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Introduction

Name: Anne. Married to Nathan and mama to Elliot (3) and Rhys (1)

Age: 31

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

When are you looking to buy: We'd like to move in about a year from now, in a super-ideal world... but that hinges on a LOT of little details like my husband's graduate school plans falling together perfectly, so we're going to start looking and planning for that now and be open to major changes as more information comes in.

Describe your dream house: Right now, we're not shopping for my "dream house". Our long-range plan is to buy rural land and build a 5 bedroom, 2 bath prairie-style home with straw bale, masonry and radiant heat, a big country kitchen and a library. We can't do any of that until my husband finishes school (he's applying now and will be focusing on rural medicine), and until we've got some savings built up. Weirdly, the best way for us to do that is to buy a house right now -- rents here are really, really high (especially since we're a family and need at least 2 bedrooms and a washer/dryer), and by buying a lower priced foreclosure or short sale and fixing it up we'd immediately cut our housing costs in half, which is a lot of money that can go into the Dream House Building Fund.

So. We're currently looking for a 4 bedroom, 1.5+ bath fixer-uper, with a family room on at least .2 acres, hopefully more like .35-5 and hopefully with a den/office space since I telecommute whenever I can. We have tornados, so the house MUST have a basement. I'd love to live in an older city house with gorgeous built-ins, woodwork and a clawfoot tub, but I think I'd love a big yard I can put chickens, a garden and a swing set in more and it seems I can only get that outside of the city, so we're currently exploring both north Minneapolis and some northern suburbs.

Anything you don't want in a house: Granite Counter-tops and stainless steel appliances. A breakfast Bar. A drastic lack of yard. We're very handy and excited to do home improvement projects, but I will not deal with bad foundations, major plumbing overhaul, or mold.

Any burning questions: Crikey. All I've got are burning questions! Right now, I'm trying to figure out whether we need to visit a mortgage counselor/broker first, take a home-buying class first, or find a realtor that doesn't pinch my rear first. We'll be buying a foreclosure or short sale with an FHA loan and probably getting some state or county grant money for buying a vacant property, so the number of hurdles we have to jump through is large and daunting.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
pink_bullets
Apr. 4th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
welcome!

My advice regarding your "burning questions" comments are to take a home buying class first, visit a bank who can get you pre-approved (you should shop around at a couple), and find yourself a realtor who is knowledgeable about foreclosures and short sales. We're buying a short sale and if our realtor hadn't taken several classes about them and had experience with them, we would not be where we are in this process. She has guided everything, given advice to the seller's agents (who are inexperienced in short sales), and gave us realistic expectations from the start. All I can say is definitely, definitely, definitely find a realtor with that experience.

I'm in graduate school, too, and we're buying a house. Buying a house (that is more than double the size of our apartment) is actually going to be cheaper than renting!
juke_box_dive
Apr. 4th, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)
I agree with pink_bullets' advice.

Getting a realtor you are comfortable with is incredibly important. Don't sign a contract with one until you are sure they will do their job and that you are happy with the job they are doing. I learned a lot (and luckily not too hard of a lesson) with my first realtor. Of my second, I asked a lot of questions such as how soon do you respond to emails/phone calls and other things that will be important to you in a business relationship. If you're interested in a foreclosure or short sale, definitely ask if they've worked with those properties before.

If something doesn't work out, a simple, "thank you for your time but this relationship isn't going to work for me," is all you need (if you haven't signed a contract beforehand. It's a bit like breaking up with that annoying guy you only went out with once or twice because your sister said you would be perfect for one another and then you find out that he uses his knife to pick his teeth after dinner and you know, without a doubt, that you don't want to spend the rest of your life looking at that. Not that I'm projecting.)

Good luck!
belleweather
Apr. 4th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
Do you generally sign a contract with a buyer's realtor? I thought that was generally just when you were choosing someone to sell your house?

juke_box_dive
Apr. 4th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
I signed one right before I made an offer on a property but after she had shown me several properties. It was at the point of going from "customer" to "client." Different places (states--I'm in South Carolina) and agencies (I'm with Coldwell Banker) may do it differently. My first agent was with ERA and he talked about my signing a contract but (luckily) I never did with him.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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