Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Home Shopping/Buying Advice, Please!


Okay, people. I need some advice. 

There are a lot of smart, helpful people in the blogosphere and in my life so I knew I could ask y'all.

We're starting to look for houses! :)

We're not in any hurry, we're praying about it, we're not trying to get our own place ASAP. But we know it can be a long process, so we're starting to search and shop around and such.

We've looked at some really nice townhouses that are currently being built, but we're also open to regular houses as well. We're not looking for the house we're going to be in when we're 70 or anything, more of a starter home that could be sold later in life.

source

So here are my questions for you:

1. Do you have a "I'm SO glad we did this" story about buying your first home? It could be about the home itself, the process, financing, etc.

2. Do you have a "This was awful" story about buying your first home?

3. Anything you wish you would have known beforehand? Or done differently?

4. Any random pieces of advice for me?


I appreciate it SO much. And I'll be updating y'all on how it's going! 

Jordan is a wonderful leader and planner for us and I fully trust him in this process. (And we are trusting our Lord because He knows where we need to be!) I just know it helps to hear other people's stories and advice when they've been there and done that! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Ashley

17 comments:

  1. My advice is that you use Maylon-James for your loan! :) haha...but for real, so exciting...good luck!O

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oooo girl I could talk for days about buying a house, especially with a very precise engineer! I wrote about it for the first time here:

    http://themerrymrsmobley.blogspot.com/2011/08/property-virgins-no-more.html

    and then followed with two more posts. Make sure you go to zillow.com and sign up for the regular updates. Zillow did a lot of the leg work for us! It's a good idea to come up with a "must-haves" list, a "eh" (impartial) list, and of course a "no way jose" list on amenities, location, appliances, rooms, square footage, etc. If you do that beforehand you'll be a heck of a lot less stressed:-)

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Girl.. We actually have chosen to not buy a house yet! We are renting for the time being. A few things. 1. Don't rush. 2. Only if you both want it. 3. it is sacrifice. A home is a LOT of work and expense. that is one thing we have realized and why are still renting! Our schedules would never let us keep up with a home!

    lastly, I wouldn't consider buying a home myself unless I was able to get through Dave Ramsy's Tips here:
    http://www.daveramsey.com/home-buying-tips/get-finances-in-order/

    Money stuff can cause extra stress and I would just be patient and pray!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Make a list of everything you need in a house, along with some wants. It really will help you narrow down the options!

    I only looked at two houses before I knew I found the house, so don't pass on something you love just because you feel like you haven't looked at enough homes.

    Look past easy fixes like wallpaper, paint, and even flooring. Those can all be changed with relatively little money.

    Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have so much advice for you! haha! My entire family does either mortgages or real estate. And I might have a realtor for you over there! First of all -- get pre qualified for a loan!! Either through your bank or if you already ahve a mortgage advisor, you'll want to know EXACTLY what parameters you qualify for. Have a realtor you can trust - my dad is a realtor and loves what he does, and is always honest. You want someone like that :) I will see if our realtor friend in NC is near you (unless of course you already have one!). Ask me any other questions you may have! I did this for the last 2 years.

    PS: SUPER EXCITING!!! I am SOOOOOOOO happy for you two!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good ol' Dave Ramsey says don't get more than a 15 year mortgage and I kind of wish we'd done that.

    Also don't get discouraged if one you *love* falls through. It happened a couple times to us and one we already had a contract on but had to back out of for a certain reason. But it where we ended up worked out so much better for us in the end.

    Good luck and have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey! This is Whitney and Aaron (mostly aaron! :)

    Here are a few things from when we bought our house:

    1) Know what you want and don't want. We didn't yard work, so we got a townhouse. We wanted to live close to where we play/work, so we found that. We wanted something new. Check.

    2) It is a BUYER's market right now. You can find nearly anything you want at a great price if you are willing to make some concessions (like location, or maybe it's a few years old, etc.)

    3) Interest rates are super low right now. They are lower than when we got our house a year ago. Bummer for us. Good for you.

    4) You don't have to have a realtor/buyer's agent if it's a new house. BUT it could be worth it if they are going to fight for you more than you would for yourself. If you have a good one, they will think through lots of stuff with you and not just try to sell a house so they get their money. Know what I'm saying?

    5) Find out how much you can afford. This means a.) Finding how much of a loan you qualify for and b) how much you can afford monthly. Don't forget to add taxes, insurance and HOA fees (if where you live has them) into your monthly breakdown. Be sure also the loan you get won't have a penalty for paying off early or paying more than the minimum. Consider also a change in your bills (electric, gas, water, trash) and if you are going to do more like security, pest control, etc.

