Friday, July 23, 2010

A House Within Your Means without Compromise

You can get the home that you want and not have to give up the American Dream. Very often when people go looking for an easier lifestyle they think of condominiums or even apartments. And they have lived in a single family home for most if not all their lives. Many have never lived with people above, below or even directly beside them. They know that they should move because they just don’t need the big house or yard any longer. They really don’t want to redo the roof a third time or repave the driveway again. The thought of more painting, replacing cabinets, a bath or kitchen upgrade, installing more new carpet, retiling the kitchen or refinishing the living room hardwood makes them think there must be a better way to begin or go through retirement. Never mind getting rid of all the stairs.

While apartments and condo living do take all of the exterior maintenance worries away from you, they are usually a significant compromise in terms of the proximity of your neighbors. Most also are not on one floor so stairs are still a problem like in so many townhouse style condos that make sense for younger buyers with good knees.

A manufactured house on leased land in a good neighborhood is the best of both worlds. You get to live in a single family home on one floor, continue to build up equity by owning the property, have the privacy of your own home but not the big home or yard, have good neighbors around if you want to visit or have them watch your home, and the community own does the heavy lifting with most any significant land or utility maintenance or repair. Most enjoy still getting out in the yard to work that green thumb but not have it be such a chore. A small lot that is easy to care for is a breeze compared to the chore of hours of yard work at the old homestead.

Financially, many scale down to a more manageable number and have little if any loan repayment. The monthly land lease enables the purchase of a less expensive home and allows for extra equity to be invested or saved for other purposes. While a land lease fee is typically more than a condo fee it pays for just that: leasing the land as well as common maintenance and services.

With 29 Jensen communities® from New Hampshire to Georgia, including our newest in New Hartford NY (Cherrywood at, there may be one in your area or one where you have always wanted to live. Please visit or call 800-458-6832 to find out how you can “Get in on the Good Life!”®.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A House within Our Means Should be a Safe Refuge

It is troubling to hear about so many people being forced out of their homes because of financial trouble. Regardless of whether people got into difficulties due to a lost job, medical bills, or just bad spending habits, people still need a place to live and no one likes to see such turmoil.

A home is a unique investment. It is a financial asset but it is also much more than that. Perhaps more people should value their homes for the intangible benefits that they provide than simply a financial instrument. A home bought with forethought and a long term view can help one’s financial status by allowing them to build equity but this should be a secondary benefit rather than the primary goal. Generally speaking, with time on their side, the right purchase can create equity by paying down the loan as well as by price appreciation and receiving certain tax benefits. But when people focus on only what they can gain from buying their home, some get greedy and create added risks that run against the stability that a good home in a good neighborhood should provide.

Not having a place to live is a terrible position to be in. We have all seen the images of families living out on the streets, in their cars, or in shelters. No one expects to be in this situation but many are today that never imagined that it could happen to them. With the benefit of history and hindsight, isn’t living within our means a more reasonable way to live? Shouldn’t we be providing ourselves and our families with a safe and secure roof over our heads before just thinking about the payoff we can get from our homes? Shouldn’t we be focusing on building memories and enjoying our friends and families in our homes more than worrying about financial gains that will come with patience and prudence?

While patience and prudence don’t sound like a lot of fun, those that do exercise such traits are the ones who are truly independent. They are the ones who own their homes and don’t let their homes own them. They buy and finance what they can reasonably afford and don’t try to “keep us with the Jones’”. By living well within their means and deciding that living within their means is living well, they have established their own high standard of living without the trappings of being overextended. They will always have a house because the house (or the bank) doesn’t own them.

We are taught that we can and should always buy up. In today’s world it is becoming more fashionable to buy right for our own circumstances. This may mean buying down or buying up, but it needs to mean buying a house within our financial means.

Buy modestly to get a start in life.
Buy modestly to have a place to raise your family.
Buy modestly to help you save for future needs.
Buy modestly to live well in retirement.
Buy modestly to get more out of life than being a slave to your property.

At Jensen communities we offer a lifestyle that over 4,600 families consider one of the best. Visit or call 800-458-6832 to see how you can Get in on the Good Life!