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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Pre-House Hunting Checklist

Buying a house is not something I know a lot about. Numbers make me nervous, so talking about mortgages cause little beads of sweat to appear on my palms. And I haven’t lived in Connecticut long. I can hardly find my way out of my own driveway, never mind pick out towns with the best school systems.

It goes without saying that I have absolutely no idea where to start.

I wanted to jump right in to the hunting part of this process. Keith has already spoken with a bank and we have been pre-qualified for a loan. And together we’ve done some research on what towns will be good for us. We considered their proximity to our jobs and school systems. We even took a drive last Sunday to scope out some of these towns for ourselves. One we thought we liked ended up having too much of a small-town feel for me, and we ended up discovering another that wasn’t even on our list before.

Pretty house with a wrap around porch, when will you be mine?

So why can’t we just start setting up showings and looking at houses already? 

1. My pinterest board is not done. So far for home inspiration I’ve got colored glassware from West Elm (which I don’t really need because I have a ton of glasses) and these fringe curtains that are not likely to fit in any house we end up purchasing. How can I possibly look for the house of my dreams if I haven’t created the mood board of my dreams?

2. We really should get pre-approved for a loan before we start poking our heads into houses. We went to see a few places, kind of like a test run, but if we want to make a serious offer we need to be able to back it up. We’ve been pre-qualified for a loan, which is just a nice way for the bank to say that unless we are lying about how much we make we will likely get a loan. Now we need to get pre-approved. The bank will run a credit check and do some other more official stuff and if we pass (which they already told us we would) they write a nice letter saying so.

3. We need a realtor. Sure, there’s Google and Zillow and Craigslist and Facebook and a million other places we can find houses we’d like to buy. But when it comes to the actual purchase of a house a realtor will help us through the sale, making sure we get what we want and we pay a fair price. So where do we find the right realtor for us? While I searched Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, Keith picked up his cell and called the realtor he’d worked with when he bought his condo. One Realtor, check! 

4. I have to wish my brother a Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday, Phil! Sadly, he is still deployed and I doubt he will have much of a birthday celebration. Maybe a picture on the blog will make up for that?

 Phil celebrating his 21st birthday in style.

It’s a close call. Hopefully this and that copy of Catching Fire I send him will help!

Once the pre-home buying checklist has been complete we can start making appointments to view houses. Of course we still have a lot more options to narrow down, like do we want to do a full renovation or do we want a move in ready house? What are our “deal breakers”? And which town do we REALLY want to live in?

Yikes.

But I’m taking it all one step at a time. Tell me, what were some of the first things you did when you bought a house? What steps am I missing?

3 comments:

  1. Of course, the most important consideration is to know what you can afford - ask yourself: is this really the price you should go with, or is there something else? Second is to know how long the house has been on the market (this can help you determine the right price). Third would be to inspect the house and the neighborhood. And lastly, always ask questions. Don't be afraid - after all, you're the home-buyer. By the way, the house is beautiful, Libby. A good place to settle down, indeed.

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  2. It's hard to be a first-time buyer, especially when you have lots of questions and doubts in your mind. Your realtor can ease the process, and all you have to do is to visit the houses they've scheduled for viewing. Its been a year now, Libby. I wonder if you've already found your new home. Keep me updated. :)

    Gregoria @ Playa Negra Realty

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  3. Finding new home is really hard especially to first-timer. I remembered when we bought a house and lot in Pampanga, it is really hard to decide which location and what house we'll choose. Just remember, choose the house you really need.

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