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House Bying Advice?

House Bying Advice?

Old Jan 31st 2004, 11:49 pm
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Question House Bying Advice?

Well our house in the UK has finally sold, and we're ready to buy a home here.

We've seen one we want, and things are moving rather fast.

Do those of you with experience of home buying in the US have any particular advice for us? We're new to all this, and we're not really clear on what to watch out for when it comes to the system over here!

:scared:
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Old Jan 31st 2004, 11:52 pm
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Default Re: House Bying Advice?

Originally posted by dbj1000
Well our house in the UK has finally sold, and we're ready to buy a home here.

We've seen one we want, and things are moving rather fast.

Do those of you with experience of home buying in the US have any particular advice for us? We're new to all this, and we're not really clear on what to watch out for when it comes to the system over here!

:scared:
I hope you have a good realtor working for you? A good one is worth their weight in gold - and if you don't have one (a buyers agent), get one PDQ! .... and their fee comes out of the sales proceeds, so you don't actually pay for their services.

Plan B: Pray!

Last edited by Pulaski; Feb 1st 2004 at 2:23 am.
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Old Feb 1st 2004, 12:19 am
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Buy a copy of "House Buying for Dummies".....the US version LOL!

You should be able to find it in any good bookshop or online on amazon.com
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Old Feb 1st 2004, 1:32 am
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Default Re: House Bying Advice?

Originally posted by dbj1000
Well our house in the UK has finally sold, and we're ready to buy a home here.

We've seen one we want, and things are moving rather fast.

Do those of you with experience of home buying in the US have any particular advice for us? We're new to all this, and we're not really clear on what to watch out for when it comes to the system over here!

:scared:
You need to get a realtor to help you uout. called a buyers agent. i'd advice you to get one situated in the area you are house hunting or at least covers the area. keep in mind that buyers agents could be having their own ideas as to where you should buy. like i found out when i compared notes with a colleague of mine. They normally give you all the stats regarding the area you wish to buy into, like taxes, schools and demographics.

try and get one recommended to you.
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Old Feb 1st 2004, 8:37 am
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I have just been helping some British friends look for a home in the Orlando FL area.
They had tried on their own with a realtor and had not been successful in finding what they required.
The problem is that FL is flooded with Brits wanting to buy short term rental homes - the pool of unsold homes on the market which existed formerly is gone - and prices have risen by 20 or 30 per cent in the last 2 months due to over demand.
Now this price rise in dollars matters little to Brit buyers who see the home is cheaper for them (with pounds) than it was.
Many Brits expect to make a killing renting out their homes in the Disney area - problem is they believe management companys and realtors who tell them they will get 40 weeks a year rentals - this will not generally happen. They will lose heavily every year, which is OK if they use it themselves and can afford the loss.
The running costs of a home in FL are high - you have to maintain that pool - thats why the locals don't have them. You have to leave the aircon on all the time or everything in the house will rot. What with the taxes etc thats maybe 10 thousand a year just to keep the home empty.Plus the loan repayments.
And now there are so many rental homes that the good websites for marketing them are closed to new owners.
If you drive down US27 out of Kissimmee the orange groves are pretty well gone for 15 miles now. They are all cleared for new build homes. There must be tens of thousands being built .
Where will it all end -? Tumbling home prices in 2 years is the professional opinion, especially if interest rates rise.
Many of the homes are poor quality - (some say the worst builder is KB Homes?) or are built back to back with only a short distance to the rear neighbours and a small lot size.
If you look at resale homes only 5 years old there are many with cracks and decay obvious.
Many of the problems are only going to be in FL homes - which is not where many of us are going to buy, I recently stayed in FL and found it so cheap to stay in a hotel/motel that I would not consider buying even if I was a regular snowbird. Motels are still from $20 a night - and on Priceline I recently got the Grosvenor Resort at Disney- very nice room and hotel - for $39 a night (plus extras taking it up to $50 inc everything).
 
Old Feb 1st 2004, 8:54 am
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Default Re: House Bying Advice?