    6) We worked with our credit union (CFCU) which had a real estate partnership. This made the process for loan and purchasing REALLY easy because they worked in the same office and it kept their communication going. There was not a lot of red tape and waiting around. Check with your bank or credit union to see what they have going on for first time home buyers. If you are members of CFCU, let me know because there's some additional benefits with them.

    7) Negotiate everything. Because it's a buyers market (especially with new construction) you can ask for lots of extras not listed. Ask for blinds. Ask for a fridge and washer and dryer, stove, microwave, etc. Get them to say, "We can't go any lower."

    8) Check the tax records for the neighborhood where you are looking. This will let you know what the other houses are worth or are going for. This will let you know about where you are going to land. If you are working with a builder or a place with an HOA, remember they will only go so low because they want the value of their property to stay up and it will go lower if they sell you your house for a really low price. But, you'll know about where you'll end up there.

    9) Account for moving expenses, new furniture, new everything. Once you get your loan approval DON'T BUY ANYTHING BIG until you close on your house. It could screw you up! Once you're closed, you can get the other big stuff (slowly over time!)

    10) The idea of a turnaround house is outgoing. People used to buy houses thinking they would sell them in five years. That is an idea of the past. This present economy, most people are planning to live in their newly purchased homes for at least 10-15 years. So, keep that in mind. If you think you might sell in five years, consider renting longer. With the downturn the market has tons of homes not selling. Yours could be one in five years. Maybe use that time to store up more savings and get the home you do see yourself having later on.

    There's probably lots more! But, just some initial thoughts. I would talk to people you know who do that sort of thing even if you aren't moving forward right now they can educate you. I talked with different lenders, friends who do accounting, agents, and others to learn a lot and then make decisions from that point.

    You have time. This market isn't going up any time really soon.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just found your blog on bloglovin! We are just going through this same process. I read a lot of the comments to get some advice too. Happy Hunting!!!
    My only advice so far would be start with a realtor that has been referred by several people you trust to make sure the realtor has your best interest in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with what everyone has been saying! One important thing to consider:

    If and when you have children, will you be staying home with them? If so, you have to be able to afford this house with one income. One way to find out is to figure out how much a house payment + taxes, utilities, etc. will cost. Does Jordan make enough to cover all of that plus all the other things that you need money for.

    Live on his salary!! Put yours in savings and see if you can make it. The bonus - you will have saved a ton more money toward a down payment when the time comes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. We have been married for almost 5 years and we actually bought our home before we got married, worked on it for 3 months b4 the wedding and then moved in after our honeymoon. Before we bought we made sure, first and foremost that our finances were in order. A home is expensive stuff and we believe that our mortgage payment and utilities should be less than a third of our monthly income. That being said, having a significant savings is also a good plan because stuff happens! Like our air conditioner going out a month after we moved in :).

    Second, we viewed our home as an investment. We knew full well we would not live here forever so we looked for a home we could make changes to over a long period of time. For example, the only things we did before moving in were painting and changing the carpet in the bedrooms. Since then we have repainted the outside, added hardwood floors, did some landscaping, changed out shutters on the exterior, changed wallpaper in areas we couldn't paint etc. We still have more that we would like to do but feel comfortable making upgrades because we bought one of the smaller homes in our neighborhood, we bought in a highly desirable school district and an up and coming area. All those things should help us sell our home in the future.

    I love that we own our home and get the final say in how it looks but with that comes the responsibility and knowledge that we are in charge of its care and ultimately value. Big stuff :). I will say that we got an FHA loan and have been very happy with that decision. There is a little more work and closing costs are usually higher but in our current market a lot of sellers are willing to pay closing costs, so in that regard, now is a good time to buy.

    Just like others mentioned, take your time, get prepared ahead of time with your loan approval, do your research and pray for guidance through the process. Also, don't try to convince each other of one house or another, when it is right you will both be on the same page. :). This is exciting stuff!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. 1. Do you have a "I'm SO glad we did this" story about buying your first home? It could be about the home itself, the process, financing, etc. ANSWER: YES WE DID. WE WENT WITH A HOUSE THAT WAS WELL UNDER OUR LOAN AMOUNT AND WE HAVE HAD NO PROBLEMS AT ALL. THEY GIVE YOU THAT AMOUNT ASSUMING THAT ALL OF YOUR INCOME IS GOING TO THE HOUSE WHICH ISN'T NECESSARILY THE CASE. ANOTHER RECOMMENDATION I HAVE IS TO LOOK FOE "STICK BUILT" RATHER THAN "MODULAR". I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST MODULAR REALLY OTHER THAN THAT STICK BUILT IS USUALLY EASIER TO HEAT OR COOL DEPENDING ON THE SEASON BECAUSE YOU TYPICALLY HAVE CENTRAL AIR AND IT IS DISTRIBUTED MORE EVENLY. ANOTHER THING: TALK TO THE NEIGHBORS! OUR NEIGHBOR ESSENTIALLY GAVE US A RUNDOWN ON THE OTHER NEIGHBORS (WERE THEY LOUD, QUIET, ETC....). THIS HELPS TOO. IF YOU WANT TO E-MAIL ME, FEEL FREE!! I HAVE TONS OF ADVICE SINCE WE JUST BOUGHT OUR HOME LAST APRIL!

