Monday, April 07, 2008

buying a first home

Some advice written almost ten years ago.

Suggestions for house-buying.

Two things to decide at the start.

1. Is this house a beginning house, from which we can step up to the dream house, or is this the dream house? --If you start with a modest house, you get all the learning experience of loan-getting, plumbing and airconditioning things I should have learned, neighbors I can do without, etc., while at the same time, growing equity in the first home, which makes for a better down payment on the dream home.

2. Should the payment be totally from the husband's income, or should the wife's income also be part of the monthly payment? --If the wife becomes pregnant, can you still afford the home? On the other hand, if you get a payment based solely on the husband's income, AND the wife's income is applied monthly while she is employed and not having children, her part of the payment goes all towards principal, reducing the term of the loan significantly. (Be sure no pre-payment penalty and that additional payments go directly against principal when dealing with the lending agency.)

Another thing I find important is Location. You want to have good neighbors. You want to be near your church and your job. When you go to work, you don't want to travel east in the morning and west in the evening--you will be looking into the sun and have greater opportunity for wrecks. This means don't live West of the job. Live North, South, or East. East is my first choice.) You want to be convenient to your friends, and not too remote.

Remember that you will be buying a house, but it will own you. It will make you keep the grass cut, the wooden surfaces painted, the roof shingled, etc. Get a yard that both gives you garden space, yet also is not too large to subdue.