So nervous about buying a house


#1

DH and I want to buy a house. We found one that seems to fit our needs. A fixer with a (seemingly) livable apt upstairs and gutted downstairs.
We’d wipe out half our savings on closing costs, and then there are so many unknowns about renovating a property.
We have to make a decision pretty much this week due to pressure from other potential buyers. Fervent and immediate prayers appreciated, advice or thoughts as well. I’m just so nervous!!


#2

I will pray for you to make the right decision! When we were looking for a house last year, we found a fixer-upper that we finally put an offer on… 30 minutes after someone else got it! God saved us from that one, and another one too, that was not right for us. Trust in Him–He’ll help you with the fixing if this is the right house, and He’ll prevent you from getting it if it’s not the one for you :slight_smile: “Jesus, I trust in You to find us the house You want us to have!”

By the way, we eventually ended up with a bit smaller house in good condition and were amazed to find out how much work this house was even though nothing major was wrong with it–we also had a 9 month old at the time–and we don’t know how we would have managed all the work the fixer-upper would have needed.

I’d love to share the story of the other house God saved us from buying, but it’s lunch time now :slight_smile:


#3

I’ll say a prayer you guys make the right choice! Buying a house is such an incredible investment and responsibility… but it’s so awesome once you do!
Good luck and God bless!


#4

Vluvski,

Boy, can I relate to this–my fiance just bought our house (closed Thursday) and there are so many things to keep an eye on!

If you aren’t already, make sure you state in your contract that you’ll be getting an appraisal and home inspection. The house we ended up buying had a lower appraisal than we had offered, so we were able to use this as a bargaining chip to get a new water heater, paint allowance, etc. It really is worth it…especially if you’re getting a fixer-upper like we did.

Also, if you’re buying a house at the end of the year, make sure that you get the property taxes pro-rated.

Good luck with everything!

kevinsgirl :love:


#5

This is all sort of vague to me now as it’s been awhile since I attended the seminar, but I went to a real estate conference once that detailed how if you are going to buy a fixer-upper, you should really buy a home that can qualify as historical. You have to go through an application process that ultimately deems the house–which I think has to be 70 years or older–as historical, but once you do this it makes you eligible for tons of grants that can ultimately finance your home. For free. :slight_smile:

Just something to think about…


#6

I forget if you’re pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant in the near future, vluvski…if so, try to be realistic about the amount of work that needs to be done vs. the work that your husband will be able to do (if you’re going to be busy w/ baby, that is).

I was 5 mos pregnant when we bought a home that wasn’t really a fixer-upper (or so we thought). My son is 22 mos now, and it was just about 4 months ago that I felt like I could contribute anything to the ongoing, never-ending, perpetual maintenance that this place demands.

Go back in with a super-critical eye about ALL of the things you’ll need to do to the house, room by room, and decide if you have the time,energy & $$ to do them. If not, you’ll just end up hating the house & kicking yourselves for dumping half your savings into a house you hate!

We’re happy where we are, but just wish we could get a break from the upkeep & repairs once in a while…:o


#7

My .02, as a pretty decent “Handyman” (plumbing, electrical, sheetrock, trim, structural - kept my family liquid during an 8mo. layoff…) I’ve also got friends in the trades… most (usually) big dollar jobs can be bartered for pizza & beer…

You have to realize going in that houses are “black hole-money pit fund sucking” monsters. With that said, if you can buy/find one who’s appetite has been satisfied for awhile your doing good!

“Fixer Upper” raises red flags for me. It makes me think of a house that should be on the cable show “Flip this House”. You know the show where they throw some “lipstick & rouge” on a beat up old house and STICK IT to some poor fool.

“Fixer Upper” usually means:
Was a rental property, and the landlord only did the MINIMUM to keep it habitable.
Previous owner didn’t have the $$ or skills to just MAINTAIN the property.
Previous owner was an “empty nester”. House is generally in fair/good condition, but will need SERIOUS updates / repairs in the near future…(not before their lifetime, but definitely in YOUR near future).

1st - put your emotions in the drawer and keep them there. Look at the property for WHAT IT IS… Not “What I could be”. It’s like grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Don’t let your dreams influence reality. (A co-worker of mine bought a WRECK of a house just because it was “close to mom, and in her old neighborhood”…

2nd - If you’re serious about the property…SPEND THE $300 TO $400 for an INTENSE inspection from a good, licensed, “on the city’s list of authorized” inspectors. Pay special attention to geographically specific hot items (termites, low water-table, flooding, etc.) USE these results as a bargaining tool during sale negotiations…If the seller won’t bend/compromise - walk.

