Post # 1
Fiance and I are looking to buy our first home sometime next year, either before April, or after August (FI works out of state all summer.)
My question is….when should we get started? We live in a town of about 100,000, so there are lots of houses in our price range. I’ve done some random searching, online and in real estate guides, but I don’t want to look too early.
Thanks for any input you might have.
Post # 3
Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage? I would do that first, before you look at houses. Then decide when you’d like to buy for sure, before April or after August. After you have decided that check out some neighborhoods that you would be interested in buying in. Are you buying a house to have room for kids? If so, make sure to look at school districts and crime statistics. Once you’ve got a few neighborhoods in mind, then you can start looking at actual houses.
Post # 4
We have already been approved for a mortgage, for a higher amount than what we are actually wanting to spend. LOL. So we have a price point. Luckily crime isn’t a big issue here, but there are definitely some neighborhoods we’d like to avoid. Thank you for the advice!
Post # 5
i think it depends on the type of house you are looking for. around here, houses get offers put on them rather quickly. we were looking into a lot of foreclosed homes (tip: we learned to avoid short sales if you can – apparently the whole process turns into a huge pain in the butt). we ended up just getting our offer accepted on a bank owned home though which is ideal because the process moves very quickly for closing. it definitely took longer than we thought to actually find a home. a lot of times you think there are a million wonderful houses to go look at and you see pictures and think the house is awesome, but then you go and actually look at it and things can be very different from what you see online lol
i would start looking online at least whenever you can so you can get an idea of what homes will be like in your price range and you can get a more realistic look on things. we deifnitely learned about what house hunters (show on hgtv – love it!) always talks about when having to compromise… or maybe you could even go start looking at homes now so you get a feel of what type of features you can or cannot compromise on. i wouldn’t start looking now with the intention of being dead set on a house though if you are planning on waiting quite awhile to place an offer, because if you find one you love and wait a long time to place an offer, chances are an offer will be put on the home rather quickly.
remember too, a lot of times nowadays real estate agents won’t even show you a home until you have your preapproval letter from the mortgage company/bank. we ended up looking at a total of like 40 homes though before we got this one, so it could definitely take some time.
Post # 6
When would like like to own a house by? I think that’s the biggest question. Are you okay with buying if you found something in April? If you find a house you will most likely close within 60 days, are you okay doing so with doing so over the summer without your Fiance.
If you don’t want to buy a house until after August then I would just browse and familiarize yourself with the location that you would like to target and wait until August to really shop.
Post # 7
After getting preapproved, it doesn’t hurt to start looking on the internet and read everything about houses. We both felt really clueless, but we started doing research right after getting engaged. It was a quick process for us, but we didn’t have a large market to choose from. When we did start looking seriously, I felt more prepared. It sounds like you’re on the right track!
Post # 8
I would wait until you have the money and resources to buy the house. If you start looking now, you might see one that you want and you might have to move on it quickly in order to purchase it. It took my husband and I about a month or two to find our house and have an offer accepted on it.
Post # 9
Keep in mind that you get the $8000 1st time home buyers tax credit if its before THIS April 30th!
My advice is, don’t look at specific houses until you can afford it. I looked into buying a house last year & found a house I really loved in a great location… but I couldn’t afford it just then. Now, I’m looking really seriously & its already sold. But I did look around general neighborhoods & its been helpful since I know the general areas I want to live & where I don’t!
A good website is: http://www.trulia.com as it has the house’s history (if its listed), plus crime rates, average house sales, etc. It doesn’t have every house on the market, but I’m finding a lot of helpful info on the houses I’m interested in!
Post # 10
It’s good that you have received a pre-approval from a bank. My advice is for you to crunch your own numbers and figure out what you are comfortable paying. Keep in mind that in addition to the price of the house you are adding interest, taxes, homeowners insurance and PMI (if you don’t put 20% down). Our pre-approval was for about 150,000 more than we felt comfortable spending! We ended up in a four bedroom home that we love with a mortgage that we can comfortably pay.
If you are not interested in buying right now I would start researching cities or neighborhoods that you like and that will be in your price range. Some cities will not have a lot on the market in your price range and you will get frustrated looking for something that doesn’t exist.
If you feel ready I would seriously consider buying a house now so that you get the first time homebuyer’s 8,000 credit. We bought last year and the gov credit was wonderful to have. We started looking mid March 09, lost two houses to other offers, went under contract for a house in mid April and closed on that house mid May.
Post # 11
In order to get the 8,000 tax credit – you need to have a ratified contract by April 30th and close by end of June on a property. So, if your in a position in april, I would rec. doing so then so you can get the tax credit.
Post # 12
I don’t think it’s ever too early to look. We started looking back in 2008 and I’ve kept a folder with all the homes I liked. At first I just kept the folder for fun, but it’s really helped a lot as a point of comparison and an example of market changes.
We started going to Open Houses spring of last year and the first few homes we looked at all seemed really nice. Looking back now, they weren’t really all that nice! Only after we’ve been looking for awhile we’re able to narrow down the type of house we really want. For instance, at first we were only interested in homes out in the countryside. When we realized we wanted a store nearby and neighbors wouldn’t be so bad afterall, so we looked into townhouses in the city. Then we realized we didn’t want a temporary house (even though we’d save monthly), because it’ll be harder to buy our house house since our savings would be locked up.
For us, looking early really helped! We haven’t got our house yet, but with a little luck, hopefully we will soon!