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Being a First Time Homebuyer

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Posts

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011
    Oh yea, it's one of the biggest pitfalls with home owners. A lot of people will go crazy with their kitchens or bathrooms and find out that just because they spent $15k on upgrades it won't add $15k to their home or it could lessen the value of it even.

    I mean the garage pictured would definitely turn me off and I would instantly be thinking about the cost to reverse it. But if it's cheap enough to reverse you could always repaint it a more neutral colour and remove the mats before you go to sell.

    Certainly when I was looking at places, a new kitchen done half-right was worth significantly less than an old kitchen that I could fix myself.

    I actually saw one kitchen where there was a raised bar counter top behind the range, where you could sit in the living room, facing the kitchen. The wood trim on the edge of the raised counter was overhanging the range enough to be even with the back of the rear coils, but about 6 inches above it. Besides the obvious fire hazard, there's no way you could fit a large pot on the back coils of that range.

    Also, children's names painted onto bedroom walls. Apparently that's a popular thing.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yes, I am not very handy. As it turns out, even less so then I had hoped prior to owning a home. So, we were looking for a home that was in "move-in condition".

    Also, we had a list.
    .5 acres, 3 bedroom 2 bath
    In a neighborhood (not on a double yellow lined road)
    Etc, etc
    You gotta kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince I guess. :)

    Even so, since we moved in I have had to replace the kitchen faucet, and 4 valves underneath. Also, we have replaced the water heater with a tank-less water heater. We had a security system installed, had to have an electrician come in to add some outlets and run some cable to the MB.

    I can't imagine how deep in the poop i would be if i had gotten a "fixer-upper".

    being able to live in a fixer-upper while you get around to the fixing and the upping may not be much fun, especially if it is long and drawn out.

    But if you like that sort of thing, and you can live in that house (watch the movie Money Pit for a good laugh) Then there can be a lot of upside for you.

    If you go nuts with the garage, just be prepared to spend some cash to undo it before you sell. Live in the house you want, you are going to be there for a while.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Tejs wrote: »
    Interesting. I hadn't really thought of that, because I figured most people would appreciate not having just a bland garage. Reading about this online, that seems to be a trap people fall in about home improvements.

    While I'd still like to do something like that for my eventual garage, I can see now where people might find it garish.

    As VOC said, it's easy to fall into. Watch some HGTV, particularly the First-time Buyer and the Ready To Sell shows; people spend 15k on switching to a whirltub thinking it'll be great, but that's a turn off for families, old people, etc.

    Doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy and personalize your house, just keep in mind what may need to be redone when moving.

    Excision wrote: »
    My girlfriend is going down tonight!

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • DeadfallDeadfall Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    On the HOA thing:

    Yes, they can be terrible, but don't be dissuaded from a house you want just because of them. I pay $150 a month in HOA fees, but this also includes:

    Everything on the exterior of the house ever at any time will be repaired for me (siding, roof, paint, whatever)
    Trash, water and sewage service
    Lawn cutting and snow removal

    They also put on some pretty decent BBQ's in the summer. So they're not all that terrible, and it was a requirement of our dream house.

    BKqtjKy.jpg
    xbl - HowYouGetAnts
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Deadfall wrote: »
    On the HOA thing:

    Yes, they can be terrible, but don't be dissuaded from a house you want just because of them. I pay $150 a month in HOA fees, but this also includes:

    Everything on the exterior of the house ever at any time will be repaired for me (siding, roof, paint, whatever)
    Trash, water and sewage service
    Lawn cutting and snow removal

    They also put on some pretty decent BBQ's in the summer. So they're not all that terrible, and it was a requirement of our dream house.

    This is true. We live in a co-op condo which has its ups and downs but it's definitely the right place for us. But I have the feeling that further out you go and the more similar the houses look, the worse a HOA will be.

  • LaPuzzaLaPuzza Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Deadfall wrote: »
    On the HOA thing:

    Yes, they can be terrible, but don't be dissuaded from a house you want just because of them. I pay $150 a month in HOA fees, but this also includes:

    Everything on the exterior of the house ever at any time will be repaired for me (siding, roof, paint, whatever)
    Trash, water and sewage service
    Lawn cutting and snow removal

    They also put on some pretty decent BBQ's in the summer. So they're not all that terrible, and it was a requirement of our dream house.

    This is true. We live in a co-op condo which has its ups and downs but it's definitely the right place for us. But I have the feeling that further out you go and the more similar the houses look, the worse a HOA will be.

    Something else to consider on the HOA. Not only will they maintain your property - if that's in their obligations - but they will do the same for your neighbors. Not only will they make you get your improvements approved in advance, but they will keep your neighbor from installing a pig crap silo.