3rd - Take a SERIOUS look at the mechanical systems in the house - Furnace, A/C, Water Heater, Water Softner, …Each of these units will have a “data plate” on them, with the mfg. date. Any unit made more than 10 years ago goes on the “Will Fail at ANY time” list.

4th - Look around the neighborhood! Are there train tracks 100 yds. away (noise @ 3am)? Is there a fast-food joint down the block (wrappers/trash/traffic in your yard)? Is the local airport within 15 miles (flight path right over your head)?

5th - Don’t ever forget YOU ARE THE BUYER. You don’t have to compromise to “make the deal”. You’re not the person trying to sell something/make a profit. There are 100’s of other houses out there… not just this one. If the seller won’t bend - walk.

6th - Realize that whatever medium to major updates/remodeling YOU do will have “trickle down” requirements, and that other parts of the mechanical/electrical systems will ALSO be brought up to current code requirements (not just the area/system you are doing)! Read that as big $$.

7th - If you don’t do it yourself… A modest kitchen remodel costs $15,000. New Windows (average house) = $15,000. New Siding/Soffits = $12,000, New Driveway = $5,000+, Master Bath = $7,000. Tear-off & re-roof = $5,000. Electrical Panel/Amperage upsize = $3,000. Furnace-A/C = $5,000. Water Heater = $1,000.

Evaluate your skills (you & DH). What are you going to realistically going to be able to do? Most anyone can fix walls & paint, but beyond that? Factor in that the babies take naps (no noise), and someone will be working solo most of the time…(it took me 3 years to finish our basement!)

I don’t want to scare you, but this is a reality. I’d rather see someone wait a bit and buy something that they can live in for awhile, than dump their savings into a black hole.


#8

This is an EXCELLENT summary. Superb. I agree totally.

Friends of mine have bought houses that were 80-100 years old and … WOW! … did they have to put a phenomenal amount of work and money into those houses!!! And these people KNEW what they were doing (they thought!). One fellow bought a Century House (100 years old). He said the nails were so old and rusty that the nails would break and pieces of the house would fall off.

Take a look at TV shows like “Flip This House” to see what contortions experienced people have to go through to make a house presentable. These are good before and after examples. (AND sometimes they just paint over mold!! YIKE!!). And visualize yourself in their shoes trying to do fixup.

No thanks.


#9

My husband who is a foreman for a construction firm that does custom builds and renovations for high end homes wanted me to post this advice

First place you should always look in a house is the basement (if it has one)…also always check the attic too…

anyways hope this helps someone…:slight_smile:


#10

list price dropped from 215 to 199 last week. Built 1920, colonial style with brick front on .3 acre flat lot very overgrown and filled with trash and construction debris. Based on comps the house would be high 300s after repairs. Professional estimates are 55-60 to have all the renovations done professionally. No bones about it, this place needs A LOT of work.

Mason says the basment floor was/is in the process of being lowered or repoured to accomodate the new furnace. Electric is also new. House is gutted down to the studs on the first floor. Framing appears sound but not quite right- studs aren’t the same distance apart in a few places.

Thing is, the place sold for 135 in April and 172 in June. According to the listing agent, the current investor ran out of money. The previous owner was one of the homevestor firms, and the other one probably rented it out for the 3 years he owned it. I’m just scratching my head trying to figure out what was done between Apr and Jun to increase by almost 40k and now since Jun to increase another almost 30???:confused:


#11

Put on the track shoes and RUN!

Price drop of 20 Grand in a week…RED FLAG

Thing is, the place sold for 135 in April and 172 in June. According to the listing agent, the current investor ran out of money.

$40 Grand in 60 days???

An “Investor” ran out of money… If an “Investor” ran out of cash, what is Mr. & Mrs. Joe Average gonna do…?

Based on comps the house would be high 300s after repairs.

OK,… 200K purchase price - buyer is “tapped out” after signing for the “fixerupper”. Property needs $50K minimum “updates” to turn the $300K market price?

Walk… no RUN from this one.

Follow my above advise and find a place that’s WHOLE and live-able for the next 10 years while you can rebuild your reserves and fix it up to your standards… not barely habitable standards…


#12

Thanks for the advice. We probably won’t put in an offer then, but there is no such thing as a “whole” house anywhere inside the stratosphere. We’ll just continue to throw money down the rent toilet, which is better than throwing even more money down the bad investment toilet.:rolleyes:

Here’s the tax record on the place. Just for my information, what does “phase in assesment” mean?


