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First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

  1. #26
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?


    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    I wouldn't be opposed to an HOA, but I would be cautious. As gixxer said, when done well they're a value added service. When done poorly they can be a nightmare. The take away is educate yourself on what HOA's do and how they can vary from development to development. I would avoid buying in an old building or development with an HOA as the price to upkeep infrastructure rises with age of property. I would also avoid buying into an HOA if you have a shitty old camper you want to keep outside

    Here's a nice little article on understanding HOA's
    Problem with my current HOA is there's +/- 950 households - about 1/3 of the dwellings in our town. I guess in that case, my views on HOA's may be a bit skewed.

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  2. #27
    BMW track whore e30addict's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crconnor18 View Post

    Living the bachelor life for now to just want enough space to be comfortable and plenty of space for the toys.

    I’m open to make money vs forever home.
    One of my bigger regrets is not buying an income property when I was looking years ago. I wanted more "space" and didn't want to live in the areas where duplexes were popular. Hindsight being 20/20 that was shortsighted on my part. I'd love the revenue stream and asset appreciation at this point. Opportunity squandered in my mind.

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  3. #28
    ^ It's my bike and my car tls25rs's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Look at things like where are you going to put snow when clearing your driveway, walks etc. Some properties take this into consideration when laying things out and some don't. If they didn't it can be a major pain in the ass when trying to clear your property

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  4. #29
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by tls25rs View Post
    Look at things like where are you going to put snow when clearing your driveway, walks etc. Some properties take this into consideration when laying things out and some don't. If they didn't it can be a major pain in the ass when trying to clear your property
    these are things I consider when doing site designs for clients, I learned the hard way, I bought a house where the snow gets piled on the uphill side of the drive, and when the pile melts during the day, it freezes and I have a icy drive, to compound things, my drive is on a Northeast slope and never gets sun

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  5. #30
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    these are things I consider when doing site designs for clients, I learned the hard way, I bought a house where the snow gets piled on the uphill side of the drive, and when the pile melts during the day, it freezes and I have a icy drive, to compound things, my drive is on a Northeast slope and never gets sun
    There's no hope for your dooryard!

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  6. #31
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    By the way, OP, if you are house poor, maybe I can go get my number back!

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  7. #32
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    By the way, OP, if you are house poor, maybe I can go get my number back!
    The benefit of still living at Mom & Dad’s is I don’t “have” to move out so I’ll find a deal to keep the 782 on the grids.

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  8. #33
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    There is a lot of good advice here. A few things I can add:

    1) Don't be afraid of PMI. However, realize that to get out of it, you can't just ask for it to be removed at 20% of purchase price. You can get an appraisal and request it at 20%, or you can wait until 22% of purchase price and have it removed automatically. In the end, it was easier for me just to cut another check to get to 22% instead of playing this game.
    2) Consider getting a pre-approval now, and then continuing to get them as they expire. That way, you can strike when the iron is hot.
    3) Let the purchase price and monthly budget dictate how much you put down. The key thing is not blowing all your cash and keeping that reserve. You can plan for 20% at X purchase price, but its probably not going to happen that way. Don't skip the house you want because you can only put 10% down.
    4) Do not waive contingencies for any reason in this market.
    5) Give high consideration to the properties on the market the longest. This likely means that you have time and ability to investigate and negotiate. Much better than bidding wars.
    6) Ready yourself for disappointment

    For valuation:
    6) Run some quick math on rents in the area you're looking and compare to your all-in monthly payments. Do they cover them? Does one area cover them but another doesn't? Use this to pinpoint a good deal. I.e. The 2 bedroom in one town may cost more but get less rent than the cheaper 3 bedroom the town over. There are plenty of reasons this may be, consider which are important to you.
    7) Don't rely on zillow and redfin for comps. Make a spreadsheet from recent sales that calculates rent/sq ft in the areas you're looking in. There are reasons they will vary, but doing this on 10 or so properties will give you a feel for what the right price is.
    8) Use these techniques to estimate what you are willing to pay, especially if you decide to go in over asking or get in a bidding war

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  9. #34
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Issue I had and still don't totally understand a way around is that most realtors want to see a pre-approval letter to know you are legit before they "work" with you. Then the first question out of the mortgage guy's mouth is "what's the MLS you are buying?" Chicken. Egg. Egg. Chicken?!

    I wandered into the nearest Wells Fargo branch when I was looking. Turned out the mortgage sales guy there was a cat I shared a cubicle with on my first internship back when. He was pretty straight with me, even though it took me a while. "Look man, I can approve you for a million dollar mortgage if you want. You aren't going to like the terms, but I can get you there.. What number do you want me to put down on the page? It's your call."

    This was pre '08, of course. Although I hear shit is getting wild again.

