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Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Old Apr 25th 2017, 3:36 pm
  #76  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by jammiie View Post
Thank you, all valid points that I will certainly analyse and consider.

I think its worth reiterating that if we decided to buy, it isn't with the intention of flipping and making money from. It will be purely because we believe we'd have a happier time in our own home that we can design and put our stamp on, than in rented accommodation. I wouldn't expect to make any profit on it in 4 years, I'm just trying to understand if I'm likely to come away even or lose my shirt. Hopefully it's all a moot point anyway and our GC application gets approved and we can live there happily ever after etc. etc. etc....
We rented for 2 years before buying. We lived in a lovely brand new 3 bedroomed duplex...with fabulous views of the NYC skyline. We had a indoor/outdoor pool, gym, 24 concierge etc. but I was miserable living there. Even so...I am glad we did because we would not have bought the house we did...in the area we did. Buying the wrong house or buying in the wrong area would have proved to be a very expensive mistake.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

If you have a family, one good thing about owning is that it cannot be sold from underneath you. If your landlord decides to sell the house you live in, it may cause a big headache if you are unable to find another house in the same area. You may need to move schools, increase your commute, find new friends, etc.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
That's the problem. As several of us have said and experienced, British thoughts do not apply when it comes to the US housing market.
Here ya go: Buying a house in need of some TLC over five years, roof $15k, AC $15k, kitchen $5k, bathroom $5k, taxes $2k/yr, Insurance $2k/yr, AC service $250/yr, mortgage interest on $75k ($100k house) roughly $3,750/yr. ..... So far that comes to $75k, and I am sceptical that you could find a house for $100k that you would want to live in. Property taxes may also be higher. If you find some other "nasty" while renovating, such as termite damage, then you'll immediately hit the $82k figure on rent you mentioned.

And at the end of all that work you will likely find that your home is worth barely more than you originally paid for it!

Last edited by Pulaski; Apr 25th 2017 at 3:58 pm.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 3:46 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by jammiie View Post
It will be purely because we believe we'd have a happier time in our own home that we can design and put our stamp on, than in rented accommodation.
I get that, I really do, after living for nearly 3 years in a rented house that was slightly shabby with a crappy kitchen. I worked out my "homing" frustrations in the garden with lots of bedding plants and pots.

At the risk of banging on (promise this will be the last time I mention this), what you imagine is involved in
design and put our stamp on
a property in the US, is not the same as in the UK and may not bring you the same satisfaction.

You may of course relish the challenge, and all power to you if you do.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 3:46 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Wow, you pay a lot in insurance! AC units hare are around $3-4k installed and $190 /yr maintenance. A 15k roof should last you 30-40 years, I would probably go with a $10k roof (3000 sq ft home)

I guess prices of house ownership varies a lot across the country.

You will need to rent for a while probably unless you like paying 10% to 20% over asking. Buying a house here can take you a while.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 3:57 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Wow, you pay a lot in insurance! AC units hare are around $3-4k installed and $190 /yr maintenance. A 15k roof should last you 30-40 years, I would probably go with a $10k roof (3000 sq ft home)

I guess prices of house ownership varies a lot across the country. .
The weather does too. You don't get hurricanes, or 330 days a year of baking sun, both those factors punish roofs, and most Florida houses are single story, so have a disproportionately large roof. AC'S are larger to deal with the higher temperatures and humidity, and engineered to run 12 hours a day for 10 months of the year. I have no doubt that some of the figures might be high, but they could be low.

Last edited by Pulaski; Apr 25th 2017 at 4:00 pm.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Wow, you pay a lot in insurance! AC units hare are around $3-4k installed and $190 /yr maintenance. A 15k roof should last you 30-40 years, I would probably go with a $10k roof (3000 sq ft home)

I guess prices of house ownership varies a lot across the country.

You will need to rent for a while probably unless you like paying 10% to 20% over asking. Buying a house here can take you a while.
We were quoted $20K+ to replace the AC units...the same amount was quoted to half tile the main bathroom and shower room (not including materials). We found any type of renovations or replacements to be extremely expensive.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
We were quoted $20K+ to replace the AC units...the same amount was quoted to half tile the main bathroom and shower room (not including materials). We found any type of renovations or replacements to be extremely expensive.
We paid $4766 in 2013 for a Bryant heat pump with a preferred dealer. That came with 10 year parts and labor warranty, new electrics, new coil, new lines, concrete slab. Using a preferred dealer meant we could get a full refund in the first year if we didn't like it.

We pay $60/hr for tiling and other similar jobs. It just cost us around $5k to replace a very basic bathroom, including some floorboards. Took 2 people best part of a week.

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Old Apr 25th 2017, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by becks_r View Post
I know this probably won't help you feel better about your situation, but one thing that seemed to happen to me back in UK, whenever we lost our supposed dream house, another one would appear. Maybe we were just lucky, or maybe we just managed to persuade ourselves further down the line, but looking back we always said the house we ended up with was much better than all the ones we lost....
Thank you. That's what we were thinking too. Thankfully we got the counter offer through at 10pm last night after lots of going backwards and forwards. It's not full steam ahead with surveys, deposits etc . We ended up at $10K over the asking price but I am sure it will be worth it as we do love it
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

We're working our way through a home purchase too, and it has been a very different process to what I was expecting from my UK centric bias. Luckily we found a good realtor who has been very patient with us as we saw basically every house in the area we were interested in over the last 6 months.
I'm still not quite ready to feel totally confident that we actually have it (yet!), even though gazumping is not a thing here and we have a contract signed and in place.
We saw everything from aged 80's custom built palatial home in need of total rip'n'replace through to new build with the cement still drying on the walls (also terrible pointing, seriously Texas you need to up your brickwork game!). Eventually settled on a 2 yr old place in a nice community with a new HEB going up just round the corner, it's perfect for us and we'll be there for a pretty long time I expect.

