Living Large on a Budget: Creative Design for a Cheap House

Are you ready to transform your cheap house into a spacious and stylish haven? Don’t let the limited square footage cramp your style. We’re here to spill the beans on how to make your petite palace look and feel like a grand manor, all while keeping those pennies securely in your piggy bank. Welcome to the world of “Living Large on a Budget: Creative Interior Design for Cheap Homes”!

1. The Grand Illusion of Space: Mirrors, Mirrors Everywhere!

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the thriftiest of them all? Mirrors are your new best friends when it comes to maximizing your space on a budget. Hang a large mirror strategically on a wall to create the illusion of depth and openness. It’s like a magical portal that transports you to an alternate dimension where your living room is twice the size!

2. Furniture Finesse: Multifunctional Marvels

Say goodbye to clunky, space-hogging furniture and welcome the era of multifunctional marvels! Invest in pieces that pull double duty, like a sofa that transforms into a bed or a coffee table with hidden storage compartments. It’s like having your cake and eating it too, except the cake is a cozy reading nook by day and a guest bedroom by night.

3. Color Chronicles: The Magic Palette

Color has the power to work wonders, especially in a small space. Opt for light and neutral tones to create an airy and open ambiance. But don’t shy away from a pop of color here and there! A vibrant rug or a colorful accent wall can inject personality without crowding your cheap house.

4. Clutter Conqueror: The Art of Minimalism

In the battle against clutter, minimalism is your secret weapon. Embrace the less-is-more philosophy by decluttering and curating your belongings. Not only does this make your home look more spacious, but it also cuts down on cleaning time. It’s a win-win situation, and your wallet will thank you too!

5. DIY Delights: Crafty Creations on a Shoestring Budget

Who said you need deep pockets for stylish decor? Get your DIY groove on and create custom decor pieces that scream “expensive taste” without the hefty price tag. Repurpose old furniture, paint thrift store finds, or make your own wall art. Your cheap house will be the envy of the block, and your bank account will breathe a sigh of relief.

6. Vertical Victory: Tall and Proud

When you can’t expand horizontally, go vertical! Utilize your walls to their fullest potential by adding tall shelves and wall-mounted storage units. This not only keeps your belongings organized but also draws the eye upward, creating the illusion of higher ceilings. It’s like adding an extra floor without the hassle of stairs!

7. Optical Illusions: Stripes and Patterns

Time to play tricks on the eyes with some optical illusions! Vertical stripes, whether on walls or curtains, can make your ceilings seem higher, while horizontal stripes can elongate your space. Experiment with patterns and textures to add depth and visual interest, making your cheap house feel surprisingly spacious.

8. Green Glamour: Bring the Outdoors In

Plants are not just for the garden – they’re also for turning your compact crib into a lush oasis! Indoor plants not only improve air quality but also bring a touch of nature that makes any space feel more inviting. From succulents to snake plants, your green buddies are the ultimate budget-friendly decor.

9. Scaled Delights: Furniture Proportions

Size does matter – especially when it comes to furniture proportions. Opt for smaller-scale furniture that’s tailored to your space. Oversized couches and hefty tables might look luxurious in a mansion, but in your cozy haven, they’ll make it feel like you’re navigating an obstacle course. Keep it cozy and chic with pieces that match your cheap house’s dimensions.

10. Light and Bright: Illuminate the Possibilities

Good lighting is the unsung hero of interior design. Maximize natural light by using sheer curtains and strategically placing mirrors near windows. For the darker corners, invest in layered lighting – overhead lights, task lights, and ambient lights – to banish shadows and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

There you have it, design adventurers! With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, your cheap house will transform into a space that’s as stylish as it is spacious. From optical illusions to DIY creations, you’re armed with everything you need to turn your snug abode into a true treasure. So go forth and conquer the world of budget-friendly interior design, all while enjoying the perks of “Living Large on a Budget”!

Remember, it’s not about the size of the house, but the creativity of the design that matters!

Looking for your own slice of affordable paradise? Check out our listings for amazing “cheap house for sale” opportunities in up-and-coming neighborhoods!

$100k a Year Goes Far in These 5 US Cities

Intro 

An annual salary of $100,000 is over the AMI of the US; however, the lifestyle with 100k differs day and night depending on the location. For example- 100k in NYC amounts to just $35,791 after deducting taxes and the cost of living. You might have to live with the bare minimum upon budgeting for necessary expenses such as taxes, groceries, rent, utilities, healthcare, education, and transportation. 

