Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

First time home buying Advice?

mollywog
May 1st, 2009, 12:12 PM
Hi everyone;
My husband and I are ready to buy our first house. :D We live in a small northern community of 5000 ppl. so at any given time there is not a lot to choose from. We have already started looking, and have viewed about 10 houses so far. We have found one that may be "the one" but need to look into things further. It is a private sale so we would not have our real estate agent to walk us through each step. Has anyone here been through this process? Any advice about 1st time homebuying in general? We can use all the advice we can get!
Thanks gang! :thumbs up

bendyfoot
May 1st, 2009, 12:22 PM
Is there any reason your agent can't help facilitate the sale process? Seriously, they will help you in so many ways and help keep you out of trouble.

Don't buy a house without getting a home inspection and, if applicable, a well/septic inspection. IME it's absolutely horrifying what some people will "forget" to tell you about.

Love4himies
May 1st, 2009, 01:03 PM
Your home is your only tax free investment (legally anyways :rolleyes:) so see it as an investment as this will probably not be your only home and you want to make some money on it.

Buy the smallest to medium house in the best area you can afford, location, location, location is key. You can change paint, take out walls, but you can't change locations :cool:. Never be the biggest house on the street, you may not get your money back on it.

That is the accountant in me talking.

SIL
May 1st, 2009, 01:03 PM
Mollywog...I agree with Bendy a home inspection is a must. Try to find a reputable inspector, they will look at everything carefully and give you a list of things to do, either now or in the future. :lightbulb: Maybe LP can give you some pointers...she went through alot when buying her house.
Good luck!!! :thumbs up

Masha
May 1st, 2009, 01:09 PM
What I learned from buying my first home:
1. Definitely a home inspection, someone reputable with experience. It worth to pay the premiums for someone with experience because they can save you from having to pay tens of thousands later on. They should be registered with the home inspector association (sorry don’t remember the name exactly but they have an association that they register with).
2. Contact a real estate lawyer, they would need to do a title search. I also recommend title insurance, most real estate lawyers include it now a day with their ‘home buying package’.
3. Go see the home more than once. Sometimes when you get excited about a place, it’s hard to notice the negatives, so it’s good to come back again after you have had some sleep and look at the place with fresh eyes. Even better, bring a friend/relative with you the second time. It’s amazing what they can notice sometimes...
4. If there are nearby neighbours, go say hi, see how they are, check out their property (is it clean, pride of ownership, etc.)
5. If you home inspector does not take photos of the rooms and home inside and out, you should. That way in case once you take possession of the home, if something is damaged, you will have a ‘before’ photo to show that the damage was done after your inspection and offer sign-off and you should be able to recover money for damages.
6. Be very specific as to what is included or excluded with the purchase of the home (light fixtures, appliances, window treatments, remote controls to garage/fireplaces).
7. Request that the home be left clean and free of debris; you don’t want to clean other peoples garbage, sometimes people leave tires and bricks and logs, and who knows what else…. Especially in the garage and basement.
8. No Home is perfect – the inspector will likely a list of things but as long as none of them are major, that’s normal. Our inspector said that in his entire career he has only seen 1 perfect home.

GOOD LUCK and don’t stress out, this should be a fun experience…

Masha
May 1st, 2009, 01:26 PM
Oh once i read L4H post (the comment re:accountant in her) I remembered that if you have money in an RRSP account you should be able to withdraw up to 20 K (dont remember exactly how much) tax free to be used towards your home purchase. You do have to pay into back to the RRSP though within 15 year.

Love4himies
May 1st, 2009, 01:35 PM
Everybody has given excellent advice. Look for closet space. Nothing worse than not having enough and as you go through the years things tend to collect.

mollywog
May 1st, 2009, 02:33 PM
thanks everyone!!! :thumbs up:thumbs up I knew you would come up with some good advice!
I called my Realtor and she said she could assist with the private sale, for a fee. And by the sounds of it, it would be well worth it. there is just so much to consider, so many steps and other things involved!
getting a home inspection is pretty much the #1 piece of advice everyone I meet has given me. (well, except my one friend... and his house is pretty much rotating on its foundation :laughing: that will show him!)
the house we are interested in is small, but has a huge yard which means room to expand and build a garage :thumbs up (and of course put up a fence for Molly!) :dog:
any other advice???? :confused:

