How do people buy houses? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-25-2005, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a renter. We live in a duplex. I'm dying to not have to share a wall with someone. But, I don't get it. How do people afford to buy a house? I've been told it's about building up, starting with a small place staying there for a few years and then moving up. We only pay $565 for rent and money is TIGHT. How do y'all pay mortgages $1000+/mo?
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:59 PM
 
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suze orman rocks.
her site is a great place to start.

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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i meant to add
we rent too,i know what you mean about sharing a wall. i'm so sick of renting. not to mention that the money is just going down the drain, not toward anything that's ours. we could afford a mortgage on a 100,000$ home, but the taxes, insurance, down payment, closing costs and PMI would kill us. it's not possible right now. hopefully, dh's income will increase in the next years, so that we can. we are getting all our finances healthy right now in anticipation of buying our first home in 2 years or so. also because it's just a great thing to do.

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Old 03-25-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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My mortgage is about what you pay in rent. We bought in a less expensive area. If you're able, the rural south and midwest are great places for cheap housing.

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Old 03-25-2005, 08:10 PM
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I wonder that too...we LOVE our place (we rent) however, we share a common wall too, his living room is against our bedroom, which you would think would work out perfectly, as usually people are sleeping around the same time within reason...nah, he likes to have big (LOUD) philosophical discussions with whoever at like 4 am..SO ANNOYINGGGGGGGGG....yet I digress..


I don't know how people do it. That real estate stuff could put me to sleep, I find it so boring. Other than that, our credit put together is um, well, not that great. It wouldn't be easy...
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:21 PM
 
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Could you look into a first-time home buyer program? There are govt. sponsored programs as well as others. I don't have too much info but here is one link to Fannie Mae: http://www.fanniemae.com/aboutfm/ind...out+Fannie+Mae

Here in New England the rates are very high. We were lucky to buy our first home when dh was in the military -- we got special financing that way -- and then we were able to upgrade a few years later because our house had almost doubled in cost and we found a good deal on a bigger house. It can be discouraging but there are things out there. We looked for a LONG time before finding what we wanted, needed, and could afford. Don't give up if this is something you want!!
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:34 PM
 
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We rent too and I don't think we will ever be able to own. We're in a very pricey area of Southern California though. You see really small "starter" houses advertised for $400,000. There's an 1100 sq ft house 2 blocks from us for sale for $629,000. What are starter houses selling for in your area? If they are under $100,000 your mortgage payment might not be much more than what you are paying in rent. I think the general rule of thumb is you can borrow up to like 3.5 times your yearly income depending on how much other debt you have. To make a $1000 mortgage payment you'd be needing to make at least $40,000/yr to keep up with the payments.

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Old 03-25-2005, 08:46 PM
 
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reality struck after we bought our home!

we bought our house in a very rural older area, not so pleasant so the price was right, so we thought.

i resigned from my job after ds was born and so living on one paycheck really sucks.

not only do you have a mortgage, but you can't call the manager to come and fix something. you fix it yourself. we have propane, so we have to pay to keep that full on top of electric.

we even refinanced in the fall, paid off the car, and all credit cards. our house payment only went up $100 versus the $700 we were paying out to creditors.
and we are still a month behind on our payments. the honest horrible truth, i my experience anyway, is you really can't do it unless both parents are working or someone just gives you a house. yeah right. or one of you has a really great high paying job. which, dh is a tile setter and works for himself, so our monthly income varies.

we are drowning in bills and all we have are utilities and mortgage. we dont' live a lavish lifestyle. we both drive older cars. all our furniture has come from a thrift store or given to us. i cook most of our meals.

i am sorry to be such a downer. but i thinks it's better to be honest. i am sure there are others out there who make it work. i would love to hear from them.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:55 PM
 
