Tips For Buying A House

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Old 08-03-2010, 09:00 AM
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Tips for buying a house

My husband and I are going to move into a house in October. We are working on finding a bank for preapproval and we already have an agent who is working with us. Is there anything that we should be looking for when choosing a house? TIA
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:10 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Keep in mind that it's better to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood than the best house in the worst neighborhood, if that makes sense. Definitely check with the local PD on the crime statistics and do some research on the school district.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:10 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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I don't know about the house portion, other than get a good inspector to check everything regardless of cost, but do not take anything the mortgage company/bank lender person tells you as gospel. Read it in print before you sign.

We were told by our mortgage guy that we could refinance mortgage rate with them within the first 5 years if the interest changed. It was not in our paperwork, so it was a lie and not doable.

That was not our current home, but read, read and read.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:44 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Make sure you have a definite commitment with a bank in writing. How much are they going to give you. We were selling in Florida and the seller came to the closing short. We could not close and are stuck with legal fees. Another person dealing with a bank went to close and found out at the closing not enough to close, I would deal with a credit union versus a bank.
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:31 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Never, ever buy a house for the maximum amount a bank is willing to lend you. What they think you can afford and what you can really afford are often miles apart.
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:12 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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All of the above is great advice! Must re-emphasize the need to have any home inspected by a reputable inspector before purchasing. Even a brand new home!!! Especially a brand new home!!!!!!! (learned that the hard way, just trying to save someone else some pain!) You should get a warranty when you buy a brand new home, but the warranty is only as good as the builder so have it inspected first!!
Good Luck!
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:21 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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If you find an older home w/vinyl siding, check and see if the old wood was left underneath-you really don't want that. If the wood was beginning to rot is covered w/vinyl, it may rot underneath. I'm sure a home inspector will uncover that. The 3 rules of home buying are location, location, location. Kayline gave good advice about buying the worst house in a good neighborhood vs. best house in bad neighborhood.
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:25 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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We bought our home 5 years ago. The home is old but the inspector was great and told us that houses aren't made like this anymore and it's a GREAT house. It's small though and as our family size changed, this house is almost "too" small for us now. 5 years ago we saw potential in expanding the house. Unfortunately, I lost my job in that time and we also had 2 children (fortunately) so things have drastically changed. I always said I'd rather a house I could fix up that was cheaper. But honestly - get the best you can. In today's market you shouldn't have to settle. Don't go up to what the bank approves you for as that will stretch you VERY tight. Make sure you love the house.

I would maybe make a list of what is important to you and your DH. Then try and follow it. My DH HAD to have a 2 car garage, I wanted a good location with good schools and close to stuff but far enough away I couldn't hear the traffic as well as a nice sized yard...that's why we got this house. We have a nice size backyard and enough room to expand if we ever get the money to do it. The school district ROCKS here and our neighbors are AWESOME! So although my house is small, The other things make up for it. it's a wellbuilt house and we're happy.

If there is ANYTHING wrong with the house - try and work that in to your bid if you really want the house still. Like there was a leak in our chimney when we bought the house - we arranged that they would pay the $1000 for the people to come and fix it! Don't get screwed. I was too excited to stop paying rent and own my own home so I settled on some things. I wouldn't do that today if I bought a house.

I'm not sure of your financial situation - but I'd say figure out how much you could comfortably afford each month and try and get a fixed mortgage!!! don't get something that will change! If you have extra money then you can get a little more of a fixer upper and then use your money to fix it - if you don't, then make sure it has everything you want in the price you pay so you won't have to do it later. Paint and those things are all cosmetics, so that's not what I'm talking about - I mean bedrooms, bathrooms, livingroom, family room, kitchen etc. Our house had no furniture when we saw it. It makes the house look MUCH bigger without furniture so keep that in the back of your head. keep an open mind and good luck!


