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Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Old Apr 25th 2017, 7:59 pm
  #91  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Pugilation View Post

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!
Ahh yes, the packing!!! I am certainly not looking forward to that part. My husband has things in boxes from when he cleared his parents house years ago, and also when he left his first wife. These boxes have not been opened once since I've lived here, mainly because we weren't sure how long we would be in this house. I also have boxes of stuff I bought over from UK. I am now determined to go through every box and sort everything before we move. I really don't want to move stuff that we end up getting rid of anyway.

And I also wish everyone buying a house the best of luck!!
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 9:53 pm
  #92  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by jammiie View Post

I'll be on MA T&C but this is an 'at will' state also so no better off. My reassurance comes from the fact that the company have invested a lot of time and money to bring me over and the interest in keeping me in the US as long as possible is mutual. Furthermore the GC process will be underway by the time we were thinking we'd look to buy which further incentivises the company to keep me around so to get the return on their up-front and ongoing GC investment. Baring a huge downswing in fortunes, I don't see my employment being terminated before the expiration of my L1 visa.
That unfortunately doesn't mean shit though, to the employer. I've known people who were being transferred from one location to another and bought as they moved but were still selling in previous location and were laid off a few weeks later as the new location was being downsized. Previous location knew about it but weren't allowed to say anything. Family was then stuck paying off two mortgages.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 10:34 pm
  #93  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by jammiie View Post
That is very interesting, and Sarasota is a place that we've considered.

Any advice on good areas to look into?

Our plan would be to find a house that was getting a little tired and install a new kitchen and bathrooms, give it a lick of paint etc. All of which is hopefully adding value to the property so if we didn't get a GC and had to sell after 4 years, it's hard to see how we'd be worse off than having spent $82k on rent instead.
Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
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!
House prices have shot up considerably in this region over the last twenty four months. If you want a scabby 2 bed/ 2 bath to flip you'll be starting at $185K in the 'interesting' parts of Bradenton and cash flippers will be gunning for it. (We found a great little place in a nicer older neighbourhood and went in at $191K, 10+ offers on day one and the 'winner' is planning on flattening the site and, apparently, putting in a 600K two storey new build).
There are plenty of 'fresh' flips at sub $200k, which need gutting and starting over but those are the $65k bargains of two years ago and you will make zero bucks on them.

As for 'good' areas, it's a bit like comparing Mary Whitehouse and Donald Trump on moral standards!!! There are some places in Sarasota that will probably be very desirable neighbourhoods in the next five years but do you want a traditional wooden (think termites) Florida home in very poor, drug ridden areas with huge numbers of homeless sleeping in groups one or two blocks away? Everything else in Sarasota is pretty much less than 10 years old and extortionately priced, as dictated by the hordes of monied Northern incomers.
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Old Apr 25th 2017, 10:49 pm
  #94  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
That unfortunately doesn't mean shit though, to the employer. I've known people who were being transferred from one location to another and bought as they moved but were still selling in previous location and were laid off a few weeks later as the new location was being downsized. Previous location knew about it but weren't allowed to say anything. Family was then stuck paying off two mortgages.
Yeh, I've seen someone laid off six months after a transfer of location, pretty much coincident with their closing on a house purchase in the new area (which they didn't want to move to anyway!). I've also seen a corporate takeover cause an exceptionally good employee to be laid off in the middle of her green card process and have to return to Sweden. Things like this aren't the "norm", but the reality in most of the US is that employee protections are very weak.
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Old Apr 26th 2017, 10:59 am
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
That unfortunately doesn't mean shit though, to the employer. I've known people who were being transferred from one location to another and bought as they moved but were still selling in previous location and were laid off a few weeks later as the new location was being downsized. Previous location knew about it but weren't allowed to say anything. Family was then stuck paying off two mortgages.
One of my previous companies would do this quite regularly, purchasing rival companies, moving their product line (and support staff) then closing them down and canning the staff once their brains were sufficiently picked over.
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Old Apr 26th 2017, 2:38 pm
  #96  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

One thing I learnt in the UK and would certainly do here - if I had to move to a completely unknown area, I would rent first. Especially if it is miles from where you live now. When we first starting thinking about buying we looked at moving to places like Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis. If we had moved that far, we would have definitely rented while we looked around the area. In the end we decided to stay in the same area, having left my friends and family 1000s of miles away, we couldn't also do that to my husband's family and friends.

I also agree with Bob and Nutex, I used to work for American companies back in UK, one was always buying rival companies. I was always horrified how little job protection my US colleagues had and I now don't believe any loyalty shown to me by US employers.
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Old Apr 26th 2017, 2:47 pm
  #97  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Yes, renting for 6 months or so is a very good idea. I originally thought that the street we were renting on was lovely and quiet but actually it was a dangerous rat-run in the mornings and evenings. They now have speed bumps all the way down. On that note, I would never buy a house on a street that already had speed reducing measures.

