(Closed) 1st time home buyer: Am I expecting too much?

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 17
875 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@Soccergk1987:  Your house is adorable!! I am LOLing that you got it for less than 100k. I live in the suburbs of NYC so something like that would easily be $300k or so. How many bedrooms and baths? We built our “forever home” almost 4 years ago and LOVE it. Its important to love your home. 🙂

To the OP- I agree with everyone else. Do not buy a home you don’t love! Also, debt does not just go away. Good luck!

Post # 18
1769 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@Soccergk1987:  your house is sooo cute! I miss midwestern RE prices. Fiance and I moved to NJ for his work and we’re renting for the forseeable future. Everything out here is SO expensive and either cookie-cutter ugly or really really old and needs a ton of updating. It’s making me sooo eager to move back to St. Louis so we can buy a house!

Post # 19
3716 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

@brunetteinlove:  First “I am not sure about the school district but from the looks of the kids getting off the bus, it was not good. “. What exactly do you mean by this? That poor kids can’t get a good education? Minorities can’t go to good schools? The best school district in the country has schools that are almost 100% non-white and poor. 


Before you get any further in buying, I recommend you check out the neighborhoods you want to buy in– the schools, the districts, the play grounds, the grocery stores, the churches, whatever. Then figure out what you can afford. For us, we found that we could buy in our 4th choice neighborhood with a minor compromises. We picked the neighborhoods and didn’t leave it up to the realitor to decide.


Also, do yourself a lot of time by checking out the properties online. We went through about 100 online which we axed before coming out to visit a property. I didn’t want to waste my time or my relators time on a place I would never live.


We bought a house that had everything that we wanted in a neighborhood I loved. I had to compromise on minor things, but we spent a ton of time weeding out properties online so that when our house went on the market, we were able to visit it and put an offer immediately. They cancelled the open house scheduled for that weekend and we got it under budget!

Finally, you can totally have a baby in the apartment. We found that we had to put down 25% on a condo to avoid certain fees (20% for PMI and 25% for some other fee). I would save and work to rebuild your credit. That $3000 to stand up for your principles may end up costing you $15,000 of mortgage. Is your dream house worth the pride?

If I were you, I would do a lot of market research while saving. Do a ton of pre-screening online and be ready to buy whenever you find a house you love– whether it is tomorrow or 15 months from now.

Post # 20
13902 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Even if your DH’s credit begins to improve in 2015 when those charges come off, it’s going to be a slow process to completely recover. Additionally, the credit score used for joint borrowing is the lower middle score – so you have the higher three of A, B, and C, and he has the lower ones of 1, 2, and 3 – 2 would be used to caluclate your mortgage rate. 

As for the first house in the decent neighborhood – everything you listed was cosmetic.  If you’re qualifying on your income alone, your DH’s income could be used to make the improvements you want on the house ansd you could get a great house in the end.  Plus, you’ll build a lot of equity and in the house, and have extra disposable income after the renovations are done. 

I think for starters, you need to change your attitude about a lot of things.  How people “look” getting off a school bus, or talking about having to join a gang for protection in a neighborhood (facetiously or not), is not the attitude to go into home buying with.  You need to be positive about cosmetic changes you can make on homes and what you can’t.  You need to have a non-negotiable must have list.  You need to know a solid budget, and where you can afford to put money (cosmetic changes vs structural) to get the house you want.

It sounds like you need to put off home buying until you can get your finances in order.  You can hire movers when it’s time if you truly are 8-9 months pregnant.  But the issue with TTC is, also, it doesn’t go on your schedule, and you may not be pregnant at that time. 

Post # 21
1646 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

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@brunetteinlove:  Ok. Here I go:

1. If you aren’t finding what you want in your price range then you need to either up your price point (which you said isn’t possible) or you need to wait until you can improve his credit score.

2. I really don’t know what you mean when you say his score will improve in 2015. It’s possible that his score will go up, but the debt isn’t going to magically disappear. Maybe he wasn’t the one who took out those loans and maybe it isn’t fair that he is being punished for it. . . but he gave his consent to his parents when he was a legal adult. That means the debt is his and he should be paying it off if his parents can’t or won’t (I know it isn’t fair, but having that debt is only punishing the two of you; it isn’t punishing his parents whatsoever). Either find a way to make his parents pay or agree that you guys need to pay it off.

