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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2001
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    Trailer Trash Ammy!
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    Default Advice for 1st time home buyers?

    I'm not saying I'm going to - there's a lot to be said for having mobility in this economy so you can go where the jobs are (plus, where I rent right now, I do have access to pretty nice horse facilities including an indoor, and it's CHEAP) - but let's just SAY that I were to try to buy a house.

    Home inspection, duh, but what other advice do you have, besides checking the property taxes and insurance and title, to be sure you're not buying a real money pit?

    Thanks!
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
    Location
    Michigan
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    10,323

    Default

    Hm. Um...accept that it's going to find a way to be a money pit and move on? Really, the only way to avoid that is to pay more up front for a house that doesn't need a lot done. The home inspector will not catch everything. But look for BIG things--age of the furnace (if it's 20 years old, that's going to have to go), is it propane (expensive and a pain to deal with), what's the roof like, how is the plumbing (if it's a septic field make sure it doesn't need to be pumped or if it does the seller does it.)



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 1999
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    South Coast Plaza
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    Default

    WA it's a cute house, buy it! I took one look at the main photo and immediately had the cottage garden designed in my head.
    EDDIE WOULD GO



  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coreene View Post
    WA it's a cute house, buy it! I took one look at the main photo and immediately had the cottage garden designed in my head.
    Ya think?

    Yeah, it is VERY cute, and it looks pretty solid without too much to go wrong w/ it (granted, it'll need a new roof in the next 15 years but it'll nearly be paid OFF by then at that price!)...

    BUT here's the thing: where I currently rent, I can bring Q home inside an hour, and he has a super-nice barn w/ tack room, wash rack, indoor, electricity, plenty of hay/bedding storage, his own big paddock right next to the house, blah blah blah.

    And right now, there are NO paralegal job listings anywhere in GA or TN. So if my law firm goes under (there was just a 70% layoff and I was the only paralegal who made the cut!) and I need to cut and run somewhere else FAST, I can be gone in 24 hours.

    If I buy that sucker I'm locked into this factory town forever. Not sure that's the smartest idea.
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    Default

    I know it's tempting, but don't even think about it. Resale is everything these days, and that takes time. Your job isn't secure and you need your money to relocate if necessary.

    The bare facts-your downpayment must be 20% or you pay private mortgage insurance. If you go FHA you pay the downpayment (3.5 %) plus another 1.5% handling fee. To pay down the interest rate requires 1% of the mortgage (or house price, I'm not sure) for each point. Points and interest are deductible, but that's false economy because you pay them first. You will have to pay your own insurance, and taxes. Maintenance can be a budget killer. Eventually you will have to replace the furnace, and roof, and maybe most of the appliances. If you buy something that is a fixer you will have to redo whatever you don't like or doesnt' work. Remodels always cost more than you think, and take longer than you think. You will have outside maintenance of lawn, trees and pasture. If you get a farm property you will have a ton more of insurance costs, and maintenance costs.

    Renters don't pay the maintenance costs, so that would do it for me right there. Plus, if you have to sell quickly you may not be able to find a buyer that will pay what you still owe on the house, plus the seller's closing costs that include all commissions, and can cost well over 6% of the house price. If you can't find a buyer then you may have to rent and that may not pay the mortgage, plus management fees. Plus when you rent out a property you still have all of the maintenance costs, plus have to fix the renter's damages (security deposits don't always cover things).
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanM View Post
    I know it's tempting, but don't even think about it. Resale is everything these days, and that takes time. Your job isn't secure and you need your money to relocate if necessary.
    Thanks, that's what I think as well. It doesn't actually *have* the big-ticket items of which you speak - no furnace, no heat/central air, so the roof, the electric hot water heater and the PIPES would be the main concerns. It would definitely be a problem to resell fast if I had to, b/c it's in the back of beyond, but if I could hang on, it might be worth more 10-15 years down the road, b/c it's the "least" house in a pretty "most" area, i.e., the area I'd like to live in if I ever won the lottery! It would make nice housing for, say, somebody's farm manager.

    But on balance, I do still think I'm way better off where I am. This is a pretty sweet deal, at least until my singlewide gets blown over by the next tornado at 8:00 p.m.!
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2011
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    1,049

    Default

    Just make sure the mortgage payment is well within your financial comfort zone. Real estate agents will tell you that you pre-qualify for $X. We never spent more than 65% of the pre qual number.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2003
    Posts
    1,731

    Default

    Assume it's going to cost a lot more than you planned. Sigh.

    We bought our first house in 2008. Still love the house. In good condition, 1983 model, well maintained and got through inspection with no big redflags. We knew we were buying a 25+ year old house. We went into knowing a few things were going to have to get done.

