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-   -   House advice (please don't fall asleep!) (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/house-advice-please-dont-fall-asleep-593991/)

Sofi Feb 25th 2009 5:43 pm

House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
Hi all,

It's been a while since i posted - i hope everyone is good :)

I just had a few quick questions about buying a first home:

1) Does a H1 visa holder have to show any extra documentation when purchasing a house? My husband is the H1 and he has an excellent credit rating.

2) How do property taxes work? Is there anywhere i can look to get info? (I live in Houston)

2) How do I find about school districts (and what do i actually need to know??) We don't actually have kids yet but i am thinking about when we have to re-sell.

All advice gratefully received! :):):):)

dunroving Feb 25th 2009 5:56 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 

Originally Posted by Sofi (Post 7322490)
Hi all,

It's been a while since i posted - i hope everyone is good :)

I just had a few quick questions about buying a first home:

1) Does a H1 visa holder have to show any extra documentation when purchasing a house? My husband is the H1 and he has an excellent credit rating.

2) How do property taxes work? Is there anywhere i can look to get info? (I live in Houston)

2) How do I find about school districts (and what do i actually need to know??) We don't actually have kids yet but i am thinking about when we have to re-sell.

All advice gratefully received! :):):):)

1) I got 3 different FHA loans on an H-1B with no "extra documentation" beyond the normal mortgage stuff (evidence of income, etc.). That was before the crunch though so not sure if anything has changed.

2) Not sure what you mean by how does it work ... it's like council tax, and usually (at least in NC and TN where I lived), it's wrapped up into your mortgage payments (same as house insurance). So, your mortgage provider pays your house insurance and property tax, and collects a monthly amount from you to cover it ... you can get to choose your insurer, though. It's essentaiily in the best interests of the mortgagor to ensure your insurance and property tax are paid. Did you try Googling Houston property tax ... ?

3) No idea.

MsElui Feb 25th 2009 5:57 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
1) not specifically although you may have to prove something to the mortgage lender. Ours was a pain and asked all sorts of questions etc about our L1's.
2) should be able to find out the amount when you see the house via the realtor. usually '000s per year dependant on area values (we expect ours to be about $5k here in Ohio). We pay the money into escrow with the mortgage so dont pay seperatly but I have heard of others who pay twice a year.
3) each address will be associated with a specific school in a specific school district. again - something the realtor can tell you. If you know you like a particualr school district then you can ask the realtor to only search that one.
Here is the local one to me for example http://www.olentangy.k12.oh.us/distr...t/subdivs.html - each subdivision is listed with which school it relates too. Your child would automatically go to the named school UNLESS that year was full already - in which case you would go to the prescribed overflow school.

Orangepants Feb 25th 2009 7:16 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
Hi,

My partner is on a H1b. We easily got a construction loan and when we went to convert to a mortgage - they asked for green card or least the evidence of submission of I-140. As we weren't at that stage yet, we had to scramble around to find a broker who eventually found us a contract. Panic times!! They also called up Barclaycard in the UK to verify his credit and payment history as a backup to his credit score but apart from that - nothing else.
Ditto with the property tax and insurance - paid in our monthly mortgage payment to Escrow and paid automatically at year end.
Good luck.

Sofi Feb 25th 2009 7:28 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
Thank you everybody for your help. Much appreciated.

:)

Rebster Feb 26th 2009 4:12 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
I live in the 'burbs of Houston. The website for the property taxes is www.hcad.org
The school taxes are done very differently. Harris County is divided up into many different ISD (independent school districts) and the tax rate varies greatly between them. These are not usually listed on the HAR (www.har.com) listing - just the property taxes are. You have to find out what district a particular house is in and then track the school taxes that way. Be warned - if the house is in a "good" school district you will be paying a lot. I live in the Clear Creek school district and my school taxes are about equal with my property taxes!

Make sure you do your research and factor the total tax bill into your mortgage payments (if you are going to escrow) that way you aren't suprised when you see the first mortgage payment. BTW, you don't HAVE to escrow those payments - you can pay them in a lump sum annually if you like. It's just a convenience factor that most people take advantage of. There is no additional costs when you do it via escrow.

Redwing Feb 26th 2009 11:35 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 

Originally Posted by Rebster (Post 7325751)
BTW, you don't HAVE to escrow those payments - you can pay them in a lump sum annually if you like. It's just a convenience factor that most people take advantage of. There is no additional costs when you do it via escrow.

I agree. I take the money from an interest bearing account, and pay both taxes and insurance when they are due. As my vehicle insurance is with the same company who insure my house, I get a break. I prefer to get any earnings off the tax and insurance money, not the mortgage company, even though it is not much these days.

big_fish Feb 27th 2009 1:14 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
Re property taxes.... you don't have to pay via escrow if you'd rather keep hold of your money during the year. We've just paid ours in one go - bit painful (about $15k) but would rather the cash sits in our bank account during the year than someone elses.

Same goes for insurance although you'll have to pay some in advance when you close.

Tarkak9 Feb 27th 2009 1:28 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
its also an idea to talk to the school boards directly regarding any particular concerns/questions you may have and to review their stats etc. Ask around, locals will be able to say to you which are good or bad schools and districts etc. School districts can be a significant influence on people's choice and criteria regarding property and it can also be reflected in prices too, although its all subjective. Basically its an appeal and desirability thing but a significant factor as a resale consideration. Realtors can't arbitrarily say statements like 'oh, its a good school' because in the strictest sense, that is steering. Remember to verify any/all information which is said to you!!

Sofi Feb 27th 2009 6:50 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
I just want to climb under my bed and stay there!

Ray Feb 27th 2009 10:34 pm

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 

Originally Posted by Sofi (Post 7329988)
I just want to climb under my bed and stay there!

I just want to climb up your stairs as well ...

chartreuse Feb 28th 2009 11:26 am

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 

Originally Posted by Ray (Post 7330663)
I just want to climb up your stairs as well ...

Or, as Tom waits put it:

And I'm lost in the window
I hide on the stairway
I hang in the curtain
I sleep in your hat

mayhemuk Mar 1st 2009 12:06 am

Re: House advice (please don't fall asleep!)
 
Re the property taxes it is usually a percentage of the sale value of the home.
Here in Marin it's a bit more than 1%.
If you look at refin.com they list the values of homes and the amount of taxes too I think so can give you and idea.

We pay ours ourself. Basically we've timed it so that our tax rebate covers it so it doesn't really dent our cashflow.


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