Monthly Archives: February 2019

Brooklynites Consider Homeownership to Avoid Inconsistent Rent Hikes

While Brooklyn residents are celebrating the news of the L train remaining open after initially being told three years ago that the train would shut down access between Manhattan and Brooklyn entirely for fifteen months, they are quickly realizing the result is less triumphant: rising rent prices.

The reopening of the L train, announced by Governor Cuomo as of January 3rd, has sparked huge changes in rental prices in and around Bushwick, but it has also stirred concern for those living anywhere in the metropolitan area of NYC. With the price of public transportation also increasing and the chronic maintenance issues in certain areas, renters in the most expensive cities in the U.S. like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City are beginning to reconsider homeownership as opposed to renting. They are quickly grasping that not only can a mortgage be even cheaper than rent, but it can also help one to start building equity.

Think about every tiny thing you have to reach out to your landlord to fix. Does that apartment improvement lower your rent? No. But when you put money into your own residence, it will actually come back to you as you increase the value of your home.

L Train

Anyone who lives in New York, or any urban city in America for that matter, understands how crucial public transportation is. Not only does it directly affect the length of your daily commute, but it also plays a huge factor when apartment or house hunting in terms of both your wallet and convenience. The executive director of an advocacy group called the Riders Alliance, John Raskin, expresses his blunt concern on the issue, “The subway system is at the breaking point, and honestly, subway riders are too.”

“… not only can a mortgage be even cheaper than rent, but it can also help one to start building equity.”

The long-awaited “L-pocalypse” has been looming over Brooklynites for the past three years. Amongst sporadic MTA shutdowns and incessant under performance, both individuals and families residing in Bushwick and East Williamsburg have considered, or actively made steps toward, uprooting their entire lives. Citizens have been exploring new job opportunities and new boroughs to better accommodate their schedule and avoid spending half of their time on a train or bus, only to find that within a matter of weeks, the entire shutdown plan was scrapped.

Before Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s unexpected proposal changes, neighborhoods that fell along the L train line became more affordable for renters. Now that the train will still be operating during typical business hours – you guessed it – rent prices are climbing back up.

Brooklyn

Local bars and restaurants suffered once the train shut down in the early evening, losing the majority of their usual business as a result. Landlords also suffered from offering incentives and concessions to renters that they now regret, such as reduced monthly rates. Grant Long, an economist at StreetEasy, explains that renters who locked down leases in 2018 got an incredible deal. Long estimates, “…renters signing new leases in these units in 2018 saved a minimum of $6.4 million compared to what they’d have paid if there were no shutdown and rents had remained flat.” Rental prices in said area have dropped 1.5 percent since the shutdown was first proposed in 2016, while rental prices in other areas have gone up 3.3 percent.

“The dream of homeownership isn’t as out of reach as you may imagine.”

Inconvenience and frustration aside, residents who bit their tongues and waited for the shutdown to actually take place are now seeing the quick jump in rental prices. Sadly, with convenience comes higher expenses.

So…what can residents do?

Considering these rental prices took a drastic turn in a matter of days, renters are hesitant to rely on rent breaks from brokers and landlords when choosing an apartment, especially while the market is just as confused as residents. The repairment plans for the Canarsie tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn quickly altered from being closed for 15 months to just temporary night and weekend closures. With how unpredictable rental prices are in the (recently) more affordable neighborhoods, many residents are realizing that homeownership may be a more viable option.

For those living in a large city, pursuing the dream of homeownership may sound intimidating. Most people are aware it is a huge financial investment, but the initial down payments are tough to comfortably dish out and the commitment can make one weary. Although, if you’re confident you’ll be sticking around the area for the next five years and you’re sick of the sporadic rent hikes, homeownership could be the right choice for you.

Brooklyn

The American dream of homeownership isn’t as out of reach as you may imagine. Owning your home isn’t only a rewarding decision because you’ll have control over your surroundings, but between tax benefits, first time homebuyers programs in New York, and consistent monthly payments, it could be an extremely beneficial financial investment. We all know how jarring rental applications can be when we skim past the required annual income, so perhaps it’s time to consider putting that money towards your future. After all, homeownership is the cornerstone of long-term investing.


