Gay Realtors Advice On Buying a Home with No Down payment

When it comes to owning a home, making a down payment can be very challenging. However, there are some instances you can follow in order to purchase a home with zero down payment according to our expert gay realtor.

USDA Rural Housing Loans

Gay Realtors Advice On Buying a Home with No Down paymentFor people with a lower income, rural housing programs may allow them to buy a house without making any down payment. Those whose income doesn’t go beyond the local area median income (AMI) may qualify for loan guarantee. Make sure your personal situation and the property you are interested in falls under the USDA guidelines. (

VA Loans for Veterans

If you have served in the National Guard or in military, then you are eligible for a ZERO down VA mortgage. The lender will request your COE (Certificate of Eligibility), veterans may obtain this on-line. The VA guarantees your home purchase to the lender. A funding fee maybe included in your total loan amount for the guaranty.

Down Payment Assistance

This can be furnished by charitable foundations, local governments and other organizations. This cannot be supplied by any anyone who has other interests in the finances of the home sale e.g. a real estate agent, the mortgage broker or the property owner.

Most of such programs include guidelines and are limited only for first-time home buyers, buying their primary residences. Some will have you go through a homebuyer education course first. This is more of a silent second mortgage that won’t require any payments. They may only ask for a refund once you sell the home, or it could be waived if you stay in the home for x amount of years.

Good Neighbor Next Door Program

Teachers, firefighters/emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers who qualify for the program can purchase any HUD Home at a 50% discount. On the other hand if you use an FHA loan to finance your home, they will only require a down payment of just $100. The program provides a payment-free and interest-free second mortgage for 50% of the total homes value. The second mortgage balance is forgiven if you live in the home for three years or longer.

FHA Home Loans

FHA mortgages only require a down payment of 3.5%. Home buyers can get it from secured loans, employers, friends, relatives and other organizations.

Lease Option

This is part of a rental agreement. With the lease option deal, the renters can lease the house for a planned period of time, with an option to buy the home at some future date. This gives the buyer time to save for a down payment, while locking in today’s housing prices.

Any of the top gay real estate agents at will be happy to provide you a free consultation to discuss your housing and financing needs. Just review the profiles of the agents in the city you’re considering, and contact them today! No cost or obligation.

To Buy or Not to Buy, that is the Question

Whether or not to buy a home is one of the largest financial decisions most individuals will ever have to make.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to buying a home. Owning one’s own home can provide a sense of satisfaction, stability, financial security and comfort, although home ownership does not come without certain costs ~ both the benefits and the costs should be considered before making a final decision.

Homes are expensive both in their upfront costs and in their ongoing upkeep. Typically buyers finance such large purchases for 20, 30 and even 40 years, this means that the home will cost you much more in the long run than just the sticker price, in fact for the first 15 years of your loan your payment will largely pay interest and barely touch the principle (purchase price).

Fortunately, interest rates for home loans are typically quite affordable these days hovering around 4.5%.

In addition to the interest you will have to pay on your purchase there will be insurance costs and upkeep costs. Insurance is generally affordable and maintenance can vary widely. Of course these costs are significantly offset when you consider what you would be paying in rent and the fact that you are actually making an investment that will be at least partially recouped when you eventually sell your home.

In today’s economy, real estate prices have plummeted dramatically. One way of interpreting that plummet, however, is that in a majority of markets this is indeed the time to buy, precisely because prices are so low!

One of the biggest advantages to home ownership is the peace of mind it is supposed to give you;

  • Just think, you’ll never have to move again because a landlord decides they no longer want to rent their property.
  • You can buy furniture and your own appliances because, in theory at least, you will never have to worry about moving them.
  • Home ownership imparts stability.
  • You will be able to truly become a member of your community, a member that won’t be moving away after just a couple of years’ stay.
  • Your neighbors will finally begin to consider you one of them.
  • And for those with kids, your kids will go to the neighborhood schools, you’ll shop at the neighborhood grocery, and your family will attend church at the neighborhood church.

There are, therefore, many positives associated with home ownership. As is always the case, however, it is important not to delude yourself that everything will always be positive.

