Tag Archive: Housing

The 20 Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City in 2021

What started as a pioneer settlement has now grown into one of the most desirable cities in the western United States. Salt Lake City is one of, if not the best places to live in Utah. Due to recent events and changes in the remote work environment, crowds are flocking to the valley to take up permanent residence and it’s also quickly becoming a hub for tech companies.

While there truly isn’t a terrible place to live in the city, some areas are better than others when it comes to shopping, dining, architecture, views and a few other factors. Here are the best neighborhoods in Salt Lake City to give you an idea of what most residents enjoy about where they live.

Salt Lake City.

The Avenues

Potentially the most desirable neighborhood in Salt Lake, The Avenues have a little bit of everything. It’s nestled in the northeastern corner of the valley, offering great views of the city. Plus, its charming historic homes and family-owned restaurants create a quiet, quaint atmosphere.

Since it’s just at the foot of the mountains, there are plenty of hiking trails literally at your doorstep. There are many parks and walkable areas, perfect for anyone wanting an active lifestyle or who has pets that like spending time outdoors.

Sugarhouse

Full of unique restaurants, bars and coffee shops, Sugarhouse is a lively neighborhood where you’ll never be bored. With the University of Utah and Westminster close by, many students live in the area. However, there’s also a mix of established families and young professionals in the area.

Sugarhouse is walk- and bike-friendly. Most major roads have bike lanes and wide sidewalks to keep them safe for bikers and pedestrians. Plus, everything you could ever need is within walking distance. Whether you’re looking for groceries, boutiques or a cool cafe to spend the afternoon in, it’s close by.

Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill, named for its location around the state capitol building, tends to attract many young professionals. It has plenty of parks for outdoor enjoyment and bars for indoor entertainment and mingling.

The homes and apartments in this neighborhood are mostly older buildings that have gone through renovations. While the buildings maintain their original charm, so you’ll see that they have a clean, modernized touch. Capitol Hill also has some of the most incredible views of the city, overlooking the entire valley. Notably, it has views of downtown and Temple Square. This view is especially stunning during the winter holidays, the Fourth of July and the local Pioneer Day celebrations.

Downtown

Salt Lake City’s most active area is certainly Downtown. There are more restaurants, cafes, bars than anyone could probably visit in their lifetime. There’s also great shopping—anything from small boutiques to large commercial shopping centers.

Many people both live and work downtown, often walking, biking or taking the UTA TRAX whenever they need to get somewhere. In fact, the downtown area has some of the best walk, bike and overall transit scores in the valley. Its walk, bike and transit scores are 87, 93 and 69, respectively. So owning a car is purely optional for residents here.

9th and 9th

The coveted 9th and 9th neighborhood is a well-known shopping and eating hangout. Filled with boutiques and delicious restaurants, it has a very calm, leisurely feel to it. The relaxing vibe is partially created by the amazing art that is around every corner. The other great part of 9th and 9th is the fun people you can find behind every door.

Homes in this area seem a little on the small side, but they’re both funky and chic. Pulling from the old architecture of original houses built in the early 1900s, the homes mix in newer stylings to stay modern.

Salt Lake City.

Yalecrest

Yalecrest initially attracts students who are attending school across the street — at the University of Utah. But once they finish their studies, they end up staying years after the fact. Its easily walkable streets are very safe. And the neighborhood has enough local stores and restaurants that owning a car isn’t necessary for day-to-day life. Plus, it’s near the UTA TRAX and bus lines in case you do need to travel further.

If you’re a fan of Tudor-style architecture, Yalecrest is a visual treat. It’s not a typical cookie-cutter suburb — it’s full of unique homes of all designs, complete with brick and exposed wood beams.

East Bench

The East Bench neighborhood is known for its unobstructed views stretching all the way over to the Great Salt Lake. The neighborhood is over the side of the eastern mountains lining the valley. While many of its residents are older and more established, there are also many younger families taking up residency.

East Bench is further away from the busy city, but it’s still close to everything you could need. It’s also only a 10-minute drive to downtown, where there’s great entertainment and food. Residents are out of the constant city bustle but they still enjoy the city perks.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Temple Square

At the heart of downtown Salt Lake, Temple Square and the surrounding streets are surprisingly calm and kept very neat and tidy. Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints live and work in the area (depending on what you’re after, this could be a pro or a con).

You’ll find lots of church history museums, along with other church-owned properties. Such properties include a large tabernacle, a conference center, and, of course, the Salt Lake Temple. The area is very walkable and near lots of public transportation, including the UTA TRAX and FrontRunner.

Sugar House Park

Perhaps the best park in Salt Lake, Sugar House Park is not only big, but it’s beautiful. It boasts beautiful views of the mountains, lots of trees, a pond and various sports courts.

The Sugar House Park neighborhood is also near a large shopping and dining center right off the freeway. Everything is at your fingertips and it makes owning a car unnecessary.

Westminster

As its name suggests, the Westminster neighborhood surrounds Westminster College. It’s no surprise that there are many students living in the area. However, students aren’t the only ones enjoying the neighborhood.

Being so close to a shopping and dining hub, this neighborhood draws in the crowds. Here, you can enjoy good food and fun bars, many of which have classic bar games like pool and darts. You’ve also got a few parks nearby. Liberty Park is one of the best, there’s always an event happening and you can catch live music, markets and festivals.

The Country Club

Right off the freeway at the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, The Country Club is a classy neighborhood full of larger homes. By “larger homes,” we mean in comparison to the other smaller historic homes typically found in Salt Lake.

This neighborhood encircles a large country club with a golf course. Many of its residents fall under the “well established” category of older folks who have done well for themselves. You won’t find better-kept homes or yards anywhere in the valley and even strolling through the streets is a treat in and of itself.

Salt Lake City neighborhood.

Highland Park

Highland Park is a fun, eclectic area with a combination of shopping and dining like you’ve never seen before. Instead of boutiques and chain restaurants, you’ll find the likes of stores selling plants, yard decor and secondhand books, along with classic Dutch and Greek cuisine.

It is truly a one-of-a-kind neighborhood that transports residents and visitors to different places and times. However, if that’s not your cup of tea, you’re right off the freeway and less than 15 minutes from downtown.

East Central

Sandwiched between downtown and the University of Utah, East Central is home to many young residents. Many of those living here are attending school or just starting out in their careers. Walking is a reasonable mode of transportation and you’ll find not only everything you need to live nearby but the added benefits of concerts, live theater shows and museums.

