Real Estate Affordability November 27, 2021

Build A Home with Little to No Money Down

Buying a home can be nerve-racking, especially when you consider the costs at the beginning of the process, with most home loans requiring a down payment of between 10-30%. Not to mention the various fees that come with it. For many buyers, this may feel like homeownership is out of reach.

Thankfully, using government loans administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the US Departments of Agriculture (USDA), and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offer money-saving alternatives. All three loans facilitate homeownership with little to no money down. For some buyers, it allows them to build a home for less than the cost to buy an existing one.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans

Government loans administered by the FHA are perfect for first-time homebuyers. This is because they have some of the most lenient eligibility requirements out of any home loan available, and great benefits as well. These benefits include:

  • Low down payment of 3.5%.
  • Lower monthly mortgage costs.
  • Low closing costs.
  • A credit score of 580 and lower (depending on the lender) is still eligible.

These home loans also allow applicants who have gone through financial difficulties in the past to be eligible. Applicants who have gone through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will qualify for FHA home loans. Their only requirement is that the loan application is made two years from their bankruptcy discharge date. Chapter 13 bankruptcy recipients can also be eligible for the loan. They only need to have one year of making bankruptcy payments and rent on time and court approval.

These loans are for the purchase of single-family homes and multi-family homes of up to four units, as long as the applicant plans to occupy all or part of it primarily. Also, these loans can finance the purchase of FHA-approved condos, townhomes, manufactured homes, and mobile homes as long as they meet the requirements dictated by the FHA.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loans

Created for lower-income families who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to purchase a home, USDA loans are meant exclusively for rural communities. Eligibility for these home loans requires that the applicant make an income at or below the county’s low-income limit.

These loans also require that the property applied for is a modest single-family home with no extra amenities like an in-ground pool. Properties can’t be for any business purpose whatsoever. On average, USDA loan limits vary depending on the count, population and it’s cost of living.

Once eligibility is confirmed, the applicant will be able to enjoy USDA loan benefits. Including a no down payment requirement, competitive interest rates, flexible credit score requirements, and low mortgage insurance payments.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan

Government loans by the VA are some of the best home loans available. However, they are exclusive to Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, and eligible military spouses. The applicant must also meet all other VA eligibility requirements, which include military service, property, income, and credit score requirements.

Once an applicant qualifies, they will enjoy some of the best benefits out of any home loan available. These include:

  • $0 down payment requirement
  • Low monthly mortgage payments
  • Low monthly interest rates

These home loans are for single-family homes, multi-family dwellings of up to four units, townhomes, manufactured and double-wide mobile homes on a permanent foundation, and VA-approved condos.

Moreover, since January 1st, 2020, VA home loan recipients are no longer subject to loan limits on their first VA home loan. The only limitation for applicants is how much they can afford and the lender limit. Some lenders are offering $0 down for up to $5 million dollars. However, for applicants with more than one active home loan, the loan limits vary depending on the county where the property is located.

What’s Holding You Back?

Building an affordable custom home is entirely possible with the use of government-guaranteed home loans.

To start the process, you will need a loan approval, vacant land to purchase and an approved builder. Generally, the process van be completed in less than 5 months.

Their most significant incentives being their lower eligibility requirements and their great benefits. Lenders are also willing to be more lenient on their eligibility requirements because they get protection from the government against financial loss.

Phil Georgiades is the CLS for, an affordable home ownership advocate since 2012.  For more information or to apply for a home loan, call us at (877) 432-5626.   For additional real estate inform action call Paul Burrowes at 831-295-5130.


Home Improvement November 16, 2021

The Best Poker Tables for Home Use

When you set about upgrading your home, it’s often easiest to focus on larger projects. You might devote special attention to transforming your kitchen, however, or decorating the garden in a new fashion. These are bold and lasting changes that can alter the look, feel, and even value of your home for the better. In some cases though, a simple change like adding the right piece of furniture can make a significant difference as well.

