Posts filed under ‘Home Buying Tips’

what i will/will not miss

Something I think that all first time home buyers should do is to take a look at where you are currently living.  Decide what you like and don’t like about the place so you know what to look for in your home.  Below is a similar list that Jeff and I made.  We looked at our duplex and listed the things that we will miss and the things we won’t miss.  Now that we’ve been in our first home close to a month, it’s fun to look back on our list.  Read on to see the things we won’t miss about the duplex.

Will not miss:

  • noisy train nearby
  • having only one bathroom
  • narrow driveway and parking on the street – Jeff would use our one garage spot and I had to park on the street.  Sometimes I couldn’t find a spot, sometimes I would come out to find my car covered in bird poo or spider webs.  Parking on the street everyday was no fun.
  • having neighbors above us – we had the lower unit in the duplex so we would always hear people walking around, fighting, and playing loud music right above us.
  • doing laundry in a creepy shared basement
  • gross spiders – Lakewood has a lot of spiders, I think because it is so close to the lake.
  • creaky floors – We had all hardwood floors which were nice but old.  They were very creaky!
  • old stove – it worked alright but I always wondered how old it really was and if it was just going to stop working one day.
  • tiny dishwasher – mom and dad liked to joke about our “tiny dishwasher”.  It was pretty small (see pic below), but it was better than not having one at all.  I’m glad to have a normal size one now!

old dishwasher

  • small kitchen
  • lack of privacy

Will miss:

  • snow plowing done for us – our landlord hired a company to do the snow plowing so we never had to worry about it.
  • landscaping done for us – a company was also hired to do yard work and maintain the lawn.
  • not paying for repairs – if we needed something fixed we didn’t have to pay for it.  That was nice!
  • nice park nearby – I really liked Lakewood park, it had nice views of the lake and the city.
  • all the storage in unit – I definitely miss the built in storage we had at the duplex.  There were built in book shelves, built in drawers, built in cabinets.  It was great!
  • price – our principle and interest on our mortgage is only a little bit above what our rent payment was, but once you add on the property tax and insurance, it’s a lot more than what we paid for rent!

September 2, 2009 at 3:40 am 3 comments

Let’s keep looking

After Jeff and I took a second look at the house in my previous post, we decided not to put in an offer and to continue on our house hunt. Sure that house had a lot of what we were looking for, and it was in a good location. But on the down side, it needed a new roof, furnace, windows, and electrical updates. All that would cost quite a bit of money and that place was already priced at the top of our budget. We decided that we want a house with more “behind the scenes” updates such as the roof and furnace, and the decor is not as important. It’s hard to look at rooms with ugly paint and carpet colors along with old out dated fixtures, but we will have to try to look past that, because that is something that would be more fun to update! Does anyone really have fun getting a new roof? Probably not, it’s just a necessary expense. I would rather move into a home and be able to change the look of things when I felt like it and had the money, rather than moving into a home and being required to get a new roof within a year or less!

Besides that, this Rocky River house never felt right to me. It never felt like home. When Jeff and I first looked at it online, I just thought it was ok, I wasn’t super interested in it. When we looked at it in person I basically felt the same. There were things I definitely liked about it, but many more that I didn’t like. I know when we find the right house I will be very excited! I have learned to trust my instincts, and my instincts have told me to keep looking!

May 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

Reasons to buy a house

Any first time home buyer will probably have different reasons for wanting to make their first home purchase.  Here are my main reasons:

  1. We need a bigger space. With Jeff and I going to work at the same time, one bathroom just isn’t cutting it.  We also could use some more storage space and a basement for Jeff to keep his drums.
  2. Neighbors. Our upstairs neighbors in the duplex aren’t bad, but it’s a little annoying when you have to hear them fighting constantly!  I like my piece and quiet and I like my privacy.
  3. We’ve rented long enough. As of June, Jeff and I will have rented for four years.  We know how much utilities cost and how to keep a place clean and nice.  We know how much we can afford for a mortgage and we are ready to get a house!
  4. We can decorate however we want. In a rental you either have to complain to your landlord to fix/change something or just live with it.  I can’t wait to be able to paint the walls any color I want, get new appliances, and make the place how we like.
  5. Pets! Many landlords are restrictive of how many pets or what type of pets you can have.  The owner of our current duplex had a “no pets” policy but when we told him we had a bunny, he just laughed and said it was fine.  But we are only allowed one.  When we get a house, I want to get another bunny and maybe a cat!
  6. Now is a great time to buy. You cannot deny that fact!  Interest rates are very low, and with houses staying on the market for a longer time, we should be able to get a good deal!  Not to mention the first time home buyer tax credit that is available.

Those are my top reasons to buy a house.  What are your reasons?  I’m very excited about the whole process and I am hopeful that we will find a house we love.

April 12, 2009 at 12:40 pm 4 comments

Home buying shows

I like to watch shows on first time home buyers, and HGTV has plenty of them.  Some of my favs are My First Place, House Hunters, and Property Virgins.  Last night Jeff and I were watching an episode of My First Place, and I couldn’t help but think these first time home buyers didn’t know what they were doing.  Now I’m not saying that I’m an expert on the subject, but I certainly feel like I’ve done a lot of research!  The particular couple on the show last night looked at several houses and fell in love with one that had a list price at the top of their budget.  Their realtor convinced this couple to make a FULL PRICE offer because someone else was interested in that house and also writing an offer!  I could not believe this realtor.  I felt like she was taking advantage of the young couple who didn’t know any better.  For all I know, the realtor could have been just telling them that another offer was being written and it may not have been true.  Well in the end the couple’s full price offer was accepted (surprise, surprise) and they got the house.

I don’t think that most people actually pay the asking price on a house.  I certainly won’t be!  This is a buyer’s market and we have to take advantage of it!  I plan on bidding below the asking price as well as asking the seller to pay closing costs.  To all first time home buyers: you do not have to offer what your realtor suggests!  You decide the amount that you want to offer and stick to it.  (but also take the comparables into account)  If your realtor tries to pressure you to offer more then find someone else!  The seller may not accept your first offer, but that is ok.  Go back and forth until you are both happy or just find a different house.  There are plenty of them out there!

March 31, 2009 at 8:56 am 1 comment

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