Post # 1
Fiance and I are looking to buy a house. I have read home buying/financial advice books. We have decided to get a Fixed Rate 15 – 30 year mortgage. We have good credit and are financially responsible. However, I think there are some bees out there who have actually gone through the process of buying a home who can give valuable advice. Any advice will help (choosing a realtor, what to look out for during home inspection, etc.). Thank you!
Post # 3
I bought my condo a year and a half ago, and I really wish someone had told me how stressful it was going to be. It was the single most stressful event of my life. Don’t count on anything happening when the bank/realtor/anyone says its going to happen, because it probably won’t. Just try to relax and go with it! Don’t be like me and wind up homeless for 2 weeks because everyone was dilly dallying and the closing was after you had to be out of your apartment!
ETA: I used the realtor who was selling the house, rather than finding my own, and she was awesome. Definitely find someone you feel comfortable with and trust, mine was an amazing advocate for me throughout the whole process, and I’m definitely going to call her when I sell my condo and buy a house.
Post # 4
**listening in** – we’re about a year and a half away from buying….doing as much research as is humanly possible!
Post # 5
My best advice? Be patient. We ended out looking at about 35 condos and made offers on 3 and lost 3 before finding the right one. And it was totally worth it all, because in the end we didn’t compromise on certain things (like closing costs) and ended out getting an amazing place for a great price.
Oh and those closing costs? Really try to push to get the seller to cover them. It is amazing how much closing costs can add on top of your down payment. Also, I’m not sure where you are looking, but I scoured redfin.com for places and would often send brand new listings to my realtor to stay on top of the market!
Post # 6
Take a look at the home section on this board.
What have I learned in this process? Your first home won’t necessarily be 100% what you want. Location, Location, Location. Get a good realtor- we went with a family member and we did most of the footwork, and being first time buyers, we do not know what we were doing so it took a lot of research on our own.
After the wedding, we knew our next thing was a house. We didn’t know when but we knew we would be getting one eventually. So we created a monthly budget where we paid a mortgage (30% of our paychecks since you typically spent 1/3 on your home and then we added 40% on top of that for monthly maintenance) so we could get used to spending that much extra each month. In the end, the actual amount was less than our actual mortgage but when you add electricity and all of that stuff, it comes to almost the same.
I would go to a First time home buyers course if they have them in your area.
Post # 7
Oh yes the stress. It was a different type of stress but there was more with buying a house than with the wedding. With the wedding, I lost weight at a normal rate; with buying a house, I packed on the pounds.
Post # 8
Whatever you do, do not use the same real estate company that is selling the house to represent you. READ THE CONTRACT!!! Your mortgage loan officer can be your best friend.
We love our house, but we have a very sour taste in our mouth after the experience that we had buying it. If you could find someone that is selling their house on their on that would probably be your best bet. I will now and always be very leary of any real estate agent.
Post # 9
Find a realtor your comfortable with. I asked my guy for recommondations on who to use for financing and he gave me someone he works with sometimes. I had already called another mortgage company to find out what I could afford. I would recomend getting all your ducks in a row prior to looking. (know how much you can afford, what your credit is, get your credit report). I made it ten TIMES more stressful on myself then i needed too. I had a few things pop up that i had to write letters about, but it was smooth sailing. I think the key is to get a mortgage company the realtor deals with, they know if they are slackers or really good. SO’s mortgage person SUCKED. He had to move closing twice because some paperwork crap she didn’t get, forgot to request or at the time he offered it up said NO it’s not neccessary.
When you narrow it down, drive by the house at different times of day to see what the neighborhood is like.
Inspection, I was amazed at the things they looked at. Follow these people around like a bloodhound during. I should have asked more questions about some things, and i AM totally regreting it. They give you a binder at the end of it and it lists all the things that should be repaired or upgraded. Also during the inspection, the older lady selling me the house was there and she handed me a HUGE file of the people who had done the work on the house over the years. I had, right off the bat people that were familiar with the house and could explain things.
Wow this is longer then I intended. I really did make this whole thing way more stressful on myself, listening to everyone’s horror stories and googling them, then i needed
Post # 10
**listening in too** DH and I want to buy a house in the next year or two so we’re definitely absorbing everything we can!
Post # 11
Find a good realtor, they will be your best friend through this process. You know how everyone says interview your photographer and make sure you have a good connection? It is super important to do the same with your realtor. Good chemistry and someone who will work hard to help you through the process is a must.
DO NOT USE BANK OF AMERICA FOR FINANCING! I really wish someone would have told us that at the begining. They offered us the best interest rate so we went with them. We can never get ahold of our loan officer. We call her cell phone, her office phone, and we email her. Our realtor can’t get ahold of her. Our closing agent can’t get ahold of her. It is torture and honestly the most stressful part of this whole process. We close in ONE WEEK and I am just praying everything is lined up since we can’t contact anyone to find out. I have heard from our closing agent as well as friends that Bank Of America is known for their horrible customer service. I wish I knew that before hand.
Post # 12
@MissTatas: Thanks for reminding me! If I had to do it over again there is no way in hell I would go through New Alliance Bank again, they were horrible!!
Post # 13
Thank you so much, bees! Keep it coming! Really appreciate your advice.
Post # 14
@StrawberryLavender: Where in the Midwest are you?
Post # 15
PPs have said it – but finding a good realtor is important. A friend or family member who you trust is perfect. Keep an open mind and don’t get too attached to houses! We bid on about 4 homes before finding one and I cried every time we lost a place. Talk to people in your area to find out what the market is like. Set a price you’re willing to pay and try not to go over it when you find someplace really cool.
Also remember that your first house won’t be perfect. Don’t get too hung up on small things like lighting fixtures and the look of washrooms & kitchen. Pay attention to the structure and the flow of the house. Good luck!
Post # 16
Just prepare yourself that SOMETHING will likely go wrong at or before your closing : ) Like @MissTatas: I had a really hard time getting a hold of our loan coordinator. AND I WORK FOR THE BANK WE DID OUR FINANCING THROUGH!! Interest rates and home prices are both so low right now that tons of people are buying or refinancing so mortgage companies are just completely overwhelmed with all the requests they have coming in. For us they ended up having to get special approval to wire our funds because they missed the wire cut off time. We were sitting there with all the paperwork signed and they were holding our keys hostage waiting for the wire to come in. Good times.
As far as searching for the home you should definitely try to get the absolute best house you can for your money, but as the others said, do understand you will have to make sacrafices. There is no such thing as a perfect home. Just list your “wants” in order of priority and use that as your basis. Also, try not to be distracted by things that can easily be changed (paint color, flooring, lighting, etc). Really focus on the bones of the house and the location. That’s what will matter in the long run.
Zillow was my favorite site for searching and then our realtor set us up to receive daily updates from realtracs with all new listings in our area that fit our parameters.
It’s a stressfull process but SO worth it. GOOD LUCK!