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Old 03-24-2018, 11:21 PM   #1
30-30
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Default Advice for first-time home buyers?

My wife and I are looking to buy our first house soon. We are also expecting our first kiddo in a few months. What do you wish you had known when you bought your first home? Suggestions?

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:24 PM   #2
chunkinlead
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In for this Iím in the same boat on the house.


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Old 03-24-2018, 11:25 PM   #3
thegrouse
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Bedrooms upstairs can be tragic
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:30 PM   #4
junkmanhunter
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My suggestion would be, make sure you do your homework on the area or areas you're looking at.
Like crime rates, big turnover in owners, future development plans. Is there an HOA and can you live with the rules if there is.

Shop your loan around and study the fees, different mortgage companies charge different fees.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:38 PM   #5
Awalk
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If you’re a DIY kind of guy, don’t be scared of buying a home that needs some
TLC. Even if you hire contractors to do a lot of the work, if you’re smart, you can get into the house for less and end up with your style in the end.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:39 PM   #6
Buckley99
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Don’t compound the stress of a child w/ the stress of overcommitting on a home. Look for something that is comfortable but not to the point that it becomes a financial burden.

A 30% mortgage/income ratio is the recommended ceiling.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:45 PM   #7
icetrauma
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My tip is, base the house you buy on 1 income, yours as the man of the house, and that is all you go by. Her's is icing on the cake if she works. And finance for 15 yrs. IMO, I prefer a single story. Running up and down stairs, with a new born, can be very interesting to say the least. When you're looking at house's, look at the lay out. Paint, carpet and tile are easily replaceable.

Last edited by icetrauma; 03-24-2018 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:58 PM   #8
krisw
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Iíll second that upstairs sucks.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:00 AM   #9
NannySlayer
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Default Advice for first-time home buyers?

Following

And congrats on the Bebe.


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Old 03-25-2018, 12:06 AM   #10
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One story!!!!!!! Do not stretch your budget too far. Twenty years ago I was approved for a $175K home. I (we....Wife and I ) purchased a $125,000 home instead. It was the best decision we could have made at the time for our budget. We stayed there for nine years. Upgraded to a very nice home and have been their for the last eleven years. With two kids in college we are ready to downsize in the next five years. Stick to a budget. Do not get wrapped up in a large house unless it is a steal.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:14 AM   #11
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Speak with a Realtor if you can. The market is hot. I held an open house this afternoon and in a 2-hour period, over 50 people showed up.

Have you pre-qualified yet? I have several first-time home buyers looking anf I sent them over to talk to a lender to see.qhere they were at on budgets and such.

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Old 03-25-2018, 12:30 AM   #12
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One option is to buy what you can afford on one income now, knowing you'll be looking for something more long term later.


My wife and I purchased our first home with a 5 year plan.
We needed a roof over our newly wed heads and weren't rolling in the dough at that time so we bought what we could knowing it was a short term commitment.

It was in a starter home community with smaller (cheaper) homes that we could afford.
We bought it knowing we would only stay in it for 5 years.

5 years rolled around and we sold it and purchased another home in a community we were happier with. (in those 5 years we better established ourselves in our careers and improved our income by a fair bit)

I made ~20K off the first home and put it towards the second home.

My reasons for the 5 year home- I didn't want to pay rent, I needed a garage for my toys, I knew (hoped) I could easily sell the house since there are always people starting out looking for affordable homes.


One word of caution- if they say the hot tub can stay for $2500, tell them to take it. after the ink dried I figured out I finance a hot tub on a 30 year note .


BTW, on the second home- I once again purchased what I could afford on my income on a 15 year note (paid it off last year).
2 weeks into the new home we find out my wife is prego. Since we bought what we could afford without her income, she has not worked outside of the home since my son was born. Which (if she has that mindset) I cannot recommend enough.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByronB View Post
One story!!!!!!! Do not stretch your budget too far. Twenty years ago I was approved for a $175K home. I (we....Wife and I ) purchased a $125,000 home instead. It was the best decision we could have made at the time for our budget. We stayed there for nine years. Upgraded to a very nice home and have been their for the last eleven years. With two kids in college we are ready to downsize in the next five years. Stick to a budget. Do not get wrapped up in a large house unless it is a steal.
I remember those days. Get people into homes they can only afford if they eat beans and rice the rest of their lives and staycation in the backyard for summer break.
We purchased a home under half of what were approved for.
When I was told the "approved for" amount I laughed out loud and told them they were crazy.


BTW, to the OP- the larger the house-the higher A/C and Heat bills, the more taxes you'll pay. I bet Mr. taxman loves a big fancy house.