I'm not even sure if this is allowed - but if you can, I'd go to the neighbors house and ask what they think of the neighborhood and stuff. It will give you a little hint of the neighbors too which is huge here where your neighbors are very close to you. It will also tell you stuff about the neighborhood that you won't know from just looking at the house. It might be too much info, but I know horror stories about people with bad neighbors. Not sure how close the houses are where you are looking though.
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:47 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Make sure there is no penalty for early payoff and try very very hard to pay extra especially the first months and years. Even $10 or $20 a month can knock years off the end of a 30 year loan. Your insurance company will be interested in the electrical, plumbing and how old the roof is so inspect accordingly. Don't forget the furnace, a/c and hot water heater. In South Dakota, you'll want to be sure to have a good tornado shelter. Take a look at the trees especially near the house. Trees can be a good source of shade in the summer and wind break in the winter. Old hollowed out trees can cost $500 to $700 (each) to remove or worse, end up going through your roof.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:50 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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do not go with a home inspector that your agent knows....the agent want to make a sale!!!!!
write down what is important to you..( for me it was a flat yard,and not on a main st so the kids could ride their bike,and don't kid yourself,you won't have the energy to drive 10miles so the kids can enjoy their bikes..)
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:30 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Have the roof inspected, the furnace/ac, the foundation, the venting from the attic and the check the windows. All of these have tripped us up one time or another. Check the possibility of a flood zone, check to see if there has been water in the basement, check your outlets with a lamp and check all switches, have a bug man check for termites and wood eating ants. Talk to the neighbors if you can especially if the house is empty and they can put in their 2 cents. Maybe they knew of problems with the house from the prior owner. Check for any split or leaning trees on the property, especially if they lean toward the house. An inspector is only liable for so much if things go wrong later. Do research online and check a lot of this yourself. Educate your self to what questions are pertinent for this huge purchase! Good luck!
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:30 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Inspector YES, FIXED RATE MEGA YES, location and schools good YES

If you can get them to help with closing costs, be sure to use their money to pay any points or other prepaid interest and yours can cover other exp like appraisal, etc. At tax time, the prepaid interest is YOUR tax deduction even though THEY paid it. Can you tell I learned that one the hard way?
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:13 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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I saw a lot of great things suggested.. I have another one to add: Shop around at lenders. If you don't get the answer you want, try another one. I would also recommend getting preapproved. You don't want to look at a house and have your mind set on it later to find out that you can't get it. You might also want to try a mortgage company. I am 23 and just bought my first house and all of these are things I took into consideration. Also, try to pay off as much debt as possible. I have really good credit-- I just have a lot of outstanding debt and that "hurt" my credit score. I did manage to get a 5.25% fixed mortgage. HTH
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:13 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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My husband and I bought a condo last summer. We decided use some money that he had gotten from his grandma dying on a down payment for a home instead of a wedding. We were trying to buy a house but there was nothing in our price range in the area that we wanted, so this is what we ended up in. We live in a college town and our complex is very heavily student occupied. During the school year, that can get a bit annoying with all of the parties and lack of parking. After a year, I'm still not sure that we did the right thing buying this place.

One thing I can tell you is make sure that you really love what you're buying.

Make sure that you have a good real estate agent. I know that you said that you do but if that changes, fire them. Seriously, get rid of them. We settled for an agent that was horrible.
* He kept trying to sell us a home 30+ miles from where we were looking.
* We told him that we wanted AT LEAST 3 bedrooms/2 baths and he kept trying to show us 2 bedroom/1 bath places.
* He only ever showed us 1 home that he "found" for us, which wasn't at all what we were looking for. I told him every single home that we wanted to see. Everything he suggested was ugly, rundown, or too far away.
* He refused to communicate over the phone. He wanted to send texts but neither of us have texting on our phones, so he would send an email instead of calling us.
* He tried to push things on us that we didn't want, like his friend the inspector and the loan officer that worked in the companies office.
* He was pretty much a slacker. It took him 2 weeks to take us back to see a home that we wanted to buy. I told him the day after we saw it the first time that we wanted to go back and see it again and then make an offer. We finally went back to see it and wrote up an offer. That same day, a few hours before they got and accepted another offer. He emailed us to give us the news, couldn't even call us to tell us...
* He wouldn't let us ride in his vehicle with him. We had to fallow him in ours. This wasn't the biggest deal but seemed really weird to us because we couldn't talk about what we had just seem between homes. We also wasted SO much gas fallowing him everywhere.
* He lied to us about being able to use the companies moving truck. We didn't even find out until the day before we we were moving that we wouldn't be able to use it.
It still makes me sick that he made money off of us buying a home through him. I did 99% of the work, I even gave him several of the negotiating points. I can't believe that he has been an agent for 10 years. He was horrible and I really wish that we had tired him.

Another thing I say tell you is don't use SunTrust. Obviously this is just my personal opinion, I'm sure that others have had a great experience with them but our experience was awful! We had done all of the paperwork, we were preapproved and then approved but the day before our closing the denied it. The underwriter kicked the loan out. It wasn't because we lied or we had bad credit or anything. We both have good credit, had no debt, and even had a 30% down payment. They denied it because they would be unable to sell it. We had 3 weeks to move, so we had to scramble to get a new loan. Luckily we found a really great loan officer at National City Mortgage who pushed our paperwork through really fast. And that loan WAS sold. This still makes me mad!!!

