Buying first home!!

  1. Hello all, I am in the process of looking for my first home and would like some tips. What to look for and what to ask,how to go about negotiating a price. I would also like to hear new home stories(good or bad)
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    Well Codebluechick - congrats on moving towards owning a home! I tell ya, I learned so much from the process. I didn't want to buy an existing home - as the existing homes I want are waaaayyyy out of my pricerange, right on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, with turn of the century marble and woodworking, right nearby the university.......ahhhhh....anyway...

    Our first experience with home building was HORRIBLE. The builder we went with was going bankrupt (little did we know) and we put a deposit of $2,000 down to secure the lot. Well - we lost it and have nothing for it. Our loss was actually quite small compared to others - some had put down an entire down payment of 10% - and lost that in it's entirity. Others have homes that were nearly completed - but no bank would secure the deed. Still others actually moved into their homes, only to find out that the builder/developer had liens on their home - and so, they have no clue if they can even stay living in there.

    We claimed that 2K on our taxes as capital losses, that's about all. We did build, but we went with a more pricey builder that was just out of our financial reach - and we had a great experience. What mattered most to us was what came standard in the home. Most homes come with the bare basics - and the big costs comes with upgrades. With the home we built, many of what was standard was already top-notch, such as all Kohler faucets, etc. We only had to upgrade a few things - like adding hardwood flooring - things like that.

    Of course we had our problems. The city gave us a hard time about this and that, we failed some our inspections, some of the subcontractors were complete muscleheads and totally damaged the drywall, my husband and I painted the inside of our house ourselves and nearly got divorced in the process - etc. But overall, I would definitely build again. You learn with each home you purchase - what not to do this time, what you would have done differently.

    I love our house. It's not our dream home, but pretty close. Its a relatively small ranch, about 1900 square feet. We have vinyl siding and partial stone/cedar front, which is ehhh...OK...but would LOVE all brick. Maybe the next house.

    Ask alot of questions and don't settle for anything you aren't totally comfortable with. Good luck.
  4. by   codebluechic
    Yikes! The main reason we decided not to build was because we heard MANY stories like that. Sooo risky!
    Thanks Susy K

    [ June 03, 2001: Message edited by: codebluechic ]
  5. by   Dplear
    All I can say is get a good lawyer to look over the papers and be there at the closing with you. it should cost about 500 bucks and is well worth it in the long run. After all who writes all those nice legal contracts that you sign?????
  6. by   CEN35
    Well blue,

    Our first house hunting experience was quite intresting. We looked at tons of homes over a 9 month period. I have done plumming, electrical, home maintenance the whole 9 yards. We would look at a house, and I would write down everything that needed to be repaied. I then came up with an estimate, and we would keep looking. Some I figured to need about $10,000 in work (done by myself........not paying others to do it). Then we found a house, sold by owner. The wife fell in love with it, and I found minimal problems wrong with it. I figured about $800 in repairs.

    Well............we recarpeted the house $2,400, we had ot put a new roof on it (with repairs to the sub roof) $3,600, we added on a deck $1,200, a shed $1,400, and a new dishwasher (because the old owners lied to us about what they were leaving us) $400, changed all the locks and replaced a door $180, the furnace replaced that and added central air $3,200, new gutters, $200, painted the house after ripping out some rotted wood and replacing that $500, replaced the faucet's, BR sink and the BR floor another $400, and the hot water heater on our own to switched from electric to gas $300.
    Anyways, the bottom line is, whatever you think the house will need, it will need much more.

    We then built last year, and it was an awesome experience......our builder was awesome, everything went great. It's a 2200 SF ranch, with a 3 car garage and an 800 SF finished basement/playroom, with another 1500 SF of storage area on the other side of the basement.

