MONEY home improvement

This Simple Home Improvement Tip Could Save You a Bundle of Cash

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Getty Images

Think twice before adding another bathroom.

As anyone who’s ever lived in tight quarters can tell you, the general rule of thumb for a happy home is the more bathrooms, the merrier.

Less known is this gem: according to the Wall Street Journal, adding a half bathroom to your home will actually add nearly as much value to your home—and sometimes even more—than adding a full bathroom. This revelation obviously affects decisions made by homeowners, as adding a half bathroom requires significantly less money (and space) than the typical full bathroom.

Based on data gathered in the last week of July by Realtor.com, the WSJ reported Wednesday that while adding a half bathroom to a one bathroom home will raise the median list price about 5% less than adding a full bathroom, in homes with more than five bathrooms a half bath actually increases the median list price almost 10% more than another full bathroom.

The takeaway, according to Stephen Melman, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal as the director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders, is that the law of diminishing returns definitely applies to full baths.

An extra powder room on the first floor, on the other hand? That’s very likely to pay off handsomely.

MONEY Estate Planning

The Trickiest Items to Pass On to Your Heirs

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Getty Images

Decide who will take care of Fido.

So you’ve finally made an estate plan. Your kids get a nice inheritance, your nephew gets the baseball cards, and your cousin gets Grandma’s ring. But with some assets, it’s not that easy to impose your will. Here are a few that can cause surprise headaches—and how to handle them.

Vacation Homes

Sharing is hard. Conflicts can arise when one sibling lives farther away, earns less, or wants to sell his share, says Tracy Craig, an estate-planning attorney in Worcester, Mass. “One of the worst things to do is to leave property outright in equal shares,” she says. “Anytime you have more than one person who owns real estate, you have a potential problem.”

The fix: Talk to your kids first to learn their preferences, then put the real estate in a trust and make your heirs the beneficiaries, Craig says. The trust structure lets you spell out under what conditions the house can be sold, how a sharing schedule will be decided, and who pays for upkeep. If possible, reduce conflict by leaving extra money to cover costs.

Pets

Until recently, provisions that left money to pets were often unenforceable, says Gerry Beyer, a law professor at Texas Tech University. If you gave your friend Jack $10,000 to take care of your dog, what was to stop Jack from taking your money and abandoning Lassie?

The fix: Every state except Minnesota has now passed a “pet trust” law, which means if you add a simple line to your will explaining who takes the pet and how much money is provided for its care, probate court will appoint someone to enforce the provision, Beyer says. Want absolute control? Draft a detailed pet trust. (Your estate attorney may not even charge extra.) Name the caretaker and the trustee, set aside money for food and vet bills, and leave care instructions. Technically, the trust will own your pet, so if the caretaker doesn’t meet your standards, the trustee can assign care elsewhere.

Airline Miles

Frequent-flier miles can be worth a tidy sum, but you might not be able to pass on the wealth. Some carriers explicitly say you cannot bequeath miles. And policies change; Delta disallowed mileage bequests in 2013.

The fix: First, ask your airline. You might be better off spending down miles now, Beyer says, buying trips for other people if you’re traveling less. (Avoid transferring miles, as you can quickly rack up fees.) But even carriers that officially bar fliers from bequeathing miles—like American Airlines—often allow it on a case-by-case basis, so do name a conditional beneficiary in your will. Heirs may need to request and complete an affidavit and provide the death certificate.

Read next: Does Grandpa Need a Prenup?

MONEY Crowdfunding

New York City’s First Crowdfunded Condo Opens This Month

Tour Of AKA United Nations Hotel Condo Crowdfunded Project
Bloomberg via Getty Images The AKA United Nations building stands in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. The development of AKA United Nations, an East Side building repositioned as an extended-stay condominium, is being financed through crowdfunding by partners Prodigy Network and Korman Communities.

The opening of this New York City condo could help usher in an era of more democratized commercial real estate.

Hop on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, and you can fund everything from an app-controlled bike lock to a contraption that peels garlic when you shake it. But crowdfunding hasn’t reached its limits there: this month, New York City’s first crowdfunded real estate project will open its doors.