Those living in East Central are in it for both work and play, and you’ll find a good community of social beings there.

Wasatch Hollow

The mellow, tree-lined streets of Wasatch Hollow are home to a wide range of people of all ages and various backgrounds. This neighborhood has a close sense of community, where people live for a long time and watch out for each other.

There are plenty of parks for taking a walk or spending a nice afternoon. And the many coffee shops scattered throughout the streets provide a place to meet other locals, see art from up-and-coming artists and experience live music.

This Is The Place Heritage Park.

Sunnyside East

Like East Bench, Sunnyside East has amazing views across the valley to the Great Salt Lake. However, it is slightly more secluded. This neighborhood contains the Hogle Zoo and This Is The Place Heritage Park, where you can attend various events all year long, including holidays — such as Zoo Lights and a German-style Christmas market.

Because it’s further from things, you’ll likely need a car if you live here. But the proximity to multiple hiking trails and stunning views of both the mountains above and the city below are worth the trade-off.

Bonneville Hills

Adjacent to the Bonneville Golf Course, Bonneville Hills is in a prime location near just about everything. It’s only a few minutes from downtown, the University of Utah, the Hogle Zoo, This Is The Place Heritage Park, restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping — you name it and it’s within reasonable walking distance or a short drive.

Although it’s reasonably close to the University of Utah, residents of the neighborhood include families and young professionals, with only a few students in the mix.

Park in Salt Lake City, UT.

Central City

Central City is full of young professionals who bring a vibrant, artistic vibe with them. Here you’ll find loads of indie coffee shops and cafes, many of which have extraordinary menus that cater to the residents of the neighborhood.

Because Central City is near downtown, there are many opportunities to experience live performances of all kinds, whether it’s music or comedy, and there’s lots of local art displayed in coffee shops, painted onto buildings and in galleries throughout the city.

Liberty Wells

With a good mix of young, old and everything in between, you’ll meet people from all walks of life in Liberty Wells. It’s also close to just about everything and has been seeing lots of improvements throughout the neighborhood, including new apartment buildings to provide housing for even more people in the area.

And although new buildings are popping up, there are still plenty of the old ones still standing, providing a good balance between vintage and modern architecture. Like many other neighborhoods in Salt Lake, Liberty Wells doesn’t lack food, drink or good company.

University District

Tucked in the eastern corner of Salt Lake, just inside the hills is the University of Utah and the University District. While many students live in this area, there are also residents who work at the University of Utah. Those working for the University include a wide range of careers, not just teaching — there’s a hospital and various research centers connected to the university.

While you’re slightly further away from most shopping and dining, it’s just a few minutes down the road if you’re ever in the mood for it.

Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, UT.

Photo source: The Red Iguana Restaurant / Facebook

Fairpark

Fairpark is one of the more culturally diverse neighborhoods in Salt Lake City and with that comes some of the best culturally diverse restaurants in the valley. It’s home to one of the city’s most well-known restaurants, the Red Iguana, which is typically packed most evenings, but well worth the wait!

Apart from the food, Fairpark is near the heart of the city, so entertainment and nightlife are never far, and it’s near the freeway, giving access to anywhere else around Salt Lake, including ski resorts and hiking trails.

Which Salt Lake City neighborhood fits you?

These are only a few of the many neighborhoods in Salt Lake City and each of them has its own unique combination of offerings to residents. It’s important to choose a neighborhood that fits your personality and lifestyle, whether you’re buying a home for the long term or renting an apartment for a shorter period. With so many great options, you can find apartments for rent in Salt Lake City in a neighborhood that suits you!

The post The 20 Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City in 2021 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

13 DC Apartments under $1500 Available to Rent Today

DC-APARTMENTS-UNDER-1500

 You may have read recently that apartments in DC aren’t affordable.  If you’re new to DC, understanding the affordable housing options in the district can be a challenge, so we made you this handy guide. We also went on the hunt for you and found 13 apartments for under $1500 available to rent now in Washington, DC!

Apartment hunting on a budget in Washington, DC is all about what trades you are willing to make.  A less trendy neighborhood will likely result in a larger apartment or a lower rent. Is a state of the art gym a must-have amenity for you? That’s okay, just know that you’re going to be squeezing into a smaller apartment.  The good news is, there are plenty of options!  This week we bring you 13 studio or one-bedroom and even a two-bedroom apartment for under $1500 available to rent now!

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Search other available apartments in the Washington, DC area.

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The Foreland

Studio $1295 | Available Now
23 2nd  Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

 

Everyday living is made comfortable and effortless at The Foreland. You can look forward to a convenient location, shopping, and a multitude of dining options. The units are equipped with hardwood floors and ample closet space. Multiple windows in each apartment provide ample amounts of natural lighting. The community is located directly across the street from the Supreme Court building and within walking distance of Capitol South Metro, the National Mall, Capitol Hill, and Union Station. Convenience and comfort are guaranteed at The Foreland.WC Smith embraces the belief that great customer service is our best amenity. Living at the Foreland means experiencing a higher level of service. Our service team is available 24 hours a day and you can access your resident account online any time; day or night. Discover classic charms and modern conveniences of the Foreland, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC.

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The Kenmore

1 Bedroom  $1495 | Available Now

5415 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015

Experience a lifestyle that is as rich in history as it is in local activities. The Kenmore’s Connecticut Avenue location is distinct and convenient. This residence offers a 24-hour concierge beautifully renovated, classic style interiors. Spacious studios, one and two bedroom apartments are equipped with expansive windows that offer exceptional views.

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Hilltop House

Studio $1450 | Available 11/29

1475 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Hilltop House is a hidden jewel of the Adams Morgan neighborhood. This community offers studio and one-bedroom apartments for rent. Each apartment has large windows and breakfast bars; creating a cheerful, open, and bright atmosphere. To keep apartment living and budgeting easy, all utilities are included with your rent. Hilltop House faces Meridian Hill Park, where residents may take in a variety of social and cultural events. Every Sunday the park is activate with kickball leagues, yoga classes, Frisbee sessions, and drum circles. Just a couple of blocks from the Hilltop House apartment community is the Columbia Heights Metro station with access to both the green and yellow like. Hilltop House Apartments have the perfect location to take in all that Washington, DC has to offer.

