Is This For You?

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While HOMOWNERSHIP book was written for the queer folk, you don’t have to be, “that way” or “a bit funny” or “on the bus” or “batting for the other team” to read it, learn from it, or enjoy it. Much of the content is true for everyone. It’s just that the stories, examples, references, and humor are tilted toward those wearing the lighter loafers. It’s written in small, easy-going sections, so you can pick it up or put it down whenever you want or need.

Me: I’ll tell you up front, I am not a multi-millionaire with the sir name Kiyosaki, Gates, Wynn or Buffett. I do however have the wealth of experience and insight to share with you my queer family. If along way I help to create more gay millionaires, well, that would be great, fagtastic, gaymazing! I do tell you my story, and show you a picture or two to qualify, but rest assured, the book is about you.

You: You know that homeownership is an aspiration many people have. From an early age it is instilled in us as part of the American dream. We were taught that buying a home is as much a part of the pattern of life as courtship, engagement, marriage and raising children. Fine, but what if that’s not a pattern you want to follow? Where do you fit in? Is there an American dream for you? Yes there is, and it’s time to make it a reality.

For those of you who have an interest in home buying but were never taught the basics and benefits of it – who are “buy-curious” but never had the opportunity to follow anyone’s example- this book is for you. You all have varying degrees of understanding, but for one reason or another haven’t done anything about it. My goal is to inform and encourage those of you who are still sitting on the fence waiting, wanting or needing something to happen, something to get you going.

Read and learn the information in this book. Get a clear sense of the property buying process, why you should buy real estate, and how it will change your life and secure your future. If you don’t get what you need in these pages, well, the fence will still be there, but c’mon, let’s go.

First Time Buyer

First Time Buyer

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The fact that you are a first-time buyer is a bonus. Also, it is much easier to qualify for a loan if you are going to be living in the property. It is called “Owner Occupied.” It’s almost a necessity, a condition for a loan, certainly for a first-time buyer.

As the Owner/Occupier of the property, you will be living in the property you are taking out a mortgage to buy and will always be on-site to care for it. No Lender is going to give you your first loan on a property that you don’t plan on living in. They want you to have, “skin in the game” and all that. It is more of a risk to them. Even if you are a seasoned borrower and this is your second house, lenders usually want you to be an Owner-Occupier.

A “seasoned borrower” is one who has consecutively paid one or more mortgages for at least two years. Don’t be deterred if this is not you. All borrowers have their first loan, and this is yours. You are gainfully employed, have a source of income and have good credit – carry on.

If you are a younger gay buyer, having many working years ahead of you is an advantage when being considered for a mortgage, certainly for your first mortgage.

For us mid-career or retiring gays, we may have the advantage of having more money down, more assets to list, more credit experience (good for us). When you go back in a year or two, or three, looking for second mortgage to buy a second property, the lender will look at how seasoned you are, how consecutive and successful you were at paying your first mortgage.

Own Your Owns: What They Are and Why You Should Buy One.

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Own Your Owns are a form of real estate ownership that pre-dates the condominium form of ownership. They are usually 2 or 3 stories, typically in 8-12 unit buildings, tucked between newer and sometimes taller buildings. Own Your Owns were mostly built in the 1950’s. Many people find these types of units appealing because of their mid-century characteristics, with older tiled bathrooms, hardwood floors, and more intimate settings. I find them appealing because of their price. They are less expensive than condos and a lot easier to manage. I’m on my 6th one. They’re all on the HOMOWNERSHIP Facebook page.

The challenge with buying OYO’s is the financing. Usually they sell for cash. Not all lenders write OYO loans, and the ones that do, usually want you to have 20% down, and be an owner occupier. That means you can potentially borrow up to 80% of the value property, termed “Loan to Value” (LTV).

The same is true when you sell it. You will need to find someone who can meet those financing needs. That may not be so easy to do, but don’t let that stop you. Provided you price it reasonably and leave some equity on the table for the next guy, it will sell.  Don’t be greedy. Be measured.

One major reason why they are less expensive than condos is – parking. Usually there isn’t enough, if any at all. For that reason, they cost less than a condo on the same street. If you don’t mind that the building only has street parking, you can pick up a nice OYO for a fraction of the cost of a neighboring condo. Some people, some perspective tenants, may not need or care about parking. It is the unit that they’re going to call home, that interests them the most. That’s the part you control. Whether there is parking or not is out of your control. Your job is to provide a nice,comfortable and clean unit to rent. Such a place will earn you a good tenant.

