Fair Wear and Tear vs. Property Damage

It might seem like we’re mincing words, but the difference between “fair wear and tear” and “damage” can actually have a big impact on your pocketbook — as well as the state of your rental property.

Which will it be in your case? Read on to understand the difference.

What is fair wear and tear?Capture

Properties depreciate — plain and simple. And when someone lives in a property, it’s expected that the home will decline slightly due to use.

The carpets will get worn down, the paint will fade, and grout will get dirty with foot traffic. This is called wear and tear, or sometimes reasonable wear and tear or normal wear and tear, depending on your state.

Regardless of what term you use, you can’t expect your tenants to foot the bill for fixing it. It’s a largely expected result of someone living in the home, and outside of following basic standards of cleanliness, there’s nothing tenants can really do to prevent it or stop it from happening.

Examples of reasonable wear and tear

  • Faded paint or peeling wallpaper
  • Slightly faded or dirty carpet
  • Scuffs on wood flooring or small cracks in tile
  • Dirty grout or caulking
  • Small nail holes or scrapes on the wall
  • Sticky doors and windows
  • Faded metal fixtures, shower rods, etc.
  • Worn enamel on toilets, sinks, and tubs
  • Loose door handles

Who pays for wear and tear?

The landlord is responsible for covering the costs of any wear and tear on the property. And in cases of longer-term tenants, landlords may actually need to pay for more wear and tear than usual.

What is property damage?

Unlike wear and tear, property damage isn’t an expected outcome of renting a space to tenants. It’s above and beyond general depreciation of a property, and it’s often the result of poor maintenance or cleaning habits, neglect, or physical abuse of the home. Pets and children often cause property damage unintentionally.

Examples of property damage

  • Stained or burned carpet (something steam cleaning can’t get rid of)
  • Holes in carpeting or large swathes of missing wallpaper
  • Broken windows, mirrors, or fixtures
  • Holes in walls or doors
  • Clogged pipes and drains due to lack of cleaning
  • Doors or cabinets off their hinges
  • Missing tiles
  • Broken appliances
  • Broken blinds
  • Pest infestations
  • Damage done by pets (urine smells and stains, scratched doors/walls, etc.)

Who pays for property damage?

Tenants are responsible for covering the costs of property damage that occurs during their tenure. You as the landlord can take the money out of their security deposit or, if the damage goes beyond the amount of the deposit, send them a bill for the added cost. (Hopefully, it doesn’t get to this point, though, or you may find yourself in small claims court trying to recoup those funds.)

  • The state of the property/damaged item before it was damaged. How old was it? How clean was it? How much life did it still have in it? If the tenant damaged carpet that had already been in the home for 15 years, you can’t very well justify charging them for brand new, premium-grade replacement carpet.
  • How long the tenant was in the home. A little damage after 10 years in the home isn’t the same as it is for a tenant who’s been there for only 18 months. The home is obviously going to look different if a tenant has been in there for the long haul — and that’s to be expected.

You should only charge the tenant to replace what life the item had left in it. Let’s say, for example, the tenant cracked a shower door. The door was brand new when they moved in, and they’ve lived there 10 years. According to the National Association of Home Builders, shower doors should only last about 20 years max. By these standards, you would only charge the tenant for about half the price of a new door, since half its lifespan has already passed.

The importance of a move-in inspection

Tenants aren’t going to just freely admit they broke something and then cough up hundreds of dollars to pay for it. In order to prove there was damage done to the property (and justify dipping into that security deposit), you’ll need detailed inspections on both ends of the lease term.

Before the tenant moves in, use this move-in checklist and go through the property room by room. Take photos of each space and note any signs of wear and tear or damage that already exist. Ask the tenant to do the same upon move-in, and have them fill out this template with all of their notes and findings. They should return it to you within a few days of moving into the property.

How to prevent undue wear, tear, and damage

As with anything, prevention is the best policy here. And while you’re not the one living in the home, there are some things you can do to keep undue property damage at bay.

For one, stay visible. Keep in touch with your tenants and make sure they know to alert you if anything goes awry in the home — even something minor. Something small like a clogged drain can easily lead to deeper damage later on, so open and honest communication is critical.

