Want Work-Life Balance? Then Don’t Live Here

Those are the findings of new research by Magnify Money, a personal finance website, which compared the top 50 metros in the U.S. based on the length of residents' commutes, how much sleep they get, the percentage of income spent on housing, and other factors that affect work-life balance. It's no big surprise, of course, that New York City came in dead last, with the longest average commute time (over 35 minutes) and 41% confessing to not getting enough shut-eye. The Big Apple is followed by Miami (which ranks at the top of the list for percentage of income spent on housing), Philadelphia, and Los Angeles (which ranks as having the fifth-worse commute, at over 30 minutes, which is actually not as bad as most Californians would guess). The city with the best work-life balance, Grand Rapids, earned this honor by boasting a commute of under 22 minutes, housing costs that eat up only 18% of residents' incomes, and 56% of its denizens reporting to be in "very good health." "Most people move to New York for the intensity or opportunities, not for the balance," points out Kali McFadden, a senior research analyst at LendingTree. "I’m actually a native New Yorker, and many, if not most, of the people I grew up with don’t live in the city anymore," McFadden says. So what does the modest, Midwestern city of Grand Rapids have going for it? "Grand Rapids may be somewhat insulated from that, as it is a place people likely wouldn’t go out of their way to seek out, although people from Michigan looking for a more moderately priced and hip city may find themselves gravitating there." So, perhaps it's time to pack your bags, New Yorkers. Here's a full rundown of the best and worst places for work-life balance: Best places for work-life balance Grand Rapids, MI Salt Lake City, UT Minneapolis, MN Raleigh, NC Kansas City, MO Columbus, OH Portland, OR Virginia Beach, VA Cincinnati, OH Harrisburg, PA Worst places for work-life balance New York, NY Miami, FL Philadelphia, PA Los Angeles, CA Tampa, FL Detroit, MI New Orleans, LA Houston, TX Memphis, TN Chicago, IL

5 Reasons Why Buying a House Is a Way Bigger Commitment Than Marriage

They're not ready for the "commitment" of marriage, but happy to fling themselves into buying a house together? My husband and I have been married 15 years, and have three children. To most people, that sounds like a commitment. You can return a ring—but not a house Truth: I got engaged three times, to three different men, before one finally took. It's just about impossible to "return a home" after you've bought it. But the bones of the home will remain. The electrical wiring is hard to change when it's installed wrong and the house is 100 years old. You can't give a house the cold shoulder When you have a fight in a marriage, you can blow off steam in different rooms. OK, so lots of people "trade in" creaky old spouses for younger models. Aging humans don't tend to kill people with the parts of them that go soft.

Why You Should Constantly Seek Investors—And How to Find Them

Those of you growing your real estate businesses already know that it requires a lot of capital. What better time to build those “pre-existing relationships” than when you have no offering to solicit? If you’ve never raised money before, forget about pitching your idea to wealthy, accredited investors that you’ve never met. It’s because it works, but more so it’s because no one other than the founder’s inner circle is likely to take the risk on an unproven idea. “But my friends and family don’t have any money!” Yeah, I’ve not only heard that before, but I’ve lived it. What to Say to People What do you say when talking to your inner circle? Tell them about deals you’ve done and deals you plan to do. It took me several years to get investors to believe in me. Keep Drilling As real estate entrepreneurs, we should always be in “capital raise mode.” This means whether we are currently trying to fund a deal or not, we are always seeking new investors. Don’t let yourself run out of water.

9 Real Estate Investing Tips for a Better 2018

It was fun, and the tips could really be anything somehow related to real estate, whether it was how to save time and money, avoid aggravation, or even increase yields. 9 Real Estate Investing Tips for a Better 2018 1. Use tax strategies. What one thing could you really leverage this year to take your business or your investing to another level? There are probably too many ways to mention, but another favorite strategy of mine is working with charities, or having a charity component to your business. One of my game plans as I approach retirement is pay off a rental home, move it to a family trust, then when the values and interest rates rise, sell it with owner financing to a real estate investor’s LLC, and place the loan into servicing for collections. So, whether you do a biweekly mortgage, send in next month’s principal with this month’s payment, or if you’re using a more advantageous strategy like utilizing sweep accounts, there are plenty of ways to shrink your debt service and increase your cash flow. Related: 7 Questions to Help Make Your Financial or Real Estate Investing Goals Reality 8. Build in asset protection and liquidity. Another area we can look at in 2018 is how we can take business or investment risk off the table.