Granted, this kind of change, won’t typically boost the home’s underlying value. But if you want the home to “pop” for a showing, or you simply want to enjoy the space more for yourself, the right piece for the right room can be completely effective. In this piece, we want to explore this idea with regard to poker tables –– niche furnishings, perhaps, but ones with the power to transform entire rooms into fun and functional places.

The game of poker has evolved over the course of centuries. It was once a gambling activity common on frontiers and in ports; it eventually became a foundation and a constant for organized casinos; and in time it more or less became a professional sport, as well as a game millions upon millions of amateurs play through various means.

The constant in all of this is that the popularity of poker has never truly waned. Today, much of that popularity revolves around mobile apps and online games. However, there are still plenty of people who enjoy playing games at home with friends or family. And to do that — or at least to do it right — people need good surfaces to play on. The following are some of the best options if you want to set up such a surface in your home.

Trademark Poker Deluxe Solid Wood

The Deluxe Solid Wood table from Trademark Poker is actually a fold-up table topper — which makes it about as convenient as a real poker table will get. It’s easily folded away for storage, yet can be brought out when needed and placed over a dining room table, a coffee table, or even an office desk. On top of the convenience, there’s also something of a classic look to this topper. The surface is green felt, which is standard for poker tables; there are painted areas for cards; and there are places for up to eight players, marked by plastic drink holders and chip wells. All in all it’s just a very functional table.

Livebest 48’’ Octagon Folding Card Game Poker Table

This option is very much like the Trademark Poker one, save for the fact that it’s a complete table. The surface resembles the Trademark Poker option closely, but in this case the top is built onto what would otherwise be a standard (if octagonal) folding table. Metallic legs unfold easily to create a standalone table for eight, complete with drink holders, a green felt surface, and places for player cards.

AVAWING Folding Texas Hold’em Poker Table

The AVAWING Folding Texas Hold’em Poker Table is similar structurally to the Livebest, but for the fact that it folds out into an elongated oval shape, with eight spots for players and an opening for a dealer (complete with a well that can hold a full chip set). This table lacks some of the painted-on markings other tables have, but to some players who embrace variety this might actually be a good thing. Markings are typically made with Texas Hold’em in mind, given that this is the most popular variety of poker and has been for some time. What this means essentially is that there are painted spots for each player’s personal cards (two each), as well as designated places for the community cards (five over the course of a hand). Of course it’s easy enough to ignore this design should you wish to play a different type of poker, but it is a particularly good table for Hold’em.

Barrington Charleston Poker Table

Barrington’s Charleston Poker Table is yet another fold-up option, and essentially an alternative to the AVAWING. This table looks a little bit different, with a black top and clearly denoted spots for communal cards in Texas Hold’em. But if anything it has a slightly classier, more permanent look than most of its competition. The rim of the table is padded in a brown, faux leather with drink holders spaced out for 10 players. Its sturdiness and general appearance make it look more like a fixture in someone’s den or game room, even if it can still be folded up for compact storage.

Hillsdale Furniture Palm Springs Game Table

This last selection is a real wooden table and a permanent piece rather than a fold-up. It’s made with a brown cherry finish, arched legs, and a round top, with chip wells and drink holders for six players around the edge — as well as a faux leather center for easy card and chip handling. It’s an attractive, high-end table ideal for more serious players. But it’s the versatility of it that really stands out. The top of the table is reversible, such that when it’s not needed or poker it can be turned into an ordinary surface fit for a home office, a study, or even for other kinds of games.

These tables cover a range of styles, prices, and preferences. Altogether they represent some of the best options out there for people playing poker in the home, as well as excellent ways to transform a spare room into something more.

Waterfront Property November 8, 2021

Waterfront property tips for first-time buyers


Purchasing a waterfront property differs significantly from buying a home on a regular neighborhood street. Buying a waterfront house entails not just paying for a piece of real estate but also “buying” into a specific way of life. If you’re considering purchasing a property near a body of water, first and foremost, congrats, as many people will never have the option or chance to do so. Let’s get on with the waterfront property tips for first-time buyers!