You should also have a stringent tenant screening process in place and, once a renter is found, clearly stipulate in the lease which maintenance tasks they’re responsible for. Do they need to trim the hedges and tree branches away from the home? Are they required to steam-clean the carpets once per year and clear out the air vents every month? Be specific.

Finally, never re-up a lease without seeing the property first. The longer it’s been since you’ve seen the home, the more damage there could be, so always do a quick walk-through before signing on that dotted line.

Fair wear and tear is expected; property damage is not. Want to make sure you can collect on that property damage should it occur? Have a comprehensive inspection process in place, and always photograph the property before and after a tenant occupies the space for proof. A detailed lease can also protect you (and your property), as can a healthy security deposit, required up front before move in.


Source: fool.com

These two North Carolina cities rank among top 10 in the world for quality of life


Two North Carolina cities offer some of the best quality-of-life amenities in the world, new rankings show.

Charlotte and Raleigh ranked among the top 10 in a study of factors that contribute to residents’ happiness, according to a 2020 index from the user-contributed database website Numbeo.

Raleigh snagged the higher spots, landing at No. 3 globally and No. 1 nationally, results show. The Queen City wasn’t too far behind, ranking eighth in the world and fourth in the United States.

So what led North Carolina’s cities to earn international acclaim?

Raleigh and Charlotte had high scores for climate, a category that gives weight to places with “moderate temperatures and low humidity and no other major weather condition which is usually not preferred by most people,” according to Numbeo.

The Tar Heel State’s biggest cities also got favorable ratings for purchasing power and the ability to afford housing based on family incomes, the results show.

The findings come after three Raleigh suburbs ranked among the best small cities in the United States, The


News & Observer reported in October. More recently, a real estate blog named the region one of the most attractive for millennials.

Numbeo says it came up with its recent rankings for 232 cities after using formulas to evaluate data related to prices, pollution, health care, traffic and safety.

In the United States, other cities that made it into the top 10 list were Madison, Wisconsin; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas, findings show.

Worldwide, the top quality-of-life ranking went to Canberra, Australia. The capital city of nearly 400,000 people is about 400 miles northeast of Melbourne.





Top Ten Outperforming Metro Markets Report

The National Association of REALTORS® identified the top metro areas for the next 3-5 years based on domestic migration, housing affordability for new residents, consistent job growth relative to the national average, population age structure, attractiveness for retirees and home price appreciation, among other variables.

In alphabetical order, the markets are:

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolinatop-10
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

“Some markets are clearly positioned for exceptional longer-term performance due to their relative housing affordability combined with solid local economic expansion,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Drawing new residents from other states will also further stimulate housing demand in these markets, but this will create upward price pressures as well, especially if demand is not met by increasing supply.”

NAR identified the top 10 metro areas based on a myriad of factors, including domestic migration, housing affordability for new residents, consistent job growth relative to the national average, population age structure, attractiveness for retirees and home price appreciation, among other variables.

“Potential buyers in these 10 markets will find conditions especially favorable to purchase a home going into the next decade,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “The dream of owning a home appears even more attainable for those who move to or are currently living in these markets.”

Strong job growth is one factor driving up prices in these markets, with payroll employment rising about 2.5% annually in the last three years, higher than the national rate of 1.6%. In Ogden, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Raleigh, job growth rose nearly 3%.1

Movers2 flock to these markets at higher rates than the average of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. In Colorado Springs, recent movers accounted for 21% of the total population, followed by Fort Collins at 17% and Las Vegas at 16%. These areas attract various age groups. For example, 11% of the people who moved to Tampa were 65 years and older, while 54% of recent movers in Durham were between the ages of 18 and 34. 

In most of these metro areas, about half of recent movers who are renting can afford to buy a home in those respective markets when compared to the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. Homeownership rates in these markets are expected to increase due to the relative affordability.

To view NAR’s Top 10 Outperforming Markets report, visit https://www.nar.realtor/reports/top-ten-outperforming-metro-markets-report.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.




12 Trouble Spots To Watch For When Renting Out Property

Renting out a property can be profitable, but there are a number of potential issuesDepositphotos_5177593_l-2015-300x200 to watch out for, including tenant troubles, property maintenance issues, vacancy costs, or even a failure to reach your overall investing goals.