About the loan, I would get a 15 or 20 year loan if you can, instead of a 30 year. You'll get a better rate and you'll save so much money. Our loan was only for $100k but after paying interest (4.25%) for 30 years, we would've ended up paying twice that. We ended up with a 15 year loan which increased our payment by $250/month but we're saving more than $60,000 in interest. $60,000!!!!!!! Things are kind of tight for us because we decided to do it this way but saving all that money is more than worth it. We also try to pay an extra $100/month when we've got the money to help pay it off early.

Good luck!!
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:25 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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I have to totally disagree with the get a 15 year loan. Get a 30, and pay it as if you had a 15 if you can as long as you don't have prepayment penalties. That way the economy is with jobs you never know. However, if you have steady jobs and all is well, you pay can pay more on the principle as if its a 15 and won't pay the extra interest.

We have a 15 year now, but is not our first house and our payment is low. I also calculated that with a 15 year even though I occasionally pay extra on it, it does not really save us much in interested at all. I still do it, but if you go to the mortgage payment tables online, unless you have a huge loan ( we did not) it does not hardly save interest at all.

Good luck
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:12 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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I guess that we all have our own opinions about the length of loans. I didn't even know that mortgages came in 15 and 20 until we were looking into getting one.

Our loan was for less than $100,000 (not very big in my opinion) and the interest that we were going to pay on a 30 year loan was going to be about $95,000 over the 30 years, making the total price of our loan almost $200,000. On top of that, our interest rate was going to be 4.75%.

With a 15 year loan we're only paying $35,000 in interest and we got a interest rate of 4.25%.

I just think that if you can do a 15 year loan, that savings long term is HUGE. My husband is the only one of us with a steady income currently. We are pretty low income so a very large amount of that goes to our mortgage but to me, it's worth it. It's just us, so I guess that might be part of it. If we had kids, that extra $250/month might be something that we absolutely had to have.

I guess you just have to decide what's more important to you. To us, savings that much money over time was what was important. To others, having that extra $250/month might be more important. Just make sure that you take all of your options under consideration.
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:48 PM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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I too disagree with the 15 year loan. I'd say get the 30 year fixed. If you pay just 1 full payment extra a year you can knock 7 years off the length. you'll save your $$ that way but won't HAVE to pay the extra money on the shorter loan if for some reason you don't have to. At $100,000 loan I get the 15 year thing because it's not a very large loan. But when you double and triple that amount for a house - you can get yourself in trouble! Just My opinion of course. Not sure of your financial situation either, but you never want to get yourself into trouble if you don't have to. Thinking too far ahead with .... we can do this and we can do that... can sometimes get you in trouble because you may not be able to do that in the future. Go with something you love that has the things you want. This is one of the biggest investments in your life, so don't settle!!!
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:33 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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If you have kids or are planning on having a few NEVER buy a house with WHITE cabinets!!! THEY will NEVER look clean ...LOL...but seriously, I said when we buy another house I will NOT have a white kitchen- which mind you my 1 and 2 year old decided to color all over with a marker- or my entire house to have hardwood floors(which we have) it's just cold and uncozy and I swear when the sun comes in every piece of dust in the world decides to have a party on mY floors anothe thing NEVER let someone talk you into buying a house...that happend to us..it was the hieght of the market and houses were selling BEFORE they were listed...we took the house we have..needed TONS of work and NOW we are stuck...paid $103,000 for a 1,000 sq ft and put about $15,000 into it...now it's worth about $60,000....): you'll know it when you see it GOOD LUCK!!
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  #19  
Old 11-17-2010, 12:35 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalvindale View Post
l value.
O well, it shocking and needed and i
what????????
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  #20  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:05 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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I especially agree with NOT buying at the top of your price range. Don't even LOOK at houses at the top of your range!
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:27 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Check the house meticulously for signs of molds. These will cause a lot of health issues for you and your family later.

House shopping is both fun and stressful. I hope you find one that suits your family's needs best.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:01 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyqueen View Post
My husband and I bought a condo last summer. We decided use some money that he had gotten from his grandma dying on a down payment for a home instead of a wedding. We were trying to buy a house but there was nothing in our price range in the area that we wanted, so this is what we ended up in. We live in a college town and our complex is very heavily student occupied. During the school year, that can get a bit annoying with all of the parties and lack of parking. After a year, I'm still not sure that we did the right thing buying this place.

One thing I can tell you is make sure that you really love what you're buying.

