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Thread: First time homebuyer

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    #1

    First time homebuyer

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    So DH and I are currently thinking about buying a home. Our lease is up where we are in November and we really want to move. We are considering renting/buying and having completely decided yet which way we're going to go. But I'm wondering where to even begin. Can someone give me some advice on where to even start. How do you choose who to get a mortgage from? Are you supposed to be qualified before you start viewing homes.

    We haven't looked very seriously yet, but we found one house that we both LOVE. I've tried e-mailing through realtor.com asking a few questions about it, but always seem to get a generic response. Am I supposed to get an agent first or do I go through the agent who is listed on the home to find out what to do next? As you can tell I have no idea what I'm doing and need major step by step instructions on how this works. Is it wrong to request a viewing of a home when I'm not sure if we would qualify for a mortgage (major reason I'm unsure is I have a full time job offer to start in December but am currently only working sporadically part-time).

    Thanks for any advice anyone has!
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    #2
    If you're with USAA, they have a program called Home Circle that's designed to help you with the whole process from start to finish: setting you up with a realtor, credit approval and mortgage, homeowner's insurance, etc.

    When we were homebuying we just picked a realtor based off reviews online and talked to her. Told her our price range and what we wanted and she sent us some homes to look at and then we picked which ones we wanted to view in person. We didn't have to get preapproved to view the homes or anything. When it came time for the bank stuff we went with the bank our realtor suggested, and they took good care of us. Later the mortgage was sold to Wells Fargo so that's who has our mortgage now.
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    #3
    We got our mortgage because our realtor (a good friend) liked//worked closely with one mortgage company, who did Wells Fargo stuff. We love owning a home. And the process wasn't super daunting, really.
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    #4
    Our realtor came recommended by the majority of people on base that we know. She's a military wife and one of the top rated realtors for the state of Alaska. She has been amazing. We're building and it's been the biggest mess ever. I feel kind of bad for her. She helped us find our lender and he's been just as awesome and specializes in VA loans.
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    #5
    Thanks for the info guys. I guess I'm just scared to waste someones time and then not qualify. I'm not sure if they would consider my income even though I have a signed offer to start in December since I'm not making it now or if DH's credit is good enough (mine is low to mid 700's but his is low to mid 600's due to some things that went to collections when he was like 18, nothing like that on his record since 2007 though).

    Did any of you guys do VA loans with $0 down? How much did you actually have to pay out of pocket through the whole process?

    Also, should I find my own agent first or just contact the one for the property we are interested in? The house we have found is PERFECT but if we can't get it and nothing else amazing comes up we would probably wait a year or two and build our own house. I guess I'm just confused if the agent on the sign for the property is representing that property or whether they would represent me if that makes any sense?
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    #6
    Get your own agent first. It is actually better to have a different agent than the one listed on the property. In most states, the same agent can't represent both parties, so if you used the same agent, someone else from the office would have to work with you anyway. Each party needs someone representing just their interests; it's a conflict of interest for the same person to represent both the buyer and seller. Even if it is legal in your area, you don't want that. You want someone whose entire job is to get you the lowest price and terms possible. The seller's agent is working to get the highest price and best terms for them.

    Don't worry about wasting their time. As long as you aren't just doing it because it is fun to look at houses, it's fine. It's part of their job and not everyone ends up buying a house.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    from an Agents POV:

    the first thing you want to do is a budget. you will want to factor all the costs of buying and owning your own home.
    costs you may not have considered: taxes, insurance, higher electric bills, water bill, trash service, routine and emergency maintenance, pest control, lawn care.
    the next thing you want to do is discuss ( if AD) what you will do if you PCS and cannot sell for what you owe ( if you go VA no money down and pay market value, you will be under water ( owe more than what the home is worth the day you sign the closing documents), are you willing to rent it? what if you cannot rent it for what it costs to maintain it < ie Property management fees, repairs, advertising, vacancy rate, in addition to the mortgage? are you willing to GEO until it rents or sells, regardless of how long it takes?
    then run both credit reports; make sure there is nothing outstanding and get both credit scores.
    Have 3-6,000 dollars to pay for closing costs.
    have 40% debt to income ratio

    then get your VA certificate
    get preapproved for a loan
    find an agent
    find a home.
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    #8
    you want to find your own agent- a listing agent can act on your behalf, but cannot represent you. you will want your own buyers agent.

