(Closed) Advice Buying a First House

posted 5 years ago in Home
Post # 31
Member
119 posts
Blushing bee

lovecacti:  no disrespect, but no one is duped into buying a home they can’t afford. Buying a home is a big investment and you need to be responsible enough to read the fine print and details before you sign on the dotted line.

 

to OP:   the biggest mistake I made was not looking at small details when I did the final walk through. i.e. tiny holes in the wall from pictures (the people who i bought from had trouble finding a stud).  Not a huge deal, but I was ticked that I didn’t make them fix it first.

Post # 32
Member
782 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

michellia:  Get a good realtor that you like! If you don’t like the one you initially picked then pick a new one! Also, house hunting is very stressful and tiring. You will spend most of your time researching and looking at houses. Be prepared! Best of luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 33
Member
5 posts
Newbee

We bought our first house last year and did not use a realtor, the seller didn’t have one either. It went just fine for us and it saved us quite a bit because neither party was paying someone else. It’s probably not for everyone but we had no problems. If your parents have experience in it, you should look into it. 

I think it’s important to show up at different times of day/weekend to get a better feel of the neighborhood and street. 

The only regret I have on for our house is the lighting is terrible but every time we looked at it the windows were open all the lights were on it just wasn’t very noticible and so we had to pay to have recessed lighting put in. Not that we would have passed on this house because of that but I wish I would have realized before I moved in. 

Post # 34
Member
1039 posts
Bumble bee

michellia:  We just went through this and I think most of the bees covered all bases, but here’s what we did:

1) Sit down and look at your current expenses, lifestyle and figure out how much you can spend BEFORE getting preapproved. The figure you get will often be significantly higher than what you budgeted for a house.

2) Find a realtor who actually listens. Don’t feel bad if you used one you didn’t like and need to find a new one – until you get someone who shows you homes in neigborhoods you like, within your budget and knows what your dealbreakers are, you should look for someone else. It’s probably the biggest investment you’re going to make – you’ll need someone on your side and who knows the area and market you’re looking at.

3) Taxes – even in the same cities or towns, taxes can vary hugely based on different factors, mostly school districts. When we were looking, you could buy a house on the same street but if it was in a diff school district, taxes were 5 figures instead of 4.

4) Start getting your financials in order for when you apply for the mortgage – credit scores, bank statements, taxes, employment letters, etc.

5) Make a list of things you need to have in the house that aren’t cosmetic – big yard / within a certain commuting distance to work / etc.

6) Find a home inspection service that you can trust and has gotten good independent reviews. Our realtor recommended two and we did our own research and went with one company over another because of outside reviews and he was extremely thorough and explained the entire process to us(more thorough than the sellers or our agent would have liked, but we really appreciated it)

Good luck!

Post # 35
Member
592 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

this is such a helpful thread!

Post # 36
Member
2395 posts
Buzzing bee

I haven’t read through all of the comments on here, but I have to chime in. Yes, the house is important. But PLEASE don’t overlook the money that’s going to be required up front, and make sure you get all estimates in writing.

My fiance and I bought our house two years ago –

1) the bank told us we were pre-qualified for a home price that was way higher than I was comfortable with. Two years later, while we’re completely on track with our mortgage, we definitely feel “house poor” and wish we had thought more about this rather than trusting our mortgage broker completely.

2) The amount they tell you you’ll be paying up front will go up! Yes, you need X amount for your down payment. And X amount for your closing costs. And X amount that you will need to pay for this, that and the other thing. We felt completely financially secure going into the process, and then a couple big checks later and I can’t tell you how scary it is to see your bank account balance at absolute Zero …. with a payment due right after your next paycheck. We went from having thousands in the bank to living paycheck to paycheck at first.

Having said that – we don’t live paycheck to paycheck anymore (just when we first had to empty our accounts to pay for all the up front costs) and we’re so glad we bought our house.

I just wish I had really known what a financial toll it would be in the beginning. We might have bought a less expensive house!