#13

never buy fixer to renovate unless you enoy such work, can live with the resulting mess, and have the skill and money to do it. If there are unknowns about the property, don’t touch it. Pressure from the seller is meaningless, you are in charge of this decision. you might want to rent Money Pit to help you decide. also if you do buy a fixer, make sure it is in a neighborhood with good resale potential.


#14

Phase-In Assessments

When property values increase, the increase is phased-in equal increments over the next three years. A property with a base value of $100,000 and a current value of $130,000, would have the $30,000 increase phased-in over the next three years: Year 1: $110,000; Year 2: $120,000; Year 3: 130,000. If a property’s value decreases, the phase-in value is the same as the current value.
The phase-in assessment is the amount to which the tax rate is multiplied to determine tax liability. Note tax rates are expressed as dollars per $100 of assessment. (Phase-in Assessment / 100 x Tax Rate = Tax Bill) These columns show the phase-in assessments for the current and next year. Note that if the property will be revalued before the next tax year starts, NOT AVAIL will appear.
sdatcert3.resiusa.org/rp_rewrite/rp_def.html


#15

what is a “whole house”?
I thought I owned one…has all its walls, roof, basement, all its plumbing, electrical, fixtures etc.


#16

whole=not a dive


#17

vluvski, what you wrote (in blue) above is true…but just remember, your rent money IS paying for the luxury of picking up the phone and saying, “Oh Mr. Landlord, the _____ is broken…could you please come fix it NOW!” :slight_smile:


#18

Ahh…then you are wrong…there are plenty of them…you just have to know where to look;)


#19

Unless otherwise stated in your lease…here in NJ it is very common for the lease to state that the tenant will fix things over so many $$…
Well that is at least in the leases I make our tenants sign:D


#20

Wow, in our last apartment they’d even supply light bulbs for us :slight_smile:

Vluvski, it sounds like you’re getting caught up in the moment. How would it sound to you if you and your husband decided to take a step back from this house deal for a week or so and make a daily Holy Hour during that time? If it’s God’s Will for you two to buy that house, it will still be available to you and you’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that’s the step you need to take. Don’t let the realtor or seller pressure you into it.

Let me tell you my other story. We found a house in the town where my husband works (small town with outrageous prices), that was actually priced reasonably. The people living there were very much in love with their house, and the mom of the family told us that they want the people who live there to really love the house as much as they do. There really weren’t many places available to us in that area, and this house seemed like the one for us.

So we decided to put an offer in. It was selling for $99K (3 beds, 1 bath, brick on 1 acre), and we offered $92.5 which even the realtor agreed was a very good offer. They came back and said “$98K and you don’t get the fridge!” We offered $95, and they rejected it. At this time we realized that with our plans for a growing family, one bath wouldn’t really be what we needed, and there were also some quirky floor plan issues we didn’t think would be good for a soon-to-be toddler. So we just decided to let the deal go.

A week later, the owners of the house came begging us to take it for $95, and luckily the original contract had died and we were able to deny it. Eventually they came begging us, saying that they’d give it to us for our original offer of $92.5. But we realized we just didn’t want that house any more and we’d wait for God to find the right one for us. God saved us from being stuck with that house that we realized was so wrong for us! :bounce:

So we decided to look in the area we were currently living in and called a realtor from our parish. On the first day of looking at houses with her, we had terrible thunder storms that seemed to be directly overhead. Several times while going from the car into the house I was actually scared I’d be hit by lightening a few times, it was that bad!! And then… we pulled up into the driveway of the house we now have, the storm stopped, the sun came out, the birds started singing, and this house was just perfect for us (even half a mile away from church!). We ended up getting it for $89K, and no one could believe we got this house for such a low price (it was a foreclosure). Other houses like it in our neighborhood are selling for $130-150K.

When we think about how terribly close we came to buying a house that was so very wrong for our family we get shivers up our spines! So don’t get pushed into making a hasty decision. Let God guide you, and you will KNOW the right house when you find it :slight_smile: I hope my story gives you a little encouragement. By the way, by the time we found our house, we’d looked at 92 different houses in 8 different counties, with a baby in tow.

If all else fails, move to GA where your $199K will go a heck of a lot further :smiley:


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