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We live in one of the more expensive areas of the country. We bought a one room condo - yes we share walls, but we own. It's all we could afford. We are very frugal and make a lot of foods from scratch - I've eliminated a lot of foods that come prepackaged and minimal cooking. We went from 60K+ income to the mid thirties when we moved. We share a car and take good care of everything we have so things last. We do without some things at times but we are both very on top of spending and I almost always put something back when I'm out shopping. I've learned a lot when we took the pay cut and moved into our condo (our payment is about 2 1/2 times your rent). We have a pretty strict grocery budget - but there's so many things you can do - a 25 lb. bag of brown rice is like $10 at the international foods store near here. Dried beans are cheap and can be fixed in many ways. I shop stores for loss leaders and clip coupons and only buy what we will really use, but stock up when there's a sale on frequently used items. I get all the grocery store's mailings and line them up. I created a price list and shopped all the stores for my staple items and then I know which prices are really best. Most stores mark a few items down in hopes you'll buy their other marked up items. I only buy the real deals and I have a notebook that I have it all written down in and my coupons are in pockets and I fold up the weekly advertisements so when I go to a store I can easily tell if an item is a real deal or not and if I have a coupon it can make the deal even sweeter. I joined a bulk shopping club (costco) and figured I had to save $4 a month to make my membership worth it - but I found that cheese and a few other items there were really a good deal and my price list is an easy reference to know if an item is a real deal or not.

I know that may sound like a lot of work, but it's not that bad once you get into the swing of it. I'm not really that organized, but I did manage to get the notebook going - took groceries down from $80-100 a week to $50 average usually.

I also turn my heater down and shop a thrift stores for clothes and also hit the clearance racks at stores I like. I buy dd's clothes for the next year during seasonal closeouts.

I don't mean to make it sound like we don't live well - we do - you just have to decide what's a priority. Sometimes we've had to give up a too-frequent Starbucks trip. Sometimes when we're out for dinner with others we split a meal or just get an appetizer or eat before and get dessert or use coupons. We just got back from a vacation in CA - so we do get to live - I guess each person has their own definition of "living" - what's no sacrifice to me may be a great sacrifice to someone else. To me being able to stay at home and own a home while my husband is in school is worth it to forgo things that seem like 'luxuries', but that's me - you have to decide for you.

But you can do it if you want to!

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Old 03-25-2005, 10:11 PM
 
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If we'd kept renting, I would have paid off my student loans by now. Houses cost soooo much more than just mortgage payments. There's new appliances, furniture, windows, roofing, painting and something is always breaking..... Renting isn't always money down the drain. Patience, grasshopper. Don't buy until you can really afford it. You've got plenty of time.
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:39 PM
 
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When you are ready to buy, do look into the 1st time homebuyer programs in your area - esp if there are any CDC's (community development corporations) around - they provide low interest rate mortgages, down payment grants, etc. for 1st time homebuyers - in our area it's for both renovated places and new construction, in urban areas. We got our place through a state-sponsored 1st time homebuyer program, and only had to come up with a 1% downpayment. We were supposed to have "stellar" credit, and believe me, ours was far, far from it. The mortgage process kept me up many, many nights, but all the fretting was for naught - for months I went around telling everyone that if we could do it, anybody could.

Having said that, and am thrilled as I am to be a homeowner, I will say that the unexpected house expenses are amazing - there is just a constant list of stuff that needs addressed. Hot water heater starts leaking, you've got to deal with it. Furnace goes south, you've got to deal with it. Roof springs a leak, it's yours. That part really is no fun.
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:10 PM
 
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The book I read that helped me figure out whether to buy a house and how to finance it was "Buy your First Home Now." It's practical and straightforward.

It's fun to start "browsing" in your market, so you can see what's available. Go to open houses; stop and pick up printed information. Even if you're not ready to buy it can help you start to see what you are going to want when you do buy.

Play on the on-line calculators (renting vs. owning) to get a sense of whether it makes sense to make the sacrifices to buy a house.

In the meantime, save when you can to get ready to buy when you get in a position to do it.
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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Just here to lurk. We may have to move, but it will really suck to go from $860/mo rent to $1200 if we buy and equivalent townhouse.
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:39 PM
 
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For us it is cheeper to buy a place then rent. We rented for 7 months and our rent was 350 a month for a tiny little house.
We bought a fixer upper and our mortgage was 295. Much bigger house than the other.

We then sold that house 7 years later made 10,000 and bought a place out in the country 2.4 acres, nice house, big greenhouse, 5 wells, pond, nice big shed, payments are about 550 a month.

