Newbie considering relocating to Charlotte to Live & Invest - Needs Advice


First and foremost, this forum is a true blessing. The wealth of knowledge and experience here is well beyond anything I’ve come across. I’ve discussed my situation with my peers, family members, and even my girlfriend who have all encouraged me to seriously consider my proposal below. I post today welcoming any comments, concerns, critiques and suggestions. With that being said, I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to read about my situation. Sincere apologies if I come across as young, naïve, or overly confident.

As stated by the title of my post, I’m currently considering relocating from Chicago, IL to Charlotte, NC. I’m 24 years old, went to an average private University in the Midwest and work for a highly respected financial services firm. I’m confident that I could get into part-time MBA program at Kellogg or Booth and my employer would pay roughly 75% the cost. However, I’m growing more and more disenchanted with the idea. I would need to guarantee my employer two years of service at the conclusion of graduation which would put me there for another five years at the very least. Additionally, I feel like a MBA would solidify the fact that I’m now working for someone else for the rest of my life and would diminish my ever growing entrepreneurial spirit and keen interest in real estate.

My younger sister moved to Charlotte from Connecticut in October and I purchased a foreclosed townhome for her and her boyfriend to live in. The property is a two bed, two and a half bath, finished basement end-unit and is approximately 1300 square feet. I purchased the property for $38,000, putting down $10,000 with the remaining on a 30-year mortgage at an interest rate of 4.5%. After my mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and HOA dues, I’m paying roughly $425 a month. I’ve signed them on a two-year lease at $625 per month. So far the expenses have been minimal (paint, carpet cleaning, plumber) but I’m now shopping for a new HVAC/Furnace unit that’s looking to be in the neighborhood of $4700. Not sure how the home inspector didn’t pick up on this one, but I guess it’s the joy of being a home owner, right? On a side note, at my closing I was given copies of the HUD settlement as well as a copy of my “closing documents.” Is there anything else I should have indicating that I’m the property owner?

My living expenses are roughly $1000 a month in Chicago and I’m fairly confident that I can earn close to the same wages in Charlotte. I’m thinking of making the move down, purchasing a two or three bedroom townhome, find a roommate or two and let them cover most of my expenses. I’d purchase a townhome in the neighborhood of $50,000 and put 20% down. In the event that I’m unable to find a roommate(s) right away, my expenses would still be significantly less than what I’m paying in Chicago. I would be saving aggressively with the hope to purchase more property, establish more connections in the area, and begin my mini real estate side career. While I’d eventually like to move back to Chicago in 2-4 years, I think an opportunity like this would be very rewarding and serve as a unique and hands on learning experience.

If I chose to go this route, what kind of mortgage would I need? Would I need an investment policy similar to my current property or would a primary residence policy suffice if it will be my primary residence for a few years and I later rent it out?

Leaving my friends and girlfriend would be tough, but I feel like this is one of those opportunities you just have to take. Obviously assuming I’m able to find a job. I wouldn’t move down without one in place. The last time I felt this way about a potential move was when I transferred schools (East Coast to the Midwest) and that turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I love Chicago, but feel as if it simply doesn’t make much financial sense. I look at this as an opportunity to eventually have several additional income streams. It’s pretty cool to think that I could be 27 years old and own between 2-4 properties.

Again, your feedback is certainly appreciated. I’m very eager to hear your thoughts (both positive and negative) and I appreciate your time.

All the best,

You are young and it is the time to test the waters.

You are already chafing at the idea of owing your employer if they pay for your schooling, so just don’t do that. It wouldn’t be fair, your attitude would need to be different.

About the townhomes…Homeowner fees?

You can be really flexible–why not look into a duplex, triplex, etc. Why not look into getting a foreclosure? You can crash with your sister for a while, she owes you, right?

Take the time needed to chart your next step in life. Spend a lot of time on these forums and figure out what you REALLY want to do. PUT THE PLAN IN WRITING. Share it with us, we can be mentors.

As for leaving your girlfriend, it sounds like she’s more of a convenience or you wouldn’t be leaving her. You would be asking her to come along.


The home inspector only certifies that the equipment is in working order at the time of the inspection. The inspection report may note the age of the equipment and general appearance, but if the equipment was working properly at the time of inspection, it passed.

Your proof of ownership is a copy of the recorded deed. You should also have an owner’s title insurance policy in your possession.

You would apply for a loan to purchase the property as an owner occupant. FHA only requires 3.5% down payment plus closing costs. Conventional loans from institutional lenders generally require 20% down (or more depending upon your credit report).

As far as insurance is concerned, as an owner occupant, you would apply for a home owner’s insurance policy which will insure the property as well as any personal property you have in the house. When you decide to move out and convert the property to a rental, you will need to convert your homeowner’s insurance policy to a rental dwelling policy. A rental dwelling policy will only insure the building structure against loss but will not cover your tenant’s personal property.

You can ask your sister if you can visit for a couple of days, but crashing with her might upset your rental cash flow. After all, if she is paying you rent, shouldn’t you be kicking some back if you are living there?

Thanks for your input Dave! I’ve sent an e-mail over to the law firm that represented me at closing for a copy of the deed as well as title insurance policy. In terms of “crashing” with my sister, we’ve discussed this. She’s more than OK with it. I would be essentially knocking off some of her rent, but I’ll still have my costs covered.

Furnishedowner, Thanks for your feedback! Do you mean HOA fees or the general fees associated with being a homeowner (i.e. maintenance and upkeep)?

In terms of my girlfriend, I’m in no position to stay simply because of her. We’ve discussed my plan and she’s very much for it as she understands my entrepreneurial spirit. Even factoring in a flight to Chicago bi-monthly, my costs would still be significantly less in Charlotte.

You know me. I am the working guy. Five years of employment is not a bad thing. I have an MBA that was paid by my employer also and I have continued to work. Everybody has to do something and work is a good a thing to do as anything else…as long as what you are doing is what you want to do. The problem is not having a job the problem is working at a job that you don’t like. If you don’t like your job get another job. An MBA will allow you to stop doing whatever it is at your job you don’t like and do that job at your company that you do like. I use real estate to enhance my life. The guy in the office next to me makes what I make and is average but because I have real estate I am rich. Same job me rich him not. Why is this? It is because I use real estate to chunk my life with extra. For example the average person in the USA has a car note of $350/month and drives a Toyota Camey or a Honda Accord because of it. If you buy 1 rent house with a cash flow of $200/month you are now in a 5Series BMW. You see where I am going? If you throw chunks of income into any life expense you are looking at it makes it much better. You go from being able to afford a 2500 sqft house to a 5,000 sqft house just by chunking in rent houses to pay the difference. When you get to where I am when all of your living expenses (everything from house payment to drycleaning) is totally paid for by my rentals now my whole paycheck is EXTRA money. Then going to work will be a lot more fun. You can take that assignment that is risky but if you nail it you will get the big promotion. The year I started buying rent houses I got 2 raises and a promotion in the same year. That is because it took the reason for me working from money to doing the job. Real estate allowed me to do things like I owned the job not as an employee and it showed. This is just my take but work is not bad.

Been in Charlotte 14 years. You ought to like it.

Bluemoon, I really appreciate your response as this is the very thing I’m struggling with. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the opportunities for MBA’s exist in the same capacity that they may have when you did yours. A MBA wouldn’t allow me to change what I’m doing overnight by any means. With that being said, I’m starting to worry I might never be happy as long as I’m working for someone else. If I were to get a MBA, wouldn’t that just reinforce the fact that I should continue in the “rat race” rather than pursue anything entrepreneurial? At that point, I’ve invested so much time and money. Thanks!