The decision to buy a home should be based on a careful consideration of the facts, not solely on emotion. Only then will you be assured that you are indeed making the right choice.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of ~ Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-coast.

What is the cost to be represented by a buyers broker?

The decision to retain the services of a Buyer’s Broker when purchasing a home, is one you won’t regret.

Of course, there is a cost; Buyer Brokers make a living through representing their clients. The good news is that there is often no additional cost to you, the home buyer, if the search for a new home culminates in a purchase. For all of their time, energy, and incredible guidance they provide, Buyers Brokers fees are usually a percentage of the commission paid by the Seller to the listing Realtor at closing, so it ends up costing you nothing for full legal representation. In most instances, a Buyer’s Broker will ask you to sign an agreement stipulating payment to him or her for services rendered and/or expenses incurred in the search for a home, with or without a sale.

Given the value of their services, this is reasonable = Time is money.

Although there are many benefits to entering into a relationship with a Buyer’s Broker to represent you in one of life’s most important purchases, among the most valuable is the time you will save by letting a professional do your leg work. Advise your Buyers Broker of the “primary” and “secondary” features you want in a home, your desires in terms of location, and be sure s/he is aware of your price range. Armed with this information, your Buyers Broker can make inroads with the realtors listing those homes which are possibilities ….and tote you around to view those properties! This is a huge boon to busy buyers who are dealing with the responsibilities of their jobs, families, and those little surprises life hands us.

In addition to acting as your eyes, ears, and legs during the home search process, the Buyer Broker extends invaluable professional guidance to you on home buying. Examples include advice on avoiding common pitfalls of a home purchase, as well as information on all aspects of obtaining financing for your home and how that will play out (from mortgage application to closing). Your Buyer Broker will make sure all the “T’s” are crossed and the “I’s” are dotted in the home-purchase process and act as your advocate during the offer, the home inspection, and all other phases of the purchase. Representation by a knowledgeable Buyers Broker in a home purchase can replace the stress involved in a “do-it-yourself home search” with confidence and peace of mind.

Perhaps the question on the “cost of having a Realtor represent your best interests as a Buyer’s Broker” should be, rather, on the worth of a Buyer’s Broker acting as your advocate. The myriad merits of the services provided by this professional who marshals your interests, legally in all areas of your home purchase can be an invaluable asset in the transaction.

Acting as your scout, as your mediator between you and the listing Realtor or seller in what could be stressful negotiations, and as a proponent through the closing phase, the Buyers Broker is a home buyer’s friend, indeed.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of offering Free Instant Access to Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast.

What are the Tax Savings when buying a home?

There are several places to look for tax savings for people who are buying or who own a house. In fact, the purchase of a main residence for a person has a lot of different financial advantages. Tax savings will accrue each year, especially if the homeowner has a mortgage on the home, tax savings are a major reason for a person to buy and improve a home.

Each year, the different tax advantages may change, so it is important to speak with your CPA or tax professional to figure out these tax savings year by year.

A homeowner can take many home related deductions on their federal income tax form each year. They can deduct the mortgage interest each year, within very generous limits. This mortgage deduction is a real significant bonus for the homeowner (the interest portion of your house payment is significant; it may be as high as 90 – 95% of your entire mortgage payment… deductible). 

Most homeowners could not afford to pay cash for their homes, and so a mortgage is necessary, they can deduct most if not all of the interest paid on this mortgage on their federal taxes. This is a primary tax savings advantage for homeowners.

Some home improvements can be tax savings for the homeowner also. For example, some energy improvements can result in tax savings on both federal and state taxes.

Homeowners can also deduct the various property taxes paid on the home. These are deductable because that tax has already been paid to the municipality. The municipality will often fund schools, roads, and police with this tax. This property tax savings is an additional benefit to homeowners, and it is also deducted on the federal income tax and for several states as well. The result of the property tax of course will provide a wonderful neighborhood, city and services equaling peace of mind for the homeowner. When a person is considering the purchase of a home, neighborhood conditions, the various tax savings, and improvements are crucial considerations.