    2. Do you have a "This was awful" story about buying your first home? ANSWER: OH.YES. WE HAD AN ACCEPTED OFFER AND NOT A WEEK LATER, THE BASEMENT LEAKED!!!! WE GOT IT FIXED THOUGH BECAUSE THEY PUT THE MONEY IN ESCROW. I CAN EXPLAIN MORE IF YOU'D LIKE.

    3. Anything you wish you would have known beforehand? Or done differently? ANSWER: I WISH I HAD PUT MORE CONSIDERATION INTO THE KITCHEN. THE REST OF THE HOUSE IS BEAUTIFUL BUT OUR KITCHEN LEAVES ROOM FOR DESIRE.

    4. Any random pieces of advice for me? ANSWER: DEPENDING ON HOW FAR YOU ARE LOOKING FROM A METROPOLITAN AREA, YOU MIGHT QUALIFY FOR ADDITIONAL TYPES OF LOANS. BE SURE TO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS WITH YOUR BANKER.

    I have a ton of additional advice and I would be more than happy to share. We had a lot of ups and downs when looking and while it seemed like a terrible roller coaster before, I feel I really learned a lot and it was worth the experience.

    ReplyDelete
  12. If you buy a townhome...make sure you will be able to easily sell it. Ask about the market for them. I am not sure where you live, but a few friends of ours bought a townhome in 2007 and thought they would be in it maybe 3 or 4 years. But because of the market now (which it would probably be better when it came time for you) they are unable to sell it because the demand just isn't there for townhomes. I know in larger cities though, they are much easier to sell. So again, make sure you look into the market for townhomes...it might be great where you live!

    Also, remember to look into what your PMI insurance would be if you are putting less than 20% down. That was a little bit of a shock to us at first. We decided to put down 5% instead of 3% because it lowered our monthly PMI by almost $100.

    Have fun and don't stress out! God will lead you to the right house that He wants you to build memories in!

    ReplyDelete
  13. How exciting! You're in for an adventure! Let's see, my advice:

    Look for a post-and-apply style loan that will help you pay down the principal as you go along instead of paying primarily interest at the beginning.

    We bought a new home, and were SO glad we did - very little in the way of "surprise" fix-up/repairs at the beginning while we needed to use our money to furnish/decorate.

    Count on about $5000 extra to fill the home and buy "homeowner stuff" you may not already have: like garden hoses, tools, etc.

    Don't apply for lots of different loans - the more people that have to pull your credit score, the lower it will drop.

    Have fun and don't settle. It's a big decision and there's LOTS of great stuff on the market right now! Keep us updated on your hunt!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ill keep it simple and say... Take your time! don't get in a rush and get too "emotional" about a house! Ha..easier said than done! But seriously, if its meant to be, it will happen!

    also, make sure you get a 2nd inspection outside of the one done by your realtor. We messed up here and ended up having all sorts of issues that our guy didn't find. I think that if we had hired someone that wasn't hired by the person wanting to make a sale they would have "found" the mold!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am late on this but I have a few words of advice. It looks like you have gotten a lot of great advice!
    1. Make sure your Realtor is not the Sellers Realtor also. You want a Realtor who is 100% on your side.
    2. Make sure even though it is a "starter" home it fits your needs for the future because you never know what can happen in that time.
    3. Don't be afraid to check out neighborhood at different hours of the day, to get an idea of what your surroundings will be.
    4. Get a home inspection!!!
    5. Don't let the seller pressure you into an amount you are not comfortable with! Don't be afraid to walk away if you need to.
    6. I am not sure what it is like in NC but in TX Condos are harder to resale and they don't hold their value as much.

    Good Luck!! Buying a home is so exciting but can be very stressful, I hope it is a great experience for y'all!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation has been providing quality home loans across Wisconsin.Meet our loan officers. Please choose the loan officer that you were referred to view their personal page and apply online.Wisconsin First time home buyer Each loan officer's page includes the following services.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I conceive feeling to have the accumulation that you are card. Home inspector tampa

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...