Decisions to make when purchasing a home.


mortgage trends

After the decision to search for homes that needed work, we had to go ahead and decide how much money we were willing to spend for a mortgage payment each month.  This is something that’s very personal- and I would not ever tell you what to do, but I will say to look very carefully at your financial situation when you are given that amount of house you can “afford.”  For us, we were told that we could afford a house more than triple what we felt we could afford- and that was with both of us working full time….and no children.  We sat down and factored in what our utilities might be on a house that size, and also what the property taxes would be (in Connecticut, they are high!) Once we knew what we could afford, we started looking around in our target areas- and quickly realized that to be able to afford the home and be able to have the cash to fix things, we were going to have to rethink how much we’d be placing as a down payment.  For us, what the bank said we could afford and what the reality of our budget was were very, very far apart.  Sure, we could have afforded that number the bank gave us- but we’d not have any money to pay for food, nor utilities, nor gas for our vehicles, let alone property taxes.  We opted to go with a number that WE felt we could live within based on what our budget and expenses were each month.


When you buy your first home, regardless of size, location, or price, many people decide or have to purchase mortgage insurance.  There are reasons for purchasing this insurance, and it is meant to offer a financial guarantee the lender should the buyer default on the loan- it will help to decrease or eliminate the loss for the lender altogether. It kind of makes things more “even” on the risk scale for the borrower and the lender. For many first time home buyers, private mortgage insurance is almost always required if you are putting down less than 20% of the mortgage.  For us, mortgage insurance was a way to ensure that we COULD get into our first home, and also have the funds available to do necessary renovations- we were buying a fixer-upper that ultimately we had to “gut” and had we put that entire 20% or more down and not done the mortgage insurance, we’d have had to end up taking out a second mortgage or a homeowner’s loan, neither of which we wanted to do. There are many resources available to help you find out about mortgage insurance options- Genworth financial has a very comprehensive section about purchasing mortgage insurance. This article about planning your first move may be helpful to you as you start this journey.

What are some of the things that you look for when purchasing a home?  Be sure to also read the post about what made us decide to purchase life insurance policies

 

 

This is a supported post with information provided by Genworth Financial. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the author: I’m a 30-something mom to three, brand ambassador. content creator, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, earth lover, butcher, baker, candlestick maker (or something along those lines) – love word games, crafting, cake decorating or shooting pictures.

444 comments… add one
  • These tips are very helpful and useful. Thanks for sharing!

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  • My parents just had their hot water heater break and pipes burst also flooding their basement-HUGE cost and mess. I’m glad I’m a renter right now-great post thank you.

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  • Great tips! Thank you for the info!

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  • I ran into the banks trying to say we could afford more than we actually could. I wonder if people go for it and then end up having to foreclose or go without important things to be able to pay for their loans. Very good advise, especially for young people getting into their first big buys.

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  • We bought a handy-man special too & was so happy that we found a good house, good neighborhood & we did it up the way we wanted. As far as mortgage we keep all our eggs in one basket. Everything at the same bank.

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  • So much information to take in . Lots of things to do and consider when purchasing a home. Thanks for all the tips you gave us. Sometimes if you have the money and can do alot of repairs yourself to a home you can get it cheaper. That way you can do alot the way you want it to look.

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  • We had to take out mortgage insurance too… it was the same scenario, where 20% down or pay PMI. It hurt a little, but got us into our first home, which we are still in! lol We said 2 years, but it’s been almost 12. Go figure! We are saving pretty heavy and hope to not need mortgage insurance when we upgrade. Guess we’ll see! Nice blog. 😀
    welindsey at gmail dot com
    wendy2lindsey at yahoo dot com

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  • we just refinanced our home and lowered our mortgage but what great tips for new home buyers

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  • Great tips THANK YOU VERY MUCH !

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  • GOOD TIPS FOR BUYING HOMES-THANKS

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  • A really good read. We are looking to purchase a home so thank you!

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  • A very valuable tip. Everyone needs to consider this. Thanks for the share. 🙂

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  • House searching has been suspended until summer.

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  • I have never heard of mortage insurance. Thanks for the tip.

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  • thanks for the really great post

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  • A house with alot of DIY ways to spruce it up is definitely a good thing 🙂

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  • This is our biggest concern! We still live in an apartment because we fear that the costs of a house will be far greater in that you usually need to pay for a handy man versus a complex where you can just call maintenance for free.

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  • Trying to find a house that has a nice kitchen and bathroom and uses gas as a heating source is so hard in my area and IN my budget. blah.

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  • Very good advice escpecially for first time home buyers.

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  • For a first-time home buyer, it usually is best to economize where you can and by purchasing a home that you can make the necessary repairs yourself you can save a lot of money.

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  • Thank you for the tips

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  • great help thanks

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  • great article thanks

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  • We do so want to buy a home with some land, but the paperwork is intimidating! Thanks for letting us know about this and Congrats on your new home!

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  • Good tips. Thank you!

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  • A good article with tips welcome.

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  • Very informative, I’m currently a renter but I hope to someday buy a home-thank you.

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  • I think these are all good questions and I’ve ‘learned” a little watching property brothers on HGTV lol. The more you educate yourself the better you’ll be able to manage.

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  • Purchasing a home comes with great responsibilities. Pretty hard at first. Nice to know what you encountered in making decisions such as this.

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  • Nice article!

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  • great advice thanks

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  • Great article with great advice 🙂

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  • Just make sure it has enough storage and the rooms are adequate. Also make sure your inspector does a plumbing check on all outside pipes, and drainage for sewer, etc. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen old, rusted pipes and sewer pipes with tree roots growing inside..bad, bad. Just minor details…

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  • nice article

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  • I’m glad I do not have to plan on buying a home today, we bought our forever home 18 yrs ago.
    willdebbie97/at/yahoo/dot/com

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  • Smart article! Lots of good advice.

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  • I like your great advice.

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  • Great info for those just starting out

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  • thanks for the great tips

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  • Great tips for the first time buyers, good post.

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  • This is wonderful for people to be aware of. I have never seen a lender before now that explained this to you. They all charge you for it, and never let you know you have this policy, since it is meant to protect them…..while you are paying for it. Finally, some honesty so that you can be in control of who you have this insurance with, and how much you pay for it.

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  • Even though I’m not in the market to buy a home, this is some really great information. I will keep this all in mind when/if my time ever comes. Thanks!!!