    for costs- it will depend on what the closing costs are, what the costs for inpections are, and what the pre paids are and what the sellers are willing to pay. but as I stated you should have 3- 6 thousand in savings.

    for your income for them to consider it you will need to be there at least 12 months - a letter of intent will not mean anything to the bank.

    for VA the loan will originate in his name, so the interest rate will be based on his credit score, not yours. ( it is a VA requirement since he is the vet, unless your also a veteran that can use the VA loan too)

    HTH's
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jesskuhmarie View Post
    Did any of you guys do VA loans with $0 down? How much did you actually have to pay out of pocket through the whole process?

    Also, should I find my own agent first or just contact the one for the property we are interested in?
    We did a $0 down VA loan, but since it was a short sale, it had quite a few additional costs that most "normal" sales probably wouldn't have. Here's an example of some of the fees we had to pay:

    $1,000 earnest money - money applied towards the loan, but it was required when we put our offer in that we were truly interested in the home. Here in WA, $1,000 is a pretty standard number and our realtor said he wouldn't waste anyones time on not putting earnest money down.

    $500 VA home appraisal (we had to front this - not sure if this is normal or just because we had a short sale and the sellers bank didn't want to cover it)

    $425 Buyers (us) home inspection - prices varied between $300-$500 here


    Aside from that, we had to put money down towards closing costs because it was a short sale and the bank wouldn't help us at all. I have no idea what is "normal" in that sense. Definitely get pre-approved for a mortgage before shopping around. We got 3 different approvals and used the one that was best for us - which was not USAA or Navy Fed. After that, we got in touch with a realtor online who had been in the business for 30 years.
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    #10
    o add to Gunsgirl, some more things to think about.
    What ever amount the bank tells you that you are "Pre-approved" for, forget it. Rule of thumb is that your monthly expense of home ownership is about 150% of the mortgage. So if the mortgage is 1000 a month, you have to figure you will end up spending $1500 a month, minimum. This will include utilities, taxes, insurance, lawn care, etc.
    If they say you can "afford" a 300,000 house, start looking at the $250 range.

    Your broker is going to want you to by the most expensive home you can. He or she makes more money that way. Do NOT feel pressured. Do NOT fall in love with a home. Do NOT look at homes at or above the top of your range. You will regret it when you are struggling to pay the bills.

    If your broker keeps showing you homes that you are not interested in, fire the broker and get a new one. For example, if you ask for ranch homes, and he is only showing you split level homes, then find a new broker.

    Remember your cost of moving into a new home. Are you going to want to or need to paint the walls? put new carpet because the previous owner had dogs and children? Are you going to want to redo the closets? I have never moved without spending a whole lot of money to fill the home. Decor and such.


    Use your County Tax assessor and recorders web sites. Ever real estate sale is recorded and public record, including how much the seller purchased the home for, the tax values each year, how many people have owned the home etc. It will give you good insight. Also, you can look up the neighbors homes too, see what they sold for.

    If you have kids, school districts are important.

    Sign NOTHING that they put in front of you, unless they give you a chance to take it home and read it first. Especially the Hud-1 statement.


    Next, figure out WHY you want to buy a home?

    If you find a neighborhood you like, knock on doors, talk to neighbors. see what they think of the neighborhood.
    Drive around, look at the cars parked in the driveways, or on the lawns as the case may be. Will you fit in?

    A home will be your largest purchase in your life. And if you screw it up, it hurts. a lot. Do NOT rush into anything. Take your time.
    Shop around for mortgages.
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