Any Tips On Buying A House?

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:08 AM
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Any tips on buying a house?

We will soon be buying a house. I don't want to buy something so expensive that we won't have any extra income at the end of the month after paying our bills. I'm not really sure how to budget it though since we've only ever lived in an apartment and only have to pay for electric which runs 80-130 a month depending on time of year.
I'm also really nervous about living in a house where someone else lived as far as it being dirty I know it sounds weird but the thought of putting my utensils in someone else's drawers creeps me out. I feel like im going to have to buy a billion Lysol wipes and spend a day wiping every inch of the house.
Im really looking for advice on what to consider when buying a house and any ideas on getting started.
If that makes any sense
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2013, 09:30 AM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Congrats on taking a huge first step!

There are so many factors in buying a home...especially for first timers, that sometimes many things are over looked.

Area is important, so you want to know exactly what the property taxes are. When looking through sites like realtor.com (or the county auditor's site) you can look at the property history and many will give you the tax amount. Just recently after relocating and doing our new home search we found a lot of township areas will have higher tax rates, but the best schools in the area. We found some with property taxes as high as $10,000/yr, which is over $800/mo. on top of your mortgage...nuts!

Don't forget to add in Insurance and definitely 20% down, the cost of maintenance and repairs, lawn care and any other fees like HOA/Covenant. All of that, on top of your monthly utilities and mortgage can increase your costs significantly.

And the most important...live within or below your means if at all possible! Typically the rule of thumb is to purchase a home at a third or less of your income.

Good luck!!!
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:51 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by smartshopper08
Congrats on taking a huge first step!

There are so many factors in buying a home...especially for first timers, that sometimes many things are over looked.

Area is important, so you want to know exactly what the property taxes are. When looking through sites like realtor.com (or the county auditor's site) you can look at the property history and many will give you the tax amount. Just recently after relocating and doing our new home search we found a lot of township areas will have higher tax rates, but the best schools in the area. We found some with property taxes as high as $10,000/yr, which is over $800/mo. on top of your mortgage...nuts!

Don't forget to add in Insurance and definitely 20% down, the cost of maintenance and repairs, lawn care and any other fees like HOA/Covenant. All of that, on top of your monthly utilities and mortgage can increase your costs significantly.

And the most important...live within or below your means if at all possible! Typically the rule of thumb is to purchase a home at a third or less of your income.

Good luck!!!
Thank you!!
I cannot see the property tax prices for the county we live in, on their website but we are also considering the next county over and their site does show the tax prices. I'm not sure where to see it on realtor. Com?
Wow!! You must live in a nice area! That's so much for property tax! We want to move to beavercreek but their taxes are 3-4,000 a year and that's a lot around here but they have one of the top 5 schools in the state.
If we stay here they will be around 2,000 a year but the schools aren't as good, not the worst though. And my son in kindergarten got so sad when I told him we might move to a new school because he wanted to bring his friends with him and I told him he couldn't. Poor guy, that's one reason I wanted to move before he got into kindergarten. But every other time we almost got a house, something came up! I know he's only 5 but I just feel bad taking him away from his friends.
We won't be putting 20% down, we are getting the FHA loan and putting down 3.5%. It would be nice to have 20% but my husband is the only one working so it would be a long time before we saved up that much . Plus we are getting out of credit card debt and all of our extra money lately has been going towards that!
Thanks for the advice!!

Last edited by dianak9938; 01-18-2013 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:20 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Shelf liners and door liners go a long way.. Shop around for best interest rates like credit unions etc. new energy saving appliances... Cfl bulbs etc. good luck
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:34 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Def going to follow this thread. I know exactly how you feel!! What creeps me out the most is the mast bdrm....I'm weird like that. But it's like, you never know what's gone on in there. I'm hopefully just going to build a house cause I have a problem with making a house a home that's somebody else's home.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:57 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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This is going to be a great thread! Thank you!
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:25 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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As a buyer you can get a lot of advice from a great realtor and it does not cost you anything to go through a realtor. The seller pays realtor costs. I'm not a realtor but I've bought two homes and sold one and used a realtor each time. We really considered selling our home ourselves this past year but in the end the expertise and effort on their part was well worth the cost to us as sellers to use the realtor. The home buying/selling process is a real hassle sometimes. Once we closed on this house we said we never want to move again!

