investing in low-income neighborhoods

7 Tips For Investing In Low-Income Neighborhoods

Investing in low-income neighborhoods, has quite a few benefits, however, it should be noted that investing in these areas require a specific set of skills and tolerance.

Some benefits of investing in low-income areas are

  • Higher ROI
  • Lower investment
  • Easier to pay off mortgages
  • Easier to expand your rental business

Although there are countless benefits to investing in low-income areas, without the right knowledge, you can end up in a bad position.

Low-income doesn’t necessarily mean that the neighborhoods are not

Here are some tips that can help you as a low-income real estate investor!

Know the difference between a low-income neighborhood and a war zone.investing in low-income neighborhhods

You would be surprised how many informed people lump both of these into the same category.

War zones are areas with heavy drug trafficking, drug addicts, and gun violence. You don’t want to have to deal with calls from tenants that need you to come replace a window that was shot out during a neighborhood feud.

Don’t get me wrong you can make money in war zone areas, as well but it can sometimes come with more headache.

Low-income areas are just that. A lot of the residents, fall into the category of low-income. Just like any class, there are both good and bad people, the areas are generally safe.

Some advice I give investors is to drive through the neighborhood at night. Ask yourself…

  • What’s the vibe like?
  • Do you feel the need to lock your doors?
  • Would you walk down the street at night?
  • Do you hear gun shots?

This is the best way to tell what kind of area you are dealing with.



Buy properties in up and coming areas

It’s common for areas to change over time, neighborhoods can incline and decline, try to buy rental properties in areas that are showing signs of growth. Newly built grocery stores, and shopping centers are good signs of growth.

When you buy into up and coming neighborhoods, the value of your homes can rise considerably.

On the other hand, try to avoid areas that appear to be on the decline. If there is a steady increase in the amount of abandoned homes and businesses,  the area might be deteriorating which will cause your property to lose value, and eventually you to lose money.

Look for the diamond in the rough.

Low-income families are the same as everyone else. They want a home that’s visually appealing, and structurally sound.

Investing in low-income real estate does not mean buying outdated shacks, and becoming a slum lord.

Try to buy houses that are either visually appealing, or are distressed but are sold at a hefty discount. I prefer to buy distressed homes at discount prices because I hate going over someone else’s work. When I buy a distressed property, I have a clean slate to work with,  which enables me to have a beautifully updated house, for under market cost.

You can often find a better deal buying a distressed property, but make sure you know how to calculate renovation cost.

Find good tenants

*HINT! This is the most important part of ensuring success when investing in low-income neighborhoods.

You need to know how to find good tenants. As I mentioned earlier there are both good and bad people in every class. Dealing with low-income housing is no different. You need to pick a tenant with a proven track record of consistency.

Good tenants pay rent on time, maintain the property, and build your income.

Bad tenants give you headaches and cost you money. You only have one chance to pick so get it right the first time.

Avoid prospective tenants that:

  • Have an unverifiable rental history
  • Have been employed less than 2 years
  • Have credit scores under 600
  • Have ANY evictions
  • Have long criminal records

In other words, SCREEN, SCREEN, and then SCREEN the heck out anyone you may want to consider as a prospective tenant to live in your rental property. For a detailed guide on how to find a good tenant click here.

Rent your house section 8

What is section 8?
Section 8 is a government funded program, that covers either a portion or the full amount of rent, and in some cases, utilities, for low-income citizens that apply for the program.

I like section 8, as it’s evolved since its early days. My payment is wired to account monthly every month without delay.

There is a lot of contradicting information as to whether section 8 is good route for your investment. I rented my townhouse to a section 8 tenant and have had 0 problems. I attribute this to knowing how to find a good tenant. But my section 8 tenant is actually the easiest tenant to deal with.

Contrary to popular belief, section 8 people can be a pleasure. The program has a no nonsense policy for drugs and general nonsense. And because the section 8 program can be difficult to get in, most people that are on the program don’t want to lose their free or heavily discounted housing, so they tend generally try to maintain it.

Maintain your properties!

