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Old 09-24-2008, 10:26 PM   #21
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In no particular order:

MAKE SURE your mortgage payment includes your insurance and property tax pro-rated payment, if that is what you want.

Ask the owner about flooding during heavy rains. Turns out our yard becomes a pond in one spot when it rains more than 1 inch.

Get a home inspection. Do your own. Open every drawer, every closet, look in the heat registers for filth. Check the furnace filter... a filthy one means poor maintenance, might have it checked specially. Look around the hot water heater for leaks, under sinks for leaks, etc. (A home inspector saved us from buying a house with a garage addition that had to be torn down before the house could sell.)

Make sure there are plenty of electrical outlets. Check the fuse box and ask for the circuit breakers to be labeled.

Ask about the neighbors! Introduce yourself before you buy and ask the neighbors about the owners! (We found out that the people across the street were 36 hour party people with many friends... no thanks.)
Be sure and ask the neighbors about the condo association. How do they respond to claims, are the fees always rising, are the people in charge competent, etc.

And don't buy a house unless you have a few thousand dollars readily available for emergencies. Things will break just when you had that root canal and had to replace the car's transmission.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:31 PM   #22
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I have a condo as well. Find out what the HOA dues are, property taxes, make sure there are no outstanding loans (or liens?) before you close escrow. The realtor may help you with what amount you should offer. (Remember that's the asking price & can be negotiated. All standard stuff, including inspection.) Ask if the seller will pay your closing costs. Noone is buying now, & seller's may offer some incentive. If you were in California, I would have suggested you find out if they have earthquake insurance. We don't :-( True, you don't have to deal with a new roof, but have it looked at anyway. After I moved in, we all had to pay for a new roof. Look at the place during the day, as well as the evening. Factor in the cost of Homeowners' insurance, if you want it. I opened an impound accout last time -- that way the bank deducts your mortgage payment & property taxes. I'm sure I'll think of something, lol. Learn from my mistakes. Best of luck. BTW, last time I bought the first one I saw, because I knew in my gut ,it was the right place, price, location etc, for me.

P.S. You will get a copy of the CC&Rs. Read them BEFORE you close.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:31 PM   #23
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Here is a tip for after you buy. Try to pay more than just your mortgage payment each month. If your monthly payment is $1500 and you pay $1600 instead then it will help a lot at the end of your loan. You can end up taking years off your loan that way and saving a lot in interest.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:38 PM   #24
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Here is a tip for after you buy. Try to pay more than just your mortgage payment each month. If your monthly payment is $1500 and you pay $1600 instead then it will help a lot at the end of your loan. You can end up taking years off your loan that way and saving a lot in interest.
This is good advice, but in addition, make sure your mortgage allows early repayment - some have a penalty for that.

In addition to checking the yard for wet spots, after a heavy rain, DH called the agent and asked if we could see the house again, before we had made an offer. Then he went right up to the attic to check for leaks. All was well
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:41 PM   #25
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This is good advice, but in addition, make sure your mortgage allows early repayment - some have a penalty for that.
Thanks for mentioning that GG!
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:50 PM   #26
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Run every single faucet shower, toilet, etc) and look under sink cabinets and surrounding areas while doing so.
LOTS of people like to halfway fix things just so they work well enough to sell the house.
Ask me how I learned this after 2 houses. We have to replace a WHOLE bathroom to fix a shower......
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:23 PM   #27
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Make a checklist and print out a bunch of copies for when you look at houses. It's hard to remember things after you leave the house, and a checklist is faster than writing stuff down. And look closely at the workmanship--how well the carpet was put in, if the cupboards are installed well, the drawers open will, no gaps between the baseboard and the floor and that sort of thing.
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:31 PM   #28
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You all have great advice! Thank you so much :) I am open to more if anyone wants to speak up!
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:05 AM   #29
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You all have great advice! Thank you so much :) I am open to more if anyone wants to speak up!
Plenty of good advise so far for you, it might be worth checking which way the market is going, just to see if you will get capital gain or loss if you decide to move later. If you intend on a long term stay then it's not a bother but you don't want to lose money if you sell in say five years time.

We could only wish to be able to buy at that price here now.

If you don't mind my asking, what is the interest rate for you on a home loan, we pay almost 9%
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:07 AM   #30
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As others have said look at multiple homes. Go back to the ones you like again and again.

Check with neighbors on the neighborhood or any problems with the home in question.

Go to the neighborhood at night or in the morning and see what goes on.

Get up early, go there and then drive to work. Is it a pain to commute? Do the same after work to check commute.

What side of the street are you on? I now live in a North facing home, which I said I never would, because in the winter the snow never melts on the walks or driveway. This can be dangerous if you have stairs on a North facing home.

Many things to consider and you will never truley know until you have lived in a number of places and decide what you like and dislike.

Good luck.
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