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1400 Van Buren

One Bedroom $1395  | Available 11/14

1400 Van Buren NW
Washington, DC 20012

1400 Van Buren is an apartment community with one and two-bedroom apartments for rent in the Brightwood neighborhood. You will feel comfortable and at home in these apartments with their beautiful hardwood flooring, ceiling fans, central A/C, and spacious floor plans. The apartments are located in a charming brick building with controlled access, on-site maintenance, on-site management, on-site laundry facilities, and more. 1400 Van Buren’s convenient location gives residents access to everything they need on a daily basis.

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Baystate Apartments

Studio  $1495  | Available 12/4

1701 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Looking for features that look and feel like they came from a book and tell a story? The Baystate offers beautiful studio apartments for rent in a variety of floor plans. All utilities are included! No need to worry about extra bills. With the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC only two blocks from your front door, be fascinated with local culture and flavor. Having the Red Line Metro within walking distance means all of Washington, DC is yours to explore. Find touches of extraordinary in the every day.

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The Shawmut

Studio $1500 | Available 11/14

2200 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

Classic style and modern amenities are the perfect combinations to make you feel right at home. This pet-friendly building in the heart of Adams Morgan, just across the street from Kalorama Park, creates a comfortable living space for all. The Shawmut’s elegant, New York-style exterior gives way to beautiful one and two-bedroom apartments featuring hardwood floors, 9′ ceilings, and updated kitchens.Step outside and you are in the heart of a vibrant, thriving community. From the bustling 18th St Corridor down to Dupont Circle, you are never far from the energy of Downtown DC. Want to get away? The L2, 42, 43, and H1 bus lines are right outside your front door with direct connections to the Green, Red, and Yellow metro lines.

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Frontenac

Studio  $1450 | Available Now

4550 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

The Frontenac is nestled in the heart of elegant upper-Northwest. The Frontenac boasts spacious apartments with updated kitchens and bathrooms. Its classic architectural style, evident in our grand lobby’s high ceiling and in our apartment units’, arched doorways and traditional wainscoting, attracts tours of local art history students.You can meet your neighbors or take advantage of WiFi on the Frontenac’s peaceful roof deck or in its spacious laundry room. Take a stroll to the Van Ness metro station, Giant, Whole Foods, pharmacies, dry cleaners, restaurants, shopping, and great schools for students of all ages. Our neighborhood is full of hidden gems..

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Hampton Courts

Studio  $1460  | Available 12/1

2013 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

Constructed in 1926, Hampton Courts has the elegant appeal of the early 20th-century architecture. The building is equipped with two elevators, a controlled intercom entrance, and a laundry room with a card payment system. The studio, one, and two bedroom apartments at Hampton Courts has updated appliances and spacious floor plans. All utilities are included in your rent, so no need to worry yourself about additional bills. The U Street Metro Station is three blocks away and provides access to the yellow and green lines. Zipcar and car2go vehicles, as well as Capital Bikeshare bicycles, are just a block from the building giving you endless means of transportation. The Saturday Farmer’s Market, Yes Organic Market, Trader Joes, Vida Fitness and several yoga studios are all a few blocks away from your front door. Come and explore the city living in Hampton Courts.

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6100 14th Street

1 Bedroom  $1395  | Available Now

6100 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

Located in the Brightwood neighborhood of Washington, DC. There are no limitations set when living at 6100 14th street; tons of shopping and dining options nearby, a Metro bus stop right at your doorstep and only a mile to the nearest metro station. Offering spacious and affordable one and two bedroom apartment homes.

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Penn View Apartments

2 Bedroom  $1315  | Available Now

2515 R Street, SE 
Washington, DC 20020

Design cannot be defined by one component but rather the artful intersection of style and function. Located just minutes away from Capitol Hill, Penn View apartments offer affordable efficiencies, one, and two-bedroom apartment homes for rent. Penn View’s luxurious kitchens and functional floor plans are just a few of the features you’ll find at this community. Quality is always on trend.

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1401 Sheridan

Studio $1250 | Available Now

1401 Sheridan Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

1401 Sheridan boasts spacious floorplans which include separate dining rooms in each apartment. Beautiful hardwood floors, expertly landscaped grounds, and abundant closet space add to the charm and convenience of these studio and one-bedroom apartments. 1401 Sheridan is located between 14th and 16th Streets near Georgia Avenue providing easy access to Rock Creek Park, Carter Barron, and much more.

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Jetu Apartments

2 Bedroom $ 1125 | Available Now

2100 Maryland Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

Discover our beautifully landscaped community located in the heart of Northeast, near Langston Golf Course and National Arboretum. Jetu Apartments offers affordable one and two bedroom apartment homes for rent. Featuring gas range stoves, upgraded kitchens, frost-free refrigerators, mini-blinds, and wall to wall carpet. Each apartment offers a separate dining area with chandelier lighting. The grounds include two new playgrounds, a community room, and a community garden.

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Skyland Apartments

One-Bedroom $1029 | Available 11/16

2333 Skyland Place SE 
Washington, DC 20020

Moving to the Skyland means you have a choice of a townhouse or apartment home. Our beautifully landscaped community is impeccably maintained. Enjoy the features of your new updated kitchen including; gas ranges, frost-free refrigerators, and garbage disposals. Dishwashers are available in 3 bedroom apartments. There is also an on-site dry cleaner and a tot lot. Skyland Apartments is located near Anacostia Metro and the new Safeway. Uncovered parking is available.

Looking for something different?
Search available apartments in the Washington, DC area now.

Read 13 DC Apartments under $1500 Available to Rent Today on Apartminty.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

How To Write an Appeal Letter If You’ve Been Denied an Apartment

You’ve been touring various apartments, and you find the perfect one. It fits your budget, the natural light is beautiful and it comes with great amenities. And then a curveball — your rental application gets denied. You’re not alone. Nine out of 10 people have their rental applications rejected. What now? You write an appeal letter. Here’s how to write an appeal letter to your potential landlord:

Well, thanks to the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot reject applications based on an applicant’s race, sex, gender, national origin, color, disability or familial status.

Beyond that, there are many possible valid reasons for a rental application denial — including income, credit score, bad references, rental history and background check. This is why it’s essential to look at the property’s requirements closely.

If you feel like the landlord made a mistake with your rental application, here’s how to write an appeal letter to ask them to reconsider.

Writing a letter.

What is an appeal letter?

The appeal letter expands on an issue found by the landlord that led to the denial. For example, no previous formal rental history or maybe you have more income than you showed. If you feel like you have additional information or clarification that may change their mind and approve your application, you might want to try writing an appeal letter.

