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Old 07-26-2007, 09:56 AM   #11
nik
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We're looking for a house now. The first thing you want to do is run credit reports on yourself and fix any errors and do things to boost your score now. This is the link that gives you the credit report free, but I think you still have to pay $10 or so for your score. www.annualcreditreport.com

The book, Home Buying for Dummies is really good and one of the most popular books out there.

Remember that you have exactly 1 week to apply for mortgates without the credit checks impacting your score.

Closing costs vary a lot, and you'll need earnest money too. If you don't put 20% down you'll pay PMI. A lot of people don't put 20% down so don't feel like you have to have a huge down payment. Many people don't put anything down at all.

You need to be pre-approved to seriously start looking. Most people won't take you seriously if you don't have pre-approval.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:18 PM   #12
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I learned from a realtor, that some will specialize as either buyer's agents or seller's agents.

A seller's agent is ALWAYS more concerned with getting his client's homes sold than finding you your dream home.

A buyer's agent is ALWAYS going to look for what you WANT - your dream home. They don't tend to have an inventory of homes they want to sell for clients, they go find what you want.

Another piece of advice I was given is to take a class at a local community center or school similar to what's been described above so you know the lingo/terminology. It can be very confusing if you don't know what they mean when they are talking to you. 'They' being everyone; from the banker, to the agents to the inspectors.

Good luck and let us know how it goes! And when you find your dream home, just remember...



PICS!!!! We want pics!!!

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Old 07-26-2007, 01:21 PM   #13
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My two cents
Here's my two cents on home buying learned from buying my own home and watching friends buy homes :

Hire an independent home inspector - mine was about $300 here in VA and the best money I ever spent

There are free credit reports, if not from your bank, I think equifax.com or call BBB they will suggest one

NEVER show the realtor your pre-approval letter unless you plan on spending every penny of that ( I got approved for more than I wanted to spend and had to change realtors b/c once the realtor saw that letter there was no spending less) Their commission is based on selling price ...seller pays it so not your concern

IMHO do not get caught up in adj rate mortgages or other schemes, my friend was talked into taking out a loan to pay closing costs and mortgage ins on an adj rate mortgage, so now her interst rate is going up and she's paying off a house she can't afford on top of having to pay off the loan she took out to pay the closing costs etc. As someone else mentioned, make sure when you decide how much of a down payment you can afford (I think 20% gets you the best rate) make sure you save money (more than you think you will need) for home repairs, grills, lawn mowers, weed eaters, gardens, garden hoses, decorations, new furniture, etc etc.

Whatever you do look at a ton of houses !! I loved every other house I looked at so had to make a spread sheet of pros and cons to decide which ones to take a 2nd look at. I looked at my house 3 times before putting in an offer. Feel free to make notes about houses and what you like or dislike as you walk through.

Okay - one more thing....I am not an advocate of running balances on credit cards, but after buying my house I did take advantage of the Lowe's and Home Depot offer where you could buy things on their store credit card and pay no interest for a year. I bought my fridge, washer/dryer, and hard wood floors this way. Gives you a year to save money and pay if off without any interest.

Have fun !!
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Old 07-26-2007, 05:04 PM   #14
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Wow you guys are so helpful. I'm reading each post several times so that I understand perfectly what you said. Thank you so much for taking the time to help out.

vaknitter, I have a question about something you wrote. You said "Their commission is based on selling price ...seller pays it so not your concern". Does this mean that even if I hire a realtor they don't charge me a commission? I was under the impression that when a purchase is made, the realtor charges commission to both the seller and the buyer.

We're trying to be as accurate as possible in budgeting because it's so easy to underestimate and land in trouble. And once we find our home, I'll be sure to post plenty of pics
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cando View Post
vaknitter, I have a question about something you wrote. You said "Their commission is based on selling price ...seller pays it so not your concern". Does this mean that even if I hire a realtor they don't charge me a commission? I was under the impression that when a purchase is made, the realtor charges commission to both the seller and the buyer.
not vaknitter, but I'll try to help.

Check with your realty agent on how they will do this. Closing costs which can include the commission can be paid by the seller or buyer, but generally the latter. Contracts can be written either way, depending on what the seller/buyer wants and what the laws are in your area.

In addition, the commission is split between the buying and selling agents, so a realtor may try to get you to buy one of the houses in their inventory so they get both sides of the commission. Again, look for a seller's agent as they are more impartial as to what you're looking at.

