SO buying first home soon, what should we know?

posted 3 years ago in Home
Post # 3
693 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’m not sure if you’ve already started looking at houses, but early on, make sure you start looking into lenders.  We met with four – two banks and two brokers before choosing ours.  Once you do that, MAKE SURE that you have all the necessary financial paperwork in hand to give.  We turned in our taxes, employment, paystubs, bank accounts, etc at the first meeting.  That meant when we found a house, all we had to do was update bank statements and paystubs (they’re only good for 2 months).  Made the loan documents happen MUCH faster.

Figure out what you want to pay per month.  Our broker didn’t give us a magic “preapproval amount.”  We told her, we don’t want to pay over $X and she told us where we were at (of course making sure that we qualified for it).

In terms of looking, if you haven’t started, look at anything you think you might be interested in.  You may have to be quick with offers, so be prepared.  Have a “cover letter” ready that you can tweak for the houses you see.  Our realtor recommended it to make us seem more real to the homeowners, and it totally paid off in the house we got.

Post # 4
2627 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Also, think about expenses you may not initially consider as monthly/yearly expenses.

The cost to heat, cool, yardwork, maintenance contracts such as be bugs, termites, pools, landscaping, airconditioning/heating, plowing etc depending where you live. Also the cost of doing it yourself.  Buying lawnmowers, being prepared to pay repair men you might not expect for things like electric garage doors. 

If the house is a bit older, ask the owners to purchase a one year warrantee on the house. There are lots of levels that include many different aspects so determine what you would need to have covered (IE furnace is older, but good working condition, AC, pipes) Its not really expensive to purchase but could save you a lot of money when you move in for things inspection doesnt notice (like a rusted pipe under the sink that is not visible)

There are different kinds of inspectors so make sure everything gets inspected. If there is a pool, get a pool inspector etc. Dont rely on the general inspector for specialized equipment.

Post # 5
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

Make sure you have a VERY good home inspector. Mine missed a furnace issue that caused it to break 6 months later… Expensive!

Post # 6
820 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Do not open any credit cards or get any other loans. Once you apply they keep track off all your accounts and what $ comes in and goes out. Also the money you are planning to use for down payment etc put in one account and don’t move it around. Every time I transferred $ from my savings to my checking of the $ we were using towards it they wanted a slip for the update. Also you have to pay to get the house inspected. This a very lengthy process at least for my FI and I. We have been going back and forth for almost a month and were still at least 3 weeks away from closing. I woud also say don’t just settle because you think a better one wont come along. We looked for 3 months and 12 houses til we found the one we love. We liked another one, but just weren’t sure and I’m so glad we waited and didn’t get that other house. It can be very discouraging at times seeing house after house and many none were even close to what we wanted, but we never ave up even though we wanted to. I never want to buy a house again after this unless it is absolutely necessary. Good luck and I hope you find the house of your dreams!

Post # 8
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

1) Find a great realtor that works for you. They should be able to work around your schedule and be open to show you any property you want and get the best deal for you.

2) Find a good lender. Shop around. Ask lots of questions if you are first time home buyer. Most lenders should explain everything out in detail to every penny once they hear you are a 1st time homebuyer…if you have to pull information out, they may not be the best to go to.

3) I agree with Mrs. Hot Pink- watch what you do with your money and definitely don’t open any new cards/loans!

4) We are buying a foreclosure and need to buy all applicances= more $$ up front.

5) Biggest lesson learned so far….it’s not your house until you have the keys in your hand after closing. So many things can happen in between. Just be prepared for anything (stress, laughing, crying, screaming, etc.)

Post # 9
7281 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

Start stalking the neighborhoods you are interested in, day and night, weekdays and weekends. Get out of your car and walk around. Be critical in your evaluation. Rose colored glasses are not helpful when making long-term commitments. Try to chat up the residents. Do they seem like the type of people you want to have as neighbors? And start checking the local police blotter every day for a few weeks to see what’s going on, too. Check the sex offender registry if that matters to you. Is your favorite area densly populated with offenders? You may be surprised. Basically investigate a lot. This is a big financial commitment, so do it right.

Post # 11
693 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@MrsHotPink:  This may also depend on the lender.  I moved around a bunch of money between our accounts, but as long as our lender was able to match it up between accounts, we didn’t have to do anything (i.e. it showed it going into bank account #xxxxxxx and that’s our account, which also showed the corresponding amount coming in).

Of course, once the loan was approved and the paperwork started, I didn’t touch it.

The only “explanations” we had to give were non-payroll deposits.  If there was a check, it was easy to just print out a copy of the check from our online banking.  If it wasn’t, a one-sentence description written on the copy of the bank statement we gave them.

Post # 12
11379 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@Laurenplusalex:  pp have already given you great advise.

ask the sellers for a yearly breakdown of their utility expenses – electrical, gas, etc.  this way there is no surprise after you move in.  what are the property taxes per year? 

if moving into a condo, what are the condo fees and what do they include.  what upgrades or improvements has the condo corp made recently – windows, roof, etc?  if these haven’t been done in a while and need to be done soon, expect the condo fees to go up (depending on the condo’s reserve).

another thing that you may not think of that you will need after you move in is window coverings.  these can add up.  hopefully you can negociate the existing ones into your offer.

also, if you are keen on a particular area of the city, make sure that your realtor is very familiar with it.  this is more important than picking someone just b/c you know them. 

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