Make sure that you have a good real estate agent. I know that you said that you do but if that changes, fire them. Seriously, get rid of them. We settled for an agent that was horrible.
* He kept trying to sell us a home 30+ miles from where we were looking.
* We told him that we wanted AT LEAST 3 bedrooms/2 baths and he kept trying to show us 2 bedroom/1 bath places.
* He only ever showed us 1 home that he "found" for us, which wasn't at all what we were looking for. I told him every single home that we wanted to see. Everything he suggested was ugly, rundown, or too far away.
* He refused to communicate over the phone. He wanted to send texts but neither of us have texting on our phones, so he would send an email instead of calling us.
* He tried to push things on us that we didn't want, like his friend the inspector and the loan officer that worked in the companies office.
* He was pretty much a slacker. It took him 2 weeks to take us back to see a home that we wanted to buy. I told him the day after we saw it the first time that we wanted to go back and see it again and then make an offer. We finally went back to see it and wrote up an offer. That same day, a few hours before they got and accepted another offer. He emailed us to give us the news, couldn't even call us to tell us...
* He wouldn't let us ride in his vehicle with him. We had to fallow him in ours. This wasn't the biggest deal but seemed really weird to us because we couldn't talk about what we had just seem between homes. We also wasted SO much gas fallowing him everywhere.
* He lied to us about being able to use the companies moving truck. We didn't even find out until the day before we we were moving that we wouldn't be able to use it.
It still makes me sick that he made money off of us buying a home through him. I did 99% of the work, I even gave him several of the negotiating points. I can't believe that he has been an agent for 10 years. He was horrible and I really wish that we had tired him.

Another thing I say tell you is don't use SunTrust. Obviously this is just my personal opinion, I'm sure that others have had a great experience with them but our experience was awful! We had done all of the paperwork, we were preapproved and then approved but the day before our closing the denied it. The underwriter kicked the loan out. It wasn't because we lied or we had bad credit or anything. We both have good credit, had no debt, and even had a 30% down payment. They denied it because they would be unable to sell it. We had 3 weeks to move, so we had to scramble to get a new loan. Luckily we found a really great loan officer at National City Mortgage who pushed our paperwork through really fast. And that loan WAS sold. This still makes me mad!!!

About the loan, I would get a 15 or 20 year loan if you can, instead of a 30 year. You'll get a better rate and you'll save so much money. Our loan was only for $100k but after paying interest (4.25%) for 30 years, we would've ended up paying twice that. We ended up with a 15 year loan which increased our payment by $250/month but we're saving more than $60,000 in interest. $60,000!!!!!!! Things are kind of tight for us because we decided to do it this way but saving all that money is more than worth it. We also try to pay an extra $100/month when we've got the money to help pay it off early.

Good luck!!
You have given some great advice! Let me make one suggestion that might help you.

It must be tough living in a building heavily populated by college students.(I live in a college town, so I know) Anyway, the daytime noise usually isn't a problem, the nighttime noise is. Purchase yourself a white noise machine. May take sometime getting used to it at first, but it will drown out any late night partying that may keep you up at night, hth's
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  #23  
Old 11-17-2010, 11:25 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Quote:
Originally Posted by patchmeifyoudare View Post
do not go with a home inspector that your agent knows....the agent want to make a sale!!!!!
write down what is important to you..( for me it was a flat yard,and not on a main st so the kids could ride their bike,and don't kid yourself,you won't have the energy to drive 10miles so the kids can enjoy their bikes..)
There are buyer agents as well as the normal sellers agent.

Have your own agent. The agent who is trying to sell the house is out for the best interests of the current homeowner. A buying agent is out for the best interests of you (the future homeowner).

When we were getting ready to look at houses, I emailed several buyer agents and only one of them got back with me. Considering how screwy my school schedule versus my husband's work schedule was, we did a lot of research online, and would schedule to see specific houses. Our agent would compile a list of possibles, we'd go thru the MLS information to check stats (neighborhood, status, etc, etc) to weed some out, and what was left, we'd see sometime during the next week. I think we spent 4-6 weeks househunting. I know we were househunting during Spring Break that year, and we closed the week of my finals.

It can take some time. But don't just say yes to the first one that you look at just to say yes. One house we looked at had low ceilings throughout the house. My husband is 6' 8" tall. His head woulda hit most of the ceilings. He was tired at the time and said that he'd be fine in the house, to which I about slapped him and said that he may be fine now, but think about bending your head everytime you came into the house. I don't /think/ so. Obviously didn't buy that one.

But honestly, just take your time. Right now, there are a *lot* more houses available than there were in 1999 when we bought ours. So you should have plenty of options!

Della
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  #24  
Old 11-17-2010, 11:47 AM

RE: Tips for buying a house

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Great info! DH and I are looking for a home right now. Met with a lender yesterday to get pre-approved. We should find out today or tomorrow how much we can be approved for.
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