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  • Thank you for the advice! I wish I could find a financial institution that would give a loan to someone with no credit.

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  • Interesting!!!!! GL Everyone! I love entering giveaways. never won one tho. 🙁

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  • My husband and I have purchased 2 homes so far – we were very lucky with our first house to find one we could afford and was in good condition from the original owners. We also had the PMI and also chose to include the taxes in our monthly payments. That was one of the best decisions we ever made. I was grateful to not have to worry about paying taxes. We lived in our 1st home for 5 years and we have been in our 2nd home for the past 15 + years.

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  • thanks

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  • This is all great advice 🙂 I have only gone through the home buying process once myself and those are all great pieces of advice!

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  • very helpful indeed! will keep the points in my mind.

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  • We had to consider our budget for sure, distance to work, distance from family, yard space for kids, proximity to neighbors, property values, etc. One thing we didn’t weigh carefully was property taxes. For where we live I feel they are way too high. It’s probably because there isn’t a lot of industry in the area to subsidize taxes in our area.

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  • great advice

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  • great advice!!!

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  • Thanks for the advice. Purchasing a house is a HUGE deal, there is so much to consider.

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  • This is cool :3 awesome advice.

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  • Will keep this info handy, when ready to purchase a home.

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  • I think we are in our 4ever home now. We are in my husbands GRandfathers home that built himself. My husband grew up here. LOts of fond memories for him.

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  • Thanks for all of the excellent advice!!!

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  • You provide good tips and advice, thank you!

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  • Great advice. I’ve purchased three homes in my life and never bought mortgage insurance. I usually don’t buy warranties on things either. Now, of course, as required I do have homeowners insurance but not on my mortgage.
    Good neighbor, price, distance to town…like just for a gallon of milk. 🙂

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  • Don’t buy a house unless you meet the neighbors.

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  • Great post. Good advice.

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  • my sister is looking at homes i will pass this onto her

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  • Simply qualifying for a certain amount on a mortgage does not mean that you have to utilize the full amount. It is best not to overload yourself as there are bound to be unexpected expenses that arise when you first move into a house.

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  • Very informative! Thank you!

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  • I’ve never purchased a home on my own, I always relied on my ex to take care of everything! I have so much to learn if I’m ever going to purchase my own home. This is a good place to start!

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  • We are only renting right now, so this is good to keep in mind for the future.

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  • really really good advice thanks so much

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  • Lots of good advice.

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  • Since buying a home is probably the biggest puchase and investment people will ever make,every aspect of their budget has to be taken into cosideration before signing for ownership.This is basically the advice you are giving and it’s so worth taking the time to absorb this piece of valuable info.

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  • when purchasing my home never come into my mind the practical way of being a buyer, now I got point and lesson, thanks for awesome tips..

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  • Thanks for the good advice. This should be very helpful to a first-time homebuyer.

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  • We went to look at a “fixer upper” today. All I can say is no thank you. This was more than a fixer upper. It was a gut project, down to the bone of the house. Might as well build from the ground up.

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  • We had our finances lined up before we went looking, deciding how much we could afford monthly and looking at houses in that price range.
    We did look for a house that needed work so we could get more house for less initial cost.
    One thing we did make a mistake on was our choice of real estate agent. He was a friend of a friend and didn’t listen to a thing we said as far as what we were looking for. He also was not up front with us as far as who he was representing. After he had all our information and I finally found a house, on my own, that I liked, he informed me he was working for the seller, not me.
    Nothing like fighting your agent the whole way to try and buy a house.

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  • My parents are looking as I speak and I printed info to pass along to them

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  • Your advice is very good for those wanting to p[purchase a home, particularly young couples. It’s important to look at all scenarios.

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  • Thanks again for the excellent advice.I t should be well heeded.

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  • thanks for the post good advice

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  • Thanks a lot I have printed this out as we are looking right now and this is so helpful.

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  • This is a great post since we are looking into buying our first house in the next year! Thank you!

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  • This was one of the more interesting blogs that I’ve read. Thanks for sharing the truth about how they over state the amount you can afford. The handy man specials are the best ways to go, most of the time, unless your husband is like mine…lol. He starts projects, but almost never finishes them! lol Thanks again for this well written blog. 🙂

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  • It will still be awhile before I’m able to purchase my first home, but these are some great tips that I’ll definitely use when the time comes!

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  • If you are building a home or doing renovation work and need a contractor I highly recommend paying the membership fee and going to Angie’s List.com for some real reviews of contractors, good and bad.

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  • thanks for the post like it alot

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  • I think it is so important for people who are buying a house to do up a budget first and calculate everything in with the morgage to actually see for themselves if they are earning enough money to go ahead with the deal.Your comments ring so true and you gave great advice.Thanks

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  • I love this momma’s bargains and want o thank you for hosting such a great prize.I really want to gift it to my husband who has trouble walking and getting out.It would be so wonderful for him to socialize.

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  • LOVED YOUR HELPFUL HINTS

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  • This is great information especially for the first-time homebuyer.

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  • it’s important to look at the traffic on the roads near the house.

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  • Something to remember, is if you choose a house that needs work, remember to allow a 20 to 30% buffer in your renovation project since most projects tend to run over due to unforeseen problems.

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  • i am trying to sell 3 properties now, so i can move out of state to fl. i hate the process. b/c of the new credit requirements, b/c i am semi-retired, it will hurt me….to get a loan. otherwise i have excellent credit. this will be my 3rd home, i want to build a forever home. thank goodness, i dont need pmi anymore.

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  • Such great information. I think so many new home buyers are at a disadvantage with limited info. This article really helps!!

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  • Great information especially for a first time homebuyer or someone out of the market for awhile will share with friends thanks you.

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  • Oh gosh, this is a decision I’m really afraid of making at some point down the line.

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  • eexcellent info on homebuying, thankyou!

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  • Just dropping by to say thank you, for sharing such valuable information, and doing this research.

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  • Thank you, for sharing such valuable information, and doing this research.

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  • Thanks for the good information, we currently are looking into buying a home, so any insight is better than none!!

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  • Staying within your budget is so important. Great that you could make so many repairs with family help!

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  • Thank you for the great tips.

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  • Wow

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  • Aw yes! I remember going through most of the steps! Big decision! Thanks for your approach very well done!

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  • We had an inspector, check out our home before we bought it, most everything was good, but that is really the best way to go. Very helpful information you gave to those buying a home.

