Post # 1
Any tips for going through the buying a house process? I am a first time home buyer – resources that I am missing? I have done so much research but it seems endless. What is the one thing that helped you the most?
Post # 3
Just like with men, don’t settle, no matter how long it takes. The perfect one will come.
Don’t write a house off for cosmetic things that can be changed. Anyone can repaint, but you can’t pick a house up and move it. Also, watch any HGTV show and you’ll see plenty of buzzwords that pl skip over a house for- stainless steel & granite are 2 I hate.
Post # 4
@afuturemrsl: we just bought a house! It is a daunting process. Do you have someone you are working with? I would get recommendations from people that you know about realtors. We are not too fond of ours and feel like our process would have been better with someone we like! We have friends that went to a first time home buyers seminar and found it to be really helpful. I would also suggest looking at as many places as you can, I loved open houses because they are a great way to see a bunch of places without too much hassle. Sign up for an online site so you can look at places before getting there. You should both make a list of what you want in a place and agree not to try to talk each other into a place!! Good luck, it can be fun!
Post # 5
Hello fellow MA girl! I just bought a house a few months ago. I checked redfin.com and ziprealty daily and went to open houses every weekend. Go to LOTS of open houses, go to some a little above your price range, go to some under your price range. I found that with in 5 minutes of walking into a house, I knew if I liked it or not. So you can schedule at least 5-6 in any given town or near by on a sunday afternoon if you plan well. Definitely don’t rule out houses b/c the asking price above your range cause there is usually a lot of wiggle room, espeically in the market now.
We feel in love with two houses a few weeks apart just to have it snatched from right under us in less than 24 hours each time (We saw the house one evening, was going to put in an offer the next morning, just to learn they accepted another offer overnight). It sucked, but I guess things happen for a reason. The house we ended up finding, I love even more, but we moved fast after what happen the first 2 times. Be patient till you find something you love, but move fast once you find it too!
I agree with MsMamaBear too, dont get caught up with cosmetics, esp since there are so many old homes around. As long as location and layout/structure (dont forget even walls can be knocked down to give these old homes a more open feel) work for you, ignore the rest.
Post # 6
I agree with the previous posters. Ask friends for referrals of agents that they liked working with, don’t get swayed with the interior look of the house. If you have an agent they usually send you daily listings of the houses in the locations you choose and in your price range.
the most important things to look at would be location in terms of the neighbourhood (if its good/safe/establish, schools, transit options, etc.), materials of the house (brick, aluminum siding), age of the roof and condition, condition of windows (are they drafty), condition of foundation, furnace/ac, etc.
these things i listed above, if not in good condition can cost you alot to replace or maintain. r emember to do an inspection also if your really serious. it can definitely be a life saver sometimes. if the house has good bones you can do anything to it.
Post # 7
If you thought planning a wedding was hard you haven’t seen anything yet! Now that I put that right out there once this process is done you will be a homeowner! It’s such a great feeling of independence and pride that is well worth it.
Drive by house before making appointments, you will find that you can rule out about 80% of the houses just by driving by.
Go by all open houses in your target areas. This will help you gage what is out there and is in your price range.
Make a list of wants and must haves. There are going to be a lot of things that you will need to compromise, but pick a couple factors that you will not budge on. For us it was location and a yard, just to give you an idea.
Also finding the perfect house is worse than having the feeling when you find the perfect dress. When you find the right house for you, you and your Fiance will know it! It doesn’t mean that the house is perfect just that it’s perfect for you.
Post # 8
heya, I also am doing both at the same time. We’re in an amazing house that I love now, but it took about 9 months. First off, buying a house sucks (until you’re in it) i thought it would be exciting and fun and awesome, and it’s not. It’s stressful and emotional and at times disappointing. we went through 3 different agents and after 9 months it took the right agent only 3 days to find us the perfect house (which we are now in). Make sure the real estate agent is professional, calls you backs gives you the first lead on new houses coming up.
-ps a bottle of good gin help also 😛
Post # 9
Darling Husband and I bought this past August. We’d been looking on and off for about a year, but held off from Dec to May so we could focus on the wedding. I looked at every single house in the market in our area priced from 20,000 all the way to 20k over our budget.
I found a local realtor’s website that listed all the houses in our area that were on the MLS database, so it was a great way to see what was there. They kept it up to date (within a couple days) of houses being available, under contract and sold. I used realtor.com to look up the houses I found on the local site because they usually had the pictures sized larger and had a map feature on the bottom of the listing for the houses that didn’t have addresses listed. I drove by about 90% of the homes on my own, and then used a realtor to get showings for the homes we wanted to see together. We looked at probably 50 homes in person together and I drove by about 50-70 more that we didn’t end up seeing.
I would say to try and find a good realtor. We never found a good one we liked, after meeting with 5 different ones and talking to another. I gave them info on what we were looking for, and most turned up houses that didn’t meet our criteria. One I specifically told that we were looking at a certain area because I work an hour north of where Darling Husband works, but we wanted to be on the east side to be closer to DH’s family. He sent us properties that would have given me a LONGER commute than the hour each way I already had because he wasn’t listening at all to what I was saying. Another lady said, when we were inside a home that had severely bowed floors, that we were asking a lot to find a house with level floors.
