Before you say something like ‘I wouldn’t move there if they paid me’ consider this; some US cities are literally offering to pay you. If you have ever thought about making a move to a more affordable city to make a new start, now might be the time.
Living in a large city like Los Angeles certainly has its perks and opportunities, but it also comes at a high cost. LA, as an example, has a cost of living 48% above the US average, and the median home value is just at half a million dollars. Combine that with jammed freeways that drives transportation costs 25% above the national average it’s smart to consider alternatives -especially when the alternatives are paying you money to move there. Here are six:
1. Grant County, Indiana
Through Grant for Grads, a housing assistance program created by the Grant County Economic Growth Council, you can receive up to $5,000 for the down payment (and closing costs) on a home purchase. If home ownership isn’t your thing, Grant County is offering a 20% reduction on monthly rent payments. The program is designed to attract graduates with an associate’s degree or higher who are choosing to work and live in Grant County.
2. Baltimore, Maryland
Further east in Baltimore, home of John Hopkins Hospital, is the Buying Into Baltimore program which offers home-buyers a $5,000 forgivable five-year loan. In an effort to help gentrify older areas of town, there is also the Vacants to Value program offering up to $10,000 towards a down payment for buying an abandoned home.
3. North Platte, Nebraska
Head northeast of Denver International Airport on a three and half hour drive and you will find North Platte, Nebraska. This low populated area with open spaces is seeking those skilled in areas from factory work to health care. Their website states “The WORKNP.com program offers local employers up to $5,000 per open position (in the form of matching funds) for the purpose of creating a robust, attractive worker incentive package to help fill a job.” If you take a position with say a $4,000 sign on bonus, the program will match it.
4. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa has an attractive offer of up to $10,000 cash, work space at a trendy shared office in downtown Tulsa where you can work alongside entrepreneurs, remote workers and digital nomads, and a three month housing stipend for those who qualify. To be considered for the Tulsa Remote program, applicants must meet four eligibility requirements: You can move to Tulsa within 6 months. You have full time remote employment, or are self-employed outside of Tulsa county. You are 18+ years old and eligible to work in the United States. tulsaremote.com lays the program out in an easy to read format.
5. Marquette, Kansas
If you’re looking to escape the rat race and build your own home, this small Kansas town has an offer you just don’t see these days: free land. Marquette is offering free lots and will waive all utility hook-up and building permit fees. All utilities, including natural gas, will be on the property. The website states Marquette offers “a lifestyle where neighbors know neighbors and parents feel comfortable letting kids play outside, take a bike ride and walk to school.” To qualify for this program, you must agree to begin construction on the home within 120 days and finish building the home within one year.
8. New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, the fastest growing city in Connecticut, is offering up to $80,000 in incentives for first time home buyers. Receive $10,000 in interest-free loans for down payments or closing costs and $30,000 in energy-saving upgrades for the home. If you have school age children the offer is even more attractive. The city is guaranteeing free tuition to any in-state college for students who graduate from New Haven public schools in good academic and behavioral standing.
November 19, 2018
If you like the idea of growing your wealth or adding to your income or retirement income stream with real estate but don’t want any of the headaches that go along with it, start where I did: Turn Key Real Estate Investing.
A turnkey real estate investment is an income producing rental property that was most likely a distressed property that has been completely renovated and is sold to an investor with tenant in place and cash flowing.
The beauty of the perfect turn key experience is after you have chosen from a list of homes and gone through the purchase process, all you have to do is collect rent payments via the provider less their management fee which can range from 8-10% –and worth every penny as your investment property is most likely to be in another state. They handle the placement of renters, collection of rents, and most tenant / repair issues.
Across the country there are some fantastic turn key providers, and there are some you should steer clear of, so always do your due diligence. Here are some questions you should ask in your search for a reputable turn key provider.
How many rentals do you personally own?