In order to avoid problems, owners should be mindful of the things that can affect the rental value of their property—or their long-term peace of mind when it comes to a tenant. Below, 13 members of Forbes Real Estate Council share some of the most crucial elements that owners or property managers should focus on when renting out a home, as well as why those elements are so important. Here’s what they said:

1. Tenant Reference And Employment Checks

This should go without saying, however, too many landlords meet prospective tenants in person and trust them because they are nice and affable people. Unfortunately, not everyone has the best track record with their previous landlords and a lot of future pain can be saved by both asking for references and actually calling the previous landlords. – Colin Bogar, Property Passbook

2. Systems Failing And Things Breaking

Have a plan before things break and systems fail. Build relationships with plumbers, electricians, handymen, etc., creating a strong network of vendors that you can trust. Empower your tenants to get immediate help by having a list of approved vendors in a book you can leave at the property. If you manage multiple properties, you can use this as leverage with the vendors to secure better rates. – Katie Brown, Downtown Katie Brown, Realtor

3. Eviction Rights

Don’t rent to anyone you can’t evict. Who rents your home will make or break your rental income. If it is your friend, family or partner then when the time comes to make that decision of evicting, you won’t do it. Which means you don’t have a rental, you have a charitable contribution. Decide now if it is a rental or a charity and pick rental tenants only. – Joseph Edgar, TenantCloud

4. Realistic Rent Amounts

Check local rental listings to find out what you can realistically charge. If you want to find a good tenant, the rent must be comparable to the going market rate. – Beatrice de Jong, Open Listings (YC W15)

5. Local Laws

Landlords will be tempted to rent more space than is locally allowed, such as a finished basement that is not approved as a legal unit. Also, with Airbnb becoming popular for landlords, as well as a hot button issue for communities, knowing the specific laws and guidelines is crucial. Fines for these types of actions are very costly and will kill your profit. Short money could become a long problem. – Ralph DiBugnara, Home Qualified

6. Your Investing Goals

One thing many first-time landlords forget to do is define their investing goals. We certainly did this with our first rental property. We figured, as long as it was cash-flowing, we’d keep renting it out. However, we failed to take into account the appreciation and diminishing return on equity. Had we defined our investing goals up front, we could have grown our portfolio much more quickly. – Annie Dickerson, Goodegg Investments

7. If The Numbers Work

Before you get emotionally invested in the idea of converting your home into a rental, you have to run the numbers. Ask yourself: “If I was a real estate investor analyzing this property for potential purchase as a rental, do the numbers work?” A fundamental rule of sound rental property investing dictates that the rental should cash-flow from day one. Run the numbers and let them guide you. – Spencer Hilligoss, Madison Investing

8. Condition Of The Home’s Maintenance

In assisting a client with finding a rental property, you must consider the condition of the home’s maintenance. Whether a relocation getting a sense of the area or moving from an apartment, the rental experience can make or sour the client to an area, ownership and your service. Always inspect the HVAC and appliances, as dealing with them can be a hassle your client blames on you. – Blake Plumley,Capital Pursuits LLC

9. Getting Long-Term Tenants

Consider finding tenants that are interested in longer-term leases as this will save you time and money in the long run. Any property rented out will experience wear and tear, but you can avoid this annual cost if tenants are not moving out each year. Additionally, this will save you lost rent that comes with having a vacant property and the time it takes to find a new tenant. – Joshua Lybolt, Lifstyl Real Estate

10. Renters Insurance

I always make sure that the tenants who rent my clients’ properties have rental insurance coverage. This protects them in the event that something goes wrong during the tenancy. – Deborah Rabbino Bhatt,Vesta New York

11. Vacancy Costs

Remember that pricing a property at market rate helps you become cash flow positive sooner and lowers vacancy costs. Landlords often price their property above market rate to “see what you can get.” Starting your pricing too high actually lowers interest from renters. As your property stays on the market longer, it becomes stale and takes longer to rent. We’ve seen this increases vacancy costs. – Chuck Hattemer, Onerent

12. Property Inspection

Getting a property inspection prior to tenants moving in is always a good idea. It will help owners understand if there are any “hidden” issues within the home so that they can make repairs on them before they could snowball over time. This will hopefully prevent any potential injuries or late-night calls from the tenants and will give both parties peace of mind! – Brad Le, Compass

Source: forbes.com

Study: Raleigh rental rate growth among highest in U.S.