A lot of the tax info is available online and a realtor can provide it for you. There are also mortgage calculators online.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:31 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvcoup111
Shelf liners and door liners go a long way.. Shop around for best interest rates like credit unions etc. new energy saving appliances... Cfl bulbs etc. good luck
Yeah that's true with the liners!!
I was thinking that about the credit union, when we bought our car we almost settled for a loan through capital one with like 17% interest. Well when they verified my husbands income it didn't look like he made a much as he really did because he was paid by the job not the hour unless he didn't make enough to equal minimum wage then they'd fill in the rest, so his employer could only verify minimum wage as his income. They told us we weren't approved for the loan anymore and had to bring the car back right away, so I asked if we put more money down on it would that change anything. We ended up putting $2000 more down, getting a loan through a credit union, and an interest rate of 4.99%.
That whole mess saved us TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!! In interest. For a $13,000 car. Our payments were originally 370/month for 6 years ($27,000ish total), now they are 270/month for 5 years ($16,000ish total)!!! I can't believe what we almost ended up paying
Sorry, had to tell that story but that is the reason I am thinking a credit union is a good place for a good interest rate! Maybe even better since we have a car through them!?
We are definitely into energy star appliances, we have the cfl bulbs, energy star tv and deep freezer.
Thanks!!
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:39 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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I'm glad there are others out there who feel the same as me! I was afraid I'd put this out there an it end up making no sense
It is weird to think I will be in someone else's "home", how do I know if they kept everything clean and in good condition.. I will definitely be painting and replacing the carpet!
I wish we could build our own house, they are actually in our price range but we don't have any land to put it in and don't have the extra money to buy any.
It's overwhelming thinking about all the stuff we will have to buy. I'm the kind of person who thinks you get what you pay for. There is no point in buying a cheap version of something because later your going to realize you should have got the quality item and then go back and buy it. I'd rather buy the best one the first time around so I don't waste money buying two in the long run. We will need lawn care stuff, washer/dryer, a lot of furniture, who knows what else. I want to figure out the best time of year to get specific items that we dont need right away do we can get them at the lowest price.
I remember seeing a lot of house items at lowes on black Friday I think for a good price, I was also thinking how some stores have the scratch and dent section where it may be unnoticeable damages depending where you put the thing and it will be discounted. Maybe some tax time discounts.. Any ideas on that are very appreciated!!
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:47 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Don't worry once you start the process and you will get the feeling your already at home when you find the house for you.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:54 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Hit the send button to quick.
If you plan on painting and replacing carpet no matter what let the realtor know might be able to get a deal from someone who doesn't want to do all that work and want a quick sale. Not that anyone wants to profit off of others misery but alot of times older people will need to go to a home or move in w/there kids and just want to sale quick. Or a divorce or other situation. If your going to replace it anyways why bother paying for it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:42 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Go to zillow.com and put in the zip code(s) of the area(s) you are interested in. You may also register and actually ask a question or two regarding what you see or what you may feel you don't have enough information on. You can also find enough information about the area that you CAN find property tax info. (I could give you my address right now and put property tax and hit google, and find the right website with it available).

As far as "ickies", it may be that you think that a home used is just something you can't accept right now. You may need to evolve a bit from that present feeling. If you think a good deal like a foreclosure indicate the people who had to give the home were somehow deficient, that's something you'll need to work on. Go look at some houses and make comparisons. One foreclosure/short sale may be a "boner" while the next one might be a gem.

The other option is to find an area that is active with building at the present time. You can find those on zillow, too. If you find a builder who is having a slow sales time, you may get in on deals with new housing that gives you benefits, ie, blinds and appliances, or upgrades or paying closing costs. Especially with inventory that is not moving, ie, sitting on the market more than six months.

Using Dayton, OH, I put in a bit of info in zillow.com and came up with this listing:

(example of home using zillow as a way to understand)

Ask yourself after looking at the listing, whether you believe you could clean enough to accept the house. If not, I would look at new housing with builders active in outlying areas.

This is just a suggestion on how to get started. You may not be that ready but that's ok.

Also, don't buy a house unless you absolutely are set with income in that the occupation of you or your husband is one that will always have work. Don't rush to buy a house because you heard rates are going up. Low rates are not a reason to buy a house when one may not be quite ready. And, make sure you check out the HOA, if you have one where you choose to live. It's not negotiable.

Last edited by Easy2save; 01-19-2013 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:07 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easy2save
Go to zillow.com and put in the zip code(s) of the area(s) you are interested in. You may also register and actually ask a question or two regarding what you see or what you may feel you don't have enough information on. You can also find enough information about the area that you CAN find property tax info. (I could give you my address right now and put property tax and hit google, and find the right website with it available).

As far as "ickies", it may be that you think that a home used is just something you can't accept right now. You may need to evolve a bit from that present feeling. If you think a good deal like a foreclosure indicate the people who had to give the home were somehow deficient, that's something you'll need to work on. Go look at some houses and make comparisons. One foreclosure/short sale may be a "boner" while the next one might be a gem.

The other option is to find an area that is active with building at the present time. You can find those on zillow, too. If you find a builder who is having a slow sales time, you may get in on deals with new housing that gives you benefits, ie, blinds and appliances, or upgrades or paying closing costs. Especially with inventory that is not moving, ie, sitting on the market more than six months.