Interested in learning more about the journey to homeownership? Check out our newly updated guide for First-Time Homebuyers.

Everyone Can Now Have Their Own Sweet Home in Alabama

Now that it’s 2019, no longer does the term “Sweet Home Alabama” have to be just a famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song, or a Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.

That’s because anyone who has always wanted to own a home of their own in Alabama now has a new tool to help them do that for the first time, or even the first time in a long while.

In Alabama, the First-Time Homebuyer and Second-Chance Savings Account (FHSA), is now available for anyone who has never owned a home or for those folks who are re-entering the housing market and haven’t owned a home for at least a decade.

Individuals or couples can open one of these tax-free savings accounts at any local bank, credit union or other financial institution in Alabama. The principal deposits and earnings will be deductible on their state income taxes.

The savings in this account can be used to pay for a down payment and/or closing costs for a single-family dwelling.

ABOUT THE ACCOUNTS

“First-time buyers can now begin the process of buying a home years in advance, simply by starting a savings account, and get a tax break by doing so,” said Morgan Ashurst, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® Public Policy Chair. “We are proud to have played a role in helping provide first-time buyers with this new resource.”

The option to use this account was created in 2018 when the Alabama legislature passed a bill and Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law. It allows individuals or couples to make deposits and earnings up to $50,000, with a mandate that qualified expenditures must be made within five years from opening the account.

“One of the most commonly asked questions from first-time buyers is, ‘Where do I start?’ This savings account is the new starting point,” said Stacey Sanders, 2019 Alabama REALTORS® President. “We are excited to see the growth this new homebuying tool spurs in Alabama’s housing market.”

A POSITIVE IMPACT

And while this benefit is great for the first-time homebuyer and those who may have had to hit the reset button for a time and are ready to own a home again now, it’s a benefit to all Alabama residents.

Even though other Alabamaians can’t take advantage of the FHSA, they benefit because home ownership helps improve neighborhoods, which in turn attracts businesses, which creates jobs and improves our local economy.

Homeownership provides wealth accumulation for owners, in addition to social and economic benefits.

Overall, 90% of Alabama residents believe homeownership is a good financial decision.

So, there’s a stake in homeownership for everybody in Alabama, where, according to the song, the skies are so blue. And those skies will be bluer and brighter with more homeowners, which is why those that qualify should take advantage of the FHSA now that it is available.

 

Solving Miami’s Housing Crisis One Container at a Time

Sometimes, thinking outside the box means getting into one.

At least that is what some forward thinkers in Miami are doing to try to help solve the area’s housing crunch.

A venture launched by the MIAMI Association of REALTORS® is refurbishing shipping containers to create compact homes for lower-income buyers on lots in Miami-Dade County.

Shipping containers, which are plentiful in Miami since it’s a port town, are typically 20 or 40 feet in length. Developers from the Little River Box Company are cutting 10 feet off two 40-foot containers to meet the City of South Miami’s minimum set back requirements and converting them into an attractive 480-square foot modular home for a demonstration project.

Miami-Dade has one of the country’s largest housing gaps between wealthy and lower income individuals and families. As such, these container homes could help stabilize the affordable housing need for many in the community.

Rather than building large, high-rise condominium or apartment complexes, building single-family homes on spare lots could go a long way.

CARGO CONTAINER HOMES

MIAMI REALTORS® hired the Little River Box Company to create test versions of these cargo container homes to see if they could be a success.

“Miami-Dade County residents need more housing options in areas that are ideally located closer to work and mass transit,” said José María Serrano, Chairman of the Board for MIAMI REALTORS®. “Container homes are a viable, trendy solution with many inherent benefits. [We are] building this prototype to demonstrate to our community that container homes can be cost effective, functional and aesthetically pleasing and to identify any barriers to construction.”