My wife and I bought a house in Arizona last year. The longest and hardest part of the process was finding the right place. Once you have a realtor working for you, there shouldn't be much to worry about. Like buying anywhere, since you know which one you want to buy, get the place surveyed for problems. Do haggle over money as you can normally knock a few thousand off the asking price. Check on the running costs of your new home (ask about electricity, gas and water bills) and count in your land taxes. Check for plans of changes in your area too. Many cities are growing and you could end up with changes to your area which would alter the character of the place. Generally though, we have found that property buying in the US is a lot simpler than the UK.

Good luck and don't panic!

Mark

Originally posted by dbj1000
Well our house in the UK has finally sold, and we're ready to buy a home here.

We've seen one we want, and things are moving rather fast.

Do those of you with experience of home buying in the US have any particular advice for us? We're new to all this, and we're not really clear on what to watch out for when it comes to the system over here!

:scared:
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Old Feb 1st 2004, 12:56 pm
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Originally posted by JeanDupont
I have just been helping some British friends look for a home in the Orlando FL area. .....
So, pray tell, how is any of your post relevant to dbj1000 who lives in Plano Texas?
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Old Feb 1st 2004, 4:17 pm
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I have to add, "Make sure you get a GOOD realtor/buyer broker to work with you".

My experience is that there are too many people (usually married women, *in my experience/opinion*) who get a realtor's license as a "hobby", and they are clueless/useless. Because it is their hobby it doesn't matter too much to them how much they make, therefore they do not have the motivation to do a good job.

Ask the realty company owner to tell you who their top agents are. Then contact those agents and ask them how many houses they have helped customers buy in the last 12 months, and ask them for former clients' contact details so you can call or write to them and ask if they were satisfied.

Ask them pointed questions such as whether they work at weekends (if so, Saturday AND Sunday?), how many properties they typically show to a buyer before a sale, etc., etc.

You should also ask the realty agency what their policy is on conflict of interest. In other words, if you are interested in a property that is on the books of the agency you are working through (i.e., your broker X works in the same office as the seller's broker, Y) what information do they share (I believe that legally they are not supposed to share any information you don't give permission for, but in practice that doesn't always happen). In other words, if you would kill for the house, you don't want your broker X telling broker Y "they've offered 10k below the asking price, but I know they'll pay the full price because they've already decided they'll buy it whatever it takes".

Maybe I've just had bad experiences where I lived in TN (especially), and also somewhat where I am in NC, but in my opinion too many realtors do not earn the 3% each (buyer/seller broker) they get on a house sale - that's $3,000 on a $100k house for sometimes doing very little.

So, make sure you get a good one (and they are out there).
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Old Feb 1st 2004, 8:40 pm
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Dunroving - you are right - my friends who were trying to buy a home in FL with the "aid" of a realtor had no joy because the woman realtor (who actually worked from home it turned out but they contacted from a Coldwell Banker's office) did no research at all but tried to sell them one of two of her own listings -thus earning 6% - and showed no interest at all in showing them any others.

In some areas homes are selling so fast - maybe one or two days after listing on the MLS - that realtors cannot be arsed to do any real work for any buyer who is particular in their requirements.
I meant to mention this in my original post but got carried away and missed it out.

Another problem is that if you go on realtor.com to view homes listed on the MLS then many of the homes listed as available are in fact sold.

Driving round the streets looking for a suitable property with a for sale board is also not really effective as the agents leave their for sale boards up for quite a while after the property is sold.

You can try these methods but prepare to be disappointed.

The only real answer is a good realtor - the problem is finding one. They have access to the MLS in greater depth than the public.

One good thing to ask your realtor is the "dom" number. that is the number of days on the market that the property has accumulated. If its been for sale for a long time then maybe its overpriced or has some problem and if you like the house then you may be able to negotiate a substantial reduction of price.

Another matter of public record is the date and price a house last sold for. Can be interesting to know. Ask your realtor.

Dump them early if you feel you are not getting service.

Last edited by JeanDupont; Feb 1st 2004 at 8:46 pm.
 
