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Tips / Advice for First Time Homebuyer

1,812 Views | 27 Replies | Last: 7 days ago by halibut sinclair
AggieCVQ
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I work in software, and my wife and I are both remote now. We would ideally like to relocate to BCS by next year or so.

However, this would be our first time buying a house. Any tips, recommendations, or things I should not overlook? If you feel it is useful even in the slightest, do not hesitate to share.
91_Aggie
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Don't forget to take Property tax into account when calculating your monthly payment.
91_Aggie
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apply for your homestead exemption as soon as possible.
You can do it for free (you will get mail/emails from companies offering to save you money for a fee)
AggieCVQ
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Thanks, I did not know about the homestead exemption. Appreciate it.
Caladan
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Once you figure out your budget, don't buy the most expensive house in the neighborhood. Buy the least expensive house in the neighborhood.
BrazosWifi
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If you are working remote, I suggest only moving where there is fiber internet. You can check out the nearly constant stream of Suddenlink outage complaints on this message board for reference.

Shameless plug: http://brazoswifi.com/fiber-internet/

Cross reference that map to realtor maps and you can get a good idea of where you will have quality internet.

If schools aren't important, you could find inexpensive homes in Hearne and we have fiber there too.
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1.618
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Set your max budget for the house based on your income and other expenses and then don't look at anything over budget. Don't even get out of the car. Once you look at a house $50,000 over budget even just for fun, you will likely be disappointed in your on-budget options.

Also, keep in mind that if you get a 30 year, fixed rate loan the prin + interest portion stays the same for all 30 years. So while it might be a stretch in year 1 or 2 it probably won't be after that if you get regular raises at work.

The property taxes and insurance portions of your payment WILL go up annually. You can count on it. Be sure to budget for those increases.

The cost of both buying and selling a home are not trivial so try not to buy a home now and think that you will sell and buy another one in a couple of years. Try to minimize the number of homes that you buy over your lifetime as much as possible to minimize those transaction costs. I understand that selling a home is not always your choice (employment or kids or health etc. may drive those decisions).

Good luck to you. This is a nice place to live and buying a first home is exciting.
91_Aggie
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Yeah, get a home you can afford with a 15 year loan.
happyinBCS
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Get preapproved with a good local lender, with interest rates about the lowest in history you will be able to purchase the maximum depending on your income / debt to income ratio, also negotiate hard
Deej
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Get a lawyer and an independent inspector. My inspector found several thousand dollars worth of things that needed to be fixed Including a gas connection. The lawyer I had went over everything prior to closing with me and I understood the mounds of paperwork you have too sign. They were only a few hundred dollars each and well worth it.
Kbeauty63
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I second a independent inspector & getting pre-approved. And don't necessarily buy the house that is the Pre-approved amount. When I bought my condo (many years ago) I was approved for $85k, condo was $50k. Also, the condo already had one officer on it - I put mine in ($500 over asking) and got it because I was Pre-approved.
AggieCVQ
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I'd argue it's one of the most important factors for us since we are both remote. I've seen your posts and it was one of the first things to cross my mind.
EcoZapp.AC&Air.Purifiers
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- Seasoned Real Estate Agent

- Independent Inspectors which can easily be found on here with a search

- Research the builder


There's a lot of real estate agents in town, who's day job isn't real estate.

Many Real Estate Agents have a set of inspectors they use and often don't like to give the option to use others.

It's a small town and conflicts of interest can occur when Agents automatically have a set of inspectors + Real Estate Agents don't like losing commissions on unfavorable inspection reports or spending extra time scheduling new inspectors. ( But it's your House + your Money + Agents are supposed to have Your best interests in mind )


A quick Brazos Cad Search will also show who the builder was.



