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Welcome to Target Market Insights. A podcast to help real estate investors navigate neighborhoods through the lens of local experts. In each episode, we speak to local specialists to learn about their market, useful tips, and the latest trends and developments. This show is designed to help you with the insights you need to win your target market.

Dec 5, 2017

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 –


Connect with Ben:

LinkedIn -

Webpage -

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