Old Feb 2nd 2004, 1:46 am
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I'd second (3rd or 4th) the comments ref using a good realtor. We used one that had bought/ sold houses for other family members 5 or 6 times over the last 10 years, and he was worth his weight in gold. If you can get a personal recommendation for one, so much the better. They do a LOT more than the estate agents in the UK, (though I do still find the 6% fee a touch on the heavy side...) Ours arranged a series of viewings so we were able to hit 10 or so houses in a day. He also had advice and opnions on sturctural issues (which were subsequently borne out by the home inspector), local price movements, school districts, whatever - he just knew his job.

Someone mentioned going for the top broker in an office - it may work well, but it may backfire too - there is a guy locally who advertises himself as the top selling for a certain very large group for the last 4 or 5 years. But all he does is sign up the client then never sees them again - passes it all on to his minions who may be very good, or may be fresh out of the nursery!

We found most of the process relatively quick, and fairly simple, though I was spooked by not having a lawyer to look after us (don't know why - I just was), but again, having a realtor that knew what he was on at helped enourmously.

Our only hiccup was on closing day there was a screw up between mortgage co and title co and there was a mismatch of about $1500 - and the title company would only accept personal cheques up to $1000 and no cash. So we had to delay closing a day. But apart from that, it was all smooth. One thing that I was suprised at was the amount of form filling and signing at the actual closing, and the fact that we had to be there personally to do it all on the day. Took us a whole afternoon, then we had to come back the next day as well to finish off because of the cash situation. But we were still 'done' in just over a month from starting to look to closing!
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Old Feb 2nd 2004, 1:51 am
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Ps - KB homes get a bad press in our area too - they recently had to offer to repurchase some homes that had so many fundamental problems that they reckoned it would be easier to knock 'em down and start again!! They tend to be very cheap compared to those built around them, but they need a lot of upgrades to get to a comparable finished quality. But they're building everywhere, and they sell, so they must be doing something right!
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Old Feb 2nd 2004, 2:41 am
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Default Re: House Bying Advice?

Originally posted by dbj1000
Well our house in the UK has finally sold, and we're ready to buy a home here.

We've seen one we want, and things are moving rather fast.

Do those of you with experience of home buying in the US have any particular advice for us? We're new to all this, and we're not really clear on what to watch out for when it comes to the system over here!

:scared:
I agree with everyone else; you definitely need a good realtor! I know a few in Dallas; if you are interested, PM me and I will get you names and numbers.
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Old Feb 2nd 2004, 2:12 pm
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Originally posted by JeanDupont
I have just been helping some British friends look for a home in the Orlando FL area.
They had tried on their own with a realtor and had not been successful in finding what they required.
The problem is that FL is flooded with Brits wanting to buy short term rental homes - the pool of unsold homes on the market which existed formerly is gone - and prices have risen by 20 or 30 per cent in the last 2 months due to over demand.
Now this price rise in dollars matters little to Brit buyers who see the home is cheaper for them (with pounds) than it was.
Many Brits expect to make a killing renting out their homes in the Disney area - problem is they believe management companys and realtors who tell them they will get 40 weeks a year rentals - this will not generally happen. They will lose heavily every year, which is OK if they use it themselves and can afford the loss.
The running costs of a home in FL are high - you have to maintain that pool - thats why the locals don't have them. You have to leave the aircon on all the time or everything in the house will rot. What with the taxes etc thats maybe 10 thousand a year just to keep the home empty.Plus the loan repayments.
And now there are so many rental homes that the good websites for marketing them are closed to new owners.
If you drive down US27 out of Kissimmee the orange groves are pretty well gone for 15 miles now. They are all cleared for new build homes. There must be tens of thousands being built .
Where will it all end -? Tumbling home prices in 2 years is the professional opinion, especially if interest rates rise.
Many of the homes are poor quality - (some say the worst builder is KB Homes?) or are built back to back with only a short distance to the rear neighbours and a small lot size.
If you look at resale homes only 5 years old there are many with cracks and decay obvious.
Many of the problems are only going to be in FL homes - which is not where many of us are going to buy, I recently stayed in FL and found it so cheap to stay in a hotel/motel that I would not consider buying even if I was a regular snowbird. Motels are still from $20 a night - and on Priceline I recently got the Grosvenor Resort at Disney- very nice room and hotel - for $39 a night (plus extras taking it up to $50 inc everything).
I agree totally with you. I purchased an house just off the HW27 (on a golf course) I picked it up at a low price as the previous owner ran into money troubles. My aim was to set it up as a "money making" rental. 10 months later and after a load of ag, I put it up for sale. The good new is that the market is currently hot and I sold the place (to fellow Brits) in a few days. The money I had lost through the year (management fees, gas, electric etc) was more than covered in the increased price of the house. I consider myself lucky in that I got out without wasting a shit load of money. As soon as US interest rates rise, that market is going to fall through the floor.
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Old Feb 2nd 2004, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: House Bying Advice?