    Let me catalog how things have gone down so far:

    1) Prior insurance repair to damaged roof was done with faulty shingles. Roof had to be replaced. Prior owners were fabulous about helping us get this done. We also shared the same insurance company, but still. Pain.

    2) 2nd repair was done incorrectly in one part, so roof leaked. Got fixed on insurance company's dime. Still. Pain.

    3) Replaced ancient HVAC (we knew we'd have to do this)

    4) water heater died. Had to be replaced.

    5) Exterior gas line corroded. Had to be replaced.

    6) Dishwasher died.

    7) Heating element in oven just died yesterday

    8) Fence is sagging and about to fall down

    9) Had to replace the disgusting, worn-through original carpet

    10) little tounge-latch on sliding glass door to master bedroom snapped off, funky door size, a fortune to replace. Been using a fighting stick for 2 years now. We call is "Security Stick"

    11) Control springs in garage door snapped. Had to be replaced.
    "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2003
    Location
    New York
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    Default

    I'm in the process of buying a foreclosure as we speak. What a pain in the A$$! I fell in love with the house the minute I walked in. My plan...as soon as we close, I'm applying for the barn permit, putting the small 4 stall barn up, bringing my ponies home and renting out the house so the mortgage will be paid for. I'm renting for the first year or two so I can save and fix the place up. It's rentable but needs fixing for my living standards. It's been a nightmare due to the leans, and various other town crap. My realtor said it's been nicknamed "Devil house" in her office since they've never encountered so many problems trying to sell a house before.
    Kristen

    Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
    http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2009
    Location
    The Left Coast
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    There is a lot of good advice here. Not all houses have so many repair problems, but do make sure you have a few grand hanging around that you don't need in case you have major repairs.

    I would also just say that when you first move in to a place, all the little things you want to change or fix will bug you. You will constantly be making lists and prioritizing work you want to do, calculating the associated costs, etc..

    Don't. Do. Anything.

    Wait six months (unless it's a safely hazard.) By then you will know what you can live with and what you can't, and you will save a ton of money and learn to go at your own pace.
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
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    Default

    WA-a trailer is much easier to replace (and many are very nice) than a house. And tornadoes follow the same path many times, so don't ever invest in property that has ever had tornado damage. ANd if you own a trailer and put it on a quality foundation with tie-downs (ironically called 'dead men') it should be more secure than many older houses are, especially depending on the zone it is built to qualify for.

    The rule of thumb is only buy if you intend to live there for five to seven years. And in this market there is no guarantee the housing prices will go up enough to make a profit even in ten years or more. And when new homes cost less than resales you really are screwed.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 30, 2007
    Posts
    2,715

    Default

    At one point, I was considering buying property but now I am not

    Reasons for me to not buy property at this point

    Not sure where I want to end up. I work for the state and might do a lateral transfer to another location in the future (closer to where I like to ski and cheap real estate).

    Cost of repairs, taxes, etc

    Can't count on a quick resale

    I like that the landlord does all the maintenance

    I am single so if anything happens to my job, there isn't another income to fall back on.

    My dream man may happen to own a fabulous horse property near a major ski resort. Of course I can't count on this happening but one never knows : )



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 1999
    Location
    South Coast Plaza
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    Default

    Oh no, with all that + job sitch, don't do it,
    EDDIE WOULD GO



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
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    Default

    Your uncertain job future alone should tell you to stay footloose and fancy free. Owning a home is expensive, no matter how great your mortgage is. That payment is like the purchase price for your horse... only a SMALL part of the real picture.

    When you do decide to buy... If you're going to bring horses with you, make sure you check out all the codes and restrictions imposed by your county/town. Some require setbacks for buildings and fence lines, specific sanitation requirements, limit the number of horses allowed, etc. Then make sure you find out if there are any land use restrictions (wetlands, or drainage/erosion control issues, for instance). Even in an area with horses already present, there can be surprises for new buyers.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,205

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    MHJ-a great analysis of the whole situation.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2001
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    I'm not really *seriously* considering it, except insofar as it sure would be nice to have a nice, little, easy to take care of place in the country to retire to, that's already paid for, and this would be easily payable for in just the short amount of working years I have left. It's NOT horse property - I've already long since ruled that out due to declining health.

    So it's kinda like - GAMBLE that the law firm will stay afloat (which the partners actually swear on a stack of Bibles that they will), and buy the house, in which case I would have no need, desire or whim to change anything EVER until the day I pop my clogs... or GAMBLE that the law firm *doesn't* stay afloat and I have to get out of Dodge quick or take strict emergency economy measures like bringing baby greenie home from training... It's a gamble either way! *sigh*

    Thanks for helping me think it through though!
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



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