Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shopping does not get any better than this.

I love shopping. So you can only imagine how excited I am now that I get to shop for......a house!!! Yippee!!! We spent a wonderful hour at the bank yesterday afternoon, and the time has come for us to buy a home. A home!! For ME!! My own house! (yes, I have to share with the Terrors and Hubby. But still. A house!)
I'm pretty excited, can you tell?
If you have recently gone through the whole buying thing, or even selling thing, I could use any advice you have. I know very, very little about the process. In fact, I can sum up what I know: "Houses cost a shitload of money."
Must run, have houses to look at and web sites to peruse!


Undercover Angel said...

Wow - that's fantastic! You must be so excited! We still rent so I'm not much help. I wish I could be of more help.

MaryP said...

We bought our first home together three years ago.

A few things I learned: Your real estate agent is NOT on your side. He/she is out to make the best deal for him/herself - which may or may not be the best deal for you.

You must get the house inspected. Yes, it will cost you an extra few hundred dollars, but well worth the price.

Ask a real estate lawyer to suggest an inspector. Do not use the one your real estate agent suggests - remember, your agent just wants to make the sale. If you get a very hard-assed inspector, they will find all manner of nit-picky things that you can use to knock down the price. (Ours saved us $7,500 off the asking price.)

Closing costs. Expect a few thousand dollars beyond the purchase price of "closing costs", to do some magical, mystical, utterly invisible yet somehow essential things...

And then, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. I adore the freedom and release of being accountable only to myself and NOT HAVING A LANDLORD!!! (Our last one was the worst landlord I'd ever had, in over 15 years of renting. Soooo glad to be free of him.)

Birdie said...

Yay!!!!! How exciting!!! I wish I could buy a home!!!! I'm renting a little house and hope to be able to buy some day! I can't wait to read your house hunting adventures.

sky said...

How very exciting. I would love not to be paying into the rent monster...arrrggghhhh...all the money I've chucked at them over the years. I agree with maryp - house inspection is VERY important, and get an independent inspector for sure. You will want to be aware of any potential problems BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.

Amy said...

My husband and I bought our house a few years ago, and for an amazing bargain actually. We found one we liked and were told (by the realtor) that it had been on the market for quite a while (when it fact it had been listed for only 2 weeks). Thinking the people might be quite willing to sell for just about any price, we offered what we *wanted* to pay rather than something closer to their asking price.

So we made our offer, realizing only afterwards that we were going to be out of town for the next week. The owners rejected our offer. Well, according to The Rules of Realty (which I'm sure exist somewhere), it was our turn to come back with a higher number. Unfortunately for the system, we were on vacation. When we got back, we decided not to rush into this home ownership thing and save a little more money.

What we didn't know was that we were the only offer and the owners were starting to think we were going to be the only offer ever. So they reconsidered and agreed to sell us the house for $20,000 less than their asking price.

The realtor, of course, had been leaving us frantic messages while we were out of town telling us that we would lose the house if we didn't raise our offer. She would really have rather we bought it for more. :P

So, my advice is to look at LOTS of houses. We didn't look at as many as I think we should have (20/20 hindsight, of course)...there are things about this house we might have noticed if we'd had more to compare it with. And be as patient as you can. Don't get caught up in the, "There are X number of people interested in this house, you need to make an offer NOW!" It might be true, it might be just a way to get you to make an offer. (Our realtor tried the latter on us. Thanks to my husband's cool head, we didn't go for it.) Yes, it might be the perfect house, but chances are a lot of other houses in the neighborhood will be similar, see if there are any others for sale.

And be sure your realtor knows what you want, and don't let them tell you what you want. We made the mistake of appearing to be the kids fumbling through the process that we were. :)

So be patient, wait for the right house, and don't let anyone tell you what to do. :)

Good luck!! Oh, and have fun. :)

Azgreeneyes said...

I have to completely disagree with maryp, not all realtors are out to get your money. You just have to look for one that fits your needs. Get recommendations, interview multiple realtors, and go with your gut. If all they do is schmooze you about how they aren't in it for the money, then they probably are. But a good realtor will listen to what you need and what you want, and find a happy medium in a price range that works for you.

Do get your house inspected, and if the seller is not offering it, get a home warranty (where available). They can be a lifesaver! We bought our second house 3 years ago, and the a/c heat pack on the roof went out 11 days later. (We should have gotten an inspection. Stupid hindsight) We paid the $50 dollar deductible and the crane rental, and had it replaced within 3 days. Significantly less expensive, but check what their coverage is.

Look at more than a few houses. This is soo a buyers market, you shouldn't run into much (if any) of the whole "3 offers are coming in right now, up your price my $20k!" Not to say that won't happen, but don't jump on the first one you like. You will more than likely regret it! Plus, make sure that there isn't anything that either you or hubby just absolutely can't stand, but settle for. It will bite you in the a$$ later. That's how we ended up buying our 3rd house last Nov. Hubby settled for the other, and then b*tched about it for 3 years!

Sorry so long, but between myself, my parents adn my grandfather, in the last 5 years we have bought about 30 properties, and we've become pros at it. Well, in AZ, at least!

Good luck, and remember if it starts to look like you'll never find the right house, you really will.