Buying First House

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by dgpiaffeteach, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jan 19, 2013

    Hi, all,

    It looks like I'm going to be buying my first house this year :eek::D I'm nervous and excited. My parents are helping me out since I don't know the first thing about buying a house!

    I have a budget in mind and have started to create a list of necessities (parking being at the top of the list after doing some driving around today) and then things I would like to have if possible but aren't deal breakers.

    I've started to contact agents based on recommendations from friends.

    I've gotten an idea of location and what I can get with my budget.

    The next step is to find an agent and start looking around.

    I have two VERY different areas I'm looking in. One is definitely more city-like. The homes are very close together and very old (approximately 100 years for most of them). The neighborhood has tons and tons of charm and lots of places within walking distance. The second neighborhood is a little bit more like the suburbs but still with a lot of things to do nearby. The houses in this area range from 60-100 years old. I am definitely going to be buying an older home since the locations are non-negotiable.

    We will definitely be getting the best home inspector we can find when that time comes.

    Any other tips? Suggestions? Things you would recommend doing?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jan 19, 2013

    Fun! :)

    I guess I'd ask you how you arrived at your budget. And have you been pre-approved for this amount?

    I loooove real estate so I hope you keep us updated.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 19, 2013

    I'm not sure what the market looks like where you live, but you might want to prepare for the house-hunting process to be long. Where I live, there are tons of houses available, but lots of commercial property owners are sweeping in and grabbing them up. We put in on like 50+ houses, and almost all of them were snatched out from under us. We were on a time crunch, and we actually had to move into a hotel for a month because our apartment lease ended before we closed on our house. There were also some holdups with the bank, who kept "losing" our paperwork and we had to keep resubmitting it over and over and over again.

    Make sure your credit is in order. If you haven't already checked out your credit report, do that.

    Try to stick to your budget. It can be hard, especially if your Realtor wants to show you houses beyond your comfort zone. Be firm in saying that you only want to see houses that you can afford. Of course you'll love the more expensive houses--that's why they're more expensive! But you've got to be smart.

    Make a list of necessities and deal-breakers. It sounds like you've already started doing that. For us, we needed a covered garage, a fenced-in yard (or a yard that could be fenced-in), at least three bedrooms, and at least two bedrooms. We also wanted a fully detached house, not any kind of condo or anything. We had to put our foot down with the Realtor who kept wanting us to look at condos and duplexes, but that wasn't what we wanted. We figured that if we were going to shell out this kind of money, we were going to get what we wanted. Besides that, our demands (for amenities, I mean) were very reasonable for our budget.

    Get your loan done before you try buying a house. Get a pre-approval, get all that paperwork in, and get that process going. If you wait until after you make an offer, it could be months before you get approved, or you could lose out on a house because your financing wasn't in order. Don't let that happen to you.

    Good luck!
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Thanks, guys! We're going to be sitting down with the bank soon. Definitely in the next couple of weeks.

    I know it took my parents three years to find their house so I'm ready for the long haul but hoping it goes quickly! I have an apartment now and month-to-month rent is ridiculous! Thankfully my year lease isn't up until July so I won't go month-to-month until then.

    I don't think we have a lot of commercial property owners in the area but that's definitely something to check on. I could see it being more of a problem in the one area than the other.

    Caesar, I'm sorry you had a hard time! My aunt and uncle lived in a hotel for awhile too when they bought their last house. At least I know I can stay in my apartment for as long I need to.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Our homebuying experience was actually fairly easy. It just took a while. :)
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Well that's good to hear! I hope mine is easy too!
     
  8. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Don't be afraid to offer less...even if you love it. My husband fell in love with our home, I was only 75% sold. I refused to pay full price for a home I wasn't 100% sold on. We offered them $20,000 less. She was in the middle of a divorce and desperate to sell. She turned us down, so I walked. My husband left on a trip and I got a call two weeks after the initial offer. She was willing to sell because if she sold after the divorce agreement was signed, she lost money. It was a win for us and I love anything I can make a deal on. Don't forget that you will want furniture. Even if it isn't a lot, I have never known anyone that has bought a house without buying some furniture.
     
