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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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Introduction

Name: Suzy (& Josh)
Age:
21 (& 22) - I know we're young but we are motivated and trust me, it's going to happen!
Location:
Southern Oregon (we're not sure whether we're going to want to buy down here, or up in Portland, where we lived for a few years before)
When are you looking to buy:
Spring 2010
Describe your dream house:
DREAM house? Uh, I've spent so much time trying to be realistic I don't know if I want to go there... lol! We basically want a house that is on at least half an acre (preferably an acre or more) flat open land, with a huge open kitchen, at least 3-4 bedrooms and 1.5-2.5 baths, a 2-3 car garage, a large shop with room for a list (for my husband to work on his car projects) ... my husband REALLY wants a house with a basement, though I think they can be oh so creepy. He said he'll settle for a "family room" though so we're looking for a house with that as well. We want a house that needs SOME work (we love having projects that involve going to Lowe's) but we don't want to pay a ton of money for a big piece of crap that'll cost us a fortune to renovate!
Anything you don't want in a house: Oops, well, not a big piece of crap that'll cost us a fortune to renovate, LOL! I don't want just one bathroom, or to be able to reach out the window into my neighbor's window (figuratively), or unusable land... I don't want nasty bathroom or nasty kitchen, NO BUGS oh my geeze! And no way to condos, townhouses, shared... hubby and I hate those. Just not for us.
Any burning questions:
Not really... I'm sure I'll ask when they come to me.

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Buying a house with a pool

Does whether or not a house has a pool have any bearing on your feelings about the house?

We're going tomorrow to look at what could be "the one." The problem is that it has a pool, and we're not sure we want to put in the money and time to maintain it. On the other hand, I'm not sure what other options we would have, as hauling it away (if it's above ground) or digging it up (if it's in-ground) both sound like expensive options, and there's also a deck built around it (or down to it) from what we can tell in pictures. I wouldn't mind having a pool in theory, but again, the thought of the time and money spent on maintenance worries me, particularly since we'd only get 3-4 months of use out of it each year. :/

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Intro

Name: Andrea
Age: 26
Location: Columbus, OH
When are you looking to buy: We actually close on our new house in two weeks!
Describe your dream house: Open, big kitchen, wrap around porch, lots of closet space, two bath, four bedroom, large back yard with room for a garden, a nice sized deck, two car garage, close to good schools, close to public transportation, nice community. And a techy house with ethernet ports in all rooms, WIFI for portable devices, internal wiring for mounted flat screen tvs, full house surround sound, computers/thin clients in most/all rooms, security system tied into network.
Anything you don't want in a house: No townhouses, condos or home owners associations. I also don't really like vaulted ceilings.
Any burning questions: Not at the moment.

Pictures of our new houseCollapse )

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Lending Tree

Has anyone here used Lending Tree to compare mortgage rates? I sent in a request last night, just to try to get some numbers and now I'm hoping I'm not going to be inundated/harassed with calls and emails next week. : /

Any experience, good, bad, or otherwise?

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Tags

I am in the process of setting up tags for the community. Whenever you make a post, please try to use the appropriate tags. If more than one applies, by all means add all that are appropriate. (Hint, if you start typing, livejournal will auto suggest things that are already community tags.) If you don't see a tag you need, just let me know and I will add it.

Currently (as of 3/29/09) we have the following tags:

books
how to
insurance
intro post
lenders
links
loans
mod post
taxes
walk throughs
war stories

If you have any other tag suggestions, please comment here and I will get them added.

By keeping all posts tagged, the community will be easily searchable. : ) All you will have to do is click on a tag (from the left hand side of the community page) to see all the posts with that tag.

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Links

I am planning on adding some links to our community sidebar of useful resources for house hunters. If you have any favorite sites that you think would be useful, please leave them in a comment here and I will get them added.

Thank you!

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Intro post

Name:  Sarah (& Kevin)

Age:  23 (he's 25)

Location:  Tampa, FL

When are you looking to buy:  Hopefully this summer

Describe your dream house:  4 bed, 3 bath, so we have space for an office.  All hardwood or tile floor (hubby has allergies), nice open layout, lots of natural light.  Concrete block or something study for hurricanes.  In a perfect world I would love to have a beach view, but wouldn't buy a house there because of storms.

Anything you don't want in a house:  No fixer-uppers, since we're not handy.  I would hate something that feels constricted or closed in.  Old carpet would be tough because of hubby's issues (but it would be changable, so not a deal-breaker).  I wouldn't like having a multi-story house because I have some joint issues.

Any burning questions:  We're just starting to look around.  We got into the housing market because we have family looking to sell a house for 125k.  It's a small 3/1.5, but it would be a good starter house.  Basically, now that we've gotten that magical pre-approval letter, we're looking to see what else is out there for around the same amount of money.  The house that my aunt and uncle have is literally brand new inside...new floors, new kitchen, all new tile except for the bedrooms, new roof.  They were fixing it up for their grandson, but he changed his mind.

I guess what I'd like to know is how you start looking for potential houses.  Is the easiest thing just to look at the big agents and see what's out there?  Also, if anyone has gone though FHA loans, how much extra is it?  That's probably our best option right now, but I hear there's lots of other fees they stick you with.  Thanks in advance.

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Name: Jamie
Age: 27
Location: Boston area
When are you looking to buy: by the end of 2009
Describe your dream house: Colonial with lots of cool architectural details, master bedroom with 2 walk-in closets, a guest bedroom, kids room, small office, amazing kitchen with LOTS of storage/counter space, dining room, living room, mudroom, flat fenced in back yard, lots of windows and sun, pool and hard wood floors. Obviously we wont have this for our first home lol.
Anything you don't want in a house: too close to neighbors, old kitchen, little to no sunlight, main road
Any burning questions: We doubtfully can come up with 20% down (especially based on home prices in the Boston area)...we dont know what to do. We may have to put less down (more like 10%) and have a higher mortgage due to the PMI and refinance in a few years? We dont even know what we can afford monthly. Where should we start :)

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House Hunting War Stories!!

All right boys and girls, I know you have them! Share your stories of the scariest/oddest/most terrible home(s) that you have seen.

I'll start, and two of them come to mind. Just so you know, we have nicknames for all of our houses to better help us remember them. These are not the actual names of houses.
1. The Goat HouseCollapse )
2. The Sex Club HouseCollapse )

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