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Old 10-05-2009, 06:12 PM   #1
 
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Default Buying a house.

I feel like I've been looking forever. I've been looking for almost a year, but to be honest I wasn't very serious about it the first few months.

I feel like I'll never find anything. Part of it is intimidation, I'm doing this on my own and I'm a little nervous. The other part...I don't know...nothing seems right.

Is there a lightning-stike feeling when you find the right house. A feeling of "Damn! I HAVE to live here!"

This is bad as finding the right guy.
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Old 10-05-2009, 06:18 PM   #2
 
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It shouldn't take that long to find a house. Sounds like you don't really know what you're looking for, or you have unrealistic expectations. A good realtor should be able to sort through those problems with you relatively quickly.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:14 PM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by cailin View Post
I feel like I've been looking forever. I've been looking for almost a year, but to be honest I wasn't very serious about it the first few months.

I feel like I'll never find anything. Part of it is intimidation, I'm doing this on my own and I'm a little nervous. The other part...I don't know...nothing seems right.

Is there a lightning-stike feeling when you find the right house. A feeling of "Damn! I HAVE to live here!"

This is bad as finding the right guy.
There was for us. We are going in to make an offer tomorrow. We started looking last Sat. and saw this particular house over the weekend.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:14 AM   #4
 
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well, not to rush you, but if you really want to buy, you have to the end of November to get the 8K back for being a first time buyer- that should be motivation!!

when i was looking at house, it happened almost accidental. i moved to GA and had been living with my aunt for over a year. it was time to move out!!! so i started looking at apartments. frankly, the apartments were too expensive for what it offered! so then i started looking at foreclosed homes. i got with a broker (friend of the fam) who was able to give me a range that i should be looking so that my monthly mortgage wouldn't be out of my reach (and cheaper then rent, might i add!!!!).

i'm ur typical girl when it comes to household handy stuff (it's getting better )so i was NOT going to buy a house that i had to put too much time and money into. NOT WORTH IT TO ME. no matter how cheap they were or how much everyone tried to influence me, NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!! i'm single (have a LD boyfriend, but im not married with kids) so i wasn't looking for my dream house, with 100 bedrooms and tons of land all around and pool, etc. i was just looking for comfort and something close to my relatives and job.

1st house i had already seen online and loved it. offered more than the asking cause i really wanted it. everything was good right until closing. they purposely delayed my closing so that my contract would expire (typically, the contracts u sign are good for 30 days and they typically schedule closing right towards the end). first house fell thru. cash buyer came around, and bought it. they got me goooooodddd. i was so sad. this was right before xmas (Dec 22).

so, i was gonna give up. but i went online and saw a few houses in the area i wanted to check out. one seemed too good to be true. it had hardwood floors, 3 floors- basement, main, upstairs. 75% finished basement, laundry area was in the 15% so it was good. corner town house. brick front. it was a HUD. i thought it was great for what i needed and more! and at a great price. catch- roof damage!!! FHA loans wont lend out money if theres roof damage!!! i low balled the asking price. got it dropped about 8ks, took a chance and fixed the damaged area for about 600, got my loan, got my house, and tada!!! it feels soooo good to have MY HOUSE!!!

this is not the house that i am going to die in. but i think its the perfect transitional place for a person in my situation who just had to move out (not by force, it was just time), didn't want a high mortgage, and doesnt have any real extra costs. there were things i wanted in a house, and things i could sacrafise- would have loved a fireplace, but hardwood floors and brick front and a basement were suffice.

now, dont rush into a house. there will always be houses for sale. if the 8Ks is what's motivating you, who's to say that there isnt a larger incentive program around the corner. u dont want to buy a house you barely like just so u can get it out of the way. it does take time. i started looking in October '08 and closed in Mar '09.

if you havent discovered realtor.com check it out. once you find ur house, dont go back on the site or you will find other houses u like!!!