Rents in Raleigh are up 3.6 percent over the past year, the 6th-fastest growth rate among the nation’s large cities, a new study from Apartment List says. For comparison, the national rent index grew by just 1.5 percent over the past year.Capture

For even more historical perspective, rents in Raleigh have risen by 17.4 percent since 2014, outpacing the national average of 12.7 percent, the study says.

But Raleigh’s median rental rate is still a relative bargain. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the City of Oaks is currently $1,159, compared to the national average of $1,855.

This is the seventh straight month that the city has seen rent increases, after a decline in October of last year. Raleigh’s year-over-year rent growth is also above North Carolina’s average of 2.8 percent.

Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in Raleigh, but across the entire state. Of the largest 10 cities that Apartment List has data for in North Carolina, all of them have seen prices rise.

Cary is the most expensive of all North Carolina’s major cities, with a median two-bedroom rent of $1,280. Of the 10 largest North Carolina cities that the report has data for, all have seen rents rise year-over-year, with Wilmington experiencing the fastest growth (up 4.7 percent).

The Apartment List report revealed Henderson, Nevada, had the highest year-over-year rent growth in the U.S., with an increase of 4.5 percent – nearly three times the national rate. Another North Carolina metro, Greensboro, ranked just behind Raleigh on the national list, with a rental rate growth of just under 3 percent. National rankings are based on cities with a population of at least 250,000.

Apartment List uses median rent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, then extrapolates them forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from its listing data. The report uses a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods to provide a picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

By   – Associate Editor, Triangle Business Journal


5 Ingredients of a Good Tenant

What 5 Ingredients Make Up a Good Tenant?

By John Nuzzolese

Most landlords try their best to select good tenants to occupy their rental properties. Some are very successful at it while others always seem to end up with bad tenants regardless of how much they try.

In order to find a good tenant, we need to first understand the qualities or ingredients that a good tenant is made up from. Once we understand what ingredients we are looking for, we can carefully screen applicants with the right ingredients in mind. The LPA has a few tools I’ve listed below that can help you determine if your applicant has the desired qualities you are looking for in your screening process.

So What Are the 5 Ingredients that Make Up a Good Tenant?

  1. Honesty / Integrity Trust… reliability… decency are qualities that come to mind when I think of a top quality tenant. I want a tenant who will do what he agrees to do. Someone who morally chooses to do the right thing. A person whose signature on a contract signifies a binding promise they will keep.
  2. Creditworthiness If I am going to give legal possession of a valuable piece of real property to a tenant, I’m going to first want to know I’m dealing with someone with a good track record concerning credit. We have the technology available now that can give me a credit report on the computer instantly on any rental prospect, so I definitely want to assure myself that my prospect deals with financial matters in a reputable way.
  3. Ability to Pay Does the tenant have sufficient income or other resources to easily pay the rent and other living expenses every month? Is the tenant employed or just independently wealthy? Does the tenant depend on any other parties to survive? The answers to these questions will tell you how secure this tenancy will be.
  4. Cleanliness A clean tenant has higher standards than a dirty tenant. It is a fact that clean tenant will care for your rental property better than a dirty tenant.
  5. Respect This is an important one. I have had the worst experiences with people who do not respect others. They may not even respect themselves, which usually means they won’t treat your property very well since they don’t respect it either. If they do not respect you as the landlord, you have a recipe for trouble.

Source: The Landlord Protection Agency, Inc.

Popularity of pet-friendly rentals sparks growth in dubious online services

The popularity of pet-friendly apartments has led to development of dubious services on the Internet designed to get owners out of paying high pet fees. The services allow people to obtain phony dog service certification deeming the animal an “emotional support pet,” a designation that not only exempts owners from pet fees but often grants the animal access to rentals that are not pet friendly.

The problem with such efforts is they are sparking more scrutiny from landlords and more calls for increased regulation on issuing emotional support pet certification, which ultimately may make it difficult for people who legitimately need it.44334346_s-228x300

Many of the dubious services have online “therapists” who provide documentation that an emotional support pet is needed. Many provide the “doctor’s note” within 24 hours. As I was looking at some of these websites, one was summoning me to register a pet with them via a pop up. They are very persistent. These services provide a method for people to avoid pet fees and a way to have a pet in a residence that does not allow pets. Pet rents range from $25 to $75 monthly and up front pet fees range from $250 to $1,000 on average per pet.

