First time homebuyer

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by HGoat1, May 15, 2019.

  1. Walden4Prez

    Walden4Prez Active Member

    Jul 8, 2014
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    Check the inlet valve for continuity. It is easy to replace and costs about $40. I am betting that is your issue.
     
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  2. wxman1

    wxman1 Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2008
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    Not all HOAs are the same. We had a fantastic one in Kansas. I think it was $300/year which included two community pools and parks (one of which was across the street from our house which was great), a couple of large ponds/small lakes and well kept common areas.

    An inspection is a must and from my experience you can pretty much always get the seller to buy the warranty so why not. We had some good luck with them and some bad luck. At the end of the day though if you can get anything fixed on them you are ahead.

    As others have said get several pre-approvals. Credit Unions usually have better rates and closing costs than banks do.
     
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  3. EnhancedFujita

    EnhancedFujita Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2013
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    Looks like most of the basics are covered but I'd add that if you are buying a house built in the 80's or 90's be very wary of anything that still has Masonite siding on it. Our first house had it and it failed quickly after we bought it, leaving us with an unexpected siding bill. Masonite is essentially siding your house in fancy cardboard. It had all kinds of class action lawsuits, but there is still a lot of stuff out there with it and even if maintained well, its now at the end of its useful life and will need replaced.

    Also, don't get too freaked out by the HOA boogymen in here. There are all kinds of HOAs. Mine exists for a few common rules, but primarily to collect money to landscape and maintain the subdivision entrance signs. Some HOA can be really strict, but just make sure you research that going into it. An HOA really just ensures that there is some consistency throughout a development for various things. So if you like a little protection against someone painting their house Black & Gold with tigerhawk logos on it, then the HOA helps prevent that. On the flipside, if your opinion is that you should be able to do whatever you want with your property, then don't buy in an HOA, or even in corporate limits for that matter.
     
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  4. CascadeClone

    CascadeClone Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2009
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    My HOA is fine. It mostly exists to contract mowing and snow removal, and maintain the common wells and pumps.

    We did have 1 big controversy in 20 years. One guy wanted to build a pole barn on his 1.5 acre lot, near his house. No problem really. But it would have been closer to the neighbor's house, and twice as big as the neighbor's house! So that had to be stopped. Guy just couldn't understand why that was a problem... but other than that we have had no probs. Might help that there are only 8 lots.
     
  5. BCClone

    BCClone Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2011
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    A big part of the HOA is probably who oversees it and does it. A set of condos down the street from me, all widowed women and has been for awhile, has one. The geeky neighbor next door handles everything. One lady lived there roughly three years and when she moved in, this landscaping was to be done as part of the agreement. When she moved out she was mad because the guy had never gotten around to it, although he had done quite a bit to his house sitting next door. Dude is money hungry, so he basically out waited the lady and nothing has been done since.
     
  6. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member
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    #86 ArgentCy, May 16, 2019
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    I think you might be right. Didn't get very far this time and getting a different error with the no water input. Side note. Make sure your valve is ALL the way off before going to bed :( At least it all went into the basement instead of flooding the kitchen. Owning a home is fun.

    Another indication for this valve would be that the dishwasher would cause a bad water hammer. Just added an arrestor but 4-5 years of that would be hard on an inlet valve.
     
  7. cyfan92

    cyfan92 Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2011
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    I just bought my first last summer

    1) Ask for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING during the closing process from the seller. Most of the time they just want to stop making a second mortgage payment
    2) Shorter commutes are worth paying more for a house, in my opinion (within reason)
    3) Don't buy a house unless the lifestyle you want to live demands it.
    4) Covered decks and screened in decks are vastly underrated. This is something I would make mandatory in my next home
    5) We chose to avoid Waukee because you have to drive to Clive, West Des Moines, or Urbandale for everything but grocery stores. And there is nothing but chain fast food to eat
    6) Finding a house that is close to a Lowe's, Menards, and Home Depot is extremely convenient.

    I'll probably add to this as I think of more
     
  8. BCClone

    BCClone Well-Known Member

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    Also, don't lowball the seller. Had someone do this to me and I countered with a price above the asking price. Realtor just looked at me, I told them it's a serious counter and maybe they will understand the P'd me off. I didn't hear back from them.
     
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  9. CtownCyclone

    CtownCyclone A lean, mean, fighting machine
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    You buying in Denver? We were thinking about relocating there for the wife's job, but she got a better off elsewhere. Not having lived there (just visited a few times), it looks like prices for a decent house are going up, up, up!

