Post # 1
- Wedding: September 2020 - City, State
Ok bees –
so we’re finally biting the financial bullet and buying a house! But it is so emotional! In the past two days we’ve found two houses that were perfect. One got snatched up, one is overpriced. And we’re looking at another tomorrow that we also love.
My question is, how do you know it’s the right house? Also, what are some traps in the buying process to avoid? I’m like two weeks in and feeling totally overwhelmed.
Post # 2
Make a spreadsheet with must haves, nice to haves and only if a miracle happens.
Decide and agree on if you are buying a starter home or your forever home.
Prioritize your must haves. Remember the old golden rule of real estate- location, location, location.
Get pre-approved for your mortgage.
Make sure you make any offer contingent on inspection.
Budget for closing costs, moving costs and any necessities on move in- e,g appliances if they don’t come with the house.
Post # 3
Don’t fall in love with a house before you have a really good inspection AND know what it would cost to fix any issues. We ended up with thousands in foundation issues, hundreds in redoing plumbing and electric stuff that should have come up on inspection but didn’t somehow…
Post # 4
I second making a list. Remember that no home is going to tick all the boxes. Stay open minded. Before we started looking I would have said that I needed a house with a big yard. Then I realized that all the houses with big yards close to a downtown area were way out of our price range. Don’t get discouraged. My friends fell in love with a home and then the inspection turned up something they couldn’t fix. They ended up finding the home they loved even more after that.
Post # 5
When you walk in, you get a feeling “this is the place” and get envision yourself making a home there.
you will know it is the right place for you. If you have doubts, listen to them.
Post # 6
you can find a home that ticks off all the boxes. My current house was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I had a slim budget, a long list of requirements, certain school district, large garage, large yard, enough bedrooms, fit within my budget, had a large dining room, etc. It took 5 years of looking at over 300 houses, but eventually I found it. I looked at every listing in my price range. We looked at them if the pictures looked like it fit my list or it had no pictures but was right location.
my best friend was my agent and she still says it was a deal of a lifetime. It too persistence but worth it in the end. I do love my house.
Post # 7
definitely get pre-approved for your mortgage. I wouldn’t even look at houses until that happens!
Post # 8
It’s great you found your dream house after 5 years. Most people don’t want to wait that long, or look at over 300 houses. I think it’s realistic to write out a list of must have, would be nice, as another poster suggested. And be open that your list might change. Some of my must haves dropped down in priority once we started looking. This is to the op since you already found your house.
Post # 9
Agree to all of the prior advice, with the exception of “you just get a feeling.” This is an important financial decision that should be based on facts rather than emotional feelings.
A list of your must-haves, nice to haves is important. Look at Zillow and Trulia to get a good idea for what homes that have your requirements are going for. That helps keep you realistic as to what you can and can’t afford, and helps ensure you won’t overpay.
Under no circumstance should you waive the inspection. Consider also how much work you are willing to put into the house, and how long you want to stay there.
Post # 10
The other bees have given you some great advice. Definitely write down your must haves, would be nice to haves, and dream items.
I second what other bees have written; it’s rare for most people to find a house that hits everything on your wishlist. Obviously, how much of what you can get can really depend on your individual market and price range.
And yes, ABSOLUTELY get pre-approved before seriously looking so you know what price range you can actually buy in.
Do not scimp out on an inspection, even with a new house.
As far as knowing which house is the right one; I think that is different for different people honestly. Some people get that strong feeling and some logically see that one house checks more boxes than others.
Post # 11
Gonna caveat what others have said: never waive the inspection UNLESS you’ve done a pre-inspection. In Seattle it’s not uncommon to pay an inspector to come out and do a full inspection before you make an offer. It’s pricey if the house doesn’t work out for you (as is often the case here) but many will offer to do inspections of other houses you consider for a bit cheaper to help you out.
