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20 April 2005 @ 06:36 pm
House thoughts  
It's a strange process, choosing your first house. The questions start out scary and get worse from there.

How does all this work? Do I apply for a mortgage before I choose a house? How do I find out how much I don't know?

What can I afford? What can WE afford? Should I risk planning on what WE can afford?

Why am I agreeing to a mortgage that will take longer to pay off than I will probably live in the house? Sure, I guess it will be paid off if I sell the house and move, but that seems like a silly way to run things.

Since I make decent money and have a reasonable chunk of savings, why can't I even afford a house that is "average" in this county? How did all of these other people get ahead of me in the housing game? Have I been doing something stupid?

Where do I want to live? What kind of commute is "acceptable"? How do I tell when a neighborhood is "unacceptable"? Will my friends be willing to come over? Am I consigning myself to a solitary hell in the heart of inaccessable nowhere? What do I want near my home?

What happens if I lose my job? When FreeI.net died, one of my project managers had JUST bought a house. His wife also worked at FreeI. The moral: for stability, a household's moneyearners should not work someplace where they can both lose their jobs from the same event.

Will I ever find a house I can afford that I'll be happy with? Will gas prices continue climbing, making a long commute more expensive?

How long am I going to live there? Five years? Ten? Fifteen? What life changes are not ludicrously unlikely in that time? Will I be a single guy living alone in this house? Will we be married? If so, will we have a child before we move out of this house? Which of those possibilities is more frightening?

Stop. Breathe. Relax.
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TW Bruhn: Profileapestyle on April 21st, 2005 02:02 am (UTC)

Stop. Breathe. Relax.


Good. Keep doing that.

Keep in mind that you have some resources at hand that you might have overlooked. ofthewoods is a mortgage broker at a bank. I'm certain that he'd love to consult with you as far for such things when you're ready. I also believe that theda has some experience in this field.

You have certain options in how you want to build equity in a home purchase. Most people don't live in the first home they buy forever. Some people will sell it and use the money towards another home. Other people will be able to save enough resources to put a down-payment on a 2nd home and rent out the first home. That is certainly a viable retirement plan, if not a somewhat more difficult path.

When I get my certification, I'll be able to talk to you with a degree of expertise about how to manage your money with a viable financial plan. If you want, I can even have a senior financial advisor take a look at your finances and help you with that, while I sit in. (Educational for us both).

So...
Stop. Breathe. Relax.

King County Housing Finance Commission also offers educational seminars on how to purchase a home. Sharon and I will be taking that.
Kyna: Eeyoretrilliumgrl on April 21st, 2005 02:31 am (UTC)
*snugs* Never thought I'd day this to YOU....

Don't worry too much sweetie. It will all work out in the end.
quasi randomkaolinfire on April 21st, 2005 03:12 am (UTC)
Brokers are good to talk to--getting pre-qualified, then pre-approved, then approved. It's all a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

Good luck, from someone who is just about to sign the lender papers.

It's frightening. It's all very frightening. :)
Turning the Schmaltz up to 11pullthestars on April 21st, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
there is always the possibility of looking at something smaller than a house... say, a condo or a townhome. YOu'll not have to worry about a yard, other than possibly a small patch of grass (and even then, the condo association may have gardners that come in). Yes, you'll have close neighbors. But if you get the right place with the right kind of tenants, that'll be a minor inconvience.

Figure it'll be a place that you and Kyna live in for a few years, with the possibility of moving to someplace bigger when you're both a bit more settled, and have possibly figured out whether the two of you will be getting married.
Heiress of the Empiretechnocracygirl on April 21st, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
If wanderingfey and I wind up moving somewhere in the middle of the country, we're likely to look at buying a house. (Building up credit and all that other good stuff for when we move back to the PNW.) However, if we move to a more urban/"overpriced housing bubble" area (DC corridor, Bay Area, etc.) we're going to be looking more for a condo as a "starter home." Of course, you have a whole heck of a lot more financial clout than we will.
GryMorgrymor on April 21st, 2005 04:06 am (UTC)
I can only answer the unemployed one:

Come to the big brick building on Beacon Hill, I'm pretty sure you can make it past the bar, and we (ab)use Java, with the added benefit of none of it (well, pretty much nothing beyond javascript, which doesn't count since it's off in SDEUI land) having to run on a Micro$oft platform.
St. Sean the Amused: grrr arrghseanb on April 21st, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yep. That's definitely the first thing I'll do if unemployment starts looking vaugely plausible.

For now ... I like working for a smaller company. They are more needy, and I can funnel so much of my codependancy issues into my work.
Lady Doomlithera on April 21st, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC)
The first step in figuring out who this works: Ask. There are people out there who know how this works and you know quite a number of them. Tim has some great ideas up there. Matt, Jenga and Jen Wolf all likely have a decent idea of how things work and how to start. Talk to people.