3. I think you need to rethink the way you judge school districts because basing it off the kids at the bus stop is not a good way to do so. I don’t know too much about school ranking websites, but you can try this link to see the rankings for Ohio (and specifically the city you are interested in are).

4. Cosmetics can be changed. Location can’t. Look for a safe neighborhood with good schools and focus on that area. Wood paneling isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but it can be removed. Paint can be changed. Flooring can be ripped up. Look past the cosmetics to see the potential.

4A. In addition, get an inspection done before you complete the transaction. It can warn you ahead of time of any safety issues that need to be fixed – for instance, a damaged roof or foundation. You can either ask for the seller to fix those items or give you a credit to pay for the repairs or you can choose to look elsewhere for a home.

5. When you are considering different locations, look at more than just safety and schools. Consider things like whether it has a variety of supermarkets, a library, playgrounds, Churches (if that is important to you guys), how far it is from work, the property taxes for that area, and anything else you might be interested in knowing.

6. This one is specifically for condos. Make sure you know the HOA fees before you buy it and what is covered by them. The lower the HOA fee the less amenities will be offered. Also, end units are the best and tend to cost more.

7. Don’t fall in love with a place until every piece of paper is signed, approved, filed, and you have the keys in your hand. Getting emotionally attached to a place can lead to bad decisions and more money spent than necessary.

Fiance and I bought our 2 bed/1.5 bath condo last summer. We went with a condo because we got more of what we wanted than we would have in a house for our price range – for instance, we got Central Air, Natural Gas (way cheaper than Oil), an attached garage, all the appliances included, and we were close enough to the highway to shave time of off our commutes (10-15 minutes for him; 35-40 minutes for me).

We choose the town we live in based off a few things: it has a good school district, it has its own electric company (so the electric rates are half what every other town pays), it is really close to FI’s job, and it has a nice mix of businesses and residential areas.

I suggest you and DH sit down and go over your list of requirements together. Write down only the very basics (things like good school district, number of beds, and number of baths). Leave out anything more specific (like granite countertops) – you can always renovate or change things when you are able to.

Post # 22
913 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014 - Nazareth Hall

Me and my fiance just bought a house in a suburb of Cleveland, OH actually! So I know your frustrations on the Cleveland housing market (that is where I am assuming you are from) Being in our younger 20s, we didn’t have a huge home budget to work with but with raises that happened in our home buying process we were approved for more and ended up being under what we were approved for. I will say though, it took us EXACTLY a week less then one full year to close on our now home (Looked at our first house Oct 8, 2012- Closed on Oct 1st 2013)

From reading your post I will give you some tips. 

1) Sorry to say but your expectations are high. I don’t know what your budget is but for what you’re looking for you’re looking at a price point of 125k+ and that’s for homes on the west side.

2) You need to take a step back and decide if you want your forever home now. Are you completely against moving? We bought a house knowing we would get sweat-equity in it and eventually use it to move to our forever home. If you do and there is no reason to argue that, you may need to wait until he can contribute financially. 

3) Look at short sales! That’s how we got our home and it was a PROCESS but we are so happy and got quite a bit of house for the money we spent.

4) Don’t buy a house in a bad area, reading your post I think I can pinpoint where you were looking and it isn’t good. You don’t want a house you’re scared going home to.


All-in-all, I wish you luck. I think buying a home is a good commitment/investment IF you can afford it. Like previous posters said, don’t buy a home you don’t love. You will regret it and if you buy in a bad area people aren’t going to want to buy the house at it’s face value meaning you will actually lose money. If you have any questions on what me and my Fiance went through, feel free to PM me!


Side note- Get that $3000 paid off NOW the record will only come off the report if it’s paid. 

Post # 23
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@brunetteinlove:  Pay off the $3000.  It really isn’t much in the whole scheme of things.  Then spend the next year or two rebuilding his credit with a charge card (you’re going to have to do this after the $3K falls off in 2015 anyway if you want to rebuild his credit.)  Hold off on buying a house until he can qualify with you so that you can afford a better house.

I know you’re going to complain that it means you have to hold off on TTC.  No you don’t.  Babies grow up just fine in leased/rented homes and apartments.  They have no idea (and could care less) about whether they are being raised in a home that you own or not.  So long as they are loved and given a safe place to grow up, it’s fine.

