Post # 1
I really didn’t think it was possible that we got preapproved & now were looking for houses!! What is something that you have on your must-have list for your home?
I’m freaking out a little bit lot.
Post # 3
We closed on our new house back in August. We weren’t planning on buying so soon (he got a new job out of state) but we stumbled across this house and didn’t want to take the risk of someone else putting an offer in. Our big issue was his toys- he has a boat, two four-wheelers, a motorcycle, and a boat. We wanted to have a garage that was large enough for most of the toys and be big enough (and long enough) for his truck and my car. We’re able to fit all of the above in the garage, minus the boat. He actually bought another motorcycle a few weeks ago and it fits as well!
Post # 4
First off, make sure you do your own budget and decide on your own what you can afford. Don’t just go by what the bank approved as it may be more than you can technically afford. Then? Find an agent and get to huntin!
Or, if you’re not ready, didn’t get approved for enough, etc, start saving your money and improving credit, or whatever you need to do, and just work on that.
Post # 5
Don’t panic! You can start house shopping now 🙂
Anyway, our must-haves were location, decent lot size, and 2-car garage. We were not too picky about finishes or upgrades because we figured that we could add those later if we wanted.
Post # 6
Don’t just go by what the bank approved as it may be more than you can technically afford.
This exactly. We were approved for a LOT more than we wanted to spend. In the end, we bought a house that we could afford payments, insurance, etc. on with just one salary.
Post # 7
@cbco: Yay! Congratulations!
When I was house shopping I wanted an open floor plan. If a house doesn’t have a lot of hallways the bedrooms usually will be larger than a house with the same square footage with hallways.
I wanted a laundry room. Its relatively common in my area for washer and dryers to be put in the kitchen, garage, or in a closet on the back patio.
I wanted a kitchen with ample countertop space and cabinet space.
I ended up buying a new construction town home versus a older pre-owned home because I was single when I bought it and I didn’t want to have to deal with a lot of renovation and repair projects. Also a newer home will have lower utility costs than an older home.
Post # 8
Congrats on the pre-approval 🙂 That’s a big, important first step!
I bought my house before DH & I were engaged. I went to my lender, got a pre-approval letter (and was approved for WAY more than I wanted to spend) then met with my agent to discuss what I was looking for.
My MUSTS were:
At least 3 bedrooms
At least 1 1/2 bathrooms
I had some other preferences as well…
Fenced back yard
2 full bathrooms
Then I did an internet search and drove by potential properties after work. I wanted to see how close they were to a major road, if the area was nice, what other houses in the neighborhood looked like (run down, or nice area), if people were out walking their dogs and waving, what traffic might look like during busy times, etc.
I printed off the flyer sheets for the properties I really liked, and the real estate agent also send some that he thought might be interesting for me. I got a notebook to keep the sheets in as well as take notes as we toured houses. I made sure to note things that I liked, things that I didn’t, and other things that would need updating/remodeling/repaired.
I found a house I loved, made an offer, and beat out a competitor’s bid because I had funding ready to go and they had to wait for approval (and the offer was submitted on a Friday so the other people had to wait until Monday for the bank).
After that we settled on a price and seller’s contribution to closing costs, had a home inspection, and set up the closing!
Post # 9
We HAD to have a fireplace… The house we picked had 2… We never used them even once in the 2.5 years we lived there… So much for ‘must have’ lol!
Post # 10
I would just have fun going to open houses @ houses in your price range and start putting together a list that way. Not stressful, no commitment, really lets you see what’s out there.
Also, that will help you decide if you want to buy something newer, or get something to fix up. When we were house hunting, we would go to an open house and then explore the neigborhood (go on a walk, grab coffee, etc.) Community really mattered to us, so this gave us a glimpse into what our life could be in that home.
House hunting was one of the best experiences we had as a couple. It was super fun 🙂
Post # 11
We started with showhomes and looking at the stats, before we were preapproved. It depends on what type of timeline you’re looking at.
Post # 12
@DaneLady: Ohhhhh thank you for the central air thing. I didn’t even think of that.
@AB Bride: Not really in a huge hurry. I spoke with a realtor today, who of course was wanting a definite answer. I don’t know, I don’t want to rush into anything that I’m going to regret being stuck with for many years.
I’m meeting with her tomorrow, so we’ll see what we come up with. Maybe she will show us the house of our dreams. I’m being hopeful!
Post # 13
@jbh13: Great advice!!
@cbco: I’m happy for ya!! My SO and I are working on this! Happy house hunting!
Post # 14
Definitely determine your own budget separate for what your preapproval told you. Our broker gave me a number that gave me a heart attack — on my first house, I did not want to spend anywhere close to what they said I could “afford” — and doing so would have been painful every month, rather than living comfortably.
My advice is to make a list of three things: Things you can’t live without, things you’d like to have, and things that would be nice, but not crucial.
Post # 15
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I agree with @QueenieB: that open houses are a really great way to casually look and start learning about your preferences. Also, really think hard about the lifestyle that you want to live. Are you a couple who wants to be out and about doing stuff? If so, a lower maintenance home (one with newer mechanicals and structural elements like HVAC and roof, and a smaller yard) would be a better option for you. Or are you a couple that are homebodies and DIY gods? Then maybe a big yard and a fixer upper are better options for you. Location also plays into this. Are you the couple who prefers to walk to the local cafe, or are you cool with getting in the car and driving everywhere? The kind of house that you choose should fit your life now and your life goals later, or else you will end up being unhappy with your choice.
Post # 16
That is so exciting – congrats!!!
I work in the financial/insurance industry and see a lot of things come through as potential claims that people don’t always think about when looking for a home. There is a good chance you know this already, but thought I’d mention it all, just in case
1 – wiring. Make sure there is no live knob and tube wiring if you are buying one of those gorgeous old homes. ( a home inspector should identify this – but they don’t always!)
2 – plumbing – steel and Galvanized pipe – you will find this in homes built around the 60’s – 80’s….it will literally fall apart when it gets older
3 – the roof – look for curling shingles. Ask if the roof warranty is transferable and when it was last replaced
4 – Furnace. Ask how old it is – anything entering the 15 year mark could potentially need replacing in the near future
5 – Windows – check around window edges to look for any mold/water. This is common in newly built homes. Ask the age of the windows – newer is better and will save you money on energy.
These are the inital 5 things I check as they are all VERY pricey to replace. If we go look at a home and it needs a new furnance in the next 5 years, that’s ok – but if it also needs new windows and a roof? No way.
Aside from that – a fenced backyard and good “bones” – I’m not afraid to paint, but I don’t want to have to take down walls!