5 Reasons to Buy California Real Estate Today

2The California housing market is hot, and people across the country are always clamoring to move to the sunshine state. That’s precisely what makes competition a bit heavy and often times bidding wars ensue. Outside of New York, California is known as one of the priciest areas to buy real estate in the country. It’s often said that you are paying for the weather. In reality, you are paying for the weather, the ocean, the beach, the mountains, Hollywood, wine country, and many more things I don’t have time to list. There are quite a few reasons why today is the perfect time to purchase your first house in California!

The housing meltdown hit the entire country, and probably California the hardest. If only we had a crystal ball back then to see how the market was going to drastically improve so quickly. Now we know the market bounced back blazingly fast, and the prices are still far below the peak of the mid-2000’s. You can’t quite snag the deals that were available a couple years ago, but rest assured the market is going to continue to rise and pricing will only get higher. Just remember, the closer you get to the ocean the more the housing will cost. So if you are looking for something a bit more affordable then you should probably look further inland.

First time homebuyers are usually the ones that have a difficult time buying a house. The reason is that they don’t have the benefit of home equity from selling a previous home, which is usually what current homeowners benefit from when transitioning houses. The California Housing Financing Agency (CalHFA) has recognized this hardship and instituted a new program. The CalPLUS Conventional Loan with Zip Extra is designed to help first time home buyers with down payment assistance. This program allows you to receive 3% of the purchase price plus an additional $6,500 as upfront monies to use as down payment assistance or for closing costs. The loan program promotes responsible lending, as such it comes with some contingencies. For example, only borrowers with minimum credit scores ranging from 640 to 680 are eligible, you are required to purchase a first year home warranty, and attend a first time buyers educational course so that you know what to expect when owning a home. To apply for the loan, please contact a CalHFA preferred loan officer that can answer all of your questions, or call CalHFA directly at 877.9.CALHFA to ask about the loan. They have also provided a helpful video that can answer a lot of your questions as well.

Interests are another great reason why now is the time to buy. We are probably about a year off from the all time lowest historic rates. That doesn’t mean that the rates available today are all that bad. Today you can take advantage of fantastic rates with the security of knowing that the housing market, and the economy as a whole, is on the rebound. The generation before us were used to paying double digit interest rates on housing, making our price ranges virtually unaffordable for just about everyone back then. The most important thing to understand is that the interest rates have nowhere to go but up now. Nobody can predict interest rates, but I can safely say that aren’t going to get any lower than they are now. Consider what it took for interest rates to get to all time lows. We had to experience a financial meltdown, severe recession, and a burst housing bubble the likes of which this country had never seen before. Trust me, we don’t want to experience lower interest rates than we have now.

The housing supply is finally starting to open up. The past couple years, if we wanted to take advantage of rock bottom home prices and historically low interest rates, then we were forced to settle on a house. There were so few on the market because current homeowners were typically underwater on their mortgages and couldn’t afford to sell. Now the market is becoming much more robust with several more options available. You actually have the chance of finding your dream home in today’s market, there is no need to settle, and interest rates are still there for the taking.

Last, and certainly not least, the economy is generally more stable than it has been in nearly a decade. Unemployment is starting to creep back to normalcy, and job creation in general is starting to grow. This is usually the best sign for the housing market because people need jobs and stability in order to buy a house! Consumer confidence is actually at all time highs and the GDP is growing at a steady and healthy rate. These are the economic indicators that are most important to a growing real estate market.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Honeymoon

Your honeymoon is supposed to be a memory that you cherish for many, many years. It’s a memory that you’ll want to share with your children and their children. Your honeymoon should be just as romantic as the story you tell of how the two of you first met and fell and love, and how the proposal took place. But sometimes money can get in the way of things, slowly stripping away your ideals of what you wanted you honeymoon to be like initially. To help you save money for a memorable honeymoon, follow these tips.

Look for Last-Minute Deals

If you’re not aware of the last-minute deals that are offered for cruises, then you are definitely missing out. Those who would like to spend their honeymoon on a gorgeous cruise line can afford to do so if they don’t mind waiting until the last minute (which is typically weeks away from departure date) to book their tickets. Also, the room you get won’t likely have a view, but at least you get to enjoy all of the same things that everyone else does!

Book Your Travel through a Deal Site

You can find deals on hotels, rental cars and even airline tickets by using travel sites like Hotwire.com. By booking everything in one place, you save the headache of keeping track of everything. This type of site also allows you to shop for the best rates, so that you can go as cheap as you want, without sacrificing quality.

Take a Road Trip

If you don’t mind hitting the road with your new spouse, you can plan for a road trip getaway, rather than flying across the nation or world. Depending on where you live, the two of you can head to the mid-west or to the coast to enjoy beautiful beaches.


Your honeymoon is what you make of it. So keep in mind that it’s not about where you go, but who you’re going with — and that’s the love of your life. Enjoy your trip and nothing else will matter. To find further discounts for hotwire.com and other travel businesses, visit Groupon Coupons to browse through over 50,000 coupons.

Free Activities that are Free to Do

Are you on a tight budget and have cut out so many pay-to-do activities? Check out these nine free activities that are, well, free!

Participate in a Library Event

No matter if it’s for education or entertainment, the library has hosts of activities free to the public. Some city libraries have free passes for family’s to enjoy a day at a museum, zoo, or other city educational attractions.

Go to the Concert in the Park Night

Many cities offer a free concert or movies in the park night. Here, all you’ll need is to bring your blanket and a few snacks to enjoy a free night out. These are typically held in the summertime, and many are open for kids to enjoy as well. Either way, it’s plenty of room for them to run about should they get bored.

Host a Movie Marathon

If you don’t want to travel far, consider hosting a movie marathon at home with a group of close friends. You can supply a movie from your collection or stream free movies online. Your friends can all bring a dish or favorite snack as well.

Host a Clothing Swap Party

Another free activity is to clean up around your home. You can get rid of old clothes you no longer need. To make it a fun activity, invite a few friends over. Make it a clothing swap party. This is perfect for friends who have kids in various age ranges.

Host a Beauty Day

You and your friends may have many talents. Each of you can think of the perfect makeover you specialize in. Each person can partake in giving facials, manicures/pedicures, massages, or applying makeup.

Start a Blog

Are you interested in expressing your feelings? Start a blog for free today. It takes only a few moments to get a free blog set up on Blogger or WordPress. It’s fun to do and you can even monetize it in the future should you choose.

Work on a DIY Activity

If you love crafts or just want to get a few things accomplished around your home, go ahead and work on a DIY activity. A few craft ideas include:

  • Painting furniture
  • Wall art
  • Storage space ideas

Learn a New Skill Online

Since you have free time, why not learn a new skill? Check out online sites such as YouTube, Khan Academy, and Udemy for free videos that teach you how to do practically anything. Learn how to draw, brush up on a particular software skill, or learn how to start a business.

Prep Meals for the Week

Are you looking for a way to be more productive with meal time? How about prepping your meals for the week. If you have most of your items, freezer meals make an excellent choice. These meals include preparing soups, casseroles, and meat dishes. If you plan them right, the meals are healthy and affordable.

The above nine activities are perfect to do when you need to save some serious money. You can find more advice in this article here. They are fun, don’t require much work, and something you may do.