I would advise not to sign anything with any of the realtors until you find one you like and who really listens and does the work. I ended up doing 99% of the leg work for our house hunting, with the realtors only being useful to get us in the door to the houses we wanted to see. In the end we called a seller’s realtor to arrange a showing for a house we found in the local realty circular, and ended up using him as a dual agent and getting an extra 3k off the house price since the commission didn’t have to be split.
Keep looking, be open minded but know what you want, and be realistic about what’s in your price range.
Post # 10
I am in the same boat! We should be closing on our house next week!! I am so excited and this is a long time coming. We first put in our offer in early August and are finally closing the deal. My best advice is to be patient! Research your loan options very thoroughly. Pick a GREAT realtor. They will help you to know what you are looking for while buying a house. Just a couple of tips: check and make sure the toilets work! I know that sounds dumb, but seriously it can add up to a major expense after you get all moved in if they don’t work.
I would also recommend googling first-time home buyer tips. They always have lists of things to make sure and check for.
Best of luck to you!! And congrats!
Post # 11
We are doing both at once too! In fact I was just looking through all the financial information that the mortgage company still needs from me. We found our house and are about a month away from settlement and in the process of applying for the mortgage.
Even as someone who is super organized and on top of things regarding finances, I think getting the mortgage has been the most frustrating part of it for me. I would suggest to get all your down payment money into one account and don’t make any deposits for a month or two prior to applying for the mortgage. We had all kinds of engagement gifts and deposits from ourselves going in to the account, and now they need verification of where the funds came from. They do this to make sure you didn’t take out some other loan on the side to pay for your down payment, so I get the need for it, but it’s excruciatingly annoying!
In terms of finding the right house – I agree with not settling but I also feel that when you find the house, you know it! You probably won’t feel like you are settling when it’s the right one. However you also need to have realistic expectations of what you can get in your price range; otherwise, anything will feel like a settle.
I agree with not getting too caught up on cosmetic things. The important items I think are the condition of the structure, the exterior, the roof, and the windows. These are more expensive things to replace or repair. If the price is right, you can always change flooring, appliances, or re-do a bathroom.
Personally the very most important thing to me is location. I rely on walking and public transit and I needed to be in a safe neighborhood but still affordable, close to work, and close to amenities. FH also wanted to be close to work, and have available street parking since he drives. We found some really amazing houses well in our price range, but they were in a part of the city that is just barely starting to turn around and we weren’t comfortable there. So that is my other advice, to really go to the neighborhood, both in daytime and at night, and see what it’s like and if you could picture yourself there.
Post # 12
Our realtor is great. Always checks in with us once a week even if there are no updates, goes out of their way to help us find something we love. On the other hand….our loan officer…not so much. I can never get ahold of her by phone, it takes her days to respond to email even if I was responding to one she sent seconds before.
I would advise finding a good bank to work with and not just going with the first one you talk to (even if they have a reeeaaaallllllllyyyyyy good rate).
We were able to qualify for a first time home buyer down payment assistance program, where the government would loan us $5,000 interest free to put towards a down payment that would have to be repaid if we ever sold the house. However, it takes 2 months to get and we don’t want to wait that long to close, so we are saying screw it. But I would suggest looking for someone who is familiar with first time home buyers and the programs that are available for you.
Post # 13
Ugh, we are going through this, too, and I am feeling completely overwhelmed! I think we’re going to take a mental break while the housing market has its slowdown from about Thanksgiving through January, and I’m a little relieved that this slowdown period is fast approaching. We were outbid on 2 places and now I’m having a hard time thinking about compromising on some of the factors that made those 2 places feel “like home”.
Fortunately we do have a realtor who is very supportive–the most helpful thing she’s said so far is, “This is a lot of money. No, you might not find the house that is 100% perfect, especially in your budget, but you need to wait until you find a place that makes you feel happy and excited, not fearful and anxious”.
Post # 14
Ah you are all so great!
@BunnyBrideToBe: I am sorry you are stressed and lost the houses you wanted. I am going into this (hopefully) keeping in mind they are not home until we live there!
@MissTatas: We have been going back and forth about going with a realtor but it seems like you have one – would you consider going without? My parents are all about us going without.
@phillygirl629: Good advice! We have been trying to figure out what we need to do about down payment stuff. If it is a regular paycheck deposit does that count?
@dhmay: Yum gin! And congrats. It sounds like you all are emphasizing the importance of a good realtor. This is now on my to-do list!
@roxy821:@pinkshoes: We are planning on going to a lot of open houses. Perhaps this is a good place to start.
@mrstilly: good to knwo about realtors.
You were all so helpful! I am reading everything I can possibly get my hands on in regards to first time home buyer situations.
Post # 15
I have to second on finding the best realtor. I worked with one guy from Jan to Aug, not house AND I didn’t get the 1st time home buyer tax credit which pissed me off, but then I paid a different way, so the $8k wasn’t that big of a deal. Anyway… I called my friend’s realtor on Sept 3rd. We went looking for houses on Sep 6th, made and offer that night, offer accepted Sept 7th and closed Sept 20th. It was a whirlwind, but with the right realtor, things work out.
Post # 16
I loved having a realtor. They were able to point out a lot of things about houses that we would have never looked at or considered. They see a lot of houses, know what is a good deal and what needs to much work to make it worthwhile. I have mold allergies and our realtor was able to help us steer clear of any homes that may have issues. Also, they are able to do comparables for similar houses in the neighborhoods and help you determine a fair rate.