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First time home buyer

Discussion in 'Exploring everything under the sun!!' started by Holty, October 9, 2002.

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    1. Holty

      Holty Active Member

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      Any advice that you could give us would be helpful! My fiancee' and I just got pre-approved for a mortgage. Now it's time to search for that "dream" home. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about buying a house, but i still feel like i am vulnerable to the realtor selling the house. i really want to get the best deal possible. You veteran real estate buyers out there have any advice for us??

      THANKS!
       
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    3. jasonb

      jasonb Jackstand Wheeler Moderator Emeritus

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      if you feel vulnerable to the seller.. get a real estate agent to work with you to find a house. then you've got one on your side.

      i suggest you look at a lot of houses. you'll likely "know" when you find the right one but look a lot anyway. i also suggest going to look at houses in the rain if you can. a lot of houses including the newer ones.. actually probably moreso with newer ones have drainage issues with heavy rain. you don't want the house rotting away or having foundation problems. look for signs of water damage in the roof. one way is to look for patched shingles or water stains in the attic. don't forget the attic. open the windows in the rooms. i've seen many people that have painted their windows shut. that can fixed easily, but just in case.
      don't be afraid to look around and mess with stuff. check out the plumbing. you want all copper plumbing. if there is ANY polybutelyne (sp?) you WILL have problems with it. that is the grayish plastic lines that kind of looks like pvc. many houses have these connecting the sinks to the hard lines and the toilets. that is fine as that is a $2 fix from home depot. if the house is on septic, find out when the tank was last drained. see how old the heating/air units are. they don't usually last over about 12 years. look for termite damage. check the siding for sweeling. if the bottom lip of siding does not look clean and new, it will need replacing soon, or at least painting (only applies to traditional siding). look for holes or rust in the gutters. if there is a deck... look for warped or twisted supports. make sure the supports have concrete around them. if you want the best in energy savings, look for energy efficient windows. carpet padding is basically shot after 10 years. you may want to replace this if it applies or you care. factor that in. i personally wouldn't consider stuff like the wall colors and fixtures and so forth as those are easy and fairly inexpensive fixes. many people have a hard time seeing past what the current owners have done as far as decorating. try to look past that. cracks in the wall joints and ceiling can show possible settlement issues.. if its stucco outside, make sure its good. there was a period of time relatively recently when builders were using a new stucco and it has been nothing but problematic. see how sound travels in the house..talk in one room and see if your wife, friend, whoever can hear you down the hall. i prefer a place is quiet. i could go on and on, but i'm at work right now.

      when you get to the contract stage, HIRE AN INSPECTOR of YOUR choosing. also i would recommend getting the land surveyed so you have no issues with property lines and right of ways. you may want to get the place inspected for termites professionally if you are concerned. you have to remember that almost everything will be gone when you move in! negotiate stuff in the contract like new carpet or gutters, or the refrigerator, or whatever. find out the school district and crime stats in the area. check the DOT or other govt departments for any planned zoning or other changes that may happen in the area. check the selling prices that other similar homes in the neighborhood have gone for recently. your agent can provide this info for you. if yours is off... something is wrong. talk to neighbors. they may tell you of problems that the house had that the sellers won't.

      i would also say.. make SURE you like the yard. you can make the house bigger if you need, but your yard will always be the same. just take your time and you'll find the right place. its a lot of stuff to think about but its really fun to be a homeowner. you'll love it.
       
    4. blichy

      blichy Active Member

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      Well, jasonb covered a lot there, so I will only add small piece of advice--don't become house-poor. You might be pre-approved for $XXX, but that usually does not leave you with much wiggle room. It is nice to be able to afford the house even with only one income (think about if you are going to have kids, etc.). Also, with a new home, take into account landscaping. Many times it is figured that you will spend 10% of what you bought the home for on landscaping (this is above what you paid for the house).

      Don't rush into a decision, and look at the neighborhood. Having good neighbors will make it more enjoyable. Congrats! :)
       
    5. james t

      james t moderation Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      holy crap- um.....well, nothing really left to add...... jason pretty much covered EVERYTHING.:p i strongly suggest the looking at it in the rain thing. really important here in the south. many times a back yard will hold water, and it can be at minumum a pain in the @ss. on the other end of the scale, it could flood the house/garage in a hard rain.

      have an inspection done, and if its got gas, have a leakdown test done. we have gas hot water heater and central heat, and we just spent $1500 having all new lines ran. leaked like crazy, and it was just a nightmare. it came out cheaper just letting them run all new lines rather than fixing the 3000 leaks that were there. but, so far, weve been here 2 years and thats the only thing major. good luck, and i suggest making a printout of jason's post to have with you as a reference.
       
