Those first steps into purchasing homes for rental properties may be seem overwhelming. Even if you use the help of seasoned turnkey property specialists, there’s a lot to learn the first time around.
Rather than relying solely on your agent, it’s helpful to learn the ropes about rental property selection independently, as well as collaboratively with your agent. Firsthand experience, along with professional guidance, will help you make good acquisition decisions in the future.
Besides the suburbs, there are distinct neighborhoods within the Jacksonville metro area. Discovering their appeal and the demographic and economic features are critical parts of buying investment properties.
Turnkey property management companies provide invaluable information and experience when evaluating neighborhoods for potential investment. They specialize in rental properties and besides pointing out the existing infrastructure and demographic components, can give you a history of the area’s performance for other investors.
Online map websites, such as Google Maps or Mapquest, provide maps that you can layer with different categories, like parks, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, schools, medical services and the like.
If you’re using a turnkey property company, ask for listings by zip code for the areas in which you’re interested. Be sure that they include the number of days on market (DOM). They can also run reports of sold properties, along with the DOM and asking versus selling prices. Both DOM and sold prices give you tools to negotiate prices.
You can use websites like Zillow.com and Trulia.com to find what’s on the market. They have a lot of photographs and videos, as well as valuable details about the homes.
Rental rates are also available in real time from apartments.com, Zillow and Trulia that you can use to establish a pricing strategy.
Even home buyers who don’t have children consider the quality of the local schools all-important. GreatSchools.com gives you a quick reference for school quality. They grade the district from 1 to 10 and higher numbers are better. From the district level, you can work your way down to the individual schools. Most school districts provide detailed maps of their boundaries online.
Ask the Realtor what the tax rates for the property currently are. They vary by city and location. Learn if the city or county plans any projects that could increase the tax burden, like major road improvements, and new construction for public schools and other buildings.
Sperling’s Best Places (bestplaces.net) compiles crime statistics. You can compare the rate in the zip code to the metro area, the state and the U.S. rates per 1,000 people. Their charts will show property versus violent crime rates per search.
All but retired people need access to jobs, and it’s important to identify where the major employment, retail and heath care centers are for a property. As a general rule, people may not like long commutes, but in reality, they trade off commutes to live in the home and neighborhood of their preference.
If you’re not familiar with traffic patterns in the Jacksonville metro area, ask your real estate agent. All major cities have bottlenecks along with smoother-flowing roads that locals know about. The website, TrafficLand.com, provides real-time streaming video of freeway traffic.
Choosing a successful rental takes patience, some expertise, and insight into area neighborhoods. While you can wing it yourself, it’s much more probable that working with a seasoned pro will help with choosing rental property location and finding a lucrative property for immediate and long term profitability.
Talk to one of our investment specialists to learn how JWB can help you earn truly passive income through long term real estate investing. JWB does the work for you, so you can focus on living your life.