Gonna try and buy a house(or condo), any advice?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Russell, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. Steve Russell

    Steve Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, the girlfriend and I are splitting up and going our separate ways. I was going to look for another apartment or duplex but decided I was tired of paying rent. I checked our local state housing website and it looks like I might qualify for a low interest, state subsidized loan on my income alone. Don't have much of a down payment saved up but I'm gonna talk to them about it. Any advice for a first time house/condo shopper?
     
  2. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Calculate how much money you think you'll need to close the deal and move into your new pad, then double it! That's what you'll spend AT THE VERY LEAST! [​IMG]
    Aside from that one annoyance, becoming an owner is one of the best investments you can make. Every month, you know a small portion of your house payment actually belongs to you and no one else. And if you sell the place when the market is really hot, the total profit beats out by far all the interest you paid out!
     
  3. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Congrats, Steve. I recall that day 5 1/2 years ago when I decided I wasn't going to help pad my landlord's bank account. I always thought I'd wait until I was married to buy my own place, but I decided back in '97 to bite the bullet and get a place of my own. The first year is tough, as you get your budget in order (home maintenance costs, fluctuating utility bills depending on the seasons, etc.) But man, the struggle is worth it. Having a place to call my own and paying equity on my house instead of lining a landlord's pockets helps me sleep easier at night. :b
    I'll also say that I originally looked at a few condos. But the ones in the same price range as houses I looked at were apartment conversions. The prices on really nice, new condos were insane. I couldn't justify paying that much when I didn't own the land beneath my building and I didn't want the hassle of being at loggerheads with nitpicking condo associations. Best of luck to you. [​IMG]
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    If you decide on a condo instead of a house, make sure you fully read and understand all the association rules and monthly dues. These can be quite restrictive and high in some cases. Also, condos can sometimes be more difficult to sell (when the time comes) than a home.

    While our primary residence is a house, we own a condo in Myrtle Beach, SC as a second home / rental property. After living with the condo association's decisions on a few controversial items recently, I seriously doubt I will ever buy a condo as a primary residence. While you save time on exterior maintenance with a condo, you can usually hire someone to perform these same maintenance duties for your house for less money than your monthly association dues (if you would rather not do the work yourself).
     
  5. James Q Jenkins

    James Q Jenkins Stunt Coordinator

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    The market is pretty high on home prices in most of the US right now. It's a seller's market, not exactly a great time to buy. That said it's better to deduct interest than to pay rent. [​IMG]
     
  6. ChuckSn

    ChuckSn Extra

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    Steve, sorry to hear about your break-up. Right now is an excellent time to be looking for a new home. The rates are the best they have been in years. If you are looking for a low down payment you may be limited to FHA financing. One good thing about FHA is that they do have several down payment assitance programs available like the Ameridream or the Nehemiah program. Any FHA lender should have plenty of information for you about these types of programs.

    Good Luck
    Chuck
     
  7. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

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    If you have good credit, you'll probably qualify for an 80/20 combo. You get one mortgage for 80% of the loan and a second - at a higher rate - for 20% of the loan. The nice thing about this arrangement is that it will enable you to avoid PMI, which is normally required when you put down less than 20%. The additional interest you'll pay will be less than your PMI would have been, AND all interest payments are tax deductible, while PMI payments are not.

    Not all lenders offer these kind of combos, so call around. I recently bought my house using an 80/15/5 combo (5% down), but I know others who have put nothing down. It's worth looking into.
     
  8. Mark C Sherman

    Mark C Sherman Second Unit

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    Go for the condo. I bought mine 3 years ago now I am Looking to sell and Buy a House. It was the best thing I ever did Now I have something to sell to have money to put on a House. Another thing I did was Get a roommate. If you have friend who is paying rent someplace else see if HE/SHE would move in with you. I did that and What I charge my roommate is my Mortgage payment[​IMG] . But what he pays is a lot cheaper then any place else
     
  9. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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    Can anyone recommend a good book on information for buying a home? I am not yet ready to buy but I'd like to be prepared when the time comes.