We have golden credit. But we made too much money and didnt have enough in savings to apply for the first time homebuyers and other such loans for our first house. My parents had to buy some stuff from us and we later paid them back to be able to get enought for a down payment. The second house we had no problems.


Dh works at a job that is decent but not great money for this area. I dont work much ( a couple of hundred a year)outside of taking care of the house and children. We have some months that the $ is spread pretty thin but all bills are paid each and every month. Nothing is behind.
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Old 03-26-2005, 02:21 AM
 
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Erin, I am moving to your town, ok? We live in a fairly cheap area, but a fixer uppper is still 150k. A 680 sq ft house with minor updates is 119k
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Old 03-26-2005, 05:18 AM
 
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i feel like i should apologize for my first post! i reread it, and man, was it pessimistic. i have been really down in the dumps lately and these raging pregnant hormones don't help!

it just seems like if it isn't one thing, it's 10 others. we really lucked out on the price of our house, but the sacrifices we are making for buying a fixer is that any spare time dh does have goes to fixing the house.

i have been trying so hard to convince dh to move back to AZ. (we live in so cal and it is so ridiculously pricey). example: we bought our house in june 2003 for $140,000. we refinanced in sept 2004 and the hosue appraised at 272,000, alomst doubling in value. and this house really is the classic fixer upper. the previous owners moved in 17 years ago and never lifted a finger for upkeep.

it seems i really got off track. just stay positive, but realistic. and no matter what, don't go beyond your means.
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Old 03-26-2005, 09:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momto l&a
For us it is cheeper to buy a place then rent. We rented for 7 months and our rent was 350 a month for a tiny little house.
We bought a fixer upper and our mortgage was 295. Much bigger house than the other.

We then sold that house 7 years later made 10,000 and bought a place out in the country 2.4 acres, nice house, big greenhouse, 5 wells, pond, nice big shed, payments are about 550 a month.
Where are you!? I don't think we could buy a cardboard box here (Portland, OR) for $550/month! :LOL

I guess the best advice I can give about finding an affordable house is to look in "bad" neighborhoods, or buy the neighborhood drug house. No kidding. There are some very up-and-coming neighborhoods, in Portland anyway, that are still affordable due to crime issues. It makes life interesting. You can walk to the latest gallery opening, take in a gourmet meal, and witness a drive-by shooting all in the same block! These neighborhoods usually are "re-development zones" or whatever they call it, so taxes are low or non-existant.
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Old 03-26-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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Central Idaho where the pay isnt great. :LOL
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Old 03-27-2005, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been reading Suze Orman's stuff lately. I'm learning a lot.

In my area (which is actually growing a lot and is said to be one of the more expensive areas in the county) 2-bedroom major fixer upper houses are going for about $130,000.

Ahhhh. Trying to get there just sucks. We've been talking about even buying a yurt and a piece of land but I'm not sure that would help either. I've even mentioned to him doing a manufactured home but he says no, no because of the depreciation (he's a construction man). There's a house that the bank repoed just a few blocks away from here. I imagine it'll be up for sale w/in in the next 6 months or so (it's been vacant for at least 6 months with a sticker from the bank on the window). It's SMALL and is a definite fixer upper. I'm hoping that if it goes up for sale maybe we can snag it because I imagine it might go for a good price since it's a repo. We'll see. It definitely needs a lot of work.
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Old 03-27-2005, 07:35 PM
 
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There are lots of first time home buyer programs out there...furthermore if your DH or father is a veteran, you can use the VA plan or the FHA plan...or if you are a teacher or other professional, there are plenty of programs to help you out...

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 03-27-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottaknit
If we'd kept renting, I would have paid off my student loans by now. Houses cost soooo much more than just mortgage payments. There's new appliances, furniture, windows, roofing, painting and something is always breaking..... Renting isn't always money down the drain. Patience, grasshopper. Don't buy until you can really afford it. You've got plenty of time.
You are absolutely correct.

DH and I bought our home and then waited two more years before we even had children...both of us were working full time...it sucked!

...But I was able to be a sahm for ten years, even when we owned four houses and rented out three...

