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Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:34 am
by ScottAW
Once you do buy... The Internet is your friend.

Any place you buy will need some work or personalization, most things these days you can handle yourself. Just do a lot of research beforehand and dive in. Just don't cut structure and things like that.

And again, change the locks. I put aside a few hours before I move anything in. And get all your locks keyed the same, veryconvenient.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:56 am
by midgetyaz
I wanted to reiterate my point of getting a good realtor. Ours was able to tell us how much the owner bought the house for and how much they still owed on it, so we knew what we could offer. She also told us to think about hos much we wanted to spend on the house and offer a price that would allow us to negotiate to that price (ex. asking was 250K, we wanted to pay 230K, so we offered 210K). This is a buyers market. Of course, as my mother always said "don't fall in love with a house." You'll end up overlooking issues you shouldn't and won't be able to walk away from a bad deal.

Know what's a need vs a want. You don't want to end up with a house full of wants but no needs.

And realize, you may love the look of a wooded lot, but come to find that leaves are a major pain in the ass!

Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:19 am
by ScottAW
Oh yea, and when you hire a home
Inspector (you'll get an inspection right....). Don't let your realtor hire his inspector. Mine spent the whole time goofing off with each other and missed some major things.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:06 pm
by riverjoe47
Gristle McThornBody wrote:
TacAir wrote: As far as the house itself - find and hire a good inspector - and get a report in writing - you may be able to get a better price owing to needed repairs.
This, although it shouldn't be a 'may'. You should be able to talk the price of the home down any amount necessary to bring the house up to code; if the realtor is unwilling, find a different realtor.

Like this (recently occured with a contractor I work with): List price of home, 200K. Repairs necessary to bring home completely up to latest code (not code when the house was built), 30K. This includes but is not limited to roof, wiring, plumbing, windows and insulation (many counties/cities and some states have codes requiring a certain R value for exterior wall insulation and for windows to also be a certain R value). Total price you should pay for home 200K - 30K = 170K. If you have the paperwork in hand stating that the repairs and modifications will cost that much, I can't see too many realtors refusing to deal; you just pointed out to them how difficult the house will be to sell!

For an added bonus, many of the mods can be done by yourself with the proper tools and knowledge, so while you might save 30K on the home, you may only spend 10K (or less, if you're capable/clever) to bring that home up to snuff. Now spend that 20K on preps to fill your new BIL, and you're set!
This is such utter crap . Codes are constantly changeing and a house built 6 months ago might not pass an inspection today , because codes are constantly changeing . Codes are not meant to be a guideline for miniumum housing that is another matter . If you have unsafe conditions such as obvious electrical or mechanical problems this should be caught by the inspector . To use "bringing it up to code " as a bargaining chip is just petty . I would reject any offer that would use this strategy just on general principles . If you want the place cheap just say so for christsake . Any reputable real estate agent will not use this argument . If you're buying a house 20 years old I gaurantee it will not meet modern code . Go have a house built , but you better move in quickly because the electrical code especially changes drastically every year .

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:53 pm
by Stercutus
Not only that but codes even change back sometimes. At one time in my old house the code required that outlets be installed upside down. (Never could figure out why) So the outlets in the addition were all upside down.
Loan information; choosing a lender
Do the math. There are some better lenders out there. IME USAA is the best lender on the market today. (As well as the best insurance company and bank)
Appraising a neighborhood
Schools are always the decision maker for us. Even if you home school or have no kids buying in a neighborhood with good schools mostly means that you are getting a good neighborhood. School digger is a good source for that and provides tons of data about the neighborhood too.
Appraising a house (and yard)
Use an appraiser. Use two if you are not sure. Heck, use three if you are really wondering.
Home defensibility
Homes in the price range that middle America can afford are not built that way. You can buy a stone castle and it will be only be as strong as it weakest point. I would asses crime in the area and if the area is high crime buy some where else. When I did get a place then make an assessment and decide what to improve to make it harder to break in.
Home improvements (what's easy, what's hard, what needs permits, etc)
Anything to do with the roof and foundation is hard and/or expensive. Replacing a heating or cooling system is expensive, installing one from scratch in an existing structure even more so. Other things not so much. I put in my own kitchen with custom cabinets and Corain counter tops for under $4000. There was no kitchen to start with (just a room with a frig, stove and small sink) so it was from the floor to ceiling. I bought carefully stuff on sale over the years and planned well ahead.