TacoGrl
May 1st, 2009, 03:05 PM
When you have the inspector there (use an independant one, not one the real estate agent recommends-the agent's commission depends on you purchasing the house-leaves the door open for a less than thorough inspection-sounds cynical, but better safe than sorry), walk around with him/her so you can see first hand what the issues are...sometimes things get lost in the translation from the paperwork later :rolleyes:

Make sure you turn on taps and flush the toilet for water pressure...test the shower...look for leaks under sinks etc. that are either still evident or recently patched up/painted over/new tiles when the rest of the room is from the 50's...see if you can get any paperwork pertaining to warranties on appliances...look for things that seem odd or out of place (you'll know what I mean when you see it)...wiring and plumbing can get expensive and there usually isn't a quick fix...get estimates for repairs BEFORE negotiating.

good luck :fingerscr

Stacer
May 1st, 2009, 03:44 PM
We bought our first home in July 2008 and came to realize in the winter that our main floor is like a meat locker, the air vents are inadequate to heat the main foyer properly. (our house has no basement so our main floor is basically on a concrete slab). There was really no way to know that it would be so bad and the previous owners were obviously not very forthcoming with that info.

Ask questions about how it heats in winter, turn on the furnace and check cold air return vents etc.... Perhaps drive by in the rain to see how the roof and eavestroughs hold up.
That's all I can think of right now.

chico2
May 1st, 2009, 03:59 PM
When we bought our house,we had no inspector,did not know you needed one.
The former owners left tax for us to pay,left the backyard full of garbage etc..
The furnace needed replacement$$$,the water-heater blew and flooded our newly carpeted basement$$$:yell:
It was a disaster and we did not have much money for all these replacements.
An independent inspector is a must!!!

14+kitties
May 1st, 2009, 04:24 PM
I don't think anyone has mentioned this. You can also ask for a final inspection. Usually done the day before the sale. If things are not the way they should be, damage, etc, you can get out of the sale or have sellers pay damages. I had that done with my second last house that I sold. My daughter also did it with her home last year.

Winston
May 1st, 2009, 04:55 PM
Buying my first home was a nightmare. I will nver buy from anyone in a divorce situation....:yell:

dustybird
May 1st, 2009, 05:17 PM
First congrats on buying your first home.

We just bought our first home in March and I was a stressed out mess. We bought a house in a small NW Ontario town and we didn't get a home inspection as it was going to be rather expensive to get someone to come all the way out from Thunder Bay. We did some research though and made lists so we knew what to look for. It still is a good idea to get one if you can but you really need to find a good one. Also if you can do the walk through with the inspector so you can see for yourself what he's talking about and can ask him questions right then and there. Ask about being there for it before you hire someone, if they seem like they don't want you there move on to the next guy.

You will need to find house insurance before the final purchase to but your mortage people should and lawyer should tell you when you need to have it by. Also definatley call around, we got quite the varied quotes. You also can find out the average monthly utility costs. If the current owner won't tell you, get the meter numbers and call the utility companies yourself, that way you will have some sort of idea as to what you can afford and to do up a estimated budget of what your new home will cost.

Pending where the house is check to see if it has a sump pump, we got lucky as the previous owner to our house just put in a new pump.

If you don't own any of your own appliances ask if they are included in the sale or if they could be and get in writing. One last expense to worry about and hopefully they'll last at least a year to give you time to save or for when sales are on.

Take a good look at the houses around you, if they look run down or the yards look unkept chances are it may not be a good area of town. You don't need a lot of money to keep your yard clean.

A lawyer is surely a must and look for one that specializes in real estate, that way they shouldn't miss anything. Title insurance is also a good thing to have or at least that was what we were told.