But the dream is even bigger.

Gayle Zalduondo, the founding partner of the Little River Box Company, told the Miami Herald that her team has plans to create communities out of these cargo containers, potentially stacking them on top of one another to create apartment-like dwellings. This could be a benefit for workers, or even teachers, who don’t make enough in salary to find an affordable home reasonably close to the school where they work.

The notion is that these container homes could even be set up on school lots, so teachers can have homes basically where they work.

“Right now, we’re doing one a week,” Zalduondo told the Herald. “We want to start doing one a day.”

These container homes are being built to South Florida code.

MIAMI REALTORS®, which is covering some of the building costs, spent the better part of two years securing the appropriate permits to assemble the containers into a one-bedroom, one-bath cottage on the 6100 block of 63rd Terrace.

About $25,000 was added to the budget after a review board added landscaping and other upgrades beyond what was stated in the municipal code during their review process.

PRICED TO BE AFFORDABLE

The container home is being sold “at cost”.  So, any budget increases of this nature are documented as part of the study and are to be reported back to the county and city upon completion of the project.  The total price tag could be as much as $180,000, but through partnerships, MIAMI REALTORS® is optimistic the future homeowner will pay less.

And, that’s great because there is a caveat – these homes must be sold to a buyer who earns less than $51,000 a year. That’s within the lower range of Miami-Dade’s workforce-housing program, which assists individuals or families who have a steady income but can’t afford a home. Additionally, future sales would require that these container homes can only be sold to workforce buyers, not investors.

While $180,000 may seem high for such a compact home, the price would still make it one of the cheapest houses in South Miami.

The County Commission’s Housing committee approved transferring a surplus lot to the development team in November. Originally plotted in 1925, this is the first time that anything will be built on the land.

MIAMI REALTORS® broke ground on January 9 and is now accepting buyer applications in partnership with South Miami’s Community Redevelopment Agency (SMCRA).  For more information, contact Danielle Blake at danielle@miamire.com.

Gig Harbor, Washington Ranks High On The List of Best Places To Retire

When it comes time to retire, seniors have many factors to consider.

Most of them deal directly with finances – figuring out if they have saved enough money over the years to retire comfortably, or how to change their daily financial routines to live on a more rigidly fixed income.

But there are other things that matter to seniors too once they stop having to endure the grind of a 40-hour or more work week.

Health care is also going to be at or near the top of the list, and quality of life issues like access to nature in nearby parks, walking paths and trails, recreation, such as golf, or tennis and, yes, even entertainment.

All of these things culminate in one key decision for retirees – where is the best place to live in those golden years?

Gig Harbor, Wash. is one of the best places to retire in the U.S., ranking No. 4 in a recent study.

SmartAsset.com, a financial technology company that offers consumers tools to assist with homebuying, retirement planning and taxes, recently published a list of the 10 best places to retire in the United States.

Their retirement experts began by compiling data about factors that matter most to retirees, like an area’s tax burden, the ease of access to medical facilities and recreational activities, and more.

They also measured the percentage of the population that is made up of senior citizens so there’ll be a surplus of others also enjoying their later years.

Naples, Fla. Ranked No. 1 in the study.

Best Places to Retire

Rank City
1 NAPles, FL
2 Cumming, GA
4 Gig Harbor, WA
5 Media, PA
6 Farmington, MI
7 New Port Richey, FL
8 Westlake Village, CA
9 Grosse Pointe, MI
10 Orange Park, FL

Ask most folks at or near retirement age, and they’ll likely tell you that they want to stay right where they are. That’s no surprise as it’s difficult to uproot your life in your sixties and move away.

But, ask younger people if they want to live where they currently do once they reach retirement age and you’ll start to find more people who would like to live out their retirement somewhere else.

Younger generations are more willing to move about the country than their predecessors. Advancements in communication technology make it easier to maintain relationships with friends and family even from a long distance, which has given people more relocation options to consider than ever before.