Simple plumbing and electrical you can do yourself. Hard plumbing I hire a plumber for and it is expensive. But I don't have to crawl under the house with the snakes dig trenches through concrete either.

Building or putting any kind of addition on generally requires a permit. A shed a might require a permit or even be illegal. You need to check locally.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:15 am
by razi
thanks for all the excellent advice! I didn't want to get too specific with my situation so that the thread would be good for everyone, but suffice to say a location out in the country (or even the far suburbs) is not an option at this point.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:47 pm
by the_klenzer
1) Buy the cheapest place in the most expensive neighbourhood. Your home is (or can be) an investment, you'd be a fool not to treat it like one.

2) Read a book on negotiating a home purchase. There's a great one on the tip of my tongue... here it is:
http://www.amazon.com/Not-One-Dollar-Mo ... 30&sr=8-34" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; This book for $20 and one day of reading, got me about $80,000 off the purchase of my condo. That's a good return on my time. I probably could have gotten $20,000 on my own. It's amazing how BAD we are at negatiating on our own. Rule ONE, never show any interest in a home... even to your OWN real estate agent.

3) Everyone has said get a home inspector... but get a good one. THere's a lot of chumps out there. Pillar To Post has a good rep.

4) Transportation routes is important (to me). If you are driving to work, check out the traffic in the area and how long it will actually take at 8-9am. I moved into one area that only had 1 spot to get onto the freeway that I needed that on a regular basis had a 30 minute backup on top of the drive... 30 mins a day = 120hrs a year of sitting in my car. That was the equiv of three work weeeks, I spent sitting waiting to get onto the freeway. Moved after a year.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:45 am
by KnightoftheRoc
riverjoe47 wrote:
Gristle McThornBody wrote:
TacAir wrote: As far as the house itself - find and hire a good inspector - and get a report in writing - you may be able to get a better price owing to needed repairs.
This, although it shouldn't be a 'may'. You should be able to talk the price of the home down any amount necessary to bring the house up to code; if the realtor is unwilling, find a different realtor.

Like this (recently occured with a contractor I work with): List price of home, 200K. Repairs necessary to bring home completely up to latest code (not code when the house was built), 30K. This includes but is not limited to roof, wiring, plumbing, windows and insulation (many counties/cities and some states have codes requiring a certain R value for exterior wall insulation and for windows to also be a certain R value). Total price you should pay for home 200K - 30K = 170K. If you have the paperwork in hand stating that the repairs and modifications will cost that much, I can't see too many realtors refusing to deal; you just pointed out to them how difficult the house will be to sell!

For an added bonus, many of the mods can be done by yourself with the proper tools and knowledge, so while you might save 30K on the home, you may only spend 10K (or less, if you're capable/clever) to bring that home up to snuff. Now spend that 20K on preps to fill your new BIL, and you're set!
This is such utter crap . Codes are constantly changeing and a house built 6 months ago might not pass an inspection today , because codes are constantly changeing . Codes are not meant to be a guideline for miniumum housing that is another matter . If you have unsafe conditions such as obvious electrical or mechanical problems this should be caught by the inspector . To use "bringing it up to code " as a bargaining chip is just petty . I would reject any offer that would use this strategy just on general principles . If you want the place cheap just say so for christsake . Any reputable real estate agent will not use this argument . If you're buying a house 20 years old I gaurantee it will not meet modern code . Go have a house built , but you better move in quickly because the electrical code especially changes drastically every year .
I see what you're saying, riverjoe, but I think you are overstating it. Codes change constantly, this is true, but the term "bringing it up to code" DOES still have a bearing in the RE market. While many things, such as electrical wiring, can be left as "grandfathered in", some of the older styles of materials or methods have actually turned out to be unsafe, and NEED to be replaced- "post and tube" wiring, for example.

