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  1. #1
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    Home Buying...seeking wisdom from the wise OR members!

    Kai and I are looking at purchasing a home. We are paying close to a $1000 a month for rent. So we think it wise in this house market to take the plunge. We've never done this before. So what do we need to look out for? Tips, advice? Share you knowledge ohhh great ones!
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    Go for a fixed rate!
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    Get a good home inspection. For some of the signs to watch for -- watch some episodes of both Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection. And be there for the inspection... I thought the guy who did mine did a decent job, and he didn't do a bad job -- but he missed what were, in hindsight, some obvious signs of a problem that I had to deal with.

    Start shopping around and looking for a home inspector now, so that you aren't stuck going with whoever the realtor recommends.
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    As others said, make sure you have a good home inspector. Get pre-qualified before you even start looking at homes so you know what you can afford. Make sure that you have more than enough for down payment/closing costs.

    I don't know if you have these types of programs in your state, but it can't hurt to find something similar:

    A free homebuying class like:
    HomeChoice

    Make sure houses that you look at aren't on a state list like this:
    Contaminated Sites Database Search - Alaska

    Make sure houses that you look at aren't on the DEA clandestine lab site:
    DEA, National Clandestine Laboratory Register

    Good luck! And don't get an ARM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    Get a good home inspection. For some of the signs to watch for -- watch some episodes of both Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection. And be there for the inspection... I thought the guy who did mine did a decent job, and he didn't do a bad job -- but he missed what were, in hindsight, some obvious signs of a problem that I had to deal with.

    Start shopping around and looking for a home inspector now, so that you aren't stuck going with whoever the realtor recommends.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    Get a good home inspection. For some of the signs to watch for -- watch some episodes of both Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection. And be there for the inspection... I thought the guy who did mine did a decent job, and he didn't do a bad job -- but he missed what were, in hindsight, some obvious signs of a problem that I had to deal with.

    Start shopping around and looking for a home inspector now, so that you aren't stuck going with whoever the realtor recommends.
    Truer words were never written. Mine was a buddy of the seller, who was flipping houses before there was such a thing, and he didn't check wiring (which is 50+ years old and needs replacing), plumbing (tree roots growing through the 50+ year old asphalt pipe in the front yard), insulation (there is none outside of the attic, and what's up there is a joke), the crawlspace (jagged bricks and discarded construction material everywhere under there, with a whopping 20 or so inches to belly crawl through), floor joists (some had been cut completely through, allowing the floor to dip about 3 inches in the middle of the house), or anything really. I think he just took the sellers word for what things were like. I've had this place for 17 years and I'm STILL pissed off about it.
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  7. #7
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    + 1 on the pre-qualify for the loan. Others have pretty much covered everything. I will say it is a buyers market right now.

    Good luck!!!
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  8. #8
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    see if you have a program like this in your area

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    Awww, you two are so grown-up now!

    Do your own market research on the internet about home values to see how much you should offer (Zillow - Real Estate, Homes for Sale & Real Estate Values is pretty accurate); don't trust your the real estate broker to give you accurate advice, as brokers' expertise, motives, and ethics are highly variable and you can't tell if you've got a good one.

    Once you've narrowed it down to a few homes, go and see them at many different times of the day, so you get an idea of the kind of traffic patterns, noise, wildlife, weird neighbors, etc. that are surrounding them. Hang out in front of the place for awhile. If neighbors pass by, talk with them to see if you like them and to see if they can tell you anything useful about the neighborhood and the house.

    +1 on getting the fixed rate loan--these are probably the lowest rates we'll ever see in our lives. This is a great time to buy a house. Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Make sure buying makes sense for you.
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  11. #11
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    Ditto's on the home inspection. Fixed rate is an absolute MUST! Pre-qualification is a good idea too. 20% down, although tough, is a good idea. Not only lowers monthly payments, but will avoid any Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you can swing it, do a 15 year loan, better interest rate.
    Shop around and dont get stuck on one too quickly. When I was looking for my first, I looked at no less than 12 different houses. It gave me a pretty good perspective on what was out there. And don't take this as talking down(or any of the above, just throwing out what you may not have thought of...), but just because you can swing 1000 month rent, don't mean you can afford that same amount in a mortgage payment as a house comes with residual costs (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc). Go for a little less than what you can actually "afford"
    As far as the agent: often hard to tell if you have a good one, as Jenna alluded too, but I would go with one who has been a realtor in the area for A WHILE, so that they know trends, values, etc.
    BEST OF LUCK!

