Post # 1
My husband has been involved in a 2 year internship which ends in May of 2012. There’s always been the possibility that we may have to move if his current office doesn’t have a position for him in May. However, today he found out he will definitely have a position where he is. Great news for us!! We love it here and don’t want to move.
This means we can finally start looking into buying our first home, and I’m kind of terrified of starting the process!
We don’t have quite the amount we would like to have saved up for a down payment yet. Is it too soon to start looking around even though we cannot buy immediately? How soon before buying did you start looking? Also, if you don’t mind sharing, how much did you save for a down payment?? I know it would vary from region to region, but I am just curious!
Post # 3
It might be a bit pointless to look now if you can’t buy yet. The houses on the market are going to completely change in the next few months or year. We looked for a couple months before buying our new house, we put down 20% because we don’t want to pay PMI and we don’t qualify for first time homebuyers programs.
Post # 4
If you guys have any first time homebuyer classes in your area, now would be a great time to take that. We took one and LOVED it. We learned so much and met a lot of great people (like our realtor and home inspector). Best part, it was free 🙂
Every area is different, but our realtor didn’t want to take us to see houses until we were pre-qualified. We looked at houses online for about 6-8 months and did a lot of drive by’s and drove through potential neighborhoods. We didn’t actually go to look at houses until we were serious and ready to buy. We put the minimum down for an FHA loan, which was 3.5%. Some people think this is a bad idea, but our mortgage payment (including pmi, taxes and insurance) is almost exactly what we were paying in rent each month.
Post # 5
I would start to browse to get an idea of the market and what you can or cannot afford, but I wouldn’t really seriously start looking or visit any if you cannot afford to buy just yet. It would just kill me to find a perfect out for a perfect price, but not be able to do squat about it if I didnt have a down payment and wasnt ready to pounce on it. I always liked to follow the market and see whats out there, but I didnt visit anything until I was ready to purchase if I saw the right place and put down a little less than 25%.
Post # 6
Thanks! We’ll definitely wait until we have our down payment to start seriously looking, I think I was just a little overzealous when I found out we’re staying in this area, haha! We want to have 20-25% and we’re almost there, but not quite.
It would be nice to be in a new home by December 2012 because that’s when our current lease ends, but I kind of doubt we will be. I hear so many people talk about how long it took to find the perfect home and it makes me nervous!
@Bostongrl25: That class sounds like a great idea, I’ll have to look into that!! Hopefully our area has one!
Post # 7
@Miss Sorbet: A year might be doable if you can get the money saved up soon! We took about 2 months but a little more time would have been nice (and more homes up for sale but that’s a different story).
Post # 8
My husband and I are just now finalizing the steps to buy our first home (should close by the end of the month). I’ll tell ya what – When you think you have enough money, keep saving!!! Now only do you need money for your down payment, but you need money for closing costs and for all of the inspections needed…. it adds up FAST!!
I would hold off the looking until you are totally ready. Not only will you waste your time looking at homes that you cannot buy, but you may also waste the time of a realtor showing you the homes…..
It’s a fun / stressful experience to go through – but will be so worth it when it’s done!!
Post # 9
We put 20% down, and were looking for several years before we found a house we liked. Most people seem to look at 3 or 4 houses and just pick one, but we looked at several dozen/hundred? before picking one (no joke!)
Try looking at Zillow or Trulia for your area, pick what kind of styles you might like and think about options. For example, we wanted to make sure that the stairs were wide enough to carry down a basket of laundry without hitting your knuckles, that there were streetlights, that the neighborhood was quiet at night, that the doorways were tall enough Fiance didn’t have to duck. You can also start reading local papers and looking for streets that have flooding, crime, are too busy, etc, and really make an informed decision.