While I agree that using the phrase is often overdone, and that it can very often be a cheap method of artificially lowering the price, it is not ENTIRELY a non-issue, that can be ignored, nor should it be some magical mantra, repeated often enough that you can 'magically' lower a price.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:18 am
by sql_yoda
To AZMedic's first post in this thread, I agree completely... A neighborhood with a compulsory HOA is not a good place for people like you and me. You want a garden? You need clearance from the board first and then you can only grow tomatoes. You want to dispense with the common boundaries and let that common area grow wild? Sorry, we like things all green and pretty and short. We will NOT dispense with the contracted landscaping company... EVER... No matter how much they charge.

An HOA property needs to be seriously weighed against what you as the buyer deems reasonable concessions to your neighbors. Most of the time the HOA will prevent you from putting in a rain garden, though it reduces runoff in heavy storms and may also add beauty to the landscape. After denying your request to plant such a garden, they could compel you to pay for common water rights for a neighbors garden which they deem has a more enticing effect. HOA's are usually nothing more than a legal trick to get you to pay more to keep your property values artificially higher than usual.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:45 am
by riverjoe47
KnightoftheRoc wrote:
riverjoe47 wrote:
Gristle McThornBody wrote:
TacAir wrote: As far as the house itself - find and hire a good inspector - and get a report in writing - you may be able to get a better price owing to needed repairs.
This, although it shouldn't be a 'may'. You should be able to talk the price of the home down any amount necessary to bring the house up to code; if the realtor is unwilling, find a different realtor.

Like this (recently occured with a contractor I work with): List price of home, 200K. Repairs necessary to bring home completely up to latest code (not code when the house was built), 30K. This includes but is not limited to roof, wiring, plumbing, windows and insulation (many counties/cities and some states have codes requiring a certain R value for exterior wall insulation and for windows to also be a certain R value). Total price you should pay for home 200K - 30K = 170K. If you have the paperwork in hand stating that the repairs and modifications will cost that much, I can't see too many realtors refusing to deal; you just pointed out to them how difficult the house will be to sell!

For an added bonus, many of the mods can be done by yourself with the proper tools and knowledge, so while you might save 30K on the home, you may only spend 10K (or less, if you're capable/clever) to bring that home up to snuff. Now spend that 20K on preps to fill your new BIL, and you're set!
This is such utter crap . Codes are constantly changeing and a house built 6 months ago might not pass an inspection today , because codes are constantly changeing . Codes are not meant to be a guideline for miniumum housing that is another matter . If you have unsafe conditions such as obvious electrical or mechanical problems this should be caught by the inspector . To use "bringing it up to code " as a bargaining chip is just petty . I would reject any offer that would use this strategy just on general principles . If you want the place cheap just say so for christsake . Any reputable real estate agent will not use this argument . If you're buying a house 20 years old I gaurantee it will not meet modern code . Go have a house built , but you better move in quickly because the electrical code especially changes drastically every year .
I see what you're saying, riverjoe, but I think you are overstating it. Codes change constantly, this is true, but the term "bringing it up to code" DOES still have a bearing in the RE market. While many things, such as electrical wiring, can be left as "grandfathered in", some of the older styles of materials or methods have actually turned out to be unsafe, and NEED to be replaced- "post and tube" wiring, for example.

While I agree that using the phrase is often overdone, and that it can very often be a cheap method of artificially lowering the price, it is not ENTIRELY a non-issue, that can be ignored, nor should it be some magical mantra, repeated often enough that you can 'magically' lower a price.
Ofcourse some codes are so obviously necessary that to ignore them is almost life threatening . Any of the Unifom Mech. Code rules concerning wood burning or even oil burning flues must be followed to the letter to prevent fires . Same with any code to prevent CO from entering a residence . However that being said , the assumption of some recently graduated home inspector that knob and tube = death ,rankles me to no end (recently happened to me). Please refer to the National Electrical Code to see where it is permitted and even when it may be installed . http://books.google.com/books?id=ZlsHKu ... &q&f=false" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Let me give you an example of what Im talking about .
The UFC instituted a new code that any appliance with a pilot light or other igniton device ,must be installed 18 inches above the floor of a garage .
Why ? Because if you are storing gasoline in the garage or if your auto is leaking gas the fumes will form a "puddle "that will ignite when it reaches the pilot . I actually did know of one experience when this happened . A customer of mine was changing out a gas tank on his vintage Porche and yes the fumes ignited (he was unscathed but the house didn't do so well)if he would have cracked the door a few inches he would have been fine .
So almost any house built before 1995 or so is in violation of this code .
" The commitee writes a code any time someone dies "is the sort of dark joke we used to say .If youve ever watched the show 1001 ways to die you'll know that there are some really unlikely accidents out there . If your over eager realtor or inspector insists on this code being followed it could cost the home owner thousands of dollars (if he's desperate or uninformed enough).Raising the furnace or boiler , water heater , repiping the air condtioning can be a really big job . Now are you going to store gas in an open container or ignore a leaky gas tank ? Probabley not but the code is written for the most "devil may care " person among us .