When to write an appeal letter?

The most optimal time to send an appeal letter is within a week from receiving the denial letter from the landlord.

First, make sure the unit is still available before sending it, if possible. Then put together all evidence as soon as possible and send it certified via mail to confirm receipt. Emails can get lost in inboxes or ignores. Check-in 48 hours after receipt via email if you haven’t received a response.

What to include in your apartment appeal letter?

Now that you’ve decided to appeal the landlord’s decision, it’s time to build your case.

Scan your denial letter carefully

Every denial letter must tell you the specific reasons why your application was denied. After reading it carefully, identify the details that you’d like to provide more clarification on for the appeal letter. If the letter is vague, ask for a new letter with more specific information about your denial. It will help you provide a better appeal letter.

Think of what reason you want to address and how

If you had an incomplete application with not enough references, provide those in the appeal letter. Or if you didn’t have a formal rental history, explain that it’s your first apartment or provide references from old informal landlords.

If your income doesn’t meet the requirement in the background check provided, share that you have more than one job and bank statements to corroborate your actual income. Or maybe the credit check showed the wrong score.

Writing.

Address the appeal letter

Add your name, current return address at the top with your rental application date. Follow below with today’s date and the landlord’s name with property address below that.

First paragraph: Ask for reconsideration

This paragraph should focus on quickly explaining the reason for this appeal letter. Start by thanking the property manager for their time and share that you’d like for them to reconsider your application for this specific property.

Second paragraph: State your case

This is where you make your case. First, clearly state the reason for the appeal of the property’s decision and restate their reason for denying your rental application. Then add additional evidence or clarify why the property manager should reconsider. If your credit score was wrong, attach a new credit report from a bureau and explain why the error happened, for example.

Take your time to flesh out your reasoning before putting it on paper. Stay concise in this section but effective at making your case.

Third paragraph: Offer possible concessions

Here’s where you will quickly summarize your letter by restating your reason for the appeal and offer any additional concessions, like a larger security deposit or a shorter lease, for example. Mention the other documentation you’re attaching, if any.

Conclusion: Don’t forget to sign

Write ‘Sincerely’ and sign your name. Below that, print your name with your contact information for easy access.

Use persuasive language

Keep the letter concise and explain just the facts. Avoid any negative language or complaining throughout the letter. The letter must remain clear and impartial to highlight your points more effectively. You’re negotiating with the landlord via the letter so think about what you can offer to make you trust you over someone else.

Avoid being overly emotional or desperate. Just make sure you don’t concede too much that you put yourself at risk as a tenant.

Man reading.

How do you write an appeal letter for reconsideration?

Use this template below to write your appeal letter. You can also download a word document of this sample letter and make changes where necessary.

(Your name)

(Current address)

(Date)

(Name of landlord)

(Address of property)

(Landlord’s last name),

Thank you for taking the time to review my rental application at (property address with unit number) and now, my appeal letter. I understand that my application was not approved due to (reason for denial), but I wanted to share additional information for your consideration.

(Paragraph explaining your denial and what you’ve done to fix the problem.)

(Paragraph explaining what concessions you might be able to offer. Reference any attached documents here.)

Please feel free to contact me to discuss my rental application further. Thank you again for taking the time to review my rental application again for (property address with unit number).

Sincerely,

(Signature)

(Phone number)

(E-mail address)

Avoid getting your application denied for next time

Getting your hopes up about an apartment and then getting your rental application denied can truly crush you.

Most of the time, a rental application doesn’t have room for nuance, and that’s where the appeal letter can help with more details. Make sure to double-check your application before submitting it, too. If the apartment complex has other units available, it’s worth appealing their decision with more facts and seeing if you can nab an approval.

The post How To Write an Appeal Letter If You’ve Been Denied an Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

What to Expect in Apartment Living in 2020

As the Bob Dylan song goes, the times, they are a-changin’, and that couldn’t be truer than for apartment living.

Renting used to be a lower rung on the ladder as you climb toward the American dream — owning a single-family home in the suburbs. But as homes increase in cost and competition, renting is on the rise.

According to Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies 2017 rental-market report, the number of high-income households (earning at least $100,000) renting their homes rose by 6 percent from 2005 to 2016. As a result of this increase, apartment complexes have added more amenities to appeal to the influx of renters. The same study found that in 2016, 89 percent of new apartments offered in-unit laundry and 86 percent provided swimming pool access.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Today’s apartment complexes are not what they used to be, and apartment living is significantly nicer and more desirable than it was just 10 years ago. Here’s what you can expect for modern apartment living in 2020.

1. High-end amenities

indoor pool

Forget the bare-bones coin-operated laundry room and trash dumpster in the back parking lot or basement. According to NMCH’s 2018 Consumer Housing Insights Survey, 83 percent of adult and millennial renters said it was important to have an apartment that offered convenience and flexibility. Additionally, fast internet access, technology, and green initiatives are now considered must-haves for modern apartments.

To keep up with the competitive rental market, apartment complexes are upping the ante when it comes to amenities. In-unit laundry and pool access are quickly becoming par for the course, while many luxury complexes offer trash collection and recycling programs, high-speed internet, fitness centers, eco-friendly rooftop gardens and communal spaces, such as BBQs and theater rooms. These amenities make it easier to enjoy life at home and to entertain friends and family, just as one would if they owned a single-family home.

2. Online communication with apartment management

Speaking of convenience, flexibility and technology, many modern apartment complexes simplify the tasks that were previously pain points of renting — namely, rent payments, maintenance requests and apartment management communication. A number of complexes are capitalizing on technology to streamline these tasks.

For example, rather than having to mail a check each month, platforms like RentPay allow renters to automate their rent payments and pay via credit card or electronic check. Even if a landlord doesn’t accept electronic payments, RentPay prints a physical check and mails it directly to the landlord each month.

Additionally, it’s becoming more common for larger apartment complexes to offer an online portal or website for easier communication with apartment management, from submitting maintenance requests and asking questions to renew leases and sign contracts. This saves renters significant time and money.

3. More emphasis on safety and security

keypad

In the past, one of the downsides of renting was security. With people constantly going in and out of the building or complex, it seemed as if anyone could walk in. With so many technology advances this past decade, in terms of access and price, it’s easier for complexes and renters to invest in security.

Many of today’s complexes offer gated access to the parking lot, codes for elevator access and security key fobs to all points of entrance. Some even offer enhanced security within the individual units, like video doorbells and camera security systems.

