Locating the Right Home

Have you lived in an apartment for many years? If this is the case, you might think it is finally time for you and your family to upgrade to a house. This will obviously be a very big step in your life so you should not rush into anything. Carefully look at all of your options because it will be a very large financial commitment on your part. There are many things that you should take into consideration before you settle on a house. Being an educated buyer will allow you to find the perfect home and save you money in the process. Here are some of the top considerations you need to make while house hunting.

1. Will the house be a good investment?

This is one of the things that many people do not think about before they buy a home. There is a good chance that you will not live in your new home forever. Therefore, you need to seriously consider how much potential a home has to go up in value after you have lived there for a few years. Is the home in a desirable area? Does the house sit on an attractive piece of property? Does the house have many features that potential buyers would find attractive? Basically, you need to be certain that you will not have a hard time selling the home. You will also need to get a solid return on your investment.

2. Is the house large enough for your requirements?

You should take some time to consider the space requirements that your family has. Do you have many possessions that you will be putting in the house? Will you be buying things in the future like gym equipment that will take up a lot of space? Will you be having more children while you are living in this home? These are all questions that you will need to ask yourself. You can then limit your house hunting to homes that are large enough for the specific needs of your family.

3. You might want to think about leasing your new home.

Taking out a mortgage is not the only way that you will be able to get a new home. The option of leasing a beautiful home from a company such as Invitation Homes could be an alternative that can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run. Invitation Homes housing is something you should seriously look into if you are lacking the funds to make a down payment on a typical mortgage. Homes that are leased are also maintained by a property management company. This means that they are always in outstanding condition.

4. Does the home come with all of the features that you and your family will require?

There will most likely be features that you have in mind when you go house hunting. You might not be able to find a house that has all of them. However, you should be patient and try to find a home that contains as many of them as possible. Make a list of the features that you want and give it to your realtor. This will prevent your realtor from wasting your time by showing you homes that you are not interested in.

It IS A Small World After All

What do the campground at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon; Aunt Jennie’s Restaurant in Waco, Georgia; ReMax Realty in Bremen, Georgia; and our new house in Buchanan, Georgia have in common?

Fabgrandpa and I have been talking about buying a piece of property or a house on 2-5 acres since the winter of 2008-2009. We have looked at houses online for about two years.  Then, in July of this year, we actively made a decision to buy a house this winter in West Georgia. And the stars aligned.

While I was working at the campground at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in October, there was a couple from Georgia who ch

ecked in, and their reservation was only for two days. On the day they were supposed to leave, they could not get their motorhome to crank. Because all the sites were reserved, it was imperative that they leave, or so they thought. We were able to changes things around, and free up the site they were on so that they could have time to find someone to help them repair their RV.

In the course of all this, the couple and I had the opportunity to chat a few times. Of course, since they were from Georgia, I was interested in how they decided to come out west to visit the Grand Canyon, and they were very interested in how a girl from Douglasville, Georgia could wind up working at the North Rim. They were from Buchanan, Georgia, so I told them that we were going to try to buy a house in that area when we got back to town. They gave me the name and phone number of their friend, Ann Hobbs, who is a real estate saleswoman and told us to call her.

When we got to town, the first house I wanted to look at was on Happy Hill Road in Carrollton. We drove out to the house to take a look at it, and although the yard was beautiful, the house itself was a dump. I called the phone number on the real estate sign for ReMax in the front yard and talked to the agent, Steve Adams, anyway, and that is how we established a relationship with the company. On the day we made an offer on a house and signed the contract, we discovered that Ann Hobbs is Steve Adams partner! If I had called her to begin with, we would still have been sitting in the same office buying a house. Amazing.

This story gets even better. On the one day that we looked at houses before we put an offer on the one we are buying, we stopped for breakfast at Aunt Jennie’s Restaurant in Waco, Georgia. We struck up a conversation with our waitress, Jill. She told us how she and her husband had fallen on hard times, like so many other people in this country, and lost their house that they had lived in for more than eight years. They tried to work with the mortgage company to no avail. We told her we were going to look at a house in Carrollton after breakfast, which we did, but at the time we talked to her, that was the only house we knew about to look at.

After we looked at the first house, I wasn’t feeling that it was the one, so I asked Steve about a different house that I had the MLS number written down on a piece of paper. He said it was also one of his listings, and gave us directions to go look at it. And that was the one we are buying.

Today, we drove up to the house again to check out where the septic tank may be in relation to the house. After we did that, we stopped at the little store down the road. In the store, we introduced ourselves to the people who worked there and told them we were buying the house on Wildcat Road. They told us they knew the people who owned it, and said they were really nice people, and that they still lived in the area. While were standing there talking to the store clerk, a car drove up outside. The clerk said, “That’s the woman who used to live in the house you are buying.”  And when that woman walked into the store, it was our waitress from Aunt Jennie’s! Talk about a really small world!