We did a pre inspection so we could waive the inspection on our offer and simply add a contingency they clean out the roots from the sewer and prove to us it’s clear of roots and collapse/severe damage all the way to the city (as the pre inspection showed the roots were bad enough the scope couldn’t finish our inspection). As a result, they accepted our offer and the escalator didn’t even kick in despite the fact there were two other people offering just as much as us, but had an inspection contingency. Currently in Seattle getting a house at asking price isn’t that abnormal, but at the time literally everyone was shocked we got so lucky.
Post # 12
Oh one more thing about the pre-approval: you will likely get pre-approved for WAY more than what you should actually pay. We did our own budgeting and calculations and found a monthly payment we would be comfortable with, which equated to a house costing less than $320k (US dollars). We were approved for $750k. Yes technically we COULD afford that much, if we didn’t save a dime, never went out, and never bought anything new. So take the pre-approval with a grain of salt and keep your monthly budget in mind.
Post # 13
YOU had a slim budget? Rich penny? I’m shocked. 🤨
OP you will fall in love it’s hard not to but there WILL always be another house to see. We fell in love with 3 different ones and the one we ultimately bought was one we had to take a second look at. It turned out to be a better than the other ones. Also do get an inspection. We had an inspection before they moved out and unfortunately didn’t see behind a bed they had where water had dripped in the wall into the connected bedroom. Luckily there was no mold and no damage just the baseboard was a little discolored from the water. My dad fixed it and that was the only oversight but the inspection is VERY important.
Post # 14
Step one is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. You will not get far if you don’t do this. Next you want to come up with a list of things you definitely want and definitely don’t want. To give you an example – my husband and I’s list is: at least 3 bedrooms, decent sized backyard, need a basement, and we don’t want a fixer upper. We also have a list of towns we’re willing to live in and towns we definitely will not live in. Then you want to find a realtor. As you look at houses keep a pros and cons list on each house. Don’t expect to find a house that doesn’t have any cons, but it is important that those cons are fixable. Say, for example you HATE the kitchen but the rest of the house has everything you want, you can always redo the kitchen so that’s a fixable con. But if a con was that the house was in a bad area… there’s nothing you can do about that so you probably don’t want to buy that house. As you continue to look at houses you’ll get a better idea of your likes and dislikes. It’s not uncommon to need to look at 30+ houses. The best thing to do is take a break if you feel overwhelmed! Lastly, to avoid “traps” make sure that when you find a house you want to make an offer on, have it inspected and get a lawyer to look at the closing paperwork!
Post # 15
Absolutely get pre-approved, we almost lost our dream home because we were not pre-approved/our pre-approval had expired (Here they last for 3 months, I believe, maybe 6).
Stay calm and relax, you are going to have more houses you don’t like and ones that fall through for one reason or another. This is not your house. It’s very easy to get frustrated when inventory is low, you get out offered or am appraisal/inspection doesn’t come back how you want it to. I know it’s cliche, but everything happens for a reason.
Make sure you and hubby are on the same page. You know what you want and that you both know what you’re willing to give up. It’s very unlikely there will be a perfect house. I thought ours was perfect until we moved in… Then we have a crappy neighbor situation and less storage than I thought there was… Not that I wouldn’t have bought it, I just wish I would have thought more about other storage options.
We looked at probably 40-50 hourses, in person, over the course of a year. We are in a low inventory area, for what we want, but when ours landed on the market we were ready to buy. The feeling of not being able to put in an offer, immediately, and losing it to someone else was awful. So PLEASE get preapproved. The only reason it worked out was the person whose offer they had accepted had to back out less than 12 hours later due to a medical issue they had just found out about.
Part of the reason we looked at so many houses was because we wanted SOMETHING (we are not renters and were renting for the first time in both our lives) and we THOUGHT we were willing to give up some of our MUST HAVES and make something work. Nothing would have worked. I am so glad we waited until all our MUST HAVE boxes were ticked or partially ticked as I can make them happen pretty quickly (new paint in kitchen, new flooring, finishing the rest of the basement, etc.).