Also- if in a HOA, find out there annual dues.
These can vary widely from one subdivision to another.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC View Post
I remember those days. Get people into homes they can only afford if they eat beans and rice the rest of their lives and staycation in the backyard for summer break.
We purchased a home under half of what were approved for.
When I was told the "approved for" amount I laughed out loud and told them they were crazy.


BTW, to the OP- the larger the house-the higher A/C and Heat bills, the more taxes you'll pay. I bet Mr. taxman loves a big fancy house.

Also- if in a HOA, find out there annual dues.
These can vary widely from one subdivision to another.
Yep, those nice pools in the summer can cost a lot in a HOA.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:46 AM   #15
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Default Advice for first-time home buyers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 30-30 View Post
My wife and I are looking to buy our first house soon. We are also expecting our first kiddo in a few months. What do you wish you had known when you bought your first home? Suggestions?



Thanks.


Buy what you can comfortably afford in a nice area. I have always wanted to live close to work so that usually means living in the city which makes the price go up and the lots smaller.


I bought my first house at 25 and it was nice but had all bedrooms upstairs which was popular in the neighborhood I built in Charlotte. The second house I built was at 30 and the master was downstairs.

You will learn what you like and donít like as you live in your first house and still wonít get it right in your second.

The next house I build will be a ranch with a bonus room above the garage. It will also have a safe room or a hidden room with a coat rack/bench seat area in the laundry room that leads to a room with enough room to have 2 large safes and a bench to tinker with my guns in the ac. It will also have a 3 car garage.


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Old 03-25-2018, 12:49 AM   #16
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not sure if it just me but do not buy a DIY house when expecting and have little kids all your off time will be spent on house and the baby grow up to quick to waste that time on a house
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:50 AM   #17
Black Ice
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Default Advice for first-time home buyers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckley99 View Post
Donít compound the stress of a child w/ the stress of overcommitting on a home. Look for something that is comfortable but not to the point that it becomes a financial burden.

A 30% mortgage/income ratio is the recommended ceiling.

I would say 15% would be comfortable and 20% would be the ceiling.

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Last edited by Black Ice; 03-25-2018 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 03-25-2018, 03:29 AM   #18
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Don't overspend, your mortgage can fluctuate from year to year. Make sure you check surrounding neighborhoods for run down areas. Try to get a home warranty in your negotiations, unless it's a new house.
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:33 AM   #19
flywise
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Do not get and ARM
1 story
Less than you can afford
Avoid HOA unless your very certain you don't mind some little Nazi sending you letters and threats about your place
Fixer uppers are nice if your handy but probably not with a new born in the house
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:41 AM   #20
Buckley99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Ice View Post
I would say 15% would be comfortable and 20% would be the ceiling.

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No doubt lower is better but 15-20% can be unrealistic with first time home buyers.

Last edited by Buckley99; 03-25-2018 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:53 AM   #21
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Back yard facing east. That way you can entertain late afternoon without being beat to death by the setting sun.
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:50 AM   #22
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As has been said research neighborhoods and school districts to narrow down where you want to be. I always tell people I can qualify you for more house than you want to buy.

I am going to go against the grain though on the 15 year. I would plan to pay off in 15 and buy a house that would allow me to do so but I would take out a 30 hr mortgage. Right now rate spreads between 15 and 30 year mortgages is not what it historically has been. You are starting a family and there will be many I expected expenses to come. Give yourself some freedom to make lower payments if you must.

Especially if you are buying a starter home that you will be in for 5-7 years
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:54 AM   #23
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I see a few folks mentioning not to get a two story. We have one and love it. Master down, 3 up. We don’t have to hear them and vice versa.

Don’t forget to budget in the taxes and insurance.
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:56 AM   #24
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Make sure your payment is way below what you can afford. Make extra payments so you are paid 6 months - 1 year ahead. Sure takes some stress off a guy knowing he’s ahead on his biggest bill.

Buy something that needs a little work and use that as a negotiation point.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:07 AM   #25
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I think there is lots of great advice here. Make sure you are happy with your school zoning/district. I am 32 and have built two homes on small acreage. The most recent on 11 acres that I love, but I should have thought things through for my kids instead of my wants. I have great deer hunting and love the house and land. Problem is I thought I would be okay with the schools. Now we are hauling him 20 minutes twice a day and more for ball games. I will hate to do it but I would imagine we will be moving in the next few years.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:14 AM   #26
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Lots of good advice.

Take your time. Lots of time. Make a list of all the advice you deem worthy.