    6. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I recently jumped into this, and all I can stress is don't rush, and check out the neighbors. I'd do a stakeout. What's a nice house if you live near a bunch of jerks with loud crappy cars at all times of the day and night?:mad: Do I sound bitter?
       
    7. greenhornet3147

      greenhornet3147 Active Member

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      Signing contract Tommrow

      Just heard from my Realtor like 2 hours ago. They accepted my bid. I was nervous till they started to treat this like I was buying a car. (Big Mistake) I am the best car buyer. I called there bluff and I won the pot. They tried to tell me they had many bids on the house. Wrong when they countered they did not say give us your best offer they said no we want this price. Right then and there I new I had them. After playing tit for tat I ended up paying 118,500.00 they wanted 129,650.00. House needs work. But it's not anything I can't do. So I sign the contract tomorrow should be closing on November 30. I will keep you filled in on what is happening. This is my First time buying a house so I’m learning as I go also. The house is nice two bed 1 bath garage basemen Attic. It will be a starter house for me and the soon to be wife. I did get the mortgage in just my income so I know we will have some breathing room.
       
      Last edited: October 28, 2002
    8. jasonb

      jasonb Jackstand Wheeler Moderator Emeritus

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      yeah.. what blichy said is very true and important. i've seen a few folks get in financial trouble because they went right up to the limit.

      one other thing that i was thinking about..
      check the breaker box to make sure the house has plenty of juice, especially if you plan to run any decent tools. this may not be a concern for you but i had to make sure my place was juiced well or could be expanded because i have a pretty decent wood shop in my basement. i didn't want to flip on the table saw and the house go dark.

      good luck with the house hunt. its a pretty exciting time. i remember going into one house that looked like it was painted for easter. all the rooms had a different color pastel eastery shade. the carpet was a mix of bright blue or pink depending on the room. we got a kick out of that. let us know how it goes and feel free to ask all the questions you have.
       
    9. Holty

      Holty Active Member

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      THANK YOU very much for the help everyone!! I need to know more about the process of negotiating the price and such. I talked to the loan officer today and we are pre-approved for sure. He is faxing the selling realtor a letter to confirm this. The house is in a really good neighborhood. It's actually only about a 1/4 mile from where i live now, so i know that its nice, no "ghetto". The people selling the house already moved out and have another house they just got built, so i'm sure they need to sell soon. This house has been on the market for quite some time also. They were asking $119,500 but as of today, the realtor emailed me saying the price has dropped by $1000. My loan guy says that i should be able to get the sellers to pay some of the closing costs, but i don't know how to go about asking for this type of stuff. What should i bid? thanks.

      You guys are awesome! :)
       
    10. SteveVB

      SteveVB Elite Explorer

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      Really....long - something helpful I hope:

      Are you using the realestate agent who listed the house? - he/she works for the seller and does not have your best interest at heart. So beware. I would have your own agent - sign a contract with them to have them represent you.

      Two steps I use to make an offer-
      1) I look at comps in the neighborhood - houses that are the same or similar and what they sold for.
      2) after I use the comp to make an offer I inspect the house - I may revise my bid after an inspection - addendums are common.

      1) Get your agent to find the prices paid for houses in that neighborhood. If you dont get your own agent ask the sellers for the info, you may be able to find it online. Make sure they are similar in location lot and size - its the same thing the appraiser is going to do. This will give you a very good idea of what people have paid for the houses- go drive by a few of the comps - ask to see them- never hurts talk to people- may be your new neighbors. With this info you can decide whether the price is fair taking into account condition, location, size. With an agent of your own they can provide lots of great info and advice about price and negotiation.