Emotional support pets are companion animals that provide a therapeutic benefit to individuals with a verifiable mental or psychiatric disability. Emotional support pets are one type of assistance animal, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An emotional support pet can be any type of animal and is allowed as a reasonable accommodation in a residence that does not otherwise allow pets. This allows dogs, cats, alligators, any type of pet at all with no restriction. You do not have to pay pet fees to a landlord for an emotional support pet.

The difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal is a service animal is trained to perform certain tasks to help people with disabilities, while an emotional support pet is not trained. Unlike service animals, an emotional support pet is not granted access to public places such as movie theaters and hospitals.

HUD does not require a tenant to disclose their disability to a prospective landlord, but they will need to provide documentation from a doctor or other health care professional that the assistance animal lessens one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability.

A companion animal can also travel with their person in the cabin of a plane, as allowed by the Air Carrier Access Act, without fees. Typically, the fee to have a pet fly is about $125.

The Transportation Department formed a panel of advisers to look into the issue. Airlines are concerned about the safety of the passengers around the untrained animals and want to know whether their owners legitimately need them for emotional support or are just trying to avoid a fee. The panel was disbanded without a solution, experts say, but with the increase of animals on flights this is bound to come up again.

There is no standardized form that can be used to prove an emotional support pet’s status.  The increase in people fraudulently identifying their pets as assistance animals has led to a consideration of  more regulations for identifying an assistance animal.

An online petition being circulated through Change.org is asking Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, to reform laws surrounding emotional support animals. While supporting people who legitimately need comfort animals, the petition wants the government to stop allowing owners to get doctors’ notes for emotional support pets online for a fee. The petition asserts these online methods are not credible.

More regulation is needed to prevent people from falsely claiming their pets as companion animals. Let’s hope the regulations will not hinder the process for people who have a legitimate need for an emotional support pet.


Source: washingtonpost.com

Trulia’s Hottest Real Estate Markets to Watch in ’18

See which cities are making the cut this year.

If you’re thinking about where to move next, you’re probably considering a wide array of factors like work, family, and the start of a new chapter. Every home purchase is also a huge investment—possibly the biggest you’ll make in your life. Looking at the markets poised for growth can ensure your new home is also a good investment. To help, Trulia looked at the 100 most populated metros in the country, then used five key metrics to determine the 10 real estate markets with the highest growth potential in 2018: strong job growth, affordability, low vacancy rates, home search rates on Trulia.com, and a high population of young households (you can find our full methodology below). It may surprise you—it did us—to learn that Texas and Ohio are home to more than one fast-growing city. See where else made the cut below

1. Grand Rapids, MI

On the mighty banks of the Grand River, Michigan’s second-largest city is at the top of our list largely due to its strong employment growth, which is up 2.5 percent year-over-year. Grand Rapids also has a relatively low vacancy rate (ranked 16th overall) and a high share of households with residents 35 years and under (22 percent). A full two-thirds of Grand Rapids’ residents own homes, and the median home sale price is a friendly $163,750. Living here means enjoying the waterfront, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum, which spotlights Michigan’s artists. A bubbling brew scene doesn’t hurt either.

2. Nashville, TN

Next on our list is Nashville, also known as Music City. But you don’t have to be in the band to love it here. Home of the famous “Grand Ole Opry,” residents in Nashville are always down for a good time. Need more evidence? Just walk through The Gulch, a trendy Art Deco-inspired neighborhood. Not surprisingly, Tennessee’s capital has a high share of households under 35 years old (23 percent) and the strongest job growth in the country (3.1 percent year-over-year), luring people from all corners of the nation to relocate. But taking the top spot in job growth may come at a price: affordability, where Nashville is ranked 58th overall.

3. Raleigh, NC

North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh, is known for the bright minds of North Carolina State University and the Research Triangle (together with Durham and Chapel Hill). But it’s also beloved for its wealth of culinary and cultural cornerstones, like the Oakwood historic district, designated on the National Register of Historic Places, where homes date back to the 1800s. This City of Oaks made our list due to its strength in two categories: job growth (ranked 3rd overall) and low vacancy rate (ranked 15th overall). Its popularity, though, leaves the city lagging in affordability—the median sales price in North Carolina’s second most popular city is $250,000—where it ranks 43rd overall.