Taxes is a biggie to watch out for. Even if they appear low you need pay attention. Look for a home in a very young school district (or super old).

Remember to try to get this right your first time. Selling a home and then buying another one cost a lot more money than most realize.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:29 AM   #27
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You also really need to consider the "add on" costs. Taxes, insurance etc be mindful of if the home is in a flood zone this will significantly increase the cost of insurance.

As was said plan on 10% +/- of the sales price to sell a home. Closing costs on purchase should add on 5-6K out of pocket over down payment. Also research the good and bad of different loan products and choose the best for you and your family.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:33 AM   #28
warrington
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If it's brand new then the taxes this year will be just for the land and next year thE taxes will jump up to normal

Surprised us on on our first house. Went from $1000 our first year to $3200 the next year. Didn't plan on that
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:35 AM   #29
warrington
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You can be one street over from the school that you want your kids to go to. It's worth an extra 10k to be in the school you want them to go to. It's also best for resale
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:36 AM   #30
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I'm with Austin on this one. Never,never,never go with an ARM. Don't stress yourself on getting into a 15 year note. Go 30, pay on it for 5-7 years the re-fi for 15 years once you have the young one out of the very expensive "FDC"...formula,diapers,child care. Yes, you might be taking a little gamble that interest rates stay the same but with good payment history and great credit you don't need to worry much about that. There will be some that scoff at the idea of re-fi because of paying closing costs again but they won't be coming out of pocket if rolled back into your note. And over the term really become a very nominal amount if you start to pay a little extra when you can. The wife and I did just that, we have 10 years left on the re-fi and are now able to double pay about every 2 months. We are also in a very good position on the house when we choose to sell/upgrade without ever having to stress about bills. I know it's a longer term than most would want for a starter home but it has allowed my wife to obtain her masters degree, my capt/guide license, a very nice boat, and the freedom to do almost anything we want(granted we save extra for it). Now that the financial stuff is out of the way, I prefer the sun setting on the front of the house with a prevalent wind hitting the backyard. If you are buying in an established neighborhood look for big mature oaks that give the property curb appeal and value. Repairs are costly so if you are not the greatest handy man buy accordingly. Many older neighborhoods have larger lots so don't get sucked into a "subdivision" because the houses are newer. Look at the city you will live in and how things are going for them. In my city there is only one way for it to grow and that land has become terribly expensive, so my quiet little centrally located house is now in a very desirable locale and the comps in my neighborhood show I can sell and make very good money. Consider schools, hospitals, work distances and so on. There are so many things to look at but don't let one keep you from buying. I doubt there is a perfect house in every way for the first time buyer. One more thing, no pools or hot tubs. They are just an extra expense nobody needs right off the bat.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:46 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrington View Post
If it's brand new then the taxes this year will be just for the land and next year thE taxes will jump up to normal



Surprised us on on our first house. Went from $1000 our first year to $3200 the next year. Didn't plan on that


Same happened to me. The first house I bought had not been reassessed by the county since it had been built. The taxes were based on $89,000 but when I bought it the county redid the taxes based on the sales value of $145k. The increase to my escrow put me in a bind.

In determining whether you can afford a house base your estimation of taxes on the sales price.


And get flood insurance!


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Old 03-25-2018, 09:01 AM   #32
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Can't agree more with the advice of base it off of YOUR income, not both you and your wife. Went through all of the same situations (got approved for a ridiculous number, etc). When oil tanked I eventually got laid off, which was 3 weeks after we found out my wife was pregnant. I took a very modest construction job and was able to swing everything even after wife quit her job as a teacher. Don't know what your families plan is, but I strongly urge you to be prepared for those plans to change as your wife may not want to go back to work after your new child is born (congratulations btw).

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. A lot of blessings and great opportunities, but it can be a little stressful and you can put yourself in a bind if you don't approach it with a little bit of moderation.

Got to also agree with the advice of not buying something that needs a lot of work when you are expecting a new one. Some guys can pull it off, but man, diapers and everything else adds up quick. It's hard to redo a bathroom or a kitchen, build a new fence, replace an AC unit etc when you're just trying to figure out how to keep everyone in your family smiling AND keep doing great at work.


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Old 03-25-2018, 09:11 AM   #33
Charles
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Congratulations on your new and exciting chapter in your life.

Others have already provided solid advice.

The only thing I'll add is budget for maintenance and upkeep. Lawn equipment, pest control, AC, plumbing, new blinds and curtains, paint, the list goes on and on so be prepared.
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:22 AM   #34
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I remember those days 23 years ago. All great advice above. Nothing like paying of your house. Remember to Pray a lot!
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:26 AM   #35
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Buy on a cul de sac or dead end.
Single story.
Buy well within your means
Check out the neighbors on a weekend.
Just like a ranch, bad neighbors are a constant stress.
Easy access to school will be important before you know it
I bought two houses within walking distant of elementary schools.
Lastly in a great school district.