Better to wait and buy a house/condo that you actualy like in a safe neighborhood than forcing yourself to buy a less desireable property that may turn out to be dangerous.  Lots of empty units and the fire would highly concern me especialy if the reason I was buying the property was to start a family.  There’s a chance that you may be buying into a neighborhood that is going to grow nicer over the next few years but there is also an equal chance that you are wasting your money on a home in a dying neighborhood where you’ll end up stuck in the condo because it ends up beign worth less than what you paid for it.

Post # 24
62 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@Ballet513:  it’s 3 bedroom 2 bath, around 1700 sq feet, 2500 if u include the basement… Idk how we got so lucky!

Post # 25
794 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - Backyard Forest

@brunetteinlove:  I really agree with 

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@Soccergk1987:, however would like to offer my advice as well. 

We just bought our first home, only on my income. We looked and looked and looked… and were about to give up. 

We ended up getting our home, which I declared as our last house we would look at until Spring. 

Let me tell you… it was NASTY inside. Nassssty. 

Since you two can actually afford more – but given your husbands credit, you can’t have it in his name. I would recommend getting a fixer upper (as long as you can DIY some of it). 

Our house was walking into the 70s and DIRTY. 

Nasty nasty nasty carpets, outdated kitchen (we’re talking oven in the wall), lime green trim and lots of wallpaper. 

We rolled up our sleeves, invested about $2200 (seriously, laminate floors, kijiji/craigslist appliances, paint, new bathroom vanity) and our home is now modern and beautiful! 

If you can look past the style – and it’s a house with good bones, you’re saving lots of cash and personalizing it!


Post # 26
10635 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

If I were you, I wouldn’t feel comfortable buying without my DH’s score at lesat going up at the time when babies are in the plan.  I do have a Canadian bias though, the typical term here is 5 years, so when it’s time to renew income etc. is looked at again.  Being on maternity leave and not being able to use DHs income at the time could make things really difficult.

Did he actually sign anything, or did his parents just put stuff in his name without him agreeing to it?  If it was the latter, I would want him to get things cleared off the credit reports.  If he signed, I would expect his parents to pay it off immediately.  Theat $3000 of debt can end up costing you way more due to higher interest rates.

Post # 27
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

I’m a real estate agent and work with a lot of first-time buyers. At this point, I would advise that you consider your first home to be just that- your starter home, vs. your forever home. Before the housing recession, people were moving on average every seven years (too many people are under water right now, so that’s why there’s low inventory.)

All the cosmetic items you mentioned in the rancher are just that- cosmetic. You can change flooring, appliances, kitchen and baths- what you can’t change is location and layout (ok, you can change layout somewhat with the right amount of money, but…) You can use your husband’s income towards updates.

Re: letter to seller- this *can* help. I used one when I bought my house 10 years ago, and it helped in a multi-offer situation (if it’s a bank owned or short sale, don’t bother w/ the letter.) Warm and fuzzies can work-one of my buyers wrote such a wonderful letter it made the seller cry- “I want them to have this house!”, but listing agents aren’t required to submit those letters to their sellers. However- if you think your offer is going to offend someone, it probably will. What advice has your agent given on this? Are they common in your area?

Re: low-ball offers- depends on your area, and if the comps support it. If it’s priced at market value, and I have a buyer wanting to offer 10% off list, I call the listing agent to see “will your sellers consider?” before we write up an offer. If your strategy is to low-ball, you’re going to get frustrated really fast. If your budget is $100K, I wouldn’t look at homes over $115K, especially one that just came on the market.

You’re not going to get 100% of the items on your dream list- I agree with PPs- write a list of what’s most importatant. Since neighborhood/schools seems to be highest, you’ll probably have to make compromises some place else, unless you’re willing to wait.

The condo community you mentioned doesn’t seem to be the best-if there are that many foreclosures, people are behind on paying their condo dues, so you could potentially have issues getting a loan for a house in that community.


Post # 28
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

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@missamysmiles:  LOVE it! What a difference a little paint makes. Love that you removed those kitchen cabinets- really opened up that room!

Post # 29
6262 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

I think the ranch could be a good fit for you guys, just use your DH’s income to do some decently minor renovations and you’re all set.

Post # 30
3571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

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@missamysmiles:  You guys did a great job on your update! I LOVE that wood coffee table. Can I ask where you got it?

Post # 31
794 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - Backyard Forest

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@Mrs.LemonDrop:  thank-you!!! my SO actually made it!! 🙂 I keep telling him he could sell his furniture, he’s so talented!! It’s made from old palette wood

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