If your building doesn’t offer in-unit security features, there are multiple home security options available that are non-intrusive, as far as security deposits and installation are concerned. Simply plug in the device and monitor your apartment from your smartphone. Many systems are easy to pair with indoor security cameras and other alarms for additional safety.

4. Smaller space

While apartments are getting smaller in square footage due to space constraints and population growth, architects are getting smarter with layout designs to maximize every inch of a room. For instance, micro homes, the tiny house equivalent in apartment form, are as small as 350 square feet but make use of movable and folding furniture so it can serve as an entertaining space by day and bedroom by night.

Open floor plans are still popular and, while they can at first seem daunting to decorate, they offer the most options for room layouts. And thanks to more furniture companies starting to specialize in small home living, it’s much easier to find compact couches and dual-purpose furnishings that go beyond the futon.

Popular home stores like Pottery Barn, CB2 and IKEA offer couches, tables and other items designed specifically for small spaces. While it’s becoming harder to find spacious apartments, complexes are making up for it with communal spaces for entertaining.

Apartment living has changed for the better

If you’re looking for a place to call home, apartment living may be the perfect solution. The evolution of apartments in the past decade means they’re a favorable housing option for a variety of lifestyles — in both urban and suburban settings.

Lush amenities, online communication, security measures and optimized floorplans have helped renting become a more comparable alternative to buying. You can enjoy the in-unit laundry, entertainment amenities and peace of mind without worrying about the costs or inconvenience of maintenance tasks.

The post What to Expect in Apartment Living in 2020 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Mortgage Rates vs. the Coronavirus: We Might Test New All-Time Lows

Mortgage rates can be pretty volatile. Just like stocks, they can change daily depending on what’s happening in the economy. Beyond that, mortgage rates can move based on news that doesn’t involve a report on the economic calendar, such as a jobs report, GDP, housing starts, inflation, etc. Even if there isn’t a direct financial [&hellip

The post Mortgage Rates vs. the Coronavirus: We Might Test New All-Time Lows first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

We Want a Diverse Area With Moderate Population, Warm, Beach and Culture—So Where Should We Retire?

Gulfport, FLCourtesy Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

Dear MarketWatch,

We are African-Americans and want to retire to a diverse area with moderate population, warm, beach, culture. We can afford a better-than-average lifestyle and want to feel accepted in our new community — hopefully somewhere with high walkability and homes with character. And maybe near a major airport…. for lots of traveling.

Let me know what you come up with. Thanks.

— Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

We all know there are plenty of beach towns in the U.S., but finding one with personality is a bigger challenge.

I’m going to leave out some obvious places, like Miami Beach and, though less diverse, Hilton Head. On the West Coast, no Southern California. Too obvious. Plus, while you can afford a better-than average lifestyle, home prices there are so high that they could hamper your travel budget. The same goes for Sag Harbor and the Hamptons more broadly (plus you’d still have winter on Long Island).

Instead, I’ll look for some off-the-beaten path possibilities. I’m sure readers will have their own suggestions.

As always, explore the area in all seasons, and be realistic about the retirement budget. When you find your dream place, ask which areas are susceptible to flooding during hurricanes and other storms.

A street in the historic district of Wilmington, NC
A street in the historic district of Wilmington, NC

Courtesy Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Atlantic: Wilmington, North Carolina

Check out the Cape Fear region, which includes Wilmington as well as beach towns like Carolina Beach and the more upscale Wrightsville Beach.

Wilmington is growing quickly and at 123,000 people has more than half of New Hanover County’s population. The share of those 65 and older are roughly in line with the U.S. average. Look for a place where you’ll catch a breeze off the Intracoastal Waterway or the ocean to counter the summer humidity — so not too far inland.

You’ll have no shortage of cultural offerings, starting with Thalian Hall, the Cameron Art Museum and the Wilson Center. The University of North Carolina Wilmington, which has 17,000 students, lets those 65 and older audit classes for free, while its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers shorter courses to those 50 and older.

Be sure to explore the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which stretches from Wilmington to Jacksonville, Fla., and is home to cultural groups descended from enslaved peoples from West and Central Africa. Poplar Grove Plantation is one local site.

Winter days get into the 50s, with average lows in the 40s. Average highs in July are in the 80s.

Here’s what’s on the housing market now in Wilmington and in New Hanover County using Realtor.com (which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp.).

As for travel, while Wilmington has an airport, you’ll have more choices flying from Raleigh two hours away.

———

Gulfport, FL, is next to St. Petersburg.
Gulfport, FL, is next to St. Petersburg.

Courtesy Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

The Gulf of Mexico: Gulfport, Florida

Florida’s popularity with retirees is no secret, in part because it’s affordable and has no state income tax. But all too often, home means living in a high rise or a gated community.

Gulfport, though, is described as how Key West was before it became overrun with tourists.

This town of 12,000, just west of St. Petersburg, is your artsy, funky, walkable spot in the middle of the Tampa Bay metro area and its 3 million people. You’ll also find plenty of retirees; 30% of Gulfport’s residents are 65 or older.

Gulfport comes with sunset views from its own (man-made) strip of sand over Boca Ciega Bay so, yes, it’s on the Gulf side of Florida but technically not on the Gulf of Mexico. But opposite the bay is St. Pete Beach, which gets raves from TripAdvisor (a local says head to the Pass-A-Grille section at the southern tip). When you tire of that, there are more white-sand beaches to sink your toes in, including Siesta Beach in Sarasota an hour south (and Dr. Beach’s pick in 2017 for best beach in the U.S.) as well as Caladesi Island State Park (No. 6 on Dr. Beach’s list this year) an hour north.

And if you just want to walk, don’t overlook the 45-mile Pinellas Trail that stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and goes through the northern edge of Gulfport.

For bigger getaways, there’s Tampa International Airport.

To get a sense of the local housing market, here’s what’s for sale now, again using Realtor.com.

As you explore the Tampa area, also check out Safety Harbor, a town of 18,000 on the western side of Tampa Bay with its own walkable downtown, and Dunedin (pronounced Duh-nee-din) north of Clearwater that’s also popular with retirees. You know there’s plenty of cultural offerings in a metro this size. One that might be easy to overlook: the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum in St. Petersburg.

———

Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
Overlooking Waikiki Beach

Christopher Ball/iStock

The Pacific: Oahu, Hawaii

If year-round pleasant weather is the priority, Hawaii can’t be beat. Average highs are in the 80s year-round, and average lows bottom out in the mid-60s. Of course there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches.