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  • This is some great honest advice, thank you for sharing! My Mom owned a Condo and we ended up loosing it and a lot of money with it. I am too afraid now to buy a house in my own personal situation. I have to say the HandyMan idea is a good one! Coming from a independent contractor and his wife (me) it is the cheapest and also the best quality way to go. Plus Cash is always going to save you money in the end when you are purchasing services or actually anything. I don’t really believe in credit much anymore. Good Luck to you! To find a decent Handy Man ask neighbors, and community members as word of mouth is the best advertising. Angie’s List can be very reliable but consumers have to pay to use it.

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  • You are so right and I feel bad for the people who are misguided because this is probably the most important buy in their lives.

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  • Thanks for the great article

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  • One of the things that amazes me is how much the bank thinks you can afford and how much you can actually afford. When we were looking to buy a house it was crazy because the bank believed we would be ok paying a monthly mortgage that would not leave money for any other necessary expenses such as groceries, gas, utilities. When we did end up buying a house we made sure we would be comfortable with the monthly mortgage amount. Thank you for sharing this very informative post!

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  • VERY HELPFUL REVIEW-THANKS–BUT WHAT IS THAT WIERD FRUIT AT THE TOP

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    • That might be from the ad banner!

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  • It’s so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a house. Love that this is pointed out. it’s important to own your home, not have your home own you.

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  • Regardless, the most important thinkg to consider when you buy a house is how much you can afford!

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  • helpful! thanks

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  • Thanks for the information. Buying a house can be such an overwhelming process.

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  • So much great info in the piece!

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  • I think most people now a days want to and seem to assume that they are going to buy and move into their dream home on the first try…We followed much of what you talk about here when purchasing our first home…its not my dream home but it works for our needs now and like you said by getting a home that was a bit of a fixer we were able to get more home for the money we were comfortable spending…Very good advice in this article…thank you for sharing it with us.

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  • Very interesting! Thank you 🙂

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  • Good article! Thank you!

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  • I would love to own m own home. Maybe one day

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  • i wanted to build our house but decided to buy much cheaper for us

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  • Love this

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  • I’d love to build my own home in the future.

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  • I have no doubt that many will be helped with this informative post.

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  • Very informational, thanks

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  • We purchased our 2nd hm 10 yrs ago and upgraded from our first home. There were really no repairs that had to be done. We got a very good deal on our hm but did have to pay the mortgage ins. For several years.

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  • Thank you for sharing!! You guys always have something helpful to share…I have to admit that I wouldn’t know half the things I do if it wasn’t for these blogs and giveaways lol Thank you!! 🙂

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  • I’m so excited to be a part of your group of bargsin shoppers and frugalites!

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  • Thanks so much for the post. There ARE alot of things to consider when buying a house. I guess fixing it up is the best way and the house truly become more a part of both of you considering all the work done by the both of you… love and sweat.. lol

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  • Momma, We love your bargains too!!! God bless you!!

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  • Helpful info thanks

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  • This is a great article. You covered all areas that need to be met when looking for a great home. You chose to take one and make it your own. I find that a great choice, and it allows you to personalize it.

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  • Great article. Thanks for the info.

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  • Hope everything works out for you! 🙂

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  • great article btw

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  • Helpful tips. Thanks.

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  • Thank you

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  • I am divorced and I found it extremely scary to purchase my first home as a single woman. This article would have given me a great insight 3 years ago.

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  • Helpful tips. Thanks.

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  • WELL WRITTEN AND THANKS FOR THE INFO…..

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  • I’m sure that you can save a lot of money doing the repair and/or remodeling projects yourself. It is great to have someone who is handy with a hammer in the family.

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  • not only great for the first time buyer but also for anyone who is thinking about purchasing a second home as well. thanks

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  • Such good information to know, thanks

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  • I wished I would of seen this before we had bought our home. Great tips.

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  • I would imagine one of the most important things when buying an older home is getting it inspected first….so many things can’t be just “seen” by the potential buyers

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  • It’s a monumental decision, isn’t it?!

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  • Thanks for such an informative post!

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  • helpful tips! thanks!

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  • We bought our home about 6 years ago, alot of your tips would have come in handy.Great Info!

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  • Thanks for the very informative post. I will keep this in mind whenever my finances allow for me to start looking into buying a home. Good luck with yours.

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  • It took us almost 2 years to close on our home it was a short sale but so worth it. it was everything we wanted so I say if you find your dream home do whatever you have to to get it because it is worth it

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  • Good on you and your husband for being able to do so much fixing up work on your own!

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  • Thanks for the great tips and advice seems like it can be very stressful or exciting thing to do but lets hope the house we do buy is the one we can and will fall in love with and stay a lifetime

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  • Thanks for all this helpful information . this is stuff i really needed to know because i hope in the next few years to try to buy a house and now i know 🙂 Thanks so much for this post

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  • When buying a home I look for budget and location first and foremost.

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  • I spent about 2 hours today looking online at houses. What we can afford ends up being too much in the end because of the dayum property taxes. I don’t know how people find the money to buy a house. I’m getting discouraged and aggravated as well. I am a first time home looker (cannot call me a buyer just yet) and I refuse to fall into that first time buy the first thing you see syndrome that I have seen so many of my friends fall into. It so isn’t worth it. I’d rather see 100 houses then just pick one that seems to appear to look good only to have it be a piece of crapola. Yeah, I’m a bit cranky about it all today.

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  • My husband and I are thinking of buying a house in the next year or so. Very informative post!

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  • Thanks for the tips. We hope to buy our first home soon.

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  • Good advice. Hubby and I rent an apartment. Unfortunately we will never be able to realize the dream of home ownership (not unless we win the lotto). I admire those who can afford to buy a new home. I’m scared of things like taxes and insurance.

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  • Thanks for the great advice. Hoping to buy very soon 🙂

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  • Great information. I know knew nothing when we first bought our home. I had no idea what steps in took in getting a mortgage. But I learned fast that you have to educate yourself!

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  • Great blog that will benefit someone in the market to buy

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  • Have to educate yourself before purchasing a home. Thanks for putting this out there.

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  • I hope it works out for you.

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  • i hope you”ll find the right place and a right price good luck 🙂

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  • i love this thanks

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  • My sister in law does title insurance. She handles all the filing and paperwork on the house should we ever find one to purchase. Her fee is so much less than that of a lawyer. Something else one should look into.