Which of the following cities would you consider for retirement?

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So, when younger working people start to consider where they might want to end up when they reach retirement age, being “somewhere else” is going to become a trendy option.

That “somewhere else” could well be in Washington, especially a place like Gig Harbor that has a lot to offer the pending retiree.

Gig Harbor is a lively, waterfront community that also garnered praise recently in Sunset, a magazine geared toward seniors. That’s because it is next to impossible to be bored in this maritime community with many parks and activities related to or involving marine life.

Gig Harbor has more than 2.5 retirement communities per 1,000 residents, which is important since seniors make up more than 25 percent of the city’s population.

The rest of the Top Ten list includes, Cumming, Ga. (No. 2) Beverly Hills, Calif. (No. 3), Media, Pa. (No. 5), Farmington, Mich. (No. 6), New Port Richey, Fla. (No. 7), Westlake Village, Calif. (No. 8), Grosse Pointe, Mich. (No. 9) and Orange Park, Fla. (No. 10).

Philadelphia Suburb Named One Of The Best Places To Retire

When it comes time to retire, seniors have many factors to consider.

Most of them deal directly with finances – figuring out if they have saved enough money over the years to retire comfortably, or how to change their daily financial routines to live on a more rigidly fixed income.

But there are other things that matter to seniors too once they stop having to endure the grind of a 40-hour or more work week.

Health care is also going to be at or near the top of the list, and quality of life issues like access to nature in nearby parks, walking paths and trails, recreation, such as golf, or tennis and, yes, even entertainment.

All of these things culminate in one key decision for retirees – where is the best place to live in those golden years?

According to a recent study, a Philadelphia suburb made its way onto the Top 10 list.

Media, known as “Everybody’s Hometown”, came in ranked No. 5.

SmartAsset.com, a financial technology company that offers consumers tools to assist with homebuying, retirement planning and taxes, recently published a list of the 10 best places to retire in the United States.

Their retirement experts began by compiling data about factors that matter most to retirees, like an area’s tax burden, the ease of access to medical facilities and recreational activities, and more.

They also measured the percentage of the population that is made up of senior citizens so there’ll be a surplus of others also enjoying their later years.

Naples, Fla. Ranked No. 1 in the study.

Best Places to Retire

Rank City
1 NAPles, FL
2 Cumming, GA
4 Gig Harbor, WA
5 Media, PA
6 Farmington, MI
7 New Port Richey, FL
8 Westlake Village, CA
9 Grosse Pointe, MI
10 Orange Park, FL

Ask most folks at or near retirement age, and they’ll likely tell you that they want to stay right where they are. That’s no surprise as it’s difficult to uproot your life in your sixties and move away.

But, ask younger people if they want to live where they currently do once they reach retirement age and you’ll start to find more people who would like to live out their retirement somewhere else.

Younger generations are more willing to move about the country than their predecessors. Advancements in communication technology make it easier to maintain relationships with friends and family even from a long distance, which has given people more relocation options to consider than ever before.


Which of the following cities would you consider for retirement?

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So, when younger working people start to consider where they might want to end up when they reach retirement age, being “somewhere else” is going to become a trendy option.

That “somewhere else” could well be in Pennsylvania, especially a places like Media that has a lot to offer the pending retiree.

The attraction to Media is its location. Nestled just 10 miles from the city of Philadelphia, it offers a top-notch suburban community that is within a short trip to a bustling city.

And yet, despite being part of the fifth largest media market in America, Media has that homey, small-town feel to it.

State Street is a cozy strip of shops and restaurants that features all kind of music and arts festivals and is anchored on one end by a professional theater.

It’s also close to one of the premier public golf courses in America (Glen Mills) and is easily accessible via public transportation to all the big city has to offer.

Media is also less than 90 minutes from both the beach and the mountains, offering easy access to vacation destinations.

And when it comes to health care, there are approximately 21 medical facilities per every 1000 residents.