On The Road To Buying A House: Finding The One

We woke up yesterday morning feeling sort of dazed–we asked each other if we really did just put in a bid for a house after ONE day of looking in person.  And while this does seem rather quick, we have been looking online for about two years. We knew from the online search exactly what was out there in the price range we wanted, so it was just a matter of looking at them.

The property

After breakfast, we decided to drive out to the house again and take another look, just to be sure that it is what we want. I  wanted to take my laptop and Mi-Fi card to see if I would be able to get online. Not being able to get internet service way out there would be a deal breaker for me.  I also wanted to measure the back porch so we could figure out about how much it will cost to renovate it and make it livable. Here are some pictures of the inside of the house:

The living room

 

The kitchen

 

The big bedroom

 

buying a house

The small bedroom

buing a house

The bathroom

I am trying to keep in mind that we don’t know for sure this will be our home yet, but can’t help being excited about buying it. Oh, and to all my RV friends, we ARE  going to put in an RV hookup so you can come to visit.

 

On The Road To Buying A House: Finding The One

Although we started looking at houses in person today, we have been looking at them online for almost two years. I have an app on my Droid called Realtor.com, that shows you houses for sale in any part of the United States. We have seen houses for sale wherever we have traveled by using that app. It is very a very handy tool for finding a house to buy. In addition, we have had our daughter go and look at some we found while we were in Arizona. Because we have been looking for so long, we pretty much knew what was available and for how much.  Getting pre-approval for a loan before going to look in person was essential, because we are ready to buy, and did not want to find something we loved and not be able to make an offer on it.

I can now tell you that it is tiring looking at houses online.  Looking in person is exhausting. At least it is the way we looked at them. We walked all around the yard, looking for signs of voles, looking at the view from different parts of the yard, checking out the outbuildings, under the house. It takes a lot of time to look at everything on the outside.  Don’t even get me started on looking at the inside.

The first thing I notice when  I walk into a house I am thinking of buying is the smell, or rather, the LACK of smell. I don’t even want to look at a house that has a bad smell in it. The good thing is that the two houses we looked at today didn’t smell bad. Here is a synopsis of the two houses we looked at today:

House A:

looking for a house to buy

House A

This house was a lot bigger than what we need. We agreed to go look at it because the price was well within our range at $42,000. It had 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen with a breakfast bar, laundry room/pantry, and a separate office with an entry from the carport. And yes, it had a two car carport, fenced back yard, and a storage shed.

The pros: in our price range, large bedrooms, existing office

The cons: off a very busy highway with no traffic light, in need of many small repairs throughout the house, needed painting, needed LOTS of elbow grease on the white kitchen cabinets, light fixtures missing, and the shed was falling in (the roof had a huge hole in it) While all of these things could have been fixed over time, the biggest con was that it was right next door to a business. We don’t know what kind of business, but we could see bobcat diggers, a dump truck, and other things like that through the trees in the back yard. And, the neighborhood was quite noisy at 11:30 a.m. on a school day.

House B:

buying a house

House B

Smaller  house, in better shape than the first one. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, living room, kitchen/dining combined, enclosed back porch with laundry hookups. No carport or garage, but there is a lean-to type barn on the property. I have been looking at this house online on Redfin, and asked the real estate guy if he knew anything about it. Turns out it was his listing, so he told us how to get there so we could go take a look.

The pros: Well within our price range at $45,000, inside is ready to move in, hardwood floor in living area, on 5 fenced acres, large trees in yard, out in the country.

The cons: Back porch enclosure needs to be redone, needs a new front door, needs new steps to the front porch, no carport, no stove (but this could be a pro because I can get a gas stove).

We drove home after looking at these two houses, and discussed the options. Then we met with our real estate guy and put in a bid on the second house. We will know on Monday whether or not our bid is accepted. If it s, then we’ll go to step three, which is getting the actual loan. If it isn’t, then we’ll start looking again.

We didn’t understand a lot about the bidding part of buying a home. Steve, our realtor, told us that when a HUD house is put on the market, there is an initial period where only homeowners can bid on the property. At the end of the intial period, they either award the bid to the most qualified bidder, or they reject all bids and open the bidding to anyone, including investors. You can bid lower than the listed price, the actual listed price, or higher than the listed price.  On this particular house, we bid the actual listed price, because we felt it was already a good deal. After our bid was submitted, we found out that we are the only bidders on this property, and the bidding closes at 1:00 a.m. tonight.