You want someone who’s in the game and ‘eats at the same restaurant they manage’ so to speak. If they don’t own a few of the properties themselves, you need to pause and ask why that is.
Is there a guarantee?
After selecting your property from their list of options, get your own home inspection from a third party inspector. The turn key provider should offer a one year home warranty if the home was just completely rehabbed.
What’s your experience?
How long have they been a turnkey provider? Do they understand the nuances of the neighborhoods and markets in which they provide? Always ssk for references and contact current or previous investors and ask them what they wish they had known before going into business with the operator. Would they recommend them? Use them again in the future?
Who will be managing my property?
Many providers manage their own properties, and this can make for a seamless experience. Typically in this scenario you will have the same teams maintaining the property that renovated it in the first place. Ask how they handle the maintenance, and what tools and systems are in place to communicate with their property owners. They should be using web based tools where you the owner can track all income, bills, and property activity via you own user portal.
How do you arrive at the rate you charge for rents?
We all want to maximize performance from our rental properties, but not at the cost of frequent vacancies. Choosing a rent price at the lower end of the market will keep your tenants in place longer, maximizing your returns. As long as the ‘cash on cash’ fits with your performance expectations this is the best strategy. Personally, I will not choose a property that doesn’t return at least 12% cash on cash return.
How do you determine the ‘Location. Location. Location?’
We all know the importance of location in real estate and it’s equally important when investing in turn key investments. Every town has it’s wealthy areas and it’s ‘other side of the tracks’ areas also known as ‘war zones’ to some real estate professionals. The middle is where it’s at: middle class, middle price point. Cash flow is more important than appreciation in this type of investment and as always, you want to minimize risk. Stable, middle class neighborhoods with good schools and nice parks is the sweet spot. Never invest in an area you wouldn’t want to live in yourself.
Real Estate investing isn’t for everybody. For the first half of my life I didn’t think it was for me because one, I feared the upfront cost and two, I never took the time to really understand the power of it. Fast forward to today, where, after much research and reading I sit with several single family homes in my portfolio averaging an 18% Cash on Cash return. It’s hard to match the returns of leveraged real estate. If I could go back in time to my twenties, I would invest more in real estate and less in my 401k.
Within real estate there are many ways to invest. REITs, notes, multi-family, mobile home parks, commercial buildings, to name a few but for many, including myself, single family homes are where it’s at. Even if the numbers don’t work out in your particular neighborhood or city, it’s easier than you think to buy real estate in other markets or even other states.
Single family homes aren’t as easy to invest in as buying stocks, but the long term gains are worth it. It’s all about the cash flow and making your money work for you. Think you can’t afford to get started? Less than $15,000 can get you 20% down (to avoid PMI) in some rent favorable areas of the country. Save and snowball your earnings to accumulate more properties and eventually you can look at early (or certainly more secure) retirement. Single family homes command higher rents than apartments and appreciate faster than apartments or condos. The utilities are typically up to the renters so the only monthly commitment from you is the mortgage, which should include the property tax already.
Paying a property management company 8-10% can be worth it’s weight in gold -certainly if your investment property is long distance. From finding quality tenants, collecting rent, and responding to their needs a good property management company should handle almost everything for you, including giving you access to an online portal you can use to virtually manage your property and collect rents. Having multiple rental properties doesn’t have to require a large time investment on your part and can easily be done while you continue to work full time.
The new tax bill allows for a 20% deduction for pass through businesses like rental properties. You may also be able to deduct certain expenses including mortgage interest, property tax, operating expenses, depreciation, and repairs. You can deduct the ordinary expenses for managing, conserving and maintaining your rental property.
Property appreciation and the equity you build with single family homes are just additional, albeit very important benefits to this type of investment. The trick is to just get started. Themoneybeat will feature a thorough getting started guide for investing in rental real estate later this year.
If you want to have more wealth and future security, you have to do what the wealthy do. Property ownership should be one part of your plan and is well worth the effort.