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Five Things I Should Know About Buying A House

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 09:56 am
So, I've read the books. I've researched. I know what a PMI is and how to avoid it. I have a dandy mortgage gal and a coupla lovely realtors. They are all sweet and helpful.

Still, I'm millimeters away from really truly buying my first house and I want info, more info, been there done that info, no regrets once the decision is made info.

So, for all you people who have actually bought a house, what five things do you think I should know?

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 11,124 • Replies: 133
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:23 am
Sozobe, we built the house we live in and inherited our other house, so we've only bought one. It was the duplex next door and it was all about location, location, location. We were able to more than double the size of our usable yard and outdoor area and I could have my horse next door.

There are some livability factors that should be important. A place that has good light, especially... a house with a nice western exposure will give your family hours more outdoor time every day. It's like a gift to yourselves.

If I were to buy a house, it would probably be because I fell in love with some wonderful thing about it... maybe a fireplace or a mantle or the way the rooms worked.

So, hmmm, my five things are all L words:
Location (for convenience)
Location (for schools)
Location (for safety)
Light (especially in the afternoon and evening)
Love (something about the house)

Good luck. I hope this is fun for you and not too stressful. I think though that you should expect a few regrets... that's almost human nature, isn't it?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:27 am
You're right about regrets, Piffka.

All the houses that are top contenders have fireplaces... I'm really excited about that. Haven't ever had a fireplace before, but they seem to be ubiquitous in the kind of house I'm interested in. (1900's - 1930's, ~3 bedroom, some renovations like central air.)

Great point about light.

I'm excited, just nervous!! Feel like there are still gaps in my knowledge, wanna fill 'em. So I'm turning to you smart people. :-D
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:33 am
Check to see if there are any back-taxes due on the property.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:36 am
Oh! See, that's brand-new to me. Thanks, InfraBlue!

(How do I check...?)
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:40 am
Check with the local tax assessor/collector. Many tax offices have websites that let you look up tax information on properties.
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mom
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:45 am
We just bought a home and the smartest thing we did was hire a licensed inspector. He checked the house out and in the end, got us a new roof, bought and paid for by the sellers. Yes, it costs about $300 but it was well worth it. There could be many repairs needed that you may not see outright. Hope this helps. Also trust your instincts and regrets will be minimal.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:48 am
Thanks, mom! :-)

Definitely on the building inspector -- my question there is how do you find one? Trust the realtors to make a referral? (We'll be buying a house in another city, so don't have a lot of personal contacts there.)

Great info InfraBlue, appreciate it.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 10:59 am
Take a good look on how your family actually spends time.

Are you dining room people? Or kitchen people?

Do you need a formal living room and an informal rec room for adults? What about down the road when the Sozlet needs entertainment space?

Spare bedroom? Room for a little stranger when that Sozlet brother or sister comes along?

Virginia Woolfe and I strongly suggest that you have a room--or a corner of a room--all your own. Academic types need academic space.

Hiring an inspector is excellent advice.

Are dogs in your life--or in your future? Is the yard fenced? How arduous do the family adults find yard work? Check the neighborhood. If everyone else is Home&Garden, decide whether you want to play.

Is there a decompression chamber for muddy children? (This is a great place for washer & drier).

Are you open space people? People who like firm walls with doors that close?

Remember, you're not only planning a major financial expenditure, you're choose a setting for both individual souls and the family ethos.

You'll be choosing a dominion.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 11:00 am
Take a good look on how your family actually spends time.

Are you dining room people? Or kitchen people?

Do you need a formal living room and an informal rec room for adults? What about down the road when the Sozlet needs entertainment space?

Spare bedroom? Room for a little stranger when that Sozlet brother or sister comes along?

Virginia Woolfe and I strongly suggest that you have a room--or a corner of a room--all your own. Academic types need academic space.

Hiring an inspector is excellent advice.

Are dogs in your life--or in your future? Is the yard fenced? How arduous do the family adults find yard work? Check the neighborhood. If everyone else is Home&Garden, decide whether you want to play.

Is there a decompression chamber for muddy children? (This is a great place for washer & drier).

Are you open space people? People who like firm walls with doors that close?

Remember, you're not only planning a major financial expenditure, you're choose a setting for both individual souls and the family ethos.

