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Home Buying Advice, Please?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Pete Incaviglia, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Well, the wife and I have officially started house hunting.

    Aside from the roof and the windows, and wet basements, what else should we be looking at or keeping close eye when we walk through these things?

    Any help or hints would help.

  2. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    patched cracks in walls because foundation problems are not cheap. also, check out the neighbors and how they keep up their yards/homes. and for gawd sakes, don't get cute with the financing options.
  3. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member

    There are no cute financing programs available anymore. 30 year fixed rates are close to the lowest ever.

    Don't skimp out on an inspection.
  4. lono

    lono Active Member

    First and most important rule: Get a fixed-rate mortgage. Whatever you do, do not fall for some salesperson's mumbo jumbo about how much you can afford. Get a mortgage that stays constant for 15 or 30 years.

    Decided what you can afford and stick to it. If you tell the sales person you can afford a $200,000 house, I guarantee you the first thing he or she will do is show you $250,000 houses and tell you how much nicer it is. F--k that.

    Sales commission is directly tied to the price of the house, so the more expensive the house, the more commission the sales person makes. The sales person has all the incentive in the world to upsell you.

    You are in a buyer's market. Remember that. Everything is negotiable, especially price.

    If you can, set aside a few thousand dollars for incidentals after you move in. You'll be amazed at how many trips you make to Home Depot for garden hoses, and shelf paper and closet organizers and drapes and, and, and, and ...

    Make sure you know what comes with the house. Do the window coverings - drapes and blinds - stay? That alone can be $2,000 to $5,000 on top of the cost of the house.

    Do you have kids? It's worth paying more to be in a primo school district instead of a crappy one.

    When you walk through the house, make a list of stuff you'll need to replace right away and wish list for down the road. Put a pencil to those items and figure out what they'll cost.

    You'll have to get a professional appraiser. Make sure everything the appraiser finds - from leaky faucets to a leaky roof - gets fixed before you buy.

    The mortgage company is required to provide what's called a good-faith estimate of closing costs - what you'll have to pay for escrow, fees, etc. Within two to five days of closing, you'll be given an exact breakdown of much cash you'll need to bring to the closing.

    If you get to the closing and they tell you, "Oh, we forgot to add $2000 for this and $900 for that," DON'T PAY IT. This is one of the most common trick mortgage companies will use to screw you. Once they give you the final breakdown of closing costs, they are legally bound to stick to it.

    Don't fall so much in love with one house that you aren't willing to walk if you can't get the right deal. In this market, there are amazing deals on great houses from Maine to Southern California.

    Also, your sales person should be able to provide you with detailed info on utility costs. They can vary greatly from house to house.

    That should get you started.
  5. OJ1414

    OJ1414 Member

    Exactly. Get a good home inspector. The price you'll pay (I think mine was in the $250 range, though it was paid for at closing and the seller paid my closing costs) is well worth it.

    And find a good real estate agent. Mine was great, didn't try to get me way out of my price range, was patient in showing me 40-50 houses over about a month until I found the one I had no question was the one I wanted, and represented my interests when the sellers balked at making some repairs that came up during the inspection. Had friends that had an awful experience with an agent that nearly cost them the house at the last minute.
  6. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    see if they'll include a home warranty and as already stated, make sure you get the home inspection, even if you have to pay for it yourself. and as i learned, don't get too attached to a home before you make a deal. and stay away from foreclosures that need work unless you're a very handy person with lots of time on your hands.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Don't make the same mistakes I did. I was in a bad situation when I decided to buy, and got screwed over a few times, especially with money. Fortunatly, it worked out in the end for me, and I've had a very happy time in my home.

    Hire a buyer's agent, one who will represent you, and is willing to walk you through the process, even holding your hand if need be. My wife and I didn't have one, because our finances were really tight, and quite frankly, we didn't have a very good understanding of the process (no homebuying TV shows then).

    My lawyer was absolutely awful, and didn't bother explaining anything to me. On my closing date, they pulled exactly what Iono said, and added a bunch of fees for my good-faith estimate, and my lawyer pretty much signed off on it. I'm convinced I'm out several grand.

    Not only that, but you are supposed to be able to go into the house two days or so before the closing as a final walkthrough. My lawyer never arranged it, and didn't return our calls. It turned out that the seller wasn't all moved out yet, and actually wanted to continue living there for a short time after the closing. We refused because we needed to move in.

    My mother told me that I should have yelled at my own lawyer during the closing just to embarrass him. I decided not to because I just wanted to get it over with already.

    Also, shop around for mortgages and interest rates. And don't use any of the creative financing schemes. I've been in a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for my entire time, and I've tossed all those ARM offers in the trash.
  8. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    fixed rate mortgage. A MUST. Fire every bastard who says anything different.
  9. lono

    lono Active Member

    Another thing: The sales agent will have a lender for you. The sales agent gets paid by the lender to refer business to them, so that lender might be or might not be the best deal out there.

    Go to Lendingtree.com or check your local banks/credit unions, etc. for financing.

    It might seem like saving .50 percent might not be a big deal. But if you get a 30-year, fixed mortgage, the difference between a 6 percent rate and a 6.5 percent rate on a $150,000 loan is about $18,000 over the course of the loan.
  10. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    If you plan on being in the house for a while, try to pay a little extra on the principal each month. that'll knock time off the length of the loan. (did I explain that correctly?)
  11. OJ1414

    OJ1414 Member

    Yeah. It'll also cut off some time if you pay 1/2 the payment midway through the month then the other half at the first of the month since you'll save that two weeks or so of interest each month and that adds up. And don't pay another company to set that up for you (and you'll likely get plenty of offers for it in the mail soon after you move in), you can do it yourself.
  12. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    On the home inspection, find an inspection company that just inspects rather than wants to sell you something. It's weird. When I sold my house to move in with hubby, the person who bought mine had a inspector who was trying to sell her some kind of coverage based on what he found. He insisted I be there for the inspection. I thought he was a flake. I've bought three homes in my life and my inspector never wanted the seller there and never tried to sell me anything other than the inspection. And if your inspector doesn't get on the roof, he/she sucks.
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