There are many variables, depending on what state you live in. Make a list of questions like this and make sure you ask your banker, your agent and anyone else involved in the transaction. If their answers aren't the same, ask how come and if you don't like their responses, find someone else to work with.

No offense to anyone in the industry, but realtors, bankers/mortgage lenders are a dime a dozen, so make sure you're happy with the ones you are working with. It's a very competitive market to provide the services to you, the public.

On my last house, the broker wasn't responsive enough to our phone calls, took more than a day to call us back, so we went elsewhere. We lost a house due to his slowness.
Don't feel obligated to work with a certain person, they are providing you a service and are working FOR you. They should be willing to answer all your questions.

As you can see, I'm very picky about people providing me a service. If I don't think the person is looking out for MY interests, I walk. You aren't under any obligation, unless you sign a contract, to continue working with them.

Good luck! Have fun!

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Old 07-26-2007, 06:07 PM   #16
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You'll want to make sure that your inspector is a member of ASHI. They've got pretty high standards. Our inspector was, and did a fantastic job. The pricing tends to be pretty standard (if I recall correctly, it's set by the organization). If radon is an issue in your area (it is where I live), you'll want to make sure they do a radon test.

I can't really say anything about the realtor aspect--we bought one that was "for sale by owner."

You really do want to research the neighborhood. We'd talked about buying the vacant lot behind us so we'd have more privacy. Two hours after the movers left, a crew started clearing the lot to build a house. We've gotten over it (thankfully, the view from the front is spectacular!), but it was a bit of a surprise. And it was our fault for not looking into it.

You also might want to try driving around the neighborhood at different times of the day, just to see what it's like. That way, you can find out if the house next door likes to party all night--*before* you decide to buy.

Good luck, and have fun!!
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:12 PM   #17
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Here is VA the seller pays the commission (major reason I plan to sell my house by owner), typically 6%, which is split btwn the buying and selling agents. There are ways a house can be listed such that the seller states that they will only pays a commission to their own realtor, but in my experience that is rare b/c very few realtors are going to bring clients to see a house and then say - oh yeah and if you buy this house you pay an additional x% to me.

Check with your local area realtors for specifics in CO though.

Something else I thought of - go to open houses in areas you think you might like to live whether or not the houses are in your budget. I am constantly dragging my DH to open houses. It is great to go without your realtor trying to sell you the house. Look around, discuss with your DH what you each like or dislike in the houses you tour.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:51 PM   #18
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i work for a mortgage lender, and i definitely suggest finding a broker you LIKE and trust. why? because you will be dealing with this person a lot once you decide to buy a property. your realtor will orchestrate the looking and the negotiations and the closing, but it's all that financing stuff where people get screwed.
before you start looking, buy mortgages for dummies or something like that. you definitely need to learn the lingo before you dive into this adventure. know what an arm is, know what a balloon is, know what a prepay penalty is, know what PMI is, know what escrows are, know the difference between APR and your rate, know all of it. you need to be an expert to protect yourself. i think a LOT of the foreclosures that have happened recently happen because people don't take the opportunity to educate and protect themselves. definitely find a broker you trust to do your financing. it's stressful times, and you don't want to choose someone who is a used car salesman the entire time. put together a budget and figure out what you can afford COMFORTABLY. depending on your lifestyle, you might qualify for more then you can actually AFFORD. others can afford more then what they qualify for. just because someone says you are approved for it, doesn't mean that you can keep living the way you are living once you pay that payment.
find a realtor you like. if you don't like them, don't use them. until a contract is signed you aren't obligated to use that person. go to open houses in areas that you want to look in. talk to the realtors working there. a lot of my friends buying houses in new towns saw this as a way to shop for a realtor instead of just looking at the house. realtors working an open house usually know the area. and some will have brokers there with them to help you get financing.
for credit, it wouldn't hurt to do a "soft hit" on your credit and see how it looks. get an idea of your credit score and what is going on. you can actually lower your credit score if you pull too often, so be a little careful with that. for the credit cleaning up, your mortgage broker should help you out with that (clearing out duplicate loans, clearing off any collections you've paid and accounts you've settled, etc).

overall, good luck! don't rush into anything! educate yourself before you start! it's a big step, so take the time to learn how to swim before you jump in!
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:03 PM   #19
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Fort Collins!!! I have friends who live there.
there's the neatest city park there with all the statutes...
don't you love the area!!!

You may look at new homes the developers sometime have incentives with specific lenders and the developer will pay a chunk of your closing costs!!!! Right now the developers have alot of inventory and are willing to deal!!!
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