Finally, in addition to these excellent tax savings, the buildup of equity for a home will help the homeowner against the ravages of inflation. Historically, the homeowner will have more and more equity, or value in the home, each year. The mortgage will be paid off a little each year, increasing your equity, and potentially lowering your taxes as you enter your golden years.


Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast.

When Buying a Home, How Do I Find A Good Area?

Making the decision to choose an area for your next home is a complex one.  You’ll need to consider the school district, if you have or plan to have children, proximity to work, and a vast array of other variables that making the right decision often seems overwhelming.  A good area is a very subjective idea; one property may be perfect for one family, yet a deal breaker for another. 

It’s important to identify a baseline set of criteria so that the subjective idea of a “good area” can be defined.  In our experience, this is best accomplished by initially outlining a few key areas detailed below.


By far, the most important will initially be the proximity to work.  Unless you actually enjoy the monotony of hour-long drives to and from work each day, you’ll likely want to live as close to work as possible, without sacrificing too many luxuries.

Begin by identifying a maximum travel time to work.  This will create a radius around your place of employment that will help narrow down the areas you’ll have to choose from.  You’ll discover that the larger the city you plan to move to, the more beneficial this particular exercise will be for your future home search.


Do you have any children, or plan to?  The school district will play an important role in your decision on choosing an area for your next home.  Even resale values are affected by the school district regardless of your personal desires, so spending time in this area is definitely financially smart!  We’ve already identified a target area around your work – now we’ll identify all of the school districts in this area and list each one in descending order from most desirable to least.

Some factors you may want to consider are student-to-teacher ratios, history of exemplary statuses, prior average grades in testing, and student size.  Larger schools in an area with lower education budgets may experience higher student-to-teacher ratios than average, so carefully research each district using online tools such as

As a rule of thumb, compare each district with your present school district to determine if you would be moving up or down in quality, compared to your children’s current school district.

Age of the Area:

Newer, undeveloped areas are in a constant state of change.  You may see a steady increase in home values in new areas if the supply is kept within a modest range of demand.  In some cases, the mere fact of builder competition alone will keep prices low while they are still developing an area, which can cost money if you unexpectedly need to sell right away.

Areas with older homes are opportunities to find properties recently renovated, or homes that exhibit a desirable, traditional characteristic that a new home simply doesn’t provide.  Home prices in older areas are also more stable and less subject to the ebb and flow of the real estate market.

Responsibility comes with age, unfortunately.  Older homes may be more subject to repair costs, and lack many energy efficient features that a newer home can provide.

Choosing the Perfect Area:

Work your way through the above exercise to get a clear picture of the ideal location for your next home.  When in doubt, be sure to contact a Top Realtor at to get expert guidance on the discovery process.  As professionals that do this day in and day out, we’ve developed a keen sense for uncovering the needs that ultimately drive the decision on where to move.  We are experts in the real estate market; who better to talk to?

Contact a agent today to get started.

Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of the Nation’s Largest Free Directory of Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors ~ Offering Free Buyers Assistance / Free Sellers Market Analysis and a Free Relocation Kit to Any City, USA.

Tips for First Time Buyers: Choosing A Realtor Before Finding a Home

Purchasing a first home is a wise financial investment and can provide priceless personal and emotional rewards as well. Home ownership offers an unprecedented sense of security, accomplishment, success, and perhaps most importantly, personal freedom.

But before you begin to look at homes, it is a good idea to first shop around for a real estate professional who is compatible with your needs and understands your buying goals. Most novice buyers do it the other way around: they see a house they like, call the phone number on the yard sign, and immediately enter into a professional relationship entrusting the most important financial decision of a lifetime to any agent who happens to pick up the phone.

But nearly every first-time buyer admits to understanding little or nothing about the real estate business as they enter the real estate arena. As newcomers, they are suddenly confronted with complicated choices that carry powerful legal and financial consequences. They often encounter sellers who have the upper hand thanks to prior experience in the real estate market. And the potential for “silent homophobia” in the real estate industry can present an invisible obstacle for GLBT buyers, and is a legitimate and potentially frustrating concern. On top of all that, add the prospect of moving to a new location and the fact that in all real estate transactions “time is of the essence”, and you have a guaranteed recipe for overwhelming stress. And we all know that we make our worst decisions when we’re too stressed.

