Tuesday, September 19, 2006

House Shopping

I have been sucked into the vortex/black hole that is real estate shopping. Oh. My. God. Neighborhoods, resale value, school districts, fixed loans, variable rate loans, mortgage insurance, home inspections.....

It's crazy.

What have I learned so far?

1. I can have either location or the right price, but not both. If it does have both, it's ugly.

2. I have really good credit. (Woo Hoo!)

3. I wish I had $20k for a down payment.

4. PMI is not good to have. But I'm not really seeing how I will get out of having it. Assuming I am understanding it correctly.

5. I know what an ARM loan is. I think I want one.

6. I know how to check and see when the house was built.

7. I know it's good to have a roof vent, especially where I live.

8. All the cute homes are already taken.

9. Certain types of siding are good....others, not so good.

10. I do not want to fool with removing hideous wallpaper.

11. A surprising number of couples have purple bedrooms.

12. Lots of houses have large sheds in the backyard. It is more than you would need for lawn mower storage. I have no idea what I would do with a shed like this. Take up gardening?

13. In this town, you can be on one street and think you are in a really nice neighborhood, but when you go one block over, it is skeeeeeetch-y.

14. More people should have re-done their houses a long time ago. If your house was built in 1960, and you still have the wood paneling and original avocado-colored countertops, folks, it's time.

15. The house I want is about $15k more than I want to spend. It looks like this:

See how cute?? And new = few repairs. (I am thinking about only looking at new-ish homes just for this reason alone.) I am going to talk to the development's real estate agent today about these little patio homes here. Maybe we can work something out. Wish me luck!


jennster said...

good god, GOOD LUCK! that house is adorable! be thankful you live somewhere where a house is AFFORDABLE. you do realize that a house like that in california would be at least 700,000. AT LEAST. owning a home seems like something that is still so far from our reach. it's bullshit.
i am so psyched for you- and envious.. but still psyched. and fuck the down payment.. oh wait, you live where it's affordable. iw as going to say, the down payment here would make about a 40 dollar difference on your mortgage. lol

Matilda Jane said...

*nodding along*
I'd love to join you on your search and see your options! I hated house shopping for myself... but I think it would be fun helping shop for someone else.

I was more confused than Paris Hilton on jeopardy when I started with the mortgage and all that... but learned a lot in the process. In case not enough people have told you: "remember, this is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your entire life!"

Random Musings Of My Life said...

Good luck!!
And just thank goodness you do not live in CALI a broken down 1 bedroom, 1 bath (can you beleive it) starts @ 350,000

Stuck said...

There is a first-time buyer program, similar to the Fannie Mae thing, that allows you to get out of paying PMI if you have good credit. That was what I ended up doing.

sassafras said...

You give me hope. I want to start looking at houses but am completely clueless and it scares the s**t out of me. Good luck with everything!

Gypsy said...

So cute! My envy knows no bounds.

Becky said...

good luck. we haev PMI on our house. the only way outta it is to own 20% of what your home is worth. or put down 20% which really, who can do that???? we need to get our house appraised cuz i think we own 20% of what its worth and we can get rid of the PMI

cmk said...

Don't EVER turn your nose up at storage--WHEREVER you find it! I remember moving into our house and wondering what to do with all of the storage space and within a year I was wondering where to put things. :) It really is amazing what you can find to put into an outside storage shed. Good luck to you.

The Dummy said...

Cute house. I've been doing some eyeing myself when it comes to houses. It's important to see where your expenses are gonna go and what you're going to have left after you make the purchase, so I've been a super extra dorky nerd and built quite a spreadsheet to do all those calculations for me. Let me know if you're serious about this, and I'll be happy to send it to you and walk you through. Or if the numbers scare you, why don't you just tell me how much the house is going to be, and I'll do the rest?

MoDigli said...

Oh. my. god.

I was just gonna say that NDG would LOVE this post. And would probably talk with you about it ad naseum.

But, as we see here, he's already beat me to the punch.

Super extra dorky nerd? Yeah, that's him! :)

PS. I like your house choice! It's probably WAY more affordable than its exact twin that lives somewhere in San Diego!

Red said...

Trust me when I say DO NOT let someone talk you into an ARM.. I worked in finance for a long time and I can tell you that those things can go south in a hurry and you'll never know what hit you. It sounds like a great idea, but it's not in the long run. Not to mention, if you want to start it back at the lower rate and refinance, you'll have then payed nothing but interest.. Go with a first time buyers program with a fixed rate and then refinance if the rate falls enough to make it worth your while.. Don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions.. Good luck!!

Follow the Frog said...

Exciting but scary! Good luck!!!

Sam said...

w00t! Love it. House hunting is WAY stressful but I'm sure you can make it work!

Anne said...

PMI is bad bad bad..but it is possible to get a loan without it. Just be as adamant as possible that you do not want it. If you do have to have it maybe it wont be too high since you have good credit. Regardless..if you have to get it you can always deal with paying it for a couple of years and then refinance to a new loan without it..but thats kind of a pain in the butt too.

Think really carefully about that ARM...you can really screwed with an ARM..and things are just on their way up now. I despise ARM loans..they can be sneaky.

Other than all that though..wow! Those houses are adorable! Well worth the 15k if you can just to avoid the avacado green and paneling! And if its an old house then you would end up sinking that much into it just to get it up to date and to fix all the crazy problems that you would have.

Im so jealous...good luck VB!

Virginia Belle said...

ster-- i seriously wonder how anyone can pay their bills in california. i am wondering if it is all relative across the country. i bet if i had a similar job out there, i would double my salary!

MJ-- dude! please come with me. i would looooove your input. so far, i have done all house shopping alone, which is no fun! and you are right about mortgage stuff--you learn a lot as you go along.

random-- you have just illustrated why people from california and new england like to buy houses here. for $350k, you can get like, a 5 bedroom, all brick house here. with probably a double garage. no joke. people from cali move here and clean up! SC housing is ultra cheap. which is good for people like me!

stuck--yes. i need to look into that idea. i have good credit. i do not want PMI. thanks for the tip.

sassafras-- at first, i was scared, too. but although it's scary to think about signing up to pay for something so expensive, it's really exciting too. and you will save SO MUCH on taxes. tons, actually. the good thing is, everyone can teach you about everything as you go along. no one is born knowing how to do this. and if it was so difficult to figure out, no one would buy a house.

gypsy-- it's not a bungalow...*sniff* but that's ok. maybe one day.

becky-- i know! who has $20k sitting around collecting dust?? i'd be 42 before i could save even half of that! so i am looking into some alternatives.

cmk-- this is a good point. i've never had a problem filling a closet before...

dummy--ok, super extra dorky nerd! wow. you totally geeked out on this. i might send you some numbers to crunch. remember, i do not get along with calculators. i would like a rough estimate of what i'd be paying each month....

mo-- you must really love him, because that is mega-geek. (kidding! just teasing!) actually, it must be nice to have a guy who is good w/money. that would make me rest easy at night. and yeah, i don't know how anyone affords houses in cali. it is outta control.

red-- you know, i was thinking about maybe not getting one....because i realized that interest rates are climbing right now, and they probably will continue....so maybe i need a different strategy...

follow the frog-- you pretty much summed it up. very scary. very exciting. thanks!

sam--thanks for the vote of confidence. :)

anne-- yeah, PMI = bad. and the ARM thing isn't sounding so great, now that i have thought about it some more. back to the drawing board...thanks for the well wishes.