    My neighborhood has full association services and looks nice. The nearby neighborhood without an association, with nearly identical homes, looks like some Mad Max shit. Every time I drive through there and see a house for sale with neighbors that have no grass, office furniture on the lawn, and a broken down ice cream truck in the driveway, I feel a lot better about my decision to live where I do. And that's before I factor in how nice it is to sit with a beer watching football while someone mows my lawn.

    Re: dues and covenants, make your approval of governing doucments a contingency for closing in the Purchase Agreement. You can get a letter from the HOA that will certify that you've been given the operative documents, that dues are $____, and that dues are paid in full presently. Read the damned docs, because that will tell you what services they actually provide. Don't be that guy that just assumes that his paint or roof is an HOA responsibility just because you kinda hoped it was.

    If I didn't know LaPuzza wasn't a spambot I would think that was a spambot post.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    LaPuzza wrote: »
    My neighborhood has full association services and looks nice. The nearby neighborhood without an association, with nearly identical homes, looks like some Mad Max shit. Every time I drive through there and see a house for sale with neighbors that have no grass, office furniture on the lawn, and a broken down ice cream truck in the driveway, I feel a lot better about my decision to live where I do. And that's before I factor in how nice it is to sit with a beer watching football while someone mows my lawn.

    Oh, I don't think anyone dislikes the idea or core function of an HOA, it's just that it tends to attract the kind of person who's highlight of the day is belittling a cashier for missing their coupon.

    So if the OP is looking at an HOA controlled 'hood, make sure they get a copy of the rulebook and talk to some owners before it's too late.

    Excision wrote: »
    My girlfriend is going down tonight!

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • Arch Guru XXArch Guru XX Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    On the discussion of HOAs, my wife and I bought our first place about six months ago, a condo in Long Beach, CA, that is about 5 minutes walk to the ocean (so, not the Snoop areas of Long Beach). We have the highest HOA fees I've ever heard of, at $630/month or thereabouts. The number took me straight to crazytown when I first saw it, but since we've been living there we're a lot more onboard with it.

    Along with the standard landscaping/exterior maintenance, that money goes to maintaining six pools and hot tubs, a series of 'managed ecosystem' lagoons with some sort of carp and 18 rescued turtles (which are admittedly amusing to watch), outdoor movies during the summer, and the paychecks of the security folks who man our gate and keep out the riffraff (I mean this amusingly but there is enough of a homeless population here that it makes a difference).

    My point is that even if you see surprisingly high HOA dues they may cover more than you think. It's still a lot of money, for sure, but we love the place we're in and were able to make it work without too much extra pain financially so it worked out.

    Oh, also, our place was on the market for over a year before the old owners dropped the price by $100k, and we got it for another $33k under that. We happened to see it a week or two after the price drop and immediately decided we wanted it; other offers were coming in when we closed. If you can track properties that have been on the market a while but dropped their price you might get lucky with the timing and find one that's perfect for you.

    Edit: the HOAs also cover our gas, water and garbage. The gas part is particularly sweet, as we have a gas fireplace that can heat most of the condo during the winter.

    Should have been a rock star.
  • dzenithdzenith Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    1. If you make an offer on a house, always make it pending an inspection.

    2. Use any little thing found in the inspection that is wrong with the place as haggling material to barter a better price. This is a buyer's market right now, which means people are having a HARD time selling. If the guy is unwilling to move any more on price, feel free to use his belongings as colateral: any appliances not included in the place, TV's, his golf clubs, etc. If someone really wants to sell, they will make concessions.

    3. It's a buyer's market right now - make sure you aren't planning on selling for a while. Or you might have to give away your golf clubs...

    4. FHA isn't a bad way to go for a first loan - it makes it a lot easier to afford the downpayment. If you can afford 20% downpayment, then go that route to avoid the PMI payments.

    5. Don't buy the most expensive house in a neighborhood - it will be much harder to sell later.

    6. Interest is a killer. Figure out how much interest you are going to pay per month (plus any HOA dues)and compare that to what you can get renting a similar place. Buying isn't always the smartest financial choice. Just making payments on a 30yr mortgage isn't a way to build any equity. When we first bought our place, the principal was only 1/8th of the mortgage amount. You really don't start building equity until that principal percentage increases towards the later years in your loan. If you are interested in building equity so that you can use it for a downpayment on a better place in the future, it is a good idea to pay additional every month on the principal. The difference between a 30 yr loan taking 30 or 15 yrs to pay off can be as little as a couple hundred dollars a month of additional principal paid.

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