Real Estate with Mill City Monthly: What to know before buying a condo, and more

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Mill City Monthly is a new sponsored feature by Rich Racine of Mill City Realty.


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Consider a Vacation Home that Pays for Itself


Vacation homes are not only for the wealthy. Even regular people with modest incomes might be able to own a vacation home, if they take steps to make it pay for itself.

A vacation home is anyplace – a condo, cabin, shack, or mansion – where family can meet, reconnect, and return to year after year to put down roots. Many happy memories are built in vacation homes.

Vacation homes also offer the chance to build long-term equity. They tend to retain their value and appreciate long term because they are usually located in popular geographic areas with limited housing supply.

However, owning a second home is also big expense. Beyond the mortgage, there’s upkeep, utilities, repairs, travel, and furnishings. One way around the expense is by using it as a vacation rental. By employing a vacation rental service, it’s possible to make enough to pay a chunk or all of the mortgage, while still booking yourself into the home during your own vacation times.

Twice as Nice. If you plan ahead, you can also rent your primary home during the same period. For instance, if you have a major sports team in your city, you could plan your vacation around a big game event. Then rent your home to someone coming into town for the game, while you escape to your vacation home.

If you live in a small town,  you can still find renters who want quiet—such as writers, or city folk, or out-of-town guests wanting to spend time near (but not with) family.

Before buying a second home, consider all the possible ways to make it work. Investigate the short term rental markets in both your home and vacation locations, and talk to your accountant about taxes.

Making Your Vacation Home Pay For Itself

Here’s a great little report with  more detail to help you analyze whether or not a vacation home would pay for itself. If you’re seriously considering this idea, please click and read. Then let me know how I can help you get the information you need. Click here now to learn more.


Decorate Your 1st Home on a Tight Budget

Before buying a condo, get answers to these three big questions: 1. What is the HOA like? 2. What is the condition of the complex? 3. What is the rental to owner ratio. The first question relates to quality of life in the complex. The second relates to continued financial benefit from buying a condo in that complex. The third tells you if there are a lot of caring owners vs. unvested renters living there.

We hear horror stories about restrictive HOA’s (who, for instance, fine you for drying clothes on your balcony). To know how difficult the HOA is, talk to current residents if possible. To determine if your condo is in good condition, find out how much in cash reserves the HOA has, and if they have scheduled any large projects, such as new roofing, which could raise your HOA fee. Have your agent get a copy of the HOA’s CC&R’s (covenants and restrictions) and read it. Finally, ask the HOA what percentage of renters vs. owners are in the complex. This is not only important for quality of life, but may affect financing, because many lenders have owner/renter limitations.

Let me know what complexes you’re considering and I’ll help you do some of that research.


What should I know before buying a condo?


Before buying a condo, get answers to these three big questions: 1. What is the HOA (Home Owners Association) like? 2. What is the condition of the complex? 3. What is the rental to owner ratio. The first question relates to quality of life in the complex. The second relates to continued financial benefit from buying a condo in that complex. The third tells you if there are a lot of caring owners vs. unvested renters living there.

We hear horror stories about restrictive HOA’s (who, for instance, fine you for drying clothes on your balcony). To know how difficult the HOA is, talk to current residents if possible. To determine if your condo is in good condition, find out how much in cash reserves the HOA has, and if they have scheduled any large projects, such as new roofing, which could raise your HOA fee. Have your agent get a copy of the HOA’s CC&R’s (covenants and restrictions) and read it. Finally, ask the HOA what percentage of renters vs. owners are in the complex. This is not only important for quality of life, but may affect financing, because many lenders have owner/renter limitations.

Let me know what complexes you’re considering and I’ll help you do some of that research.


Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, or just want to know what’s current in the world of property values, check out the current market report by clicking here.


Rich Racine of Mill City Realty is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire. He currently lives in Manchester with his wife, daughter, and Old English bulldog. He’s a graduate of Plymouth State University, earning his degree in communication studies, with a focus in business administration. His specialty is helping clients navigate through the process of buying or selling a home. Follow Rich on Facebook, or contact him with questions or to make an appointment: 603-738-0898 or via email: rracine@millcityrealtynh.com

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