AKA United Nations, an extended-stay hotel-condominium three blocks east of Grand Central Terminal, raised over a seventh of the $95 million developers recently spent to buy and renovate the hotel using the real estate crowdfunding platform Prodigy Network, Bloomberg reports. Altogether, the project collected over $12 million from 116 backers, each pledging at least $20,000.

Crowdfunded building projects are starting to take off across the globe. An estimated $2.57 billion in real estate will be crowdfunded in 2015, according to Massolution — more than twice last year’s funding. Back in 2010, Prodigy Network founder Rodrigo Niño crowdfunded the financing of the tallest tower in Bogotá, Columbia. But the Manhattan hotel is “the first ever crowdfunded building in New York coming to completion, from A to Z,” as Niño told Bloomberg. The hotel’s opening is also a key milestone for the movement in the U.S., which picked up after the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act eased the rules on investing in privately-held companies. Times Realty News now lists 152 real estate crowdfunding websites in the U.S. alone.

Real estate crowdfunding follows a more direct investment model than Kickstarter: participants chip in for a percentage stake in a property, rather than, say, a free week’s stay in a hotel. While the JOBS Act made it easier in theory for non-accredited investors earning less than $200,000 per year or with a net worth of less than $1 million to become equity investors in such projects, delays in the final rulings on the Act could explain why about 90% of the investors for AKA United Nations were located outside the U.S.

Still, with some crowdfunding projects’ contribution minimums running as low as $100, there’s hope that real estate crowdfunding could have a democratizing effect: Niño, as he told Bloomberg, is hopeful that it can “break the stranglehold that big institutions and rich elites have on commercial real estate.”

MONEY Rentals

Landlords In Seattle Are Giving Discounts to Tech Employees

Google offices in Seattle
Michael Halberstadt—Alamy Google offices in Seattle

The very people who need them the least

Google employees in the Seattle area may have one more reason to call theirs a sweet gig.

According to a report by Seattle’s K5TV, some apartment buildings in the area are offering “Preferred Employee Specials,” targeting workers at large tech companies in the area—but these discounts may not fly with the city’s Office of Civil Rights.

The report notes that the Seattle Office of Civil Rights is looking into the special deals, which in the case of one building include cutting the security deposit and any rental fees in half for Google and Microsoft employees.

While representatives for the Kirkland building, Luna Sol, and another Seattle area building, Aperture on Fifth in the city’s downtown, told K5 News that the specials are a “standard marketing practice” that extends beyond just tech workers, a local real estate broker noted that her company avoids such offers because of their potential to be perceived as a violation of fair housing practices.

Landlords like tech workers for obvious reasons: their incomes are relatively high and flow steadily, and they’re generally a hardworking crew that spends most waking hours in the office. But the tech industry also notoriously struggles with diversity, meaning these discounts are primarily going to people who need them least: affluent non-minority men.

Eric Dunn, an attorney with the Northwest Justice Project, told The Stranger that the specials are “certainly a suspect practice. I can’t off the top of my head say it’s definitely illegal, but I think there are some strong arguments that it violates fair housing laws,” he said.

In order to prove such a violation, however, The Stranger points out that civil rights advocates would have to be able to prove that the specials have disparate impact—the same standard that upheld a Supreme Court ruling against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs earlier this year.

 

MONEY buying a home

5 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Real Estate Agent

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Caroline von Tuempling—Getty Images

If your agent goes MIA, it's on to the next one.

Working with a real estate agent is similar to a romantic relationship: the introduction, a whirlwind courtship, followed by a commitment. My dear agent, “I do” promise to work with you to search for and buy my beloved new home.

That initial flurry of activity turns into hanging out on the weekends, exploring home after home. The rush of a new project as you work together toward a common goal can bond your partnership even further.

But what happens if the rosy glow disappears from your cheeks and there’s no longer a real estate skip in your step? How do you know when it’s time to think about changing real estate agents? Here are five signs that it might be time to say “it’s not you, it’s me” to your real estate agent.

Missing in action

Whether it’s a personal or business relationship, we all know when we’re getting the brushoff. Text messages aren’t returned quickly. Phone calls get sent to voicemail — and then returned by your agent’s assistant. Your emails seem to disappear down a dark hole, and your request to see a new home on the market is begrudgingly met three days later.

In a cold market, this behavior is simply unacceptable. But when it’s a scorching hot market? Forget it. You’re never going to land your dream home with an agent who treats your business relationship this way. You’ve been sidelined, and it’s time to move on.