Also and this goes for everyone who may not know, if you plan on doing any renovating this year keep all recipts. There is a new home reno tax credit for 2009 http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2009/fqhmrnvtn-eng.html

I don't really have much to add that hasn't already be said and the whole process is still a blurr to me. So far I think we did ok with our purchase. There will always be things that need fixing but it all depends how much your willing or are able to put into it right away. We don't have a lot of money so we tried to make sure the main things like the roof would last at least 5yrs, to give us time to save. Also check to see if the furnace and hot water heater are rented or owned. If they're rented you will need to change that over into your name.

ancientgirl
May 1st, 2009, 05:55 PM
Congratulations! I don't have much advice, I've never bought a home, but it sounds like you have some great advice so far!:thumbs up

mollywog
May 1st, 2009, 07:35 PM
Dustybird- ahh, finally, someone in my neck of the woods!!! We are in Sioux Lookout! :ca:
Good idea about asking to follow the home inspector through the house. Neither of us are very handy so it would be nice to have things explained to us.
There are 2 Irish Wolfhounds that live across the street from the potential house- beautiful dogs but boy were they loud the last time I walked past!!!
A coworker suggested sitting in the neighbourhood at midnight on a weekend to see what it is like then. Kinda stalker-ish but probably a good idea!
The house has 3 sumps- that seemed to indicate a water problem in the basement, but it sounds as though the current owner has it all fixed.

ancientgirl
May 1st, 2009, 07:41 PM
OH, ha I do have some suggestions. You might want to see what it's like on weeknights too. And if the weather will permit, see what it's like after a rain storm. My cousin lives in a neighborhood that the streets flood whenever it rains a lot. She came to find that our about 3 weeks into their move there.

Luvmypitgirls
May 1st, 2009, 08:39 PM
Dustybird- ahh, finally, someone in my neck of the woods!!! We are in Sioux Lookout! :ca:
Good idea about asking to follow the home inspector through the house. Neither of us are very handy so it would be nice to have things explained to us.
There are 2 Irish Wolfhounds that live across the street from the potential house- beautiful dogs but boy were they loud the last time I walked past!!!
A coworker suggested sitting in the neighbourhood at midnight on a weekend to see what it is like then. Kinda stalker-ish but probably a good idea!
The house has 3 sumps- that seemed to indicate a water problem in the basement, but it sounds as though the current owner has it all fixed.

It's not stalker~ish, this is a huge investment cover all your bases is what I say.
Before we bought our second house, I drove by at all hours of the day and night, to see what the neighborhood was like and such.
I also visited the house, with my realtor 4 different times, once in the morning on one day, once in the afternoon on another, during the evening another day and another mid day visit.
Don't be afraid to ask the current owners to move things away from walls, if they are hesitant or refuse, I'd question why.
Check closets and basement or crawlspace, don't be afraid to open cupboards in bathrooms or kitchen. One house we looked I at I opened the cupboard, I won't say what was in there but it ended our interest in the house immediately.
Make sure to turn on the lights in every room you enter.

Good luck with your house hunting, I hope you find the perfect place for you and your family and furrybabies.:D

kiara
May 2nd, 2009, 01:07 PM
I learned through personal experiences (with my elderly father), not to trust home and car salesmen or women. I only know about the province of Quebec, (where the laws are very laxed, in many different areas). Don't know about the other provinces or the US. These people really take advantage of the elderly!!! They are pushy manipulators, money oriented parasites. Had the pleasure of meeting them and dealing with them. I realize that they know how to manipulate the laws to their advantage. Please, get a house inspector before signing. I don't know about private sales?

angeldogs
May 2nd, 2009, 02:53 PM
Oh yes a home inspection is a must.the only thing about buying private is they don't have to disclose everything about the house.My uncle when he was alive owned 30 homes in 25 years all private and said you need to know what took for in the home your looking at.

Take a small pocket with you.when in the basement if the is any exposed wood stick the tip of the knife into the wood to see if it has dried out.check to see if the wiring is up to date with copper same with the piping.age of the furnace.look in the closets for mold as that means there is a leak.check around the window for signs of leaks.same with the ceilings and basement.check the foundation for cracks.look at the shinglesas there should be no more then 2 layers and if the shingles are starting to curl they will need to be changed.this is what he had me look for when viewing the home before a offer was made and a home inspector looked at it.

