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A 203(k) loan is more or less what you describe. A lender lends you an amount greater than the value of the home (but backed by the government), with the additional money going to make repairs on the home. Ideally, this brings the value of the home up more than the costs of the material for the repairs (you’re adding sweat equity).

There are some risks here, though. The big one is that if you’re unable to follow through with the repairs for whatever reason (health, etc.), you’re underwater on that mortgage. You’ll owe more than the house is worth if you can’t put in your own sweat equity.

If you’re willing to accept that risk – and it sounds like you’re in the best position you could be to accept it – then I’d go for it. It’s a great opportunity for someone with home improvement skills to turn those skills into home value.

Q6: Suggest some board games
Some friends of ours invited my husband and I to dinner a few months ago. After dinner we played some board games of theirs that I’d never heard of and had a blast! Since then, we’ve dined and “gamed” with them several times and tried a lot of games. I found out eventually that they got the idea of playing board games and having dinner parties with them from The Simple Dollar, which is how I found your site!

I am wondering if you could suggest some games for us. We would like some games that could be played in an hour or less that my husband and I could play and we could also easily play with another couple. What would you suggest for us?
- Kelly

Here are four board games that can be played in an hour or less, work well for two players and also work well with four players, and don’t have overly complex rules. I own all of these and enjoy playing them all.

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