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Thread: buying a house?

  1. #1
    Deal GURU
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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
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  2. #2
    Deal GURU
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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
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  3. #3
    Deal GURU
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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
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  4. #4
    Deal GURU
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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!
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  5. #5
    Deal GURU
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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
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  6. #6
    Deal GURU
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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
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  7. #7
    Deal GURU
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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
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  8. #8
    Deal GURU
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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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