The careful selection of an agent who understands your needs and represents them in a professional manner can provide a reassuring level of comfort and confidence, as they work to create smooth sailing and fair dealings throughout the entire home-buying process.

Unfortunately, most first-time buyers skip this preliminary step, even though choosing a real estate professional is not at all difficult. Even if you know nothing about how the real estate game is played, you will be able to locate, interview, and select an agent who is a good match for you. The hours you invest in this quest for a professional will save you time, trouble, and money in the long run, and will actually speed up the overall home-buying process.

Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

1)      Determine the legal roles and responsibilities of brokers in your particular area. 

Depending upon where you live, the real estate laws will dictate the responsibilities and roles of real estate agents and brokers. Some states allow real estate professionals to serve clients in a dual capacity, and these “dual agents” will represent both the buyer and the seller at the same time, during the same transaction. They negotiate and mediate on behalf of both parties. In other jurisdictions, agents represent either buyers or sellers, but not both. Check with the local Realtor’s Association to find out what rules apply in your area, before you begin interviewing brokers.

2)      Use a specialist.

If you are relocating through your employer, you may want to work with a broker who specializes in relocation work, because they will have the experience required to help you locate the right property, at the right price, within your window of opportunity and according to the parameters outlined by your company’s relocation program. Similarly, if you are looking for rural property or farmland, there are brokers who specialize in that area of the market, as opposed to others who are expert at finding you a city dwelling close to the nightlife. And if it is investment property you want, you may decide to choose an investment property specialist. Once you have found someone who specializes in the kind of property you’re looking for, you can narrow down your search by selecting a broker within that niche of the industry.

3)      Check their credentials, and also see if you feel comfortable working with them.

As with any professional you hire, you will want to look for experience, a proven track record, a stellar reputation for customer satisfaction, and the ability to communicate with you and answer all of your questions in a way that inspires your confidence and trust.

Once you have a qualified and trustworthy real estate professional on your team to help you find a house, negotiate on your behalf, and inform and guide you each step of the way, you can relax and enjoy the adventure of shopping for your new home.

Author: Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of ~ Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors.

Now is the Perfect Time to Buy a Home

If you are thinking about buying a home, but you’re still a bit hesitant, then here is some great information that may help you decide to do it now. True, the economy appears to still be on the downside and we are seeing a lot of unemployment, but did you know that if you are stable enough financially, then now might be the right time to invest in a home. Hopefully the information presented here will open your eyes and understanding about the current status of the real estate industry.

Over the past 20 years, we have seen a boom in the real estate market. A lot of homes were built, and sellers were able to cash in on that increasing trend at the time. However, with the recent recession that hit our country, we are seeing a lot of unsold property in the market. The reason behind this is because it’s become increasingly difficult to get a loan and a lot of people are afraid to invest now because of the instability of the economy.

You see, the law of supply and demand is currently at play. On one side, there’s a huge supply of homes available. On the other hand, there aren’t a lot of buyers. This forces the sellers to drastically lower their prices, and even offer more incentives to buyers, such as paying all your closing costs, etc. There’s a chance right now, to get more value for the money you are willing to invest.

Another reason why you should consider buying a home right now is that you have the chance to accumulate almost instant home equity. Paying a monthly mortgage can build towards a home that you can call your own someday. Your growing equity can become your personal savings account, which you can eventually use to buy a better home in the future, or use a part of your retirement strategy.

Another big factor to consider is that interest rates are currently at historic low levels, and they won’t stay here forever. There are also very Low Money Down Programs that can be availed, as low as 3% granting that you have good credit standing. It’s very easy to get the best deals on home loans with most financial institutions. Although, they are a bit stricter now and choosy on who would be eligible for a home loan. But if you are on the stable side of the economy, with a good credit standing to boot, then there are no reason why a bank would not want to loan you the money with the most competitive interest rates available.