    A note on home inspectors - they're usually not going to dig into the nuts and bolts of things. I bring this up around the HVAC equipment. If the house has a system that's got a leak, the seller may just top off the system. The home inspector will generally turn on the system, make sure it works, and verify that cold/hot air is coming out of the vents. They won't identify a problem. Whereas if you've got an actual HVAC company to come out and check it out, they will do things like look at the coil, check the capacitors, check amp draw on the motor, and if you tell them to, they'll get their leak detector out to see if there's a leak.

    When we bought our current house, the inspector noted that the system was not pumping out cold air (house had been empty for a while). We put in the contract that the unit needed to be serviced by an HVAC company, which happened. We should have specified that we would get a written report on what was found and the actions taken by the company, but didn't do so (may have just topped it off). 9 months later, we noticed the system wasn't performing. HVAC contractor comes out, tells us the problem, and home warranty replaces the coil. We were still out $1300 though because many home warranty companies won't cover R-22 - they covered the repair, but we had to buy the refrigerant.
     
  10. SCNCY

    SCNCY Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2009
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    Regarding HOA's, definitely research their bylaws and what is within their jurisdiction. My HOA is only responsible for the common areas in the neighborhood (entrance, and small green areas throughout the neighborhood). My HOA only costs me $11.93 per year. To me, this HOA is fine because they cannot dictate what I do with my house, which I currently rent out (Some HOA's will prevent you from renting out your house).

    Funny story about my HOA. I was reading an article in the Kansas City Star about bad HOA's. I was reading the comment section and saw someone venting about her struggle with an HOA, which sounded a lot like my neighborhood. I purchased my house, after all the legal fights, but this women was new to the neighborhood and was elected to the board. She began asking for the bylaws, and all this other documentation regarding the HOA responsibility and such. The board had no idea what she was talking about, as it was a very loose and un-active board. Finally got the bylaws and discovered that the HOA was overcharging residents. The fee was $50 per year, which the board raised to pay for private security and snow removal services. However, the bylaws directly state how much can be charged per unit of property owned. So this women sues the HOA and wins for various reasons. The HOA was and still is pretty inept and very un-active in their roles, which is good because there is no oversight and they don't bother residents very much.

    What is really funny, is that the HOA then sues the women who won for the HOA lawyer fees! Of course, the women won again. But it was just the funniest thing to read.

    In short, having an HOA is not that bad, so long as you are ok with their oversight and responsibilities. In my case, a very inept and un-active HOA is beneficial because there is not very much fighting between neighbors and therefore, nothing really changes.
     
  11. BCClone

    BCClone Well-Known Member

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    Home inspectors can be a gamble also. Know a guy in the mason city area, that basically took a couple courses on the subject and started performing home inspections. Wife knew his wife for awhile and this dude had probably never held a hammer in his life. Was in the retail business for a good amount of time.
     
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  12. SimpsonClone

    SimpsonClone Active Member

    Feb 7, 2014
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    In this process right now. I am super discouraged as the market moves really fast this time of year and especially in the Des Moines area. This isn't true for all homes, but those that fit our budget, are semi-upgraded, in decent neighborhoods, and aren't <1000 sq ft go very fast (Average of 3 days on market before an offer is accepted). If you are going to be having a family, consider the neighborhood and school district your children will be growing up in. I don't have to think too much about school district because we both teach and Iowa is an open enroll state so I could take my children to another school, but that presents problems of its own. (Do I want to drive 30-45 minutes every time my child wants to go to a friend's house?)

    USDA loan programs are pretty sweet for first time home buyers. Something like a 3.6 interest rate with zero down, and there are non-forgivable grant programs to help with closing costs if you need it. The drawback is that the home has to be in a "rural" community. For reference, Indianola is USDA eligible, Des Moines is not. While considering a down payment, DO NOT empty your savings. You always want to keep an "oh ****" fund handy and chances are you will have things to get/repair in the first few months of owning a home. PMI (insurance for lenders) is a *****. Chances are you don't have 20% to put down on your first home. Don't kill yourself over it. Try to pay it down and then ask your lender to get rid of PMI once you have 20% equity on the mortgage. They don't have to get rid of it until you have 22% equity.

    How long a house has been on the market will tell you a lot about what kind of offer you want to make. However, if a house is new on the market, decently priced, upgraded, and >1200 sq ft, it could go fast. So be take some time NOW to decide what kind of homes you like and what you want. So you spend less time getting into one that has you saying "this is it" and you are then ready to make an offer, potentially beating other buyer's the punch. Once every closes and is finished, understand that you are 100% responsible for this home. If possible, take your HVAC friend or plumber/electrician friend when you look at homes. They will see things you won't. And don't always trust the inspection.

