Friday, 14 March 2014

HOUSE BUYING: The Beginning

Front Door Flowers
"Front Door Flowers" by LongitudeLatitude is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Growing up, at least during my university years I had my heart set on buying a little terraced house that lined the streets of Newcastle. It'd be filled with period features - everything from the original brass door knobs, cast iron fireplaces to grand old staircases, much like the house I lived in for three years in Heaton (but it would be warmer and not have mold on the walls or be filled with students that didn't clean up). With a bright red wooden door, a terraced house in Newcastle would be home. 

It's funny how life turns out.

There aren't too many terraced houses in these parts of the Mid West and wooden doors seem very few and far between. American streets of Metro Detroit are predominately filled with detached homes with porches to the infamous post box by the curb side with retro bars in the basement. Streets are tree lined (so many trees) and you'll even come across a dirt track or two. A year ago we started properly saving, working on our credit to buy our first very house, a small piece of America, now we're ready to buy.

So this post marks the start of a new adventure - one I hope to share on my blog in a mini series across the forthcoming weeks and months covering everything from mortgage pre approval, mistakes first time buyers make to home buyers classes and the like. An increasing pet hate is coming across blog posts that claim buying a house is easy - and while I hope my posts don't scare people, I do want them to reflect the experiences and advice we've come across. We're doing all this by ourselves (literally and financially), we're learning as we do this. Hopefully this series will provide a realistic glimpse at house buying and whether your in the UK or the US I'm sure many of the tips are international and helpful. Granted we are buying in the US market  and we are really lucky to be able to apply for a particular government loan (which requires only a 1% down payment - more of this to come) and while yes we live just outside bankrupt Detroit, we actually live in one of the richest county's in the US.

Luckily me and Joe are on the same page with what we want out of a house - while we're approved for a lot higher, we're trying to stick well under the $70k max (yes you can buy a house that cheaply here) aside from being in the couple of cities we have our eyes on, they basically boil down to;
  • 3 bedrooms (one to be converted into my office come store space/craft room)
  • A basement 
  • Decent sized garden (pretty much standard in these parts)
  • At least 1000 square feet (that might sound small but basements without full windows and attic space which is often a room rather than an attic in the English sense of a home generally aren't included in the space measurements). 
Yeah we're that easily pleased. It'll be interesting how this list relates to what we finally buy.

Seeing as we're all mortgage approved and the house viewing is beginning this weekend I thought it would be high time I actually blogged about it (I always thought it was tempting fate too much to talk and share prior to having things sorted - trust me we've been working on this for over a year).

So first things first, what kind house would you be after? What would be on your must have house list? Did you ever imagine where and how your first house would be growing up?

23 comments:

  1. Good luck with the house hunting! Its funny, but I ended up in houses totally different from what I imagined. Sometimes you just know when a place is right, even although it doesn't fit all the criteria you have set!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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    1. Yeah I mean we don't want to have a huge must have list because it might potentially rule houses out, but then again we're moving because we *need* space so that's the biggie for us. I think it's going to be fun whatever works out :)

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  2. It's funny because I pictured a house in a country with a big open plan kitchen with an island and at least three bedrooms. Now my reality in England is a terraced house or a flat in a building block in London, and at a price for a small mansion in America. It's funny how your ideals change when you change where you are living!

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    1. It's funny isn't and certainly your surrounding change it too. I never actually thought i'd want a decent sized garden but not having one here in our apartment has really made me miss having somewhere to go outside.

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  3. Good luck! I've never owned a house but of course I have friends and family who do, and the process doesn't seem easy to me at all, haha. I have a feeling I will never own a home, at least not if I continue to live in New York City, but if I *could* I would definitely want at least three bedrooms too. Got to have space for a home office and cramming out-of-town visitors into.

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    1. Oddly enough with us both being "away" from home although it's only a couple of hundred miles for Joe, we've never actually considered having a spare room for visitors oops. I would dread to even consider the prices in New York City.

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  4. I want a house with a porch and rocking chairs!!

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  5. House buying is so exciting! And while it is full of signatures, number crunching, and trudging to different houses, it isn't really that intimidating (evidenced by the fact that the majority of people become home owners at some point.) The criteria you're looking for is standard, so I bet you'll have lots to choose from. You're quite sensible keeping under your pre-approval amount. We live in a cheap area too, but we also kept under budget and our current home is a 1,300 square foot, standard 3 bedroom home, nothing fancy. Loan officers tend to be generous with the pre-approval amount and real estate agents like showing more expensive properties, so don't listen to them. ; ) I look forward to hearing how you get on with the house hunting!

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    1. Yeah I think there might be a lot of trudging involved especially as we're looking between three difference cities - hopefully it all doesn't take too long, mixture of just wanting out of this apartment and wanting it all sorted!

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  6. Good luck finding the perfect home for you! Cannot wait to it! xxx

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  7. Good luck finding that home!!!!!! It has got to be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time!

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  8. I'm excited to hear all about this. Sounds scary and definitely not easy! (pssh all those people who think being an adult is easy).
    Haha, I love it when I read a random city from the UK on the internet. Newcastle, I'm not sure that's the most ideal city of choice... But then again I spent 2 years in Middlesbrough in student accommodation so Newcastle is probably great in comparison.

    When Kris and I first got together we shared a room in a shared apartment, then we upgraded to a studio. So when we finally got to move to Belgium we had to think about what we wanted.

    Basically, we wanted a one bedroom apartment. That was us sorted. I was sick of looking at my bed from the sofa and quite frankly there's not enough door to slam and rooms to avoid each other in an studio apartment haha.

    I try to think of my first house but I can't see it. I'm too much of a fidget to settle down. I want to see the world!

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    1. Haha smoggy city, I actually loved living in Newcastle it treated me well and it has something that metro Detroit certainly doesn't have (nor people want to have) a decent public transport system. I couldn't cope with a studio I don't think, I need space, especially my space. A one bed apartment between the two of us, especially because of ebay, there's stock in the living room, kitchen space and bedroom. How i long for one room to just throw it all into and close the door quickly shut!

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  9. Good luck on buying a house and finding that perfect home for you both! I can't believe how cheap it is there x

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    1. Don't get me wrong there's super expensive houses all around us, but if you look in the right places you can find a nice house for a great price.

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  10. Good luck with your house search! When we come to buy a new place in a few years time I insist on a secure back garden for Roxie and three bedrooms. We currently have a really lovely wide hall in our flat and would love something like that too but I know we probably won't find something that great in our budget.

    Debi x

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    1. Yeah a lot of houses come with fenced yards so when we get around to getting a dog we should be fine, that and most gardens are pretty decently sized which is great too (well the older houses are, modern builds lack the same garden space).

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  11. You can buy a house for 70,000???? That's ridiculously low compared to Australian house prices. Absolutely ridiculous. But it's comparing apples and oranges. Housing and cost of living is very expensive in Australia.

    Fingers crossed that it goes as smoothly as possible.

    And if you were planning on updating your signature, do it before you start signing paperwork. By the end you'll have had lots of practice!!

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    1. Thank you! You can buy a house for less than $40k if you're not picky and want lots of work, but it's all relative, there's cities around us we're priced at where the houses don't start in price for £120k and have crazy tax rates, then there's other places where the figures make me nauseous. But there's a good balance around.

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  12. I'm really looking forward to that day when I will be living in my own house.
    Good luck on your house hunting adventure!

    Sofie x
    Little green Sofie

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