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Buying a New Home

Benefits of Living in a Community vs. a Rural Area

living in a community

By Megan Wild, Author of Your Wild Home blog

The grass is always greener, yes, but that could be in a field in rural America or in Central Park in New York. How you grew up, what your motivations are, your experiences and what stage in your life you’re in usually dictate whether you’d rather be living in a community or a rural area. Nevertheless, regardless of where you’ve made a life for yourself, you’ll probably have had fantasies about a different way of life.

For years, the good ol’ rural life has been portrayed as wholesome, genuine, family-centric and charitable. The air is always pure, skies always blue and life is PG-rated. City life, on the other hand, has also been glorified as a gold mine where the people are beautiful and successful, where life is efficient and convenient and, most importantly, where potential is infinite.

You may have ventured into this topic with friends and family before, and while the choice between community and rural living is largely subjective, we’re taking a more pragmatic approach to the age-old battle. Taking a look at the most important factors that contribute to quality of life, we’ll be comparing the benefits of living in a community and a rural area.

Living In A Community

Of course, we all know that we have to make compromises wherever we are, but the main benefits of city life are transport, cultural life and diversity.

  • Transport – With the increasing pressure to reduce our greenhouse emissions, public transportation is a saving grace. It’s also a convenient way to get where you need to go during your day-to-day activities. City life offers this of mobility in a way no rural town or village would be able to, and as a result, things just seem to happen faster without traffic queues or unpredictable weather conditions.
  • Cultural Life – Concerts, art galleries, and other cultural trappings add wonder, inspiration and fun to our lives. They encourage a different type of lateral thought and can sometimes be the catalyst for positive changes. It might just seem like a way to pass the time, but its benefit should not be underestimated, particularly its effect of broadening horizons and even promoting social acceptance and liberal thought.
  • Income – This is a strange one as while the corporate worlds reside in bigger cities and provide further opportunity and therefore income for city-dwellers, housing prices are astronomical and the cost of living is typically far higher than that within the countryside. Nevertheless, it’s hardly a secret that community life has the potential to propel its constituents into serious wealth.

Interestingly enough, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey found that suburbanites are doing better than both their peers in the city and country when it comes to income.

living in a communityLiving The Rural Life

  • Health – Those who live in the country are far less likely to suffer from pollution, violent crime, sexually transmitted infections or alcoholism and are typically more mentally stable. A 2010 study found that city folks have a 21 percent higher probability of succumbing to anxiety and a 39 percent higher chance of developing other mental disorders relating to stress.

However, surprisingly, Country Health Rankings discovered that people who live in the country are more likely to die prematurely than those who live in the city. This is primarily due to vehicle collisions, cardiovascular disease, and accidental firearm-related deaths.

  • Independence – The freedom of nature and having the space to do what you want is one of the main pulls of the rural world. Children can play safely and securely in parks and climb trees as opposed to plastic blocks in air-conditioned and windowless rooms. There is a strong libertarian character in most rural areas for a reason, and you have much more privacy given the amount of space in between houses.
  • Housing –Speaking of houses, according to real estate website Trulia.com, there is a $1.5 million difference in the average cost of a home in New York vs. one in Sheridan, Kansas. Housing in the country is much cheaper, plus you have the opportunity to live on more land, which you can use as you see fit.

So, how do you know which is right for you and your current (or future) family? Property Management, Inc. sums it up perfectly: “The urban lifestyle tends to be more fast-paced, crowded and expensive, but it also allows you access to the very best in culture and entertainment. The suburban lifestyle is great for raising a family, and still allows you access to the sights of the city and the space to pull back as well.”

If you’re still undecided, perhaps suburban life is the first stop for you before making any further decisions!

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Do This First Before You Buy a House to Fix and Flip

fix and flip

By Marty Boardman, Experienced Real Estate Professional And House Flipping Coach 

I travel.

On airplanes.

A lot.

Back in 2012 my business partner, Manny Romero, and I started fixing and flipping houses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, both of us live in Phoenix.

Our city was ground zero for the housing collapse in 2008. And, kind of like a Phoenix, the market in our hometown rose from the ashes quickly as hedge funds, foreign buyers, and mom and pop investors flocked to the valley of the sun to snatch up distressed properties at a record pace.

Practically overnight, all the good deals were gone.

Rather than compete with all these investors for tiny profits, Manny and I decided to find a new market to do business in.

We ended up choosing Milwaukee.

Why? Well, we jokingly tell people it’s because we love beer, brats and cheese.

But the real reason is Milwaukee, like a lot of Midwest markets, has much older housing stock in need of repair. More importantly, it has a lot fewer investors to compete against.

fix and flip

Before Exterior

fix and flip

After Exterior

On the Road Again, and Again and Again

This means we have to go back and forth from Phoenix to Milwaukee.


Naturally, I’ve learned a few things from all this time on the road…

People, specifically air travelers, can be really gross.

I once sat next to a guy that practically inhaled a burrito the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s forearm before takeoff. But that wasn’t even half as disgusting as smelling his burrito burps for the next three hours.

Another thing I’ve learned is that air travelers can also be very impatient.

Just this afternoon, I made my way through the security checkpoint and was waiting for my bags to come through the X-ray machine. The guy right behind me in line was in such a rush that he actually tried to get ahead of me after we made our way through body scanner, even though his bags were in back of mine on the conveyor belt.

Imagine my delight in blocking him from reuniting with his carry on. I felt like a 7-foot NBA center.

Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry

Lately, there sure seems to be a whole lot of people, like my impatient air traveler friend at the security checkpoint, rushing into the business of fixing and flipping houses.

Perhaps you’ve been watching those home makeover programs on HGTV…

Maybe there’s a distressed property in your neighborhood and you’ve thought to yourself, “I can do this house flipping thing!”

Regardless what your motivation is, remember the words of legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, who told his players…

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

Do This First Before You Buy a House to Fix and Flip

It’s important you learn as much as you can about your real estate market BEFORE you buy a house to fix and flip.

This means knowing what median prices are in your city and zip code, where houses sell the fastest (and the slowest) and what contractors charge for things like paint, flooring, kitchen cabinets and countertops.

A lot of new investors are in such a rush to buy their first house that they pay no attention to what is happening in their market. They’re unaware of how a busy street, an overabundance of housing inventory, or a poor school district can affect the value of their property. Often this lack of knowledge results in financial disaster.

This isn’t the kind of stuff they talk about on reality TV shows, and it’s certainly not something a real estate investment guru will teach you, but this information is vital to creating sustained success.

fix and flip

After Kitchen

fix and flip

Before Kitchen

So before you invest your money in a property to fix and flip, invest your time researching your market.

Before Manny and I expanded our business to Milwaukee, we spent several months learning about the stats and trends in the area first. It was well worth our time and it helped us quickly identify our acquisition strategy.

The process was actually fun.

We discovered several undervalued neighborhoods to buy in…

And, some excellent places to get beer, brats and cheese.

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