How To Choose The Right U.S. Market To Invest In! with Marco Santarelli

About Marco:

  • Founder of Norada real estate investments
  • Author of Ultimate Guide to Passive Real Estate Investing
  • Host podcast Passive real Estate Investing
  • Originally from Canada and got into real estate at 18.

Something unrelated to real estate investing:

  • Taught himself program assembly language at age 13
  • His daughter is home schooled to give a more rounded financial education.

Nuts and Bolts:

Step 1: Understand the Different Types of Markets

There are three types of markets in the US, linear, cyclical or hybrid.

  • Linear markets: appreciate by a steady amount over time along with the headline inflation. Properties in these markets are bought for the cash-flow and are normally situated in the Mid-West and Texas.
  • Cyclical markets: move up and down like a roller coaster and are generally found in coastal regions of the US, San Francisco is a good example.
  • Hybrid markets: As the name implies, is a combination of the Linear and Cyclical, Typically these markets have historically been linear but with changes in employers and jobs (ie: the tech industry) these markets are now seeing healthy population growth. A good example would be Austin, TX, Boulder, Colorado, Charlotte, North Carolina, just to name a few.

Step 2: Market Identification

When researching a market to invest in there are several things to look out for;

  • Population: Invest in areas with a population is 750,000 or more in the MSA
  • JOBS: The local economy has to have at least 3 different industries for employment (ie: manufacturing, health care, tech, etc.). Don’t invest in a city that is heavily reliant upon one industry.
  • (A lot of mineral rich areas in TX and the Midwest have diversified since the crash in 2008 so as to ensure the longevity of their cities).
  • Look for Job growth & migration in the area; you want to see that the population is steadily growing over time (ie: people are constantly moving there for work opportunities).
  • Moderate CAP Rates: To achieve strong annual returns, the economics of the metro must be very strong yet the CAP rates of cannot be below 5.0-6.0%.
  • Affordable housing market and neighborhoods. Check the market rent-to-value ratio of potential investments in an area. An RV ratio is Rent against Value – the monthly rent divided into the acquisition price (presented as a %). If is less than 1% the property/area will be too expensive to cahsflow. Conversely is the RV ratio is over 1.5% the area could be a depressed market or a bad neighborhood. Ideally for good cashflow neighborhood 1.2-1.4% as a rule of thumb.
  • Landlord Friendly Laws: Investing in states where the laws favor the landlord is better for you as the investor; it makes the property managers’ job easier if you have problem tenants when it comes to eviction.
  • Thriving or emerging downtown: Since the crash in ’08 many tier 2 cities across the U.S. have had a resurgence in the ‘downtown’ area. This is due to changing renter habits; people are renting longer and they want to live closer to work and nightlife.

Step 3: Choose Two Markets: Analyze 25 Deals In Each Market

Once you have chosen two markets jump online (loopnet,, craigslist etc) and start finding deals and crunch the numbers in a spreadsheet analyzer. Analyzing 25 deals in a market will help you get a feel for associated costs: avg. $/door, expenses ratios, trends in surrounding suburb, average rent/suburb etc. You will be an expert in no time!

Step 4: Visit the area before you invest!

Understanding the lay of the land is very important particularly if you are purchasing out of state. Visiting a market will help you establish your bearings and will give you a better understanding of the types of properties you will be purchasing.

Top Investing tips:

  • Most successful habit? Doing first things first, not the smallest or quickest.
  • Most influential tool in you RE business? Excel!
  • What’s the most exciting project right now? The Private Lending Program – people with money to invest lend their money to Marco to fund acquisitions with 15% interest.
  • Most influential person in your career? Robert Kiyosaki


Website: or

through the podcast

Until Next Week! Happy Investing!

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