House Hunting? Advice/Suggestions/Tips?

  1. My SO and I have been talking, and we're planning on getting married-- we've been together for two years-- but he thinks it's stupid to pay rent and not have anything to show for it (I pay $700 a month for a duplex). The more I think about it, I think he's right, and I could find something inexpensive in today's housing market and not pay much more per month than that (say, a $90,000 home). If I do this it will all be in MY name, with payments *I* can afford, should I be single again in the future.

    We found something AMAZING today online. I went by to see it but we have a realtor walkthrough this afternoon. It's 1,500 square feet on an acre of property, a farmhouse built in 1939: 3 BR, 1 BA, eat-in kitchen with an island, natural stone fireplace. It's adorable! It needs a little bit of work, but nothing structurally (from what I could see). It also comes with a 30'x40' detached shop and storage building on the property, which is what my SO really wants-- a place to work on cars and do his thing. The only downfall is that it's set up on a hill above the local 4-lane highway. But it's super convenient to where we both work and right on the edge of town near the main highway. And the list price is $94,900! I drove over to look at it today and as soon as I drove down the tree-shaded lane leading to it, I felt this THRILL in my chest, and I totally squealed like a little girl. It just screamed "HOME!" to me. I have pictures but I'm not sure, for identity's sake, whether I should post 'em or not-- what do you ladies think?

    My question is, what advice can you give for house hunting/meeting with a realtor? Tips? Tricks? Suggestions? Share your experiences with me! And if you're a realtor definitely speak up, LOL!

  2. When looking for the right house, I suggest the following:

    Sit down a write a list. Have three for MUST have's (underground sprinklers, central heat and air, just a couple of examples), one for MAYBE's (same thing, sprinklers, heating and cooling) and one for ABSOLUTELY NOT's.

    This will help you sort through all of the houses out there. Give that list to your realtor (if you choose to have one) and then when it comes to sorting through the listings, if there are things on your list for must-have's or no thank-you's, you won't have so many houses to look at that may not fit what you are looking for!
  3. OH Sarah how exciting!!! First about taking that big step, and second that you will hopefully own a home soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know much at all about buying houses, but Freckles gave some great advice as far as sorting through things. But if it screamed HOME to!!! that is really thrilling!!!!!! I am going to stay tuned to this thread :tup:
  4. I'm a Realtor in NC, and SunnyFreckles gave good advice. Knowing what you have to have and absolutely don't won't are important so your Realtor can show you houses that fit your needs. In addition to thinking about what you want in an actual house, think about your lifestyle. How important is it for you to have your kids in a certain school district for example, or be close to your job or shopping centers. Prioritize these items, but be realistic about what you are able to get at each price point.

    I advise that you get pre-approved or at least pre-qualified before you start looking at houses. If you need lender recommendations, your Realtor can help you. I'm not sure about your state, but in NC we can't submit an offer without a prequalification letter. If you get pre-approved that is even better because when you see a house you love, which you seem to have done, you will be in a stronger position to negotiate the price and terms in your favor. Please also make sure you get inspections (including septic if it applies) and make sure your Realtor gives you enough time in the contract to get everything done. In our new contracts, we have strict deadlines for things such as getting inspections, responding to the seller about repairs, making loan application, and getting loan approval. If these dates are not met, you lose rights or your earnest money. Good luck and I hope everything goes well for you!
  5. I also work in real estate, like pure said inspections are top of the list! You need to be able to try and seperate yourself from the home of your dreams also! If something happens and a deal falls through or inspections come back horrible- you need to have a clear head to be able to see when you need to walk away from a house. Good Luck with your hunt!
  6. Get a GOOD inspection so you know what you're getting into.
    Check other houses in the area so you know what the general price range is - don't just leave all that to your realtor.
  7. Check the qualifications of your inspector too. I've been watching horror stories on the "Holmes on Homes" show on the TV. People who got an inspection and for some reason the inspector missed huge problems that were right out in the open. Like 30+ junction boxes in the basement ceiling - so you could never sheetrock over them because junction boxes have to remain exposed, etc.
  8. Get pre=approved before you start, that way you won't be falling in love with houses you can't afford.

    Know thyself---if you're not a do-it-yourselfer, don't buy a house that "just needs a little work" because you'll never do it.

    Get a real-estate agent you can build a rapport with, who will listen to what you want and steer you towards properties you'd actually be interested in. There's nothing worse than wasting a day looking at ranchers when what you really desire is a 1930's Craftsman bungalow.

    Buying a house is so exciting! Have fun and I hope you find your "dream home"!
  9. This is a great time to buy. Get preapproved for home & your loan.
    What is hurting that house is the 1 bathroom. (Which was very common back when that house was built.) I'll bet if that house had 2, someone would of snatched it up already. Sounds great otherwise!
    Make sure you use an inspector.
  10. I have to say *good for you* on planning to purchase the home in your name. Very smart if not married yet. (I speak from my own not-so-good experience.. :biggrin:).

    You should definitely take time to find a good realtor but I have no good advice here.. the last time I had a realtor she was supplied by my companies relo team. I will say that I did a lot of the legwork myself (online searches and driveby/peek in window type deals). It was far less painfull than driving around with the realtor all day.

    It is possible to purchase a home without a realtor - my friends did this and saved the sellers some closing fees (allowing for lower price to buyers). As well the first home I purchased with no longer SO (see first paragraph) we had a realtor but the sellers didn't. So it was only 3 percent (negotiated) out of the seller's pocket vs. the standard 6 percent. Keep in mind all is negotiable as well. Good luck!!!

    Editing: If you have 20 percent to put down you do not have to pay PMI (mortage insurance) so will save you a few bucks in the end.

  11. :nuts: I didn't realize how much work looking for a house was!

    The one we found that we fell in love with? The floor had more hills and bumps than a mini golf course :sad: Other than that it was adorable but we can't fix that without considerable expense!

    We looked at an amazing 2000 sf house today on 4 acres, but the well was too shallow, so there was no water. That's a big problem!

    Where are those perfect houses you see on TV? LOL!
  12. Okay, I know they make Elephant Guns.. do they also make House Guns? You said you were "House hunting." What kind of ammo does one use?


  13. They're out there, just 6 + times what we want to pay for them :roflmfao:
  14. I am so excited for you!!! All the advise I have to give is to get pre-qualified and get a GOOD inspection. Keep us posted!!
  15. Looking for a home is hard work. It took us a YEAR before we found ours. We'd almost given up!