(Closed) How the heck do I buy a house?

posted 6 years ago in Home
Post # 3
8444 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@ANewMrs:  Well, look for a good agent.  Also, start researching loans and what kind of loan you would like (FHA, conventional 15/30 yr, etc).  I think there is a helpful tool on zillow that will help you calculate what you could really afford based on your salaries and expenses.  Also, if you can, pull your credit report and make sure there are no inaccuracies, as this could effect the interest rate you get.  We just bought our first home this past summer, so feel free to PM me if you want.  I am by no means an expert, but I’d be happy to share my experience with you.

Post # 4
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@ANewMrs:  Your first step would be to go talk to a mortgage counselor at your bank or credit union.  You want to be pre-approved and know what you can afford before you fall in love with a house that you cannot afford.


Once you’ve gotten pre-approved then you get a realtor.  Do you know anybody who is a realtor?  Do you have friends/family who have recently bought/sold property who can recommend someone?  

Post # 5
8679 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I would go speak to someone at your bank to find out what kind of mortgage you could be approved for, and then go through your financials and make sure it is realistic with your lifestyle.

Post # 6
2424 posts
Buzzing bee

I’d go talk to a mortgage lender/bank first. They’ll let you know what kind of loan would be best, give you an idea on what you can afford, etc. 

Then I’d actually go to a few open houses first, just to get a sense of what is out there and what you can get for your money. After you have an idea I’d find a realtor and seriously start looking. 

Post # 7
5219 posts
Bee Keeper

We will be closing on our first home in the next week or so…


1)      Realize that home buying will bring out the opinions in everyone! When you start to make public knowledge that you’re shopping or have made an offer… suddenly your neighbor has an opinion on kitchen islands and your mom cares about crown molding and yada yada. Just be prepared mentally for the onslaught of opinions because most people have a been there/done that “storytime” ( much like weddings), and it can be frustrating.


2)      Make the “Must Haves” list.  You and your SO sit down to compile a list of what you both want and what you’re willing to compromise on. I found that our lists changed a lot during the process, because as we started looking we would add or subtract things. That’s OK—just make sure you keep the lines of communication open and if you don’t like something SPEAK UP. It is a very emotional experience and it is hard to explain, but when that much money and commitment is on the line, you start to freak out about unusual things. Don’t  be alarmed if you wake up in a cold sweat over the linoleum floors or floral wallpaper in  a house you like.


3)      Find a realtor you like, and realize that in the real estate/banking world you’ll need to ask a lot of questions. This is where we messed up, our lender went through things very quickly. Thankfully, we have an awesome realtor who answered some questions that were not explained to us upfront. In hindsight, I might’ve gone with a different lender, but since we are almost done I didn’t want to bring it up. Make sure you’re comfortable because  you’ll be in near constant contact with these people for weeks/months.


4)      A lot of people will tell you to buy more than you can afford because  you’ll grow into more income the older you become. That MAY be true, but it wasn’t something we were comfortable with. Don’t overextend yourselves financially, but also don’t settle for something you don’t love. It is a hard balance to strike, so set a budget range and stick with it. If yours is 225-240k and your realtor sends you one that is 260 “ with wiggle room”, don’t necessarily bite. It is a lot like trying on wedding dresses in the sense that looking at something you KNOW is over budget will really disappoint.


–          In this same vein, work the numbers front and back and side to side before you ever go to the bank to see what you’ll qualify for. They’re in it to make money, and the more money YOU put on the line, the more they’ll receive in interest payments. Figure out how much per month you’re willing to spend on EVERYTHING (including property taxes, insurance and whatever the increase in utilities could potentially be) and start from there. Just the mortgage payment isn’t all that you need to consider.


5)      Forget Pinterest. Seriously.

 Pinterest can ruin your home shopping experience because you see elaborate kitchens and baths, great yards, refinished floors and updated fixtures and in reality: many of those homes are custom built or extremely expensive. Go into the homes you are viewing with realistic expectations of what you are willing to do to make it yours. If you and your SO aren’t particularly handy… don’t let that intimidate you, but also be realistic. Will you be willing to rip up every fiber of carpet or knock out walls? 



