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my husband and i have been planning on buying a house for 3 years. he was in school for three years, and we said we would buy as soon as he graduated and got the huge pay raise.<br><br>
well, he graduated. got the huge pay raise. we found a house that we love. and i am really flipping out about it. i was so excited about it, i've been looking around at houses, dreaming of buying one for three years. now that it's time, i don't know what to do.<br><br>
one, i don't even know how to go about buying a house. i mean, i'm pretty sure we don't just call the guy and tell him we'll give him x dollars for his house. i feel like we should get a realtor but my husband doesn't. i don't really know why i think we need a realtor other than that's what you're supposed to do.<br><br>
two, it's SO MUCH MONEY. i mean. i have a hard time spending money period. but taking out a loan for so much is really scary. i am positive we can afford it, everything works out of paper really well. i am sure this is the right decision. but it's still really scary to think of owing someone that much money.<br><br>
three, the house is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. i like this. i love this. i will be spending a lot of time out there by myself with my kids. during the day, that sounds great. there is a river and tons of room and trees and a tree house and it will be so fun. but every night, as i'm trying to fall asleep, i can't stop thinking about the what ifs. what if i get hurt, and the kids can't help me. they're too young to know what to do. there are no neighbors. and then of course i think about someone breaking into the house and killing us all. great. in reality, i do really well on my own. i'm always nervous about my husband leaving, but i'm never scared when he's actually gone.<br><br>
now that i've typed this out, i'm not so sure it belongs in frugality and finances. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> but i think my main issue is spending the money. i am pretty sure that all the other stuff stems from not wanting to make a huge financial mistake.
 

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I TOTALLY feel ya! We are doing the same thing. We paid off all our debt except student loans and decided to buy the house. We've been treated badly for being poor and buying a cheap house. It's small, probably the best deal on the market but it's still a lot of money TO US!<br><br>
We got a realtor to go see the house, then we got her to write up the offer. Basically there's nothing to it but the realtor has it in the computer as an easy "fill in the blanks" kind of form. I believe you can do it yourself either way.<br>
Most of the paperwork and "hard" stuff is the morgtage application, millions of papers to sign, tax records to cough up, things like that. Having to get some kind of statements from the student loans has also been a PITA.<br><br>
The week before we made the offer I remember feeling VERY stressed about all the "what if's" but now that we have offered and then accepted their counter offer, it's pretty much a done deal now (except for all this paperwork, lol) I feel much more relaxed about it. I'm so excited, I wish we were moving next week instead of next month!
 

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My parents are both realtors and I am a licensed salesperson. A realtor is your representative and guide in a real estate transaction.<br><br>
You are talking like you already have found a house you like, when you say 'I've been looking around at houses' I'm not sure what you mean, exactly. Have you been looking at them online? Going to open houses? Going to for sale by owners? It sounds like you haven't had a realtor take you around looking.<br><br>
Before you make an offer on a house, you should really look at a lot of houses, be inside them not just online (trust me most look great online, that's marketing - online they don't show you the highway running past the bedroom window), both to be sure the one you end up buying is really the best one for the money, the best for what you want and so you get a feel for what its worth. If you are looking for a 3 bed / 2 bath / 1500 sq ft home - you see 15 of htem at all different prices and in different conditions, you start to get a feel for what is overpriced, what is underpriced, etc - you can compare them mentally - you'll walk into one and say - this is a dump compared to this other one, but they want more for it, or realize that one is in much better condition than another but is priced lower. Then when you negotiate you really know what's worth it and where you should draw the line. If you say to me 'but we saw this one and its exactly what we want' my answer is - how do you know there isn't one just as exactly what you want for sale in as good a location for less money? There is a big difference between saying 'oh well, its okay if we paid $200 more for our tv because we didn't shop around' and saying 'oh, whoops, we paid $20,000 more for our house than we should'.<br><br>
One reason you want a realtor - its much easier to look at houses, you tell them what you want to see, they can book a bunch of houses and you just go from one to the next in a couple hours. When you deal with a realtor, you do not have to ever talk to the owner of the house. That means, they aren't there looking over your shoulder when you walk around the house - you can feel free to talk to your husband about what you like or don't like. Realtors have seen many of the houses in the area already from showing other buyers or touring them themselves and are better able to find you what you are looking for.<br><br>
It also means they don't know anything personal about you that would give them an advantage in the negotiation. For example, if you go in and let slip that you really love the house and this is the only one you want, etc, they aren't going to come down on their price. Trust me, I know all this and I still ended up letting key details slip during my last home sale, its best not to have any contact. And let me tell you I looked for every scrap of knowledge about each buyer I could find to give me an advantage when negotiating.<br><br>
The realtor makes sure everything is taken care of. They know what is standard and will get the right contracts, help you understand them, make sure you have a home inspection, utility switchovers, knowledge about the neighborhood, etc. My parents attend home inspections, smoke inspectiosn, water readings, etc. There is less to do on the buying side, but its still importnat to have someone looking out for you and making sure nothing is forgotten on the other side of the transaction either.<br><br>
Also, most homes are listed on a multiple listing service. If you are only buying homes listed for sale by owner you are limiting yoruself to a very small percentage of homes for sale. And you cannot get into homes listed on MLS without a realtor, unless you just go to an open house. I would advise against going to an open house and making an offer through the agent who represents the seller, as this person represents the seller, not you and is obligated to tell the seller whatever they know about you, etc.<br><br>
However, if you are dealing with a FSBO, you can usually still use a realtor, most FSBOs will give them a commission and then you have a professional guiding you through the transaction instead of muddling through it with a seller who either knows nothing either, or may know alot and you could get screwed as a result.<br><br>
Years ago in real estate when a home was sold, the two agents were both considered agents of the seller, since the seller paid the commission. Now a days this is no longer the case, the agent for the buyer will enter into an agency contract with you, which means they represent you and not the seller. I'm not sure if that is what your husband was thinking of which made him not want one, but its no longer the case anymore.<br><br>
What I don't understand is why you wouldn't want one as a buyer. I can understand as a seller wanting to save the commission, but as a buyer you pay nothing and have all these advantages.<br><br>
I'm happy to answer more questions if you have specific ones.
 