High-pressure sales tactics

Rather than a new home, you begin to feel as though you’re shopping for a used car on a discount lot. Each conversation leaves you shaky with anxiety, fearing that every other decent house in the city (and in your price range) is currently under contract and this is your only shot to lock one down.

Regardless of how hot the market is, interactions with your agent should not leave you feeling anxious. Sure, it’s their job to convey accurate market information, but in an honest and straightforward manner.

They’re not listening

You’ve communicated your deal-breaker list to your agent and they consistently show you homes without several of your coveted features. You’re tired of explaining that a second bathroom is not a luxury — it’s essential for your sanity.

When you feel as if you’re wasting time spending Saturday and Sunday afternoons touring homes with an agent who is so clearly missing the mark, it might be time to move on. But before you break the news to your agent, consider asking if there aren’t any homes with your required features in your price range — a problem with an entirely different fix.

They stand you up

After leaving work early and rushing to your agent’s office to sign paperwork, you find their assistant armed with a calendar for an appointment reschedule. Having other clients and commitments is perfectly acceptable, but failing to communicate in advance is not. Their time is not more important than yours.

With that said, life does sometimes get in the way of a carefully planned schedule. If this is an isolated incident, treat it accordingly — if not, you may need to make some changes.

They make decisions for you

You’ve submitted an offer and your agent neglects to ask if you would agree to a longer closing date. Instead, they take it upon themselves to reply for you — and the sellers went with another offer. Regardless of previous conversations, your agent should discuss all contracts and offer details with you in a timely fashion. Full representation does not mean making decisions on your behalf.

As in a romantic relationship, it can be easy to convince yourself you’re overreacting to circumstances by sweeping things under the carpet. Remember, this is an important business relationship and should be given priority. If you’ve communicated openly with your agent and you’re not 100% satisfied, then move on and find an agent who not only meets your needs but also exceeds them.

More From Trulia:

MONEY selling a home

5 Features That Will Make Your Home Sell Faster

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Tom Merton—Getty Images

Buyers can't resist a gourmet kitchen or a balcony with a view.

Declutter and clean: both are two important steps to take before putting your house on the market. But if you have a midsized suburban home (2,000 to 2,600 square feet), you’d be wise to also get your house millennial (and gen-x)-ready.

Why? Because that’s your market.

If you start now making the changes those groups prefer, your house will be the talk of the town by 2018. That (and later) is when 72% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to buy a home, according to a May 2015 survey conducted by Trulia.

Here are five key areas to focus on that will help you sell your home fast, based on the results of that May 2015 survey by Trulia.

1. Backyard deck

Few things disappoint a millennial more than discovering their otherwise-perfect dream home has no backyard deck. If you don’t have one, or if you have a tiny afterthought-type deck, consider building one.

Besides pressure-treated pine, there are composite deck materials, which many homebuyers prefer. Composite materials require less maintenance and can be just as beautiful as wood — or even more so. But they cost more to build with.

Young buyers love split-level decks for visual interest. Built-in lights are also a plus.

2. Gourmet kitchen

Kitchens are always at the top of the list for ROI when it comes to home makeovers, and young buyers care about this too. But do you know what constitutes a gourmet versus a functional kitchen?

Here’s your formula: state-of-the-art appliances plus impressive surfaces plus storage galore equals gourmet.

Gourmet cooks and gas ranges go together like love and marriage. Gourmet cooks also prefer double ovens (one being convection), warming ovens (much better to keep foods warm than zapping in the microwave), and a microwave drawer (bet you didn’t even know about those … they hide the microwave).

If you don’t have room for a separate fridge and freezer, choose a fridge with a freezer drawer on the bottom.

Gourmet cooks also love stainless steel countertops. But stone countertops are good options too. If those just aren’t in the budget, choose a laminate that mimics the look. “Millennials have grown up on HGTV and want the look of a granite countertop, even if the seller has used less expensive materials to achieve that look,” says Melissa Rubenstein, a New Jersey real estate agent.

And you know cooks will open all the cabinets and drawers to see what’s what. Impress potential buyers with a big pantry, impressive use of space — such as a sliding spice rack — and lots of cabinet room.