Also, a new ~$500 Home Warranty is not likely going to cover much, please don't think it will cover a Replacement A/C System.
91_Aggie
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EcoZapp.AC&Air.Purifiers said:




Also, a new ~$500 Home Warranty is not likely going to cover much, please don't think it will cover a Replacement A/C System.
Self-insure... set aside a set amount each month in savings for appliance repair.
Home warranties are pretty much a scam and you'll get crappy companies to do the repairs.
91_Aggie
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Learn where your breaker box is.
Learn how to flip the breaker on your unit outside for A/C or how to check if it is flipped

Google stuff when something doesn't work in your house.
Can fix so much these days by yourself by just googling.
legalbird
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If you are going to buy a new house , plan on $175 a square foot.

Support politicians/legislators that want to raise property taxes each year so that it will be a slight struggle and you can work harder. It builds character.
iisanaggie
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Put at least 20% down (more if you can) on a 15-year fixed loan. Loan payment+insurance+taxes should not be more than 25-30% of your income. Get pre-approved but know that they will approve you for way more than you should spend in most cases. Pay for your own inspection. Costs of materials are pretty high right now and affecting new home prices. Buy an older updated home or a fixer upper to get the most out of your money. Make sure you have an emergency fund to cover repairs/deductibles.
91_Aggie
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And if you can put 20% down or close, try to keep from doing an escrow account.
You save for the taxes and insurance and pay that on your own.

Escrow management company will just keep screwing it up and your payments will be all over the place.
rsa
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Deej said:

Get a lawyer and an independent inspector. My inspector found several thousand dollars worth of things that needed to be fixed Including a gas connection. The lawyer I had went over everything prior to closing with me and I understood the mounds of paperwork you have too sign. They were only a few hundred dollars each and well worth it.
+2 on choosing an inspector who answers to you, and not just for resale homes. Having an inspection on a new build is a good idea as well.
jja79
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What did the lawyer do for you? You either sign all the paperwork or you don't get the loan.
AggieCVQ
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Thanks for the tips everyone.
Joe Schillaci 48
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RE: Home Warranties.

Seller will probably throw in a warranty as an incentive to buy the house.

That happened in my case. In renewed it the next year but then my water heater stopped producing hot water.

Called the warranty company (located in Memphis...one of the biggest in the industry). It took two days to get the "approved" (read cheapest) plumbing company to arrive. It took a week while my wife and I were boiling water. We never paid them another penny.

The home warranty people do not care about you, the plumbers etc don't care about you, take care of yourself. Set up a relatonship with tradesmen and they care about you. My HVAC told me last Spring that I didn't need a spring or winter check up. He said he would do it but he would only be taking my money. Other companies run those advertisements for check up's and they will always find a "problem" and get your $29.95 check up increased to $300.

I know my HVAC, plumber, exterminator, window and carpet cleaner, etc and will get me to the top of the line and not take advantage of me.
techno-ag
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Foundations are important in this area due to our clay soil. There are typically three kinds, ranging from a cheap slab on up to something with deep concrete piers that is most expensive.

Most houses have the cheapest slabs because builders do that. If you buy a custom home chances are better it will have at least a midgrade slab.

Cheap slabs always need work at some point in their life span. Look for cracks in the ceiling and walls showing foundation shifts.

If an older home look for telltale signs in the concrete, like in the garage or back porch, where a foundation company has drilled in and levelled the house. That will buy you a few more years on a cheap slab before it shifts too much again.

Best wishes and welcome to God's country. Heaven is a local phone call here.
Jinx
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Thought I was ready to buy until I read this thread
mgreen
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I am a realtor with Keller Willuams in B/CS and have helped lots of first time home buyers. I even do a first time home buyer Zoom webinar on the steps to buying a home. Would love to help. No committment. I have helped several Texags members.
Slocum on a mobile
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Re: If you do have to be stuck with Suddenlink, try to get a business account that comes with an SLA.

I work from home, but I have a WiFi hotspot for the many times a year Suddenlink drops out.
jd1990
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Buy a nice duplex. Rent out the other side and your mortgage will be covered. You get benefit of homestead deduction and income from other side.
halibut sinclair
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techno-ag said:

Heaven is a local phone call here.


Hilariously lame.
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