Post # 1
DH and I are trying to decide what makes the most sense for our lifestyle and our budget and we’re confused! I mentioned in another post that we are no longer able to get a conventional loan in the amount we originally were approved for because my credit score has gone down. I thought I’d share the information we have, and what options we’re looking at and see what opinions the beehive has.
We can qualify for a conventional loan up to $200K using JUST DH’s credit/income
We can qualify for an FHA loan up to $275
We are looking for a modest house, can be a fixer upper (but of course this can get complicated with loans) with a yard and garage on a quiet street in a safe neighborhood. We do not want to buy a short sale or bank owned property-have had experience making an offer on a short sale and we don’t want to go through the trouble involved with that again.
Houses within a 30-40 mile radius of our jobs, with yards, garages, and above 500sq ft (no, I’m not kidding) literally don’t exist under $250-275K.
This is our first home purchase.
We also don’t want to spend more than $275 because we hope to pay it off sooner than later and use it as a rental 10 years down the line……
What would you do if you were us?
Should we sacrifice space, yard size and possibly our precious and most desired garage just to get into a home NOW?
Should we scratch the whole idea of buying a home and just BUILD one? Both our families have the know how and have said they would help. How expensive is this?
EEEEK what would you do?
Post # 3
It sounds like you guys need to put the house hunt on hold and save up more money. Rates aren’t going to skyrocket for a while, so I think you’ll be ok on that. I don’t see how building would be cheaper unless you are going way outside of town, and if you are, that wasn’t where you were originally looking – which tells me that you could be compromising your ideal lifestyle to buy faster. I live someplace that is really expensive, too, and we had to save up the money to make it happen.
Post # 4
I would wait to buy a house and just rent personally. To me those prices are ridiculous, we purchased an all brick ranch house with garage, 1200 sq ft and 1/2 acre yard for $80K at 20. I know most areas are more expensive, but 500sq ft! That’s smaller than my college dorm. Building can be cheaper but a lot of time the price of the land can be ridiculous but it’s worth looking into! I would also start looking a little farther out.
Post # 5
@mrshoneybee: what about a townhouse? It’s best not to borrow the max you’re loaned – you don’t want to be house poor. Building is generally just as if not more expensive then buying. At least in our area since land is very expensive here.
Post # 6
We are in the same situation. We just can’t find anything in our price range, or that gets an appraisal to support the loan. We finally decided to scrap the idea and resigned our lease. Hopefully in the next year or two more things will go on the market, because it seems like there is nothing there right now!
Post # 7
@mrshoneybee: The most important thing is location, location, location. So you might have to make some sacrifices, especially since this is going to be a starter home for you. Find a place that you would be happy for the next 3-5 years (meaning, if you are going to have kids in that time, make sure you have room for them). But also keep in mind the kind of place people will want to rent. Most people that rent are 1-2 people, youngish, closer to the city and around here close to public transportation like trains or subway.
So if it were me, I’d look for a townhouse or condo that would a good rental unit (2-3bd/1-2ba). Most renters dont want a yard. Garage is nice, but not necessary as long as you have parking. Good schools again are always a good thing for when you plan to sell, but most singles/young couples/roommates wont be sending kids to school so dont worry about that. Safety is important, but can you find a place that is up and coming where the hipsters and gays are buying? The area may be semi-safe now, but might be great in a few years.
As for building a house. That is expensive. You have to buy the land and pay for builders and all the material. Not something I’ve heard first time buyers being able to do.
You will find something eventally.
Post # 8
What do you pay in rent and when do you plan on trying for kids?
If you’re not going to TTC for a few years, that’s 7+ years until you need to be in a great area or a good school district.
I’d buy a small starter-home in a crappy area and build equity while you can!
Post # 9
I think I’d spend some time and build up my credit score.
A house can wait – with poor (or even not-so-poor) credit, you are really talking about a difference in interest costs/fees in the thousands of dollars. It’s not worth it.
Might be a good time to look into ways to raise it, but obviously it will take a while.
In the meantime, save up money where you can so that (hopefully) you have a little bit of savings to put into repairs and whatnot when you do get into a home.
To be honest, we’re moving in with my MIL while we save up money for a home and an emergency fund. IT enables us to save three times as fast as we could when renting, and our first priority is to pay off our small debts to improve our credit.
Building a house can be a similar cost to purchasing, but if things start to go wrong (and they usually do) unexpected costs can come up. I beleive my friends (who built their home) first had a shifted foundation, then a flooded foundation, then alignment problems (modular house), then plumbing leaks and mold (in a brand.new.home), the new deck collapsed, and the contrators really didn’t give a crap (plus the contract was worded against these friends, it was a crappy situation)
They did a lot themselves to save money, but it takes time and they’re constantly improving the house a year later.
I also think you are putting yourself at a financial disadvantage trying to pay off a house earlier. We’d love to do the same, but we also understand that life moves on and extra money is not always available to put into the mortgage. We would consider it luck if we could afford that, not part of the plan.
Consider aiming for a two-family home instad of single family. That way you can rent out the other half, still live there, and make more money on your initial investment. It may take a bit more time to save up for that, but it may be more in-line with your renting goals.
Post # 10
Sacrificing space is an option, or continue renting. I looked on realtor.com and there are 1,700 listings in Portland in the price range of $275k and under. Now, I have not one clue about Portland, however, it seems like there are a lot of decent choices are there, with decent space… now 500 sq ft for that much ??? we’d have to talk LOL
Post # 11
Forgot to mention, dont bother trying to pay off the first house before you buy the second house. Just make sure your mortgage+taxes+insurance is less than or equal to what you could charge in rent. There are tax advantages to having a 2nd home mortgage (talk to a financial advisor). Then the money you would be using to pay off your mortgage, save. Then you will have a huge down payment for your next house and wont need to pay PMI.
Post # 12
The housing market in Portland is poop. I bought my house last year and it was a struggle to find something decent for my price. I don’t think it’s wise to buy 30-40 miles from your jobs though. In Portland the closer in the better!
I would keep looking on the side and keep your realtor if you like them but don’t be too serious about it for the time being. It’s going to take you some time to find something in that price range. People held onto their houses here even when the market tanked. In this market I had to make some sacrifices. My house is awesome with hardwood floors and a huge yard but some of the neighbors are sketchy. I’m in SE near Woodstock and it’s still up and coming.
It can be done though so don’t give up!