Good luck with your home buying.

erykah1310
May 2nd, 2009, 03:03 PM
I just went through this process, a private sale as well.
What a headache.
We did not get an inspector in for the house as we knew the people we baught it from very well and they gave us a list of things they thought needed to be fixed.
When you do the title searches, there are some that will cost you alot of money but little to nothing from the current owners. If they are decent people consider asking them to get the septic paperwork from the health unit as it only costs them $25 or so but will cost you approx $100.
Water!!!! this is where all our problems occured, since we were buying in spring and were buying rural which means drilled well our water was not good enough for the lenders. the cauliflorons or something like that were at 0.01 which the health unit deemed acceptable and checked the box for "No bacterial content" but the bank wanted 0.00... thankfully the sellers in our case installed a $3000 water treatment system that did not get added to the price of the house.
In your agreement to purchase do make sure you are getting what you see in the house, its amazing apparently what people will take with them when they move, (door knobs, hinges, window trim, screens ect ect.)

Biggest perk for first time home buyers is the lack of land transfer tax! We saved over $1000 because of it. And if you are pulling out RRSP's under the first time homebuyers plan, make sure they withdrawl them under that plan, I got a wee bit screwed over on that and ended up being taxed on them. But atleast I don't have to pay them back now.

As for checking out the personality of your neighbours... well, that can be decieving... our neighbours seemed alright before we moved... Now are the neighbours from hell... Oh well can't have all the luck right.

The one thing I really wish I would have known was the entire process of buying private.
For a good month it seemed like nothing was advancing and then all of a sudden with in a week, we had appointments coming out of our wazoo's with the lawyer, broker( we went with a mortgage broker to get better interest rates), lenders, insurance and so on.
They all wanted LOTS of money in a matter of days. So just before closing be prepared lol.

All in all its worth the headaches and feels so great getting the keys to something that is yours!

erykah1310
May 2nd, 2009, 03:06 PM
Oh yeah, and if you do not have a down payment or less than 20% of one, then you have to deal with CMHC as well, they are great but getting them out to do their inspection was another headache of ours. They really seem to take their time, and even more so for the approval, we only got ours within 2 weeks of closing

luckypenny
May 2nd, 2009, 07:02 PM
Oh my, after visiting at least 50 properties last year, and having 3 inspected, I think I can write up a whole book on this topic :o.

How long has the house been up for sale? Is there a septic tank/leach field? Is water supplied by the city or artesian well?

Independent inspector should definitely be #1 on your list. Make sure he/she provides a detailed report including photos. YOu also want him to look at the electrical box and check all the sockets. I can't think of the name of this gadget some of them have, but it's a handheld thingie that can tell if there's moisture/condensation in between the walls/floor of the basement. If it's an older home, you should also have the air quality checked (for mold or other chemicals). If the inspector can't do it, then there are companies who specialize in this who can help.

Don't just look at the decor of the house...you're not buying their furniture and paint, you're buying the actual structure of the house. Lift carpets, look behind furniture, under stairs, and in closets. Don't forget the exterior of the house, the roof, brick work (if there's any), siding, and especially the foundation. What about the land? Does it gently slope away from the house to prevent water from pooling around and under it? Are there dead trees/greenery on the property?

Don't know if this is a problem in your area but it is here in many municipalities of Quebec: PYRITE...used as landfill that expands when damp (and results in heaving concrete in your basement among other disastrous structural problems).

Home inspectors can't tell if there's a french drain around your house, or if it's functional, so be sure to ask the owners and get it in writing. The fact that there are 3 sump pumps would worry me.

Please, please, please ask for a "seller's declaration form" (preferably the most recent version that your agent can supply you with) and have the sellers fill it out and sign it. Make sure that there's nothing in the sales contract that says "sold without warranty." This usually indicates that there are some big problems.

Google the address and look at the aerial map of the street and surrounding areas. Is there an industrial park, train tracks, airport, busy (ie. loud) highway, anything that looks unusual? Perhaps a well hidden outdoor shooting range that belongs to a gun club on the other side of the backyard :rolleyes: :wall:? Long story but we're currently in the process of a legal suit over such a situation :frustrated:. Take your time and really research the area well to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Go to the city hall and ask to speak to a building/land inspector. He/she should be able to provide you with the house and property plans. They will also indicate if something is not up to code. The fellow I spoke with here also informed us of where we could and couldn't build on our land (eg. shed, garage, planting of trees, etc) because of leach fields and covered ditches.
Go to the police department/fire department and ask if they've had any issues with with the home (repeated burglar alarms, break-ins, fire alarms, etc). What about the area in general?

