Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One step closing to being a "real" adult

I've been living with my parents or renting an apartment/room in a friend's house for the past ten or so years. Now that I have a real, adult job (aka a "career"), I've decided to take the plunge and buy a house. I have a little money saved up and a mediocre credit score. The one factor in my favor? It's totally a buyer's market. The county I'm living in right now is lousy with foreclosed houses, and the community banks are really eager to sell. Yesterday after work I met with a Realtor and checked out three different homes. Each has its own distinctive charm, but I'm leaning towards the cheaper one with the huge kitchen (!), appliances included (!!), and large, flat backyard just begging for a vegetable garden. One of the other houses is slightly more expensive (it has a fireplace and unfinished basement, which could be a totally boss home theater), but I don't think I could get as good a deal on it. The third house is okay (it has a lovely back porch and a big garden tub in the master bathroom), but it also has a leak in one closet and doesn't have kitchen appliances included.

So, those of you who own houses or are also in the process of buying: any suggestions? Anything you wish you had known before you signed on the dotted line? I'll be talking it over with my parents before making an offer, but my apartment lease is up at the end of June and I'm anxious to get my living situation straightened out pronto.

And, just 'cause I think it's funny and sorta-related, here's a "Cribs"-style video starring Seth Green:

9 comments:

Kristina said...

LOL He cracks me up!! We just bought our first house 2 1/2 years ago and I was scared to death!! I wish we would have kept looking. I love my house, I really do but our realtor showed us only 3 or 4 houses and never asked if we wanted to see anymore and we thought we got such a great deal that we jumped because she said "others are looking at it". So in hindsight, I wish I would have looked at a few more, but ultimately I know I would have gone back to this one. So don't feel rushed =) Congrats! It's a great step to make! Let us know how it turned out!

Vasilly said...

I wish I had some advice to give but I'm roommates with my mom. The first house sounds great. Good luck.

softdrink said...

Okay, this sounds kind of cold, but first of all, don't get your heart set on a house. Because you might not get it, or there might be something wrong with it.

When you look, keep in mind resale value (# of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, were any additions permitted). Don't be afraid to ask for extras in your offer (like they pay for a year homeowners insurance policy...this isn't the right name, because it's in addition to the money you pay each year for insurance. Other things to include in offer are appliances, cleaning, $ to repair something, if it needs it...like the roof...or you can ask for the repairs). Make sure a home inspection is done, and that there is an escape clause if the inspection uncovers something bad, like mold. Make sure you understand all the closing costs, because they add up! Make sure you have enough time to close escrow...you can also ask for shorter/longer escrows in your offer...you want to make sure you will fund by the closing date. Shop around for your house AND your loan! Don't feel pressured!!

Good luck...buying a house is so exciting!

christina said...

Jessi - How exciting and nerve wrecking. Wish I could help you out, but I'm pretty clueless. Keep us posted! ;)

Chris said...

Congrats on looking! Good luck with everything :D

Ali said...

My big advice: Focus on location. You can fix a leak, you can paint a room or add on....but you can't make the yard bigger, or move the house to a different neighborhood. Good luck!

Kim L said...

No advice here as I haven't bought a house myself. I want to though, so I'm definitely trying to glean advice from others where I can. It is definitely a buyer's market and a good time to buy!

Dreamybee said...

Congratulations-very exciting! Softdrink's advice is all good. I know you're in a hurry, but I would say don't settle for a house either. The first time we bought a house, it was out-of-state, and we had about a week in which to find a house, so we felt a lot of pressure. We finally found one that was nice, within our price range, etc., but we didn't love it. We made an offer and then went out to dinner while we waited to hear back. We both had knots in the pit of our stomach, and we kept saying, "Shouldn't we feel better about this?" When the offer was rejected we were elated. We had to start our search all over, but we ended up finding a house that we LOVED and that we were excited about buying.

Also, with the market the way it is, you might want to be sure that you aren't buying into a neighborhood that's going to be a ghost town in a year or two. I'm not sure exactly how you avoid this-maybe move into a neighborhood where people have owned there for a while, not somewhere where all the houses were purchased in the last 5 years with mortgages that their owners will soon be unable to afford.

That said, good luck! I hope you have some exciting news soon!

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

Oh, how exciting for you! I read on your 48-Hour Readathon challenge post that you're going to put in a bid today ... I'll be checking back to see what happens. (Don't get discouraged if this one doesn't work out, you're just starting the process)