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wow, that's a great post mightymoo.<br><br>
I do think there is a lot of stress and 'cold feet' before buying. We're closing on our first home next Tuesday <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/privateeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="private eyes"><br><br>
But we don't have a realtor. We're actually buying the home we're currently renting - the owners lived here; they went out and bought their second home before selling this one and decided to rent it out, so it doesn't really have a 'rental' feel. If that makes any sense. Anyway.<br><br>
I will say that buying a home without a realtor requires significant research. We were pretty sure we wanted to stay here but actually spent over a month looking at many, many houses before coming to an agreement with the current owners. We also went online and checked the recent sales in this neighborhood to get an idea about the home's fair market value. Then we checked the county website to see what the annual taxes were, and went to the deed reference site to find out what the current owners paid and what was paid when it was built in 2000. I've also had termite, radon, and general inspections done. And estimates for things I'll want to change about the interior. I also had to figure in the cost of insurance. It's basically been a full-time job! And I actually live here, so you would think it would be easy - but it isn't!<br><br>
We are saving money, though, because the cost of a realtor was deducted from the price. We're getting this house for less than what other similar homes have been selling for. So I see it as getting paid for the work. Another obvious advantage is that I won't have to move, but that is particular to our situation...<br><br>
If the home you love is for sale by owner, you may be able to do this research on your own. If, however, they have a realtor, you need to get your very own realtor, with your interests in mind - just my $0.02<br><br>
Good luck, and don't worry about living too far out of town. Just imagine all the things you'd have to worry about if you were moving to a home in the middle of town!!! It's one of those "six of one, half-dozen of the other" type arguments!
 

