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Thread: Buying a House?

  1. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    YES, get the Buying a House for Dummies. It's invaluable. Before you do anything else.

    Seems to me that this would be an impulse buy. Although you commented a little bit on the house, you didn't mention any of the basic necessities like the condition of the house itself or the amenities. Most importantly, do you know what the monthly costs would be (mortgage, utilities, property taxes, insurance)? Can you afford it?

    Apart from obvious questions like budget, down-payment, financing, finding a real estate agent and a lawyer, etc, you need to consider other items:

    * your lifestyle. How much time can you devote to looking after your house? Is it reasonable to assume you'll have time to cut the grass, tend the garden, do more housework? Is this house suited to you? If you're a gourmet cook, will you be satisfied with the galley two-burner kitchen and bar fridge? Will you have to devote a bedroom to your clothes because there are no closets upstairs? You have to know in advance what features you absolutely need, what features would be great if you get them but not necessary, and what you could live without. If the house isn't suited to your lifestyle, can you afford to make the changes (like revamp the kitchen)?

    * Owning a house is not only about decorating! You have to be sure the house is sound and ready to be moved in. Decorating can only come after you've looked at the necessities like plumbing, windows and good roofing. You might not be able to afford to decorate to your heart's desire at first.

    * the condition of the house. I say a home inspection is really worth the money you'll spend. It's nice to know before buying that there's a crack in the foundation or that you'll need to save up for a furnace or a roof in the next year or two. (You can make the offer conditional that the house passes inspection.)

    * what's the market like? Is this house overpriced? Is is underpriced? Why are the people selling? (One house I looked at was expropriated by the city at 40% below market value. The expropriation took place two months after it was sold).

    Buying a house is often an emotional and nerve-wracking event in your life, so be sure that you're actually ready.

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  3. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    house loans

    If you have a Fifth Third Bank in your area and you are purchasing your first home--go to and search for the "Good Neighbor" loan.

    My husband and I used this loan to buy our first house. I was in college [aka-- barely making cash] and at the time, he was only making about $35,000.00 a year.

    We got the previous owners to pay closing costs, didn't pay anything down on the house and our payment is still under $600 with taxes and insurance escrowed (based on $87,000.00 loan / 30 years). We live in a smaller town in the midwest as well which can effect the housing costs.

    With this loan, you have to take a one day class about buying your first home but my husband says its painless. For a 5% interest rate and low monthly payments its totally worth your time.


    Also recommend:

    Escrow taxes and insurance (you pay a little each month, which is added to your monthly mortgage payment )--Then you don't have to worry about coming up with this money at certain times of the year

    If you have direct deposit through your place of employment, set it up so that a certain amount of $ gets deposited per week into your mortgage account. Then you will never have to worry about coming up short!

    Get your home insurance with the same peeps who give you car insurance. We get a discount for having both with the same company.

    Get a professional inspection done! This can save you from $ problems down the line and maybe even $ off the asking price before you buy!

    Buy a house that you can increase the value of. New paint, doors, fencing, a deck, kitchen, bathroom, basement renovation, etc. can add a lot of value to your house. Spending money on this now could get you more $ back in the future.

  4. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    OH wow! How exciting! I love 4square's advice. Paying escrow/taxes each month is called an impound account. My husband and I just sold our home. It was on the market for 4 days. we HONESTLY thought it would take months to sell. It needs a lot of cosmetic work, and is WAY up in the montains of Northern California. So we found ourselves having to scramble to find a lace to live. We did, within two days. It is still being built, but is almost doen. We will close on both homes the same day:) Rememeber to, that you won't have as much money to spend on 'entertainment', but what is better than puttering around your OWN home with the one you love? GO FOR IT!

  5. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    san diego

    No good advice

    But a big congratulations. Owning a home is probably my biggest dream!

    (Living in San Diego, and growing up in San Fransisco, I'm a long way from being there) but I am so so excited for you!!!

    Good luck!

  6. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    denton, texas
    I just wanted to give a quick update! We are closing in just under 2 weeks and everything is going really well. We found some first-time homebuyer grants through Wachovia (and are taking a class like someone recommended), the inspection went perfectly- the worst issue is that we need to trim some branches because they're brushing against the roof.