The rest of the Top Ten list includes, Cumming, Ga. (No. 2), Beverly Hills Calif. (No. 3), Gig Harbor, Wash. (No. 4), Farmington, Mich. (No. 6), New Port Richey, Fla. (No. 7), Westlake Village, Calif. (No, 8), Grosse Pointe, Mich. (No. 9) and Orange Park, Fla. (No. 10).

Cumming, Georgia Nearly Tops The List of Best Places To Retire

When it comes time to retire, seniors have many factors to consider.

Most of them deal directly with finances – figuring out if they have saved enough money over the years to retire comfortably, or how to change their daily financial routines to live on a more rigidly fixed income.

But there are other things that matter to seniors too once they stop having to endure the grind of a 40-hour or more work week.

Health care is also going to be at or near the top of the list, and quality of life issues like access to nature in nearby parks, walking paths and trails, recreation, such as golf, or tennis and, yes, even entertainment.

All of these things culminate in one key decision for retirees – where is the best place to live in those golden years?

According to a recent study, Cumming, Ga. is No. 2 on a list of 10 best cities to retire in the U.S.

SmartAsset.com, a financial technology company that offers consumers tools to assist with homebuying, retirement planning and taxes, recently published a list of the 10 best places to retire in the United States.

Their retirement experts began by compiling data about factors that matter most to retirees, like an area’s tax burden, the ease of access to medical facilities and recreational activities, and more.

They also measured the percentage of the population that is made up of senior citizens so there’ll be a surplus of others also enjoying their later years.

Naples, Fla. Ranked No. 1 in the study.

Best Places to Retire

Rank City
1 NAPles, FL
2 Cumming, GA
4 Gig Harbor, WA
5 Media, PA
6 Farmington, MI
7 New Port Richey, FL
8 Westlake Village, CA
9 Grosse Pointe, MI
10 Orange Park, FL

Ask most folks at or near retirement age, and they’ll likely tell you that they want to stay right where they are. That’s no surprise as it’s difficult to uproot your life in your sixties and move away.

But, ask younger people if they want to live where they currently do once they reach retirement age and you’ll start to find more people who would like to live out their retirement somewhere else.

Younger generations are more willing to move about the country than their predecessors. Advancements in communication technology make it easier to maintain relationships with friends and family even from a long distance, which has given people more relocation options to consider than ever before.


Which of the following cities would you consider for retirement?

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So, when younger working people start to consider where they might want to end up when they reach retirement age, being “somewhere else” is going to become a trendy option.

That “somewhere else” could well be in Georgia, especially a place like Cumming that has a lot to offer the pending retiree.

Lovers of the great outdoors tend to feel right at home in Cumming. The area is surrounded by several parks, including the Greystone Mansion and Park. There’s also an aquatic center and many recreational centers.

But the best part of Cumming is it offers the best of both worlds, because if residents want to be able to enjoy the city life, it’s perfectly situated just outside of Atlanta.  And if you’re in the mood for city life, you’d be near Atlanta.

Cumming also has the most medical facilities out of all places on the list with nearly 33 per 1,000 residents.

The rest of the Top Ten list includes, Beverly Hills, Calif. (No. 3), Gig Harbor, Wash. (No. 4), Media, Pa. (No. 5), Farmington, Mich. (No. 6), New Port Richey, Fla. (No. 7), Westlake Village, Calif. (No. 8), Grosse Pointe, Mich. (No. 9) and Orange Park, Fla. (No. 10).

Two California Cities Land On List Of Best Places To Retire

When it comes time to retire, seniors have many factors to consider.

Most of them deal directly with finances – figuring out if they have saved enough money over the years to retire comfortably, or how to change their daily financial routines to live on a more rigidly fixed income.

But there are other things that matter to seniors too once they stop having to endure the grind of a 40-hour or more work week.

Health care is also going to be at or near the top of the list, and quality of life issues like access to nature in nearby parks, walking paths and trails, recreation, such as golf, or tennis and, yes, even entertainment.

All of these things culminate in one key decision for retirees – where is the best place to live in those golden years?