When you tire of water, take advantage of wonderful hiking opportunities. And while the focus of your international travels might shift toward Asia, you may want to spend more time just staying, discovering Hawaiian culture and exploring some of the national parks.

You admittedly won’t find a big population of African-Americans here, but Hawaiians have a much more open and fluid view of race and diversity than many of us on the mainland.

Start your search for your retirement life on Oahu Island. About a third of the island’s million residents live in Honolulu itself, one of the country’s most diverse and affluent cities and the birthplace of President Barack Obama. Curious about sites associated with him in some way? Here are even more.

You’ll find plenty of cultural offerings in Honolulu (including some of Hawaii’s best festivals, as voted by readers of Hawai’i Magazine), plus the state university (those 60 and older can audit classes for free).

There’s even Costco, if that’s your thing. Oh, and that Elvis statue…

Yes, there’s the cost of getting everything to Hawaii — some things will be even more expensive than parts of California. Here’s what the local housing market looks like.

If Honolulu is too pricey, consider some of the smaller towns on the island. Or check out the less-populated (and cheaper) Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island. Start with the Kalaoa area.

The post We Want a Diverse Area With Moderate Population, Warm, Beach and Culture—So Where Should We Retire? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

The Ultimate List of More Than 50 Budget Categories You Must Use

The post The Ultimate List of More Than 50 Budget Categories You Must Use appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

It is no secret that you need a budget.  But, it is imperative that it includes everything.  Take the time to review your spending and don’t leave anything off of it.  Below you will find a list of household budget categories you need to include. Forgetting even one off might be a big mistake.

It is no secret that the number one thing you must do to take control of your finances is to create a budget.  Without one, you really can’t see where your money goes.  Or, more importantly, you don’t get to direct your money to be spent as you would like for it to be!

While there are posts on how to create a budget, one question I get frequently is, “What categories should I include in a budget?”   When you are new to making a budget, something such as a personal budget categories list can help.  I agree.

As you create yours for the first time, it is important you don’t leave off anything important. A successful budget is one that includes a line item for every way you spend your money.

If you are just learning about budgeting, you will want to check out our page — How to Budget.

There, you will learn everything you want to know about budgets and budgeting.

 

To help you get a jump start on with your budget, and to make sure you don’t leave off any categories, download our free budget template.  This form has helped thousands get started with creating a budget.

SIMPLE BUDGET CATEGORIES 

Once you have your form, you are ready to figure out your budget categories!  While you may not have each of these as individual line items on your form, just make sure you include them all somewhere in your budget!

 

DONATIONS OR CHARITY CATEGORIES

These are all of the monthly donations you make to various charities.  Don’t forget about those you may make only once or twice a year as well!

Church
Medical Research
Youth Groups

 

SAVINGS CATEGORIES

While not needed to live, it is crucial that you always pay yourself before you pay anyone else.  Once you meet your necessary expenses, ensure you are saving enough each month.

If you are in your employer’s retirement plan, you pay those before you get your paycheck, so you would not include them.  However, make sure you account for the different types of savings accounts you may have.

Emergency Fund Savings
Annual Fees, such as taxes, insurance, and dues
College Savings
Investments
Christmas/Birthdays/Anniversaries
Additional Retirement (outside of your employer’s plan)

Read More:  Yearly Savings Challenge

 

CATEGORIES FOR HOUSING

No one will forget to add housing to their budget.  But, make sure you include the amount you may save for repairs and other expenses. To figure out how much to budget, look over your prior year spending and divide that total by 12.  You will add this to your savings, but you can track it under your housing budget category.

First Mortgage
Second Mortgage (if applicable)
Property Taxes
Insurance
Home Owner’s Association Dues
Maintenance
Housekeeper/Cleaning
Lawn Care

 

PERSONAL BUDGET UTILITIES CATEGORIES

You can’t live without your water and electricity.  It is essential that you don’t leave any of these off of your budget either!  These are some of the basic budget categories most people will not intend to forget, but just might.

Electricity
Water
Gas/Oil
Sewer
Trash
Cable/Satellite/Streaming Services
Internet (if not part of your cable bill)
Phone

Read more:  How to Lower Your Utility Bills

 

FOOD

You have to eat. There are only two ways that happens  — you cook or you eat out. Make sure you include both of these categories in your budget.

Groceries
Dining Out

 

TRANSPORTATION CATEGORIES

You have to be able to get around.  That doesn’t always mean a vehicle as it could mean using other means of transportation.  Whatever method you use, make sure you include all of those expenses in your budget.

Remember that you may not have to pay for some of these items each month, but it is essential you budget for them monthly so that the funds are available when needed.

Vehicle payment (make sure you include all payments for all vehicles)
Fuel
Insurance
Taxes
Tags/Licensing
Maintenance
Parking Fees
Taxi/Bus Fares

 

CLOTHING

A line item many people leave off of their budget is clothing.  They forget that it is a necessary expense.  While this doesn’t mean you should go and buy new clothes all of the time, it does allow you to replace items which are worn out.

It is also essential that parents include this item as kids need clothes a bit more frequently.

Adult Clothing
Kids Clothing

 

CATEGORIES FOR HEALTH

Don’t forget your health expenses when determining a budget.  Make sure you include the money you pay towards your co-pays during the year.

Health Insurance
Dental Insurance
Eye Insurance
Doctor Visits
Dental Visits
Optometrist
Medications
Deductible Savings

 

PERSONAL ITEMS CATEGORIES

Personal is a “catch-all” category which may contain much of your discretionary spending!  Some of the most common types you need to include:

Haircuts/Manicures/Pedicures
Life Insurance
Child Care/Babysitting
Toiletries (if not included in your grocery budget above)
Household Items (if you did not already include in your groceries budget above)
Education/Tuition
Dry Cleaning/Laundry
School Dues/Supplies
Magazines
Gym Memberships
Organization Dues
Postage
Pet Care (food, grooming, shots, boarding)
Photos (school and family photos)
Random Spending (always useful as a way to pay for the things you may not have broken out in your budget)

 

RECREATION

We all love to spend some time doing things we love.  Don’t forget to include your entertainment category when determining your budget.

Entertainment (movies/concerts)
Crafts
Hobbies
Parties
Vacations

 

DEBTS

Once you pay off your debt, these will go away entirely and will no longer be needed.  You can learn how to get out of debt and get started with that (once you have your budget).

