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House Hunting. Are we doing this right? Sorry, this is long.

Posted by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 6:43 PM
  • 8 Replies

So, me and my dh have been holding out on buying a house. We wanted to pay off some debt and get our credit in better standing. Well, now we have paid a lot of debt off and we think our credit is pretty good.

Now, I need to know if we are taking the right steps in all this. We have never bought a house before and so we feel a bit overwhelmed. What we are doing first off, is meeting with a lender (May 14th) to see if it is even possible for us to purchase a house, and if so how much house can we get? I spoke to the lender today, and so far it sounds like we can get preapproved for a house in a price range that I had in mind. It is not official, but we have documentation that I think will get us over this hump. I truly think that we will get preapproved for a home loan. We have worked very long and hard for this, and I would be shocked if we were turned down. In fact I think I would be devastated to know that we still had more work ahead of us. This has been ten years in the making with lots of set backs that we've had to overcome.

Anyway, we also have already thought about what would be deal breakers. There are certain things that we HAVE to have or else we don't have a deal. I don't want to just settle for any ole house out there you know? I've lived in apartments for far too long. If I have a house I want certain things to go with it. I just don't feel like I should have to settle in where I live this time, if that makes any sense. I also think the things we are asking for are reasonable and possible. It's not like we are asking for a house with a ballroom or something. LOL. We want air conditioning, and a two car garage. There is more to that list, but you get the idea. It is basic stuff like that.

We have also looked into recommendations for Realtors. For where we live, I think a realtor would help us navigate through each neighborhood. Our town is great and we don't necessarily have a particular part of town picked out. However, the houses are vastly different. We feel like a realtor would be able to take our criteria for what we want in a house and help us find what we want without us having to go all over the place on our own. I know that some people can buy a house without using a realtor, but I really think that we need one.

So to recap, this is what we've done so far. 1) We have our paperwork together to take to a lender to see what we can afford. 2) If we are preapproved then we have a list of things to take a realtor to help us find a house we like. 3) We have a list of housing inspectors to call if we successfully find a house we want and an offer is accepted.

I know that there may be some steps I've missed. My main thing here is that while I am hopeful, I don't want to get my hopes up to be disappointed. We can live where we are currently for a good long while, so it is not like there is any kind of urgency. We can take our time. I just want a house so bad. I've never lived in a house and it has been a big dream of mine for a long time.

Thanks ladies. Any suggestions will be appreciated and helpful.

 

 

by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 6:43 PM
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Replies (1-8):
psych_mom
by on May. 1, 2012 at 12:09 AM

I haven't bought a house yet, but we were really close this winter. You should definitely get preapproval first so you aren't wasting your time looking and then not be able to buy anything that you like until you get it. Definitely find a good realtor- that is a must because they are great at negotiating deals and they know the ins and outs of each area and what fair market value is. A good inspector is a must as well. I think you have all your basis covered and remember, no home is going to be perfect, but if you can overlook small cosmetic things that you can change for a house that is the size and layout that you want, you should be able to find the perfect house:) I wish you the best in your house hunting and home ownership adventure.

inmybizz
by Ruby Member on May. 1, 2012 at 7:09 AM

Congrats!! Buying your first home is always exciting & overwhelming.

I would suggest:

 finding out what houses are selling for(comparable houses) in the area you are interested in- it will give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect to pay. Your realtorcan get this info or you can find it yourself..I think Zillow is a good site.

If you plan to come in w/ a downpayment make sure you have that together.

If you have a maximum amount you intend to spend for a home stick with it..It's easy to get emotionally involved and start thinking with your emotions instead of being realistic and staying within your budget.

find out what your monthly housing costs will be, including homeowners insurance, property taxes, HOA fees..These items can add an  extra hundred to thousands of dollars to a house note. 

If "creative financing" is offered be sure you understand the terms of the loan before you agree. Usually offering low rates/payment for a set number of yrs, then a huge ballon payment/interest rate changes after set amount of yrs... 

I have my lawyer look over everything, if you can get one for this process i would suggest it..If not, be sure you read and understand everything you sign..


 

MeridaMomma4
by on May. 1, 2012 at 2:51 PM

sounds like your on to a good start, my only advice would be to not make any large purchases or deposit/withdrawls/transfers of large sums to your bank accts without the documentation to support it, good luck

Nutmeg101
by on May. 1, 2012 at 6:48 PM
Start going to open houses and find out what you like/don't like. Keep in mind what features appeal to you- and what really doesn't. Carry notepads with you and keep a detailed list. I personally can't look at more than 3 homes a day without the details starting to run together. Take pictures- even. (I didn't- but wish I had)
Choose your buyer broker carefully and have personal recommendations (if possible). You want someone you feel comfortable with- and is assertive or passive as YOU need them to be. Personalities are different- and it can make the difference in a positive experience or a stressful one.