According to a recent study, two California cities land on a Top 10 list of the best cities to retire in the United States.

Beverly Hills ranked No. 3 while Westlake Village came in at No. 8.

SmartAsset.com, a financial technology company that offers consumers tools to assist with homebuying, retirement planning and taxes, recently published a list of the 10 best places to retire in the United States.

Their retirement experts began by compiling data about factors that matter most to retirees, like an area’s tax burden, the ease of access to medical facilities and recreational activities, and more.

They also measured the percentage of the population that is made up of senior citizens so there’ll be a surplus of others also enjoying their later years.

Naples, Fla. Ranked No. 1 in the study.

Best Places to Retire

Rank City
1 NAPles, FL
2 Cumming, GA
4 Gig Harbor, WA
5 Media, PA
6 Farmington, MI
7 New Port Richey, FL
8 Westlake Village, CA
9 Grosse Pointe, MI
10 Orange Park, FL

Ask most folks at or near retirement age, and they’ll likely tell you that they want to stay right where they are. That’s no surprise as it’s difficult to uproot your life in your sixties and move away.

But, ask younger people if they want to live where they currently do once they reach retirement age and you’ll start to find more people who would like to live out their retirement somewhere else.

Younger generations are more willing to move about the country than their predecessors. Advancements in communication technology make it easier to maintain relationships with friends and family even from a long distance, which has given people more relocation options to consider than ever before.


Which of the following cities would you consider for retirement?

View Results

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That “somewhere else” could well be in California, especially places like Beverly Hills and Westlake Village that have a lot to offer the pending retiree.

Beverly Hills offers the opportunity to live in a locale that most people only see on post cards. But the fact is 19.5 percent of Beverly Hills’ population consists of senior citizens. SmartAsset.com highlighted some of the city’s most popular attractions like the Paley Center for Media, the Virginia Robinson Gardens, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation as destinations popular among seniors. Additionally, there is great health care in the city as there are more than 24 medical facilities per capita.

Westlake Village is one of the most popular retirement destinations in California as 25 percent of its population is made up of seniors. Some of its most popular attractions include the Sherwood Country Club, the Westlake Golf Course and the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village.

The town also has more than eight recreational centers per capita. So, it’s easy to stay active and have fun with others also enjoying retirement.

The rest of the Top Ten list includes, Cumming, Ga. (No. 2) Gig Harbor, Wash. (No. 4), Media, Pa. (No. 5), Farmington, Mich. (No. 6), New Port Richey, Fla. (No. 7), Grosse Pointe, Mich. (No. 9) and Orange Park, Fla. (No. 10).

 

Despite Obstacles, Dream of Homeownership Still Thrives in California

California has its share of housing challenges. Whether it’s affordability or availability, finding a home is often a difficult exercise.

Yet, despite these hurdles, renters in California continue to aspire to become full-fledged homeowners and remain relatively optimistic they will eventually attain that status.

According to a recent study by the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR), 80 percent of renters in the Golden State hope to own a home someday.

From that cohort, 21 percent want to own a home because it’s a good long-term investment, 19 percent said owning a home would give them the freedom to do what they wanted with their property and 12 percent said owning a home would provide stability and allow them to become rooted to a specific community or neighborhood.

“It’s encouraging that the majority of renters still believe buying a home is more than just a shelter over their heads,” CAR President Jared Martin said. “While they may not be there yet, many renters are motivated to become homeowners as they recognize the many benefits.”

Who Are California’s Renters?

The study showed that the typical California renter is 36-years-old, unmarried and has a median income of $40,000.

Millennials (22-36) make up about 50 percent of California renters while those in Generation-X (37-54) make up 26 percent. Twenty percent of renters are Baby Boomers (55-75) and the final three percent are from the Greatest Generation (76+).

Nearly 75 percent of all California renters are non-whites, with roughly 50 percent identifying as Hispanic.