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Oh, and if you <i>don't</i> get a realtor, be d*mned sure to get yourselves a real estate attorney, and don't sign anything until it's been checked out by the attorney and you understand completely what you're in for.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>daekini</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8195430"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh, and if you <i>don't</i> get a realtor, be d*mned sure to get yourselves a real estate attorney, and don't sign anything until it's been checked out by the attorney and you understand completely what you're in for.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></div>
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Yes, I totally agree with this! Remember too that the attorney hired for your closing works for the mortgage company. They do not represent you, they represent the mortgage company. you don't necessarily need your own attorney to be at the closing, its just important to remember who the person works for. When we bought our last house, our attorney reviewed our purchase and sale agreement, then we had him as our closing attorney - same person but at the closing he represented the bank.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>daekini</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8195400"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We are saving money, though, because the cost of a realtor was deducted from the price. We're getting this house for less than what other similar homes have been selling for. So I see it as getting paid for the work. Another obvious advantage is that I won't have to move, but that is particular to our situation...</div>
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That's great that you were able to do that, though your case was pretty unusual (compared to most transactions). For others though keep in mind that usually when a homeowner is selling by owner, they are doing it in hopes that they can keep that margin, not give it away. Think about it - why would you do all the work a realtor would do for you (and pay marketing expenses, etc), but for no additional gain? Also, keep in mind that the seller can use this to trick you too. For example, a house listed at $100,000 - the seller says 'Hey, I'm willing to give it to for $95,000 since I'm not paying commission' - problem is maybe other similar homes listed at $100K are actually selling for $92,000, even with the commission, etc -- that's why its very important to do your research. They may also have their house listed at a much higher price than its worth, so the $5000 discount seems like a lot, but other similar houses actually go for $90,000, etc.<br><br>
That reminds me - another benefit of a realtor, if you are considering buying a house you can ask them to do a competitive market analsyis (like they do when listing a home) on the house you are going to buy - they will find comparable properties that sold in the area and give you an opinion on what they think the house should sell for.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mightymoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8195585"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That reminds me - another benefit of a realtor, if you are considering buying a house you can ask them to do a competitive market analsyis (like they do when listing a home) on the house you are going to buy - they will find comparable properties that sold in the area and give you an opinion on what they think the house should sell for.</div>
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Yes, this is what I meant. I went to the county records and got all of the prices of what homes sold for in our area. I was really shocked at the discrepancy between listing price and the actual price people paid - and very, very glad I'd done this when we sat down to discuss price with the owners! They are a wonderful couple, and fortunately we didn't have a ton of negotiating to do because they came up with the price I wanted to pay <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> but I think we really got lucky. I wouldn't necessarily advise someone to go our route, because who knows? I could be totally kidding myself about our good fortune! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Seriously, it's soooo much more complicated than I ever imagined. If I were buying from people I didn't know, I would definitely use a realtor. The only reason our situation worked out is the fact that the current owners bought the home as a foreclosure, and even if they sell it for a bit less than market value they will make buttloads of money.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mightymoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8195270"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The realtor makes sure everything is taken care of. They know what is standard and will get the right contracts, help you understand them, make sure you have a home inspection, utility switchovers, knowledge about the neighborhood, etc. My parents attend home inspections, smoke inspectiosn, water readings, etc. There is less to do on the buying side, but its still importnat to have someone looking out for you and making sure nothing is forgotten on the other side of the transaction either.</div>
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I have to echo mightymoo here: the process of getting inspections and bids, and negotiating for credits, is really important. It would be hard to do this yourself unless you know a whole lot about houses, *and* already have contacts with all the good local inspectors and contractors. We are buying a house and during the inspection process, found lots of undisclosed problems, as well as things that were misrepresented (seller stated some work had been done when it wasn't), adding up to about $30k of work! If it weren't for our realtor helping us with the inspections and getting bids for us, we wouldn't have known about any of this until we owned the house. Instead she was able to negotiate credits for at least some of it from the seller, enough so that we can afford to make the house safe and livable.
 

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1. Get your own realtor. You want your own realtor from a different agency then the one selling the house you really like. You do not say the house you like is being sold by a realtor or not, but if it is you need your own cause the seller is under contract to sell via a realtor.<br>
2. Keep in mind there are many good honest realtors out there, and a few realtors in it just for the money. Ask questions and listen to your gut.<br>
3. Do your homework or have your realtor do it for you. Get comparisons to similar properties in the area of the house you like. That way you can make an educated offer. Look at as many comparables as you can.<br>
4. Have a home inspection. Get a bunch of names from your realtor and phone book and online. Do not just use the one your realtor gives you. Do not use the cheapest. A good home inspector can save you money and a bad one can cost you. (DH is a home inspector and here is a link to some q's to ask before using one: <a href="http://clearviewhomeinspectionsllc.com/priceshopping.html" target="_blank">http://clearviewhomeinspectionsllc.c...eshopping.html</a> ) He became one after a number of bad experiences of ours and our friends.<br>
5. Educate yourself on the tests you should have done. Around here radon is common. I would not buy a house without a radon air and water test. Even if on a town water line I would still run a water test. We once bought an old house on town water and the tests came back with lead in the water. Old pipes had lead in them.<br>
6. A good attorney.<br><br>
Just how far out are you talking? You can always invest in a home alarm system. I have one I only use when DH is away. Gives me some piece of mind. ADT is generally simple and inexpensive.
 

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Each time we've bought a home, it's been in an area to which we were just moving and didn't know much about, so a realtor has been really helpful in learning about the area. Even aside from that, I do recommend finding a realtor, especially if the house is listed by a realtor. If you call the listing agent, he/she ends up representing both the buyer and seller, and that's not optimal, IMO. A realtor will represent you and negotiate with the seller/seller's agent about price, repairs, and the like, and he/she will guide you through the buying process (plus he/she can generally recommend inspectors, mortgage brokers, etc. to help you). Typically, the agent won't cost *you* anything -- the seller typically pays both agents.<br><br>
I'm a former real estate agent myself, and I like having an agent working for me. Shop around -- find someone that really clicks with you.
 