Investing in low-income neighborhoods doesn’t mean be a slumlord, so the same landlord commandments apply. Keep your properties maintained, If a tenant calls with a leak or anything that requires attention, take care of it immediately.

Not only will this prevent the problem from escalating, it will keep your tenants happy. A happy tenant is one that stays, and as an investor, you always want to aim for longevity.

The longer your tenant stays, the less you have to deal with turnovers and vacancies.

Hire a property manager

If handling the day to day operations of owning a low-income rental property, don’t seem don’t seem like your cup of tea, outsource it! Find a property manager that specializes in these type of area.

This will be helpful to you if you are not comfortable in these types of areas, it helps to have someone on call to take care of any problems that should arise.

Investing in low-income neighborhoods is a good way to build up passive rental income, and a great starting point for first-time investors, because of the low cost. As always, its very important that you do your due diligence before buying a rental property in ANY area.




Do you invest in low-income neighborhoods? What are some tips that help you maintain profitability?

Do you have horror stories from investing in low-income areas?

Let me know in the comments section below

how to find a good tenant

Investing is real estate in the form of rental properties can be extremely lucrative, and an excellent asset that generates income. When you talk to people about rental properties the response normally falls into one of two groups. They either love it, and are swimming around in large pools filled with coins like Scrooge McDuck, whenever they have spare time, or they hate it and have tales terrible drawn out evictions, and thousands of dollars in damages. For some reason, this is the life associated with being a landlord, which is true to an extent, but can usually be prevented if you can find a good tenant. Here are a few tips to put the odds of building wealth with real estate in your favor. If you’ve ever had to find a tenant for the first time, you might ask the following questions:

  • What’s the best way to find a good tenant?
  • How do I screen a tenant?
  • What are the characteristics of a good tenant?

When you are a landlord, you need to rent to good people.  Screening tenants for your rental property will be the key to your success. – No Nonsense Landlord

The Number 1 rule to find a good tenant

Do NOT rent to any family, friend, or anyone you have any type of relationship. This is should go without saying, and is ranked very high on the 15 Landlord commandments, if you want to find a good tenant, and goes without saying but you wouldn’t believe how many people do this. No matter how nice this person is it wont generally work well. Your tenant landlord relationship needs to be professional. This means do not make friends with your tenants. One of my tenants used to always invite me out for drinks, but I always made sure to politely and respectfully decline.

Tenant Screening.

Screen your tenants. No really really screen your tenants. Seems like common sense for anyone hoping to find a good tenant, but remember those angry investors, this is the step that was either skipped or botched, that cause them to feel this way.  The first step to find a good tenant is the pre screen. This is done when you first advertise your property. Make sure you clean before taking pictures, because clean rentals help to attract clean tenants. Post your ad, with a detailed description of the property.

Next, you will want to add the things that will be required, I always choose the following, no felony convictions within the last 5 years, no sexual crimes arrest, must have verifiable rental history of at least 3 years, and must earn 3 times the rent, and no evictions ever. Those questions for potential tenants, are my first defense to help weed out the rift raft. I find that it filters out the majority of dead beat tenants. Last I include my application fee, this is generally $50, and is used to cover the background check, this is also put in the ad, for two reasons, so they know that I will be verifying the above questions, and because no one wants to waste $50 if they know they won’t pass. As I get potential responses, I call them back give them the address, and tell them do a drive by to see if they like the area. If they are interested I meet with them, and show them the inside. If the prospective tenant wishes to proceed. I have them fill out my application, and collect the application fee.

Now its time for the background check. Back in the day, this was tricky, but these days there are a number of tenant screening services such as Next you will want to add the things that will be required, I always choose the following, no felony convictions within the last 5 years, no sexual crimes arrest, must have verifiable rental history of atleast 3 years, and must earn 3 times the rent, and no evictions ever. Those questions for potential tenants, are my first defense to help weed out the rift raft. I find that it filters out the majority of dead beat tenants.

