The down side is that capital appreciation is low in Rochester. It has generally hovered between 2-5% over the past 10yrs. The main factor behind depressed prices is population loss. High property taxes, job contraction and lack of housing diversity are forcing people to move from the city into the suburbs and other counties. I think its impressive that Rochester has achieved capital appreciation inspite of these trends. Foreigners like yourself are the key source of demand because those that can afford to buy are moving out.
The upside is that capital appreciation is minimally consistent. While prices are currently falling between 15%-20% in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona Rochester is still at appreciating at 3%. And when California resumes double digit appreciation Rochester will still be between 2%-5%. The high cashflow of properties is also a huge upside which offsets the low capital appreciation. Some properties have been known to achieve a 30% gross yield. But beware because Rochester has good and bad neighborhoods. My advice is to be suspicious of anything below $40k and make sure you're using a good property management company. Stick to the 19th Ward of the city were there's a lot of investment activity. I hope that helps.
As others have pointed out, it is vital to have a good property management team.
The downside would be the risks involved with an investment so far away. You would have to rely heavily on your real estate professional to give you accurate numbers and realistic expectations for your investment.
I work alongside another agent who specializes in UK transactions and she's built a great team of people to assist with that type of transaction. I'd be happy to pass her info along if you are interested.
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Rochester has been good for rentals and with the housing market forcing so many people out of their homes, rentals are up everywhere..
If I had to do it again in Rochester, I would not.
I provide property management services in Long Island. If I had someone like me in Rochester, I would not mind. Over the years, I have not found a Realtor who was willing to manage properties for me and have been financially damaged by either unscrupulous companies or having no one at all.