If your OYO building, “Goes Condo,” is converted to condominiums, the value of the unit dramatically increases, and the owner/investor/you make a significant profit. That’s great, but that potential isn’t the only reason to invest in an OYO. There is the income potential and return that makes it immediately profitable. There also the satisfaction of knowing that your money is secured by a physical, “brick and mortar” investment. It’s why people invest in real estate.

Purchasing an Own Your Own to live in would be comparable to purchasing a nice mobile home to live in, if you just want a place to own, one that you hold Title to. At the very least, it would accomplish the goal of owning. I’m thinking more in terms of an OYO  as an investment to earn you an income.

Even though it costs less than a condo, often the rental income can be nearly the same, therefore the return on your investment can be as good, if not better. I’ve made as much as 12% on my monthly CAP (capitalization) rate and 67% ROI (return on investment) when I sold the place.

In an OYO building, you’re usually not dealing with HOA politics and power, just people who want a low key property with a good return. As OYOs are smaller buildings with less amenities, the monthly fees are less. They pay for the property management company to maintain the books and keep up the place.

Remember, Own your Owns aren’t frilly and fabulous. There are no pools, tennis courts, hot tubs, gyms, saunas, yoga or Pilates studios, but you’re not there for that. Own Your Owns are protected, prolonged, profitable investment properties that will earn you significant interest on your money.   You’ll have to find somewhere else to be frilly and fabulous…as if that’s ever a problem.

The Road Forward

The Road Forward

If you really want to improve your future, make real estate investing part of your present. Follow the plan of buying low, improving, gaining equity, renting and/or selling, until you make enough cash flow to support yourself, or you make enough money to buy a property for cash. That’s the greater goal. It doesn’t have to be a block of houses. One income property can do the job.

When you buy a property for cash, all of the monthly rental income is Cash Flow, Passive Income, Disposable Income. It will further support you in later years if you take out a Reverse Mortgage on it. That’s it! Financial freedom is yours! You will never again have to punch a clock, sign in, report to the office or be treated like your bosses bitch – unless you want to.

Now, start preparing, saving, and paying attention to potential properties. Keep an open mind as to when, where and what you want to buy.

Remember, “Buy real estate, take care of it, and it will take care of you.” You can do it. You want to do it. You’re willing to work-it. Great! Let’s all work-it. Let’s all work to increase our physical presence and improve our financial prominence. Real estate investing is a dependable and profitable direction to go. The road is before us. Let’s leave our footprints all over it.

America’s ‘Gayborhoods’ Are a Lot More Expensive, a Lot Less Gay

What becomes of a trendy gay neighborhood when housing prices soar and straight people move in?

As gay acceptance has risen over the years, gay people have increasingly moved away from historically gay neighborhoods, such as the Castro in San Francisco and Chicago’s Boystown. Simultaneously, more and more straight individuals and couples have felt comfortable enough to move into these neighborhoods. As a result, many gay neighborhoods—call them “gayborhoods”—aren’t nearly as gay as they used to be. Read the rest of the article here. 

Be trendy, not tragic: expert tips for future-proofing your interior

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screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-3-35-50-pmJumping on board a decor trend is tempting, but an overly themed interior will date very quickly.

Trends happen to the best of us, and they’re a lot of fun. But they don’t last forever.

Sometimes no matter how much money and time you invest in decorating your home, your interior decor becomes a bit tired and the look you once loved doesn’t work as well.

Read the rest of the article here.

Long Beach Listed as one of 50 Most Expensive Places in US to Buy a House

Long Beach Listed as one of 50 Most Expensive Places in US to Buy a House

Long Beach snuck onto Coldwell Banker’s annual Home Listings Report as the 50th most expensive city in which to purchase a home in the country, with an average listing price of $881,315.

The report, conducted annually, evaluates market data for “2,000 real estate markets nationwide, analyzing more than 50,000 similar-sized four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes ranking the most expensive and affordable markets in all 50 states,” according to the website.

The listings were published around the same time Long Beach landed on Time Out‘s list of top 15 places in the country to live—which included affordable rental prices as part of its methodology, believe it or not.

Long Beach came in at 50, sandwiched between Walnut California ($886,647 average) and Novato, California ($863,900).

California cities dominated the top 50 list, along with cities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Minnesota. Read the rest of the article here.