And HAVE FUN! Don't forget that this is a positive step and to enjoy the process!!
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friend8622
by on May. 1, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Sounds like you have everything lined up.  We are in the house buying process right now and I sure hope your experience is a lot better than ours.  I don't think you need to pick out the inspector because the realtor usually has a specific one that they use.  Other than that though I think you know what you want and are pretty prepared, you will probably just have to pick out the house you want and then wait on the bank to finalize the loan, which for us has taken WAY too long.  We have been in the house buying process for 7 months and had the house we wanted and offer in on since February and the bank is still working on the processing. UGH!!!!  Anyways, best of luck to you!

Aleta775
by on May. 1, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Thank you ladies. I will keep all of what you have said in mind. We already know how much house we can afford, but we want to get something we can easily afford which means that even if we are pre approved for a certain amount of money, we will not buy a house for that much and we will probably get something for less. We don't just want a house, we want to live in a house that we can easily afford. Plus, we realize that we may have HOA fees, taxes, and we might have to buy appliances so we have to make allowances for all that too.

Linds2Horse
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2012 at 1:19 AM

How exciting! Congratulations!

You are certainly headed for an excellent starts.  A few suggestions I'd like to offer:

1) Pre-approval is great to see how much home you can buy but even before you visit the bank you and your husband need to decide how much you can afford to pay each month in mortgage and taxes.  The bank will approve you for the maximum you can afford, but they don't consider how comfortable you'll be paying that amount each month.  For example you might be approved for a mortgage amount that comes to $3,000 per month but $2000 might be the most you feel comfortable paying each month. You need to know that in advance and then stick to it.

2) It's great to have a wish list, but you need to remain flexible with your wish list and consider that some items on your wishlist can be improvements later. For example, air conditioning is great during the Summer, but don't pass by a better home for less money simply because it doesn't have a/c.  Things like a/c, granite counters, paint colors, etc are easy to change.  Location, floorplan, area schools, neighborhood aren't easy to change. It's better investment to buy the dumpier home in the good neighborhood than the nicest home in a lesser neighborhood.

3)  Most areas have a local MLS, which lists most of the homes listed for sale in your area. This is a great way to see homes before you actually tour them and to learn the market prices for different neighborhoods.

Aleta775
by on May. 2, 2012 at 1:33 AM

I totally agree with #1, and that is exactly what we will do. Just to throw some numbers out there as an example: if we get pre-approved for a 3000 a month payment we would probably do what you suggested and go for more of a 1500 to 2000 a month payment. 

Here is the thing about AC. We HAVE to have it. My dh is a sweater, meaning that the man will sweat at the drop of a hat. He's always been that way poor guy, and he gets over heated. We live in Colorado and there are a lot of houses here that don't have AC. We are okay with getting a house that has duct work for heating and the AC unit could be added. The problem is, there are a lot of houses here that don't even have the duct work going through the house, or they are cooled with a swamp cooler and my experience with those it that they don't always work that well.  

Quoting Linds2Horse:

How exciting! Congratulations!

You are certainly headed for an excellent starts.  A few suggestions I'd like to offer:

1) Pre-approval is great to see how much home you can buy but even before you visit the bank you and your husband need to decide how much you can afford to pay each month in mortgage and taxes.  The bank will approve you for the maximum you can afford, but they don't consider how comfortable you'll be paying that amount each month.  For example you might be approved for a mortgage amount that comes to $3,000 per month but $2000 might be the most you feel comfortable paying each month. You need to know that in advance and then stick to it.

2) It's great to have a wish list, but you need to remain flexible with your wish list and consider that some items on your wishlist can be improvements later. For example, air conditioning is great during the Summer, but don't pass by a better home for less money simply because it doesn't have a/c.  Things like a/c, granite counters, paint colors, etc are easy to change.  Location, floorplan, area schools, neighborhood aren't easy to change. It's better investment to buy the dumpier home in the good neighborhood than the nicest home in a lesser neighborhood.

3)  Most areas have a local MLS, which lists most of the homes listed for sale in your area. This is a great way to see homes before you actually tour them and to learn the market prices for different neighborhoods.

 

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