Yes we’ve seen a decline in the prices on real estate these past few years, but as of today in many markets, prices are on the upswing. So, instead of guessing where the bottom may be – take advantage of the many positive factors in today’s market. Waiting it out, you may find yourself out of luck in the near future when you finally decide on buying a home.

The time to decide on buying a home is now while the economy is still conducive for buyers. Now more than ever, you have the best opportunity to invest in a home with the lowest prices and interest rates. Home ownership and its long term benefits are enough to encourage even the most hesitant of buyers. 

Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of the Nation’s Largest Free Database of Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors serving the LGBT Community.

Should I buy a home or keep renting?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to give an affirmative answer, either way, about buying or renting. Conventional wisdom assumes that property values always go up. In reality, home value is determined relative to many ‘x’ factors, which are susceptible to fluctuation. In addition, to turn a profit on a home those x-factors have to be consistently in the positive over the duration of your mortgage.

Some people erroneously associate renting with wasting money. Again, depending on your circumstances, renting may save you money over a lifetime. There are a few time-tested, predictive factors to weigh when deciding whether to buy or rent.

A few assumptions first…

Since we cannot predict the future, let’s assume a few things about the place we intend to live for the next thirty years. For renters, this is harder, but we cannot begin to do a cost-benefit analysis unless we level the playing field. Here, we must assume you continue to pay the same rent, or more, over thirty years. This figure is adjusted for assumed annual increases to your monthly rent payment.

Are homes still an investment?

You live in an apartment that is $1000 a month. You can reasonably expect, based on your exhaustive research, that your rent will rise annually 3%. You are considering buying a home that is $180,000 dollars. Your mortgage is at 4.8% and the value of your home is expected to appreciate steadily at 2% a year. Your down payment is $36,000. That means the principal on your loan is $144,000 dollars. You can expect to pay 102,000 dollars in interest on that principal across the lifetime of 30-year mortgage. The grand total of your fixed-rate, thirty-year mortgage is $246,000.

Very easily, we can presume at least another 500k in related costs, fees and taxes for $180,000k home. Over a lifetime, owning a home at this price point, we can assume a few other things that add up:  

  • Property taxes vary widely. If you were so lucky as to have property taxes steady at 1.35%, over thirty years, tack on additional $85,000
  • Again, utilities can vary widely, but based on the national average, you should expect to pay about 2,200 a year in utility. This is an additional 48,600
  • Renovations put value into a home, but they are expensive. Supposing you decide they are worthwhile, let’s calculate another 37,000.
  • Likewise, maintenance costs, frozen pipes, a flooded basement, a gas leak, on average will be another 37,000
  • Steer clear of the flood plain, and assume homeowner’s insurance costs you 34,000, over a thirty-year mortgage

All told, you can reasonably expect to pay $720,000+ (rounded here) dollars for your mortgage and homeowner related loans and fees. This is an astounding number at first glance. Owning a home is making life and life costs money. (We might reasonably overlook these “cost of living” expenses; you get a clearer picture this way.)

Assuming the value of your home rises steadily at 2% annually, you should expect to make about $80,000 dollars on your mortgage, for a property worth roughly $325,000. Once you decide to sell, deduct this price from your net mortgage and homeowner related costs and you have spent $395,000.   

For a thirty-year renter, paying $1000 a month and adjusting that for 3% annual raise in rent over thirty years, they can expect to pay about $570,000.

The homeowner has saved money in this cost-benefit assessment—nearly $175,000 in thirty years. That’s new cars, college, and vacations.

Renters save money in the short-term

The renter actually saves in the first six years in this thirty-year scenario at these percentage points. After six years, the homeowner will always save more than the renter. This is because the homeowner, having gradually reduced the principal of the loan is paying less per year in interest payments.

In other words, the yearly cost of ‘rent’ for the homeowner gradually reduces as they pay off the principal on their loan, and pay less in interest. As their investment appreciates in value, it effectively pays for part itself over the thirty-year term. The renter receives neither of these benefits.

Quality of life a factor not to be underestimated

A residence of any shape or size is an investment in your lifestyle. If you are a gay or lesbian prospect buyer or renter, there may be requirements that take precedence over the simple numbers of a rudimentary cost-benefit analysis. is connected to thousands of gay-friendly real estate leaders that can do the math. More importantly, they make it their priority to calculate in the all-important intangibles of a neighborhood.

