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The housing market has gotten extremely tight recently and finding somewhere affordable can be worrying. To get the best home for your clan, you will need to consider your current budget, your skillset and your time. Depending on your resources, one of the suggestions below could work.
Study the Condo Market
One of the nicest things about owning a condo is that your neighbors can keep your utility bills down. If you live in the middle unit of three, your AC bills could be lower because the neighbor to the south keeps the summer breeze from warming up your house. Your neighbor to the north will provide the same service each winter.
Condos are also a nice way to reduce your labor and expense on the outside of your home. You may not be able to choose the color of your home, but you will probably not need to buy a mower. The VA approved condos list could make life much easier for first time home buyers, especially if you or your spouse are gone a lot or if you have very small children and do not have time or energy for a lot of outdoor work.
Check Out Duplexes
Buying a duplex may be a terrific option if you have the credit and a down payment. Not only can duplexes be really nice homes, but your neighbor will pay a chunk of your mortgage. Owning a duplex will make you a landlord, so talk to your accountant about the legal steps you need to take to create a business that can own the duplex.
Do be aware that you will have legal responsibilities to your renter. It is your house, but it is their home. Make sure that you and your family never enter the space without permission and that you do your best to keep things quiet for your neighbor. A happy renter is worth the work. When you outgrow the duplex, you can hang onto the property and use the income to cover college costs or save for retirement.
Consider a Fixer Upper
If you have renovation skills and some tools, a fixer upper could be a good investment. When reviewing a home that needs work,
make sure part of it is livable
get the roof and foundation checked out by an engineer
keep things simple
If the house has a crawl space or a basement, get under the building and look for signs of critters. Take a look at the attic as well. Raccoons and skunks are just a few of the creatures that can get under your house or into your attic and cause a lot of trouble.
For those with small children, make sure you have reliable childcare before tackling a fixer upper, as renovating with children can be dangerous. Additionally, unless you have actually done the work of repairing plaster or sheetrock, sanding floors or rewiring outlets, take an experienced fixer upper with you while shopping. The difference between a fixer upper and a falling downer can be hard to spot unless you have some experience.
Look Into Manufactured Housing
A cheap option for someone who already owns land is to look at manufactured housing. If your budget is very tight, you could boondock in a used RV while saving up for a manufactured home on your property. You could also build a large outbuilding for very little money and live in it while you look for a good used manufactured home to move onto the land.
Time in an RV or outbuilding could also allow you to study the conditions on your land. When it rains, check where water pools or if there are any areas with serious runoff problems. You want to put your house in a spot with good drainage away from the foundation. You may also find a good spot for a garden, and determine where you will need to put your windbreak and any erosion prevention plantings.
When shopping for a budget-friendly house, make sure to stay flexible and think in the short term. If you are finally at a place where you can buy some land, an RV may be tight for a time, but it is a temporary option. If you can buy when markets are tight, you can also sell and hopefully make a profit.