Want to Sell Your Home Smoothly, Quickly & for More Money? This Book is...

Selling a house is a process—and if you’ve never done it before, you’ll have no idea what’s involved. Do you need to sell your home? How to Sell Your Home, The Essential Guide to a Fast, Stress-Free, and Profitable Sale is filled with practical tips and tricks from her real-life experiences, both as an agent and as a seller. Mindy shares: How to choose an agent: 9 questions to ask to make sure you’re using the agent who is right for you How to get your home ready to list and show—even if you have a tight budget The right (and wrong) way to market your house The differences between using an agent and trying to sell it yourself What to do during a showing How to handle inspection and appraisal The different types of loans commonly used—and why one loan may be better for your situation than another The common scam you should be watching for What to do if your home doesn’t sell And so much more! This book also explains many terms common to the selling process but probably unfamiliar to you. Learn all the best tips, tricks, and tactics to sell your next investment property or home for top dollar. In addition to the webinar, you will also get: Bonus Ebook: Selling Your Investment Property. Bonus Video: The Absolute #1 Top Tip for Selling Your Home. Real Estate Agent Questionnaire: Mindy shares top questions for interviewing real estate agents in her book. Any questions about the book?

An Intro to House Hacking: Here’s How I Get Paid to Live for Free

Although it is possible to do with just a single family house (by doing a “live-in flip”), the phrase is more often used to describe the practice of buying a small multifamily property (a duplex, triplex, or fourplex), living in one unit, and renting the other units out. • Close Monitoring of Your Investment: When you live in your investment property, keeping an eye on the property and making sure it’s running at peak performance is easy. • Saved Expenses: Because you live at the property, you can manage the other tenants yourself very easily and don’t have to worry about paying a property manager who will do substandard work! The Plan To start the first year, we will buy a triplex. We’ll start small, because it’s our first property, though we could start with a two or a four-unit property. Triplexes in this area run between $210,000 and $230,000, depending on the condition. At this point, if the property were 100 percent rented out to tenants, it would bring in a total of $2,850 per month. At this point, our expenses look like this: Mortgage: $1,200 Utilities: $230 Vacancy: $142.50 Repairs: $142.50 CapEx: $142.50 Total Expenses: $1,857.50 If you’ll recall, our total monthly income on this property with the other two units rented out was $1,900. So our cash flow is as follows: $1,900.00 – $1,857.50 = $42.50 Now, we are not only living for free, but we are also making a small sum of money each month for doing so! But in the case of house hacking, including this figure is OK, because you will not be living in one of the units forever, either.

Sorry, Investors, But What You Want Doesn’t Matter. Focus on THIS Instead.

It is the customer. The customer defines the business. “Who is the customer? And as Drucker notes, the customer defines our business. Related: Yes, Customer Service DOES Matter in Real Estate: Here’s How to Make Yours Top-Notch In a market economy, the only legitimate way to make money is to give people what they want. Are you renting out to working class people, students, Section-8—or are these luxury rentals? Let’s say it’s student housing. If that person just can’t get over the idea of selling the property for less than they bought it for or at a price that they will take a loss (very common, even if irrational, mental roadblocks many sellers have), offering a higher price but asking for great terms might make the deal go through. Private lenders, therefore, will care much more about your track record than a deal they will often feel they aren’t well enough informed to properly evaluate. With banks, it’s important to remember that they have to review financials all the time.

Why you Need These Landlord Forms (& How We Can Help!)