Plan the financing as soon as possible

Whether a buyer is acquiring their first house, their fifth home, a vacation property, or a waterfront home, one of the most crucial suggestions is to figure out the financing as soon as possible. Before looking for waterfront property, prospective buyers should grasp the necessity of securing finances.

Some waterfront house buyers will choose to pay cash for their homes, making obtaining finances much easier. Many others will need to acquire a mortgage to fund their waterfront home purchase.

Caption: One of the first waterfront property tips for first-time buyers is sorting out the financials as soon as possible because it speeds up the whole process!

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential when purchasing a waterfront property. Many sellers may be instructed by their realtors to only accept bids from pre-approved purchasers.

Another significant reason to plan your budget and secure your financing on time is that the number of waterfront properties for sale is typically lower than that of non-waterfront homes, resulting in fierce competition. Because buying a waterfront house may be competitive, not having your finances in place is a sure way to miss out on a home in a multiple offer situation.

Hire a reputable real estate agent

Hiring an experienced real estate agent is critical when buying a property in general, much like sorting out the finances early on. Another key piece of advice for purchasing a waterfront property is to work with a seasoned real estate agent. Interviewing potential real estate agents is a fantastic method to determine whether or not they will be a good fit for you.

Why are you buying a waterfront property?

Ask yourself why you’re considering buying a waterfront property in the first place. There are various reasons why people choose to do this, so it’s vital to consider if it’s a good investment. Before investing, you should research the best waterfront communities and look at other houses in the neighborhood.

When considering the purchase of waterfront property, one of the first things you should ask yourself is whether or not you would use the water. If you don’t see the benefit in having a property with a private beach, for instance, paying the higher price for an oceanfront home is a waste of money.

Another essential thing to consider before purchasing a waterfront home is if you genuinely want to live on the water. Do you see bringing friends and family over to appreciate your home’s breathtaking views and have fun in the sun? If you answered no, paying a premium for a waterfront property might not be the best investment.

Caption: If you get a waterfront property, you should probably get a boat!

After buying the property, you will have to move into the new house. For that, you should hire a moving company to help you settle in with no trouble. By hiring movers, you will reduce the stress that comes with relocation and even save money that you could use to furnish and decorate your new oasis.

You will be buying more than just a house

Keep in mind that you’ll be purchasing more than just the house. You are also paying for amazing views, ease of access to the water, the amount of frontage along the water, seclusion, and many other factors. And you will have to maintain the waterfront property, get used to the climate and the lifestyle.

It’s impossible to put a price on a magnificent ocean view or easy access to the water. But bear in mind that you’re paying for these extras when purchasing a waterfront house.

Get to know the body of water

When buying a waterfront house, it’s a good idea to do some preliminary research on the body of water. There are a few things you should know about it.

It’s critical to learn about the water depths before purchasing a riverfront property, especially if you have a goal of owning a boat. Depending on the type of boat, the required depths of water will vary. The needed depth for a sailboat, for example, differs from the required depth for a pontoon boat.

Caption: When you buy a waterfront property, you also buy into that lifestyle.

Learn about flood insurance

Depending on the location of the house and the type of financing used, a buyer may have to get flood insurance for their home. When purchasing a waterfront property, you must be aware of the common problems and the need for flood insurance.

Flood insurance pays for the cost of repairing damage caused by floods. It’s vital to understand that certain waterfront properties are more vulnerable to flooding than others. A flood insurance policy for a property with a high risk of flooding will be far more expensive than one for a property with reduced risk.

As a result, flood insurance may be pretty expensive in some cases, so it’s crucial to understand it and the expenses associated with it before buying a waterfront house. There are numerous tools accessible online to assist in calculating the cost of flood insurance on a home.

In conclusion

By following these waterfront property tips for first-time buyers, you will have a significant advantage over others. As will all real estate transactions, the best course of action is to get in touch with a reputable local agent. They can guide you through the entire process and answer all of your questions. Good luck with your house hunting venture!