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Buying your first home in US. Headache or super fun time?

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SO, my hubby and I are ready to buy a home in the next few months, but beeing first time home buyers we are afraid somehow we will get the short end of the stick, as it often happens with newbies. There are so many things that we don't know, that we feel we should hire someone with experience to guide us through the entire process. On the other hand we don;t want to spend more money than necesary. We understand few things like the factors that change your monthly mortgage such as your credit report, your interest rate etc....we got some info on that, i guess the big question that we have is do we need to have a realtor? should we hire one? has anyone here bought a home without using a realtor? and if we were to hire one how expensive are they?

Homes in virginia are expensive and unless you are spending 400k and up ...your home will look like a glorified barn.

We already went to see some models for brand new homes, and the one we liked is 250k....go figure... :lol: The monthly mortgage would have been $1,700... :wow: that is a bit steep for most pockets, am i right? then we looked at some townhomes that were around 200k-very small nothing much to them, also brand new. Then i looked on realtor and found some amazing homes 30 min away like 150k for 3,700sq/f...in a good area, the home looked amazing...then we called it was really hard to get a hold of anyone, when we did they told us the home has already someone who put an offer to the house. He didn't seem to excited that we should also put an offer to it. It seemed to me it was bogus... we called 2 other realtors and only one actually called back. Come on people this is sales we are taalking about, they should be killing themselves to meet with us. I was talking to my husband ..are there so many people buying a home nowdays in us that realtors are that busy??? i could understand if this would have happened in romania-where nobody wants to sell you s.., but here? i would have expected people to jump to the oppotunity. And what's with the realtors not actually answering the phones? None of them actually answered the phone they all had an automated voice machine..what happened to the days where you call and you actuall get to speak to a real person???

any insight? any advice?

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I vote for 'super fun time'

but

I'm not a retail buyer, at all - I look for distressed properties, buy them, fix them, rent them out.

My primary residence I LEASE, but wife has bevy of choices when she comes stateside (ya, we're kicking out a renter)

but ...

If the USCitizen's credit is stellar -

If I Were In Yer Shoes -

I'd get pre-approved for a mortgage -

and then

when you talk to a realtor - mention to them that yer pre-approved for a mortgage... This magical phrase seems to short-circuit all vaccuous sales-pitches, for some reason, and get you much attention.


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I vote for 'super fun time'

but

I'm not a retail buyer, at all - I look for distressed properties, buy them, fix them, rent them out.

My primary residence I LEASE, but wife has bevy of choices when she comes stateside (ya, we're kicking out a renter)

but ...

If the USCitizen's credit is stellar -

If I Were In Yer Shoes -

I'd get pre-approved for a mortgage -

and then

when you talk to a realtor - mention to them that yer pre-approved for a mortgage... This magical phrase seems to short-circuit all vaccuous sales-pitches, for some reason, and get you much attention.

thanks for the tip!

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I would definitely get a realtor for your first time home buying experience. Don't just choose someone whose name you've seen on a website. Ask around and get recommendations from others, then meet with them and make sure they're the right fit for you. Its a mine field out there, so you'll definitely want a professional on your side who is looking out for your interests. With the housing market as bad as it is (though I think it has rebounded SOME recently), I find your husband's impression to be untrue. They should be happy to have whatever business they can!

Generally, realtors take their commission out of the sale price of the home (which generally would roll into your loan) so you're not out of pocket to have one assist you.

The only other thing I would suggest is securing your financing before you start looking (meaning get pre approved for a loan). That will let you - and a realtor - know what you have to play with before you begin and also gives you a ballpark price range where to start looking.


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I would definitely get a realtor for your first time home buying experience. Don't just choose someone whose name you've seen on a website. Ask around and get recommendations from others, then meet with them and make sure they're the right fit for you. Its a mine field out there, so you'll definitely want a professional on your side who is looking out for your interests. With the housing market as bad as it is (though I think it has rebounded SOME recently), I find your husband's impression to be untrue. They should be happy to have whatever business they can!

Generally, realtors take their commission out of the sale price of the home (which generally would roll into your loan) so you're not out of pocket to have one assist you.