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  • I enjoyed your opinons expressed here. I would like to add, We all know that the more that we can put down as a down payment the less our monthly payments will be. Too many people make that mistake and then once in the home they discover that they do not have enough funds to fix those little things that just happen to pop up that were not found in the house inspection, thus forcing them to take out a second mortgage, usually with a much higher interest rate and adding the two mortgages together their payment is double what they originally wanted. It is sad but it is a simple mistake that a majority of new buyers always make.

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    • It is sad, but we have to educate ourselves! Clearly we can’t rely on the banks to tell us!

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  • great site when your buying a home.

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  • Great resource for people starting to house hunt.

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  • Great information, especially for 1st time buyers.

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  • very well written. very helpful. good luck to you and the search.

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  • Deciding how much money to spend on a home is a major decision. You most certainly don’t want to stretch your budge too thin in order to enjoy your new home. Thanks for the review.

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  • I went through this when looking to purchase my first home. I had a lot of thinking to do before making such a big commentment finacially. Great review, tahnks.

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  • I loved your post thanks I wish you luck on finding that perfect place hang in there

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  • I’ve only lived in apartments and rented rooms. Haven’t has the money to purchase a home but these tips seem great to keep in the back of my mind when I do have the steady income to buy my first house.

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  • I have never bought a home and hope that you are able to find the right place for you and your family :))

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    • I sure hope you will find the home of your DREAM,be pation and it will happen.Thank you

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  • I can see this being a good idea for most people… we didn’t exactly go this route because we bought a house to fix up, and had the time and resources to do it ourselves while still living someplace else… We made sure we did enough that we could move in and at least have bathrooms etc…mortgage insurance def would have hurried it along!

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    • Lucky! We’ve lived IN our fixer uppers. Not always fun 😉

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  • Property taxes here are sooooo expensive, I agree! And unfortunately, so are the houses in CT! When we were looking we were going with an FHA loan, which prevented us from getting a real fixer-upper unless we wanted to go with a 203K, which let me tell you….not an easy process! We tried one in New London, the whole process was a mess! Everything took so long, and then the house didn’t appraise and the bank would not move on their price. After about 6 months that finally fell through. Foreclosures and short sales are so tempting, especially when housing prices are so high here. But in the end it was just too difficult to go that route. 2 more houses fell through before we found the perfect little starter house, that was not a short sale or forcelosure this time. I agree, location and price are the two most important things. FHA regulations on the condition of the houses are very strict, so that’s something we also had to keep in mind when house hunting. Who knew that a house would not be approved for a loan if it had peeling paint on the window-sills?! We also had a problem with a house someone else had remodeled..very very poorly. Good thing we had a good inspector, because nothing was done up to code, and some of the “improvements” were so short-cutted that they were downright dangerous.

    My how I ramble on. So many things to consider when buying a house! Very good information 🙂

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    • Are you still in New London area? And yes houses are super $$$ here in CT!

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      • We ended up in Groton, and I like it here more than I thought I would! Very central location, within 20 minutes of both of our jobs which is great.

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  • Buying a house is nerve racking. We went through all of this about 6yrs ago, and I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. 🙂

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  • This post was very relevant to me as we are now weighing these issues ourselves. I thank you for the valid points and informative nature of the post we are seeking SPACE more than anything – lots of kids and pets and projects – we’re THAT family, lol. Fixer upper is in our vocabulary too- cosmetically I can overlook anything- I’m really seeking the right piece of property, a foundation, a good roof and the proper zoning for our hoped for livestock:) We are VERY conservative about what we want to spend on the mortgage because we’re older, we know that is just a fraction of the actual costs in life.

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    • I hope you find the right place soon!

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  • how to win a laptop?

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  • how to win a laptop?

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  • There are so so many factors to take into consideration. Price, Location, Schools, Community, Neighbors, Land taxes…etc. Thank you for the great information.

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  • There is so much to learn. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

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  • Lots of great info and advice in this post, thanks! I own a home right now but am wanting to move in the near future.

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  • I am lucky in that my fiance’ was buying his home when we met. Between his wage as a teacher and my small disability income, we can afford our home as well as all the monthly bills that we have. Something new homeowners might also want to look into and figure into their budget is getting a home warrantee. This covers appliances, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and so many other things at a cheaper rate than having to call a repairman to come out and complete the repair on your own. You pay a certain amount each year and then so much per call when the repairman comes and it generally will cover replacement of most parts up to and including the actual product. And, if the repair fails within 30 days there is no fee for another repair call. You may not use it for several years, but trust me… if your furnace goes, or your plumbing backs up or a pipe bursts… you will be more than happy that you paid that extra out each year.

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  • the biggest investment a body makes , great review , information for everyone

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  • So much good info here!

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  • It’s very sad for people who can’t afford a home at this time…

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  • Very good advice. Thank you.

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  • So smart of you two to work within your own reasonable budget rather than what the bank said.

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  • I’m currently looking into buying a home and this is wonderful advice, thanks!

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  • Great advice. Thanks!

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  • Great adivce, it’s a big decision and an important one.

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  • I made the decision to rent. I’d rather it be someone’s else’s problem.

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  • Thank you for the good advice.

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  • Our first home was a fixer up. Our second home was a new construction AND we was on site everyday. Good thing too, we found problems quickly and the builder had to correct them. I love the DIY series on TV.

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  • Some good advice

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  • location location location

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  • I was talking about home ownership to my husband the other night. I don’t like the house we have been in for 11 years but sometimes I wish the headaches of home ownership was gone. Looking for the right size home in the right location, and the price being a huge factor…and one that is not going to require heavy maintenance or fix its that creep in. I wonder sometimes. A home that is purchased at 150K REALLY costs over 300K when you are in it for 30 years and then factor in all the repairs…I mean in THAT many years practically everything needs to be replaced or repaired besides the frame and cement. I am not so sure anymore.

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  • Good advice.

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  • a nice and worthy blog, very interesting.

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  • This is a very good and interesting article. You share some very good points that need to be addressed by anyone looking to buy their first home. Thanks for the article!

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  • Really good advice. I’ll be sharing it with a few friends who are looking to purchase.

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  • When we were looking at buying a home, we looked at the “bones” of the house. Next important are the taxes, location then neighbours, and schools in the area.
    Thank you!

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    • that’s us too- but we’re looking for NO neighbors, lol…

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  • Thank you for the good advice.