Originally posted by dbj1000
Well our house in the UK has finally sold, and we're ready to buy a home here.

We've seen one we want, and things are moving rather fast.

Do those of you with experience of home buying in the US have any particular advice for us? We're new to all this, and we're not really clear on what to watch out for when it comes to the system over here!

Things we learned:

1) Never, ever use the same Realtor as the sellers! Kind of obvious with the benefit of hindsight but we got burned.

2) You're looking in Plano? I suggest you also look in Little Elm, McKinney, Allen, Frisco and The Colony. You can get some good deals in those cities.

3) Check for drainage! We get serious torrential downpours in north Texas, and you don't want to get flooded.

4) You may want to consider locations close to the Dallas North Tollway north of the 121 intersection, and most places along 121 itself. Both those roads are scheduled for major enhancements over the next ten years and so property prices are likely to rise.

5) Be careful about what you buy! It is easy (as we found) to get seduced by the size of house you can get here compared to the UK. Don't overcommit.

6) Housing taxes are high compared to the UK. Budget for 2.5% to 3.5% of the house value per year. Different cities have different tax rates. Frisco is especially low, especially for houses in Denton rather than Collin county.

7) Houses are VERY expensive to sell. Budget for 10% of the sales price in fees. Don't think you can easily sell a property should you need to!

8) It is very much a buyers market in north Texas as the economy here still sucks! You can get a good deal, because there are so many more sellers than buyers.

I think that's it. Good luck and welcome to Texas.
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Old Feb 2nd 2004, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: House Bying Advice?

Originally posted by dbj1000
Well our house in the UK has finally sold, and we're ready to buy a home here.

We've seen one we want, and things are moving rather fast.

Do those of you with experience of home buying in the US have any particular advice for us? We're new to all this, and we're not really clear on what to watch out for when it comes to the system over here!

:scared:
Hi - We're Plano based, been here since Feb 97 - sold our house in UK Feb 2000 - Sister in law wired money across straight from Lloyds to Community Credit Union (mortgaged with them too) had already been looking around with Re-Max (one of the larger realtor offices in this area) - didn't really have much clue what we were doing when purchasing - luckily I don't think they stitched us up.

We only had a few tips from aquaintances - like - don't buy a new house, they've been throwing them up in the past 5-10 years (did see one I liked that looked well made, but cost too much for us - also when you start adding things you want - price rockets!!!!) Our major crossroads are Coit and Spring Creek, quite like this area, but must admit that a lot of people have been moving out and moving north of here - apparently you can go further north than McKinney and buy a house WITH LAND - noticed that a lot of the newer houses have very very small gardens.

Someone above mentioned taxes. Yes they are high here, we are set to pay nearly 7,700 in Property Taxes to Collin County this year - our taxes and our house insurance are all collected from us along with our mortgage (which isn't that big by Texas standards) but we still end up paying nearly 2,000 per month - things have been getting very tight in the Plano area lately - has been a very popular development for immigrant workers, i.e. population of city stood at around 15,000 about 15 years ago - believe we are now over 240,000 - therefore house prices have risen considerably - and Plano has become and expensive place to live....

Sorry about the ramble, please feel free to email me if you want to know anything about Plano - will try to fill in gaps - didn't want to ramble with any more.....
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