If you are looking for your first apartment in an established gay neighborhood or buying a dream home with your partner, knows the communities they sell in and are adept financial experts.

Three Common Pitfalls for LGBT Home Buyers to Avoid

Buying a home is huge step, and often represents the culmination of a lifelong dream. But while under the thrilling spell of the home buying experience many LGBT buyers fall victim to three of the biggest mistakes. Became familiar with these pitfalls to successfully avoid them.



One of the many companies directly owned by Warren Buffett, the most successful investor in American history, is a business that builds and sells homes across the United States. Addressing the shareholders of that company Buffett explained that when he is qualifying a home buyer he looks at two fundamental financial requirements. He wants “a meaningful down payment” and he expects that the monthly payments constitute “a sensible percentage of income.” That’s a simple and sound approach that LGBT buyers should follow when shopping for a home.

These days most banks require a rather conservative debt to income ratio of about 30 or 35 percent. That means that if a homeowner’s monthly income is $5,000 then their combined housing expenses – including such things as the mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes – should not exceed about $1,650. LGBT loan applicants may find lenders who will still qualify them at higher ratios of debt, but it is not wise to accept burdensome loans with steep mortgage payments. In fact, most financial planners and mortgage experts recommend that LGBT buyers err on the side of greater caution and stick to housing expenses that don’t exceed 25 percent of their income. That gives them a manageable loan and a comfortably protective buffer against any unexpected calamity that might happen in today’s challenging economy.



Buying a House to Get a Slab of Granite

No matter what kind of property they are looking at, residential buyers have a tendency to purchase cosmetic curb appeal because it resonates with them on an emotional level. A buyer will fall in love with the apple tree in the back yard, the urban chic brickwork in a downtown loft, or the granite counter tops in a condo unit. Those are great assets and amenities, and if a home has them they can add to its allure. But LGBT home buyers should not confuse cosmetics or isolated features with underlying and sustainable overall value. Minor features can always be upgraded, and amenities can also be added to a home – but home buying decisions should consider everything being bought, not just one or two exciting perks.

Superficial reasons to buy may be compelling, but the smart buyer will look beyond giddy emotions to make more realistic, level-headed decisions. There is nothing wrong with buying the cute front door, in other words, as long as it opens into a home that meets the rest of a buyer’s carefully articulated criteria. The bottom line valuation of any property should also be based on fresh market data, a keen buyer-ordered inspection, and an objective professional appraisal. The goal is to ensure that the home is both cosmetically attractive and structurally and mechanically sound and free of defects.



Picking the Wrong Realtor

Perhaps the biggest pitfall is shopping for homes without first shopping for the best possible real estate agent. The majority of buyers wind up making the biggest financial decision of their lives – the purchase of a home – without giving much thought to how they shop for the Realtor who will guide them through the process. Most people enlist the services of an agent by calling the phone number posted on the “for sale” sale in front of a home that they find interesting. Whoever answers the call instantly becomes their Realtor. But most LGBT consumers would never hire a financial consultant, building contractor, attorney, or even a house sitter or professional home cleaning service by just responding to the first ad and phone number they see. They would instead first perform some basic due diligence, conduct a few interviews, and then try to make an informed selection.

For LGBT buyers the best course of action is to hire a LGBT or gay-friendly Realtor, because there are many significant issues that are of special, specific concern to LGBT home buyers. There are gay marriage legalities to consider, tax implications, rights of survivorship, and rules regarding how credit is evaluated for non-married partners applying for a mortgage. All LGBT buyers also share a common interest in understanding how supportive a particular community or neighborhood is, especially if they are relocating to a new area. Only another member of the LGBT community can adequately address those issues with a depth of personal experience, so generally speaking all LGBT buyers are better served by taking advantage of the help of a qualified LGBT or gay-friendly real estate agent and mortgage broker.

To find real estate professionals dedicated to active support of the LGBT community, visit, or call toll free 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at