      For closing costs just have your offer specify your purchase price and specify what you want the sellers to pay. Get your lender to give you the closing cost disclosure sheet - estimated costs see what you will have to pay . I have made offers where the seller paid all of the transfer taxes, some where they pay 1/2 (some where they paid none too. just depends on the deal), you can ask them to pay for anything - remember it never hurts to ask. You can ask them to pay points if you need to buy down to a qualifing rate. You can structure deals any way you want - remember you can have repairs made before settlement too if you need any- may help out with cashflow atfter purchase. I have had sellers install roofs, paint in return for a full price offer. Another benefit is that the selling agents like it because they get the additional commision rather than chewing down the price if I have to pay for it- you can get the sellers agent on "your" side- always follow the money- who benefits? and will they help me? .

      2) Always make your offer contingent on an inspection by a party specified by you- I dont use home inspectors, but have my electrician, and HVAC guy look at the systems. If I have questions about the plumbing Ill call him in too. I have them in so I can get a ballpark estimate for upgrades or repairs needed. Home inspectors will guess at costs- they dont do work and really dont know what things cost (if you find one who wants to do the work -fire him) If your home is old, watch the plumbing and electric systems- I have seen every type of plumbing fail except for CPVC ( I just replumbed a copper house with a zillion pinhole leaks - age 35 years) older houses may have electric services that are over loaded, and not up to date- you can have the owner update ( say GFCI's in the baths, kitchen sink area) I have the expertise for everything else so I dont use an inspector. If you dont -get a home inspector GO WITH HIM/HER, ask questions and have them explain the systems to you- the owner should not be present. Make sure you do his within the time frame alloted by the contract. Look for major problems like Jason stated above- dont waste time on cosmetics- structure,HVAC,plumbing,electric, appliances.

      Ahh so long Im sorry- hope that helps a little- its a fun process and feels great when you move that last box in, sit on it and have a beer and a slice of pie.
       
    11. danniexp

      danniexp New Member

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      only a few things to add....

      most has been covered so here's my $.02:
      remember that you can ask for ANYTHING that you want, but sometimes giving a little can get a lot. I contracted on my house for $1000 over asking price.. but got $10,000 in stuff back (downpayment, closing, repairs, etc). They even paid to fix problems w/ my credit.
      DONT rush into it.... I took over 2.5 months to decide on my house... and am glad for it....
      and as said before, whenyou find THE house... you'll know it!
       
    12. greenhornet3147

      greenhornet3147 Active Member

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      bidding

      Bid 95,000.00 and tell them to pay 4000.00 in closing cost. They will ether come back and say yes or no. If they say no. They will come back and say we want 115,000.00 and you say yea or nay. If nay rise bid to say 108,000 and see what they say. If at some point they come back to you and say give use your best offer that means that somebody is bidding along with you. Is anybody living in the house now? How long has the house been on the market? Look at the picture in the flyer what season was it taken in. this will give you an Idea how long house has been on the market. Longer it has been on the market the better off you will be as a bidder. But it also could mean that there might be something wrong with the house that you have missed. If you have a friend or families that can walk around the house do that just to make sure you did not miss anything. I found this out last night Check the heater. Brother in law bought a house and never turned the heater on. it was fine all summer but winter hit and CO2 alarm went nuts. Heat exchanger was cracked. :p Discount Gas
       
      Last edited: October 10, 2002
    13. JoshC

      JoshC Only rolled it once honey

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      http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=54654&goto=newpost


      There is a link to the thread i had a few months ago about the same thing. They have about covered it all already, but you might find something interesting in there. Don't be shy when buying a home, it is your money and no one can tell you what you have to do. Start low and work your way up on the pricing, it makes it nice. We had a realtor working for us, and she was a friend of the family, so we ended up with a really good deal. I'm not sure about PA but in WV for a first time home buyer we got a speacial loan for closing costs that doesn't have to be paid back for 3 years and it is only 5% after that. Is this house through a realtor or private party? Realtor is really the better way to go because it has to meet certain standards for them to sell it. Good luck.

      Happy trails!!
       
    14. Positive Vibes

      Positive Vibes Elite Explorer

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      Location! Location! Location!
       
    15. Holty

      Holty Active Member

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      Yes it is through a realtor. we are going the fha 30 yr fixed route. we did not qualify for the first time buyer program because we make too much money. thanks for all the help everyone.
       
    16. jasonb

      jasonb Jackstand Wheeler Moderator Emeritus

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      ok.. one other thing that should be mentioned that can be very important.

      check about a home owners association. these can be good things BUT they can be nightmares just as easy. they can often help make sure everyone has nice clean yards, houses, and basically keeps the value up... however.. i've heard nightmares about them. some can basically foreclose on your house if you don't have the correct type of shutters or grass or stuff. be careful with this and make sure you find out about this before you jump into anything. find out what type of "laws" they have if your neighborhood is part of an association.

      you'll become a frequent shopper at home depot or lowe's. its fun though. good luck!

      you sound like you've done homework. you'll do just fine.
       