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  • DREAMS DO COME TRUE

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  • In the past 12 years I became disabled and then my husband left me. I was left to raise my two children while living close to the poverty level. I lost my beautiful show home I had worked so hard for plus all my savings went towards making up for the horrible amount of money disability pays me monthly. While I appreciate your article and how helpful it may be, I will never own a home of my own again.

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    • I’m so sorry Jo Ann. 🙁

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  • Went out today to look at a house and as we went through it the realtor was doing her sales thing about this and that as I quietly said nothing. When we were done she asked me if I wanted to make an offer and I said “you’re kidding right?” Apparently she mistook my silence for taking it all in when in actuallity my silence was from shear and utter disbelief in what she was showing me given what they were asking which was WAY TO FREAKING MUCH for a dump!

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  • Location is critical in purchasing a home. You want to select an area that has good resale value, just in case.

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  • My daughter is in the process of looking for a new home. Thanks!!!

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  • This is great advice. I am going to pass along to my grown daughters and nieces about your site.

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  • Good advice about figuring out what you could afford vs what you should actually pay. Too bad more people don’t follow this advice.

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  • we could have used this advice years ago! thanks for sharing!

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  • if we were in a position to buy a home i’d look for something that needed cosmetic work…more house for your money..and cosmetics can always be changed!

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  • had that happen to me the bank told me what i could afford after i had showed my monthly income and budget they showed me what i could afford and me being gullible bought into it. 7 years later my house was up for short sale. I wish I had read your post back then. From experience on learns though and im glad you are sharing yours so that others may learn from it and not make the mistake i did in trusting the banks.

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    • it scares me what the banks say- and then we’re all in a mess!

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  • i would rather keep renting my home thank you for this great topic

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  • That’s amazing all the work you did yourselves. Great way to save money and make the house even more special.

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  • I really hope we can purchase a house soon.

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  • I really wish we could afford to buy a home in the city we live. Unfortunately a shoebox sized condo starts off at around 350k and with us having 2 children, that’s not really an option.

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  • everyone needs to know this! we have all heard horror stories about this topic.

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  • Location and price is what i look for

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  • I look for location when looking to purchase, if I am happy in my location, I can always fix up the house over the years

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  • I can’t afford to buy a home in this economy.

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  • We are just starting to look for a house and already I am hating it. In NJ PMI is required so I suppose we will be paying it because we don’t have 20% to put down. Oh well. You do what you have to do.

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  • Interesting. I wasn’t familiar with private mortage insurance before.

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  • I wish I had this information when I pick out my home 15 years ago.

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  • Many years ago I looked to own my own home, of course it is expensive..Now I am glad I rent rather than own..The American dream of work hard to finally have your own home no longer exists…Its a shame that dream is all but gone for the many who come to America to make a difference…

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  • My son pointed out to me yesterday that he is among the first generation in over 60 years to have to seriously worry about his ability to buy a home when he is grown. What a sad state of economics we are in when an 8th grader has to worry about this! I truly hope our youth can overcome this depressive era to enjoy home ownership.

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  • I actually dont own my own home at the moment but loved the advise and will take it into account when I buy. Thank you!

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  • If you are looking at how much you can afford, if it is a fixer upper, be sure to make a realistic estimate of the repairs that HAVE to be done and factor that in like it is part of the mortgage payment.

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  • than you so much

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  • I totally agree about NOT buying a home priced at what the bank tells you that you can afford. Our home is half the price of what we were told we could afford. We wanted to live comfortably and not stress about a big fat mortgage.

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  • Great info for buying a home!!

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  • This was very helpful thank you so much!

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  • great advice!

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  • Such a great post! For me it would be location and budget at the top of my list!

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  • Budget, location, and community amenities are important to us.

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  • I love your thoughts about a fixer upper 🙂

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  • I know some people who can definitely use this information 🙂 totally passing it along!

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  • We got married about 8 months ago and are starting to look for a home. Thanks for such a great post!

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  • Budget is obviously the most important thing to think about

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  • Most important to me is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. It should be near supermarkets,hospital, church and if possible,school and workplace. Then the PRICE of course and the amenities/ function-ability of the house itself.

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  • I look for a great neighborhood! Makes a big difference with kids!

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  • very helpful.

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  • It was very smart of you to go lower than what the mortgage company says. A lot of people don’t take into account the utilities and possible maintenance and repairs costs, or the property taxes.

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  • The very first and maybe the most important step is setting a budget and sticking with it. Dont go overboard with options

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  • Location was and is always our biggest factor, having 6 kids and always looking for the best school area and then STAYING in that area. We are down to 3 of 6 kids, with our youngest having just 5 1/2 more years until out of high school. We do really like our neighborhood, but with kids out on their own someday, we will be looking out of this comfort zone probably. Then, the next is looking for a house that “fits” us for years to come and has the amenities that offer a couple growing older soon enough, like one level home with basement, laundry on first floor, guest room and enough room for kids/grandkids to come home to and hang out. Of course PRICE is the first consideration. Cant buy what you can’t afford. Especially these days with uncertain jobs and in the next 15-20 years, not enough for retired people to live on.

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  • definitely looked to see what schools were nearby!

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  • We are buying a home right now a HUGE factor I found when buying a home is that to make sure it is well insulated if you live in a cold climate 6 months out of the year as I do… The home we are purchasing now cost us a fortune to heat We are paying almost a second house payment just to heat it… SO I will be looking more into my next home purchase a little better…

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  • We just bought a house a few months ago! One of our big things was windows. The house either had to have new (ish) windows or that would be our first project. The seller wanted us to be happy with purchasing so he had new windows installed before selling it to us. He also paid for a brand new roof!

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    • Nice for you! We had to replace a few windows- custom size of course 🙁

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  • Most lenders will require that a buyer purchase the mortgage insurance, but it is a good idea to get it anyway.

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  • Great advice!

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  • Don’t forget to have everything inspected by someone you hire yourself.

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  • Great post! Buying a new home is always stressful at least for me it was.

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  • nice post

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  • Great post, I’ve never heard of mortgage insurance before me and hubby will be house hunting starting next year so definitely some things to consider

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  • There are so many things to consider when purchasing a home. Thank you for putting this into a blog for new buyers to follow.

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  • Are we supposed to keep leaving a different comment on this blog post for our extra entries for the Acer Notebook. I thank you for all of these home tips for buying a new home. It is so important to make sure that you all the costs up front!

