a few bucks, I wanted to make the town appealing again for growing families and young professionals. My efforts revealed that buying, rehabbing, and selling homes around the Empire State is a worthwhile pursuit from both a financial and community-minded perspective.
The Best Places for Flipping Houses in New York
My nostalgic, neighborhood renaissance project came early on in my career and I’ve been making a good business out of flipping houses ever since. One of the Victorians I rehabbed made it to the cover of a local homes magazine and buyer interest soared as I took on a few more flips on adjacent streets. I was familiar with other statewide markets and I figured that a few good renovations deserved even more. And, it’s still a good time for real estate investing in New York.
Overall, median home prices in New York reflect conditions in the rest of the nation—gradually clawing back from the subprime loan crisis in 2009. From New York City along the Atlantic Coast to towns that rest near Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in the west, ample opportunity still exists for investors to scoop up distressed homes. Here’s where you should begin looking for investment opportunities that have the potential to both improve communities and pad your pocketbook. Here are some great places to start looking across the state.
I pursue flips along a broad spectrum of price points. At the low end, I found some great distressed properties in Binghamton, just across the northeastern Pennsylvania border. While visiting a friend in that town last month, I was surprised to find that this Broome County locale had its own zoo, a vibrant art scene, and some pretty fun nightlife spots.
On the financial side, I’m pretty adept at negotiating home prices with motivated sellers but fixed costs such as taxes are factors I can’t control. While upstate New York has been noted for above-average tax rates, the low median home values in Binghamton made those elevated levels somewhat of a wash for first-time home buyers, and for my return on investment projections (ROI). Rising median incomes have made Binghamton one of the top-five most affordable small markets in the nation, and Broome County sales experienced a healthy year-over-year increase. These factors make Binghamton a great place to look for low-entry investment properties that can bolster the local market while adding value to your growing house flipping business.
The city of Niagara Falls has long searched for a catalyst to drag its economy and reputation out of the doldrums. To me, it seems a pity to have one of the natural wonders of the world in your backyard and not have the falls benefit residents in some financial fashion. Private developers’ efforts to rehab commercial properties and spur growth get met with political resistance and the city continues to languish. Yet, traveling south from the awesome spectacle toward Buffalo, I stumbled upon some quaint neighborhoods in North Tonawanda along the scenic Niagara River.
Among the neighborhoods in North Tonawanda, I found some affluent areas that could use a little TLC. It’s a strange dichotomy and I felt compelled to tackle some rehab projects there. Since sale prices are commanding a premium over list prices, my ROI got an extra boost from selectively buying properties at prices well below market value. Certainly, I had my eye on making some money but I also felt providing some affordable housing options might have a snowball effect—restoring some value and pride to a town adjacent to one of the major tourist attractions in the world.
A small-town boy like me had always been a bit intimidated by life in the big city but my investment dollars know no such bounds. Wise real estate investors with the financial wherewithal continually seek opportunities to buy, renovate, and sell houses in the New York City market. Strong demand and rising home prices, however, often make attractive deals hard to find. As such, I am following the investor and buyer exodus from the overbought markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and looking toward Jackson Heights for buying income property in Queens.
I think there’s still time to join the party. The neighborhood’s average sale price for a home has been on the rise, experiencing double-digit growth in 2017. The flips I’ve been able to execute in this market have rewarded me handsomely but the acquisition process differs significantly from any other market in the state. Proven lead generation strategies and quick decision-making become the key to finding and purchasing distressed homes in Jackson Heights and helping to make a difference in this community.
The Big Picture
I’m making some big strides in my real estate investment pursuits but, I must admit, it isn’t all about the money. A dual-purpose takes shape when I buy, renovate, and sell homes in New York as an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. My local HomeVestors® franchise network and Development Agent offer valuable insights on buying and selling homes but the satisfaction doesn’t stop there. Injecting life into forgotten locales provides me with an added sense of accomplishment as I witness these towns rise from the proverbial ashes.
Get in touch with HomeVestors® today to effect these remarkable transformations too.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.
Prior to joining HomeVestors, I spent 20+ years as a senior corporate executive. The money was good but I just no longer enjoyed what I was doing. I had been looking at HomeVestors for a couple of years but they were not offering franchises in N.J at that time. I had zero experience in real estate investing and was impressed with the training and support HomeVestors offered. HomeVestors opened up the NJ market in February 2007 and I started in July. Best decision I ever made. We got off to a fast start and have purchased a couple hundred properties since. We could not have done this without the training, systems, marketing and support HomeVestors provides. We haven’t looked back since. We became Development Agents in 2010 and really enjoy working with new franchisees when they come on-board and helping them build a successful business.