The only other thing I would suggest is securing your financing before you start looking (meaning get pre approved for a loan). That will let you - and a realtor - know what you have to play with before you begin and also gives you a ballpark price range where to start looking.

well...you see the reason why we have this feeling like they are not on their game is because we called the first realtor, and he said it's too late (5pm) and he will have someone call us the next day. When nobody called us we called them again, only to let us know he is the associate and he doesn't understant why his name is on the website, but he will ask someone to call us back this time. When we actually got a phone call, the guy was at a football match and was rushing us, and the house we wanted had another offer on it, and it seemed to me that he was not exactley pusing us to put another offer on the house ... then he could not meet with us the weekend we wanted, so it was like...come on you want the bussines or not. My husband has a good credit score and makes preety good money, so chances are we will be aproved for a good amount, obviously we will buy the home we are comfortable with- financially speaking.

then we called some other realtors (like two more) and only one gave us a call back.

Knowing that approval is not a huge issue, we wanted to look at homes to see what's out there before we get pre-aproved.

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You want to do 2 things when you start your journey.

Number 1 you want to find a great loan officer. Number 2 you want a great realtor that can show you houses in your price range. You tell him the cities you are interested in and the prices. He will send you an email listing each day. You scan through the listings and pick out 3-7 that you really like. Set aside an afternoon or a morning and go look at all of them.

If you get a sh!tty loan officer you might get denied the loan. They basically have to put together an organized portfolio (such as a K-1 app) and if they put it together like a slob then the underwriters will deny it (this happened to me with first loan officer).

I'm not sure all the types of loans out there but we got an FHA loan through PNC bank. Very smooth experience.


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You want to do 2 things when you start your journey.

Number 1 you want to find a great loan officer. Number 2 you want a great realtor that can show you houses in your price range. You tell him the cities you are interested in and the prices. He will send you an email listing each day. You scan through the listings and pick out 3-7 that you really like. Set aside an afternoon or a morning and go look at all of them.

If you get a sh!tty loan officer you might get denied the loan. They basically have to put together an organized portfolio (such as a K-1 app) and if they put it together like a slob then the underwriters will deny it (this happened to me with first loan officer).

I'm not sure all the types of loans out there but we got an FHA loan through PNC bank. Very smooth experience.

Thanks for sharing that with me. That helps me a lot.

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For realtors, are you looking at known national companies? They should have somebody working the phones while others are out showing houses. Your experience is enough to put off anybody.

I think homebuying varies by state sometimes. Here's a Virginia page about homebuyer education.

http://www.vhda.com/Homebuyers/HomeownershipEdu/Pages/HomeownershipEdu.aspx

A government resource page http://www.hud.gov/local/index.cfm?state=va&topic=homeownership

Some tips http://www.jble.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101004-044.pdf

It discusses realtors.

Lastly, do you have any older, wiser aquaintances who know the ropes locally who would mentor you? Somebody from work or church perhaps?


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For realtors, are you looking at known national companies? They should have somebody working the phones while others are out showing houses. Your experience is enough to put off anybody.

I think homebuying varies by state sometimes. Here's a Virginia page about homebuyer education.

http://www.vhda.com/Homebuyers/HomeownershipEdu/Pages/HomeownershipEdu.aspx

A government resource page http://www.hud.gov/local/index.cfm?state=va&topic=homeownership

Some tips http://www.jble.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101004-044.pdf

It discusses realtors.

Lastly, do you have any older, wiser aquaintances who know the ropes locally who would mentor you? Somebody from work or church perhaps?

Well, my husbands assistant's friend is a realtor-but how good she is in what she is doing we don't know. And we don't have anyone here that we would be able to ask questions, since we don't talk to his family at all, and most of his friends are not from here...

that's why for us is hard as we have no ideea about anything.

But i will read the websites you gave me, and i hope i can get some more information, so when we decide to buy a home we will make an informed decision.

thanks for your advice.

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Since you asked, approach this like my parents approached it and like I approached it: buy within your means. Having a huge home with a mortgage that will eat you alive is no fun. It can break you, literally. Have at least 20% down payment saved up plus whatever you will need to turn that house into your "home."

Buy the lowest priced house in the best neighborhood, not only because the tide will lift all boats, but because there' s no point in having a nice home in a shitty neighborhood.

I, personally, always buy what cannot be replaced, namely an 1920s to 1950s home, instead of a run-of-the-mill cardboard construction. My Ventura home is a craftsmen style home, built in 1938. It was a 1+1 but the previous owner extended it into a 2+2. Not big by anyone's standard but very charming and cosy.

Having a second bathroom will increase the value of a home overproportionally.

If you can, pay a bit extra every month that goes straight toward the principal. This way you can save years and tens of thousands of dollars on money.