I think that what bothers me about buying a house quickly is how much you don't know that you don't know. You really are at the mercy of others being honest. Not a position I would willingly put myself in for such a big purchase.

I saw my house for 2 x 1 hour visits within the same afternoon. I looked at it, went back immediately and brought the family. Then within a couple of hours we made our offer. I also spent time to talk to the neighbours.

However, I had been looking at houses for sale in our neighbourhood for 4 months. I'd seen just about everything that came up so I knew that the price they were asking was fair, that the street was a good one, that the condition of the house was good from what I could see. I knew what my money could or couldn't buy.
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Old Apr 26th 2017, 5:45 pm
  #98  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

We are due to close on our house in 2 weeks. We wanted to wait until we had out GC and sold our house in the UK. (We paid all relevant taxes, declared the income each year, and had lots of fun doing our tax return the year we sold it!)
We paid earnest money and paid for an inspection. Here the seller has to sort out the termite inspection and there has to be a clear CL100 for the mortgage company. The seller really wanted to get the deal closed quickly because she has 3 lots of finance on it and is really close to foreclosure. We think this is why she accepted our lower offer as this is the only chance she may actually get any money from the sale at all. Packing is a pain in the arse and not something I enjoy. I can't pack to save my life when I go on vacation so you can imagine what it is like when I move house. Also weirdly, it seems that moving to a house 5 minutes from our current house is a lot more stressful than moving across the Atlantic or from one state to another.
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Old Apr 26th 2017, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by becks_r View Post
I also agree with Bob and Nutex, I used to work for American companies back in UK, one was always buying rival companies. I was always horrified how little job protection my US colleagues had and I now don't believe any loyalty shown to me by US employers.
Yet US employees seem to have a lot of loyalty to the companies they work for.
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Old Apr 26th 2017, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Yet US employees seem to have a lot of loyalty to the companies they work for.
When your financial and health well-being is dependent on them you have little choice!

I'm not sure if it is loyalty or self-protection.
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Old Apr 26th 2017, 8:58 pm
  #101  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
When your financial and health well-being is dependent on them you have little choice!

I'm not sure if it is loyalty or self-protection.
I've certainly noted that my wife's relationship with work has a great deal more paranoia involved than mine, and we worked for the same company before I moved over here.
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Old Jun 17th 2017, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
I bought before I even arrived in the country. But that was way back when when the financial and political environment was very different from today's. It worked out for me, but if I were doing it now there is no way I would buy before I had a green card.
Giantaxe, can I ask how you managed to buy a property and obtain a mortgage before moving over? I'm seriously considering this but don't even know where to start as our current jobs/income will cease when we immigrate and we will need to find new employment so wondering how we manage to find financing in such a situation.
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Old Jun 17th 2017, 5:14 pm
  #103  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Tawn26 View Post
Giantaxe, can I ask how you managed to buy a property and obtain a mortgage before moving over? ..... we will need to find new employment ....
Unless you have some imperative reason to move to a specific location, that will likely be a huge mistake - if you don't have jobs, find employment first, then convenient housing. Even if you know which city you want to live in you could find yourself with an unnecessary commute across town. There are many advantages to renting short-term, and very few advantages to shackling your self to a home if you don't have a job.

FWIW The banks have been forced to take some of the risk when making a mortgage loan (the bulk of the loan is sold on to investors), and in any case the rules on what evidence is required to prove your credit worthiness are quite tight these days, so you will find it very difficult to find a lender. You would probably need to prove liquid net worth (cash, bonds, equities, investment/ unit trusts) equivalent to to most if not the entire value of the house before you'd find a lender.
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Old Jun 17th 2017, 6:44 pm
  #104  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Originally Posted by Tawn26 View Post
Giantaxe, can I ask how you managed to buy a property and obtain a mortgage before moving over? I'm seriously considering this but don't even know where to start as our current jobs/income will cease when we immigrate and we will need to find new employment so wondering how we manage to find financing in such a situation.
This was a looong time ago when the financial situation regarding mortgages was very different. I came over on an L1 and the US side of the company vouched for what my income would be. They also had a close relationship with that bank. I an sceptical that this would be possible today. I also agree with Pulaski that, even though it did work out for me, I don't think it's a good idea.
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Old Jun 17th 2017, 7:27 pm
  #105  
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Default Re: Buying a house - anything to be wary of

Just as an FYI, I have had a meeting with Bank of America this morning and they explained to me that they do have a special scheme for recent immigrants from the UK exclusively which allows them take into account your UK credit history, earnings and borrowings when considering mortgage applications.

It might be worth scheduling an appointment with them in branch to discuss this.
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