Using Dayton, OH, I put in a bit of info in zillow.com and came up with this listing:

6322 Pheasant Valley Rd, Huber Heights, OH 45424 - Zillow

Ask yourself after looking at the listing, whether you believe you could clean enough to accept the house. If not, I would look at new housing with builders active in outlying areas.

This is just a suggestion on how to get started. You may not be that ready but that's ok.

Also, don't buy a house unless you absolutely are set with income in that the occupation of you or your husband is one that will always have work. Don't rush to buy a house because you heard rates are going up. Low rates are not a reason to buy a house when one may not be quite ready. And, make sure you check out the HOA, if you have one where you choose to live. It's not negotiable.
I will have to check out zillow! I did look at the house in the link and I would love that house! Unfortunately it's in huber heights and it's a bad neighborhood out there and the schools are horrible! Too bad because the houses are a lot cheaper there, that house would be probably 170,000 if it were in beavercreek.
And thank you for all the good advice, very helpful!!
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:38 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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When I sold my previous house, the buyer asked to see my utility bills, so he could be sure of how much to budget. You could try asking to see those. You won't set your thermostat exactly the same of course, but it will give you some idea of heating and cooling costs.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:51 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakejake
When I sold my previous house, the buyer asked to see my utility bills, so he could be sure of how much to budget. You could try asking to see those. You won't set your thermostat exactly the same of course, but it will give you some idea of heating and cooling costs.
Good tip!
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:59 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Consider asking your realtor to show you "market" homes from builders if you prefer a new home but don't want to go through the building process yourself. You mentioned building but not having land.......not sure why you would need "land" unless you are wanting to be way outside of town? I see you are in Dayton, OH. I'm sure there are plenty of new-build subdivisions with market homes already built or under construction but not quite finished yet.....that way you'd still be able to get into something quickly but it would be brand new.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:11 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Two things that I would add:


1. Check to see if the house is in a flood zone. We didn't and at closing we were shocked by the extra $110 every month forever.

2. I am all about equity accelerator. That does two things for us. First we pay half a house payment every two weeks. That means we don't have an $1800 house payment eating up a whole paycheck. The second thing it does is add an extra payment per year. On a 30 year note you will knock about 7 years off, saving so much interest.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:46 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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I'm pretty sure your apt has had many tenants, a home would have had far fewer occupants, typically.

When you look at a house, pay attention to things you can't easily change. Are the rooms big enough, is it on a busy street, is it next to a church or school (they get sold).

Make a list on non-negotiables, like number of bathrooms, big backyard, whatever.

Most other things, you can fix/change, over time. My master bath was electric pink, with green tile and a blue floor! Under $100 gave me aloe walls and green flooring

Figure out your price, and stick to it. Do NOT skip the home inspection. Hubby and I ran a business where we'd go in and deep clean after closing. Check into it. We charged around $300.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:02 AM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Make sure you get a GOOD home inspector to check out your house before you buy. I suggest asking relators, friends, parents, anyone who has bought a home recently in your area to get the best home inspector. You want them to check everything for you and BE PRESENT and walk with them when they do. You dont want to live in a fun-house or with knob and tube wiring and your inspector should tell you/check those things.

ALSO BE PATIENT!! It will feel like they want everything from you including a vile of blood...Just breathe and be prompt w responses to your relator.

Also do not make any LARGE purchases, the bank will want written explanations about ALL LARGE purchase no matter what they are so save your self the time and try not to make large purchase if possible.

ALSO if you are not satisfied with your relator change. we didnt like ours and didnt change...still mad she made money off of us to this day since she didnt really do much for us.

HTH!!! GOOD LUCK. its very exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:57 AM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakejake
When I sold my previous house, the buyer asked to see my utility bills, so he could be sure of how much to budget. You could try asking to see those. You won't set your thermostat exactly the same of course, but it will give you some idea of heating and cooling costs.
Great tip!!

Our second home was about 3,400 sq ft with 14' ceilings on the first floor. We had concerns about the utilities as well. The seller said the wood burner/blower would hear the house sufficiently enough to not use the heat....NOT!! Our first winter yielded $700-800 electric bills.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:47 AM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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I agree with the utilities, we decided to move into PA from NJ we are ready to buy but I wanted to feel out the area to see if I liked it so we said we would do a 1 year lease on a rental to see if it was the area for us, been in PA for 2 months now 10 months left on our lease and I decided to start looking at homes to not rush........