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:05 pm
by DarkAxel
Just a few thoughts off the top of my head:

When you go out and look at the place, check the driveway, foundation, etc. for cracks. A cracked foundation will eventually kill a house.

Check the area where the foundation meets the lumber of the house. If there is dirt over top of that line, then the lumber underneath is most likely beginning to rot or has already rotted.

Check the roof-line. It should be straight, without any dips, humps, or zig-zags. If it shows any of those, the roof was either poorly constructed or the roof has leaked and some joists and rafters are rotting and giving.

Check the ceiling and walls for any dark spots or mold. If there's a fresh coat of paint on the them, the seller might be trying to cover up something.

Common places to look for leaks: window frames, door frames, wet-walls, ceilings, walls that contain the septic system vent-pipe, and around any opening on the roof.

Check the windows and door frames to make sure they are still pretty square. House-settling will knock it off square a little bit, but when the window or door is noticeably out of whack it's a good sign the floor joists are rotting.

Also, find the hot water tank, and open the drain valve at the bottom. The water should be clear. If not, then the municipal water system in the area has been leaving nasty deposits in the pipes and tanks of the house. If nothing comes out, then the tank needs to be replaced, ASAP.

As for home defensibility, This will probably be something that you will have to add yourself. If the place comes with Door-jamb armor, wrought-iron window bars, and the like, then great! If not, you can install things like roll down shutters, the door-jamb armor, and the like.

Home improvements?

First thing I'd do is replace the door locks, door knobs (interior and exterior), and toilet seats. If the house has old single-pane windows, those would get replaced. New paint for the walls, and texture for the ceilings. I'd do a little landscaping around the windows, like putting in prickly plants or cacti. Install security lights in poorly lit areas outside, then I'd think about a kitchen remodel (if the seller didn't have one done), bathroom remodel/adding another bath/half-bath to make the place "mine".

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:34 pm
by razi
nice list, darkaxel. I'm definitely writing that one down. :D

Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:22 pm
by ScottAW
Upside down outlets...bothered me for years and I just randomly heard the answer from a friend.

Upside down smiley face (current code) if you have a plug half in and drop something on it (picture hanging wire for example) the first thing it hits is the ground.

Smiley face up, that wire hits both and completes a circuit.

Very slim chance, but you know how it goes.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:35 pm
by Phoenix David
Don't buy on a corner.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:36 pm
by Stercutus
Also, find the hot water tank, and open the drain valve at the bottom. The water should be clear. If not, then the municipal water system in the area has been leaving nasty deposits in the pipes and tanks of the house. If nothing comes out, then the tank needs to be replaced, ASAP.
Not necessarily. Solids have a higher solubility in warmer liquids. The water heater nearly always ends up as the resting place of lots of nasties. Clear water coming out of the bottom of the tank would be an exception rather than a rule for an older hot water heater.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:45 am
by DarkAxel
Blacksmith wrote:
Also, find the hot water tank, and open the drain valve at the bottom. The water should be clear. If not, then the municipal water system in the area has been leaving nasty deposits in the pipes and tanks of the house. If nothing comes out, then the tank needs to be replaced, ASAP.
Not necessarily. Solids have a higher solubility in warmer liquids. The water heater nearly always ends up as the resting place of lots of nasties. Clear water coming out of the bottom of the tank would be an exception rather than a rule for an older hot water heater.
Well, clear as opposed to orange brackish shit with nice solid chunks in it :wink:

Something I forgot, Check the T&P valve as well (If you don't know what it looks like, it kinda looks like a brass faucet that only lets out water when you lift the valve stem in the center). If it's stopped up, really bad things can happen. Modern Hot Water Heaters have electrical backups to the T&P valves, and shuts off if the pressure inside the tank hits a certain level. The water heater IS one thing I'd make the seller replace before buying if it's not up to snuff, though.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:08 am
by riverjoe47
Darkaxel wrote ....
The water heater IS one thing I'd make the seller replace before buying if it's not up to snuff, though.