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  • Congrats!!!

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  • Thanks for the great tips! We got lucky and had a house given to us by family 🙂 I was definitely a fixer-upper though, abandoned for two years..

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  • can i afford the payment, insurance, taxes, utilities and up keep on one salary. do not depend on both spouces always having an income. put the other persons income away for that 20% down payment on the next place. never take out a loan that is due in 2 years or 5 years nor an interest only loan.

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  • Again, I will remember this when looking for my own home someday.

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  • There certainly are a lot of decisions to make, but you can only start with a handyman special if you can do the work yourself.

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  • I want to buy my own home in the next couple years and your advice is priceless- Thank you- I can’t know/learn enough

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  • Yes, a lot of decisions should be taken when purchasing a home.

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  • That is some excellent info up there. We own our home too. There would be a lot more home owners if everyone did their own budget!

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  • Great information here! Budget is one of the most important aspects for us.

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  • Congrats

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  • We looked for a foreclosed home that was pretty much move in ready

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  • I think the two most important decisions in purchasing a new home is 1) choosing a good location and 2) deciding how much money you want to spend on a monthly mortgage. Great article!

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    • Thank you!

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  • cerco il parcheggio,una buona visuale e stanze luminose

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  • thanks for the tips

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  • Thank you for the chance to win

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  • We really screwed up buying our first house. The real estate agent was my best friend’s mom so I really thought she would look out for me (this being my first time buying). I was so wrong. We are in way over our heads and have no idea what to do. Wish I could do it over again!

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    • Oh I’m so sorry to hear this Jennifer. Can you contact a financial person and see about refinancing or something?

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  • This was very interesting and informative. I will be sharing this thank you

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  • Great advice, we own our home, 2nd one and we picked a great spot with 19 acres

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  • congrats on your new home

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  • We rent a house right now. Previously owned one. Before that rented an apartment. The one big factor in all residences has been energy efficiency and leakage (ie: cold drafts, too hot in summer). So, weatherization would be my number one priority, then energy efficiency over all.

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  • We just sold our home and purchased a new one this past Sept. I wish I’d had the info. provided by you just a little sooner.

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  • Thanks for the great tips and congrats on your new home.

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  • Thanks for the great tips. Congrats on your new home!!

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  • We currently rent a home but we want to be able to buy a home very soon.

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  • I rent but hope to own so this is very helpful. Id love to have a home that is very energy efficient, maybe solar

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  • Very helpful advise you’ve given on this subject. Many people may not take all these factors into consideration. I am fortunate to have a hubby who is awesome with woodworking and all kinds of remodeling, so should we ever decide to relocate, we could purchase a fixer upper and do it ourselves!

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  • Getting a handyman special is a wonderful idea especially if your husband, you or a family member friend is handy. Unfortunately my dear departed husband was not so we had to spend a little bit more money in order to find a house that was move in ready. Congratulations on the new home, I hope you have many years of happiness there.

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  • My mom loves good info and me to.

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  • Congrats on your new home!

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  • We’ve owned our home now for 23 years. We were lucky that my husband was able to do most of the work.

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  • Nice article great tips.

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  • I love your blog!

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  • This is a great post! I’m hoping to buy a home of my own down the road.

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  • Congrats 1st off. Very interesting reading i hope to try and start over again as i lost my 1st home after getting divorced and losing a job.

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  • congratulations!!

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  • Congrats on your new home!!!

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  • Congrats on your new home! I hope to buy a home in a year or so.

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  • i just rent and i want to buy sooon

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  • The reason so many people are losing their houses today is because the banks encouraged and gave mortgages that people could not afford. We had one house while in the military . We bought when the market and interest rates were high. By the time we had to move, houses were selling well and for a nice profit. The market bottomed out in the three weeks between getting orders to move and putting the house on the market. We were lucky to sell it, but we didn’t make a penny. When we retired, I ignored what the bank said they would loan us. My husband had just had cancer surgery and the prognosis was iffy. I looked at his retirement pay and figured what I was comfortable spending. It was much less than the bank and the real estate agent were pushing. We did get a house that needed work, but that turned out to be enjoyable even if expensive.
    You were wise to consider all the factors and not make yourself house poor.What good is a house if all you have to do is worry about how you are going to pay for it.

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  • Budget and location are my top concerns.

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  • A real good article with good advice

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  • Great article on purchasing a home. Home insurance is very important you never know what will happen. Any little thing could happen and you have to be prepared.

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  • Very good information. Like you, my husband and I did not opt to use the entire amount that we qualified for to purchase our home. There are always miscellaneous expenses when you first move into a home, despite any renovations that you might want to do. It is best to plan for these unexpected expenses as you did.

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  • lessons to be learned by anyone thinking about buying a home…great article

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  • When we bought our house, our first concerns were would it fit our budget. That’s including any repairs or upgrades we may have wanted.

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  • It really is important to look at location when purchasing a home, not only in terms of short term plans like kids in school but also for possible resale at some point. Thanks for the interesting post!

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  • My advice is to be absolutely certain that you want to stay in that location for a long time before purchasing a home.

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  • Congratulations on your home. This is a good list of tips when buying a house. There are so much to look at when buying a house. So much to check and so many decision too.

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  • We own our own home and any work that gets done is from my husband and I. This spring we will be remodeling our kitchen.

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  • I would definitely take a house inspector with me to check the foundation and such. I think location is very important so drive by the area not only during the day but also at night….you may find more than you are bargaining for.

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  • Thank you for sharing. Will be purchasing our first home next year. Wish us luck!

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  • Great tips, thanks!

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  • Great post. I am hoping to purchase my own home in 3 years..great tips

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  • What great tips! I think we’ll be stuck in our house for awhile though!

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  • I will remember this when I start looking for my home.

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    • Thank you for the info I will pass it on to my daughter

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  • Thank you so much for all of the tips! I wish that I was in a position to buy a home because when you rent like I am, you are paying for you landlord’s mortgage payment plus!!

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  • I. Will. Be. Sharing information. Thank you

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  • it is a big decision to buy a home but it is a great feeling when you do and in my house i do all the handy man work

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  • Great tips, although i probably dont see a home purchase for me. but if i did location is key!

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  • I would look for location I like the schools my kids go to ,and I need a good size yard

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  • Location is number one in my book.