According to PYMTS research, 51% of individuals earning 100k or more lived paycheck to paycheck. Millennials and Gen Zs find it nearly impossible to buy a metropolitan home with an annual $100k income. Such inflated regular goods and amenities pricing catalyzed the rising population in US suburbs and compact neighborhoods. 

Top 5 US Cities to Live Comfortably with a $100k Yearly Salary

1. Madison, Mississippi 

Madison is the perfect choice for a family looking for a sound schooling system thanks to the prestigious yet affordable schools and a 6.8% lower crime rate than the US average. The county has multiple public schools with a robust teaching system; it built a foundation among students, leading to 68.1% of residents having bachelor’s degrees or higher. Also, there are some esteemed private schools, such as Madison-Ridgeland Academy. 

MRA offers a college-preparatory curriculum with small class sizes (16 students on average) for considerably less fees: the first child in a family has a tuition of $11,850/year for grades 6-12 and $7,240 for the elementary level. However, private schools in big cities like New York have astounding fees for similar schooling- an average of $20,899/year for elementary school and $26,418/year for high school. Since the Madison community has single-home listings starting from $227,000, you can admit your kids to prestigious schools without cutting the budget for the daily necessities. 

2. Collierville, Tennessee

Collierville is an affluent yet affordable community with an average household income of nearly $100,000. It takes 25 mins to reach the Metropolitan- thanks to smooth traffic. Additionally, the bus fares and gas prices are 7% lower than the national average- making it convenient and economical for residents to get around. 

Collierville takes pride in its strong sense of community, with 78% of the population being homeowners. You don’t have to get burdened by years of mortgage payments as the detached home price starts from $190,000.  The favorable tax climate (TN has no personal income taxes), top-grade education, charming downtown, and abundant recreational activities make this suburb appealing for those looking to participate in FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). 

3. East Boston, Massachusetts 

East Boston has a staggering 74% of Renters at all home types – leading to a very competitive renting market with 2-bed, 2-bath detached houses around the $3800-$4500 mark. A similarly sized single-family home of $749,900 costs a monthly payment of $4,654, including HOA, home insurance, and property taxes. So, why rent when you can buy your dream house for the same amount? Acquiring a property in the Eastie without financial strain is possible through loans and special incentives.

As the 100% AMI (Area Median Income) for a household of one person is $104,510, you can’t access the “BHA Section 8 to Homeownership Program” or other unique Federal loans for low-income families. However, individuals with a $100k annual income can access Jumbo loans that don’t follow Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s rules- with a maximum loan limit of $726,200 for 2023. With a fixed-rate Jumbo Mortgage, your interest rate stays the same for the life of the loan or term- ensuring financial stability for the future. 

4. East Point, Georgia 

East Point is a thriving suburb within the Atlanta Metro Area with a youthful populace -a median age of 35. This suburbia attracts more millennials through an affordable housing market with a median home value of $278,200- where single-family house prices go as low as $99,000. 

While East Point boasts a walkability of 12 and a bike score of 11, the neighborhood provides access to two electric vehicle charging locations- featuring 12 level 2 and 8 DC fast charging points. The charging facilities decrease the gas cost and overall car maintenance. Also, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) ensures cost-effective transportation through a comprehensive network of bus and train routes to the city center. 

5. Bayside, Milwaukee

Bayside is the Mekkah for baby boomers ( 45%) and WFH employees (21.84%). The Livability score (80) and one of the US’s lowest crime indexes (23) ensure that your money can go a long way in this neighborhood. Even though the median home value is higher ($469,400) than in other suburbs, the low cost of living ensures residents can sustain themselves well with $100K.  

Bayside is cost-efficient, considering energy bills, property upkeep, and insurance cost. Occupants can use solar power as this seaside is sunny and warm all year round. Homeowners don’t have to pay thousands for insurance since there is no chance of natural disasters -such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires.  

Conclusion 

The unprecedented price hike of properties, gas, and groceries in big cities leads people to downsize or move to the suburbs. The diverse features of such communities help people adapt to the new environment while the residents can live without financial restraints. 

Author: Shannon Quantock

5 Small US Cities With Plenty of Jobs and Cheap Housing

Living in big cities comes with plenty of conveniences, such as more amenities, excellent entertainment activities, and a shorter commute. However, not everyone loves the dazzling and bustling big cities.

The good news is, you will find several small cities in the United States that are ready to delight you by offering the best of both worlds! While providing you with the amenities found in large cities, they offer you an opportunity to enjoy a lower and affordable cost of living. In this article, we have shortlisted 5 such small cities that offer you access to the best amenities and affordability at the same time.