    Another tip was to maybe not tell your realtor what you are actually pre-approved for as they tend to want to fill out the envelope, so to speak. It is in their best interest to get the highest sales price possible. Show them you are pre approved for $500k and they aren't going to show you $300k starters. (Those probably don't exist anymore down your way.. but the math scales.)

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  10. #35
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Issue I had and still don't totally understand a way around is that most realtors want to see a pre-approval letter to know you are legit before they "work" with you. Then the first question out of the mortgage guy's mouth is "what's the MLS you are buying?" Chicken. Egg. Egg. Chicken?!

    I wandered into the nearest Wells Fargo branch when I was looking. Turned out the mortgage sales guy there was a cat I shared a cubicle with on my first internship back when. He was pretty straight with me, even though it took me a while. "Look man, I can approve you for a million dollar mortgage if you want. You aren't going to like the terms, but I can get you there.. What number do you want me to put down on the page? It's your call."

    This was pre '08, of course. Although I hear shit is getting wild again.

    Another tip was to maybe not tell your realtor what you are actually pre-approved for as they tend to want to fill out the envelope, so to speak. It is in their best interest to get the highest sales price possible. Show them you are pre approved for $500k and they aren't going to show you $300k starters. (Those probably don't exist anymore down your way.. but the math scales.)
    The advice I got from my broker was he didn't care if he had to re-do the letter 10 times... each letter would be bespoke so that you only show the amount you are offering.

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    For valuation:
    6) Run some quick math on rents in the area you're looking and compare to your all-in monthly payments. Do they cover them? Does one area cover them but another doesn't? Use this to pinpoint a good deal. I.e. The 2 bedroom in one town may cost more but get less rent than the cheaper 3 bedroom the town over. There are plenty of reasons this may be, consider which are important to you.
    7) Don't rely on zillow and redfin for comps. Make a spreadsheet from recent sales that calculates rent/sq ft in the areas you're looking in. There are reasons they will vary, but doing this on 10 or so properties will give you a feel for what the right price is.
    8) Use these techniques to estimate what you are willing to pay, especially if you decide to go in over asking or get in a bidding war
    The problem with comps like this is it gets hard in a market like today's. A hell of a lot easier when market is flat... that being the case, I did this when I was looking and would make adjustments for #car garage, square footage, age, condition, city water, etc. And while I would derive my investment value, it's hard to tell people "your house isn't worth what you think it is...". More shocking that uninformed people are willing to pay OVER. It's a crazy cycle.

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    Last edited by isaac_; 08-18-21 at 07:38 PM.
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  11. #36
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    I suspect the market will cool off within the next couple/few years. In the meantime, save, save, save!

    Having enough cash and credit to get into a house is great! Learning the condition of your new house as a whole is going to take a couple years to fully understand and may have some unexpected expenses.

    A few examples from our first year:

    We replaced the entire all-fuel chimney pipe as a result of a chimney fire from an overlooked section of pipe with creosote buildup and frankly, my inexperience. Since the wood stove was going to be out of commission, a generator and transfer switch was installed. Grand total- 3600

    Sediment filter and water softener - around 1600

    Point of use RO system - 600ish

    Two years later....under-slab drainage installed due to water pushing through the slab during sustained wet conditions. Grand total for a formerly-finished-now-ruined basement and some new drainage, close to 8000


    Point in all this is, make sure you are completely satisfied with whichever house you choose because it pretty much will come down to the difference of buyer's remorse or a labor of love.

    We love our house but it has not been without its surprises.

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  12. #37

    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by isaac_ View Post
    And while I would derive my investment value, it's hard to tell people "your house isn't worth what you think it is...". More shocking that uninformed people are willing to pay OVER. It's a crazy cycle.
    Right. Being educated on something and being smart with your money will not necessarily get you a better deal. There is always an idiot willing to over pay around the corner. It just prevents you from over paying but you will often lose deals to idiots, who are more than willing to part with their money.

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  13. #38
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by isaac_ View Post
    ..you only show the amount you are offering.
    I don't know. If you walked in with an offer and a pre-approval letter showing exactly what you offered and the next guy had an identical offer yet showed he was pre-approved for more I might think the other guy might be an easier close.

    Complex game. Glad I'm not having to play it right now. I dread the day I will have to.

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  14. #39
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuvDog View Post
    Hopefully closer to the club for you?
    Much

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    Last edited by OreoGaborio; 08-19-21 at 01:13 PM.
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  15. #40
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by isaac_ View Post



    The problem with comps like this is it gets hard in a market like today's. A hell of a lot easier when market is flat... that being the case, I did this when I was looking and would make adjustments for #car garage, square footage, age, condition, city water, etc. And while I would derive my investment value, it's hard to tell people "your house isn't worth what you think it is...". More shocking that uninformed people are willing to pay OVER. It's a crazy cycle.
    Agree that it is hard, but when you start thinking about making an offer over asking, there need to be some basis to it. Otherwise, where do you stop other than what you can afford. You may lose the property, but that is better than feeling like you overpaid.
    Also super useful if you are considering going in under asking for a property that has been on the market for awhile. This at least starts the negotiations.