Process so far has been $200 option fee (gave us 10 days to do our due diligence), $4k earnest money, contracts written up and signed, inspection and mortgage application. Expect to close end of May with a bit of luck!
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 7:01 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Wibblypig View Post
Thank you. That's what we were thinking too. Thankfully we got the counter offer through at 10pm last night after lots of going backwards and forwards. It's not full steam ahead with surveys, deposits etc . We ended up at $10K over the asking price but I am sure it will be worth it as we do love it
That's what we offered, $10K over the asking price. I think the only time offering more than the asking price isn't worth it is if you think you were tricked into it, or if you think the house really isn't worth that much. I feel that we were tricked into offering more, but having said that, I'm not upset about it because the house appraised to the amount we offered, so clearly the bank thinks that is what the house is worth. Also, I believe when buying a house there are more things than money that make the house worth it to you.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 7:22 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by becks_r View Post
That's what we offered, $10K over the asking price. I think the only time offering more than the asking price isn't worth it is if you think you were tricked into it, or if you think the house really isn't worth that much. I feel that we were tricked into offering more, but having said that, I'm not upset about it because the house appraised to the amount we offered, so clearly the bank thinks that is what the house is worth. Also, I believe when buying a house there are more things than money that make the house worth it to you.
We actually went below asking price with our offer, for a couple of reasons. 1) my FIL is a car salesman and no way we could start negotiations at asking price, 2) we were pre-approved on the mortgage, and the seller was v motivated (not present in the state, having been relocated by their work 6 months previously) we used that as a driver to bring the price down.
Our thinking was that whatever we offered, they wouldn't accept, but would indicate our interest and start negotiations. A couple of rounds and we arrived a price point that we were happy with (and our realtor was very good here for us) and signed.
So, I guess, your mileage may vary!
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

I saw someone mentioned $2K taxes per year, if we only had to pay that we would be able to buy a much more expensive house. The highest taxes I've seen on a house we could afford was $14K. Which meant that although we could have afforded the mortgage payments every month, we couldn't have afforded the mortgage and the taxes!! So we have ended up offering on a house in a lower tax area.

That is a big part of the reason why we are buying a house, rather than continuing to rent where we are, the rent covers the landlord's taxes and they are high here. We will be paying out $400 less per month on all the house expenditure than our monthly rent now. And we will be able to do whatever we want to the house and garden without having to ask permission (and often told no). We won't have to worry about the landlord suddenly deciding to sell the house at the end of the lease (which has been hanging over us for the last few years), or yearly rent increases. I will finally be able to live in an older house (1920s), rather than the 1970s Wimpy equivalent, or was it Barrett?

I do realize we will have to pay for anything that goes wrong with the house, but that is just part of home ownership and at least we can save up that $400 per month for emergencies! So for me it is so worth it to buy rather than rent, but in another area of the country that may not be the case and we might have lived in rental houses for the rest of our lives. We certainly can't just flip houses here, you need to stay for 5 years plus to make it break even, let alone make a profit!
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Pugilation View Post
We actually went below asking price with our offer, for a couple of reasons. 1) my FIL is a car salesman and no way we could start negotiations at asking price, 2) we were pre-approved on the mortgage, and the seller was v motivated (not present in the state, having been relocated by their work 6 months previously) we used that as a driver to bring the price down.
Our thinking was that whatever we offered, they wouldn't accept, but would indicate our interest and start negotiations. A couple of rounds and we arrived a price point that we were happy with (and our realtor was very good here for us) and signed.
So, I guess, your mileage may vary!
I was expecting to start lower and negotiate to a mid way point between our offer and the asking price, because that is what happened every time I brought a house in the UK. On another house or in another area, we would have probably done that. But the sellers realtor had 17 viewings over just one weekend and had 6 offers to review at 9 am on the Monday and we were up against cash buyers. So we had little choice and the house was exactly what we wanted. But if they hadn't accepted our offer (and actually they didn't straight away, the first buyer fell through), I am sure something else would have turned up, and maybe we could have offered less then....
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 7:47 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by becks_r View Post
I was expecting to start lower and negotiate to a mid way point between our offer and the asking price, because that is what happened every time I brought a house in the UK. On another house or in another area, we would have probably done that. But the sellers realtor had 17 viewings over just one weekend and had 6 offers to review at 9 am on the Monday and we were up against cash buyers. So we had little choice and the house was exactly what we wanted. But if they hadn't accepted our offer (and actually they didn't straight away, the first buyer fell through), I am sure something else would have turned up, and maybe we could have offered less then....
Sounds like a very different market than the one we're operating in. More like London was back when I was considering buying a flat where there 80+ viewings over an open house weekend, sealed bids in on Monday, last and final offers on Tuesday.

I was pretty nervous about losing this house though I have to say, it's basically been the best one we've seen out of a lot viewings. Rooms all decent sized, back yard in good nick, no neighbours to the rear, gated community, quiet street and finished to a high standard. Every other place we've seen has had something significant we'd have had to compromise on.

Good luck with the move! I'm not really looking forward to ours, my wife is a bit of a collector and we have a lot of things to box up and move!
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