Can’t afford to go totally gourmet? “Definitely spend the money on a cosmetic update,” says Ann Wilkins, a San Francisco real estate agent. “New counters, subway tile backsplash and freshly painted (white) cabinets go a long way in updating a kitchen for minimal money.”

3. Open floor plan

Be honest: How many times do you use that formal living and dining room? Only on holidays, right? Remove those walls and create an open floor plan that young people actually want. (Of course, you might need to leave a partial wall or put up some posts to hold the house up!)

Millennials like open floor plans so they can socialize while cooking, keep an eye on the kids better, and have a more impressive entertaining space. The open floor plan also lets in more light, which makes your house show better.

4. Balcony with a view

Yes, we know that you can’t create a view. But you can make your balcony inviting. Do so by using plants strategically and by creating a welcoming seating area.

Plants are great because they’re striking and they create privacy. Place planters on the ground to create a portal and place some flower boxes on the top railing.

Bench seating along the walls is inviting (and maintains space on the balcony). But it’s also nice to feature outdoor tables and chairs to show potential buyers how they can enjoy dining alfresco.

5. Vegetable garden

Question: What do millennials and the sweet grandma down the street have in common?

Answer: They both love vegetable gardens.

Besides posting pics on social media of their homegrown produce, large numbers of millennials are truly interested in getting back to nature and living a simple, healthy lifestyle.

Plus, buying organic can be pricey, so being able to grow produce is hugely attractive to millennials. Either start a garden yourself or at least point out the perfect spot in your yard for growing vegetables.

More From Trulia:

 

MONEY home financing

Buying a Home Just Got Easier for Cash-Strapped Families

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Hill Street Studios—Getty Images

Here's how Fannie Mae is helping low income families achieve the American Dream.

Government-sponsored mortgage giant Fannie Mae is starting a new home loan program for low-income borrowers called HomeReady, with the goal of improving creditworthy consumers’ access to affordable mortgages through low down-payment requirements, homeownership education and other specialized underwriting criteria.

The HomeReady program will be available to borrowers in areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as low-income, in addition to borrowers who make less than 100% of the area median income in high-minority census tracts and designated natural disaster areas, according to a news release from Fannie Mae.

Perhaps most notable is the new way HomeReady will determine applicants’ debt-to-income ratio: It will include non-borrower household members’ incomes, extending mortgage access to multi-generational households.

“Fannie Mae’s research indicates that these extended households tend to have incomes that are as stable or more stable than other households at similar income levels, positioning them well for homeownership,” the news release says.

Additionally, applicantions can include incomes from borrowers who will not be living in the homes, such as parents, as well as rental income the borrower may generate from something like renting out a basement apartment. HomeReady can help any qualified borrowers, whether they’re first-time homebuyers or not, to purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3% of the property value. As part of the program requirements, borrowers must complete an online education course that will prepare them for the homebuying process and the homeownership that follows.

The program is supposed to extend homeownership access to low-income consumers, but they still need to have decent credit to qualify (Fannie Mae did not define what it deems creditworthy). Someone with good credit generally makes loan and credit card payments on time, minimizes their debt and credit card balances and applies for new credit only when necessary. A good credit score means your past financial behaviors indicate you’re likely to repay your future loans on time, which makes you more appealing to a potential lender. Good credit also helps you get lower interest rates on loans, which can make a huge difference in what you pay for a mortgage, so regardless of what program you go through to get a mortgage, you want to start the process with as good a credit score as you can manage.

More from Credit.com:

MONEY

5 Design Trends Home Buyers Hate

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Astronaut Images—Getty Images

No one wants to bathe in the middle of the bathroom.

If you’ve ever wondered what went on behind closed doors in your city, a look through local real estate listings might give you the answer: unfortunate paint color choices, an obsession with granite countertops, and enough clutter to supply a yard sale every weekend for years. And those are just the homes on the market, which should at least be trying to make their best impression.

Our homes may be a reflection of ourselves, but this philosophy can backfire when you’re putting a property up for sale. “What a seller likes may be too personal for a buyer,” says Jennifer Kjellgren, broker and owner of Intown Expert, a real estate firm in Atlanta.

If you’re about to enter the market and are in doubt about how your home’s style will appeal to buyers, here are the interior design trends that real estate experts have identified as potential ultimate buyer turnoffs.