    I also wanted to mention that though this is definately a QUICK decision for us, it was nowhere near a rash one. Both my husband and I are naturally cautious and have good jobs, good savings, and no debt. We can afford it on only one salary even though we currently have 2 and not only are the cosmetics of the house perfect, but the structure of it is as well. I think the time issue may be a bit of a struggle, but the benefits clearly outweigh it.

    *I completely second 4square's recommendation to get house and car insurance at the same place. This is going to save us A Lot of money.

    Thanks for all the thoughtful questions!

  7. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    New England
    Best of luck with everything! I know it feels weird to decide so quickly on such a big decision but it often ends up happening that way - partly b/c you don't want to lose out on a good thing. We only looked at 2 houses before we bought ours - and we made an offer on the spot and beat out a higher offer by a day. You have to leap these days! Hope everything goes smoothly.

  8. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    I bought my first house last May. There were so many problems that I encountered; but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I now know what to do in the future.

    I fell in love with the house and it turned out that it was just recently put on the market. I talked it over with my parents, who are amazing help.
    I decided to make an offer that evening. I offered only $2000 less then she was asking; which was a great deal for her. 24 hours later, her agent told me that she wants the exact price listed. My agent said that was completely unreasonable as no one gets the exact price. She wouldn't budge an inch, so I ended up offering the exact price.

    We set a closing date, I had an inspection, etc. Everything looked good to go. Then came the time for the final walkthrough, the night before the closing. She still had furniture and misc. things sitting around the house. We made note of it and called the agent explaining that I closed at 9am and everything had to be out of there at that time. He agreed. The next morning I signed my life away and finally got the keys. We went over to the house and whallah, her stuff was still there.

    My dad carefully loaded everything up and put it in the car port and began working to change the locks. I left to get the water and electric turned over in my name and I get this phonecall from my dad. He says that the previous homeowner is over the house and is frantically yelling and screaming that we are intruding on private property, blah, blah, blah. She said that she was going to call the cops.

    My dad tried to calmly explain to her that we closed and therefore the house was ours. He would assist her in packing up the remaining items if she needed help. She ignorantly took her sweet old time picking up a book at a time and taking it to the truck. Then she had the nerve to get a shovel out of her truck and began digging up the daylilies in the front yard. My dad told her that she could have a plant or two; but this was part of the landscaping and really ours now. She dug up what she wanted, trampling the rest.

    Finally a few hours later she left and I safely came home.
    Fast forward a few days later and we notice that several of the things agreed upon in the inspection were not done. She didn't connect the pipes she needed to, install the other smoke detectors, etc. We never really thought to check on these things, as we would assume that everything would be in check. We also discovered that the plumbing in the bathtub was completely clogged. Now if the inspector would have done his job properly, he would have noticed this. As it filled up in about 1 min. or less. Stupidly, I didn't go along on the inspection; but know now to do so.

    So, there is my long winded house-story. I'm now loving every minute of it and like I said wouldn't trade the experiences.

  9. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    We are in our second house and love owning our own place. Take pride in it and know that there will always be a little something to do around the place.

  10. #19
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    If you REALLY REALLY REALLY love the house, then go 4 it.
    However, you really need to think about yardwork, upkeep,etc
    especially on a house that age. It can be a full time job. you have to
    realize that sometimes it will require the lion's share of your time,
    because there will be no landlord to call to fix the heat, plumbing...
    My husband and i are selling our detached 1899
    1-family house in favor of a condo. After the past 3 nyc winters, we will NEVER shovel snow again !!! not to mention that when all the little things go wrong, we can just pick up the phone and it's someone else's problem, as well as their $$$. there is nothing like the feeling of home ownership, but you have to want it more than you want to breathe. i admire anyone who takes it on.

  11. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Celery City, MI
    Tons of good advice here!
    We're closing on ours in a week or two. Wanna see the pictures?

    It is tiny but the neighborhood is totally perfect. It seems like every other house has those Tibetan prayer flags on the porch. So I think we can make some friends! And have a garden, and a porch swing, and lots of awesome hot baths in the old tub!

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