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Knowing The Right Thing To Do

If you are like many people in the US, you may have spent some time with family this past week or weekend. At these family events, I'm always reminded of the impact personal preference has on our understanding of right and wrong behavior. For example, I am not a big fan of honey baked ham. What was served at our family celebration? Honey baked ham. 

The Importance of Culture

Culture is a word that is bandied about within business text on a regular basis. It's touted as the reason some businesses succeed, while others fall short. Is that really the case? And what do we mean by "culture"?

Often, when people talk about a company that has a "good culture", they usually mean that the customer service is good or that the people are nice. However, good culture is much less a hallmark of nice people and much more a conscious decision to intentionally do business in a particular way. For example, Apple is known for its innovations. Their belief in being innovators permeates every part of its culture from their employees being referred to as "Geniuses" to their advertisements touting the advancements in the design and technology in their products. While there are certainly nice people who work for Apple, there are probably very few Luddites who are afraid or adverse to innovation.

Housing for Healthy Lives

We all know that home is an important part of life. But did you know that where you live might make or break your health, too?

Housing matters for mental and emotional well-being, safety, and opportunities for jobs, education and social services. And as NPR just reported, there’s compelling evidence that decent housing brings benefits for physical health, too—while the opposite is true for poor quality housing.

NPR's latest poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that 40 percent of lower-wage earning Americans with household incomes under $25,000 a year believe poor neighborhoods and housing conditions lead to poor health.

These low-income folks are often those who have to take whatever housing they can afford. Often that’s an apartment with chipping lead paint, malfunctioning HVAC system and a roach infestation.

Diversification: How Manufactured Homes Help

Usually when we say, “diversification,” we’re talking about building a well-balanced investment portfolio. Certainly manufactured housing is a great investment. But there’s another, equally valuable way it can provide different, much-needed diversification.

Unlike high-rise apartment buildings, manufactured homes are a type of affordable housing that we see in every different kind of location: urban areas, suburbs, and rural spots, too.

Why does this matter? Because research shows that the affordable housing crisis is hitting all of these locations—and in fact rural areas are among the hardest hit.

Last year Shaun Donovan, then-Secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, told NPR that the country is experiencing its "worst rental affordability crisis" ever.

This crisis is disproportionately affecting the poorest of the poor, many of whom spend more than half of their incomes on rent or live in substandard housing. (Or worse, end up homeless.)

Affordable Housing: Downsides of a Shortage

If housing prices are going up, it’s a good sign in many ways for a city’s economy. It means people want to live there, and there are well-paying jobs that allow them to pay more for housing. Increased demand drives prices higher; municipalities collect more in property taxes.

But there are always two sides to every coin, and we must consider the downsides to an affordable housing shortage, too. Let’s use areas of Colorado, where we’re headquartered and own properties, as a case study.

For starters, we’ve already written about Denver’s situation so we’ll mention it only briefly. The mayor recently unveiled a five-year plan to address Denver’s lack of affordable housing, saying it is threatening the city’s identity. Denver needs various types of places at various prices to house a variety of people and maintain its diversity, he says.

The Ins and Outs of Housing Investment

You probably have no problem finding places to put your money. But if you’re looking to invest in a great long-term prospect, real estate is a wonderful option. Why?

Real estate investment is a tried and true way to build wealth. There are three basic ways that real estate investing pays off: 1) cash flow, 2) equity and 3) appreciation.

1) Cash flow. Cash flow is the money that a rental property makes from its rent less the expenses paid for maintaining the property. You can do this yourself by buying a rental property and managing it. Or, like our investors do, you buy in to part of a property(ies) via a real estate investment company and collect dividends based on the investment company’s success. If you buy property on your own, cash flow may not be your primary return right away. Instead, at first you may use the residual cash to reduce the debt you owe from purchasing the property to gain equity faster. Which leads us to…

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