July 2012 Weddings
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NWR: Houses

Hi ladies,

For all of you who bought (or who are looking to buy) houses, how early did you begin the "looking" process? Meaning, how far in advance before you intended on moving did you start?

I'm asking because we're thinking of moving out of NYC within the next year and I'm not sure how quickly this process is supposed to go. I don't want to start too early and fall in love with a house that we're not ready to move into, but I also don't want to miss out on seeing all there is to offer on the market!

Also, relatedly, is there a better "season" for house hunting?

Thank you in advance. :)
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Re: NWR: Houses

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    We just looked into our VA home loan and learned that we should be able to be approved for a VA home loan by the end of the year. Our credit isnt up to par but the lender said its def in the near future. We have been looking online at homes in the area we would like to move to. Im unsure of the rest of the process but def contacting a lender or a relator is a first must to see if it is even possible. 
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    From my limited experience, don't start REALLLLY looking until you are READY.

    It's beneficial to browse online and in local listings as much as you can to get a feel for what is out there in your price range and what you can realistically expect.

    Our house purchasing was SUPER FAST and the house was only on the market for a month.  But prior to that, we started browsing last summer.  We weren't ready to purchase until this past March.  Sometimes it can take months, sometimes it can take a few weeks... 

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    I would definitely run your credit and see what you can afford.  FI and I have been browsing for about 6 months before we actually made an offer.  At that point we knew what we could afford and where we wanted to actually live (neighborhoods and towns).  We made an offer on the house and are closing in less than 60 days.  The process ended up moving much faster than we expected since our buy was subject to the sellers buying a new house.  Sometimes these things move fast and sometimes are slow as all hell.  If you aren't ready to buy yet try just looking on realtor for neighborhoods and towns that you think you would like to move to and get a feel for that area.

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    Thanks, ladies!

    Fiance has discussed with a family friend who is a realtor and based on our expected salaries, credit history, etc. we have an idea of how much house we can afford. We are underestimating just to be safe, but we should be in really good shape anyway. We're also moving to fiance's hometown so we have an idea of what the good neighborhoods are and what the houses there go for, and we're right on target. It's mostly just WHEN that we're unsure about.

    I was just concerned that we will miss all the "good" houses if we wait too long. I guess that's a stupid concern. :(
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    The first step would be to get pre-approved for a mortgage to see 'officially' what you could afford. Once you know that, I would start browsing and looking now. We were originally going to build but ran into problems with the Zoning Board in our town, so we're now going to buy and then build in a few years. We've been looking for the past few months but I'm very particular about what I want so I'm kind of a pain for our realtor. I think if you start looking though and find a house you absolutely love, I wouldn't hold off and wait. My FI and I found a house a month ago we loved but couldn't see it until we got back from a vacation. Well, turns out it sold while we were on vacation and it had only been on the market for 1.5 weeks!


    Also, we were told by our realtor if we were to buy a house this weekend, it could take 2 months to close.

    "Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."
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    Amanda, what do you need to do to get "pre-approved" for a mortgage? Sorry - I'm really stupid when it comes to this kind of stuff. And I am extremely particular too, which is another reason I foresee this being a looooong process.

    Our tentative plan is to move after bonuses in February at the latest. Would we be well-advised to start seriously looking in the fall post-wedding?
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    We were pretty quick with ours. We all of sudden decided we'd like to have a house before we get married. That was in January. We started looking and in about 2 weeks we found our house. We signed an agreement in the end of January, closed in March.

    I know people who spent 3 years looking for a house before they found one!

    It really depends- if you're very picky, the process could take longer. Or if you get lucky and find something you love, it'll be shorter!

    One thing to remember- I believe the pre-approval is only good for an average of 3 months. So you'd need to apply again if you have passed the 3 month  mark. I'm in Minnesota and this may be different for other states though.
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    To get pre-approved, you should research mortgage lenders in your area and decide which one might work best for you (you'll want to look at rates, terms, etc). Once you pick a lender, you just basically contact them and say you're looking to get pre-approved and they'll have you provide a bunch of information. We had to provide 2 years worth of tax returns, past 2 pay stubs, and all bank account, 401k, and investment statements. They also will ask you your occupation, salary, and whether you will be given any money toward a house. They'll take all that information and run a credit report on you to come up with the dollar figure they'd pre-approve you for.


    If you want to move by February, I"d def. start looking sometime in the fall (esp if you're picky like me!)

    "Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2012-weddings_nwr-houses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:066005ef-215f-48b1-8655-328b41e07c52Discussion:a74d3c6e-f8a9-430b-83cc-f1eba8a28099Post:45da8b59-3abb-4f1a-97ae-5add19be19ab">Re: NWR: Houses</a>:
    [QUOTE]We were pretty quick with ours. We all of sudden decided we'd like to have a house before we get married. That was in January. We started looking and in about 2 weeks we found our house. We signed an agreement in the end of January, closed in March. I know people who spent 3 years looking for a house before they found one! It really depends- if you're very picky, the process could take longer. Or if you get lucky and find something you love, it'll be shorter! One thing to remember- <strong>I believe the pre-approval is only good for an average of 3 months. </strong>So you'd need to apply again if you have passed the 3 month  mark. I'm in Minnesota and this may be different for other states though.
    Posted by mekiakoo[/QUOTE]

    Yes, pre-approval does expire in most states. In CT, I was told it was 6 months. So you should probably look into that as well.
    "Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."
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    Cool. Thanks, ladies! This is very helpful. We already have quite a bit saved, so at least that part is good.

