Home buying thread

Zivany_sl

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I think the maximum one can pay towards a mortgage is 41% of their income. So divide that by 12 and there is the maximum mortgage payment you can get. I use a pretty average rate like 3.75% for a 30y loan and calculate the total home cost with the help of a financial calculator. If I don't have one of those with me. I will usually usehttp://www.bankrate.com/calculators.aspxand that helps figure it out.

I would go with getting a pre-approval first. It gives you more buying power when you are looking for a home. That way you know you are good for the money and its in the seller's court if they want to take it or not. It will also help you from looking for things out of your price range.

As for real-estate agents. I would ask your MLO when doing a pre-approval. They usually know who good agents are in your area.

If you want to know how much taxes are going to run. There is usually a county website that you can use to look that information up. They will also give you a valuation of the property and the prices it was previously purchased for.

I hope that helps a little with the process. Let me know if you want a list of the required financial documents you will need ready. They can be a bitch to get ready. If you have them right off the bat, your MLO will probably love you.
 

Deathwing

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I'm going to be looking for a house soon too. Similar to McCheese, this will be my first. Hoping I could have a few questions answered because the process seems daunting.

Where I live(Ithaca, NY), from poking around on Zillow, it looks like the type of house I would possibly want range from 200k to 275k. I have ~40k saved up. By that, I mean that's everything in my checking/savings account. Obviously, I don't want to put all of that towards the down payment/closing cost. We have two old cars, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them needs replacing soon. If I buy a house in that range, how much should I plan to put towards down payment and/or closing costs(I understand that this isn't as variable as down payment)?

What type of loan should I get? Traditional home loan or FHA? I'm fine with paying more interest/PMI of an FHA if it means I have enough money in the bank to deal with unexpected repairs.

I understand that pre-approval is the entry point, but how does one determine what's a good lender? Is there an online review site specific to this industry? I want to know more than just interest rate/closing costs/fees. Will my loan be sold to another bank that I'd rather not handle it? I'm not even sure of what prospective lenders are in my area.

How does a property's tax assessment work relative to the selling price? I've seen some house listing where the sale price is 30k above the tax assessment. And how do property taxes work exactly? I go to my county's webpage to look at each town's property taxes, in percentages, and they in no way match up for the property tax percentage back-calculated from home listing on zillow.
 

Falstaff

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Closing costs are usually estimated to be about 2% of the sale price, but I could be thinking of something else. We bought for 220k and our closing costs are estimated to be just over $4k, but we won't know the exact amount until we close because they add in shit like homeowners insurance in case you show up without it, etc. We got the seller to give us a $4k closing credit so in the end we will not be paying much, if anything, for closing. Negotiating for the seller to cover closing costs is good if you are concerned about being cash tight after you buy the house, which you are saying you don't want to be, so consider that in your offer.

We did a traditional loan @ 10% down. I was going to put a fixed amount down but my MLO said that PMI is calculated at whole percents, so putting an additional .8% to get me to 10 ended up saving me like $100 a month in PMI, so consider that when doing a down payment.

Your bank probably has to disclose if they will ever sell your mortgage, at least mine did. I ended up signing something acknowledging that I was informed of this and was okay with them doing it.

As far as property taxes go, every county will calculate them differently so I'm not sure if I can give you a good answer on that.
 

Cutlery

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When you go look at a house, it should tell you what the property taxes for last year were, or you can go find that information on the county website. It doesn't matter what the house sells for, it matters what the county thinks it's worth, and unless you request some kind of special appraisal from them, it's just gonna be changed by whatever formula they use to calculate it. That's honestly the best you can do for estimating what they're going to be, since they change quite a bit. Also, almost universally, the county considers your house to be worth less than it actually is. I paid $245k for mine in 2009, and it sold for $310k in 2006, and the entire time I've been in the house, the county's property tax has been based off of less than $230k.
 

Falstaff

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I was also told that if the previous owner has done improvements inside/outside the house, and filed for permits with the city/county, that the assessor will consider those permits as part of the assessment.

No permits = doesn't effect assessment, permits filed = will increase the assessed value.
 

Cutlery

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I was also told that if the previous owner has done improvements inside/outside the house, and filed for permits with the city/county, that the assessor will consider those permits as part of the assessment.

No permits = doesn't effect assessment, permits filed = will increase the assessed value.
More like no permits = work done wrong, and therefore money pit!
 

OneofOne

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Ignore home values on Zillow. I have no idea how they manage to fuck up importing that publically available info, but they do. Anything I've looked up that I knew the actual sale price on, has never been remotely accurate on their site. If you REALLY want to know home values in an area, look on MLS.com or realtors.com.

Tax assessments are public info. Most counties have websites you can find the info (just type in the address kinda thing), if not just call up the assessor's/tax/whatever office (you can find out which on the county website).

As far as selling your loan, I'm under the impression pretty much everyone does that, and that's why the big banks own the overwhelming majority of home loans in the US. Wells Fargo owned our loan within a week of us signing the paperwork - our originator wasted NO time selling it to them.
 

Falstaff

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Oh yeah, I should have told you to ignore zillow. Its almost always inaccurate.

and the only time Ive ever seen a bank not sell a mortgage is through Chase's "Union Plus" mortgage system... but it's Chase, so not selling the mortgage doesn't mean shit because they are buying thousands of them a day anyways.
 