Credit Cards (all debt)
Unsecured loans
Home equity loans
Student loans
Medical loans

 

Now you have the categories you need for your budget!  Take the first step in getting control of your finances by putting this to work for you.

caclulator on desk to figure budget categories

The post The Ultimate List of More Than 50 Budget Categories You Must Use appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

Parking Options When Your Community Doesn’t Have a Parking Lot

Parking is an amenity that some people don’t even think about when looking to rent an apartment. But if you want the convenience of a covered garage or a guaranteed spot for your vehicle, it has to be part of your must-haves.

When a space is not included, then it becomes a much bigger deal. Do you live in an apartment complex that doesn’t have a parking lot? No worries, we’ve got a few options for you to consider.

1. Street parking

street parking

Depending on where you live, street parking may be an available option at no cost to you. While it may be free, it’s often on a first-come, first-serve basis. This means you’ll have to try your luck and find an open parking spot.

Know ahead of time that some street parking will cost you. Think metered spaces or a permit for a block or specific neighborhood. More often than not, time restrictions on parking will be part of the deal.

Keep an eye out for signs posted with instructions. Pay attention to avoid getting a ticket, having your car booted or towed.

2. Garage or lot parking

garage parking

If your complex or apartment building doesn’t have its own garage, then paid parking in a nearby garage is an option. Or, a parking lot within walking distance of your home. Parking lots are most common near shops, bars and restaurants, according to the Parking Network.

There are parking lots that are open throughout the year, but some are also improvised. Think of when you’ve gone to an event. Where do people park for a music festival that only happens once a year? There might be an open nearby meadow for parking, for example.

Paid parking lots and garages sometimes include a parking attendant. Gated entries require a ticket to enter and leave, or a machine to pay the parking fee. For this type of parking, you’re usually charged for the amount of time that you park. If your car is there for more than a few hours, you may incur a flat fee for daily parking.

When parking in an area that requires you to take a ticket, be sure to hold onto the ticket to leave. If you lose the ticket, you may pay a flat fee, which could be more than the cost of the time you actually parked in the space.

It’s a good idea to shop around for the best rate since costs vary from garage to lot. While comparing rates, look at whether it is cheaper to pay for daily vs. hourly parking.

3. Parking apps

parking app

Source: Parknay

Parking apps are one answer, especially in a lot of urban locales. Searching for and paying for parking has become easier because of parking apps. Some apps even let you make a reservation and will provide instructions on how to redeem parking at the garage.

Parknav is an app that offers real-time predictive street parking in more than 200 cities. Search the app for an address. Parknav displays a map with nearby streets. These streets are color-coded according to the likelihood of finding parking there.

That’s only one app out of many that help you find parking. Some apps are city-specific and there are even a few that help you save money. A quick search on your phone’s app store will give you a list of useful parking apps.

4. Ditch the car for public transportation

public transportation

Although it may not be ideal for everyone, public transportation is an option. Do you live in a transit-rich city? If you live in an area that’s easily accessible by mass transit or has everything you need within a short distance, you can always sell your car and use the bus, subway, train, bike or walk.

This option may save you money and will remove the stress of having to find parking. There’s a huge variation among different cities in the price of parking.

Park wisely

Parking is a problem when you live in an apartment without dedicated spaces. It’s also an issue when you’re a two-car family and you’ve only got one reserved space. Street parking could be lacking where you live. Especially in urban areas.

Some cities want to require the unbundling of parking space rentals from housing lease agreements, reports the Seattle Transit blog, which could lead to lower rents! Whatever the case, try to avoid parking in areas that are not well lit at night, block driveways or are in prohibited areas.

If you find that parking is important to you, keep this in mind for future apartment searches. But even if your apartment complex doesn’t have a parking lot, don’t stress. Just look around and know that you have options.

The post Parking Options When Your Community Doesn’t Have a Parking Lot appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

What This Military Family Faced—and Fought—To Buy Its First House

first time home buyerNatalie Johnson

First-time home buyers today face a tough road, shopping for homes during a pandemic, high housing prices, and deep economic uncertainty. For military families deployed overseas, it’s all even trickier to figure out.

In this second story in our new series “First-Time Home Buyer Confessions,” we talked with husband and wife Kyle LaVallee and Natalie Johnson. They were renting an apartment in Fayetteville, NC, when they decided to start shopping for their own home in the area in April.

At the time, LaVallee was stationed in the Middle East as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. Yet even though he was thousands of miles away, he managed to attend every home tour with Johnson via FaceTime. In July, they closed on a brick, ranch-style three-bedroom that LaVallee would not see in person until a long-awaited trip home in October.

Here’s the couple’s home-buying story, the hardest challenges they faced, and what LaVallee thought of his new house once he home managed to lay eyes on it for the first time.

Location: Fayetteville, NC

House specs: 1,166 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
List price: $111,900
Price paid: $115,000

A pandemic plus deployment seems like a tough time to buy your first house. What convinced you to forge ahead?

Johnson: Kyle was deployed in October 2019 while we were renting a one-bedroom apartment in Fayetteville. Kyle wasn’t fond of renewing the apartment lease—we had been there for two years and were running out of space. We wanted to get a dog; we wanted a yard, and our own property where we can do anything we wanted.

We started educating ourselves on the process. We knew a mortgage was going to be significantly less than what we were paying in rent. Kyle thought it would be smart to buy because [nearby] Fort Bragg is one of the biggest military bases in the world. If we ever leave or get stationed somewhere else, we’re not going to have a problem finding anyone to rent it. And we could always come back.

Kyle LaVallee and Natalie Johnson at one of their favorite hangouts in Fayetteville, where they’ve decided to put down roots

Natalie Johnson

LaVallee: I was interested in gaining equity and ownership, rather than just paying to rent something I’d never own in the end.

Johnson: We started looking at houses back in January. In April, we kept seeing information about lowering interest rates. That’s why we got serious about the process in the middle of the pandemic, and when we connected with our real estate agent, Justin Kirk with Century 21.

How much did you put down on the house—and how’d you save for it?

Johnson: We put 20% down.

LaVallee: I was making a lot of money while I was deployed, and I had no expenses really. I was just saving everything I had, knowing I wanted to invest it in a house.

Johnson: I cut spending. I didn’t buy things I wanted, just what I needed. The pandemic helped a lot, honestly because we obviously couldn’t go out.

