87% of Homebuyers in Detroit Paid Cash


We all know that when it comes to making purchases, cash is king.  However, when it comes to buying homes, more often than not, there is a loan involved.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (reposted on Realtor.com) says that in the city of Detroit the vast majority of buyers are paying in cash – even with rising home prices.  In the first six months of 2018, 87% of all single-family home & condominium buyers paid cash compared with 28% paying cash nationwide.  That being said, the median price of a home in the Detroit was just just over $32k.  But also:

“People looking to buy those renovated homes—often affluent young professionals or emptynesters—may also face challenges in getting a mortgage because those properties are difficult to appraise. Lenders have trouble determining the value of a newly renovated home in a neighborhood otherwise filled with distressed properties because there are few comparable sales to benchmark against.”

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Best Places to Live in America?


Where are the best places to live in America?  That’s surely a loaded question and one that Realtor.com recently put to the test for the 2nd year in a row.  They teamed up with Money magazine and looked at over 135k data points at places with populations greater than 50k.  They looked at items that included the overall economic health,  public schools, local amenities, housing, and the cost of living.

“For someone who’s starting from scratch, this is a list of areas with great quality of life, healthy housing markets where affordability is important, and great overall community,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist.

The top 10 Best Places are:

  1. Frisco, TX
  2. Ashburn, VA
  3. Carmel, IN
  4. Ellicott City, MD
  5. Cary, NC
  6. Franklin, TN
  7. Dublin, CA
  8. Highland Ranch, CO
  9. Sammamish, WA
  10. Woodbury, MN


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Yardi Says Multifamily Rents Keep Climbing


According to the latest Yardi Matrix, U.S. multifamily rents rose $2 in August to $1,412 – which they report is yet another all-time high, having now risen 7 months in a row.  Year-over-year in July, rents were up 3.1%.  Yardi says the sector’s performance is highlighted by rising occupancy rates in the face of robust supply growth.

“The multifamily market, however, shows no signs of nearing the end of its cycle. While it might be overstating the case to say that the sector is picking up steam, August rent data indicates that deceleration no longer seems to be an accurate term for the state of the market.”

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Data Shows Migration to Low-Tax Metros is Accelerating


We have seen this before...Not only do people vote with their wallets but also their feet.  Now, a new report from Redfin details how low-tax states are attracting residents from high-tax states.  Redfin says the trend of people leaving high-tax states for low-tax ones has been underway since 2010 and is accelerating. Interestingly, they report that taxes are three-times lower in the top-10 migration destinations than in the 10 places people are most commonly leaving.  Well, go figure…..

“With home prices reaching new heights in many metro areas, it’s no surprise people are continuing to move away from expensive metros in search of homeownership,” said Taylor Marr, Redfin senior economist. “Last year’s tax reform poured fuel on the fire. By capping mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions, there is an even greater incentive for homebuyers to consider moving to a lower-tax state.”

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Chimney Anatomy

With one more week of Summer before us it’s time to start thinking about Fall maintenance.  With that being said there is one important element of a house that often gets overlooked and can cause a lot of financial hardship if not properly maintained…your chimney.  But what exactly are these things and how do they work?  Today’s infographic from brickrestoration.com gives us a brief overview of these smoke-removing marvels….Happy Friday!!!

Hat tip to brickrestoration.com.

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Mobile Home Investing

 Are mobile homes the solution to affordable housing?  We have had several posts about these time-tested abodes and recently came across this short piece in the Knowledge Base of the Rental Property Owners Association, a chapter of National REIA located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Mobile Home Investing

Real estate investing is a broad term that most people associate with “buy and hold” of either single-family or multi-family residences, commercial office spaces, or rehabbing units or houses to sell. While these are great strategies for investing, they are the traditional methods and are highly competitive. The real estate market ebbs and flows, requiring investors to adjust to each season and be creative in some seasons more than others to remain profitable. One of the best kept secrets that lends itself to the more creative side of real estate investing is that of mobile home park investing. To the investors unfamiliar with this niche, it may sound like an unwise investment; however, the benefits of mobile home park investing are sizable enough to draw more attention and investigation when pursuing your next investment.

Three different types of mobile home ownership exist:

  1. The investor owns the entire mobile home park, which includes the lots underneath the individual homes and the land surrounding the lots such as the streets, utility systems, club houses, swimming pools and other amenities. In this form of ownership, the tenant owns their home and pays only for the right to occupy the land (i.e. lot rent) where their home is located plus the use of the facilities.
  2. The investor owns not only the land but also the actual homes. In this scenario, the tenant is paying for both the use of the land in addition to renting the home, which is like renting an apartment unit within a multi-family residence.
  3. The investor owns the mobile home, only, not the land underneath it. In this scenario, the tenant is renting the home like any single-family residence, but the investor must also pay the lot rent to the mobile home park itself. However, this option is not always feasible since not all parks allow for non-owner occupied mobile homes.

While the first type of ownership is generally not an easy strategy for a new landlord to manage, it’s a great goal to own a mobile home park one day. They generally need to be purchased with cash (e.g. private money or some degree of creative purchase terms to control the property) as many mobile homes do not meet lending requirements. Despite these hurdles, many benefits exist in owning and operating a mobile home park, and below we’ll focus on four of them.

First, investing in mobile home parks allows the investor to acquire more units for less money than one would in acquiring large multi-family properties or single-family homes. Furthermore, the investment is generally only for the land, not the homes themselves.