Hmmm since I'm the seller and I've already priced my house well below appraised value how are you going to make me replace the water heater . OK I'll replace it but I want the appraised value now ,$10,000 more then I was asking .

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:17 pm
by DarkAxel
riverjoe47 wrote:Darkaxel wrote ....
The water heater IS one thing I'd make the seller replace before buying if it's not up to snuff, though.

Hmmm since I'm the seller and I've already priced my house well below appraised value how are you going to make me replace the water heater . OK I'll replace it but I want the appraised value now ,$10,000 more then I was asking .
So you're going to sell someone a house that contains a hot water heater that may kill them? T&P valves fail, and so do mechanical backups.

ETA: I do see where you are coming from, Joe, but given your scenario, I'd pass on buying your home.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:57 pm
by Real_Ale_Act
On HOA's: I had many of the same prejudices that other posters have expressed, but I wound up buying in an unincorporated rural area, with HOA dues of $30/year. The dues go to cutting the tall grass in the empty lots (which will be there basically forever because there's a sewer/septic moratorium in the neighborhood) for extremely necessary fire prevention. They are also supposed to use the dues to maintain the horse trails, but I'm told this is never done. I suspect that an HOA like mine is a very rare case, but check what they're about (ask a potential neighbor maybe) before you flat refuse a place that has one.


On mortgages and closing: have, at minimum, twice what you plan to pay as a down payment actually in the bank before you get on the mortgage train. I closed a mortgage in may 2010, with I think 7.5% down, and got a decent interest rate too. (20% down will get you the most awesome interest rate, but do not believe that it can't be done with less - just try to stay above 5% (or is it 3?) because those are FHA loans and have lots more inspection hoops to jump through) By the time all the closing costs were totalled, including impounds, first couple of insurance payments, etc, it was a lot more than my down that I had to pony up that day. I was surprised by how much more it turned out to be and I hope to save you a similar surprise.


On buying a foreclosure: it's not that bad, but take everything you are thinking about negotiating price reductions based on the condition of the house and throw it right out the window. Foreclosure/REO homes are sold as-is, codes and inspection items be damned. The best you can hope for on negotiations once you're in escrow is that they will add the price of the repairs on to the price of the home and bid out the contract for you. This didn't seem to me like the best use of my $. Especially for piddly shit like needing stairs on the deck and a new back door.


In general: Be patient. This process is stressful and hellish, and makes moving itself seem like a picnic. The worst part is that bit on the application where your entire financial identity is laid bare in front of you. I don't care how much you have or how much you make, it's tough to see it all in one place like that. Also, expect the mortgage application to have at least one question or action item returned to you - they will want more explanation, in writing, of something. Don't worry, I think that's standard now, and they probably think it shows that they're doing due diligence on not loaning to eediots.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:00 pm
by hooliganlite
Get a quote for home-owner's insurance for the house before you buy. The claim history stays with the property so, if a previous owner burned up the kitchen or flooded the basement, you'll be paying a premium based on that risk. Premiums should be only a few hundred a year for a modest home in most localities.

Ask the agent about the claims history. It might reveal a hidden "feature" that the seller might not have mentioned.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:28 pm
by riverjoe47
darkaxel wrote:
riverjoe47 wrote:Darkaxel wrote ....
The water heater IS one thing I'd make the seller replace before buying if it's not up to snuff, though.

Hmmm since I'm the seller and I've already priced my house well below appraised value how are you going to make me replace the water heater . OK I'll replace it but I want the appraised value now ,$10,000 more then I was asking .
So you're going to sell someone a house that contains a hot water heater that may kill them? T&P valves fail, and so do mechanical backups.

