Ep. 23: How to Invest in a Suburban Market with Ben Walhood

Ben Walhood is the President of the Chicago Area REIA, the largest non-profit real estate organization in Illinois. He is also an investor operating predominantly in the western suburbs of Chicago. He fixes-and-rents residential properties in working class neighborhoods. He has been interviewed by CNBC and the Chicago Tribune, and he has been a featured guest on the BiggerPockets, Freedom Real Estate Investing, and Best Ever Real Estate podcasts. Today he shares how he navigates the western suburbs and has found his niche along I-355.

Key Market Insights

  • House hacked his first place in college, 3 bed, 2 bath for $150k
  • Invested in Maywood as his first deal
  • Was a neurosurgeon sales specialists before becoming a full-time investor
  • From a small town in north Dakota, downtown Chicago was a foreign thing for Ben
  • Looks for working class neighborhoods (looking for hvac, ladders
  • Uses the 1% rule 33,000 a year, $1,000, 100,000
  • Target areas: Interstate 355 – straight west of Chicago, north and south 10 miles; Bloomingdale, Wheaton, Liles, Darion, Bolingbrook, Western Corridor
  • Avoids Cook County due to the tenant-friendly laws; first tenant did not pay rent for 9 months
  • Like diversification of markets in western suburbs
  • Elmhurst is popular right now for new construction, Bolingbrook has cooled off, but saw a strong resurgence after the recession
  • Chicago Area REIA (CAREIA) is one of the few non-profit REIAs and is volunteer run
  • Watch rents to see where demand is headed
  • Focus on return on equity, not just cash on cash
  • Finishing up a 6-unit in Bloomingdale, with the BRRR model

Bull’s Eye Tips:

Winning Your Market: Know your market – know sales, rents

Tracking Market Changes: Boots on the ground, attending meetings

Daily Habit: Write out goals daily on white board


Best Business Books:

Tools for Titans by Tim Ferris

Digital Resources

Google Hangout

Monthly Email Updates

  Tweet This:

"Focus with a product or geography helps you avoid the shiny object syndrome" "If I have a property in a village that is blowing up, I can sell, if not I can hold for rentals"

Places to Grab a Bite:

Mariano’s – https://www.marianos.com/


Connect with Ben:

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben-walhood-a84b8bb/

Webpage - http://www.goapexrenovations.com/

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