You'll be choosing a dominion.
0 Replies
 
mom
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 11:04 am
Sozobe,
I would recommend that you do a little research on your own first. Use the internet or the phone book to find licensed inspectors. Then I would say to contact a few and find out how much they charge and what is included in their inspection. For example, our inspectors took pictures of any problems and gave a copy to both the sellers and ourselves. Their evaluations were very detailed and laid out any problems or potential hazzards that required immediate attention.
This could be a bargaining tool. You can offer to repair on your own but the asking price would need to be lowered or you can ask them to repair.
Just so you know, most states have a law that requires the sellers to disclose any problems with the home which they are aware of. This can work to your benefit, especially if you find a house that you really love, because once they have a copy of the inspectors findings, they are aware of any and all problems. Hope this helps.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 11:34 am
It does, thanks!

And Noddy, "You'll be choosing a dominion"... gives me shivers! Seriously.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 11:39 am
Sozobe--

Pleasurable shivers, I hope. Given the right dominion for a fulcrum, a woman can move the world.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 11:42 am
Well, nervous-excited-ohmygodwhatamIgettinginto shivers.

And a little bit of doesthismeanI'mactuallyagrownup? shivers.

Btw I like your and Virginia's advice. One house we loved had a room with windows on three sides (east north west) and I thought hmmm, that'd make a swell studio. That house was sold out from under us (we'd gotten attached), but the studio/ office idea has been planted.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 11:48 am
I've heard some scary things about buying houses recently. A friend told me that someone in Seattle, in the Mercer Island neighborhood, had their home on the market for $650,000 but it sold for $760,000! One hundred and ten thousand dollars more! Eee-yikes. People are nuts for that area and the homes are very, very expensive. Even in my area, some homes are being sold for more than $20,000 over the asking price, because the buyers want the property so badly that they offer more.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 11:58 am
sozobe wrote:
Well, nervous-excited-ohmygodwhatamIgettinginto shivers.

And a little bit of doesthismeanI'mactuallyagrownup? shivers.



lol Okies. Here;'s one you won't hear often - Lots of people puke the night before the closing. It's a big decision involving lots of money. Being nervous about making such a huge commitment is NORMAL. So just go ahead and puke. It'll all go away after the closing is done. (and umm.. btw, lots of people think a closing is a really big deal. I've seen people put on their Sunday best and get all dolled up. lol Don't bother. It takes less time and is about as formal as opening a checking acocunt.)
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 12:13 pm
Thanks, fishin', that's reassuring. :-)

Piffka, I know! That's the good news/ bad news about Columbus... it's a buyers market (right now anyway) but there are reasons for that. (It ain't NEARLY as pretty as Mercer Island, for example!)
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 12:21 pm
Puking and dressing up before the closing? I don't know which is worse!

At least when you're finally doing it, Sozobe, you'll have these amazing images. You may find yourself laughing out loud.

Best of luck in finding the perfect (or near perfect) home.

Here's a cool website about the books & philosophy we used when we were designing our house. Thinking about the "desirable & undesirable patterns" may be helpful to you.
A Pattern Language
0 Replies
 
JustBrooke
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 12:42 pm
Alot of good advice here. Have you decided what kind of a loan program you will be using to purchase your home?

One of the more popular ones being used alot today is the "interest only" one. These loans aren't for everyone though. But they can work to your advantage. Especially if you are savy in the financial realms. Some people, instead of investing the difference in their payment amount....will, instead add the difference to their principle each month. So instead of paying almost all interest, like you do in the beginning years of a mortgage, they are paying down the principle at a much faster rate then they would normally. So, say for example you took out a 3 year interest only. Before the end of the 3 years was up and the loan started to amortize for the remaining years......you would lock the loan in on a conventional loan and still might end up with lower payments even if the interest rate is higher in 3 years....because you would have paid the principle down to a more manageable amount.

Also......shop around for rates. If you tell the bank you do not want to pay points....you will end up paying a slightly higher interest rate instead. So get your calculator out and figure out which saves you the most money. Smile
Today....in Ohio.....par rate is at 4.75% on a 15 (conventional) with a 30 day lock. Last week it was as low as 4.250. So, right now rates are bouncing. Which is very typical this time of the year. So keep an eye on rates when you do find a home you wish to purchase. A matter of just a few days can make a big difference in your lock rate.

There are many variables and not everyone's situation is the same. Smile

Also......don't let them screw you on your good faith estimate. Most of the time there are hidden charges that the average consumer does not know how to spot.

Anyways.....good luck! Happy house hunting!!

~Brooke

PS- I work with more construction and commercial loans.....but if you need any advice at all as you go along....please feel free to pm me Smile
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 12:48 pm
When the deal is done, don't look back. What you could have gotten the house for, or what someone else paid for the same thing, is just not important.
0 Replies
 
 

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