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 03-28-2005, 01:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dziejen
Could you look into a first-time home buyer program? There are govt. sponsored programs as well as others. I don't have too much info but here is one link to Fannie Mae: http://www.fanniemae.com/aboutfm/ind...out+Fannie+Mae
We are in the process of buying our first home

We went to a non-profit that had a first time home buyers program. When we went for the first meeting we met with a lady who went over our credit report, wether we could even get a loan, around how much that loan could be, and the fastest ways to boost our credit score. She was amazing! We were able to boost our credit score 20 points by just making strategic payments (which I cxan share the philosophy if you are interested)

Then we had to take her class that was 8 hours on a saturday. Then we were eligible for a grant worth 38k depending on your income. Plus, there are lots of cities that have grants for moving to their area. There is a city here that gives you 10k for moving to their city. If you work for that city (even as a cafeteria worker in their schools) you get 15k. NOt to mention nationwide oprograms like "Welcome Home" that gives first timers nywhere from 2500 to 5k for downpayemnt and closing costs.

There are tons of things out there you just have to look

We are getting an over 100k home, BRAND new, new appliances, all brick, high efficiency 1300sqft home and the only loan we have to take out is 75k. Of course grants depreciate over time so after 5 years our total grant money is forgiven. If you move before that time frame is up you have to pay a portion of the grant back.

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We were able to boost our credit score 20 points by just making strategic payments (which I cxan share the philosophy if you are interested)
I would love to hear about it!!!
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Old 03-28-2005, 05:42 PM
 
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Me too, that sounds fascinating.
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Old 03-28-2005, 06:10 PM
 
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If I didn't WOHM, there is no way we could afford a house in a good school district on my dh's teacher salary. Homeschooling is out of the question for us, so the school district is very important.
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:28 PM
 
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Its hard to get on foot with home ownership so I wish you the best of luck.

Suze Orman has a good mortgage scenerio: Figure out how much you can afford and buy. There are many mortgage calculators everywhere to help. They should tell you what your monthly payment would be. Then try living with that monthly payment for 6-12 months by putting the difference between your rent and the payment in the bank. You will see if you can live with that or not. Also at the end if you're successful, there is your down payment.

We have lived here for 8 years this week(Chicago Suburb). We bought this home a few months before we married and spent that time updating before moving in.
We put 15 K down and it was 145.5K. We got it on DH's salary.
It is now worth 325K and our payments are 1265 monthly (incl property taxes etc) We have no PMI but the power of time and ownership is indeed very powerful. This house is by no means a mansion but we have a nice neighborhood in a good town. We have taken this whole house apart and put it back together in the last 8 years. We were here 5 years before DD came along so we had additional time and $$ to do this. Its sooo much harder to do things on your home w little ones around- keep that in mind. But if you and DH are handy there is no stopping you.

So it is possible to stay alive on 1 income- I'm here to say it. DH does not make great amounts of money but we decided from the word GO that this is how we would live- we wanted me home with our family. We are both very creative and handy with things around the house and we both feel where theres a will theres a way. Its does cut in on our social life, trips to starbucks ( I cant remember the last time I was there- we roast our own coffee), and our wonderful vacations but I would not trade home ownership or our life for a fancy house and car and not have DD near me.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throkmorton
Erin, I am moving to your town, ok? We live in a fairly cheap area, but a fixer uppper is still 150k. A 680 sq ft house with minor updates is 119k

that's craaaazy expensive!

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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Old 03-29-2005, 02:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by *Erin*
that's craaaazy expensive!
Well, that is Canadian too. We live in a relatively inexpensive area of the province too. The same house 2 hours away would be 230k.
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Old 03-30-2005, 02:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom
If I didn't WOHM, there is no way we could afford a house in a good school district on my dh's teacher salary. Homeschooling is out of the question for us, so the school district is very important.
Some school districts help teachers buy a home in the district so that they are close by their work. LAUSD does this.

You can still homeschool. I did it with a DH at home who was ill, and with my Father who was also ill.

Now that they are deceased, I send him to a private school, the one I work in. When he is older, I may homeschool again.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 03-31-2005, 12:54 AM
 
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You can get an FHA mortgage, where you don't have to put more than 2% down. And the government guarantees it, which keeps your interest rate low.

That is how I purchased my first home. My payment was about $700 a month and I only had to have about $3500 at closing. Some places, you can ever roll the closing costs and down payment into the mortgage!

Good luck!

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