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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

My landlady just had the house appraised.

I work in a real estate office. I know what that probably means (probably because she could also be doing it for insurance or tax reasons).

If she's thinking of selling, we have to start thinking of buying something. Not this house, unless it's in our price range (although wouldn't that be nice? She has a gorgeous kitchen.) but a house or a condominium. But buying because I'm tired of living at the whim of someone else. We've been thinking along those lines anyway. And our lease is up in September. Which might be enough time.

So. What would be the first step?


You'll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage, but my experience is that lendors will approve you for larger amounts than you'd actually be comfortable with if you look at the "what this means on a monthly basis" calculation. So start trying to get a price range you'd actually be willing to spend in.

Remember to add taxes and insurance to the calculation! Our actual mortgage part of the payment is only about 2/3 of the total cost.

When I was doing this for the first time I got a lot of benefit from a book (title forgotten) by Bob Villa (the "this old house" guy).

I don't know about that book, but we found a book called something like "Questions Every First Time Homebuyer Should Ask". Pretty useful.

Remember to add taxes and insurance to the calculation!

Also condo fees, if you buy a condo (I don't know what the housing stock is like in your area).

What everyone else has said about getting preapproved and figuring out wants and needs. When I was looking, I wanted a kitchen that had a reasonable amount of space for milchigs and fleishigs, good light, and reasonably quiet. Wants included a guest room and a sukkah porch, and I was lucky enough to get both, though I almost didn't, since I had time limits and almost bought the place I saw before this.

Around here (in MA), there are first-time homebuyer classes, which are not only informative, but can also get people a slightly lower rate on the mortgage. It was offered through the city, I believe. There may be other first-time homebuyer offers out there as well.

Good luck.