Good luck and congrats

BP
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:52 AM   #36
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Don't get into a mortgage above your means of income and be house broke. If your not planning on staying longer then 5 years then a adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) may not be a bad idea to think about. Discuss with your loan officer your plans and how long you plan on staying in the house. Find a good realitor. A lot of times a good realitor will have information on a house coming up before it hits the market and can give you a good opportunity. Try to have enough of a down payment that way you don't have to be paying for PMI insurance. Also check with your local credit unions. They can have great loan opportunities for home buyers. if your buying in a neighborhood look at your neighbors yards. If they don't keep a clean yard and you do it will bother you down the road. Check the crime rates, school districts, And hoa's. Even though a house may not be in a the flood plain check with other people in the neighborhood to see how high water has gotten in big floods.
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Old 03-25-2018, 02:56 PM   #37
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15 year fixed mortgage that uses no more than 25% of your income.

Plan to pay that sucker off in less than ten years.

Being house-poor is no way to live your life
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Old 03-25-2018, 03:05 PM   #38
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There are worse things than renting, depending on your plan.


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Old 03-25-2018, 03:25 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30-30 View Post
My wife and I are looking to buy our first house soon. We are also expecting our first kiddo in a few months. What do you wish you had known when you bought your first home? Suggestions?

Thanks.
That I wasn't going to be married to Satan's sister much longer. I could have saved that money, and a bunch more.
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Old 03-25-2018, 03:28 PM   #40
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stress of overcommitting on a home.

I think this is the biggest mistake first-time home buyers make -- trying to keep up with the Jones and impress others. And, many make the same mistake with car/truck purchases IMO, buying what they "want" and not what they actually need.

Rant over---
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:33 PM   #41
Big pig
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Back yard facing east. That way you can entertain late afternoon without being beat to death by the setting sun.
Good idea. My back patio is an oven.
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:45 PM   #42
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With the real estate so hot right now you are going to pay a premium. My son and his wife bought their first home last year that thought was worth $180k. They paid $220k.

From DFW to Denton there is no shopping around or negotiating. Homes are selling the same day they go on the market. You have to show up at a new listing ready to offer 5% over the asking price, sign a contract.....pay cash or have financing on the spot.

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Old 03-25-2018, 10:36 PM   #43
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Getting a home inspection
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:43 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbar View Post
With the real estate so hot right now you are going to pay a premium. My son and his wife bought their first home last year that thought was worth $180k. They paid $220k.

From DFW to Denton there is no shopping around or negotiating. Homes are selling the same day they go on the market. You have to show up at a new listing ready to offer 5% over the asking price, sign a contract.....pay cash or have financing on the spot.


Same in Midland..


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Old 03-26-2018, 07:01 AM   #45
30-30
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Wow. The response to this thread has been incredible. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts!
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:03 AM   #46
forest-hunter
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I recommend a 15 year note if you can swing it. You will save insane amounts of money compared to 30 and be debt free in half the time.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:07 AM   #47
forest-hunter
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Also your gonna get totally screwed over if you don't have 20 percent down, but you gotta do what you gotta do. The pmi is basically theft for less fortunate! And it's hard to get it taken off...
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:37 AM   #48
kingranch
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if planning on selling in near future then I would definitely look at a one story layout, they seem to generate alot more interest on the market and if you need to get out of it you wont have to worry about it sittin on the market long
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:46 AM   #49
Johnny Dangerr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atfulldraw View Post
15 year fixed mortgage that uses no more than 25% of your income.

Plan to pay that sucker off in less than ten years.

Being house-poor is no way to live your life
Just paid off our 2nd house. First one is in the bank. If you can not do 15 years it's too much home...............
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:52 AM   #50
grizzman
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We have been in our house for twenty years. The only thing I can say is if you are planning for a long term buy, don't expect the neighborhood to look the same after 15-20 years. We refinanced to 15 years from a 30 year mortgage and I wish we had done that on the front end. Almost have it paid off and looking forward to it.

We are also glad that ours is a one story. Aside from the maintenance issues of having dual ACs like some friends of mine, as I get older I can't even imagine going up and down stairs. And if you have a pregnant wife, like mine was when we were looking for a house, two story houses become a non-starter, at least for us.

Last edited by grizzman; 03-26-2018 at 07:54 AM.
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