Just to make sure you’re up to speed, make sure you check out my game primer first, then a little advice on property flipping. Done? OK, let’s dig a little bit into how to choose which properties you want to buy.
Obviously, you’ll be driven by a few factors. You’ll probably be aiming for collections first in order to gain those bonuses. Each collection has an initial bonus in UPX as well as a multiplier for filling and holding the collection. Get 3 Sunset properties for example, place them in your Sunset collection and you’ll get an initial 900 UPX bonus, plus an extra 30% above and beyond your monthly earnings. The higher down the collection list you aim for, the higher the bonus and earnings boost. Of course, the higher the price too…
Newbie (1)— 800 UPX — 1.1x / 110%
San Franciscan (3) — 800 UPX — 1.2x / 120%
Sunset (3)— 900 UPX — 1.3x / 130%
King of the Street (3) — 950 UPX — 1.3x / 130%
This is the Blue list. Very easy to get. In my first article I give you the opportunity to purchase 3 properties from me at cost to get all of these collections knocked out at once.
City Pro (5) — 1200 UPX — 1.4x/140%
Mission District (3) — 1300 UPX–1.4x/140%
Mission Street (3) — 2600 UPX–1.75x/175%
Pacific Heights (4) — 3100 UPX — 1.8x/180%
Russian Hill (3)— 3200 UPX — 1.8x/180%
Haight-Ashbury (4)— 3450 UPX — 1.85x/185%
This is the Purple list. It may seem like this would be moderately easy to achieve but it’s not. At this point City Pro and Mission District are easy to get, Pacific Heights and Russian Hill are selling like hotcakes and Mission Street and Haight Ashbury are completely sold out. The bonuses get better though.
Nob Hill (5) — 6000 UPX — 2x/200%
Sea Cliff (3) — 8000 UPX — 2.15x/215%
Haight St (3) — 8500 UPX — 2.2x/220%
Lombard St (3) — 8800 UPX — 2.2x/220%
Market St (3)— 9500 UPX — 2.25x/225%
This is the Orange list. All of these collections are sold out except for Nob Hill. Lower Nob Hill counts towards this collection but the remaining lots are 30,000 UPX each and up.
Est 2019 (4) — 11,000 UPX — 2.3x/230%
Financial District (4) — 18,000 UPX — 2.35x/235%
Iconic (3) — 19,500 UPX — 2.65x/265%
This is the Red list. You can still buy new in the Financial District but expect to spend at least US$1200 to achieve one of these. There is a yellow list too but forget about it. You’re a cheapskate which is why you’re reading this article.
“Great Brian, thanks. Now what?” I’m glad you asked! As I’ve mentioned in a previous post you want to maximize your property purchases to try to overlap collections as much as possible. So purchasing 3 Sunset or Mission District properties on the same street nets you an instant 3450 or 3850 UPX in bonuses respectively. It’s easy enough to find grey (unminted) properties on your own but you’ll also notice plenty of people trying to sell you their properties too (dark green).
What to buy? In the lower collections I think it makes the most sense to buy the cheapest you can regardless of whether it’s grey or dark green. In this case you are just trying to get collection bonuses and hold long enough to resell or move on. But I’ve also mentioned that you should buy as high as you can afford first, then work down. Especially aim for the collections that could become harder to fill as time goes on. Meaning, those neighborhoods are getting close to selling out.
A good example right now is Nob Hill. After I made big bucks selling my Alamo Square lot I went straight for Russian Hill and Pacific Heights. I had identified lots in each neighborhood that were still 10,890 UPX, a good price for those neighborhoods. But I had also made a list of unminted Nob Hill properties that were as little as 9690. At the time I could go one way or the other and I saw finishing 2 collections as more worthwhile than finishing one.
Unfortunately I didn’t look at the bigger picture. Over the next week I watched those Nob Hill properties get snatched up. I tried to re-identify the cheapest ones (17,000 UPX) and figure out how the heck I was going to overcome this issue without buying more UPX (cheapskate, remember?). I went to the forums looking for a bit of advice. I had been pretty proud of my SeaCliff collection and figured I’d hold it for months and months. I had bought 3 for around 35k each and they were now worth 60k. I thought I might hold out until 90k but other opportunities were going to be much thinner by then. I finally listed and sold two of my SeaCliff properties for 59k each and ran to Nob Hill.
Nob Hill itself was sold out. But Lower Nob Hill is part of the collection. The difference between the neighborhoods is that Nob Hill has a UPX/UP² factor of 510 but Lower Nob Hill is 740. So a 20 UP² in Nob Hill costs 10,200 UPX but in Lower it will cost you 14,800. Granted, the earnings are commensurate but that is worthless if you can’t afford to buy. I ended up finding 3 of the cheapest grey properties in Lower NH for about 26,000 UPX each. I was offered another Lower NH property below cost and I bought my 5th property for the collection in Nob Hill. It was not the cheapest property at 18,585 but more importantly the UPX/UP² factor was tolerable at under 1000. There were other properties for 15,000 UPX but I would have been paying over 1000 UPX per UP².
