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    Thread: buying a house?

    1. #1
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      Default buying a house?

      We are going to be looking at puchasing a home. First time house looking. Is
      there a site some place that could give us a list of things we should be looking
      at/for as we veiw houses?
      I would like to compile a list before we start viewing. any past experience
      would be appreciated too.
      TIA
      Mel

    2. #2
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      Mel,

      Start by making a four column list: Musts, Likes, Neutral, &
      ABSOLUTELY NOT! Make blank copies to pass amongst those involved in
      the decision & have a family meeting to consolidate & discuss the
      entries. No sense wasting time on or falling in love with something
      only to find that 3/5 of the household would be miserable there.

      Next, take your monthly take home pay times .30 to see about what
      you can afford as a house payment including taxes & insurance. For
      instance, if (after taxes) you bring home $2,000 per month, $75k to
      $80k would put you right about $600 a month on a 30 year fixed 6.5%
      rate. Assuming you've saved up to put 20% down to avoid PMI, you'd
      want to limit your search to homes below $100k. If you don't have
      20% down, you're looking at paying an extra $75-100 per month for at
      least the first ten or so years so plan your payment accordingly.

      Next, find realtor that is willing to work with your research &
      represent you as a buyer. This won't cost you anything as your agent
      will split the selling agent's commision when you finally buy your
      home. (We used the seller's realtor to buy our last house and
      overpaid around $10k because we were in too much of a hurry & too
      busy to shop around.) A good agent will be more interested in
      helping you meet your needs (the point at which your price & must
      list intersect) than selling you something in a hurry or steering
      you towards something more expensive.

      Take your master list with you to look at each home, and make
      detailed notes as you go. Go back to the ones you really like at
      least once before making an offer. If you have someone you trust as
      an objective observer, take that person back with you on your second
      visit. Make your offer contingent on a satisfactory inspection,
      appraisal & financing qualification.

      After your inspection, ask the seller to repair any large problems
      that affect the value of the property or discount the price
      accordingly, but be realistic about the small, nitpicky stuff. If
      you can fix a leaky faucet or repaint the bathroom, the seller's
      good will is worth more to you than the time & money it will take to
      do it yourself. Remeber that you want the seller on your side if
      your financing takes an extra month or you find that you can only
      qualify for a couple of thousand less than the asking price.

      Above all, take your time, do your research, & make sure the place
      you buy will be a good fit for years to come.

      Blessings,
      Carla

    3. #3
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      I just bought my first house a year ago & I did extensive research online. Some
      sites to visit are http://www.uspropertyads.com & http://www.realtor.com. Also, check out any
      realtor websites in your area (e.g. century21.com, remax.com, etc...). A lot of
      them give you links to visit for articles on what to look for in a house and
      much, much more!

      Make sure that you find yourself a realtor to work with, preferably before you
      start looking for houses. That way they can also help you & also may be able to
      tell you some other places to visit for more information.

      All in all, be patient and don't rush into one of the first houses that you see!
      Once you've walked into the house that want, you will know. I did!

      Good luck,
      Kim

    4. #4
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      Very important! Check out the school districts in the area you plan
      to buy in. We bought our last home 12 years ago. I made a list of
      what we wanted 2 living areas, 2 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, trees. Well
      this house fit everything on the list. One problem, I wasn't real
      specific about the kitchen. We are still in the process of
      remodeling our home, because the kitchen really wasn't functional for
      us. At the time we had 3 kids and were expecting. I went on to have
      2 more and 'adopt' another.

      When we were sure this was the home we wanted, I introduced myself to
      the neighbors behind us, beside us and across the street from us. I
      asked their opinion of the area and the local schools. Some had kids
      in school and some of them had kids no longer in school.