    If you buy a home with a home warranty, CALL YOU HOME WARRANTY FIRST IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG. Read the fine print as well. My buddy bought a house and had a problem with how rainwater came off his roof. This caused water to come in through the basement window and drip behind some paneling resulting in a mold problem. The home warranty and his insurance wouldn't cover it. He discovered this within a month of buying the home. He didn't call his home warranty to have it checked out, so he was on the hook for that. And the fine print didn't cover this instance for some bull **** reason (water running off the driveway or basement damage as a result of poor drainage weren't covered or something like that). The inspector also completely missed this issue. So just be diligent.

    All of this said, it is a huge investment. Take your time. Make a budget that you can plug in monthly house payment (including pmi, insurance, taxes, etc.) so you will have an idea of what you will be paying. We are approved for up to $250,000 (both of us are teachers), but we set our max at $175,000 because otherwise we risk being "house poor". No one else will be responsible for your purchase, so be mindful of what you are getting into. If you are buying with your spouse, understand what each of you are going to be focused on. My wife is focused on potential and livability while I am focused on the finances, what kind of work it might take (snow removal, yard work, house projects), and long term family planning. It is easy to get upset with one another/stressed in this process. So be patient, talk, and be kind to one another. This is an exciting time, but it can easily become very stressful and entail some heartache.

    Last piece of advice, if you have friends that are plumbers, electricians, and HVAC people ask them questions on things to look for and how to address certain concerns or projects. These people can save you a lot of stress, and maybe a few bucks too My best friend does HVAC for a living, and while I would never ask him to work for me for free, he is able to quote prices and give advice any time of day. I have another friend who does contract work and he has offered to help me with landscaping, trim work, drywall, etc. if I give free music lessons to his daughter. Utilize your friends and families expertise while also giving your own talents to them so you aren't taking advantage of them. It is also a nice way to spend time together when life gets busy.

    I am a first time home buyer, but having spent the last 2 months working through this process, this is what I have learned so far. If I said anything that is contradictory to what more experienced buyers say, I would defer judgement to them. Experienced home buyers, please reply and let me know if I am mistaken on anything in this post. My wife's folks live in Arizona and aren't able to help much and my folks aren't super involved. So we sometimes feel like we are on our own.

    Edit: Sorry for the novel.
     
  13. mcblogerson

    mcblogerson Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2009
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    Exactly, go walk around the hood at night and see whats going on. Loud dogs, aluminum foil on the windows, other people walking around in ski masks peeping in windows, its all a bad sign.
     
  14. Gorm

    Gorm Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2010
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    My 1979 house still has the original Masonite siding on it and overall its still in awesome condition. In fact, a previous owner put a shed onto the back of the garage in 2002, used similar Masonite siding and its breaking down faster than the 1979 stuff.
     
  15. CtownCyclone

    CtownCyclone A lean, mean, fighting machine
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    One thing not to forget as well - along with your house payment, you'll also have home insurance and taxes to account for as well going into an escrow account (plus PMI if you put less than 20% down, but being a CFer, you know that you always put 20% down). Those numbers can add up to a larger number than you may think when you first start putting pen to paper.

    And don't be surprised when that escrow amount changes. Taxes will go up (either direct rate or valuation of property), home insurance will go up as well. Make sure you understand how your state does property taxes and how the homestead exemption works on that. We got a rude surprise when we found that we didn't qualify for homestead for our first year and taxes were collected in arrears - meaning we'd lived there for nearly a year before getting a tax bill that was double what we were expecting.
     
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  16. CtownCyclone

    CtownCyclone A lean, mean, fighting machine
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    No joke. We got a pretty good one for the house we're in now (he had a very thorough report, used the IR camera to prove the A/C was working/not working, etc). But when we sold our house, the people that were putting offers in had some pretty poor ones who didn't know what they were looking at. Only because I'm a mechanical engineer (with some electrical friends) was I able to determine some of the stuff in their reports was bull.
     
  17. dosry5

    dosry5 Well-Known Member

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    Only YOU can prevent forest fires
     
  18. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member
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    That all depends. There are many times that a low ball offer is either the right price or a good tactic in a buyers market. If it's a sellers market and they really like the house then you might offer more. My first home purchase we paid too much and our realtor was newer and he talked me into not making a lower offer. That was the wrong move. They were willing to sell it for less and we overpaid. Didn't use that Realtor again, obviously.
     
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  19. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member
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    Umm... $1300 for some refrigerant? o_O We got a new exterior unit installed for $1,500.
     
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  20. cowgirl836

    cowgirl836 Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes they marry outside their kind and migrate up and out of the parks.
     

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