Getting ahead in the real estate market is a tricky business these days. Many banks have made serious adjustments to their lending policies making it much more difficult to get a home loan if you are not very financially secure. This is not a bad thing. The foreclosure rate is frighteningly high, and much of this has to do with people taking on loans that they simply can not afford.

But nobody wants to throw their money down the renting toilet forever. This is particularly true if you plan on living in the same area for an expended length of time. So what to do? You would like to buy a home, but despite the fact that the real estate market has stagnated in many parts of the country a decent home is still out of your financial reach. You are not alone, sadly, but perhaps you can approach the problem creatively.

First of all, you have to accept the fact that you can not afford new home builders charlotte nc. At least, not right this minute. Then you need to begin looking at duplexes, triplexes … what have you. In many areas of the country, the price tags on these multi-family dwellings are not much higher than they are for a single family home. I’m not talking about an apartment complex – although that is not out of the question either. But for the moment, I am talking about a nice, simple multi-family home.

Ideally, search for a place that already has a renter in place – and preferably a renter that has been there for a long time and is paying a decent rent. If you are not having any luck finding such a place, then at least take a look at what is currently for rent in your area, how high rents are running, and how many units are sitting empty for months on end. Again, ideally you want to find an area where rental properties are not suffering from overabundant vacancies.

When you do find a place, do the math. Do not forget to include inflated utilities into your own costs if you are to be responsible for utilities for the entire building. And remember – you can always invest in having the utilities separated if the cost is too high. Renting out the other unit (or two units, or three units) should take a nice bite out of your mortgage and help you to build your equity much faster than buying a single family home and having to pay the entire thing by yourself.

But remember – if the rental unit (or units) remain empty, you will be responsible for the entire mortgage, so you want to be relatively certain that you can afford the entire mortgage IF YOU HAVE TO. A good way to cope with this is to tuck away some extra money from the rents collected each month to cover if you need to make that entire payment for a month or two.

Also – it is a good idea to steer clear of renting to friends or relatives. If they do not pay the rent, evicting them will be much more painful than evicting a stranger.

And – be sure to get legal advice on how to handle leases and on what kind of insurance you will need to best cover your butt.

In years to come – if all goes smoothly – owning a multi-unit home should put you in a financial position where you can either sell it and move to your own single-family home, or perhaps even move to a single-family home while keeping the rental unit and collecting rents.