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Get a realtor. As a first time buyer it will be helpful and it doesnt cost you. The commission comes from the seller - their agent and yours split whatever the seller agreed to pay his realtor.<br>
And as far as spending a lot, sure but its the best money you can spend.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MommytoTwo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8196149"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Get a realtor. As a first time buyer it will be helpful and it doesnt cost you. The commission comes from the seller - their agent and yours split whatever the seller agreed to pay his realtor.<br>
And as far as spending a lot, sure but its the best money you can spend.</div>
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Ok, so as a buyer we won't have to pay a realtor anything? We're considering buying and have been looking online and driving around to preview to see which houses we might actually like to have shown to us. I have hated to call a realtor to show us houses, though, because we aren't positive we are going to buy yet. We are renting from family and don't have to move for any reason. We just like the thought of finally having our own home (and not having a concrete barn floor for a backyard!) I asked and have had one realtor e-mail me listings that fit our requirements. Should I call him to get us an appointment to see the one we're really interested in seeing?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>*Jessica*</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8198242"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Ok, so as a buyer we won't have to pay a realtor anything?</div>
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That's right. The seller pays both the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. In fact, some realtors will rebate you some of the fees they receive from the seller (our realtor gives buyers a rebate of .5% - 1% of the house price depending on the fee she gets from the seller, which is helping us towards closing costs).<br><br>
Don't feel shy about asking a realtor to help you look at houses... it's their job!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>*Jessica*</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8198242"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Ok, so as a buyer we won't have to pay a realtor anything? We're considering buying and have been looking online and driving around to preview to see which houses we might actually like to have shown to us. I have hated to call a realtor to show us houses, though, because we aren't positive we are going to buy yet. We are renting from family and don't have to move for any reason. We just like the thought of finally having our own home (and not having a concrete barn floor for a backyard!) I asked and have had one realtor e-mail me listings that fit our requirements. Should I call him to get us an appointment to see the one we're really interested in seeing?</div>
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Nope, you don't pay them anything. And most are usually very happy to take you around even if you are just considering buying a house. They will do this happily because they figure eventually you'll buy a house with them, even if it isn't right now. (If the realtor is putting major pressure on you to buy, then find another - though they may tell you now is a great time to buy, since its a buyer's market) However, I want you to remember that realtors work on commission which they receive from the seller when the house closes. If you call a realtor and have them spend hours and hours showing you houses and you don't buy a house, that's okay. But lets say you look now but decide to wait, later on, please go back and use that same realtor - they spent hours working with you and go paid nothing unless you buy a house eventually from them. If you are unhappy with them or didn't think they are doing a good job, then absolutely find someone else, but if you were happy with their work, then make sure you do use them when you do buy a house.<br><br>
I just say this because it seems like many buyers are unaware of how it works. My parents will spend weeks taking a buyer out, literally spending 100 or more hours on this person. Then the person walks into an open house somewhere and doesn't tell that agent they are working with the first realtor and makes an offer on the house, the first realtor gets nothing for all their hard work. Realtors are not paid hourly by their office for taking you out looking, they only get paid when they close a house sale. Always tell agents at open houses who your realtor is. If you decide to buy a house in another area than the one you've been looking, call your realtor, tell them that - ask them if they sell in that area (sometimes they do!) and if they don't, ask them to refer you to someone, this way they at least get a referral fee (20% of the commission) for the work they put in for you. They can refer you to anyone, so even if you have a friend who worked with someone they liked, you can call your first realtor and ask them to refer you over to that realtor.
 

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my dh and i just bought our first house, so i COMPLETELY understand the anxiety you're feeling.<br><br>
honestly, i don't think i would have made it through without my realtor! as research savvy as i may be, she was able to so quickly and thoroughly research things, get paperwork in order, show me comps in every neighborhood we looked in BEFORE we even looked (i.e. i would email her a list of properties i was interested in and she would schedule the viewings and send me a document with all of the info about the property plus comps plus potential other places in the same area i would want to see. we would print out this document and take it with us to make notes when we met her to go looking).<br><br>
she was also an invaluable tool in assessing whether or not we could (or wanted to) afford certain places. after looking at properties, we would sit in her office with a pad of paper and work all the numbers and appropriate offers, taxes, etc.<br><br>
i do not understand why anyone would go out looking on their own when realtors are so readily available at no cost to you. start calling around and interview some over the phone, ask friends and family members to refer you to someone they have worked with.<br><br>
get a realtor. it will significantly help with the freak out.
 