Good luck!!
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:08 AM   #5
 
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I have a friend who has been looking for her first home for over two years now. And it is clear to me that she just "wants it all." She thinks b/c it is a buyers' market that means she can get a large, fantastic home that meets all of her specifications, in move-in condition, in the most desirable of neighborhoods, for pennies. Yeah, the market is good but it isn't that good. LOL
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:30 AM   #6
 
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Yeah, the market is good but it isn't that good. LOL

Exactly. I think I've been picky too. I've been in the market to buy a condo over the last 6 months and I found only one place that I'd consider. It's still pretty pricey due to HOAs and property taxes. I just started looking into renting apartments last week. I am just not sure since I don't want to stay in the same place for more than 2 years. It's kind of risky to buy in my situation but I also would love to own.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:41 AM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000 View Post
Yeah, the market is good but it isn't that good. LOL

Exactly. I think I've been picky too. I've been in the market to buy a condo over the last 6 months and I found only one place that I'd consider. It's still pretty pricey due to HOAs and property taxes. I just started looking into renting apartments last week. I am just not sure since I don't want to stay in the same place for more than 2 years. It's kind of risky to buy in my situation but I also would love to own.

If you're looking to move again within 2 years, it might not be a good idea to buy right now. You won't get your money out of it in such a short time...the market just isn't like that anymore...and you will likely have to bring money to the closing table, rather tham making money, due to realtor fees, not to mention state transfer taxes, which have gotten really steep. States took advantage of the booming real-estate market in recent years by tacking on these large transfer taxes. I think I paid $6,000 directly to the state (over and above bank and realtor closing fees), just for the privilege of selling my last home. They haven't reversed those taxes with the housing bust.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:49 AM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by Josephine View Post
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Yeah, the market is good but it isn't that good. LOL

Exactly. I think I've been picky too. I've been in the market to buy a condo over the last 6 months and I found only one place that I'd consider. It's still pretty pricey due to HOAs and property taxes. I just started looking into renting apartments last week. I am just not sure since I don't want to stay in the same place for more than 2 years. It's kind of risky to buy in my situation but I also would love to own.

If you're looking to move again within 2 years, it might not be a good idea to buy right now. You won't get your money out of it in such a short time...the market just isn't like that anymore...and you will likely have to bring money to the closing table, rather tham making money, due to realtor fees, not to mention state transfer taxes, which have gotten really steep. States took advantage of the booming real-estate market in recent years by tacking on these large transfer taxes. I think I paid $6,000 directly to the state (over and above bank and realtor closing fees), just for the privilege of selling my last home. They haven't reversed those taxes with the housing bust.

Yea I know it would be a pain to sell. I would like to rent out the condo (which isn't too hard to do at the complex I was considering) instead of selling if I do move but I might be losing some money on monthly payments and not sure I want to deal with the hassle of being a landlord since who knows how much it will appreciate even over the next 6 years.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:58 AM   #9
 
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Condos take a loooooong time to come back after a bust market. They are the first thing to go and the last to come back. Better to buy a single detached home and just pay someone to mow the lawn...which is often cheaper than HOA fees.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:15 AM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by cailin View Post
I feel like I've been looking forever. I've been looking for almost a year, but to be honest I wasn't very serious about it the first few months.

I feel like I'll never find anything. Part of it is intimidation, I'm doing this on my own and I'm a little nervous. The other part...I don't know...nothing seems right.

Is there a lightning-stike feeling when you find the right house. A feeling of "Damn! I HAVE to live here!"

This is bad as finding the right guy.
That's the feeling I got when I found our house. I was looking online and thought it was beautiful so I sent the link to my bf. We had already seen a few houses through our agent but we really wanted to check this one out. We went to an open house and knew as soon as we walked in that this was home. That was March of '08 and by that June 1st, we were moving in.

There are definitely issues to the house that we hate- our gross disgusting basement and the fact that it only has one real bathroom even though it was listed as 2 full baths...but it was the overall flow and structure that we loved. Not only was it a beautiful house but it had great potential and I think that's what sealed the deal.

