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Carly's avatar

Any suggestions for a first time home owner? (before & after buying)

Asked by Carly (4550points) November 12th, 2013

My fiance and I are hoping to buy a small house after we get married in June. We’re looking to either stay in the St. Louis area or move to Kansas City, depending on where he gets a new job (I work remotely). Right now we’re living rent free with my in-laws.

Any advice?

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12 Answers

chyna's avatar

Have a budget and stay within that budget. Know what all costs will be including closing costs and any home owner association costs. HOA costs could be anywhere from 40 a month to into the hundreds per month (if there are HOA costs.)
Know what you want in a house but be willing to compromise.
Don’t buy the first house you see.
Just a few things I could think of off the top of my head.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Buy the crappiest home in the nicest neighborhood. You can fix up the home, you can’t fix up the neighborhood.

hearkat's avatar

My fiancé and I are currently buying our home. We were very fortunate and found a rent-to-own property with a three year lease. This allowed us to really get to know the structure, property and neighborhood before going all-in. A portion of our rent has gone towards the purchase deposit. I was just trying to remember how we happened upon the listing back then… I think it was just a web search, because the landlord had created his own web page for the rental, and we’ve dealt directly with him and no realtors or agencies.

The hassle for us has been dealing with the mortgage bank. I feel as though I’m running for public office… they really dig through your credit report and finances. I strongly suggest that you have at least a 20% down-payment, which will give you better leverage to shop-around for mortgage options. Also, go over your credit reports and start correcting any errors or mis-matched information NOW. Make sure that you can document any major deposits or withdrawals in any accounts. Realize that using credit builds your scores better than paying cash, so spend wisely.

Smitha's avatar

Buying your first home is an exciting experience and the dream of every person. It’s probably also the biggest investment you’ll make. There are so many things to consider and sometimes it may look confusing. The most important thing you need to do is decide how much you can afford. Make sure you have sufficient credit score. The higher your credit score, the lower your down payment and monthly payments.

BosM's avatar

There have been very good points made so far. An important consideration in purchasing real estate is a concept from the popular expression “Location, Location, Location”. Where you buy is more important than what you buy. Also, a town’s school system is important – the good ones tends to help keep property values steady.

Keep your first house in perspective, in a starter home you will likely be there for a certain amount of time and when your family grows you will want to get something bigger. Good luck

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you are buying remember that you will be responsible for all the repairs and maintenance. You won’t be able to call the landlord to do it for you. Be prepared to pay several thousand a year for unexpected repairs, especially if it is an older house. You may not need it immediately, but you will eventually need it.

Kardamom's avatar

Get a good, reputable inspection before you buy. If there are problems, suggest that the seller pay for the repairs, and walk away from a home that has too many things wrong with it.

Make sure you have the correct amount of home owners insurance.

When looking at used houses, the structural integrity and layout of a home is of utmost priority. The ugly wall colors, ugly flooring, ugly drapes can easily be changed. Don’t be put off by the ugly ducklings, as long as the house is sound and has a layout that you can either live with, or change relatively easily.

If you find a house that you like, visit that house at different times of the day and night. You want to know how loud it is at night, how congested it is at morning and evening commute time, and what kinds of people inhabit your neighborhood on weekends.

Talk to the neighbors on either side of you and across the street, introduce yourself and say that you are perspective buyers. You don’t want to find out that you have awful neighbors after you’ve purchased your home and moved in.

Beware of homes that are located on corners, or at the end of a T-intersection, unless you don’t mind car headlights shining into your living room window all night long.

Try to avoid buying a house that backs up onto a major thoroughfare, it will be very loud.

Make a budget and stay within it, even if it means losing the house that you want. Make sure your budget is reasonable. If you have the money to buy a better house in a better neighborhood, but you’re just being stingy, you will lose.

Start watching House Hunters and Property Virgins and Love it or List It then you will get a good idea of what the professionals think are ridiculous things to “need” and the necessary things to truly need, and to be able to figure out what kind of a budget is realistic.

JamesHarrison's avatar

It is very important decision & steps in any one life. House may seem like everything you’ve ever wanted, but before you make an offer, take some time to consider a few things beyond the size, style and price. There are few tips, which will be useful to buy a home.
-Strengthen your credit score
-Visit at various times of day
-Figure out how much house you can afford
-Look through recent newspaper archives
-Save for down payment and closing costs
-Get a home inspection
-Explore the surrounding area
-Think about the moving checklist & how to move in that place.

http://www.aussieoffice.co.uk

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abcbill's avatar

Think long and hard about what the actual return on your investment is actually going to be. You are not “buying” that house…you are “renting the bank’s money” for pretty much the first 15 or so years of the loan.

As to see a sample amortization schedule on a 30 or 25 year loan. In the first year, your equity in that “home you own” is under $5K

You are not “buying” that house. You are also buying the right to pay property tax. That can set you back a bunch. I know of folks whose monthly payment towards their semi-yearly property tax bill is nearly the same as half their mortgage payment.

Find a good CPA and have her run a buy vs. rent analysis on any proposed home purchase. The outcome just may shock you… I wish I had…

snowberry's avatar

If the home you’re looking at is in a HOA, ask a lot of neighbors what they think of it. And more importantly, get a copy of the HOA bylaws. Every once in a while they’ll have a rule in there that would make life in that house miserable for you.

For example, the HOA where we used to live had a rule that there could not be any overnight parking on the street. Our home had the steepest driveway I have ever seen. Parking in the driveway would have been bad for the car and should the brakes fail, it would be dangerous for anybody walking or driving up the street as well as the people who live in the house opposite.

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