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In America’s Most Expensive Cities, You Can Still Find Affordable Rent

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If you’re looking to move to one of America’s least affordable cities, you can still inch your way through finding affordable neighborhoods. This Inc piece outlines where you need to look at:

1. San Francisco

Despite San Francisco being popularly tagged as a pricey city, you can check out relatively inexpensive neighborhoods like Lower Pacific Heights, Japantown, Laurel Heights, and Fillmore District.

2. Irvine

With the city seeing a massive number of tech companies moving in, rentals have shot up. Its business district, however, gives a breather – median rents are still lower by about $1,000 when compared to the rest of the city.

3. Los Angeles

While Los Angeles continues to list some of the most expensive neighborhoods across the nation, the coastal region of San Pedro welcomes residents with median rentals that touch $2,240.

4. San Jose

San Jose continues to be a large tech hub – with its infamous rental costs. In the midst of Silicon Valley’s tech center, median rents can peak to $3,500, and buying a home can set you back by around $1 million. However, East San Jose offers a better deal. You can find median rents hovering around $3,200, which is a tad cheaper than the rest of the city.

5.  Seattle

Despite Seattle housing some of the most expensive neighborhoods, regions like Greenwood offer residents median rents that are around $2,300.

6. New York

With median rents touching $3,000 in the city, the neighborhood of Williamsbridge, the northern part of Bronx, has rents that are almost half of what the rest of the city offers.

7. Boston

Median rents in Boston are almost twice the national ones, with rents crossing $5,000 dollars. In the neighborhood of West Roxbury, however, you can find homes which offer median rents of around $2,000.

8. San Diego

One of San Diego’s oldest regions, Grantville, enjoys affordable median rents that hover around $1,600 when compared to the rest of the city at $2,695.

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Real Estate Investing

Here’s How To Get A Mortgage You Can Actually Afford

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So, you’ve finally decided to purchase a home. After years of contemplating if you should buy or rent, then saving, building your credit etc, it’s now time to dive in and get it.

Purchasing a home is exciting. After years of dreaming, you’re finally getting a place that you can call your own.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement making you forget to ask one crucial question – how much “home” can you really afford?

…and, once you decide how much you can afford, you should stick to it. It’s all too easy to decide on a price, then find the home of your dreams is only $25,000 more. Then you start thinking, “we can make this work…” But, can you really?

According to statistics, the median monthly mortgage payment for homeowners in the U.S. is $1,030. That’s a lot of money.

While you may love the fabulous kitchen or huge backyard one house offers – if you can’t pay the mortgage every month or get the cash to fix what’s broken, your home’s never going to be a blessing.

The good news is, determining how much ‘house’ you can afford isn’t rocket science. You can use the four tips here and utilize online tools to help you figure things out.

Build a Solid Foundation

There are countless people who have gone broke by buying a house simply because they believe it’s the “grown-up” thing to do. However, life events such as having a baby or getting married aren’t reasons to buy a house.

The time will be right when the money is right. Before trying to figure out how much house you can afford, be sure you are financially ready to purchase a home.

To do this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you debt free and have an emergency fund of three to six months put back
  • Do you have enough cash to cover moving expenses and closing costs?
  • Can you afford a 15-year-fixed-rate mortgage?
  • Can you make a 10 to 20 percent down payment?
  • Do you have enough money to set aside each month into passive investments above and beyond your mortgage?

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, it may not be the right time to purchase a home. Wait until you have a better financial foundation.

If you are currently financially stable, then move on to the next tip.

Maximize Your Down Payment

One of the biggest costs in a new mortgage is PMI or MIP. Both of these are different ways of saying that you need to pay an extra fee every month because you didn’t put enough down.

If you can get to 20% or more, then you won’t have to pay mortgage insurance for the lender. This can save you hundreds of dollars per month.

When buying a home, remember – the more money you can put down, the better. Higher down payments mean lower mortgage payments every month and the ability to pay your home off faster.

While the best option is to pay 100 percent of the home cost in cash, this isn’t viable for most. If this is the case, then try to put down at least 20 percent. By doing this, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.

Calculate the Costs

All you need to do to figure out what you can afford when it comes to buying a home is to crunch a few numbers. If you need help with this, consider using a mortgage calculator with down payment, which will help you figure things out.

