Becoming homeowners

Old Nov 26th 2018, 2:53 pm
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Default Becoming homeowners

So after being here for a little under 7 months, my wife and I will close on a house next Friday!! This truly was one of many reasons we moved to the U.S, to be able to afford to buy our own home. It's so satisfying when a plan actually works out, we've had 6 months saving every penny we have earned whilst living at my in-laws, and have now found a wonderful house. We rented in Central Birmingham before moving here, and could never afford to purchase our own home there.

For anyone recently moved who is looking to purchase a home, I really cannot recommend Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans highly enough (No, I have no affiliation with them!). They've been great throughout what is usually a stressful process. They were great when dealing with the fact I had a very new credit history in the U.S. They also were extremely flexible when I couldn't produce W2's for previous employment in the U.K (P60's are an acceptable equivalent). Everything has been so easy from start to finish, almost too easy. But, we get the keys to our house next week and we are so so excited!

Last edited by Jamackabi; Nov 26th 2018 at 3:54 pm.
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Old Nov 26th 2018, 2:58 pm
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Well done. I'll reserve my congratulations until after the closing and the keys are in your hands.
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Old Nov 26th 2018, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

Congrats.

I'm due to close next month on a new build - i looked at Rocket Mortgage too and they were helpful during the application process. But i had incentives to go in-house with the lender, so went that route.
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Old Nov 26th 2018, 11:45 pm
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Nice. Keep an eye out in a few years to see if a refi is worth it. Probably won't be given the way interest rates are going.

Also be prepared to become a Jack of all trades handyman.
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Old Dec 19th 2018, 1:54 pm
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So we've had the keys to our house for a couple of weeks now. Homeownership really is a never ending "to-do list". Our house was built in 1937, which I am led to believe is pretty old for U.S standards. It's a big old house, with lots of "quirks". We have been renovating and upgrading as much as we can when time permits. We both have full time jobs and 21 month old twins so spare time isn't really a thing for us. We don't plan on moving in until the New Year, which we are hoping will allow us to complete most of the painting and remodeling we are working on.

It's such a cool feeling knowing that this house is ours. We have always rented. I must say that knowing we don't have our awesome Landlord when things go wrong is kind of scary. He was amazing. We once had our Washing Machine break, he had a brand new one installed within 12 hours of us reporting it to him. Oh how we took him for granted...
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Old Dec 19th 2018, 2:36 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

Congratulations. Glad to hear you achieved your goal. It will certainly keep you busy, but luckily many issues can be fixed with a quick search and ordering a spare part.
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Old Dec 19th 2018, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

Congrats on the new house. Like Tom said learn to be your own handyman. There is almost nothing that you can’t do if you use the info available on the internet. Not only will you save a ton of money you can do a better job than most contractors. One good website is DIY chat room and you can find a utube video of almost any home improvement project. I just finished building a new house and did probably 70% of the work including all wiring, plumbing, HVAC, door, windows, trim, even made my own kitchen cabinets. A old house like you have is built better than any new house but if you don’t learn how to improve and maintain yourself it will be very costly. There is also a lot of satisfaction knowing you did it yourself.
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

Congrats and how exciting.

Can I ask, how much deposit did you need to put down? We're looking to make the move to the US in July and ideally I would like to buy rather than rent (just what we're used to).
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 2:25 pm
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Enough so that you don't need to pay mortgage insurance. (Benefits the bank, not you.)
20% or more is the guideline I think...
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 3:02 pm
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20% is defined in the "Fannie Mae" rulebook for mortgages in the US, so less than that will lead to a split mortgage, additional insurance, and/or additional fees.
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 3:25 pm
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I'd advise renting for a while, get to know the good and bad areas etc.
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 4:27 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
I'd advise renting for a while, get to know the good and bad areas etc.
Agreed, but when offer-to-closing typically takes six weeks, some renting is almost inevitable, but I absolutely agree that rushing into a decision could be a catastrophic mistake for several different reasons.
​​​​​​​
We tried to buy in New York, but thankfully hadn't been able to do so (the sale of our house in London was delayed) before I realized that my job was an utter nightmare, so we left. Then when we moved to NC we looked at some very "nice" houses, including new-builds, but within ten years some of the neighborhoods had turned into areas where we wouldn't want to live, and wouldn't have been able to sell at a price where we would have recover our investment.

​​​I would recommend taking at least three months to research and visit areas, st different times of day, and that is with one spouse not working and doing a lot of leg work, .... and driving!
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

Down here in rural GA, the USDA 100% loans are a thing. True PMI will be payable, but when you consider the cost of that over a 15 year fixed, it wouldn't be too terrible.

Add to that the median family income for my county is about $38k,
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 7:48 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

From an earlier post...check out Trona...

'To provide some perspective though it doesn't have to be a $10 million, (give or take a few bob), home in Laguna
https://tinyurl.com/ycaf89ya (We sometimes take a trip just to gawk at these...)

or a $1.5 million flat in the Bay Area.
https://tinyurl.com/ya8yud4v

There are still some affordable homes in California.

https://tinyurl.com/ybex2sqg

And Trona Pinnacles, just outside the town, is a very popular filming location.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trona_Pinnacles#Films'
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Old Jan 9th 2019, 7:53 pm
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Default Re: Becoming homeowners

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
.... Add to that the median family income for my county is about $38k,
Probably about the same as my bailwick, .... and the median family home is probably a doublewide.
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