Bold colors

Getting paint color wrong instantly turns off buyers — but it’s the cheapest thing to fix. “Almost always I say to stay away from bright colors,” says Kjellgren, who also identifies multiple-colored living spaces, dated colors (think mauve and hunter green), and metallics as problematic for sellers. Instead, she recommends greige, beige, soft white, and gray hues. Most important? Keep the paint color consistent throughout the home.

Shiny hardware and accessories

“One of the major trends now is all about chrome, metallic, and shiny finishes,” says Veronique Perrin, real estate salesperson at Charles Rutenberg LLC in New York. “I am all for these touches — I call them jewelry for your home — but it has gotten completely out of hand. I always quote Coco Chanel, who said, ‘Before you walk out the door, check in the mirror and take one accessory off.’ Do the same for your home just before it’s time for its close-up!”

Though you’ll see kitchens with plenty of brass, copper, and polished nickel on Pinterest, it’s worth it to go with the classics — like brushed nickel — and use them sparingly. “There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and subtle and understated always stands the test of time,” Perrin says.

Open bathrooms

It turns out that you can take the idea of an open floor plan too far. “The trend of an open master tub in the master bedroom should never have been started,” says F. Ron Smith, co-founder of Partners Trust and Leverage Global Partners in Beverly Hills, CA. “No one really wants to shower or bathe in the middle of a bedroom.”

Converted rooms

It might have made sense to turn the spare bedroom into a space dedicated to your favorite hobby. The problem? A buyer sees this as an in-home yoga studio instead of a third bedroom. In the luxury market, such conversions are especially common in smaller spaces.

“Dedicated gyms that are the size of a maid’s room are underwhelming,” Smith says. “Don’t put a treadmill and yoga mat in to call it a gym. Proportion is everything.”

Wall-to-wall carpeting

Some would argue that carpets never fully went out of style. While lush carpeting can feel like a dream underfoot and can be easier to maintain than other flooring options, many buyers see it as a downside (even if it’s high-quality carpet).

Everyone wants to see hardwood floors, says Jennifer Koen, who works with both stagers and developers as vice president of business development at luxury furniture consignment site Viyet.com. “They’re always in style, and work with any decor scheme,” she says.

More From Trulia:

MONEY buying a home

9 Things to Ignore at an Open House

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Pablo Scapinachis—Getty Images

Don't be put off by the weird wallpaper.

Don’t let signs of a home’s previous life deter you from making it your dream home. The sellers may not have had the time, money, or willpower to professionally stage or remodel their homes before their open house, but that isn’t always a bad thing.

While a turnkey home is ideal for people who want to move right in and make no changes, don’t ignore those “time warp” homes. They can be incredible gems that just need a little polishing. As you step into each home while you’re house hunting, try your best to ignore these nine buyer turnoffs that are actually pretty easy to adjust.

An older home

“Old” isn’t synonymous with bad. In fact, sometimes newer homes are more affordable simply because they were built with cheap materials — and that may cost you more money in upkeep than a home built decades ago with quality materials that have proven to stand the test of time.

Remember that there are many simple fixes to modernize a dated home, and many older homes are full of charm and character that you can’t find in a brand-new build.

Paint colors

Ignore the existing paint choices and focus on the structure of the room, the placement of the windows, etc. Paint is an incredibly easy, cheap fix and something you can change in just a few hours.

Wallpaper with roosters and chickens

It may feel as if you are walking into a barnyard, but remember that wallpaper (even when it’s covered with roosters and chickens) is easily replaced or covered over. So no matter how design-challenged the walls look, it’s an easy fix.

Kitchen appliances and accessories

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but sometimes the appliances just don’t live up to your dreams. As long as you have room in your budget or a timeline to replace the existing appliances, a seller’s ancient yellow fridge shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

Ugly carpet

Flooring options are getting more and more diverse, and there are now many low-cost options that look just like their higher-priced counterparts. Don’t walk away from a great house just because you’re not a fan of what you’re walking on.

Funky smells

Serious mold problems aside, there are few things a deep cleaning can’t fix. Plug your nose and focus on the home’s bones and the potential it has once you give it your own touch.

Curb appeal

If you’re not saying “wow” when you first drive up, that’s OK. Close your eyes and envision a different-colored front door and some new landscaping, and, presto — it might just transform into your dream home!

