First Time Home Buyer Tips

posted 4 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 46
160 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: City, State

NikkiBee18 :  Those calculators assume you have no debt (unless you enter debt and even then it is minimum payments) and bases it only off debt to income ratio. It gives you the MAX amount of debt you can accrue on your income, not really anything about the actual monthly payments you can afford. 

What I did both times I bought a house: Used those calculators as a guide for a max, but I relied on Excel. I took our monthly after tax incomes on a spreadsheet and added all of our expenses. Bills, groceries, fun money.. then find out how much you have left at the end of every month. Also keep in mind utility costs depending on where you’re at now (i.e. if in an apartment). My cable bill is $200 a month and before we got solar, we spent $400-500 a month on electric in the summer! Actually write down your monthly expenses vs. income and see it on paper. The calculators don’t count other bills or expenses. 

ETA: I also added in a hypothetical line item for child care and baby supplies, which is $2000 a month. Glad I did because we’ve been here less than a year and I’m expecting. 

Post # 47
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

LilliV :  THIS!  My first home is well within my budget, but I never realized that even when my mortgage goes down, my payments go up because of tax increases 😂 

Post # 48
2463 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m going to echo what alot of other bees are saying but they are very important. 

Make sure you actually know what you can afford, the loan estimators tend to not take actual everyday living into account so they tend to estimate higher mortgages. I would recommend taking a look at finances and seeing how much you can actually afford comfortable. 

Find a good Realtor!! We are currently seeking our first home and moving into our second home and we used the same Realtor because she was absolutely amazing. She didn’t push us ever and was very straight up with us about problems she saw in potential homes and what homes might be money pits. A good Realtor can really make all the difference and can make you feel comfortable during this time and should be able to help you understand the full process better. 

I agree about school districts, it really helps with resale, which on that note think about resale! You could like a ‘quirky’ home but in five or ten years it can really be hard to sell the home when you are ready to move again. 

Take your time! When we looked for our first home we had an idea of what we wanted and that changed about 15 times as we viewed homes and that’s okay! We ended up with something completely different from what we thought we wanted when we first started looking but it worked out better for our family. It also took us months to find a place, don’t feel pressured into moving on something if you aren’t sure it if the market is ‘hot’ we waited until we found the right home and it worked out great for us. 

Also, since you are a first.time home buyer.i would be sure to look at the property a few times before you put in an offer and even see if there are people like your parents our someone that can come take a look at the house with you before you put in an offer. There are so many things that we didn’t even think of to look out for when we first started looking at homes and it just helps you get a different perspective on things especially if you’re emotionally attached to the home. The current home that we are moving into we looked at about 6 times before we pulled the trigger, we also kept looking at other houses to we could still compare and keep our options open. It really helped confirm that we wanted that one. 

I will also say try to put your needs, wants. Vs. Hates into categories. This really helped us stay focused on what we wanted in a house. Like yes, a fireplace would be nice, but we don’t need it. We took a very analytical approach and after every single house we saw we wrote down our exact thoughts on the house, what needs it met or didn’t meet and if there was anything that.we didn’t like if we would just x it out completely. This really helped us remember the houses when we went back to get our thoughts later because we saw so many houses. The list.also really helps not get to emotional attached to a house if it didn’t meet our needs then it didn’t meet them. 

I would also try to figure out what home you are willing to look for. A fixer upper vs. Turn key vs. Somewhere in the middle. Each have pros and cons. Renovations can be very expensive and add up very quickly, but you can really make a profit when you go to sell it you go this route which is always nice. Turn key you will be paying top dollar for but you shouldn’t have to change much. We always went with somewhere in the middle, which usually means the home has good bones, but might be a little outdated or not to your taste. Our first home that we purchased was very outdated but the price was way under budget and we didn’t need to rush to move into it so we did all of the renovations ourselves and only spent about 15k (still alot of money but we redid the kitchen, two bathrooms, and all of the flooring in our 1800 sq ft house) we have it under contract Now and our expecting to make about 70k from the sale. Our next house is new construction, I really didn’t think we.would have the time to make any changes, we are pregnant and due shortly after we move in soon I don’t see us able to.make changes, even when we looked at other homes I had to think about what ideas willing to live with since I knew changes wouldn’t be made for a while. 

Also, look at the neighborhood!l and try to talk to neighbors! This is so important. If you see someone out near a home you are considering talk to them! We tried to do this to a home we were considering and the neighbor was terrible and rude. Really gave us an idea of how it would have been to be her neighbor. Also, the neighborhood can give you an insight on how your neighbors take care of their homes, etc. Etc. Also, check out the area. What food, restaurant, shopping centers, etc are near by.  If you know anyone in the town you are looking at ask them for their opinions! 

And lastly, take into account all of the expenses you might need. We are moving from a townhome to a single family home and there is so many expenses. We need stuff for the years that we never thought of like a mower, edger, weed whacker, window treatments, etc. Etc. We know about all of the big expenses like the appliances and stuff but it’s the little ones that can really add up and get you! Or you just have to decide on what can wait and what.cant. 

Overall, just try to enjoy the process. It’s alot of fun to look at houses and imagine yourselves there but just keep in mind what will be practical and work best for your family. It can be easy to get swept up in the amazing backyard but if the bedrooms are smaller then what you want or you don’t like the layout etc.etc. then for you. Also, be aware that you will have to compromise, very few homes will have absolutely everything that you want. 

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