About 45 percent of those polled said they would purchase a home if they got a raise or promotion at their current job or if they switched their employment. An additional 40 percent said that getting married or starting a family would be a motivation to buy a new home.

California renters have been renting homes for an average of nine years with a median of three years in their current rental.

While most renters aren’t sure about how much longer they plan to rent, either in their current home or other homes, 25 percent said they planned to move in 2019 with nearly two-thirds saying they planned to rent again after moving.

But that left a total of more than one-third of those renters who had a positive outlook for this coming year and would be looking to buy a home.

In addition, 75 percent of those who said they were planning to rent again remained optimistic and said they would like to own a home eventually.

Financial Hurdles

On the negative side, the study showed that many renters feel they are not financially stable enough or aren’t financially educated enough to become homeowners.

Less than half (40 percent) said they were familiar with the credit and loan criteria required to purchase a home.

On top of that, many renters have no idea how much money is needed for a down payment on a home. withFour-in-10 renters believe that more than 20 percent is required for a down payment and 14 percent of renters believe more than half of the sale price of a home is needed for a down payment to complete a purchase.

Misconceptions like these do tend to stunt the pursuit of home ownership for many renters.

The median rent in California is $1,300 per month, but the cost varies wildly across the state. Most renters in California spend almost half of their income on housing costs  seven-in-10 spending more than the recommended 30 percent and millennials spending 50 percent or more.

Homeownership is a long-term investment, and as such, often seems daunting to those who don’t think they have the wherewithal to make it their reality.

However, current renters might have a different outlook and be able to start to reap some benefits associated with homeownership, if they were more financially literate about the homebuying process.

Two Michigan Cities Rank High On List Of Best Places To Retire

When it comes time to retire, seniors have many factors to consider.

Most of them deal directly with finances – figuring out if they have saved enough money over the years to retire comfortably, or how to change their daily financial routines to live on a more rigidly fixed income.

But there are other things that matter to seniors too once they stop having to endure the grind of a 40-hour or more work week.

Health care is also going to be at or near the top of the list, and quality of life issues like access to nature in nearby parks, walking paths and trails, recreation, such as golf, or tennis and, yes, even entertainment.

All of these things culminate in one key decision for retirees – where is the best place to live in those golden years?

According to a recent study, a pair of Michigan cities ranked in the Top 10. Farmington placed No. 6 on the list while Grosse Pointe came in at No. 9.

SmartAsset.com, a financial technology company that offers consumers tools to assist with homebuying, retirement planning and taxes, recently published a list of the 10 best places to retire in the United States.

Their retirement experts began by compiling data about factors that matter most to retirees, like an area’s tax burden, the ease of access to medical facilities and recreational activities, and more.

They also measured the percentage of the population that is made up of senior citizens so there’ll be a surplus of others also enjoying their later years.

Naples, Fla. Ranked No. 1 in the study.

Best Places to Retire

Rank City
1 NAPles, FL
2 Cumming, GA
4 Gig Harbor, WA
5 Media, PA
6 Farmington, MI
7 New Port Richey, FL
8 Westlake Village, CA
9 Grosse Pointe, MI
10 Orange Park, FL

Ask most folks at or near retirement age, and they’ll likely tell you that they want to stay right where they are. That’s no surprise as it’s difficult to uproot your life in your sixties and move away.

But, ask younger people if they want to live where they currently do once they reach retirement age and you’ll start to find more people who would like to live out their retirement somewhere else.

Younger generations are more willing to move about the country than their predecessors. Advancements in communication technology make it easier to maintain relationships with friends and family even from a long distance, which has given people more relocation options to consider than ever before.


Which of the following cities would you consider for retirement?

View Results

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So, when younger working people start to consider where they might want to end up when they reach retirement age, being “somewhere else” is going to become a trendy option.

That “somewhere else” could well be in Michigan, especially places like Farmington and Grosse Pointe that have a lot to offer the pending retiree.

