What Is The Real Story In Multi Family Houses

What Is The Real Story In Multi Family Houses

I admit it. I love multi family homes. I live in one that I own. It is my third. I help people buy them all the time. I help people sell them. Why would that be when so many people, especially first time buyers won't go anywhere near them?
Here is the story in the greater NYC area. Homes are expensive. Taxes can be high. Utilities are up there too. We live in an expensive and yet very beautiful area. As was recently said to me by J. Philip Faranda "The high taxes are the price of entry to a very desirable real estate area." He was right, (they don't call him the Thunder God for nothing). Westchester is the home to many celebrities, sports icons and captains of industry. There iare reasons for that: the Hudson River, the Long Island Sound, the abundance of excellent restaurants , the diversity of the population, the available shopping, the fabulous groceries, and not least of all the ease of the commute into the Big Apple. 
So how does Josette Average buy a home? Very carefully. We all watch the HGTV shows that tell us about rehabbing a property, open floor plans, moving walls and making a house picture perfect. As someone as who has been in thousands of homes over the years, many houses are not even close to that image. It can be a rude awakening.
I work with a lot of first time buyers with great big eyes and even bigger dreams. Often when we start looking for a home, they feel overwhelmed with the cost of the properties and the taxes and how much less they get than they expected. How then to actualize their dream of home owner ship?
Up steps the multi family property. People tell me, "Oh I can't be a landlord." Or, I don't want to live with anyone else. Yet they are often coming from big apartment complexes and have negotiated business and professional roles far more complex than having a tenant.
I tell people that my rental unit is my husband and they laugh. But it is. I get my second income from that apartment. It needs maintenance, sometimes it is a problem, sometimes it is a joy, sometimes we just live in harmony for years on end, other times I want to throw the bum out. See, just like a husband!
When you work with an excellent mortgage broker and a knowledgeable sales person, you will find that you can purchase more house if you purchase a multi family. In fact in my own situation, my rental unit covers the cost of my property taxes (which I can deduct on my federal return) and the cost of heating the house(half of which I also deduct). There is also some left for maintenance and upkeep. Anything after that I usually plow right back into the house so that my investment is maintained and improved.
I am not getting rich off of a two family house but I do own my own place, I have tenants that I provide a good home for and we are all very happy. I was able to buy my home with an FHA loan with a low down payment 15 years ago and get into a market place that even with selling the three homes I owned at the time upstate, was a challenge. 
Managing a multi family is not a huge problem either. I always have approached it just as I approached my job. There is work to be done for an income. It is not free money. There are ways to make it easier and ways to make it harder. But a multi family, and there are some beauties in the Bronx and Westchester, can get you into more house than you might be able to buy in a single and can help offset the cost of home ownership and keep you in a better financial position. It can also give you the intangibles, like a yard to see the kids play in, or your own tomato for your salad, or the ability to paint your kitchen whatever you want, whenever you want. Small joys, small freedoms, big rewards. 

Mary Kingsley Headshot
Phone: 917-292-5378
Dated: August 9th 2013
Views: 3,225
About Mary: I have a long background in public service. I am a Registered Nurse with a BA and an MPS in Health C...

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