Deathwing

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Is Zillow at least a good way to find homes for sale, regardless of value? I really like their map feature for searching homes based on proximity.
 

Falstaff

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Yes but definitely double check against another site...

Once you get hooked up with a realtor, you can give them info on what you are looking for... # of bedrooms, bathrooms, price range, zip codes, etc. and they will generate a list of properties that meet those requirements in the MLS and send you an email every day or every couple days with all the properties that fall into that range. That is the best way to go once you are at that point.
 

Cutlery

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Yes but definitely double check against another site...

Once you get hooked up with a realtor, you can give them info on what you are looking for... # of bedrooms, bathrooms, price range, zip codes, etc. and they will generate a list of properties that meet those requirements in the MLS and send you an email every day or every couple days with all the properties that fall into that range. That is the best way to go once you are at that point.
Meh

These days you're better off searching the MLS for yourself. I haven't met a realtor yet that doesn't give up on you in pretty short order if you can't find a house to buy within a couple of weeks. With the way the housing market is now, that's pretty much everyone. Figure out what you want to see, then tell your realtor which ones you want to see tomorrow and have them set it up.

The buyer's side of real estate can probably be completely eliminated here within the next 10 years, there's really no purpose an agent serves these days other than having the appropriate paperwork printed up for you and being able to schedule showings.
 

OneofOne

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Can't agree with Cut. I realize we got really lucky with our real estate agent (after we ditched a shitty one) but our guy was worth his weight in gold. Very pro-active, and was looking out for our best interests at every step of the process. If anyone is looking to buy a home in the Santa Rosa area I know a guy /wink
 

Falstaff

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http://themlsonline.com/

I used a different one when I was shopping, but I don't know if it's still free.

Ah, it is. I used ziprealty.com because I liked the format better.
yeah that website just takes you to realtor.com, but ziprealty is a nice site.

When you get MLS listing from a realtor and you have to login, it's an entirely different site, and I found those listings much more informative and easier to read and I actually trusted that they were up to date.
 

Convo

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Since I posted here about my appraisal I figured I would update. It came in at 185! Still have the whole basement unfinished but that's 35k over what I paid 3 years ago.
 

Cutlery

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Can't agree with Cut. I realize we got really lucky with our real estate agent (after we ditched a shitty one) but our guy was worth his weight in gold. Very pro-active, and was looking out for our best interests at every step of the process. If anyone is looking to buy a home in the Santa Rosa area I know a guy /wink
Yeah, but how long were you looking for a house? Did you find one quick?

The longer the process goes on, the less money your realtor is making off you for his time. I can't fault them for it, it just is what it is.

The realtor who represented the bank and sold me my house was really awesome about everything. There were a lot of extra bills laying around as a result of the foreclosure and she helped take care of a good chunk of them and helped us out quite a bit even AFTER we bought the house. When my sister started looking for a house, I gave her the referral. It's the same shit, once you see 20+ houses, things start to taper off and go from a daily listing, to a weekly, then to once every couple of weeks, then you don't hear from them at all.
 

OneofOne

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Then I guess we won the real estate agent lottery. Yeah my first shitty agent did exactly what you say - after showing us a bunch of homes she really tapered off until we weren't hearing from her much at all (with her for 4 months). The second guy, who we were with longer (5 months)- hell I was on the phone with him minimum 2-3x a week, if we weren't out looking at properties. The dude was responding to my emails at 11pm at night and shit. And like yours, he was still doing stuff for us after the sale went through. Hell, he even pays secondary insurance on his clients new homes for additional repairs for a 1 year term (about $260) out of his own pocket as a thank you. He even offered to save us the cost of a notary and drive the 2.5+ hour roundtrip to the hospital we were in (wife giving birth) to sign documents. Luckily our son was late, so we didn't need that, but who else offers that? When I was busy doing the final packing with my wife freshly home with our new son, he offered to meet with the locksmith to get the locks changed, to save me the drive. Even with another 20ish clients while we were with him, at all times we felt like his only client.

Heck, just him vetting all the homes that popped up on MLS was a big time saver. He'd call up the agents and then give us the skinny to see if we wanted to look at them.

My only point is, a good agent is WELL worth it. Look for one, and don't be shy to ditch someone you feel isn't serving you well. I really wish we'd ditched our shitty agent long before, but I felt like we "owed" her since she spent so much time on us. Won't make that mistake again.
 

Cutlery

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Yeah, I'm sure they are out there, but they seem to be few and far between from the people I've talked to.

So, in that circumstance, don't expect your realtor to bust his ass for you like they used to. The realtor wants to sell you the most expensive house he can, not the house that's best for you. They routinely show my sister properties that aren't even in the same city she wants to live in, or are way outta of her price range (and this is the "good" one I know, mind you). So just be mindful of that as the buyer - do your own homework and come up with the shit you want to see, because there's a good chance your realtor is gonna lose excitement for a new customer in a couple weeks of you saying "Ehh, I'm really not feeling this house."

I'm not saying that all realtors are like that, and that it's definitely gonna be the case, but it very well could be, so be prepared for that.