Good luck with your search. Just keep in mind that so many things are easily changed-paint, carpet, wallpaper, fixtures, cabinets. I would rather pay less for a house and make the changes myself versus paying more for a house that is technically "move-in ready".
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:43 PM   #11
 
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Everyone's advice sounds pretty good. We're also looking for a house or possibly a townhouse. We have some pretty specific needs though, and the amount we can get for a loan and payments we can afford to make on a mortgage are relatively low. We're looking at about 150,000. After what we've seen for that price, we're thinking we might wait until we can afford more (years from now).

Foreclosures can be problematic too, for instance if you're getting an FHA loan; as someone else said, you may have to do repairs yourself because they're selling it AS IS. We really can't afford to do that even if it's "cheap". Also many houses are just in terrible shape. The townhouses seem a bit nicer. If we didn't require a private yard, we would probably have snatched one of the newer construction ones up already. The bedrooms are pretty small, but otherwise they're pretty nice.

Keep in mind this is in the Chicago suburbs we're looking; the market may be different elsewhere. Our agent also told us that foreclosures are taking forever to close--it's probably already too late for us to get the tax credit unless they extend it. It has something to do with the banks and liens and taxes that may be owed.

I also heard on the Today show (some "real estate expert") that houses are taking on average about 60-90 days to close (if not foreclosures) so even then, we're probably not going to be able to do it and get the tax credit.

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Old 10-06-2009, 02:59 PM   #12
 
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I heard somewhere(maybe the news) that they may be extending the tax credit deadline.
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #13
 
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I heard somewhere(maybe the news) that they may be extending the tax credit deadline.
I hope so!
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:44 PM   #14
 
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Thanks everyone!

I'm starting to think I don't have a very good relator. She hasn't really 'shown' me anything other than sign me up for new listings emails.

It's not that I want it all per se, but rather I tend to over think things. I put an offer on one house a month ago but then there was too much wrong with it after the inspection. I think it's making me gun shy now.

There's a house that's cute, but it's small 936sf, and on a very busy road. Could I sell it again? The driveway technically belongs to the house in back, somthing about the development and two entrances. They could never really use it, but...that could cause a headache later on.

I was also looking at townhouses but the fees are crazy! $300 and it doesn't really pay for anything.

You've all given me hope though, and I'm checking out realtor.com
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:58 PM   #15
 
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Your realtor hasn't shown you anything??

I have an awesome realtor that I have bought 2 houses from, and am listing the first with her in the next week. Relisting, actually, as we pulled it off the market and rented it a year ago. I just want to get rid of it, so it's going to be priced pretty nicely. It's going to hurt, but it's worth it. Hopefully some new homebuyer will want it badly. (Hint hint any folks in Orlando!) My realtor has bent over backwards for me, and when we were looking for the current house, did a TON of research, even though we were looking 3 counties from her home area, and spent several weekends driving us around. And she really made it worth it - I LOVE her!

We loved this house, although it lacked two things I was looking for. Still it really struck as a perfect living setup for the way we live. (I am remodeling in the first next week! Yay for big soaking bathtubs!) Along those lines, have you made a list of your must-haves, and would-be-nices? Ultimately, I wanted some acreage, and compromised on a few other things that I could add down the line.

A realtor should work FOR you, not just tolerate you. Find someone who appreciates your business. Remember that your realtor gets a chunk of change when you close...
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:36 AM   #16
 
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Our realtor took us out to look at the houses I sent her by email. She sent us listings, and I picked the ones that fit our criteria, emailed her the info (particularly the MLS #) and asked her to meet with us, i.e., Can we get together Saturday around noon to look at these? We've been keeping it to around 5 or 6 at the most each time; not sure I'd want to try to visit too many in one day. It can be exhausting.

Sometimes you have to be proactive about it and get it moving. If you've been doing that sort of thing and she hasn't shown you anything, that is lame.

Unfortunately, I think we're giving up. We really only started looking in September, but apparently it was too late for our situation. We would have to have the tax credit and have it in our hands early next year! We can't make any offers unless we know we can get that credit for this year's taxes. We would be borrowing money from an account for the down payment, and would have to pay it back by then.