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I love Craftsman-style homes. :luv:

Silvana, we have recently purchased a home in VA. (We own another home in FL but we have a good tenant in there.) Your first step is to find a good mortgage consultant and get pre-approved. A realtor is not terribly interested in taking you out and about if they think you are not serious and/or if there is a risk of your loan not being approved. It also helps them know which homes you can afford. Choose your area(s) and then find a realtor who specializes in that area. If they know their stuff, they'll have the inside information on which homes are coming onto the market so you can get in before it's spent too much (or any) time on the market. You may need to do several "interviews" to find the right fit.

I found Redfin to be a valuable resource, along with Zillow and Trulia. If you are willing to risk the stress and strain of a short sale or a foreclosure, that is where you will find your best deal. If you prefer a smoother transition, go for the traditional sale.

As for your reference to putting an offer in on a home which already has an offer in on it..... a realtor is not going to put in an offer on a home if there is one already pending. Unless, of course, the sale was designed to draw multiple offers, in which case there will be a deadline on when offers can be received.

Anyway, good luck on your home search. It's a great time to be buying with the rates low and the inventory high.


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I love Craftsman-style homes. :luv:

Silvana, we have recently purchased a home in VA. (We own another home in FL but we have a good tenant in there.) Your first step is to find a good mortgage consultant and get pre-approved. A realtor is not terribly interested in taking you out and about if they think you are not serious and/or if there is a risk of your loan not being approved. It also helps them know which homes you can afford. Choose your area(s) and then find a realtor who specializes in that area. If they know their stuff, they'll have the inside information on which homes are coming onto the market so you can get in before it's spent too much (or any) time on the market. You may need to do several "interviews" to find the right fit.

I found Redfin to be a valuable resource, along with Zillow and Trulia. If you are willing to risk the stress and strain of a short sale or a foreclosure, that is where you will find your best deal. If you prefer a smoother transition, go for the traditional sale.

As for your reference to putting an offer in on a home which already has an offer in on it..... a realtor is not going to put in an offer on a home if there is one already pending. Unless, of course, the sale was designed to draw multiple offers, in which case there will be a deadline on when offers can be received.

Anyway, good luck on your home search. It's a great time to be buying with the rates low and the inventory high.

thanks for the input. What is redfin zillow and trulia? never heard of them. i agree with you we are lucky to be buying a home in this housing market...i'm sorry for people who bought high and have to sell low now...

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I suggest first taking a crash course in home buying/selling - the firm I work for organized a course for home buyers/sellers where they brought in an outside firm and I have learned so much from that (we were sellers) - it cost mere $30 and with it I also got my free credit report with score from the mortgage banker. There has to be something similar available in your area.

Do NOT even attempt buying a house without a realtor - if anyone will get you a good price especially for a new home it's the realtor. You want to have someone whose profession is in real estate and not a friend of a friend, or a family member who is realtor on a side. Ask for certifications and continuing education classes they took to make sure they're legit. You want to know how many houses they found for buyers recently, how long was the average time from search to buying a house and DEFINITELY ask for references from the buyers - and then CALL those references. That way you will know if the realtor can deliver what you want.

Also a good point mentioned is to get pre-approved for mortgage. Know your numbers - FICO, available funds for downpayment - the more downpayment your have, the better APR you get.

You want to look not just at the big banks but also mortgage bankers - often times they can get you a better APR rate that may affect your bottom line when it comes to how much mortgage you pay each month. Also, ALWAYS ask what the PITI amount for the mortgage payment is in the end - principal, insurance, taxes, escrow - if you don't budget for those in the original calculations, being a mortgage payer on time could be a struggle.


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thanks for the input. What is redfin zillow and trulia?

You'll see those words are underlined in my post, meaning they contain a link. Just click on the underlined word and they will take you to good sites for home searches.

Edited by Krikit

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Homes in virginia are expensive and unless you are spending 400k and up ...your home will look like a glorified barn.

lol

We already went to see some models for brand new homes, and the one we liked is 250k....

any insight? any advice?

Like Krikit said you want to be pre-approved for a certain amount (this is where the loan officer comes in)...They can jot down your numbers (annual income and credit score) and tell you what you "should" be approved for in a matter of minutes assuming everything goes smoothly in the loan process.

Craigslist has some good offers around and I can spend a lot of time browsing through. Here are some homes in the $140,000 to $280,000 range in or near Richmond, VA...You can adjust the min/max price and explore what is out there very easily...

http://richmond.craigslist.org/search/rea?query=&srchType=A&minAsk=140000&maxAsk=280000&bedrooms=&hasPic=1


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