      I would never move anywhere that I couldn't at least meet my
      prospective neighbors. A good part of your happiness in your new
      home will be all about the neighbors, especially if you have kids or
      plan to have kids. You can also check online to find out about sex
      offenders already living in your neighborhood. A friend of mine
      didn't and moved in right between 2. She didn't find out until one
      neighbor was arrested for a repeat offense.

      Drive through the neighborhood at various times of the day. Do the
      people that live there feel secure enough to let their children play
      in the front yards? In my neighborhood we are, in fact most of us
      are 'porch sitters'. We have a nice mix of ages, from retired and in
      their 80's to newly married.

      Jill, PAM of DJoe/Army/FOB Speicher, Iraq
      Josh/Marine Reserves/Broken Arrow, OK
      5 other wonderful children and
      3 precious grandchildren!

    5. #5
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      We bought our 3rd home a year and a half ago. This is the one I plan on
      staying in until we retire or longer. The main thing to look for is a good
      neighborhood where the neighbors keep their homes in good condition so the
      value of your home will go up. You are better off buying the worst house on
      the block in a neighborhood of nicer homes than buying the best house on the
      block and the rest of them are run down. Location, location.....

      Next, make a list of what you think you want in a house. Then redo that
      list and write down what you MUST have in a house. Besides the obvious
      things like the number of bedrooms and baths etc. think about how much
      maintenance you can and are willing to do. Does the yard have lots of trees
      and bushes? They look good but they are lots of work and having to have a
      big tree cut down is very expensive. (Been there) Is the driveway cement,
      asphalt, or gravel? Asphalt requires yearly or biyearly coatings to keep it
      from falling apart. Gravel requires periodic new loads of gravel or it
      turns to mud. Does the house have to be painted? Painting a house is lots
      and lots of work, and paint is getting very expensive. Having a pro do it,
      is down right ridiculously expensive.

      We decided to go with a cement driveway, brick construction, nice size yard
      with trees and few bushes. The house is a ranch with no stairs so we don't
      have to worry about those stairs when we get older.

      Just some things to think about.

      Nancy in Ohio

    6. #6
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      Thanks so much for your im put Carla and Betsy.
      Lots of great advice in your emails.

      Anyone have their insurance and taxes in their monthly payments?? and if so is
      is worth it.......
      pros vs. cons.
      We were thinking about this last evening and I dont know anyone who has had this
      done.
      Mel

    7. #7
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      As far as I know, most banks around here require you to put your insurance and
      taxes in your monthly payments. We weren't given an option. Is your bank
      giving you a choice? It may be a state requirement or something, I don't know.
      The only people I know who don't have it in their payment are people who have
      their house paid off and don't HAVE a payment

      IMO, it does make it easier. Our property taxes and insurance aren't terribly
      high here compared to other parts of the country, I think they are each around
      $500/year. But it's easier to let it go in the payment than have to come up
      with a one-time payment of $1,000 each year.

      Betsy

    8. #8
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      We've always paid our taxes & insurance as part of put payment. You
      may have to pay it that way if your mortgage company requires an
      escrow account. I believe that's more common the less money you have
      to put down. For me it's always been more convenient to cut one
      check a month, and I don't have to worry about saving up to make tax
      & insurance payments a couple of times a year.

      Something I forgot to mention... Visit the neighborhood you're
      considering at different times and days. Also, contact the police
      department for crime statistics. We once rented a shop in the cutest
      little wedding mall. Excellent parking, beautiful trees &
      courtyards, good price, etc. Went to look at the place early on a
      Tuesday morning, fell in love, & signed the papers that afternoon.
      It didn't take long to find out that the weddings they held were
      huge, loud, often violent affairs. Between the noise, the parking
      mess & the drunken brawls our store was pretty much useless from 4pm
      Friday to early Monday morning. We finally moved out when there were
      shots fired in front of our store one evening & we found out the
      management company had hidden another shooting from the tenants by
      transfering a security guard a few months before. Luckily, that was
      only a lease. You don't want to buy into a nightmare.

      Blessings,
      Carla

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