    Thanks,
    Greg
     
  10. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Laugh if you will, but "Home Buying for Dummies" provided an invaluable resource when I decided to buy. Of course, 5 1/2 years ago there was only a fraction of the information on the Internet as there is now. You can probably find a lot of information on the Net if you're willing to dig.
     
  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The best money you'll ever spend house buying is hiring a well-qualified house inspector and make passing his inspection a contingency in the purchase contract.

    One way to tell a good inspector: ask if he climbs up onto the roof to check it out. Good ones will do that. Bad ones will try to judge it from the ground.

    The advice goes for condos too; make sure someone checks it out structurally because many (if not most) condos are built on the very cheap and can develop significant structural issues over time.

    Oh, and don't let the seller's broker draft the contract. Hire an attorney who does lots of house closings.
     
  12. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The best money you'll ever spend house buying is hiring a well-qualified house inspector and make passing his inspection a contingency in the purchase contract.

    One way to tell a good inspector: ask if he climbs up onto the roof to check it out. Good ones will do that. Bad ones will try to judge it from the ground.

    The advice goes for condos too; make sure someone checks it out structurally because many (if not most) condos are built on the very cheap and can develop significant structural issues over time.

    Oh, and don't let the seller's broker draft the contract. Hire an attorney who does lots of house closings.
     
  13. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    I'm going through this process now (contract is signed, mortgage is arranged, just waiting for closing date).

    Keep a few things in mind:
    1. The broker works for the seller NOT FOR YOU! They will always try to help the seller. My broker sucks. At least she got me the place I want, but other than that she has been totally unhelpful.

    2. Get everything in writing.

    3. Expect all dates to change. Everyone I know who has bought has had this problem. You think you are closing on the 31st? Try the 20th of the next month.

    4. Everyone has their hand out for a fee. $500 here, $300 there, $1000 for this person and the other.

    5. Closing costs are always more than people say.

    6. I'm told it's all worth it, but I'll have to wait until I close to find that out for real!
     
  14. Tim Abbott

    Tim Abbott Second Unit

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    There is some really good advice here....
    A home inspection is a great idea. Unless you are very familiar with the structural and/or construction concepts, the inspection will be well worth it.
    Buying a home is a lot more expensive that you think. Find a good lender who will work with you. The will help you identify what's in your price range and what you can afford. The good lender will give you an accurate closing cost quote, and also advise you on what other expenses you may run into.
    Mortgage companies will have many more programs available to you, but banks will have more flexibility in their programs and terms. It depends on which situation is best for you.
    Ask some of your friends who have purchased a home who they used to do their mortgage and what they thought of that person. Do the same thing for a realtor.
    You are absolutely right, buying is almost always better than renting.
    Good luck in your house/condo search!!
     
  15. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    Here is what we did: We bought a VA forclosure property. These are homes that were bought by people with VA loans, and for whatever reasons they had to forclose. As with any government property, the quality can vary greatly. Our home just needed a new outside paintjob. No other problems to be found!
    Any realtor can handle the process, and there are almost always plenty of good houses in the area. Here are the listings for Michigan.
    The advantage of going this route is that you only have to pay the application fees to get the house. They do 100% financing, and so long as you have a good debt:income ratio you are pretty much guaranteed to get the loan. What's more, the property is backed by the US government, so no old liens, etc can ever come back to haunt you, thus no title search is necessary. Add to that, no PMI is needed either, which can save a good amount of money as well.
     
  16. DeanR

    DeanR Second Unit

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    Definitely buy the condo. Anything is better than paying rent to somebody. Be glad you do not live in the Boston area. You can not believe the swill that is selling for up to 350K for housing. Decent Townhouses and Condos can be had for 200k-350k but I agree with Mark that there are a lot of condos cheaply built. I am looking currently and the number 1 bit of advice I can give you is review the condo associations financials. I just looked at a townhouse and the condo association only had around 40K in reserves for a 120 unit complex. The complex is 25 years old so you can imagine there is a great chance of future special assessments. I walked away as fast as I could.
     

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