  7. by   NursePooh
    I have never purchased a brand new home; both times we purchased, the homes were three years old and had had one previous owner. The reason I am happy with our choice is that homes of that age are reasonably worry free. They've already been on their "shakedown cruise", which is when all the major and minor and horrendously annoying problems show up in new constructions, but too young to be having major maintenance problems. We got a great price on this one because the owners were in the midst of a nasty divorce and just wanted to sell it and get the hell away from each other. We're being transferred next month and will be gone 4 years, but decided to rent it out rather than sell it and have to start all over again when we come back. If anybody has tenant horror stories, please DO NOT tell me. My packers are coming 3 weeks from today, and I am already at my max safe dose of xanax
  8. by   Brian

    I always heard horror stories about building too. About 6 years ago, we were gonna build our first house, then we decided to by existing home about 4 years old, and didnt have any problems with it. We soon out grew that home and started looking at existing and building new. This time we wanted new, so we looked around and went through several model homes and parade of homes to get a feel of what was out there and too compare the different builders etc... We found a home that we fell in love with and decided to build, and we had a wonderful experience with the builder, we were amazed at how smooth things went and the we actually closed 2 weeks earlier that what was originally planned. So for all the horror strories about building we heard, luckily none of them came true for us.

    I would suggest getting with a well known larger builder. Ask for references from them, from people who built the same house with them. Go and talk with the references.

    I dont know about the prices of homes in your area, but here in the twin cities, they are going through the roof fast. In our case, from when we signed the purchase agreement to the time we moved in (about 7 months), the base price of our house had gone up $20K! So we were glad we made the decision when we did.

    Just keep in mind there are a ton of things you need to fork out cash for when building vs. existing, like...

    landscaping, blinds and window treatments, deck, patio etc...

    Good Luck with whatever you decide to do
  9. by   codebluechic
    Well,first big disappointment. We bid on a house but the owner will not change his asking price. When we considered what work needed to be done to it there was no way we would give him what he was asking. And Rick, after reading your post I wonder what else it needs done!
    Thanks again to everyone who responded, I love to hear another point of view.
  10. by   cargal
    The seller may change his mind later. When we bought our house 14 years ago, we bid $10,000 lower than the asking price, they rejected the bid, my husband thought I was being silly, but I insisted we rebid $8,000 less than the asking price, with the statement that this would be our final bid. They accepted. The original asking price was $58,000. We decided to stay here even though we had really outgrown it at times, but now with one kid in college, one getting ready to go, years of traveling ($) to out of town swim meets for my daughters, nursing school, my husband getting his bachelors degree ($), this small inexpensive house is still where we call home, and now we are looking into making it into the home in which we would like to retire. (someday).
    Hold your ground, look around, read, read read. The time is now as for interest rates. Great house hunting!
    BTW , I need remodeling advice, I may have to start another thread!
  11. by   hanginginthere

    I haven't buy a home yet, but my sister is a loan officer. Last year she was looking to buy a home and her broker give us a good tips. Always look at the common charges. The house may be cheap however, if the common charges are high you will pay more than you bargain for. The more you put down on the house the less the monthly payment will be. Try to find houses with gas utilities not oil because it's cheaper. Find out why the seller is selling and how the seller has been living there. If buying a house with basement find out history for leakage etc. Make sure you get a good inspector to inspect the house for all kinds of problems and damages. If the house has some kind of problems don't be afraid to ask the sellers to repair. Sometimes they won't but do ask for that. I hope those tips can help.
  12. by   kennedyj
    Look up the area well and know what the houses went for in that area before u make an offer. This way you can offer a little low and not overpay. I sold my first house and pocketed $27,000 after paying all fees. Not a penny was paid in taxes thanks ot the new tax laws. Have an inspection done also.
    Good luck,
  13. by   NursePooh
    Originally posted by kennedyj:
    <STRONG>Look up the area well and know what the houses went for in that area before u make an offer. This way you can offer a little low and not overpay. </STRONG>
    Jared makes a good point. You should also find out (when buying an exisiting home) how much the current owner bought it for. This is public information, and should be available to you from your realtor. We made an offer that was truly too high when we bought our first home, purely out of ignorance. We also weren't working specifically with a buyer's agent, and he didn't represent us very well.
  14. by   codebluechic
    [quote]Originally posted by NursePooh:
    [QB]. You should also find out (when buying an exisiting home) how much the current owner bought it for. This is public information, and should be available to you from your realtor.
    That's a good idea! Thanks NursePooh.