Popcorn ceilings

It’s great at the movies, but not at home. No worries! A ceiling specialist can come in and have all that popcorn texturing scraped off. Just make sure you have it done before you move in — it’s a messy job.

No privacy

The house feels too exposed and lacks privacy from next door? Easy fix. Remember, “Hedges make great neighbors.”

Read next: What Should I Do Before I Buy a Home?

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MONEY renting

6 Cities Where Rent Eats Nearly Half Your Paycheck

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Mitch Diamond—Getty Images Los Angeles freeway in the evening

Renters in Los Angeles spend 48.9% of their monthly income on housing.

No matter if you’re a homeowner or a renter, paying for your living space is probably the biggest monthly expense you have. Depending on where you live, you may need to fork over nearly half your income every month, just to pay that bill. People who spend such a significant portion of their money on housing aren’t necessarily living in fancy homes — more likely than not, they’re renters.

In the second quarter of 2015, the average renter spent 30.2% of his or her monthly income on rent, while homeowners only spent 15.1% of their paychecks on mortgage payments, according to an analysis from Zillow of regional income data, rental data and the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. A good rule of thumb is to put no more than 25% of your monthly income toward monthly rent, but depending on how much you make and where you live, that may be difficult to do.

Of course, plenty of people who give their landlords more than 25% of their paychecks could probably reduce that cost by downsizing, sacrificing certain amenities or trading an expensive location for a longer commute. But it may not be so easy to do, especially in places that are particularly expensive. That not only can make it a challenge to budget for day-to-day expenses, but it can also present a significant obstacle to people who want to eventually own a home and must save for a down payment to do so. The higher your down payment and the better your credit score, the more likely it is you’ll get a lower interest rate and ultimately a more affordable mortgage.

Poll: If You Could Make Enough Money to Live, Would You Go Freelance?

Unfortunately, until you’ve saved up, reduced or paid of your debts and improved your credit, you may be stuck with the rental market.

Here are several cities where the average person spends nearly half his or her paycheck on rent.

6. New York/Northern New Jersey

Percentage of monthly income spent on rent (Q2 2015): 41.3%

When talking about pricey places to live, two locations tend to come to mind: New York and California. If we were to list cities outside of those states (and with New York, it’s really the NYC metro area that’s so costly), the three most expensive places to rent would be Miami, Denver and Boston, where people spend an average of 45%, 35% and 34% of their income on rent, respectively. The average NYC metro area homeowner spends 25.6% of monthly income on a mortgage payment.

5. San Jose

Percentage of monthly income spent on rent: 41.5%

Whether you rent or own in San Jose, you’re paying a lot of money to do so. Mortgage payments soaked up 41.9% of homeowners’ paychecks last quarter.

4. San Diego

Percentage of monthly income spent on rent: 43.7%

The Bay Area gets a lot of attention for its high cost of living, but southern California can also be incredibly expensive. Homeowners in San Diego don’t have it much better, with a mortgage payment amounting to 34.1% of monthly income last quarter.

Read next: The 5 Best Big Cities

3. Miami/Fort Lauderdale

Percentage of monthly income spent on rent: 44.5%

Buying a home in Miami is a much better deal than renting, as far as monthly payments are concerned, according to the Zillow analysis. Last quarter, homeowners spent about 20% of their monthly income on mortgage payments, as opposed to the nearly 45% of income renters threw at their living arrangements.

2. San Francisco

Percentage of monthly income spent on rent: 46.7%

Even with the insane rents paid by San Francisco apartment-dwellers, budgeting isn’t much better for homeowners. Mortgage payments took up 41.4% of incomes from homeowners with Silicon Valley salaries last quarter.

1. Los Angeles

Percentage of monthly income spent on rent: 48.9%

Homeowners are in a slightly better position in L.A., with mortgage payments taking up 39.9% of monthly income. However, if mortgage rates go up, that wouldn’t necessarily hold true. Zillow projected how much a mortgage payment would cost if rates increased to 6%, and that would put L.A. homeowners in a position where they spend 50% of their income on mortgage payments. The projections were worse for San Francisco and San Jose, where mortgage payments would gobble up 54.7% and 55.3% of homeowners paychecks, respectively, if and when the average mortgage rate reaches 6%.

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