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Hapa_Fodder

Buying a home

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Anyone have advice for someone buying a home for the first time? I'm looking to use my VA benefit finally and get a home.

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Rule 1 - Not from friends or family

Rule 2 - Get inspections!

Rule 3 - Wait and ship around.  Take your time and don't be in a hurry.

Rule 4 - Stay below budget, make it affordable but don't stretch.

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Get a good appraisal. If the house is older, get an engineer to inspect it too. Check the age of the roof and siding (if it has any), the furnace, the water heater, etc. Those are all costly if they come up for replacement in the first couple of years of ownership.

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Keep in mind these three things: location, location, and location.

  • Look for areas close to different industries, not just one large one. My first house was near March Air Force Base and not much else. The city around it was pretty vibrant until they converted it to a reserve base. I owned the home for 11 years and I was still under water when I sold it.
  • Ask around and see if you can find out what's important in your area that drives home prices, then shop accordingly. For example, where I live school districts are the biggest driving force in prices, so buying into a good school district is a better investment.
  • If you're looking at different cities, check online tools to see how the homes in the areas survive recessions. For example, Zillow has estimate values for the last 10 years. Some areas the home prices fall more than others when the economy is bad. You'll want to guard against that in case you need to move during a recession.

By the way, have I mentioned location? 😆

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Where I am at historically the last couple years (even with harvey going through) the property values have increased), it is in a growing part of town, a small house on a lot of land.  What about advice for loans?  When you get a VA loan they do a big inspection on the house, the VA won't back the loan unless the house is exceptable so that is good to me.

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As a member of USAA, go to their website and under ADVICE look the articles about home buying.  These are very helpful and provide some good info about the process.  https://www.usaa.com/inet/wc/advice-real-estate-homebuying?wa_ref=pri_global_advice_homebuying_main

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The VA Appraisal is for VA needs, done by VA persons (or VA contractors)- so I would still make sure you get an inspection AND your own appraisal.  Remember that your "budget" is not just for the loan; it is for the loan, the insurance, the property taxes (if applicable - you may qualify for "no property tax, but laws can change...), the HOA (if applicable), but most importantly for REPAIRS!  You need to have a cushion of at least $100 a month for repairs and set aside that each month - especially if the house if 10 years or more.  One broken water heater could run you $1000 bucks.  AC unit on the fritz?  $400 for inspection, repair and recharge.  gar or oil-fired furnace? Needs to be inspected regularly... that ain't free.  Bad hail storm beats up your house?  SUre, you have insurance, but what about the deductible?

Otherwise, find a realtor, ask for references of that realtor, and then trust that realtor.  Their job is to get you what you need, what you want, and to make sure you are happy to recommend them to others (and hopefully you use them to sell in the future!)

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Agree with thedakar on both the inspection and realtor. If you can find a good realtor, he/she will be more than worthwhile. An experienced realtor may even be able to tell you right up front what is cosmetic and what is more serious. When we bought our current house it was a disaster, at least based on looks. Carpet was torn up, rooms were painted in clown colors, and chicken crap were all over the back patio. We weren't even going to consider it, but our realtor reminded us that all of that is easily cleaned and fixed, and it was in a great school district. So we aggressively negotiated on the price. Since the house was not really appealing, they didn't get any other offers. So we more than made up the cleanup, painting, and hardwood replacement in the final price.

 

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yeah, this house has been on the market for 112 days... so it's definitely made me wonder why...  But it is perfect size for me and I really like it... I dunno we'll see... I will DEFINITELY have inspectors of my own, cause its a 40 yr old home......  so yeah......  Great advice guys, appreciate it!

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