As for how long you'll be there and what will happen in that time... How can you know that anymore than you know the answers to those questions in a rented place? You can't. I'm not saying they're not important, I'm just saying you can't know the future.

As for the job thing... Steve's right. The day they can't use you here, I think is the day we've automated everything..... Which will never freaking happen. Ever.
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on April 21st, 2005 10:30 pm (UTC)
Right. Most of these are the same questions you have with a rental, except they have a bit more impact because this is for "several years" instaed of "a year or two".

*shrugs*
Lady Doomlithera on April 21st, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, pretty much. Except some people stay in the same reneted apartment for decades.
Fireball of 3fireballof3 on April 21st, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
Super-mega response action!
How does all this work? Find out how much you can afford. Look at that price range and LOWER (as there's always expenses you didn't figure in). Accept that it will probabally take longer than you want, or else you're going to move a hell of a lot faster than you want - one or the other.

Do I apply for a mortgage before I choose a house?Yes. You at least shoudl talk to a banker or loan officer or two and they can run up a rough idea of the MAX you can afford / get a loan for. If you have the money ready & waiting, you make a better buying prospect than someone who needs to still get all approved for the home - and that means if it comes down to similar offers from you & someone else, you can win on that alone. We did! ;-)

How do I find out how much I don't know?You can start out by talking a bit to Leigh and I. And Jen & Jeff. And Angel if you know her. And also probabally Mr. Skau and Jenga woudl have an idea. And your parents. APart from that, you'll only really learn through experience.

What can I afford? That'll depend on your level of debt, savings & income. Talk to a banker (heck even your local bank could give you a rough guess offhand)
What can WE afford?Trickier question.
Should I risk planning on what WE can afford?Not unless you plan on marriage anytime soon. If you guys decide to get married (or equivalent), you can sell off the current house and trade up, yaknow?

Why am I agreeing to a mortgage that will take longer to pay off ... seems like a silly way to run things.
Don't worry about the "am I really going to be here in 30 years?" thing. It's really just a way to afford more house without having to try to pay off $200k in 5 years. That, and you can always pay it off early.

Since I make decent money and have a reasonable chunk of savings, why can't I even afford a house that is "average" in this county? "Average?" You're funny!! Seattle is one of the most overpriced places to buy a house in the US right now. If you're looking for "average" look in the midwest. Personally, I'm impressed that you can afford ANY house in the Seattle area - they're crazy expensive!

How did all of these other people get ahead of me in the housing game? either luck, or getting into a house 5-10 years ago before the housing prices really started to skyrocket.Have I been doing something stupid?Nawww. You have savings. You probabally have little debt. You probabally have decent credit. You've been doing things right, but you weren't ready for the "buy house" thing back when houses were more affordable.

Where do I want to live...neighborhood is "unacceptable"?Only you & the local police dept (who can give you stats on local crime) can answer that.
Will my friends be willing to come over?(etc) If you're south Seattleish, then you'll probabally end up the focal point of the group get togethers. N. Seattle or the eastside get trickier due to distance. Overall, people don't like goign down to Tacoma to see us due to distance. I didn't like going up to y'all due to distance. But somewhere a bit more towards Seattle or south of, and you'll be the bee's knees.

What do I want near my home? A grocery store & a gas station are about all you would REALLY want near your home, but around here you probabally don't need to worry too much about amenities.

What happens if I lose my job? Everyone's job always has some level of risk involved. There isn't a good answer for that apart from "try to have a chunk of savings."

Will I ever find a house I can afford that I'll be happy with? I dunno, you're pretty picky. ;-) You'll find one that either "has potential if I/we fix it up" or one that's "good enough for now"

Will gas prices continue climbing, making a long commute more expensive? Probabally, unfortuantely. But there's always the bus / train...

How long am I going to live there? (etc)With the uncertainty involved, I'd personally suggest getting a decent sized 2 bedroom house (~1000sq ft or more). Give you enough room to have a roommate, a girlfriend, a computer room or a wife & kid.

Good luck!!!!!!
Fireball of 3fireballof3 on April 21st, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
I even had to cut down the amount of quoting I did on my mega responose because I hit the character limit of 4300!!!

*grumbles*
Stupendous Manfarmalloc on April 21st, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)
RE: Other people being able to buy.

You got me there dude...houses are expensive no matter how you cut it. I don't know have half the people buy them...must have relitives that give them money or something. But I do hear the first year is the hardest after that it is smooth sailing. But year alot of people use a first home to springboard into the second.

If you havn't started yet the process is crazy...there are a million different kind of loans out there with a million differnt philosophies. Everyone tells you something different. You are smart you will figure it out. Be prepared to loose some sleep before your first first offer though.