4. El Paso, TX

This Southwestern city on the Rio Grande is loved for its incredible Tex-Mex cuisine, a wealth of locations for outdoors lovers to explore, and a rich downtown artist community and farmers market. Major employers in El Paso range from the US military to the University of Texas at El Paso, healthcare corporations to major retailers. The average price of a home here is just $186,611, and it’s a hot market for the social young and single set: the median age is 33, and 24 percent of residents are single. You’ll find many of them moving to the up-and-coming Mission Hills neighborhood. “The fantastic weather, developing downtown area, and affordable price range of housing speak to younger buyers as well as just about everyone,” says Laura Baca, an area real estate agent.

5. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio is known for its River Walk, an oasis of cypress-lined paved paths and lush landscapes where locals and visitors alike go to relax. But the city is bustling, too. In 2017, job growth rose 2.2 percent, and the national homeownership rate increased significantly for the first time in more than 10 years. In fact, homeowners make up two-thirds of the city’s population, at 65 percent. San Antonio’s top employers are a mix of military, city, and school districts, as well as private and public businesses, making this 300-year-old city flush with new job opportunities. These trends are expected to continue into 2018, with homeownership outpacing renting for the indefinite future.

6. Fort Worth, TX

This city of cowboys and culture is a hot destination in the Lone Star state, welcoming 8.8 million visitors annually. Fort Worth is comprised of seven primary entertainment districts, each offering dining, shopping, entertainment, and cultural amenities—offering mass appeal for a new generation of residents, allowing the city to lay claim to the youngest population of any major metro in Texas. It’s only 17 miles from the DFW International Airport, ensuring personal and business travel is extremely convenient. The city also has an impressive percentage of homeowners (68 percent), and with popular employers such as Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, American Airlines, the Naval Air Station, and city and school district offices, it’s a solid place to set down roots.

7. Austin, TX

Capital city Austin, with its legendary live music, burgeoning restaurant scene, cool culture, and vibrant community is a draw for everyone—even those who aren’t coming to listen to tunes in the Live Music Capital of the World. Austin’s also a university town, and many folks stay on after school. The national homeownership rate ticked up both for households under 35, as well as those aged 35-44, with the former showing a substantial increase from 34 percent in 2016 to 35 percent in the second quarter of 2017. Though home buying among millennials is likely to be sluggish in the short-run, the long-run potential for this generation to support housing consumption in the United States is big.

8. Columbus, OH

Big things are happening in Columbus, Ohio’s capital and most populous city. It’s booming, and not just in population. There are 33 acres of new riverfront parkland in downtown, cultural institutions are adding to their offerings, neighborhoods are bursting with new places to eat and shop, and the innovative food scene gives residents plenty of options. Trends in Columbus show a 12 percent year-over-year rise in median home sales price, and even with the upward trajectory, the average home comes in at just $159,900. “Our urban areas are booming with renovation and new build projects, and our suburbs maintain their investment values very well,” says Cheryl Chapin, an area real estate agent. “We have a lot of areas across the city that are walkable, have great dining and shopping, yet they’re close to downtown amenities.”

9. Madison, WI

Madison is Wisconsin’s second-largest city and state capital. It’s also home to the state government and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the city’s largest employers. The town’s amassed a treasure chest of kudos, from most-walkable and best road-biking city, to most vegetarian-friendly, LGBTQ-friendly, and environmentally friendly city, too. Of the places on this list, Madison has the highest percentage of college-educated residents (60 percent). The up-and-coming Tenney-Lapham neighborhood houses lots of young families and hosts a popular annual art walk.

10. Cincinnati, OH

Resting along the banks of the Ohio River, the vibrant Cincinnati region spans portions of three states: Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. The third-largest city in Ohio has dedicated homeowners, with 63 percent of the population owning homes and its home sales price slowly growing, up 4 percent year-over-year. Cincinnati’s popular Over-the-Rhine district, which includes Findlay Market and food and craft vendors, is a favorite place for locals to spent the weekend, as is Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garde.

Source: trulia.com