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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2005
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    Advice on buying first home

    We're finally looking to buy our first house. I need help ;) hehe

    My mom is a really negative person sometimes if I'm not liking what she likes. So I can't always completely believe her. We're looking at quite a few different houses, the one I LOVE though is 2 bedroom. She says a 2 bedroom is REALLY hard to re-sell. Is it really that bad? I'm not putting the entire decision on that, because this house is perfect for us. But I was just wondering.

    Also, what all goes into a monthly payment for a house. I know water, electricity and paying on the loan. What about taxes or any other extra stuff?

    The reason I ask that is that we were playing around w/ a loan calculator online and it came up with a total house cost WAY below what we want, but it also had a monthly payment $100-150 less than what we can actually spend. We're cutting cable and phone when we move, since we have cell phones and our cable's free now - we don't really want to pay for it, at least for a while. We're also used to paying over $500 in rent. A house payment lower than our rent would be nice, but I'd also be glad (and able) to pay more and get a house I love.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2005
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    los angeles county, CA
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    In what part of the country/world are you looking? I am in So CA, in a very built-up older part of LA county, and we would have absolutely no problem selling a two-bedroom house, in part because the 3+ bedrooms in our neighborhood are insanely priced. Most people in my neighborhood who purchase the 2-bedrooms are doing a construction add-on of needed rooms. We who have been here for a while have NO idea how they're affording it. My house value has nearly tripled since I bought it in 1989; flip side is that I cannot afford to move into my own neighborhood if I tried to buy here now.

    But if the house is perfect for you, then go for it. Do take into consideration, though, how long you want to be in this house, especially if you want to start a family there. How safe is the neighborhood? Is there a lot of traffic on the street? Young couples for potential friends and kid playmates on the block? What is the school district like. (This is a HUGE one in Los Angeles, and is a major deal maker/breaker.)

    BTW, the thought of a lower house-payment than apt rental makes me gasp with disbelief. Where is this happening????

    At any rate, it would be easier to give appropriate advice if we knew where you're looking.

    AND you can arrange to pay your real estate taxes in your mortgage payment if you want. Talk to your loan or mortgage officer about it. Your utility bills will be separate, so will your repair bills. They may both be larger than you expect as well, as more space seems to take up more energy and resources...

  4. #3
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2005
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    If the property has room to add on, the easiest add-on is an extra bedroom or two. But, with the way the property market is going across the country, I think the old idea about two-bedrooms ain't necessarily so anymore.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2005
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    I'm in southwestern Indiana (Evansville)

    I was looking up houses online, so for fun I decided to look at LA too :) The avg square feet we're looking at is between 900-1500. In LA that came up to $500k. Here it's about $80k (excluding the $20-50k ones that are in bad neighborhoods). Our rent (950 sq ft) is $520, and a house payment alone for the ones we're looking at is between $300-450.

    When I was little I always wondered why everyone lived here, and not in more fun cities like NYC or California :)

    I'm leaning away from the house though, because it is on a busy street. I liked that at first, because it's not a major street, but it's just enough activity for me. Then I remembered that our cats like to run through doors, and we will have a baby in a few months, who could run out the door too later on.

    The neighborhood and the school is GREAT though, but we're finding other houses right around that area.

  6. #5
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    Nov 2005
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    los angeles county, CA
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    I bought my house for $320K in 1989, and right now we could sell it for $800; and that's BEFORE we get the granny suite built in the back! And we're a 2-bedroom, slightly less than 1200 square ft. Our neighbors all stand on the sidewalk and talk real estate. We (1) can't believe our own dumb luck in buying when we did (2) cluck over the fact that we couldn't afford to move into our own house now if we were looking and (3) wonder how young families can afford these houses. We have had three houses go up for sale in past year, ALL went for more than their asking price and ALL were in escrow in less than 3 weeks.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    387
    Don't forget you will also have to pay homeowners insurance. And your utility bills will be higher for the larger space. And your maintenance costs will be particularly high the first year if you are going from rental to a house, you are suddenly going to need a lot of things (like a lawn mower) even if you don't have a lot of repairs up front.

    There are some calculators online to help you guess at what your house will cost above and beyond the mortgage payment.

    If you still come out ahead, you can pay your loan off quicker. Or you can stretch to get a bigger house (just make sure you aren't stretching more than you planned).

    Good luck on the house hunt and congrats on your first home!

  8. #7
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2004
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    down by the bay
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    Also, you may be getting quotes based on a variety of types of loans - interest only loans or 40 year loans can end up costing you big time eventually.

    Good luck! Even $500 for rent is making me wish I didn't live in the valley...

  9. #8
    Member
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    Jul 2006
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    75
    Here in Canada, small town is the way to go. Taxes are cheap, utilities are cheap, no litter, no crime. The house we bought, would likely cost us 4 times as much in the city. -PHH

  10. #9
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2004
    Location
    NSW, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrs_stroozi
    Do take into consideration, though, how long you want to be in this house, especially if you want to start a family there. How safe is the neighborhood? Is there a lot of traffic on the street? Young couples for potential friends and kid playmates on the block? What is the school district like. (This is a HUGE one in Los Angeles, and is a major deal maker/breaker.)
    This was the first thing I thought of. When my husband and I moved into our house it was perfect for us but now we have Clio I am noticing aspects of our home which aren't so child-friendly. We have a steep flight of stairs to get to the front door and a balcony with a railing which has a ledge small children could climb on, for example. We can make adjustments to fix these issues but I've realised that we didn't give the future much thought when we bought our house. It's something to keep in mind.

    As for the 2 bedroom thing, can you renovate down the track? Does the house have potential? We bought our house because it is in a great location, with a view to renovating or rebuilding a few years from now.

    Anyway, congratulations and best of luck with the house hunting! It's wonderful owning your own home.


 

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