A Place To Call Home: The Most Affordable Cities For New Homeowners

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Originally published on David Taran’s website.

As you get closer to owning your own home, you can finally start to solidify the details of what this move will entail. This means, specifically, deciding on the location of your new home. While you may already be aware, the sad truth is that owning a home is rather expensive, especially for millennials who are currently facing unideal housing market trends. According to the Case-Shiller Index, home prices have been at a high for over 31 months now.
While it may be a financially restricting time to be a first-time homebuyer, that isn’t stopping millennials from making the conscious decision to progress beyond renting. SmartAsset recently published an article that outlined where the best cities for new homeowners are and why millennials should consider opting for one of these locations:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The entirety of the United States was surveyed and Pittsburgh was deemed the best city for first-time homebuyers. They have one of the best selections when it comes to affordable housing options, which is exactly what new homeowners on a budget are looking for. Pittsburgh is also a city whose population doesn’t grow very rapidly, which means that you won’t have to deal with overpopulation.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

While Oklahoma City may be a bit cheaper than Pittsburgh, they have a more elusive housing market, which is what hindered them from surpassing Pittsburgh as the most ideal city for new homebuyers.

Omaha, Nebraska

One of the benefits of Omaha is the fact that homebuyers are more likely to get loan approval as compared to other cities across the United States. Since 2011, the cost of buying a home has increased, but the other incentives that come along with Omaha’s housing market are enough to keep it a desirable option.

Indianapolis, Indiana

There is no city in the United States that has experienced a real estate boom quite like Indianapolis. They have seen such a rapid expansion in the number of homes being built and placed on the market that it’s evident that new homebuyers would have a significant amount of options available to them if they chose to pursue Indianapolis as their new home base.

The Financial Cost Of Raising A Family In The City Vs. The Suburbs

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Deciding on the location of your new home is an intimidating decision to make. But this decision becomes even more daunting when you are committing to a home where you plan to raise your family.
Will you raise your family in the city, surrounded by the constant stimulation and energy of city life where everything you need is within close proximity to your home? Or would you prefer to raise your family in the suburbs, where everything is more spacious and your family has more breathing room?
Or perhaps both options sound appealing to you and you are more concerned with the financial cost of city life weighed against the financial commitment of the suburbs. There is no right place to raise a family, so make the most informed decision based off of your personal preference, as well as with your monetary confinements in mind.

City Living Vs. Suburb Living

The closer you are to the heart of a major city, the higher the cost of living will be. Living in the city can be expensive, but depending on the location and the specific home you are looking at, living in the suburbs also has the potential to become very costly.
In their 2017 Cost of Living Report, it has been estimated that, on average, it is over $9,000 more expensive every year for a family to live in the city than it would be for them to live in the suburbs.
The difference in cost when it comes to the even larger cities is even more substantial. New Yorkers, for example, pay over $71,000 more to live in the city, and San Franciscans pay around $12,000 more to live in the city rather than the suburbs.
However, that doesn’t imply that suburb living is unattainable for families on a budget. If you are an avid city dweller, there may still be ways for you to live in the city with your family while still being mindful of your monetary restrictions. There are smaller cities in the United States where you can build a home for your family and yourself without afflicting your financial future. For example, a family can live in San Jose and only spend $1,628 more than if they would live in a surrounding suburb.
Ultimately, the decision to raise a family in the city or the suburbs is a personal choice that is completely dependent upon where someone feels the most comfortable. If cost is your major concern, please keep these price differences in mind as you begin the search for the perfect home and area to raise your family.

Questions For Potential Property Managers To Consider

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Originally published on David Taran’s website.

Have you ever considered getting involved in property management? Because property management can seem like such foreign territory, many individuals are unaware as to whether or not property management would be a suitable fit for them.
Property management can be a very daunting responsibility to take on, especially because the hours and effort that are consumed by managing a property are not always guaranteed to yield profits for you. Before you make the decision to pursue property management, it’s important to first ask yourself a few questions to determine whether this would be something you would entertain for an extended period of time after you start distributing energy into it:

1. How would you handle consistent maintenance calls?

Tenants are not going to be as concerned as much with the time of day as they will be about reaching out to you when there is a leaking faucet or a light that has burnt out. Being a property manager means that you make yourself available to your tenants whenever there is an issue that needs addressing. The hope is that they will be respectful, only engaging with you during the day. But because some of them may be gone for most of the day, or have inconsistent sleeping patterns, you may occasionally be faced with a midnight phone call, forced to quiet a distressed tenant.

2. What is your protocol for selecting renters?

The quality of your tenants will directly impact your role as property manager. If are being selective in your choice of tenants, paying attention to every answer they give in the interview process, you will be able to weed out problem tenants. If you are only offering up rental properties to tenants who will be mindful and respectful in regards to their rapport with you, it is going to make your job more tolerable.

3. Do you know what to do in the event of a legal issue?

You have most likely heard horror stories from other property managers concerning tenants who either initiated legal action or had to have legal action taken on them, but these stories are not as common as they may seem. There is, however, the possibility that there may be minor issues that arise (environmental disasters, security deposit disputes, etc.) that will require some sort of legal action and you need to be prepared for how to deal with that.

4. What is your strategy for filling vacancies?

As a property manager, you ideally want to make a profit at the end of the day, but there are unpredicted issues that could arise that could cause you to lose money. The most common – and expensive – expense concerning property managers is vacancies. It’s imperative that you have a plan set in place for how to avoid vacancies altogether, or at least lessen the amount of time between each vacancy.

A Homebuyer’s Spring Cleaning Guide To Buying A New Home

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The smell of spring is in the air. Flowers are starting to bloom, carrying the fresh scent of lilac and honeysuckle through the breeze and into the open windows of homeowners everywhere; the temperature is gradually rising, tempting people out of their homes to spend more time outside.

This time of year inspires many homeowners to declutter their homes and take on the task of deep cleaning every room in their house. But spring cleaning is not just a time for people to reorganize their lives; spring is also an ideal time of year for potential homebuyers to move into their new homes.

If you are considering buying a home, approach organizing all of the tasks you will need to complete and all of the information you will to obtain with the spring cleaning mentality. Here is a guide to what the homebuying process looks like so you can better prepare:

Put as much as you can towards your down payment.

Every situation is different, but a good rule of thumb is to try to save as much as 20 percent of what the total cost of your home would be. If you are buying a home that falls around what the average total cost of a house is in the United States, you are at least looking to pay around $45,000 to cover the cost of the down payment alone.

Be aware of your credit score in advance.

In order to determine your eligibility of obtaining a mortgage and discovering what your interest rate would be, you need to provide your credit score. Today, in order to be considered for a mortgage, you will need to have a credit score of at least 620; if you would like the lowest interest rates available, you will need to have a credit score of 780. It is good practice to check your credit score a year in advance – or at least 6 months in advance – before you go to apply for a mortgage. That way, you have some time to work towards increasing your credit score. A better interest rate could end up saving you thousands of dollars once everything is all said and done.

Start the search for your next dream home.

It is always wise to work with a real estate professional when purchasing a home, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do a little outside research of your own in order to find your dream location and space. Apps like Zillow allow you to have more control in the homebuying process. You have the capability to customize your search options to preview a variety of homes in an area of your choosing in order to find spaces that are not only designed to your standards, but that are also within your budgetary restrictions as well.