Key Findings

While creating our shortlist of the 5 best small cities, we considered two performance indicators:

i) Economic performance indicators: job growth, financial growth, and high-tech job concentration 

ii) Opportunity indicators: Housing affordability, broadband access, etc.

As we went on with our research to find the best small cities with plenty of jobs and affordable housing, we found that small cities in Washington and Michigan show the best performance and opportunities. The lower housing costs, lower unemployment rates, and lower number of residents living below poverty make these cities attractive options for people who are interested to move in a new city.

We also found out that California has the majority of cities among the ones that have the highest unemployment rates. On the other hand, residents in midwestern cities like Novi, Farmington Hills, Lakeville, etc. can save 6% more of their income due to the lower housing costs.

Our Short List for Small US Cities With Plenty of Jobs and Affordable Housing

In our shortlist, we have presented you with 5 cities with excellent job opportunities and affordable housing, each from a different state. Let’s have a look at the table below to have a summary of their livability and affordability:

CityHousing Cost as a Percentage of IncomeUnemployment RateResidents below the Poverty Level
Redmond, WA17.77%2.6%7.3%
Arlington Heights, IL17.69%3.4%6.2%
Bloomington, In20.21%2.5%8.8%
Woodruff, SC21.89%3.5%10.3%
Newton, MA17.34%2.1%3.4%

To know more about these cities, let’s have a look at our brief discussion on each of the cities:

i) Redmond, WA

Redmond ranks at first place in our ranking of small cities. The city is home to 76,000 people, and among many other employment opportunities, Redmond boast plenty of tech and marketing jobs to offer its residents. 

Thanks to the high-paying work opportunities, housing costs are highly affordable to most of the Redmond residents. Housing cost in Redmond is 17.77% of the median household income, which is lower than 90% of cities that we have evaluated.

ii) Arlington Heights, IL


Arlington has plenty of jobs in manufacturing, healthcare, educational industries, and professional, scientific, and technical services. Only 6.2% of its residents live below the poverty level, which shows that it has a good economy.


Arlington Heights provides its residents will top-of-the-class amenities, which include top-notch schools, a diverse range of dining options, parks, and many more activities that make it an attractive place to live. The median household income in Arlington Heights is $125,651, and housing Cost in this city is 17.69% of the total income here.


iii) Bloomington, In

Bloomington ranks 4th among small cities in terms of high-tech job concentration, and it has excellent annual wage growth as well. In addition to excellent job opportunities in the education and healthcare industries, the city offers you a charming ambiance that comes as a blend of urban and suburban feel. Plenty of lakes, forests, and parks surrounding the city center, and the amenities you will get here will ensure that you don’t miss the large cities.

Bloomington has a low median home price of $298,493. It takes 63rd place in the housing affordability ranking.

iv) Woodruff, SC

Combining an affordable and vibrant community with a pleasant small-town lifestyle, Woodruff offers you the best attractions and amenities that South Carolina has to offer. Thanks to the best amenities, attractive recreational opportunities, affordable cost of living, and low crime rates, Woodruff appears to be a perfect place to live with your family.

The moderate unemployment rate of 2.80% shows that Woodruff has a good number of job opportunities to offer its residents. You will find many lucrative jobs in this small city, especially in the healthcare, education, and manufacturing sectors. With a median home price of $351,580, Woodruff real estate is also ready to offer you lucrative homes at an affordable price range. 

v) Newton, MA

Newton, MA has the 9th lowest percentage of residents living below the poverty line. Situated only 11 miles west of Boston, this bustling business district comes with numerous leading companies including Boston Scientific, TripAdvisor, Fidelity Investments, and more. In addition to the large employers, many local and smaller businesses offer Newton its own unique charm. 

Housing cost in Newton is 17.34% of the average income. While the other costs are a bit higher compared to other cities of the country, Newton residents enjoy a high standard of life thanks to the vibrant culture and highly rated schools.  

The small cities we have discussed here offer you excellent work opportunities, but they don’t require you to spend a fortune on housing and other costs. While they might not be as posh as the large cities, they delight you with all the amenities and conveniences that you would need for a high standard of living!

Author: Shannon Quantock

10 Most Important Things to Consider When Managing Rental Properties

Whether you’re a new or experienced property manager, there are key considerations that can contribute to your success in this field.

In this article, we will discuss the ten most important things to consider when managing rental properties. By understanding and implementing these factors, you can enhance tenant satisfaction, maintain property value, and maximize your rental income.