  12. #12
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    A lot of this will be repeats of what's said above, but:

    Get a home inspection. Make sure they're good. Ask them for references. A good home inspection will probably cost a couple hundred dollars more, but it's worth it. My home inspector charged around $500 for each house I bought. It was well worth it.

    Stay away from the ARM/Balloon/Variable rate loans. Period. No matter how good they sound.


    Get pre approved. No sense in looking at $200,000 houses, only to find out you can't afford anything over $150,000.

    Look at foreclosures. With the high number of foreclosures out there, you can get a really nice house for a really good price. A buddy of mine bought a house worth close to $300,000 for $175,000 because it was foreclosed.

    Don't put all your trust your realtor. I trusted mine too much, and I feel like I could have gotten our house for a little less than I'm paying now. If you make an offer on a house, low ball them. What's the worse they can say other than "no?" And then you just make another, higher offer. I trusted my realtor too much and gave an offer that I thought they'd accept on the first try, because that's what she recommended (so I don't "offend" the seller). I ended up probably paying more than I needed to, and she is the one that benefited (along with the seller). Worst part is, no one else had even looked at our house yet. We had no competition.

    Call around to different banks and see what kind of loan or deal they can offer you. I doubt it's common, but there's a bank about an hour from me that gives an 1/8th percent discount on their interest rate to cops for home loans. On the same note though, don't call around to get pre approved at different places. They pull your credit every time, and that hurts your credit score. Find a bank you like, and get pre approved there.

    Go to a home buying class if you can find one in your area. Lots of good info that walks you through the process.

    Find a good attorney, one that specializes in real estate. Our attorney found a mistake in the original deed that was over 100 yrs old (107 yrs old I think?) and made the sellers attorney contact some hall of records deal in D.C. to get ONE piece of paper to explain the mistake in the deed. Something about the original owner of the property....Higginbothom something. Either way, it was likely not something that would ever affect me, but it was nice knowing he was putting that much effort into examining the deed, liens, etc on the house we were buying. Money well spent.

    Consider big things like the age/condition of the roof, windows (are they efficient?), appliances (efficient, aged?), the septic system (if applicable, how old is it?) etc. Is anything going to need to be replaced anytime soon? Or does it need to be replaced now? I've got a LOT of roof over my head, with lots of peaks, valleys, etc. I knew buying our house that the roof has another 8-10 yrs left roughly. We made the decision to go ahead with it anyway, even though the roof is in it's final few years and it's going to cost an arm and a leg to get it reroofed. My fingers are crossed for a hail storm this summer. If I can get a good hail storm to wreck the roof, I'm getting a steel roof put on. Also, we knew the septic system was OLD (I can't remember how old...but it was put in before i was born.) We had the seller put in a new septic system. Saved us 12,000 grand because she paid for it, not us. Same with appliances. If the seller includes the washer/dryer for example, but they're 15 yrs old, you can plan on spending maybe 800 to 2,000 dollars sometime in the near future for a new washer/dryer. We've already replaced a dishwasher and water heater and we've been here less than a year. I expected to replace the water heater. The dishwasher caught me off guard.

    If you can swing the 20% down, DO IT. If you can get the PMI off your loan before you even make your first payment, it's worth it.

    Make sure your loan doesn't penalize you for early payments or early pay off. Every month I pay SOMETHING extra towards our principal. Even if it's just $20, it's something. Also, our bank automatically puts anything extra towards the principal. Some banks make you include a letter, note, phone call, etc if you want extra money to go towards the principal, otherwise they put it towards interest (money in their pocket). At the rate I'm going (I know I won't be able to keep it up) our place will be paid off in ten years. But, we also don't have any kids right now, so like I said, I know I won't be able to keep this pace up.

    Don't do direct deposit for paying your home loan. With my first house I did direct deposit/withdrawl. My employer put my pay check into my bank account, and the bank took half of my mortgage out twice a month. At the end of my month my mortgage payment was satisified. It was dumb. Because I never saw any payment coupons from my bank, I never considered doing any extra payments. So, the entire time I owned my first house, I never made a single extra payment. At our house now, I do the "coupons" with the bank. Every month I write a check, fill out the little payment coupon, put it in the mail, and mail it to the bank. If I wasn't doing it this way, I still probably wouldn't be making extra payments.