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  16. #41

    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Owner occupied duplex

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  17. #42
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Be wary of buying near waterway/ creek/ stream/brook.
    Cool looking till heavy rains and it over flows cause up stream new developments diverted water/ neighbor did

    Also mosquitos. Ask around what the situation is . Where I am they are bad and I can't hang outside after dark

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    Last edited by black; 08-20-21 at 09:13 AM. Reason: removed the Dont

  18. #43
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by breakdirt916 View Post
    Owner occupied duplex
    I did this for my first real house and it worked out a treat. The downstairs neighbor paid 51% of the mortgage

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  19. #44
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post
    I did this for my first real house and it worked out a treat. The downstairs neighbor paid 51% of the mortgage
    Sort of worked out for me in RI, bought a house, fixed it up , had roommates/ tenants, they covered most of the mortgage but the house 5 yrs later sold for same amount I bought it( didnt want to rent it out due to being in boston and not trusting tenants, with an older house) so I came out slightly ahead or no loss. This was in 2004 to 2009 ish , the house just recently is listing at a reasonable price with all my improvments. It only took 15 years. RI market sucked in 2004/2008, bought high.

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    hmmmm......

  20. #45

    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Owner occupied tri-plex?

    Go on...

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  21. #46
    Lifer gixxer72's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    Problem with my current HOA is there's +/- 950 households - about 1/3 of the dwellings in our town. I guess in that case, my views on HOA's may be a bit skewed.
    I never would have considered being tied to an hoa in New England, my plan was to buy enough property that I couldn’t see my neighbors broke down shit. That amount of property just isnt an option out here, not on my budget!

    Our hoa here is for a community of 1750 homes valued up to 2.7M. $85/mo or $140/mo for the gated portions. The owners here all have a similar interest in protecting our investment. All of the parks, green spaces, trees, shrubs, etc are kept in excellent condition and the community is extremely clean. I can only paint my house with approved colors, cant park on the street, have to maintain a certain number of trees and shrubs on my property, etc. Very minor inconveniences for the outstanding benefits and protection. Not sure I’d feel the same in ME or NH where there are other options or poorly run hoa’s.

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  22. #47
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by breakdirt916 View Post
    Owner occupied tri-plex?

    Go on...
    Whenever I settle somewhere, I think I want to go this route. They just condemned the the 4 family house in front of me. I REALLY want to buy it, but don't know how to navigate that.
    https://www.redfin.com/MA/Boston/34-...9/home/9294416

    Mostly, I just want a chunk of their land, and I don't imagine the developer who ends up buying it will give me the time of day. My ideal plan would be to buy it. Demo it. Take my time to do the paperwork and try to get some land. Then sell or partner the lot with a developer. I actually know a couple developers...maybe I should make some calls.

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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 08-20-21 at 10:02 AM.
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  23. #48
    Lifer
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    just my $.02
    *a realtor may guide you but his/her comp is based on the sales price, so who is he really working for? Take advice as just that, not gospel. Do your own homework and don't be talked into something you're not comfortable with. Let EVERYONE know you're looking - someone may have an elderly aunt whose ready to move but hasn't put the house on the market.
    *2 out of 3 times I have used them, the home inspectors have been useless. I knew more about potential issues than they did. You may not want to waive the typical inspection contingency, but also do a walk through with someone you trust who knows houses.
    *everything will cost more than you think. Sweat equity is a great offset to this.
    *We moved into a tight neighborhood the first time, when I didn't know a hammer from a screw driver. Had great neighbors who were incredibly generous with their time and knowledge, especially retirees who loved to help and bust my balls simultaneously.
    *don't be scared off by cosmetic things (wall colors, worn carpet, etc) which are all easily dealt with. Be wary of signs of roof or water damage, run from foundaton issues!
    *as someone else noted, ask for the moon (aka appliances, window coverings) but be respectful. If the former owner is downsizing they may be willing/relieved to sell things like lawn equipemnt or furniture at a huge discount.
    *do a walk through just before closing. The previous owner of my current place tried to leave a bunch of junk behind, which had to be resolved.

    There are a million other things, but I am sure you'll get a nice list from the folks here. Good luck.

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  24. #49

    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Now I have this crazy idea, but just follow me on this one:

    Owner occupied 4 plex

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  25. #50
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Home Buyer: Lessons Learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by breakdirt916 View Post
    Now I have this crazy idea, but just follow me on this one:

    Owner occupied 4 plex
    7 minute abs. No, not 6. I said 7.

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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 08-20-21 at 02:33 PM.
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