What if I had done it the other way around? Russian Hill and Pacific Heights still aren’t anywhere near sold out.
10,000 UPX on hand
Sell Alamo Square = 67,000 UPX
Buy 3 Russian Hill + 4 Pacific Heights @ 10,890 each = 76,230 UPX
Sell 2 SeaCliff = 118,000 UPX
Buy 5 Nob Hill (19k — 29k UPX) = 116,315 UPX
Total spent: 192,545 UPX
T’other way ‘round:
10,000 UPX on hand
Sell Alamo Square = 67,000 UPX
Buy 5 Nob Hill @ 10,890 each + 1 Russian Hill @ 10,890 each = 65,340 UPX
Sell 1 SeaCliff = 59,000 UPX
Buy 3 Pacific Heights @ 10,890 each = 32,670 UPX
Buy 2 Russian Hill @ 13,800 each = 27,600 UPX
Total spent: 125,610 UPX
Yep, there are still properties in Lower Pacific Heights for 10,890 UPX. Obviously, I would have been better off researching which neighborhood was closer to selling out and invested there first. Hint: Nob Hill.
On the flipside, my monthly earnings are higher. Had I purchased t’other way ‘round I would be earning 3300 UPX per month whereas now I am earning 5180 UPX per month from these 3 collections. But instead of barely squeaking out 3 mid level collections I would have easily grabbed all 3 and either been able to keep 2 SeaCliff properties (mind you in a broken collection, so no bonus) or bought 64k more worth of other properties and collect that 5180 UPX per month. And maybe I could have held that 2nd SeaCliff and sold it for 75,000 or 90,000 someday. Oh well, lesson learned.
Aim as high as you can, even if you don’t think you can hit the target. You probably will anyway.
This leads into another topic I mentioned a little earlier, about buying new (grey) or on the aftermarket (dark green). When I made my push into SeaCliff I had 108k UPX from a massive treasure hunt win. Needing 3 properties for the collection I knew I had to keep my spending to an average of 36,000 UPX per property. The cheapest unminted property at that time was 35,520 for a lot size of 37 UP². If that was the cheapest then getting 3 properties was going to completely drain me if not bankrupt me.
So, I looked to some of the other dark green properties for sale. There was one for sale for 30,999UPX. The minting price was 23,040 UPX which meant I would only get ~330UPX/mo base earnings. For 30,999UPX I should be getting ~446UPX/mo base earnings. My next unminted option would have been 38,400 UPX which would get me ~553UPX/mo, but then I’d be shy on cash for the 3rd property. What’s my break even point here? How long would I have to hold the property for this to have been a bad move?
38400–30999 = 7401 lower purchase price
553–330 = 220 less base earnings but in a SeaCliff collection this would be 473 less bonus earnings (2.15x factor)
7401 / 473 = 15.65 months
The reality is that it would take me over a year for the choice to have been a loss. I’d only been in the game 3 weeks, who knew what could happen in a year! (As it turns out, I sold it 2 weeks later for 59,000 UPX). In this case, purchasing a previously minted dark green property was a win. This was even at a 35% markup. It would have been a wash at a 67% markup, that is, if I could have bought an unminted property for the same price as a minted one for sale. In that case the unminted property would always be the smart choice.
A list of current Nob Hill properties for sale. Which looks like the best deal to you?
When I liquidated SeaCliff to get into Nob Hill, I purchased 3 unminted properties to maximize my earnings potential. I got another deal from a generous player slightly below his original cost. Then I made a list of all the lowest priced properties for sale for my 5th. Since base earnings are tied to UP² size I looked for the lowest UPX/UP² sale within my price range (all I had left was 20k). Instead of an earnings base of 1.44% I ended up with 0.67% on that one property. But I have a 1.79% earnings basis on the deal I got so my base average across all 5 of my Nob Hill properties is 1.36%.
Sometimes it’s the lowest price that speaks loudest. Which is why I sold my two smallest SeaCliff properties, to gain quicker sales at lower prices. Those also happened to be the ones I had purchased for above minting value. I still retain the single SeaCliff that I minted since it will give me the highest base earnings of the three. Besides that, it seemed more reasonable to sell off two 24 UP² properties for 59k UPX than it did the 37 UP² one. I currently have it listed for 85k UPX but I may adjust the price in the future depending on whether I want to hold out or liquidate and move on. Due to very limited funds remaining for Nob Hill I ended up buying a 17 UP² property for 17,700 UPX. The best deal above is 1462 Clay St, if you were wondering. 1457 Jones was one of my other considerations.
If you’re reading this 6 months in the future, it’s likely that all of these properties are sold out and the prices are higher. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities! The principles still apply. Whenever you get in the game is a good time, especially now!