You went to a seminar?
The Husband and I are looking into buying a house as well. It is the best time. And I hate yard work with a passion. And worrying about things like the roof, or a/c unit, or ugly carpet. Then we saw the cutest place and fell in love. We're waiting for my job situation to improve before we move forward, though. The thing I'm looking forward to the most? Painting the walls whatever color I want.
This may be a dumb question, but is now actually the right time, given that kung_fu_monkey
's off to Japan for the year? I figured you and saintpookie
would be rattling around in all of the extra space...
That's actually a slight negative, but there are a lot of other positives with timing of various financial things. Though it will also depend on things like what happens with study abroad scholarships. Definitely seems the right time to start looking, though, even if we don't end up buying.
*nods* Sure, that makes sense. Good luck. (I kind of find myself wondering how lenders deal with poly families. Hm.)
A lot of that stuff gets eliminated with a townhome or condo.
But you knew that. And I knew you knew that. So why am I compelled to make this comment?
Grrr... irrational brain!
Okay— in terms of first-time home-buying, we're going through that process right now. So what I will tell you is that you need to do several things:
1. Make sure your credit is in order. You will need at least 10% down plus some more assets. Yes, you may be able to get a loan with less, but don't count on it.
2. Get pre-approved with a lender you trust. We're using Quicken and they're treating us with dignity and respect. Avoid Wells Fargo like the plague.
3. Go to housingbubblecasualty.com and look way down in the rightmost column for "popular posts." There's some very clear posts about house buying, including the "should I buy or wait?" math.
Incidentally, there are also many very clear posts about the housing bubble— dated four years ago and more. Anyone who says "nobody could have predicted this" is either lying or indulging in severe head in the sand.
And one more note— Denver area still has a lot of price to fall. Sacramento prices are actually almost at parity already, and last summer they were more than twice Denver's median. And Sacramento is near the ground zero of this mess, so it's first to rise and first to fall. The next big wave of ARM resets is 2012*, so don't rush if you think prices are too near the top of your affordability range.
*An ARM can also reset if the loan value becomes a certain percentage over the asset value, so a lot of homeloaners are getting a nasty surprise when a loan which they thought could be interest only for a few more years suddenly starts demanding principle payments.
(BTW, this does not mean I think you shouldn't look for a house. Just remember that it's "the house you want at the price you can afford" and don't budge from that.)
Right now is the absolute BEST time to be looking for a house. I'm proud of you.
Did you know I named a character in my current book after you?
I did not know that!
Edited at 2009-04-08 05:14 pm (UTC)
There's vague steampunkery in my book, but you're not that guy. You're the tough but brilliant genius.
The house next door is for sale... but the stipulation is that a few times a year one of you *must* play the bagpipes at sunset like Mr. O'Kelly did.
We don't have to play them well, do we?
As long as they sound like bagpipes, I'm sure we won't know the difference!
Townhome/condo has mostly been a good answer for me because I also don't want to come home and mow the lawn or shovel the walk. But HOAs are intrinsically evil, and you have to be prepared for that. They do, however, deal with lawns and garbage pickup, and in some cases roof repair, etc..
I know that other people haven't had good experiences with Wells Fargo, but they were really completely awesome for me. I also have a mortgage broker I couldn't recommend more highly, if that's of interest to you. The "seller" in my case screwed the deal up eight ways from Sunday, and my broker made it still come out okay and took all of the wrangling with them on herself.
Maybe you guys are the reasons I keep having house dreams. I was house shopping in dreamscape last night. Jacuzzi on front lawn or jacuzzi tub in master bath? Truly questions for our time.
The financial stuff isn't "hard" but it is logically boggling. Just find a good reputable lender that your friends have used before - and listen to your friends who've used them.
It's also a good time to answer questions about what you really want out of a "house". If you already know you hate repair stuff and yard work then a lot of being a homeowner may not be for you. Yard work can be dealt with by throwing money at it - just know what yard services cost a year if you still want a house. Repair work can potentially be folded into your mortgage up front but you'll be paying for it for 30 years.
(Or far less. One aspect of a mortgage and owning a home is realizing that while a house is a financial boat anchor that makes a lot of "mobility" harder, that's entirely dependent on the market at the time you're likely to sell. People are screwed *today* because of the way the housing market is. In five years, they probably won't be. It's mostly the aspect of job uncertainty/mobility/wanting a change of whatever that makes a house problematic.
Our house is paid for but I certainly wouldn't mind a house 30 minutes closer to work, e.g. Which is better - a paid for house and a long commute or a close house and $100K+ of new mortgage?)
Townhouses are sometimes good matches for what people actually want out of a place: More space, a bit of private outdoor space but many of the inconveniences of an apartment. At least you don't have to deal with the yard - just with the complex.
Condos are usually just townhouses that you own. All of the inconveniences and not enough flexibility to do whatever you want - but none of the outdoor hassles.
These days if I had to do various things over again, if I had to rent I'd try to stick to a townhouse. If I had to buy, I'd do a house but would prefer less of a fixer-upper. I'm out of oompf for big fix-up projects.