If Congress would just renew/extend that credit ASAP, we could do it. Unfortunately, there were "rumors" that they weren't going to do so, and enough people believed it that the stock market went down accordingly (this was in the past day or two).

By the way, the fees for townhouses vary a lot. We saw several around here that had no association, and therefore no fees. As our realtor said though, you have to be on good terms with your neighbors because if some work needs done (i.e. on a shared roof) you would all need to pitch in to pay for it.


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Old 10-08-2009, 11:03 AM   #17
 
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My agent has me set up on the auto listings and she has shown me places I've picked. But she hasn't been anymore proactive than that. She doesn't find places for me based on what I'd like. I don't think she hears or remembers things I'd like. If she does, it doesn't affect anything.
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:40 PM   #18
 
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a lot of agents won't even show you a property without already being pre-approved!!! so again, if your really ready to search, make sure your pre-approved.

i;ve seen sooo many houses and have dealt with enough realtors to know that i could be a realtor!!! usually what realtors do is send you the listings to houses you specifically ask for and those in the area. a good realtor will continuously send you house at or around the range you tell them, and other homes in that area. a better agent will skim thru the houses and only send you the ones you are interested in (this involves them doing research prior, which most DONT DO). bad agents are the ones that just send you houses that you specifically ask information on. they shouldnt wait for you to bring up a house to them. they should be on point and encourage you to look at homes. if they dont, you dont, and then it all just stays at a standstill.

i really dont understand realtors. they make their money upon the closing of the house. so why arent they more proactive?! i'm usually the aggressive one calling them every minutes about this house, or to send me listing for this, bla bla bla. i just dont get how they expect to make money!!! if your realtor isnt doing this for you, KEEP IT MOVING!! they suck and you might have a negative buying experiencing!!

also, my townhouse has NO hoa fees!!!! awesome!!! annnddd, i also have a huge backyard!!! townhouse do have a harder turnover rate. but if you pay a good low price for one, and you sit on it for a few year, when the market gets better, your house will be worth much more than you paid for it. and if your at a good location, you will always find a buyer.

some amenities to consider:
location- close to work? close to major highways? close to supermarkets or schools?
appliances- stainless steel? does it matter to you? want it to come with washer/dryer/fridge/stove?
carpetting or hardwood floors?
how many baths and bedrooms do you need?
want a single family, split level, townhome, or ranch?
pool? tennis courts? (these are usually guarenteed HOAs)
car garage? car port? extra parking for guests?
big kitchen?
fireplace?
brick front? slab?
basement?
built year- older home or newer home?
public transportation near by?

what are you willing to sacrafice in exchange for something else?

hope this helps
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:15 PM   #19
 
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a lot of agents won't even show you a property without already being pre-approved!!! so again, if your really ready to search, make sure your pre-approved.

i;ve seen sooo many houses and have dealt with enough realtors to know that i could be a realtor!!! usually what realtors do is send you the listings to houses you specifically ask for and those in the area. a good realtor will continuously send you house at or around the range you tell them, and other homes in that area. a better agent will skim thru the houses and only send you the ones you are interested in (this involves them doing research prior, which most DONT DO). bad agents are the ones that just send you houses that you specifically ask information on. they shouldnt wait for you to bring up a house to them. they should be on point and encourage you to look at homes. if they dont, you dont, and then it all just stays at a standstill.

i really dont understand realtors. they make their money upon the closing of the house. so why arent they more proactive?! i'm usually the aggressive one calling them every minutes about this house, or to send me listing for this, bla bla bla. i just dont get how they expect to make money!!! if your realtor isnt doing this for you, KEEP IT MOVING!! they suck and you might have a negative buying experiencing!!
Yea the problem is, the agent is a friend of a friend, but that wouldn't stop me from finding someone else, was about to until I started considering renting instead. I am preapproved and completely ready if I find something good. That's nice you don't have HOAs. There are some good townhouses out there but I'm not ready for that yet.
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