Also at the city hall, you should be able to find out who the property legally belongs to, which bank/company provided the mortgage, when it was purchased, and for how much (that last point may or may not provide a bargaining tool for you).

For at least a week, drive to the house in the morning, leave from there to go to work, and return after work as well. How are the driving conditions? Is there traffic? Enough street lights on certain roads (keep in mind winter driving too when it's usually dark out)? And yes, absolutley stalk the place :laughing:. Spend some time parked outside, go for a walk during the day and evenings. Take your furbabies with you. Are there a lot of off leash animals in the area?

Do you have children? Are you planning on children in the future? Are there good schools nearby? High schools? Parks? Daycares? What about medical and dental clinics? Lets not forget the vets :D. Grocery stores? Gas stations?

Phew, I think I'm almost done. Just remember, as Love4himies stated, this is an investment, a costly one, so take your time. Visit the house as many times as you see fit until you're 100% sure it's the right choice. Don't let anyone rush you into buying (eg. the sellers telling you they're getting another offer in a few days...it's only a gimmick to get you to overlook details).

And don't forget to ask lots of questions (take notes), unless you're afraid of receiving mini-novel replies :laughing:.

mollywog
May 2nd, 2009, 11:14 PM
Luckypenny- thanks so much for all the advice- here are some answers... its always great to talk to people who have just gone through this! It is a DAUNTING process to say the least!

How long has the house been up for sale? Is there a septic tank/leach field? Is water supplied by the city or artesian well?
the house has been for sale for a month. City water and sewer.

Don't know if this is a problem in your area but it is here in many municipalities of Quebec: PYRITE...used as landfill that expands when damp (and results in heaving concrete in your basement among other disastrous structural problems).
nope, I don't think we have that problem up here.

Home inspectors can't tell if there's a french drain around your house, or if it's functional, so be sure to ask the owners and get it in writing. The fact that there are 3 sump pumps would worry me.
yeah, I asked the owner about that and he said he added the 3rd one as an extra precaution because there was some water seeping in, but now he has fixed it. I hope he's honest!

Go to the city hall and ask to speak to a building/land inspector. He/she should be able to provide you with the house and property plans. They will also indicate if something is not up to code. The fellow I spoke with here also informed us of where we could and couldn't build on our land (eg. shed, garage, planting of trees, etc) because of leach fields and covered ditches.
this is a great idea- I didn't know they would just give this sort of info. away. But will be really handy, as we are planning on building a separate garage on the property.

Also at the city hall, you should be able to find out who the property legally belongs to, which bank/company provided the mortgage, when it was purchased, and for how much (that last point may or may not provide a bargaining tool for you). also very interesting! Thanks! :thumbs up

For at least a week, drive to the house in the morning, leave from there to go to work, and return after work as well. How are the driving conditions? Is there traffic? Enough street lights on certain roads (keep in mind winter driving too when it's usually dark out)? And yes, absolutley stalk the place :laughing:. Spend some time parked outside, go for a walk during the day and evenings. Take your furbabies with you. Are there a lot of off leash animals in the area? There are off leash animals in every area of this town unfortunately:wall:

Do you have children? Are you planning on children in the future? Are there good schools nearby? High schools? Parks? Daycares? What about medical and dental clinics? Lets not forget the vets :D. Grocery stores? Gas stations? in a town of 5000 people, everything is nearby (that can be both good and bad)

Phew, I think I'm almost done. Just remember, as Love4himies stated, this is an investment, a costly one, so take your time. Visit the house as many times as you see fit until you're 100% sure it's the right choice. Don't let anyone rush you into buying (eg. the sellers telling you they're getting another offer in a few days...it's only a gimmick to get you to overlook details).wow, thanks so much Lucky! we go for our 2nd showing on Friday, so now I will have a lot more to "look out for"!

sugarcatmom
May 3rd, 2009, 09:46 AM
This is a very timely thread for me as hubby and I are currently house-hunting. Just to add to what Masha said about the RRSPs, you can pull out up to $25,000 for a down payment, which is cool.