LaVallee: We qualified for a VA loan, but we just wound up using a conventional loan. Most people in the military will use a VA loan where you don’t put any money down, but [since we had enough saved] we wanted the lowest monthly mortgage payments.

first time home buyer
LaVallee and Johnson on LaVallee’s first morning in the new house after coming home from deployment

Natalie Johnson

What were you looking for in a house?

LaVallee: We knew we might [eventually] be moving, so it wasn’t like it had to be a house we would stay in forever, more of an investment property.

Johnson: We were looking for things that would be attractive to future renters. We had a military family in mind because Fayetteville’s got more than 50,000 active-duty. We looked for a location close to a Fort Bragg entrance. We thought three bedrooms was perfect for us because our families are close with each other, so they’ll all come down at the same time so we’ll have two extra bedrooms for them. Kyle really wanted a garage, so that was a huge thing.

LaVallee: Garages aren’t very common down here, so that limited a lot of options for us. A lot of houses have carports, or they finish the garage and turn it into a bonus room.

Johnson: We wanted something that needed a bit of fixing up, because we like to be handy and put our personal touch on everything, and we ultimately knew that would be a lower-cost house.

Johnson and LaVallee’s new kitchen

realtor.com

How many homes did you see in person, and how did Kyle participate from overseas?

Johnson: It was 10 or 12 homes. We were out three to four times a week looking at places with our real estate agent. We wore our masks for the tours, and I used hand sanitizer since I was opening and closing drawers and closets. Most were vacant, but we did tour one house that still had people living in it, although they were gone during the tour, so we avoided touching a lot of things.

During tours we FaceTimed Kyle in. We figured that was probably the most convenient way to do it since he could see every single house and room in detail.

The large living room in Johnson and LaVallee’s new house

realtor.com

LaVallee: Well, I couldn’t really see all the details.

Johnson: He got to know our real estate agent really well via FaceTime. Our agent would say, “Let me know if you need me to hold Kyle while you go look in this room.” I felt so bad, though, because I work full time, so I’d tour homes around 5:30 in the evening, which for Kyle was 2:30 in the morning. But he stayed up for every single tour.

LaVallee: I was sometimes frustrated not being able to be there. I left it all up to her. I had to trust the feelings and vibes she got from each house.

The big backyard where Johnson and LaVallee hope a dog will someday run around

realtor.com

How many offers did you make before you had one accepted?

Johnson: We put three earlier offers in.

LaVallee: They would be listed and the next day would be sold. The first three offers we put in were asking price, and I’m pretty sure everybody else offered more, and ours were never even considered.

Johnson: It was ridiculous. It was definitely a seller’s market, so you had to act really fast and you had to be really competitive. On our fourth offer, we ended up at $3,100 over asking. I felt like we had to fight for this house.

Johnson had to move into the new home without LaVallee’s help.

Natalie Johnson

Were you competing with other offers for the house you bought?

LaVallee: There were multiple offers.

Johnson: Our real estate agent told us, “You should definitely write a letter and talk about how Kyle’s gone right now and you’re first-time home buyers and this one really clicked with you,” which it did. The second I walked in, it’s this adorable brick house, it’s super homey, it has a great yard. In the letter, we just talked about how all of that was so attractive to us as first-time home buyers, and we were really excited and could see ourselves in this home.

Our real estate agent suggested going in higher than asking, so we just rounded up to $115,000. He also suggested doing a higher due diligence payment—we usually did $200, but this time around we did $500. And the earnest fee we put in was $500 or $600.

After our offer was accepted, we knew it was going to be kind of difficult with the home inspection. They were already redoing the roof, which was a huge cost on their part, so asking for more was definitely going to be a challenge. So we didn’t ask for much.

LaVallee and Johnson are happy they stuck it out in a competitive seller’s market and landed this home.

Natalie Johnson

What surprised you about the home-buying process?

Johnson: How fast it went, for me at least. Our first home tour was in April and then by June, we had found our house and the contracts were written up. I guess I was expecting it maybe to be double the time that it actually was, but houses were just turning over so fast, we had to act fast.

LaVallee: From my side, I thought it happened very slowly! I felt like so much was happening in between each step in the process. I had to be patient because I had so little control of the situation, other than just trying to stay involved and be a part of it.

Johnson: You never really think that when you’re married, you’re going to buy your first house while your husband is on the other side of the world. But we got through it.

Johnson and LaVallee (pictured on the right) on the day LaVallee returned from deployment

Natalie Johnson

So Natalie, you were living in the house for a few months before Kyle returned from deployment in October to see it. What was that homecoming like?

Johnson: He came home a few days shy of the 365-day mark. We were anxious and excited. Several other families and I waited outside of a hangar on base, and soon after hearing their plane landing, we saw the group walking toward us and everyone start cheering and crying.

Because it was dark when we got home, Kyle couldn’t see the outside of the house much, or the “Welcome Home” decorations I hung up! But the moment he set foot in the front door, he just stood there and looked around with the biggest smile on his face.

I gave him the grand tour the next morning. He said it looked much bigger than what he saw on FaceTime. We celebrated with a home-cooked meal and the wine our agent gave us when we closed. It was really special.

LaVallee: I came home to a nice house. Natalie was worried I would come back to culture shock. But I’ve felt at home ever since I’ve been here.

Johnson decorated the house for LaVallee’s return from deployment.

Natalie Johnson

first time home buyer
After LaVallee came home, the two finally got to toast their first home with a bottle of wine, courtesy of their real estate agent.

Natalie Johnson

What’s your advice for aspiring first-time home buyers?

Johnson: I would say to go with your gut. Some of the houses you’ll tour are really logical to buy, but if they have a bad vibe or they’re just not really welcoming, then look at others. A healthy balance between logic and feeling is important.

LaVallee: We didn’t even know what we wanted until we saw five or six houses, so it’s definitely important to shop around and see what’s out there.

Johnson: We really didn’t know much. I told our real estate agent, “Hey, listen, we’re really going to need some guidance. We don’t know what things mean, we need you to break it down for us. You have to be patient with us.” I reached out to three different real estate agents, and Justin was the one who not only answered all my questions but was giving a ton of positive feedback. It was nice to have that encouragement, and it definitely made us more confident. You learn a lot by looking at houses, you learn a ton about yourself.

Johnson and LaVallee met in elementary school.

Natalie Johnson

The post What This Military Family Faced—and Fought—To Buy Its First House appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com