If you want to do things manually, consider the following:

  • Add up all the income you bring in every month. If you bring home $2,000 per month, and your spouse makes $3,000, then your total monthly take-home pay is $5,000.
  • Multiply your total monthly take-home pay by 25 percent to determine your maximum mortgage payment.If you are bringing home $5,000 per month, then it means that your mortgage payment should not be over $1,250 each month, including insurance and taxes.

Remember, your bank or lender will tell you that you can afford WAY more than that. In fact, some loans allow you to get to 40% or even 50% of your income going toward loans. While they may allow it, it isn’t financially smart to borrow every dollar you can afford.

Don’t Forget About Maintenance and Capital Expenditures

When comparing if you should rent or buy, most people look at the total rent, compare it to the mortgage, and say it’s better to buy a house.

What you are forgetting is that rent includes all the maintenance costs in a home whereas a mortgage does not.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s good to plan on spending around 1% – 2% of the total home value every year in maintenance and CapEx.

Major capital expenses are things like a roof or HVAC that last for several years. Even though you might have 10 years left on your roof, you should start saving for it now, along with the dozens of other major items that will not last forever.

So, if your home is $200,000, you should think about adding another $2,000-$4,000 per year in maintenance and capex. You definitely won’t be spending this much every year, but what you don’t spend now will be spent in a year or two when you have to replace a $12,000 roof, replace a garage door, etc.

If you have higher end appliances and fixtures, you should be more toward the 2% whereas standard grade homes can be closer to the 1% mark.

Conclusion

When you know your numbers, you will be able to shop for a mortgage and a home with confidence. Trying to determine what you can afford without considering the tips here may leave you with a home that’s going to cause you financial hardship in the future.

Remember, buying a home is not an investment, it is an emotional decision. Once you recognize that, you can begin to take it seriously and make decisions based on actual facts, rather than be driven entirely by your desires. If you base everything on the emotions involved with buying a home, you’ll dive right into a mortgage that you can’t really afford.

This article originally appeared on IdealREI. Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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Real Estate Investing

The No. 1 Strategy To Build A Rental Property Empire

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It’s impossible to buy enough rental property to retire with, right? It simply takes too long to save up, buy property, and a little rent over years

You just need too much money for down payments to keep buying.

Wrong.

It’s true that buying rental property is a very capital intensive process and it’s true that you generally need 20-25% down for your purchases (except your first few which can go FHA or VA).

It’s also true that most people don’t have unlimited funds and can’t keep putting 20-25% down.

But here’s the thing – you don’t have to keep putting money down.

There’s this really simply strategy that allows you to avoid doing all that. You guessed it, it’s called the BRRR strategy and I’m going to go into that in a lot of detail. But first…

A quick story about how I retired using the BRRR real estate method.

BRRR Strategy During the Great Recession

A long time ago I started using the BRRR strategy before anyone ever called it the BRRR strategy.

In a nutshell, it’s a way to buy property that allows you to preserve capital in order to buy more and more properties over time.

I’m going to get into detail on it in a minute, but I want to take you back to 2009 through 2013 during the deepest part of the great recession.

No one had jobs. No one could afford to pay rent. Housing prices dropped like a rock and flat lined like a hospital patient. There was no bounce.

It was just despair everywhere.

They call it the great recession, but in historical terms, it was clearly a depression.

…and I decided to get into real estate.

Everyone said I was crazy, and I was a little crazy. A lot of people had just lost everything, tenants weren’t paying, evictions were happening all over. It was rough.

But, deals could be found everywhere. The other benefit was since no one had work contractors were easy to find and would work for 1/3 what they charge now.

The hard part was finding money to invest and finding banks to lend.

I bought my first 3 family in 2009, then bought a 4 family a few years later in early 2012. This is a picture of the 4 family, sexy isn’t it?

By 2015 I had over 20 units. By 2017 I had around 35, and now in 2018 I’ve moved up to apartment complexes and have over 470.

This is the strategy I used to keep buying more property while continuously putting more money in my pocket.

Here’s how brrr investing works in real estate.

Using the BRRR Strategy to Build a Rental Property Portfolio

The overall Gist of the BRRR method is to add enough value to a property that when you refinance it you will get most, if not all of your capital back. This allows you to take your money and use it over and over again to buy deals.