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  • We now own our own home. My husband likes to do everything on his own, mainly because of the cost. But he does it

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  • I have never owned my own home and probably never will. My husband and I are both disabled and we don’t make enough to afford a home. Great tips though and Congrats on your new home! 🙂

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  • nice article, great tips. thank you so much

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  • Great tips. I don’t think many people factor in private mortgage insurance. I think it’s a good reminder that this will be an extra cost for many buyers.

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  • We purchased a mobile home as our “starter home” although it fit our needs and budget at the time we have really outgrown it and been here longer than anticipated. Unfortuantly moving is not an option currently. I think the most important thing is to be realistic when purchasing a home and think of how long you really may be in the home and ensure that it will meet all your current and future needs.

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  • We bought a new home but there are so many beautiful homes that have had an owner before. Handy man is great for people that have money to fix it, are very handy or even have a group of friends who are handy and help each other when it’s their turn for them to have something done. These are great tips for first time buyers and welcome to the homeowner world

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net

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  • I’d like to be able to call a handyman, but my husband likes to do all the work around the house…but he is just so busy with other stuff that the handyman type work never gets done.

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    • Jill, I find when my husband is slow to start, if I start it myself, it gets him moving. I’m kind of a disaster waiting to happen when I’m doing things solo! LOL

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  • If I were in the market for a new home, these are great tips! I would hope to get a home that is “green” as possible
    Thanks again

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  • Mine must have a HUGE kitchen as I LOVE cooking!

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    • Great tips I will use some.Thank you

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  • I am a renter and would love to own a home someday so this information was very helpful. Congrats on the purchase of your new home.

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  • As they say, “location,location,location!

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  • Good starting points to consider if you do want a house. I’m quite happy renting, as it is within our budget, excellent location when my boys were in school and we do love our neighbors. We are caretakers in our building and receive a credit off of our rent. This makes it more affordable than purchasing a home (or condo). There are so many housing options available: rent, buy, trade, trailer parks, condos. Do what works for your budget.

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  • Thank you for the info! always helpful.

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  • It is a must to look into everything when purchasing a home today. There are hidden costs that can add up. Make sure to know exactly how much the mortgage is and all the other bills that you have to pay each month, or a person will default if they go over! My sister did not investigate enough and lost her home!

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  • we bought a fixer upper 12 years ago to fix and flip, hah still not done.

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  • We purchased our house almost five years ago and everything is working out so far. It was a fixer upper too.

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  • I had to take cost and time into consideration when buying this house (sold the old house in 13 days and had to get out ASAP and I was 8 1/2 months pregnant.) I wish I had spent more time looking for neighborhoods with pools (we live in the south) and one with lots of kids in the neighborhood.

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  • I have never bought a house, but location would be important as well as safety.

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  • thanks so much for the great info i will pass it to my sister she is buying a home now

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  • our first house was a pre fab custom designed to our liking. saved a lot of money going this way and the house was beautiful

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  • These are some good tips. I would want a safe neighborhood or area with maybe some land for the kids to play with good school districts.

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  • I look at the neighborhood and the school district mostly. I can adjust to a lot of living circumstances, so I am flexible as to whether we buy a home to fix-up or a newer home, but my kid’s whole life depends on the people in the neighborhood and their education- so that’s my biggest focus when buying a home,

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  • Awesome information, thank you for this.

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  • Thanks! We are just starting this process!

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  • i was in the running to buy my own place….i was a single mom at the time of 4 kids and i found the best place in the area and size and price and i got beat out 🙁 i guess for the best cuz the company i worked for went under and i lost my job…..there went my credit shot in the ass again after working so hard to get it back up there!! but i am back to work….working on the score once again to get the owning my own home!!!! i hate renting 🙁 so expensive……

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  • We wanted a HUGE huge kitchen and lots of bedrooms, we had 6 kids… and NOW, we are ready for the small retirement home! But I still want a huge kitchen!

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  • Very good information to know, location is a main factor I believe.

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  • Great tips, particularly about planning for the future. So many of my firends found themselves stuck when they decided to expand their families and couldn’t upsize…

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  • Location is very important when buying a house ,makes a big difference for our kids also.

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  • I’m guessing it was a few years ago that you went through the process? In case you’ve been missing out on current events the last few years, banks have had to get a little more realistic with their lending of late. 🙂

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  • I would look for location, definitely, as a first priority!

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  • Thank you for all the great tips. I want to buy a house one day.

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  • That’s good advice 31 years later, I’m still here.

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  • the location is one of the most important things for me

    thanks for sharing!

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  • We are actually in the market for a new house. We bought our first house and made way too many mistakes and lost a lot of money. Now we are trying to get the right this time around. Your tips are all very true

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  • Location is very important. Thanks so much for all the tips.

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  • If you have kids location is always important. When we were looking at houses, I thought about the school district, how far the school was, if there were kids in the neighborhood, how busy the street was. I also a yard. I wanted a big yard.

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  • Thank you for the info that I can use. 🙂

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  • good price and location of good schools and check out the crime rate

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  • The location of a house is very important to families.

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  • Our first priority in purchasing our first home was Is there kids in the neighborhood for my children to play with.

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  • Thank you for the wonderful tips! My husband and I are in the process of making a five year plan to purchase our first house. Give us plenty of time to get finances and such in order. It’ll be really nice to own a home for once.

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  • We bought our first home, added on as the kids came, and 34 years laters, still here. Worked for us, not always perfect, but saved us a lot of money.

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  • One I afford

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  • I’d look for a home in a good neighborhood 🙂

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  • We are thinking about moving in the next few years so we can get my daughter into a better school by the time she is in middle school, thanks for all the great tips! It is so hard trying to find a house we can afford.

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  • I have been only able to rent due to finances,but soon as my 5 y old will start going to 1st grade we would like to buy a house,when i get a job,And thank you for your tips!

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  • My ex is a Realtor so it makes my home buying experience so much easier. You have some great tips

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  • I’ve only been able to rent. There are pros and cons to buying your own home. I would not like it if something big went wrong because then it would be all my expense.

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  • We bought our house from my inlaws and paid extra to help them out and I’m so regretting it now…never knew how much of a burden a high mortgage was (my first home was a great house in Savannah that we got for a steal)..so making sure you can afford the payment is key.

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  • Be sure that you really like the house, that your comfortable

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  • Location is always at the top of our list!

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  • This is helpful . thanks.

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  • I probably won’t be buying a house but if I was I would be looking for a house that had a good basic house with no major problems such as good heating/cooling system, good plumbing, good roof and no mold or asbestos.