    That's all I can think of right now.
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  13. #13
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    Always ask if the house (or condo) is in a homeowner's association. If it is ask for their CCRs(codes, covenants, restrictions). If it is in a HOA, are there dues? What do the dues cover?

    I bought a townhouse that wasn't in a HOA. I don't have to pay dues and I'm responsible for all of the maintenance of my house. My a-hole neighbor has a bunch of ugly shit lying around, so this summer I'm putting up a fence so we don't have to look at it.

    My friend bought a townhouse in a Condo Association. He pays around $200/month in dues, but it covers water, sewer, garbage, and snow removal. All of their houses look the same and they have to get permission to repaint their houses/trim. They also have parking nazi's.
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  14. #14
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    Came across a house that we really like so far. We still need to see the inside obviously, but the outside looks nice and is in a nice location. The price is also great. One thing I see that needs immediate attention are the two garage doors (detached garage). Anyone have any idea how much two garage doors with the openers would run?
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    Just read Jmur's post... Unfortunately, ND is one of the few states in the country where foreclosures are not at all common. I guess this is a good thing for the economy and people living here, but for buying one, it's kinda useless
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiGywer View Post
    Just read Jmur's post... Unfortunately, ND is one of the few states in the country where foreclosures are not at all common. I guess this is a good thing for the economy and people living here, but for buying one, it's kinda useless
    MN's fared pretty well when it comes to foreclosures as well, but they're still out there. A lot of them (around here anyway) aren't listed with realtors. Ask your realtor specifically for some MLS listings on foreclosed properties and see what they can dig up. If he/she's gonna get 6% (or whatever is common for your area) for the sale, make him/her earn the money.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

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  17. #17
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    Some more good info posted, esp jmur. I didn't think about mentioning a penalty for early payoff. I was sure I cleared that with the bank before I took out a loan... However, I will disagree about the direct deposit. My employer allows you to deposit pre-set amounts into up to 4 different accounts. I opened an account with the bank that my mortgage is through and have a certain amount allocated to it. Once a month, the payment is withdrawn from the account. Also, (i thought this was GREAT) I had the option of having an additional amount withdrawn on the same day every month and apply it to principle. (could have set it up every week, two weeks, etc also)
    Another thing I would make sure of is if your bank SELLS your mortgage, that you are still able to make the payment to the ORIGINAL bank, and not have to hunt down and change where you send your payment to. I have heard this can be a huge hassle, especially if it's sold multiple times.

  18. #18
    jmur5074's Avatar
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    The whole direct deposit to pay your mortgage is probably just a personal opinion more than anything. My bank didn't offer what your bank offered pharmer, so I never made any additional payments. I never saw a single bill or payment coupon for my old house, thus, never thought about my mortgage. Ever. I just knew it was getting paid. By not ever having to think about it, I never made additional payments.


    But anyway, it's just my personal choice. I like having my payment coupon and check in my hand so I can see it, feel it, and know exactly whats going on.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

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  19. #19
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    Location Location Location. Chances are this will not be the house you live in for the rest of your life. I have purchased 4 houses in the past 11 years. You always want to keep that in mind when purchasing.

    When looking at a listing look at how long it has been on the market. This will often times help you find any red flags. If the house has been for sale for 2 years there is a reason for that rather it be wiring, pricing, or water damage ect...

    When looking remember that water can ruin a house especially if you live somewhere that it freezes. I never realized how powerful and damaging water can be.

    Go for a fixed rate!!! Don't just go to a bank you need to "Shop" for a bank that is going to give you a good rate with low closing cost. Watch out when they try to sell you "points" When shopping for a house loan check 15 and 30 year fixed rates. You will be surprised sometimes that a 15 year loan does not cost that much more a month than a 30.
    Ask the bank if they have a rapid payment option. Mine offers me to pay 1/2 my mortgage twice a month rather than once a month. The advantage to this for me is that I knock two years off of my 15 year loan.

    Also go online and look up the tax records on the house. It will have any prior sales of the house and how much it went for. You will also be able to see how much your seller paid for the house and what year he bought it.

    Talk to the neighbors! Ask them about the neighborhood and ask them if they know anything about the house.
    Check your feelings at the door!

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  20. #20
    pharmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    The whole direct deposit to pay your mortgage is probably just a personal opinion more than anything.
    Absolutely!
    What ever way works for somebody so they can pay extra is FAR better than not

 

 
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