Post # 37
Member
2013 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

michellia:  I would highly recommend getting a realtor. Their commision is paid solely by the sellers, so as a buyer, you won’t be responsible for a dime. Your realtor will be an advocate for you and advise you on all things regarding the home buying process. They will be the ones to make sure your interests are protected throughout the process, walk you through legal documents, negotiate with the seller’s agent, etc. They will also be the first to know of any changes in the market, new listings, etc. possibly days or even weeks before you would be able to access the information yourself. Honestly, I think it would be a nightmare to go through the process without one.

Post # 38
Member
589 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Scottish Rite Cathedral (New Castle, PA)

michellia:  We actually didn’t find the realtor helpful at all, aside from being to let us into houses to show us them. Both of our dads are handymen so they were able to see more issues than the realtor could and he didn’t have answers outside of what was listed on the sheet/online and we did our research before going to look at houses. Like I said, we ended up buying from the owner who didn’t have a realtor either and it worked out much better for us. That being said, if you’re not comfortable negotiating yourself, I could see a realtor being helpful in that aspect. 

Post # 39
Member
2013 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

smg5281:  That is a good point. I can see having an agent being unnecessary if you are working directly with the seller.

Post # 40
Member
534 posts
Busy bee

michellia:  I believe you can buy a home warranty independently. The people who sold me my house paid for a one year home warranty. (If they hadn’t, I could have bought one through my Realtor.) I extended it for several years.

It works a lot like a car warranty. You pay a fee of $X.XX for each repair person called and the home warrantee company covers the rest. The company I had required a home inspection by a licensed Inspector prior to extending coverage and would only cover the stuff he signed off on as being in good working order.

The company I had charged a $100.00 service fee. This is about what the first hour of a service call is in my area. The nice thing was that the fee was per professional visit not per item, so if I had any covered little things I could add then on if they were for that professional.

The big thing was the peace of mind because I knew I had a safety net. 

Post # 42
Member
267 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

michellia:  Congratulations!! I’m so excited for you! Being an Aussie I have no idea what W2s and 1099s are, but I’m so glad it all worked out!’ 

We got pre-approval two weeks ago aswell!! It is so exciting! We have been looking past few weekends but haven’t found one we like yet – early days though!’ 

 

Happy house hunting!!!

Post # 43
Member
2447 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Congrats on the big decision. We bought our home a few months after our wedding. I think if your wedding is very low-key, it’s do-able. Ours was a big ole black tie affair and it ate up a lot of our time and income, even with support from our family and a great planner, so we decided to put house-hunting on the back burner until it was done. With that said, we ended up moving when I was 9 months pregnant, try to avoid waiting that long! ๐Ÿ™‚

First, get a realtor, trust me when I tell you that you need one. It’s like getting a home inspection – an absolute necessity. The most important thing in a house is location, I would always advise paying for a smaller home in the best area vs. a big home in a “transitional” neighborhood. You can always add on additions or renovate your home, but you can’t up and move it to a better neighborhood if the transitional neighborhood goes south. Another thing to consider is schools if y’all want kids. A home can be a good investment if you plan on staying for a while so you want to make sure the public schools are excellent or there is a good private school option nearby. Also, check out parks, proximity to good restaurants/bars, and any other entertainment that y’all find fun as a couple. Lastly, be honest with yourself about how much time and money you want to put into the home. I absolutely adore homes from the 1920s, but neither myself, nor my husband are handy people, so we decided on a new construction home. Sure there are always issues that can pop up in a new construction, but at least we don’t need to worry about our pipes being ancient or lead paint on the walls or potential structural things that can happen over time. 

Post # 44
Member
2447 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

lovecacti:  it’s pretty difficult to get duped with mortgages and rates nowadays, the market regulations have become extremely strict since the great recession in the US. we put down 50%, my husband has excellent credit, and we still had to go through a lot of craziness before we got approved for a 30-year (we actually refinanced for a 15-year just now because we wouldn’t have been approved before).

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