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  • This is great info and you should be very proud of yourselves in doing the work yourselves to fix up your house!

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  • I am not looking forward to purchasing a home at all.

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  • Thank you, this is information that I can use.

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  • This is information that I can use. Thanks.

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  • i don’t own a house yet to think about that but this is very good information, something i will need to check in sometime in the future 😉 Thanks @tisonlyme143

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  • I’ve lived in my townhouse for 30 years. Last year it was paid off. Love having a garage. Used the fireplace only in the first year. Knowing what things you want in a house will help you decide.

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  • Nice, thanks for sharing.

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  • we are looking for a home right now and it is def. frustrating…

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  • Great advice. I’m just so glad we own our home and it’s bought and paid for!! To be honest I would hate to think about buying a new home right now, ya know??

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  • Advice noted. Thanks.

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  • Great idea to buy a fixer upper and something you can afford.

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  • Buying a home is a very stressful event.

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  • Great advice – hopefully I’ll get to the point where I’ll be able to buy a home!

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  • Sometimes you are given to much advice and it makes it hard to make a decision

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  • I wish I would’ve known this stuff when I was buying my houses! These are great tips. I think, bottom line is don’t overspend and get in over your head! 🙂

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  • I’m a firm believer in fixing as much as I can of anything on my own, if I can do it!

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  • I am in my 3rd home and have experienced buying AND selling. I think you were very wise to come to a figure that you were COMFORTABLE paying, rather than what the bank qualified you for. Afterall, who better than yourselves to know what your other expences and living costs are….

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  • Fixer-uppers are great, as long as you have the time and energy to devote to them. They’re definitely a great way to save some money, though, so they shouldn’t be discounted as a potential buy.

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  • Always need extra money for the unexpected. Bought my home in 2007 and we are always doing something to it!

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  • Great advice but still really confusing

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  • Something to think about for sure! Thanks!

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  • You give great advice and it rings of truth.Thanks

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  • Mortgage insurance is particularly important. Now if I could just afford a mortgage…

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  • Too many under estimate what the cost of the essentials cost…………if they would just get the basics and then every year upgrade or add their addons.

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  • Great advice! We look for a safe and comfortable place when purchasing a home. A home that does not need a lot of work, although I love to revamp! And lots of room for our boys to get outside and play.

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  • Great advice!

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  • Great tips. I look for a location that is good for my lifestyle and consider my budget which means a smaller place for a better location.

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  • I wish that I was in a position to buy a home. Renting is such a waste!!

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  • thanks for the article we had purchase our home 12 years ago and we are still here and hopefully we will be able to give this home to our kids.

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  • I also agree that it’s important not to extend yourself too far in buying a home. It should be a comfortable amount with room for things that happen in life. Too many people end up losing their homes because they go in over their heads. Besides finances, another important thing for us to consider when buying our house was the schools our children would attend.

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  • We found our home on accident, and it was within our budget. It was less than 10 years old also! You never know what you will find when you drive around alone, with no pressure from a realtor!

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  • Your post was helpful. I don’t own a home, but hope to one day 🙂

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  • I’ll be looking for a fixer upper once I can look at buying a house also!

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  • Thanks for the information. When is is my turn to buy a house I would definitely prefer to buy a fixer upper!

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  • I wish I’d read this before we bought our first house!

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  • Great tips! We purchased our home privately, from a family member, so I didn’t know most of that even though I AM a homeowner lol!

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  • Thanks, We are looking to buy our first home soon.

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  • good information. You have to have a budget and stick with it or you get buried.

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  • Thank you so much for this article. We are looking for a home and I am so glad I stumbled into valuable information!

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  • some good ideas here… saving for a home can be so hard, and making a purchase is a big decision

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  • awsome post, thanks for the pointers, we all need a littl ehelp at times

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  • These are great tips and it is so important toleave some extra money for fising things.

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  • When I was looking to purchase my first home the lender told me no problem with financing the home but I wanted to have extra money put aside for food, repairs, car problems should an unexpected crisis occur. I decided what I was comfortable paying out each month and decided not to put myself in a financial bind and decided not to purchase such an expensive house.

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  • I also agree that it’s important not to extend yourself too far in buying a home. It should be a comfortable amount with room for things that happen in life. Too many people end up losing their homes because they go in over their heads. Besides finances, another important thing for us to consider when buying our house was the schools our children would attend.

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  • These are some great tips, I have a friend who bought a gorgeous home. But, although the bank said they could afford it the payment is like $1200+ a month….that’s a lot of money to have to come up with every month. Sometimes it’s still not worth the stress, even if it is gorgeous.

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  • We chose to base our payments on one income, not two, despite being DINKs at the time. We went through unemployments, a kid, and one stay-at-home mom later and we’re still in our house. Good thing we didn’t take the real estate agent’s advice and buy a house twice as expensive!

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  • What a great post! We want to be buying home number two in the next year. I pinned this for future reference. Thanks, ma’am.

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  • Budgeting your money month by month is very important.

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  • Great posting! We’ve done 95% of the repairs on our “fixer upper” ourselves by being creative, because we didn’t want to put out the money that we’d estimated all repairs would cost…this is great if you want to spread the repairs out over 10 years…lol..personally, next time I’d like more than one working bathroom in a home for 7 people, but I’m crazy like that 😉 (a man who guts 2 out of 3 bathrooms 2 weeks before the family reunion at OUR house, has a death wish, just saying!) The PMI is def the way to go for some people!

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  • Thanks for the advice. I’m going to need to buy a house within several years.

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  • There are so many things I wished I would’ve considered before purchasing our first home. I guess I was so excited and impulsive that I didn’t think about some important things. Great post, perhaps a future purchase will be a wiser purchase, but I doubt I could ever get my husband to consider such a thing. Good luck to all first time home buyers out there.

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  • Buying a home was one of the most stressful things I have ever done!!

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  • Great things to consider when thinking about buying a home. Hopefully we will get there someday.

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  • Ugh sorry I hate PMI… but you’re right it’s kinda only fair to the lender to get some security! 🙂
    I think you spelled out very nicely how to have a balanced approach towards purchasing a home WITHIN YOUR MEANS! 🙂 Too many ppl don’t do that and they get in over their heads! 🙂

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    • WAY too many get in over their heads.

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  • This is great. I think you really need to have a budget when buying a house and stick with it.

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