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Advice for a first-time home buyer?

My husband and I looking into buying our first home. I am extremely excited, and so nervous. I have absolutely no idea where to even begin. He is working overseas, so I have his power of attorney and have to do it all myself. Needless to say, I'm completely overwhelmed! Can you offer me any advice, tips, or do's and don't's on the homebuying process? I would greatly appreciate all the help I can get!!!! :)

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MacyKaysMommy

Asked by MacyKaysMommy at 3:08 AM on Aug. 14, 2010 in Home & Garden

Level 10 (478 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • Best advice is to get pre approved,get a Realtor,and go house hunting. When you find an area look go through there at night and see how it is.
    mamaofficer

    Answer by mamaofficer at 3:17 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • Oh good luck, I can't wait until I get my house built.
    mamaofficer

    Answer by mamaofficer at 3:18 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • yes, get pre-approved! Find a GREAT realtor! Get a good loan officer.
    take your time! Tour each house well and take a ton of pics so that you can go home and review each house you looked at.
    Bring along a good friend or family member when you are looking at homes.
    Consider the neighborhood and schools as well. Scope out the neighboring homes, their yards and see if any might have kids that are the same age as yours. It does not hurt to look up your potential new home on the Watch Dog website.
    Make 100% sure you can afford your payments and see if your insurance and taxes are going to be included in the mortgage or not. Consider what the past utility bills were. YOu can inquire about this at the utility office.

    have fun! Good Luck!
    Roadfamily6now

    Answer by Roadfamily6now at 4:16 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • My very first thing I would do is to sit down with your budget and know what debts you already have before adding a mortgage to it. A mortgage, principal, interest, taxes and insurance, piti, should NOT be over 25% of your take home pay. Plan for the future, are you going to stop working when you have children? How does that effect the cost of the house you are buying. I would require the seller to get a complete home inspection done when you have narrowed down your search. Be very nosy when you find 'the one'. Open the cabinet doors, look under the sinks for plumbing issues, get power statements or utility statements so you know how much it costs to heat/cool cook and wash and dry clothing as well as heating water. Get a homeowners warranty at least for the first year on all major appliances and heating and cooling systems. Go over the house with a fine tooth comb.</

    Joeygoat

    Answer by Joeygoat at 5:49 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • Plan on a budget with 25% of your take home pay, the 1st weeks paycheck to cover the house payment, the 2nd check of the month is for utilities and food, the 3rd check is for your car or whatever type of transportation, the 4th check is what you should be saving, or if you have debt, save a smaller portion and kill off the debts as soon as possible. Have in your mind how long you will be living in this house, if it is going to be less then seven years, then renting maybe a better option. Selling a home in less then seven years after purchase, you would not have recouped the expenses of getting a mortgage, discount points, origination fees, etc. Work your budget if either you or your husband lost their jobs and see if you can still afford this home with the loss of an income. These may seem like harsh realities, but understand I want you to enjoy your new home, I don't want you to be tied to a home you cannot afford.

    Joeygoat

    Answer by Joeygoat at 6:00 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • Get a good realtor, get preapproved. Look at a LOT of houses. The more you look, the more you can figure out what really matters to you. Keep within a reasonable budget; you may get approved for more than you can comfortably afford. Think about what the expenses would be with different houses. For example, will your furniture work in the living room, or will you need to buy new stuff? Would you be able to mow a large lawn yourself, or would you have to pay someone to do it? These things add up over time.
    And when you finally make an offer and are accepted, DO NOT SKIP THE HOME INSPECTION!
    SWasson

    Answer by SWasson at 8:05 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • when you finally start looking at houses bring along a friend or family member, know the area, if you are looking at a house that may need some remodeling or tlc then find out about permits or city ordiances. know the attitude in the town ( mainly older people or young families etc) also when starting to go through the process after you have a house picked out make sure you get a very good inpection with you present so you can find out if there is any costly repairs ie roof electrical foundation. depending on the area and the age of the house the electrical may not be updated and dont think that just cuz it has a new breaker box that the wiring has been updated.
    laura970

    Answer by laura970 at 1:10 PM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • All EXCELLENT advice above!! The only thing I would add is only buy based on ONE income...not two...and the income of the adult who will be working after you have children!! If you NEED two incomes to buy your home, then you are buying too much house!! Start small, and trade up in a few years (after the housing market bottoms out, and starts to rise again).

    And ONLY take out a FIXED RATE mortgage!! If you can afford a home on ONE income and take out a fixed rate mortgage, you will ALWAYS be able to make your payments. It's those who take out adjustable rate mortgages that go under when the value drops and the payments go up!

    Also bear in mind, that home prices are still being propped up! The bottom has not fallen out yet, so make sure that whatever home you buy that you are content with living there for a few years!!

    Good luck!! :o)
    LoriKeet

    Answer by LoriKeet at 2:55 PM on Aug. 14, 2010

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