Buying A Home
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What first...

My husband and I are thinking about starting to buy our first home, probably not until next spring/summer 2014. We are in a HCL area, and are worried about making sure we have all our ducks in a row so to speak. However, like I said this will be our first home buying experience and I feel clueless! This far out what should we be thinking about, what should we be doing to be in the best place possible when we are ready to buy? Thanks!
Ashley - Mama to DS born 5/8/2007 Angel Baby #1 M/C 10/2008 DD born 10/21/2009 Angel Baby #2 Missed M/C 12/26/2011, D&C 1/5/1012
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Re: What first...

  • First, you need to figure out how much you can comfortably afford paying per month.

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  • The book, Home Buying for Dummies is a great start to answer your questions.

    Your monthly payment should be no more than 25-28% of your take home (after tax) pay, which would include the payment plus any escrow (taxes and insurance).

    Also, if one of you eventually hopes to be a SAH parent, then you should budget your housing expenses based on a single income.

    For now, you can learn more about the areas/school districts you want to live in. Think long-term, 10+ years. So, what you like now might totally change in a few years with LOs, etc.

  • Thanks for the responses. I'm currently a SAHM, and we do have an idea of what we would be comfortable paying monthly. Thanks for the book suggestion, I will check it out on Amazon.

    Do you have a good recommendation of where is the best place to get our credit checked? We do the one free report from each agency per year. Is the FICO score different than a credit score? Sorry if these are silly questions!

    Ashley - Mama to DS born 5/8/2007 Angel Baby #1 M/C 10/2008 DD born 10/21/2009 Angel Baby #2 Missed M/C 12/26/2011, D&C 1/5/1012
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  • You have to pay to get your FICO score.

    In addition to the advice given, make sure you have a good emergency fund still in place after closing.  Also plan for moving costs, start up fees, repair/renovation expenses, decoration/furniture/appliances as well as yard items and tools and a ton of miscellaneous when you first take ownership.

    List of needs  List of wants - know the difference and know what you are willing to compromise on. You will not get everything.

    Do not buy emotionally - this is a business transaction and one you will live with for a long time.

  • In addition to the good advice that has already been given, start thinking about where you want to live. Drive through those neighborhoods at all times of day and night, weekday and weekend, to get a sense of them. Our county's police department has a great facebook page and posts a daily police blotter with records of every crime committed the day before. It's a great way to see where the crime hotspots are and what types of crimes are being committed. Check to see what sort of information your department may have available. You can research schools at And think about the kind of lifestyle you want. Do you want a house with very little upkeep? Then maybe something smaller in a condo community that handles the yard work for you is the right choice for your family? Or maybe you want to raise your kids with a whole collection of critters and are better suited to life in the countryside? Your home should fit the life you want to live, and now is a perfect time to start defining that vision. have fun!
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