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Author Topic: Buying first home  (Read 2843 times)
SCacalaki
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« on: Jul 13, 2008 at 09:28 »

Seller accepted the offer late Friday.

Should close on 8/14, if everything goes well.

Home inspection next week...any thoughts or experiences that might help the process?  Any areas that you wish the inspector had looked into further when you purchased?

I'll start requesting the past 6-8 months of check stub copies from work (I had usually shredded them) and compiled bank statments.  Any guess how far back the lending or title company will need them?  I've heard they will come back up

Have to check into homeowners' ins. pretty quickly and get that set up.

No closing costs contributed on my side of the deal.

Lots of paperwork was signed/initialed prior to the offer being submitted to the seller...much more at closing.  

Any thoughts on making the closing easier?
 
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 13, 2008 at 12:31 »

We're currently in the second home we've purchased so I can't offer much, but here's what I can:

Let's see, seems like the title company wanted as much info as one could provide.  Check stubs as far back as possible.  They'll want to know your current debt situation with car payments, credit cards, loans, etc.  Get this stuff as organized as possible to speed the process.  You may need your SS card, DL, etc.  Call 'em up and ask what they expect you to bring.

Make sure the inspector checks air conditioning units (our home has two units and one was whacked, they had to fix it before we closed), plumbing - be sure to find where the clean outs are located, you'll need to know eventually.  Same thing for the exhaust from your dryer hookup.  Turns out that ours vents on our roof; in any case, you'll want to know where it is and keep that sucker clean for efficiency and safety purposes (fire hazard).  In our first home, the dryer didn't even vent outside and we had to do that ourselves.  Don't know what the previous owner did.  But the inspector didn't catch that.  Toilets should flush quickly and a tub full of water should drain in a reasonable time.

All inspectors are not created equally.  Got recommendations for the next one and that sucker was a pro, didn't miss a frigging thing in our current home.

You'll certainly want to be aware of property boundaries.  And, who's fence is that?  Is it on my property or the neighbor's property?  Do we share it?  This may be up to your localities codes and such.

The roof is very important, hopefully that's in good shape.  Foundation should be in good shape - doors should not jam, windows should open easily, etc.

Oh yeah, wiring, outlets and the breaker box.  Depending on the age of your new home the wiring could be shit.  Hopefully all the outlets are grounded properly and breakers are all of sufficient amperage or whatever.

Garage door openers.  Hmm.  Can't think of much else at the moment.

Oh, is there a home owner's association that you'll have to pay dues to?  That was a big deal for me - I absolutely refused to buy a home under such conditions - have heard horror stories about the nazis that sit on those committees.  But it may be unavoidable.

Good luck dude.  You're picking a great time to buy a home, that's for sure.
 
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 13, 2008 at 14:30 »

Pray for good neighbors.  
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 13, 2008 at 16:32 »

Quote
Pray for good neighbors.
Fuckin' A right.  

After several abortive apartment experiences, hellish neighbors, we lucked into having great neighbors all around, all up and down the street, really.  

I don't remember it being a difficult process.  I know I didn't cough up a pile of pay stubs.  In fact, it was all very smooth...  Part of that may have been that we pre-qualified with our lender, so when we were ready to make an offer it was just "Sign here... and here... initial here... don't worry about reading that, just sign..." what seemed like 1000 pages.  

As for the home inspection, IMO that's just going to point out major & obvious shit.  We spent so long looking at... housing dreck... that I got pretty good at seeing the bones myself.  Before we pre-qualified, I had seriously lowballed what we could afford, so we were looking at houses that needed a lot of help.  Our lender was like, "No, man, you can buy houses in THIS range..."  That changed everything.  Our home came up as an open house, we went head to head with another buyer and won.  Looking back on it, we really got a nice small Cape Cod for... peanuts.  Even with the housing bust, we paid so little, in retrospect.  Being house poor is not a good idea, IMO, so I'm happy with a modest house that we can easily afford.

Anyway.  

You buying near Baltimore?

How's the electrical?  200A throughout, all working recepts?  What kind of piping, copper or PVC?  Age of home, condition of foundation?  I prefer older homes, just seems like for the inevitable quirks they're sturdier.  May need upgrades, but drywall is thicker, framing better, etc.  Look for any drywall cracks for settling: minor cracks are OK, but you see some bigger shit, the foundation is whack.  White wood anywhere = water leaks.  Any roof leaks or basements leaks could spell trouble.  Condition and age of HVAC?  Of the roof?  Any immediate updates required?  Did previous owner leave any record of termite inspections?  Are you in a flood plain?  

You have to apply more subjective criteria for location issues: transit, noise, backyard/green space, proximity to necessities, downstream issues like schools, etc.

In short, I think you'll be fine with the financials.  Seriously.  But make sure the house is what you want.  Mrs. F. had this emotional reaction, which was, "This is the place."  My reaction was bifurcated: "Yeah, this could be the place; how solid is the bitch?"  I have been pleased, and have invested some time in small projects, but luckily have not had any major issues 8 years in.  

The one question of property lines is well worth clarifying: get the exact corners flagged if you can.  We have a row of old white pines at the back of our property that are awesome, tall, and at one time were likely northside windbreaks.  But with age, they lose limbs, more with each winter.  Beyond the mess of cleanup, which is more substantial than one would imagine, the inevitable question of taking them out looms: one day, they're just gonna go.  Being right on the property line means, do they go onto a neighbor's house?  Do they rip down power lines?  And I foresee several grand in removal costs.  You have to be cognizant of all that when you're signing.