ETA: I do see where you are coming from, Joe, but given your scenario, I'd pass on buying your home.
I believe your words were "not up to snuff " not " irresponsible home owner refuses to replace deadly water heater bomb ." but hey I get your drift . There is an episode on Myth busters devoted to blowing a water heater with a plugged pop off valve that is just mind blowing .

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:59 am
by DarkAxel
riverjoe47 wrote:
darkaxel wrote:
riverjoe47 wrote:Darkaxel wrote ....
The water heater IS one thing I'd make the seller replace before buying if it's not up to snuff, though.

Hmmm since I'm the seller and I've already priced my house well below appraised value how are you going to make me replace the water heater . OK I'll replace it but I want the appraised value now ,$10,000 more then I was asking .
So you're going to sell someone a house that contains a hot water heater that may kill them? T&P valves fail, and so do mechanical backups.

ETA: I do see where you are coming from, Joe, but given your scenario, I'd pass on buying your home.
I believe your words were "not up to snuff " not " irresponsible home owner refuses to replace deadly water heater bomb ." but hey I get your drift . There is an episode on Myth busters devoted to blowing a water heater with a plugged pop off valve that is just mind blowing .
For me, "Up to snuff" means safe. I work with a contractor, and I've seen all manner of cobble-jobs, drunken home improvements, and out and out dangerous situations/installations/neglect. On older houses, the problems usually get worse.

And for Razi:
I think this should be a no-brainer, but right now I'd stay away from variable-rate mortgages. I'd also be on the lookout for signs that the home has been over-valued. (Even in this real estate market, a lot of homes have been appraised 10%-20% ABOVE their actual value).

Real Ale Act also made a good point. Foreclosure/tax sale/DEA sale homes are sold As Is. You can't negotiate repairs, though you should still get the chance to check out the property yourself so you can get some idea as to what you are getting into. There's still a good chance you might end up with a money pit anyway.

I'd also do some research on the house itself. There's a possibility that it used to be a crack-house, used to house released test animals, was the sight of a gruesome triple homicide/suicide, housed a crazy religious sect that planned to release ricin on a subway, etc. In most states, homesellers are required to inform you about things lke this, IF THEY ARE AWARE OF THEM. That's not always the case.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:03 am
by Stercutus
On mortgages and closing: have, at minimum, twice what you plan to pay as a down payment actually in the bank before you get on the mortgage train. I closed a mortgage in may 2010, with I think 7.5% down, and got a decent interest rate too. (20% down will get you the most awesome interest rate, but do not believe that it can't be done with less - just try to stay above 5% (or is it 3?) because those are FHA loans and have lots more inspection hoops to jump through) By the time all the closing costs were totalled, including impounds, first couple of insurance payments, etc, it was a lot more than my down that I had to pony up that day. I was surprised by how much more it turned out to be and I hope to save you a similar surprise.
I am getting ready to buy another house this summer. Because of the number of homes I own they refused to go less than 20%, worried about my exposure I guess, even O/O. They also refused to lock in rates. This is pretty telling so they must be convinced rates are going to jump up again. Rates are incredibly low right now. Might never see 4.3% again in our life times.
I'd also do some research on the house itself. There's a possibility that it used to be a crack-house, used to house released test animals, was the sight of a gruesome triple homicide/suicide, housed a crazy religious sect that planned to release ricin on a subway, etc. In most states, homesellers are required to inform you about things lke this, IF THEY ARE AWARE OF THEM. That's not always the case
Zillow is pretty handy. Be sure to check tax records and sale prices of homes in the area you are looking at. Owner disclosure will fail you. Especially if it is bank owned, they will put you into debt to buy a house that they know is no good.

Re: Advice for a first-time homebuyer

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:14 pm
by Qasim
I am getting ready to buy another house this summer. Because of the number of homes I own they refused to go less than 20%, worried about my exposure I guess, even O/O. They also refused to lock in rates. This is pretty telling so they must be convinced rates are going to jump up again. Rates are incredibly low right now. Might never see 4.3% again in our life times.
The Fed is halfway into a six-month money-printing binge, AKA "quantitative easing" this is making money cheaper. As soon as they finish, rates will go up.