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Old 08-05-2012, 11:39 PM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
I feel very over my head any time I think about it. I'm not sure if I'm putting away enough and part of me is thinking 'I spend X on art lessons and X on agility' should I be doing that? But I guess you've got to live some too.
It's all a matter of what you want to make a priority and what is important in your life. There are wants and then there are needs. Be brutally honest about what is a "want" and what is a "need." I almost got into this discussion with my aunt when I told her I bought a house, and instead of being happy for me, she proceeded to try and **** all over it by tell me all the things you "need." Hint: everything she told me you "need" is actually a "want."
Can your NEEDS be met? Then how much room is there for the WANTS? And are there wants you will give up so you can have these wants instead? Or, like lizzybeth, are you willing to put extra work in to make room?

There's also a lot to be said for doing work yourself and learning how to do things. My to-do list for the house is not a short nor simple one, and not a single item on the to-do list involves paying somebody else to do a darn thing. It's again about priorities and how much work you're willing to put into things. And that's just something you have to figure out for yourself... nobody else can decide for you.

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Old 08-05-2012, 11:52 PM
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CaliTerp07 CaliTerp07 is offline
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Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
There's also a lot to be said for doing work yourself and learning how to do things. My to-do list for the house is not a short nor simple one, and not a single item on the to-do list involves paying somebody else to do a darn thing. It's again about priorities and how much work you're willing to put into things. And that's just something you have to figure out for yourself... nobody else can decide for you.
Yeah, we do a time vs. money calculation for just about everything. Figure out what you value your time at (an easy starting point is your hourly rate at work). I'll come up with a rough ball park of how long I think it will take to do something (read: I call my dad and ask him how long it takes him, then double it) and then see if I think it's worth my time or not when compared to the quote from the professional. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. Some things I'm not willing to chance screwing up (reroofing, hanging cabinets, etc), other things that we expect to have to do repeatedly are worth learning how to do, because we'll save money every time we can do it ourselves (landscaping, replacing broken tiles, etc)

Sometimes the legalities of doing something yourself aren't even close to worth it. No way I'm taking down 60 foot trees myself, when the distance from my house to the neighbor's is less than 60 feet. If I sneeze wrong and the tree falls in an unexpected place, people could die or houses could be smashed. I will hire professionals and happily pay them!

You also have to figure out what you enjoy. Some people enjoy projects. I don't. The stress of having part of my house torn up makes me miserable, and I would rather pay than have a messy house for months. Everyone's tolerance for that is different though!
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:20 AM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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1) Go see a loan rep at a mortgage company. (I think better than a bank) Call first and ask what you need to bring with you. (income/expense info, savings history, job history, etc) You might qualify for an FHA loan, which could give you a zero down payment. The loan rep is a very valuable resource and can steer you in the right direction. They also are familiar with realtors in the area because they work with them and can help you find a good one.

2) Find a good realtor.

3) Keep your expectations reasonable since this is your first home. Don't expect to get everything you want the first time around. No house has everything you want. Do try and focus on things that can't be changed, like square footage and lot size. Cosmetic fixes that aren't too expensive, you can live with and modify over time. Major repairs or renovations can be very expensive. The loan company will require an inspection, but be sure and get a feasibility study if there are repairs to be made before you commit. (in the purchase and sale agreement, stipulate a time frame that you need to get a contractor to give you an estimate on anything you need to have done) A good realtor will advise you of this and other important matters.

You can often get a big bang for your buck with a town home vs. a single family or even a condo. Often, not always, they have no HOA dues, which condos usually have.

If you're going for a single family home, the further away from the heart of town, the less expensive. So, weigh the pros and cons and decide how far away from town you can live and expect that if you want to be close to town, you'll have to settle for less square footage... or less up to date or something in need of repairs.

Don't permit this to stress you out too much. It should be an adventure and you should be proud of yourself for even branching out and looking into being a home owner. Just remember, maintaining a home has it's ongoing costs and work, where renting is the landlords problem. Some people prefer renting for that reason. I've made money buying and selling houses over the past 4 decades or so. Most of the time, that happens. But lately, with the economy being what it is, what it may come to, that may or may not happen. But I think you'll get a lot of satisfaction from owning your own home.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:26 AM
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Living in the area you're in, I don't think that having a 20% downpayment and perfect finances are as important.

My husband and I bought our house 3 years ago. We lived in an apartment and planned on renting a house... but we decided that it would be better for us to just buy a house instead. We ended up getting the $8,000 tax credit, a 5% mortgage (we're going to look into refinancing for a lower rate!), and a decent price on our house. It costs us about $500 more a month for our mortgage than we paid for our apartment, but it is cheaper than renting a house.

The first thing we did was contact a mortgage broker from a company with good reviews. He took care of everything and walked us through the whole process.

For me, I LOVE owning a house. Of course, we've had to dump some money into it (~$7500 on landscaping, for example), but it's totally worth it. I don't have to ask permission from anyone before getting pets, I can do whatever I want to the inside of the house, etc, etc.

Good luck, Laur!

ETA: Generally, a down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5%, if you want to go that route instead

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Old 08-06-2012, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
You do have a lot of extra costs that go with it... if the furnace dies it's on you to buy a new one. New roof, new windows? Plumbing problem? Electrical problem? And let's hope there's no sick dog or YOU get sick/injured... It's all a bit overwhelming. You just have to make sure you aren't literally living paycheck to paycheck. Pay yourself first... when you budget make sure you leave room to deposit money into a saving's account to save up for disasters.

It's scary but I think you just have to be smart about it financially... and then dive in.
Just putting $25 aside a week will give you $1600 at the end of the year for emergencies. Sis and I have certain amounts we set aside out of each paycheck for various 'wants' and then we have a set amount budgeted per week for gas/groceries. We pay cash for day to day expenses - it's a great way to keep yourself from buying things you don't really need when you only have a certain amount to work with. (We also cut up the ATM cards, it was too easy to nickel and dime ourselves to death.) If there's something one of us really wants, then money gets set aside for that 'want', too. Even Riley has a fund for agility lessons/fun stuff, etc.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:31 AM
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Just go to mortgage co and sit down and ask. With the market they are dieing to sell. A lot of places have programs for single woman or other some such that helps with down payment or other such things. The market is very buyer right now and I do not doubt you would be approved. Don't hold back the worst thing they could do would give you a plan to follow if for some dumb reason you weren't. Then at least you would know what is what. Just do it.
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:14 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Some really good advice here, but just two things to add:

- You'll likely get approved for way more than you think. We got preapproved for almost double what we had figured out we could spend on a house - frankly I was kind of appalled since this was *after* the housing market tanked and they were supposed to be being more careful about loan amounts!

- When you do look for a house look at any HOAs (home owner associations) associated with the property. I've had several friends who have had major issues with their HOAs over pets, fencing, even what car sit out in the driveway and for how long. Just owning your house doesn't necessarily mean that you will have the freedom you need.
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