  • Farmington is a popular retirement community with plenty to do including its signature event – River Fest. For automobile enthusiasts there is the Four Corners Rod Run, where classic cars, lowriders and hot rods are on display. And nowhere does the July 4th celebration carry on as long as it does in Farmington where the city has a series of Freedom Days which include fireworks, nighttime parades and a party in the park several times each summer. Retirees can also stay active and in tune with nature at the popular TreeRunner West Bloomfield Adventure Park. Those in need of medical assistance have plenty of access to care with 21.8 medical centers per 1,000 residents.
  • Grosse Pointe is a peaceful suburb just north of Detroit where eight percent of the population is seniors. It has several attractions like Fisher Mansion, Belle Ire Park and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. In addition there are casinos, race tracks, amusement parks, planetariums, farms and cider mills to visit. In addition, you can have fun with family at amusement parks and planetariums. Grosse Pointe also contains 4.5 recreation centers and 24.5 medical facilities per 1,000 people.

The rest of the Top Ten list includes, Cumming, Ga. (No. 2), Beverly Hills Calif. (No. 3), Gig Harbor, Wash. (No. 4), Media, Pa. (No. 5), New Port Richey, Fla. (No. 7), Westlake Village, Calif. (No, 8) and Orange Park, Fla. (No. 10).

3 Ways To Help Your Child Buy A Home While On A Budget

It’s not unusual for adult children to look to their parents for help when purchasing their first home. In fact, the 2018 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report shared that 23% of home buyers, 37 years and younger, who purchased their home with a down payment, used money they received from family or friends.

However, not every parent is in a position to write a big check, however much they might want to. Cheryl Milan, a Wisconsin homeowner, shares her situation. “I see some of my friends prepared to gift a significant part of the down payment, or even fully pay, for their children’s house. I can’t match that, but I still very much want to help my daughter buy her first home.”

Foremost, how do you determine if you can offer monetary assistance to your fledgling property owner? Above all, it has to make good financial sense for you. The goal is to help your child, while still protecting your own financial future. If gifting all or part of a down payment damages your personal retirement plan, or takes too much out of your your 401K –  then it might not be the best choice. But fear not, there are plenty of alternative ways to support their dream of homeownership.

1. Help Them Find Resources

The good news is that most states offer first time-homebuyer programs that can help your child realize their dream of homeownership – programs that many fledgling homebuyers are often not aware of. Doing the research and then sitting down with your son or daughter to go over what your state offers can be an enormous help to an overwhelmed, first-time buyer. Nerd Wallet has a great breakdown of state-by-state, first-time homebuyer assistance.

2. Save For A Downpayment Together

Over the last few years, quite a few states have been rolling out First-Time Homebuyer programs (FTHB). For example, in Minnesota, First-time homebuyers, or buyers re-entering the market after renting, can save up to $150,000 towards a new home while accruing dividends and interest. A parent, or even a grandparent, can open and make deposits to FTHB accounts for their children and grandchildren. By setting up a home buying savings plan with your child, you can avoid the financial hit of writing a big check and contribute to their dream over time.

Currently, the following states below offer FTHB plans. Each state has unique guidelines, so be sure to investigate what your particular state offers before sitting down with your child to make a plan.

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Virginia

3. Consider Co-Ownership

The trend of multigenerational homebuyers continues to rise for a reason. The New York Times article, “What to Know Before Buying a Home With Your Parents” stated that “a record 64 million Americans now live in a multigenerational home, according to a Pew Research Center report, up from 32.2 million in 1950.”

While not for everyone, many find that the benefits of sharing a home with their parents outnumber the negatives. These include; sharing mortgage expenses, providing social engagement for older parents and offering live in childcare. The article interviewed Diana Limongi, a nonprofit business consultant and multigenerational homeowner, who said, “I hear my mom talking to my daughter and cracking up. It’s just pure joy, and it’s a beautiful sound. They’re really enjoying each others’ company.”

If this route sounds like it may have potential, be sure to sit down with your REALTOR® to make sure that the properties you are looking at are zoned for multi-family usage.