    17. Holty

      Holty Active Member

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      Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm just really nervous about the whole deal. My fiancee' really isn't helping because she wants to rush into this like she is buying a car or something. She dosn't understand any of the legal stuff, closing costs, mortgage terms, etc. If it were up to her, she would be like "ummm, where do i sign". lol. Basically i have to do all the reasearch, negotiating, homework, and leg work on my own. Its getting to be really stressful. She wants to buy, buy, buy, and I'm scared i'll buy, then find something better like a week later. I'm glad i can vent to you guys and you understand where i'm coming from. This actually happened so suddenly. We didn't even plan on looking so seriously until we picked up the paper one day and got mad at how much it costs to buy a townhouse in our area. It is outrageous! Anyway, i'm gonna print this thread and take it with me to the showing of the house. It isn't until next thursday.

      BTW, i contacted a local inspection company this morning. For a home inspection, pest inspection, radeon test?, and etc will cost me $445. The guy assured me that they are extremelly thorough. Does that sound right? thanks.
       
    18. JoshC

      JoshC Only rolled it once honey

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      Geez that must suck! I was still in school last spring when we bought our house so i had to have a letter from my employeer about my job after school, and i actually had him lower my salary on paper so that we would qualify for the first time homebuyers, worked out great for me!

      You might find something next week like you were saying, but you'll not love it any better. I love my house and i'm glad we got it when we did. We were kind of like you, not even looking for a house till we saw the "open house" sign on the street and thought we'd check it out. This stuff happens, no real need to think you are rushing into it, just so long as you understand what you are doing and it sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what's going on.

      Happy trails!!
       
    19. SteveVB

      SteveVB Elite Explorer

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      She will be your wife soon, bound to get worse:D

      Seriously sit down with her and walk her through some things - just hit some of the important points so she understands whats going on. When you're married you are a team and need to work together. You (pl) may have decided that you(sing) are in charge of finances, but she needs to have an understanding of the transaction. Her name will be on the mortgage and she will have to sign a pile of papers and read at least some of them- they sometimes are incorrect.


      Have Fun
       
    20. jasonb

      jasonb Jackstand Wheeler Moderator Emeritus

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      that sounds about right from a good inspector since you are getting pest (assuming termite mainly?) in there as well.
      if your not sure about them, keep looking. get recommendations for the mortgage folks, the real estate agent, etc. the price you listed sounds about right for a good quality inspector but you can always look at other places. look for experience on their resume more than anything.
       
    21. Holty

      Holty Active Member

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      THE TIME HAS COME!

      Well, my fiancee' and I are now OFFICIALLY home owners!!!

      We finally found a REALLY nice house that we both can agree on and is in our price range...well, a little more than we wanted to spend, but in an excellent area.

      We looked at the house twice after it had been on the market only for 3 days. We knew for sure it would go quick because of the location it's in, and the price was really reasonable. We put in a bid last night, and the seller's accepted about 2 hours ago :eek:

      We chose a 30yr fixed conventional mortgage @ 6.25 interest.

      Does that sound like a decent interest rate compared to what all you have?
       
    22. james t

      james t moderation Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      congrats, Holty. and yea, the interest sounds about right. we bought ours a couple of years ago and got 5.99% on a 30 year. i havent checked current rates, but 6.25% sounds good.
       
    23. JoshC

      JoshC Only rolled it once honey

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      Hey that's great Holty! The good thing is you both agreed on it! I think our interest rate was also 6.25%.

      Happy trails!!
       
    24. greenhornet3147

      greenhornet3147 Active Member

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      me too

      when are you closing I got FHA 6.50 I close in 25 days. 118.500 is what i payed. Make sure you get a good home inspector he found a few things wrong with the house. I might beable to knock off a couple of thousand off the house.
       
    25. danniexp

      danniexp New Member

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      got our 118900 @ 4.75

      but 6.25 is still great!

      congratulations on the new house!
       
    26. Holty

      Holty Active Member

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      4.74 wow! you must have a ARM or payed points to get that rate though.
       

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