However my real estate agent was a doll she found us a rental with all my must haves a little pricey for PA but I fell in love..... It was listed through another agent who gave her a list of the utilities, stating its propane heat (she even called the propane company gave the sq footage and ceiling height, open plan) they gave us estimate cost which was fine..... Come to find out a month later the other agent was wrong, propane runs the fireplace only we have forced electric heat 1st bill $780 I about died LoL I banned my DH from using the heat told him walk around in sweats like I do lmao
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:12 AM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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When we were looking for a new home 10 years ago, we were concerned about the monthly payments. We wanted something nice, but were not willing to pay $1500 to $2000 per month on a mortgage. My hubby and FIL are carpenters and we decided to buy an older home that has a good foundation. At first I was like "Oh no." when I saw the house. But when they told me what we could do with it in time, I agreed. I am sooooo thankful that we went this route.

The original house was 850 sq ft. We added on another 900 sq ft. A huge living room, bedroom, walk-in closets and large bathroom. Double sinks.

It's been 10 years and it almost paid off. We have only a few months more of payments on the original home and it will be paid for. The addition, we took four years to finish because we paid cash for everything we did. There were months that it just sat there until we built up our fund to do more and it was frustrating at times, because we wanted to be in the new part. But it was sooooo worth the wait. I am just tickled pink that our home is almost mortgage free.

Good luck with whatever you decide on doing. Watch HGTV and look at all the fixer uppers that they redo on the shows. You save so much money and get what you really want in a home.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:22 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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I would also check online to see if any registered sex offenders live near any homes you are considering. I marked several off my list because there was a sex offender on the same street.

Also consider the commute to work. When I lived in an apt, my commute was 4 miles. It was hell on earth - I had to drive the most congested road in town everyday.

My house is 16 miles from work, but the commute is very easy! There is an interstate and 4 lane highway that run parallel to each other so the traffic is split up between the two roads.

When you actually buy a house, do was much painting, renovating etc as you can before you move in. So much easier to paint without furniture in the house.

Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:26 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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My first home I bought, I was very naive. I bought an older home and it had termite damage. I should have spent more time searching for a home, hiring home inspectors, etc. However, we had been building a new home, and the builder committed suicide due to shady dealings on his part that were discovered. I got out of that deal with just a foundation up (lucky I did, as the banks started placing lawsuits on all the other homeowners in the development to try to get their money back that the builder had cheated them out of). Anyhow, due to all of that, I was in a rush to get in a home, so made poor decisions.

If you are buying a resale, please inspect everything! Go see the home on a rainy day to check for leaks, and flooding areas if you can. Look under sinks for leaks. Don't just look at superficial things, dig for problems. Or just hire a good inspector. Don't ever, ever, ever fall in love with the house. There will ALWAYS be a better home for you. Keep that in your head while shopping to help yourself make a good decision. A friend of mine said she was in tears because her spouse would not agree to pay the price they wanted for what she thought was her 'dream home'. She cried, and hated him so much. The home they ended up with was cheaper and better in the long run. She learned greatly from that experience. I didn't believe her when she told me not to get attached to any one home. Every house we went to see at first I thought was 'the one'. How wrong I was!

We ended up buying a short sale. It took about 3 months. I wanted to offer the full price. DH said to offer $20,000 less. I was devastated, as I thought they would NOT accept our offer. The home was only 3 years old, and I really wanted it (after getting over several other homes I 'really wanted). I was in shock when they accepted our offer! Of course, then the bank had to approve it. As long as it is within a certain percentage of the debt they owe, they will, or will counter offer. They accepted it in the end.

I recommend buying NOTHING until after you move. You don't want to have to explain any new debt. Also you will find out that no matter how much money you have saved for the closing, you will always need more.

We did buy in an area with higher taxes. I could have gotten something much lower tax-wise, but wanted a newer home. I would recommend buying a short sale if your lease is month to month like ours was. You will get a far better deal than a regular home,if you can be patient. There are so many out there. I know friends who have bought foreclosures. Only thing there is you may get in a bidding war over the home.

It is a buyers market out there right now. Go see LOTS of homes! We did put our offer on our home the same night we went to see it, as I knew it was a great deal. It had been on the market several months though. I am sure you will have a list of the key things you desire in a home (# of bedrooms, SF, lot size, fireplace, central air, etc.). I kept a notebook and would write down pros/cons about the homes as I saw them. My current home had everything but two things on my wish list. I would have liked a couple acres. I could have gotten an older home with land, or a newer home with less land. We settled for the newer home. Figured it would have less problems for me in the end. I wanted a fireplace or wood stove. There is none, but this spring we will be installing one.

Good luck! Do your homework, and shop wisely!
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:22 PM

RE: Any tips on buying a house?

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Take the sex offender registry with a grain of salt. The problem with it is many men on it were in consensual relationships where they didn't realize the girl was underage. Also most studies show fully 50% of sex offenders haven't been caught!
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