Second, costs are generally lower when managing the entire park as opposed to being a landlord of single-family residences. Since the investor owns the land and not the homes, the investor is responsible for the expenses involved in the upkeep of the park, whereas the mobile homeowner is responsible for the upkeep of the homes. Also, turnover is less common since the tenant owns his or her home and the cost to move a home is significant.

Third, the demand for mobile homeownership is increasing. Home prices continue to climb to historic levels and baby boomers on fixed incomes are retiring, which increases the need for affordable housing as their incomes are not increasing at the same rate. Also, many families living in mobile home parks see them as a better alternative to low rent apartment living.

Finally, mobile home park investing has limited competition from new mobile home park developments because of the significant barriers to enter the business, including obtaining proper zoning and acquiring the necessary permits and licenses. It also takes longer for mobile home developers to generate cash flow since they need a substantial amount of homes on the lots to pay the rent, which deters many investors from entering this niche of the industry. Additionally, as this type of real estate investing is a niche, one does not compete with new investors, homeowners, and institutional investors looking for the traditional real estate investments.

If you are interested in pursuing an investment in a mobile home park, it’s important to ensure you have established a strong team and systems to be successful and profitable. Furthermore, make sure you can obtain accurate data accounting for the park’s income and expenses. Some of the best investments are purchasing those businesses that are operated inefficiently so you can make the necessary updates to increase income and decrease expenses. However, these parks may not have very good accounting records, so as with any investment, make sure you can get a good return.

The second and third types of ownership are different as they require the investor to own the mobile home itself. Owning the mobile home itself, whether or not one owns the park as well, puts one in a similar situation to a traditional landlord with a different type of residence. As a result, differences will result in both the pros and cons of being a landlord of these properties.

First, generally the cost to own a mobile home is significantly lower than owning a single-family residence; however, rental income can be comparable. Therefore, your income in comparison to the cost to own the property is often much higher than a single-family residence. While you will have to consider the amount of lot rent to be paid to the park as a fixed expense, the income generated is often sufficient to cover these expenses and provide a healthy return.

Second, in instances where the tenant does not have ownership of the mobile home, you will likely be dealing with tenant turnover on an annual or biennial basis, similarly as you would with a single-family residence rental property. Consider these costs in your rate of return calculation.

Third, when it comes to making repairs on the home, you will want to ensure you retain a contractor familiar with mobile homes as damages and repairs to mobile homes are unique. A contractor unfamiliar with mobile homes may not know common issues or how to most efficiently and effectively make the necessary repairs or upgrades.

Finally, the value of a mobile home rarely increases. While they regularly function well for many years, you often won’t be able to sell the home for more than what you bought it for as the market value of single-family or multi-family residences does not translate to mobile homes. The value of the home is largely based on the year the home was built and its condition, including any upgrades that have been done.

Entering the mobile home niche market is more affordable when purchasing one home at a time as opposed to the entire park, and as mentioned, it has some unique facets when comparing them to owning a single-family residence. All three strategies of getting involved in the mobile home industry provide a unique and unusual way to invest in real estate, but as with other methods, it is profitable if you design it the right way. Investing creatively can be risky, but can also prove to be very rewarding.

Click here to read the article on the RPOA’s website.

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Using Technology & Resources in Real Estate Investing

What are the different kinds of technology and resources that are useful in real estate investing?  In a recent episode of the BRAG Radio podcast, Larry Goins & Co-Host Kandas grouped them into 4 main categories: finding deals, funding deals, keeping track/organization, and connecting with other investors.  They share how investors can use technology and resources to make their processes more seamless and convenient!


Click here to listen at larrygoins.com.

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On & Off-Campus Housing Costs in Big College Towns

Recently we posted about college towns with the best returns on investment.  If you’ve invested in student housing, your property(s) probably just come back to life as students recently returned to big cities & small towns all across the country.  These investments can be very lucrative as well as a form of house-hacking – especially if you have (or soon will have) a son or daughter living there as a student.  However, a new report from Trulia suggests that not all “big” college towns offer an advantage for students living off-campus, in privately-owned housing, and says there are some locales where the opposite is true;  that it’s more cost-efficient to live on campus.  Trulia looked at data from colleges/universities in some of the 48 biggest college towns across the country and compared what students pay for on-campus housing with what they would pay if they split a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate in the off-campus market.  For what it’s worth…

“The results were nothing short of surprising. While rents are rising, so is the price of living on campus. In 28 of the 48 places we looked at, it was either the same price or cheaper to be off-campus…”  Said Trulia economist Felipe Chacon.



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Top 40 Places Young People Are Moving

Trying to anticipate the next cool place millennials will flock to can be like predicting the weather.  However, that being said, the folks over at 24/7 Wall St. crunched numbers from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to come up with the 40 top places where young people are moving.  After looking at migration to U.S. counties, they ranked them based on the number of 25 to 34-year-olds who moved there from a different county in 2016 as a share of the total county population.  Indeed…



“The primary reason people move is for work. Many young people move for jobs in service-providing industries…”

“Young people also tend to move to more urban areas. Of the 40 counties on this list, 36 are located in commuting zones classified as metropolitan…”

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2017 American Housing Survey Date Released


Earlier this month the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released new housing data from the 2017 American Housing Survey (AHS).  The release included national-level data and data for the 15 largest metropolitan areas.  The AHS is conducted biennially and is the provides current & important data on a wide range of housing subjects, such as physical condition of the nation’s housing stock, quality indicators, and home improvement activities.  This data is extremely useful when you drill down into it.

Click here to access the AHS data.

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