You need to make sure that you are protected and that your tenants are being treated fairly within the confines of the law. You can not rely on the free state landlord forms. The state cares about “fair treatment” and compliance with the law. Have a Solid Set of Landlord Forms Where do you find these forms? BiggerPockets is now offering a suite of the 7 most common state-specific landlord forms that have been reviewed by real estate lawyers in each respective state. Here’s What You’ll Get Comprehensive Residential Lease A 10+ page residential lease that has been reviewed by a real estate lawyer, specific to your state. These forms will help. Use this form to make a credible third party responsible for the lease being paid on time. Free eBook from BiggerPockets! Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks, and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

What Is a Privacy Fence? A Way to Hide a Home From Nosy Neighbors

Do you have to call your neighbors before you start the home improvement project? What is a privacy fence? Privacy fencing can also keep kids safe in the yard and pets contained in one space. "The wood pickets should have about an eighth-of-an-inch gap in between each picket. How much does a privacy fence cost? "Installing fences on hills is more expensive than installing on a flat yard." "You’ll just want to determine your property lines, and discuss your plans with your neighbors, along your proposed fence line," Michaels says. Although it's not typically required, it's common courtesy to let neighbors know in case the installation crew needs to access their property for any reason. You also need to contact your local building inspector to get a building permit. Privacy fence installation Installing a privacy fence is typically done in three or four phases: Post installation: This involves digging post holes (about 2 feet into the ground) and using cement to anchor the posts.

Will Stock Market Volatility Affect House Prices?

In recent years though, real estate staged its comeback. “The housing market is very strong still,” Blomquist said. “A bubble happens in the housing market when builders are irrationally building houses on spec when demand is falling or when buyers are seeing prices are going up and can’t really afford to buy but do so because they figure they can build up equity quickly.” There might not be a bubble to burst — but the market could still cool The housing market is unlikely to hurt the stock market much this time around. To some extent stock market investors and housing market analysts are focused on the same thing: Interest rates. “Because housing and other sectors are doing so well, there’s a concern the Fed will be raising interest rates,” Blomquist said. If rates were to continue to rise much higher, it could put a damper on the home price appreciation occurring in some markets, since prospective buyers would be less inclined or able to buy homes at such high prices, Blomquist said. “The stock market adjustment can help bring mortgage rates down a bit which could help the housing and the mortgage markets,” said Sam Heskel, CEO of Nadlan Valuation, a real-estate property valuation firm in Brooklyn, N.Y. Continued turmoil in the stock market could impact home buyers Institutional investors may view the recent stock market adjustment as an opportunity to re-evaluate their investment portfolio, Blomquist said. Those who are more bearish might view real estate as a better opportunity for an increased return, since the market’s fundamentals are so strong. “Even though it will still be a good time to buy, people will get spooked about investing in anything if the volatility continues — and that includes buying a home,” he said.

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Next U.S. Recession Will Begin in 2020, Says Zillow Study

Overall, nearly half of all the experts surveyed expect the next recession to begin sometime in 2020, with Q1 being the most commonly selected quarter. More than half of the survey respondents pointed to monetary policy as the likeliest cause. The housing market collapse led to the Great Recession, but few experts - just nine of the respondents - think the housing market will be at the center of the next downturn. The Federal Reserve's decisions about U.S. monetary policy will be the main factor in the next recession, according to the surveyed experts. By most measures, the economy is doing well - GDP is growing steadily, and unemployment is near historic lows. This has prompted the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates four times since the start of 2017, with two more rate hikes expected this year. "As we close in on the longest economic expansion this country has ever seen, meaningfully higher interest rates should eventually slow the frenetic pace of home value appreciation that we have seen over the past few years, a welcome respite for would-be buyers," said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. Less than a year ago, panelists in this survey named geopolitical crisis as the most prominent likely cause of the next recession. In the meantime, experts think the housing market will continue to experience strong appreciation. "These conditions are overshadowing concerns that mortgage rate increases expected this year might quash the appetite of prospective home buyers."