Last I include my application fee, this is generally $50, and is used to cover the background check, this is also put in the ad, for two reasons, so they know that I will be verifying the above questions, and because no one wants to waste $50 if they know they won’t pass. As I get potential responses, I call them back, give them the address, and tell them to do a drive by to see if they like the area. If they are interested I meet with them to show them the inside. If the prospective tenant wishes to proceed. I have them fill out my application, and collect the application fee. Now it’s time for the background check. Back in the day, this was tricky, but these days there are a number of tenant screening services such as

As I get potential responses, I call them back give them the address, and tell them do a drive by to see if they like the area. If they are interested I meet with them, and show them the inside. If the prospective tenant wishes to proceed. I have them fill out my application, and collect the application fee. Now it’s time for the background check. Back in the day, this was tricky, but these days there are a number of tenant screening services such as Next you will want to add the things that will be required, I always choose the following, no felony convictions within the last 5 years, no sexual crimes arrest, must have verifiable rental history of at least 3 years, and must earn 3 times the rent, and no evictions ever. Those questions for potential tenants, are my first defense to help weed out the rift raft. I find that it filters out the majority of dead beat tenants. Last I include my application fee, this is generally $50, and is used to cover the background check, this is also put in the ad, for two reasons, so they know that I will be verifying the above questions, and because no one wants to waste $50 if they know they won’t pass. As I get potential responses, I call them back, give them the address, and tell them to do a drive by to see if they like the area. If they are interested I meet with them to show them the inside. If the prospective tenant wishes to proceed. I have them fill out my application, and collect the application fee. Now it’s time for the background check. Back in the day, this was tricky, but these days there are a number of tenant screening services such as rentprep, that can do a full background and credit check for a reasonable price. These checks are quite comprehensive. Within 24 hours, any lies are exposed, as I have access to their former addresses, criminal history, eviction history, bankruptcy filings, credit score, and employment information. I then cross reference this with the application for discrepencies. My personal preferences are:

  • Credit Score must be atleast 600. I feel this score means you are fairly responsible, I may sometimes go as low as 570 if everything else is in order.
  • Criminal history must be extremely mild. I don’t allow any recent felonies within the last 7 years, no drug crimes(have you seen how the DEA kicks in drug dealers doors, looks very expensive), no sexual offenders, and pretty much anything that would indicate the tenants lifestyle could end them back behind bars, because jailed tenants can’t make rent. However if the prospective tenant got into a got arrested for public intoxication during Mardi Gras 5 years ago, I would not disqualify the tenant. Things happen, but this is a judgement call.
  • No evictions ever! I don’t care if it was 20 years ago. An eviction is one of the worst, and expensive things a landlord can go through. Evictions mean the tenant would not leave and had to be escorted out by law.
  • I make sure that they really work where they claim. Tenants will sometimes get creative here and give family members numbers, and instruct them to pretend to be employing them. I call jobs and speak with the supervisor, I verify employment and length of employment, this should match what was on the application. I require them to be on the job for at least 2 years.
  • I verify previous landlords, tenants also sometimes try to use family members for this, so use discretion. When the former landlords pick up, I confirm who I’m speaking with then ask them to verify the address of the the tenant, usually landlords will know this address right away and is a good indicator. Its always a good practice to speak to the landlord before the current. Sometimes the current landlord will be anxious to get rid of a bad tenant, and give a false praise. Once confirmed, I ask how the tenant was and how the home was treated. Landlords will tell you if they were trouble makers, or if they were late on rent.

If everything checks out, I can end my search to find a good tenant, and call the prospective renter and let them know that they passed the check and give them a move in date, and request one months rent plus a security deposit equal to one months rent. By pre filtering, and then screening and verifying potential tenants in this manner, I end up with end up with a responsible person who has the makings of a good tenant. I find that tenants with clean backgrounds, and pass these verifications are not flukes, they actually care about their reputations, thus are less likely to tarnish it. Both my tenants from house #1 and my tenants in the townhouse investment property that have been screened this way have rented my homes for 3 or more years at a time, and are extremely low maintenance. By thoroughly researching to find a good tenant from the beginning, I have less hassle and can truly consider this income stream passive income.

 

Are you a rookie landlord or a seasoned veteran landlord? Any tips I might have missed here? Let me know in the comments below!