1. Understanding Tenant Screening and Selection

One of the most critical aspects of successful property management is tenant screening and selection. Thoroughly vet potential tenants by conducting background checks, verifying income and employment, and checking references. This process helps you find reliable tenants who are likely to pay rent on time and take care of the property.

2. Setting Competitive Rental Prices

Setting the right rental prices is crucial for attracting tenants and maximizing your income. Research the local rental market, consider factors such as location, property condition, amenities, and comparable rents in the area. For example If you are finding the right Park Place Properties, striking the right balance between profitability and market demand is essential to ensure a steady stream of tenants.

3. Developing and Enforcing Clear Lease Agreements

Clear and comprehensive lease agreements protect both you and your tenants. Include essential terms and conditions, such as rent amount, due dates, maintenance responsibilities, pet policies, and penalties for lease violations. Enforce lease agreements consistently to maintain order and prevent misunderstandings.

4. Prioritizing Property Maintenance and Repairs

Regular property maintenance and prompt repairs are essential to maintain the value of your rental properties and keep tenants satisfied. Conduct routine inspections, address maintenance requests promptly, and stay proactive in preventing potential issues. Taking care of your properties demonstrates your commitment to tenant comfort and safety.

5. Building Strong Relationships with Tenants

Nurturing positive relationships with tenants fosters tenant satisfaction and encourages longer tenancy. Maintain open lines of communication, address concerns promptly, and be responsive to their needs. Building trust and rapport with tenants creates a harmonious rental environment and reduces turnover.

6. Efficient Rent Collection and Financial Management

Establish streamlined rent collection procedures to ensure a consistent and reliable cash flow. Clearly communicate rent due dates, offer convenient payment methods, and promptly address late payments. Implement effective financial management practices, such as tracking expenses, budgeting, and maintaining accurate financial records.

7. Staying Compliant with Rental Laws and Regulations

Compliance with rental laws and regulations is crucial to protect your interests and avoid legal complications. Stay informed about local, state, and federal laws governing rental properties, including fair housing laws, security deposit regulations, and eviction procedures. Regularly update your knowledge to ensure full compliance.

8. Effectively Handling Tenant Complaints and Disputes

Being proactive in addressing tenant complaints and resolving disputes is key to maintaining a harmonious rental environment. Listen actively, take tenant concerns seriously, and work towards finding mutually beneficial solutions. Swiftly addressing issues helps build trust and preserves tenant satisfaction.

9. Implementing Effective Marketing Strategies

Successful rental property management requires effective marketing to attract quality tenants. Utilize online platforms, social media, and local advertising channels to showcase your properties. Use high-quality photos, compelling descriptions, and highlight unique selling points to capture potential tenants’ attention.

10. Continuously Educating Yourself on Industry Trends

The rental property market is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with industry trends is vital for successful management. Continuously educate yourself on changes in the market, emerging technologies, and best practices in property management. Attend workshops, and seminars, and join professional associations to expand your knowledge.

FAQs

How can I find reliable tenants for my rental properties?

Finding reliable tenants involves thorough tenant screening. This process helps you identify tenants who are likely to meet their rental obligations and take care of the property.

What should I include in a lease agreement?

A lease agreement should include essential terms such as rent amount, due dates, lease duration, maintenance responsibilities, pet policies, and rules regarding property use. It should clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords.

How can I handle late rent payments?

Establish clear rent payment policies and due dates, and communicate them effectively to tenants. If a tenant is consistently late with rent, follow your established procedures for late payment, which may include late fees or a formal notice.

What are the key legal considerations in rental property management?

Key legal considerations include fair housing laws, security deposit regulations, eviction procedures, and compliance with local building codes. It is important to familiarize yourself with the rental laws and regulations in your specific jurisdiction.

How can I effectively market my rental properties?

To effectively market your rental properties, utilize online platforms, social media, and local advertising channels. Use high-quality photos, compelling descriptions, and highlight the unique features of each property to attract potential tenants.

Conclusion

Managing rental properties requires careful consideration of various factors. By understanding the importance of tenant screening, setting competitive rental prices, developing clear lease agreements, prioritizing maintenance and repairs, building tenant relationships, ensuring efficient rent collection, staying compliant with laws, addressing tenant concerns, implementing effective marketing strategies, and continuously educating yourself, you can excel in rental property management. Embrace these considerations to create a positive rental experience for both you and your tenants.

Author: M. Rubayet