It's a lot to take in, but don't be overwhelmed.  I love being a homeowner, and doing the whole Lowe's/HD thing and fixing this or that.  Never was good at it; learned.  You just do, you just figure it out and do it.  Plumbing, electrical, drywall, whatever.  

And the great part is this.  Once you own a home, your personal wealth paradigm changes irrevocably.  Yeah, you're beholden to the bank.  But it's like freezing time... your "rent" never goes up.  Your credit rating does.  Suddenly, as long as you manage your finances with any intelligence, you're golden.  You're investing in your own future wealth, your own equity, rather than making some landlord rich.  I know this is a bad time to say that buying a house is a wonderful thing, in the middle of Foreclosures, USA, but it is.  You're arriving, or on your way to arriving.
« Last Edit: Jul 13, 2008 at 16:34 by Finnegans Wake » Logged

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SCacalaki
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 13, 2008 at 16:56 »

Buying in downtown Baltimore...near the Hopkins campus.  Which means my wife takes the free Hopkins shuttle in to work and I walk to work.  It's the same neighborhood that we've been renting in for the past year.

It's an old home...built somewhere in the 1920s.

Completely gutted and rehabbed.  New roof, new electrical, plumbing, HVAC, appliances, paint lighting, etc.  Still, I need it all checked out.

Termite inspection will be included.  Some wood, though mostly brick.

A very quiet street.

Thanks for the heads up on the clean outs (I could google but what are they) and the property lines.  Those are things I hadn't thought of.  I didn't look but believe I know where the exhaust for the dryer is.  

No garage (on-street parking), which sucks but it's the city so it's more the norm.

No HOA, though there is a local tax that provides a security service for the neighborhood.  In Baltimore, that's a good thing.  Also have an ADT system in the house, which I hope saves $$ on insurance.

Fin, great questoins on the pipes and foundation...definite ly stuff (along with jonrz's above) that I'll take to the inspection.

The roof is new but when we were in the place two weeks ago, there did appear to be water damage in one of the upstairs bedroom's ceiling.  I brought that to the attention of the agent and seller.  

No yard to speak of, other than a patch of grass in the back, with a nice new fence around it.  A deck off of the 2nd floor, so we plan to create some type of patio under it and do a bit more small landscaping.  No trees, we've thought about putting one of those smaller Asian trees in the back yard (Japanese maple?).

No front yard at all...just a side walk out front.  It's a rowhouse.

Schools suck, but all public schools in Baltimore City do.

Neighbors seem okay though I've only met the one's on either side.  Elderly lady on one side and young family on the other.  

We're excited.  Also nervous at such a large financial commitment...but millions of people enter the same type of agreement and are fine.  So there is no reason we can't make it work.

We're lucky to have really good credit.  So I hope that means less prodding from the title/lender co.  But we'll have our stuff ready.

I have to contact my landlord to tell him of our plans.  Our lease doesn't say much about what happens if we break the lease.  I think we'll try to find another renter 'cause the landlord is a decent guy.  
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 13, 2008 at 18:38 »

Congrats, man.  Sounds like it could be very cool.

Detached?  Or "semi-"?

1920s sounds like a very interesting type of property, esp. if reno'ed.  Character, etc.

What's your SF?

Well, you're in enemy territory now, man...  :)




 
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SCacalaki
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« Reply #6 on: Jul 13, 2008 at 18:47 »

I guess it's classified as semi-detached...maybe????  Have neighbors adjoining on both sides.

1800SF.  

Thanks for the info and tips.  Other than getting married, it's my first "grown-up" decision..or at least that's what it feels like.  Purchasing a car (I've done twice) seems like a walk in the park compared to purchasing a home.

If you think of anything I should ask at the inspection, please send it my way.  I'm taking a lot of the points you and jonrz mentioned to the inspection.  

Yep, enemy territory.  Lots of Steelers fans though, which most Baltimorons will eagerly complain about.  
 
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 13, 2008 at 22:40 »

If it doesnt already come with one, i would highly recommend purchasing a Home Warranty.  its good for a year and you can usually get those for $400 beans.  some you can even pay for monthly so it isnt such a big bite to go along with the many other purchases you will be making in the next few months.

Im sure you will find most problems will crop up within the first year or at least the ones that your inspector may have missed.  the deductible is usually around the $50 dollar range for any time something goes wrong.

I had the house i currently live in inspected and everything the dude said was wrong was repaired before hand.  one thing he failed to mention was the condition of some of the windows...he just said they were average.  i guess by average he meant total shit come winter time.  I would have any inspector check those bad boys very thoroughly.

other than that...buy some ben-gay for the enormous cramp you will get when you sign your life on the X about a billion times.
 
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 14, 2008 at 06:16 »

Congrats SC. We bought our home (our first, and current) over ten years ago, things have changed since then, I am sure. I doubt I can be much help. Just wanted to offer my congratulations.
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 14, 2008 at 08:05 »

I can only add one item, in addition to what has been suggested.  A friend bought a home from that time frame, and the main water line going into the house was a lead pipe.  That had to be changed, and was quite a process.

Make sure everything is to CURRENT "code", especially the electical.  The electric box/panel should have current connections/breakers.  At least up to whatever code is.
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