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Advice for First Time Home Buyers

My DH and I are considering buying our first home. We are looking at an "as is" home and are wondering what all we need to consider before calling the agent, including questions to ask about the house and loans, etc. I have plans to call our insurance company within the next couple days to find out those costs as well. Thanks in advance for the advice.

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By Jessie from KY

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July 24, 20110 found this helpful

A home inspector could tell you the condition of the home, a bank could answer your questions on loans, a visit to a realtor could also answer or give suggestions and lastly there may be some books on home buying at your local library or book store you could read through.

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July 24, 20110 found this helpful

Some communities also offer workshops for first time home buyers. You have to have a home inspector examine a home after your offer is accepted. If the inspector finds a lot of expensive repairs that would have to be made to make the home safe, you have to decide if you can afford to have the work done. A lot of repairs have to be done according to code rules and therefore can't be done by a DIY handiman. I have never heard of a home inspection being done before and offer is made on the house and accepted. After the inspection is made and the house is found to need a lot of repairs that you can't afford, you do have the right to walk away.

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July 24, 20110 found this helpful

Here is a Florida perspective:

Does the house have east/west exposure? If so, expect your front door to bake or your backyard to sizzle depending upon the time of day. North/south exposure is better in a hot climate. Is there any wood on your dwelling? Virtually all older frame homes have had some degree of termite damage and wood rot- which must be repaired quickly. These issues are a given in our humid climate. If you purchase a wood house you must keep up with termite inspections and periodically replace doors and boards that have softened. Split plans are best if you want quiet in your master bedroom and you have kids. Don't get a home with a pool unless you are prepared to keep up with its care and are willing to be vigilant 24/7 that no neighborhood children get to it and drown. Check to see if window screens can be easily taken off and on for cleaning. I bought a house that even a handyman had trouble removing my screens. Just a few thoughts.

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July 24, 20110 found this helpful

I forgot: Find out where your water pipes are. Did some fool plant an oak tree where the roots would eventually get into your pipes? It will cost six to seven thousand dollars to remove a large oak tree and re-lay your water pipes. There is a neighborhood near me in which every yard had an oak tree planted directly above the water pipes. Landscapers don't check for such things before they put a tree in the ground.

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July 24, 20110 found this helpful

FYI to redhatterb: in many communities, the buyer can waive a home inspection. They aren't necessarily required. To the original question, I notice that you are from Kentucky, and you stated that you are considering an "as is" home. That means that you would be willing to buy the house regardless of its condition. Depending on the laws in Kentucky, the seller may not even be responsible for repairs to bring the house up to code. I would advise that you stay away from "as is" as a first time buyer because this could affect your ability to get a mortgage. Talk to a real estate agent first. They should be able to answer all of your questions.

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July 26, 20110 found this helpful

Find out the age of the furnace, water heater, air conditioning and roof.

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July 26, 20110 found this helpful

I personally would still want an inspection for an "as is" home. Inspectors are trained professionals who may see expensive problems that a normal person would not. For instance, replacing a furnace isn't really a big deal (to me anyway) but if the house has foundation/structural problems, that's not something I know how to fix or even how to price, therefore I would walk away. An inspection doesn't mean the seller has to repair those things that are found wrong, it just means that as a buyer you'll have your eyes wide open to what you're buying.

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July 26, 20110 found this helpful

Get a home inspection even if it is not required. I bought an as is and 7 years later I am still living with a 4x6 sheet of particle board as my living room floor. The washing machine drain had problems and leaked into the wall of the living room and the floor. This was covered by carpet at the time I bought it. Not that I would not have bought it because my payments are only $385 a month for a 3 bedroom in a nice neighborhood, but an inspector could have told me what to expect, not mushrooms growing in the carpet due to the leak. I also recommend taking the classes for 1st time home buyers!

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July 27, 20110 found this helpful

Look into getting a home warranty also. In some states the home owner pays for it and sometimes the buyer does. The neighbors next door were lucky and paid about $450 for theirs and within a year had to have a new roof put on. The warranty covered it. If it is an older home the builders probable used asbestos as insulation. That is an expensive problem to remove and now illegal in Ca. I don't know about the other states.

Good Luck and Best wishes. I hope you find the perfect home. GG Vi

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