Just in case you aren’t yet aware, BRRR stands for Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance. Alternatively, some people call it the BRRRR method which stands for the exact same thing, except the last R stands for “repeat.”

So, BRRRR method is Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat.

Step 1 – Buying

There are 3 basic parts to buying any property – finding, analyzing, and closing the deal.

Finding a Deal

The most important part of the BRRR real estate strategy is to find great deals. Without an amazing deal, it simply doesn’t work (but that’s kind of true about making money in real estate anyhow).

In general, people refer to deals as either “off-market” and “on-market.” An off-market deal is essentially every sale that is not listed with a real estate salesperson on a listing service such as the MLS, LoopNet, or CoStar.

There are a ton of ways to find great off-market deals. These includes:

  • Starting an Investor Website
  • Direct Mail
  • Knocking on Doors
  • Bandit Signs
  • MLS
  • Bird-Dogs

…and a couple dozen more methods. The only thing limiting you is your imagination!

Analyzing Rental Property

It’s important to have a couple different calculators to get this job done. The most important is your “back of the napkin” calculator.

The reason why a calculator like this is so important is because you will literally look at hundreds of deals. It’s impossible to use an advanced calculator and cull through dozens of deals a week.

Instead, it’s best to use a very simple calculator, toss in the basic numbers, and just see if it’s even remotely close.

Once you do that, you can take the deal and do a deeper analysis. If it’s not any good, just toss it aside and you’ve saved hours of your time.

I put together a free BRRR calculator for you to use to screen deals.

Closing Deals

The most important part of closing a deal is….financing it.

We’ll talk a bit more about financing at the end when we talk about the third R – Refinance, but it’s important to know that your financing up front will be different than how you refinance the deal.

Up front, you are generally using cash or some kind of private or hard money. Banks don’t like risk, and deals that need work are considered risky.

By using cash or private money, you’ll be able to purchase something with a bit of risk so you can add value.

The other reason is because distressed properties often need to close quickly. Banks are anything but quick.

So the key here is to use private money to purchase, then refinance into something longer term such as a good conventional or long-term commercial loan.

Step 2 – Rehab

You don’t want to rehab a BRRR rental property the same way you would fix a flip.

When you analyze a project for a flip, you look at the cost of the work vs the increase in value. If a kitchen costs 10k and increases the value by 15k, then it has a 50% return (15k – 10k = 5k return. A 5k return divided by 10k invested = 50% return).

That same kitchen may add value to your rental, but since you aren’t selling it, it’s the wrong way to measure value.

That $10k might add $15k in value, but add barely anything in extra rent. Since we are looking for cash-flow, I’d rather focus on renovations that add to the amount of rent I can charge.

BRRR Step 3 – Renting The Unit

Finding great tenants that will pay market (or higher) rents is key to your strategy. The 3 key steps are to findscreen, and retain.

Step 4 – Refinancing

The goal is to get your money back so you can repeat the process, which makes this step the most crucial.

because the rules for commercial lending are slighting different than personal lending, let’s take a quick step back and go over the rules/requirements for commercial lending:

  • You will need around 2 years of “experience.” This can be rehab experience, landlord experience, or even experience as a realtor if you can convince the bank that it’s directly applicable.
  • Most banks require 6+ months of “seasoning” before they will finance it at the market price rather than the purchase price. This means the property has been stable, fixed, and rented for around that period of time. Basically, they need you to justify the higher price with some evidence of stability and improved rents.
  • Banks lend 75-80% of appraised value on this sort of deal.

It’s not hard to see the “trick” once all the criteria are laid out.

  • Banks will lend around 75% of the appraised value after 6 months of seasoning.
  • House flippers are looking to be “all in” for around 75-80% of the property value.

So, buy a rental property like you’re going to flip it, then just refinance it – you’ll get all your cash back plus long-term rental income.

But, in order for this system to work well, you need to be able to be “all in” for around 75-80% of value.

Step 5 – Repeat and BRRR More (aka brrrr)

Once you have most or all of your money back, it’s time to find another real estate deal to BRRRR! The extra R stands for Repeat.

You’ll have your cash back and a new stream of income. Could life get any better?

Have you ever used the BRRR Strategy? Tell me how it went in the comments below.

This article originally appeared on IdealREI. Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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Real Estate Investing

5 Strategies To Close Your First Real Estate Deal

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