Anyone know anything about buying a foreclosure property? There's a whole lot of them springing up here in Calgary and because the neighborhoods that DH and I have to live in are mucho expensivo inner city, we're faced with either buying a total crap-hole of a house or else a foreclosure. I know it's more complicated than a regular purchase, but it's worth it to me if it means living where I want to live.

mollywog
May 10th, 2009, 08:31 AM
Hi everyone;
we put in an offer!!!!! :D
Now I am going crazy wondering what the seller will say, and waiting to hear back!!!! :fingerscr :fingerscr
we ended up hiring a buyer's agent for the private sale. She has been SO helpful in guiding us through this confusing process! And hopefully she will be able to negotiate a much better price than we had originally thought! :fingerscr

ancientgirl
May 10th, 2009, 08:49 AM
Good luck! I think it's a good idea to have someone on your side who knows how the process works and who is on your side.

catlover2
May 10th, 2009, 09:19 AM
luckypenny had a good idea abut googling the address to get an aerial view. When we were last house hunting, we almost bought house that had railroad tracks beyond a tall hedge at the back of the property, but since it was a side-split with a lot of stairs we decided on a bungalow.

Another thing that I don't think was mentioned....garden plants. If there are particular perennials, shrubs that you like as part of the landscaping make sure it's in the sales agreement that they stay in place. A friend bought a house with lovely garden and when she moved, all shrubs and perennials had been dug out. Good luck on your offer.

mollywog
May 19th, 2009, 07:13 PM
Big News.... after some intense negotiating, we GOT THE HOUSE! :party: We move in June 22 :D and are REALLY excited!!!
Home inspection is this Friday so :fingerscr for that to go well! Thanks everyone for your advice, I am sure I will have tons more questions!

ancientgirl
May 19th, 2009, 07:45 PM
Congratulations!http://forums.site5.com/images/smilies/dancingparty.gif

Dee-O-Gee
May 19th, 2009, 08:21 PM
Well a big :highfive::highfive: to you and your hubby.

It's so much nicer when it's your own home. Now you can go wild and decorate to your own liking. :)

Congratulations and welcome to the world of owning your own home. :thumbs up

mollywog
May 19th, 2009, 08:59 PM
Thanks! I am so excited to make it our own. Not to mention we will have our own big yard! No more walking down 2 flights of stairs every time she has to go pee!
The yard isn't fenced.. that will have to wait a while. Does anyone here have experience with tie outs? We would only use it while we were home, working in the yard etc.

Dee-O-Gee
May 19th, 2009, 09:50 PM
While I don't have very much experience with tie outs, you'll probably have to latch Molly onto her leash then onto your belt buckle for a while.

You'll have to establish a "safe/play zone" for her to play in, and train like you have an "invisible fence" around your yard. Stake it out and show Molly the ropes by touching them and follow with a stern "no." This of course would be followed with treats as she goes back safely into her "play zone."

After a couple of weeks of rope introductions, you'll have to establish some outside of the tie down distractions, such as standing beyond the tie-downs or having a neighbor distract her. This would of course having to be all supervised and should be while she's contained on a leash and of course followed with yummy treats for her being such a good girl. :)

To be honest with you, we have an invisible fence and we trained our Golden Retriever on it but the battery died and and the collar broke so we never replaced it nor did she ever leave the yard. :thumbs up

We are now trying to train Gryphon with the same idea. We put up the fence flags up and act like there's a boundary and a safe/play zone. It's pretty amazing how much they learn with a little stern, verbal love.

It will take a little work and perseverance but I'm sure Molly will love having her own backyard to roll on. :lovestruck:

mollywog
May 20th, 2009, 07:28 AM
Thanks for the advice Klm. :thumbs up
We will have to start from scratch, as Molly is not the most independent dog around. She is used to us being with her whenever she is outside. So you are right, we will have to take it slowly. She is a very reactive dog- if she sees something out of the ordinary, she reacts instead of trying to figure it out. So I would not even trust her with an invisible fence. I could even see her jumping over a 6ft fence if there was something she really wanted to see on the other side!!!
Nonetheless, it will be SO nice to have our OWN yard!!!
I promise pictures once we get it!!

LavenderRott
May 20th, 2009, 08:45 AM
I used a tie out when I lived in a mobile home. I wouldn't leave Molly out for long on it and make sure she is wearing either a flat buckle or martingale collar.

Congratulations on the house!