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Thank you tamagotchi and mightymoo! I will absolutely be sure to stick with the same realtors if we are happy with them. It would be terrible to spend that much time on a buyer and have them close the deal with someone else! (Reason one I will never go into the real estate business! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks for all the advice ladies.<br><br>
one of the problems i'm having is that we live in NYC and we are buying a house back home in virginia. we go home when we can but it is typically a spur of the moment thing for the weekend.<br><br>
okay, so i should get a realtor. we have a couple of family friends that are realtors, is it a bad idea to use them? nobody we're close to, people who used to work with my mother. one of them is already emailing us listings as they come up.<br><br>
also, when a house is listed "as is" what does that mean? my MIL says it means "don't buy it" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> but what does it really mean?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mbhf</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8198608"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">thanks for all the advice ladies.<br><br>
one of the problems i'm having is that we live in NYC and we are buying a house back home in virginia. we go home when we can but it is typically a spur of the moment thing for the weekend.<br><br>
okay, so i should get a realtor. we have a couple of family friends that are realtors, is it a bad idea to use them? nobody we're close to, people who used to work with my mother. one of them is already emailing us listings as they come up.<br><br>
also, when a house is listed "as is" what does that mean? my MIL says it means "don't buy it" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> but what does it really mean?</div>
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Most of my parents business comes from acquaintences. I would go with them if you know them and are comfortable with them.<br><br><b>"As is"</b> - okay, well when a house is listed normally, you make an offer and at the inspection if you found something wrong with it, you would expect the seller to either fix or give you money back so you can fix the issue - you essentially renegotiate based on the new information. When someone lists 'as is' they are saying - we know there are problems with this house, you should do a thorough inspection before buying because we are not going to pay or fix any defects in the house.<br><br>
It has no legal significance - if you made an offer on an as is house and the inspection showed huge issues, you can still get out on the inspection contingency (the clause that gives you the right to walk if you don't like what the inspection says) - or you can still negotiate, its just that the seller has said up front they don't want to pay for this stuff, so they are going to be less likely to comply. It's also a sort of disclaimer, like a 'buyer beware' sticker - of course the buyer should always beware, any house could have major defects you can't see when walking through it.<br><br>
Generally a house listed as is has a lot of serious problems and are best for those who are looking for a major fixer upper. If you are someone who likes to buy houses in serious disrepair and add value by fixing them up, then they can be a good value - but if you aren't that type its best to stay away. Generally as is houses also have a LOT of things wrong, whereas a regular house may have one major issue that the seller is willing to fix, an as is house probably has several of these and many smaller issus and the seller doesn't want the hassle of fixing it all, they just want to sell.
 

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definitely not a bad idea to use a family friend. talk to them over the phone or via email and let them know your time line and when you will be available to go to VA to look. make sure they have time to spend with you on the weekends you are there (that's a big deal with any realtor you choose, you don't want to have one who cannot spend time with you when YOU are available).<br><br>
you can also have friends or family or anyone with your best interest in mind go look with the realtor. they can take their own pictures and make notes of things you might not see otherwise and this can help you weed out properties that aren't good for you.<br><br>
"as is" simply means the seller is not willing to do any work on the property in order to sell it. if you do an inspection and find major or even minor things that need to be repaired, the seller will not do any of them, it will be left to the buyer.<br><br>
in most cases (barring "as is" properties) the seller will be willing to do some of the work to make repairs. for example: our house needed some trim painted inside, some minor electrical work done, and the bathtub needed to be resurfaced. after inspection, we amended the contract to state that we would purchase the house for $X on the condition that these repairs were made.<br><br>
someone listing their house "as is" usually means there are some major things wrong that they are not willing to fix and they just want you to know that up front.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mosesface</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8198733"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">definitely not a bad idea to use a family friend. talk to them over the phone or via email and let them know your time line and when you will be available to go to VA to look. make sure they have time to spend with you on the weekends you are there (that's a big deal with any realtor you choose, you don't want to have one who cannot spend time with you when YOU are available).</div>
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Boy, they won't be doing a lot of business if they aren't working weekends! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The pictures comment reminded me, when I was looking at houses, I always took lots of pictures, so that I could remember each of the houses well and keep them straight in my mind. It also helped when writing up the offer, I went through the pictures to see if there was anything I wanted included. Make sure though that you keep pictures you take basically to yourself, not post them online or anything, this is the inside of someone else's house.
 
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