  9. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    My advice is to make sure that the home inspector does a thorough job inspecting the exterior. My didn't, and now I'm going to have to replace a window, after a year and a half of ownership(it's really bad, and I didn't see it either).
    Also, if they offer to have the owners pay for a year of "house insurance"(it pays for repairs for a year for a small copay) do it!
    Since the houses that you are looking for are more than 50 years old,
    you are more likely to have unexpected repairs pop up in the first year.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    mrachelle, that's definitely good advice! I already know I'm going to need rugs (mostly hardwood floors) and I definitely want some sort of pull out couch or futon for the second bedroom.

    jteachette, thanks! I've started to put away a little bit of money for repairs. I know in my price range there will probably be something that needs fixed or replaced, especially given the age of the house.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jan 19, 2013

    When you find a place, check it out at different times of the day and both weekdays and weekends. Also think about the long term, too. I know that my first house was not a starter home. I wanted a forever home. That's why I got a one story home. I was already having some mobility issues at 29, so I knew I didn't need stairs.

    Once you find a place, make a priority list for updates, too. It doesn't all have to be done at once. With an older house, you'll likely find lots to do. My house isn't too old, but it needed updates. I had a lot I wanted to do, but not all of it had to be done for me to live there. I always intended to add a garage. I'm just now planning for that.

    Know the price of utilities. I moved three miles from my parents' house, but I have different utility companies. The prices are different! Know prices for certain repairs as well. I knew that there was water damage to the bathroom floor that had to be addressed before moving in, so I got an estimate on repair and included that in the discussion with the realtor when I made an offer.
     
  12. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Electric companies will give you a print out of usage for a year. Also Ima is right...visit any house at different hours. One house we looked at had neighbors that worked on race cars at night. Really loud race cars!!!!
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2013

    Congrats on starting the process!! Even though we have a house and don't plan on moving anytime soon, I still like to look online at what's out there. Other posters have given you great advice! I'd love to live in an older home!
     
  14. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Okay, this is kind of off-topic, but how do you go about coming up with an idea of what you can spend? Is there anyone to get a ballpark figure without going to the back? I've been thinking about this for a while now, but I'd like to know if it's even possible before I pursue it further.
     
  15. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    ama, with both of the houses we bought over the years, I sat down with DH and went over the budget. Every single penny. Then, we figured what we could afford for a mortgage, and told the realtor to find us houses in that price range. We refused to see anything over our budget. It didn't take too long, in either case, but we wouldn't settle either. Also, if you are not happy with one realtor, get another. Our last realtor was so honest with us, and I am so glad we listened to her. She sold our house in 2 months!
     
  16. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    With a house that's older, I would make sure to ask questions about the plumbing and electrical. Has it been updated? When you are looking, don't be afraid to flush toilets, run faucets, and inspect cabinets for mold or moisture. Most issues will come out in the formal inspection, but you should do your own informal inspection when touring the property.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Our pre-approval from the bank determined the maximum amount that we could spend on a house. We actually spent a lot less than that amount for two reasons: we wanted a lower monthly mortgage payment and we didn't need all that much house.

    I seem to remember that there are some websites that let you plug in the price of a house and your interest rate and it will tell you what your monthly payment will be. We used that to get a rough estimate of what we wanted to spend. In the end, we got a much lower interest rate than we were expecting, and we bought a pretty inexpensive house, so our monthly mortgage payments are basically tiny--less than what we were paying for our apartment!
     
  18. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Since you're buying an old house, make sure you open and shut all windows, drawers, cabinets, doors, etc. They're the biggest pet peeve in our nearly 100-year-old rental. A little stickiness is normal in an old building, but some of ours are darn near impossible! I'd also make sure to look into the insulation and plumbing as well. Flush the toilets, check the water pressure and temperatures, all that good stuff. Ours are fine, but some of the others we looked at were awful.
     
  19. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    A friend suggested we submit any questions in writing and ask for a written response. That way if you are mislead it is in writing. I would also recommend finding your own inspector.
     
  20. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    After making a budget. We went to the bank and worked with a broker. We said we can afford X, and he said you can have Y (which incidently was more than X). So we used X as our cap. Don't be afriad to look at properties above your cap. Our house was originally listed for 55k more than we got it for. Our realitor didn't want to show it to us because she never thought we'd get it.

    We looked for months, and were turned down multiple times. Be prepared for that.. it's tough. Don't get emotionally attached to a property until after you have an offer and an inspection.

    Above all, expect the unexpected, the bank we bought the house from threw us a last minute curveball the night before we closed escrow.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Be "smart" about your budget in that we were preapproved for nearly half a million. I don't know where they got that number, but we would NEVER need a home like that (as that practically buys a mansion).
     

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