HAVE FUN, it seriously can be a blast!

Post # 9
9181 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

Check out “how to buy a house for dummies” or similar at the library!  I found those books super helpful.  Other advice: 

– Get pre-approved for your mortgage before looking – otherwise your offer might get rejected out-of-hand (happened to us 🙁  )

– figure out what price range you’re comfortable with, NOT what the bank says you can afford

– make a list (with your hubby/SO) of your house must-haves, would-likes, and no-ways – that way you can go through your list and more easily consider or reject houses.  But be reasonable – you can never get your dream house unless you have an unlimited budget.

– don’t get discouraged and give up or settle!  It takes a while to find the perfect place, but it’s so worth it.

– also don’t get your heart set on a place before it’s 100% completed.  Things can always fall apart or have complications at any stage.  It’s better to not be emotionally invested so that you can walk away if it’s a smart / necessary financial decision to do so.

Good luck!

Post # 10
7647 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

Start at the bank and find out how much you can be financed for so that way when you start looking, you don’t fall in love with a house you can’t afford.

After that, you go house hunting and the bank takes care of everything. We are moving into our first house on the 20th, and we had no idea what we were doing. The bank has been really great and answered everything.


Post # 11
818 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Mrs_Amanda:  love this 🙂 Fiance and I hope to buy the near future and these are good practical tips!

Post # 12
1564 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Mrs_Amanda:  Your tips are awesome! I also second the prioritizing the must haves. That is very important.

Another tip and this may sound silly but: Watch Property Virgins on HGTV. That show really showed me what things in house are important and what things are truly cosmetic and can be changed. For example, you can’t change the flow but you can change the wallpaper so try not to get hung up on how something “looks” and see the potential. After watching a million of these shows, I felt much more confident in buying a home.

Post # 13
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

1. Make sure your finances are in order. Check your credit report. Make sure it’s accurate. Do not open any new credit cards, but a car, etc. Don’t flip flop large sums of money around between accounts unless you are prepared to show the bank a paper trail and explain the transactions later.

2. Get preapproved. Most agents will not deal with you until you are, and it wastes everyone’s time and emotions for you to be looking at homes that are outside of your price range without realizing it. Get preapproved by a minimum of 3 banks within a one month period so that you can shop around without taking multiple hard pull hits to your credit. Try at least one credit union. Avoid the big banks if you can. Wells Fargo, BoA, etc have higher rates, and way worse customer service, in our experience.

3. Find an agent.

4. Start looking! Be prepared for offers to fall through. Keep your skin thick and your head high :-).

Post # 14
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

Start keeping an eye on your target market right now. Look for houses that interest you, maybe even do a drive by or go to a few open houses. The point of this is twofold. One… you will start to learn what you do and do not like. And two, you can then monitor the houses that you like to see how quickly they sell, for what price, and with what amount of seller assistance (aka “closing cost assistance”). This will help you really learn about your own market. Then, when you are ready to buy, you will know if houses in your target area tend to sell slowly and with room for price negotiations, or quickly and you’d better be willing to pay asking price. You wiull also start being able to judge which houses are overpriced, and which ones are priced to sell. This will help you get your mind in the right place to make decisions when the time comes. 

Post # 15
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

Get pre-approved, get credit in line, and save twice as much as you think you need.  Last minute fees or some catastrophe always happens after you move in, and you need the extra $$.

Post # 16
239 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

On top of everything everyone else said, here’s two things I wish I’d known before we started looking:

1. Down payments have to be seasoned (sitting in your bank account for 2 months, or however long the bank says) or sourced.

2. The requirements for #1 vary based on the company you’re getting the mortgage through! The first place we spoke with required that it be seasoned 2 months, no exceptions. They were even a little astonished that we were even considering buying without having the amount already seasoned. The second place wanted it seasoned or sourced from a paycheck. They were also much nicer, and ended up getting our business. 

So research your loan company. Call them up and ask questions, and don’t feel bad about not calling the rude/off ones back. Everyone involved gets a good chunk of cash out of the transaction, so you can reasonably expect a good deal of service.

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