    BTW I just told fiance I asked this on The Knot and he was like, how in the world is that wedding-related and why do you ask these random girls about things? He obviously doesn't get how awesome and helpful you guys are. :)

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    It took fiance and I approximately 10 minutes to get pre-approved. We didn't need any documentation at all for it. I think that probably depends on who your mortgage broker is. (ours happens to be THE BOMB).

    I wouldn't start REALLY looking until you are ready to buy. We started looking months ago with no intention of buying until now, and lots of houses that we loved were purchased and it made me sad. 

    My fiance and I are SUPER PICKY, have very high-end tastes, but our home budget is not out of this world huge.  It's been difficult to find the homes that are absolutely top notch but still within our budget....but we have done it.  It just takes time. We have been in....26 homes in the past 3 weeks.  It's time consuming but fun and exciting and stressful all at the same time.  I am also in love with our realtor (he is funny and adorable and smart and he wears a fanny pack). It is really important to find someone you get along with!

    Lots of good value homes sell within the first few weeks of being put on the market.  It is important to keep your eye on the listings that you like (we have a search set up and are emailed all changes and new listings EVERY MORNING) because things can move REALLY fast.

    If you are planning to move within the next few months...I would start looking immediately.  But if you are talking one year...that is too soon (IMO) because like k8888 said, you might get attached to a home but just not be able to put in an offer since you aren't moving yet. 

    I would recommend putting together your list of "non negotiables" right now. It is really tempting to get into a house and be like OMG it's gorgeous look at the kitchen OMG i love it...when really, there are things about it that are horrible and it wouldn't work for you. That way, you know immediately whether or not a house is for you based on whether it meets your non-negotiable requirements.

    PS I am really familiar with cincinnati so if you need any neighborhood recommendations let me know!!!!! HYDE PARK OMG loveeeee....I think you would like it there too!

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    edit: I think you should start checking out listings in Cincinnati soon. Don't look seriously, don't get emotionally attached, but if you are really going to move within one year, you should start getting a feel of the market, seeing what is out there, comparing prices, etc. 

    Fiance and I probably started just looking online and doing random drive bys of houses that sparked our interest about 8-10 months ago, just so we could get a feel for what was important to us and what kind of stuff we liked.  Just don't get to serious about it yet! 

    PS I like to use Zillow. there is an Indianapolis realtor website that we use as the "official" listings, but Zillow is awesome for checking out value estimates, neighborhood ratings, etc.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2012-weddings_nwr-houses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:066005ef-215f-48b1-8655-328b41e07c52Discussion:a74d3c6e-f8a9-430b-83cc-f1eba8a28099Post:70934d00-3dfd-4bb1-bf36-dda397827351">Re: NWR: Houses</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>It took fiance and I approximately 10 minutes to get pre-approved.</strong> We didn't need any documentation at all for it. I think that probably depends on who your mortgage broker is. (ours happens to be THE BOMB). I wouldn't start REALLY looking until you are ready to buy. We started looking months ago with no intention of buying until now, and lots of houses that we loved were purchased and it made me sad.  My fiance and I are SUPER PICKY, have very high-end tastes, but our home budget is not out of this world huge.  It's been difficult to find the homes that are absolutely top notch but still within our budget....but we have done it.  Posted by butterflyjumper1[/QUOTE]

    Did you get pre-approved or pre-qualified? I wonder if it works different in other states. Pre-approved is supposed to be closer to the actual loan you would get by pulling your credit score, checking your debt to income ratio, and other financial analysis work. Pre-qualified usually takes 10-15 minutes where a lender assesses your income and estimates what you could afford. I'm not an expert but I heard there could be a big difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified.
    "Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."
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    Sorry I'm such a finance nerd haha Here's a good explanation between the two: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/basics/07/prequalified-approved.asp#axzz1sPzHq5UV

    "Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."
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    edited April 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2012-weddings_nwr-houses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:066005ef-215f-48b1-8655-328b41e07c52Discussion:a74d3c6e-f8a9-430b-83cc-f1eba8a28099Post:70934d00-3dfd-4bb1-bf36-dda397827351">Re: NWR: Houses</a>:
    [QUOTE]It took fiance and I approximately 10 minutes to get pre-approved. We didn't need any documentation at all for it. I think that probably depends on who your mortgage broker is. (ours happens to be THE BOMB). I wouldn't start REALLY looking until you are ready to buy. We started looking months ago with no intention of buying until now, and lots of houses that we loved were purchased and it made me sad.  <strong>My fiance and I are SUPER PICKY, have very high-end tastes, but our home budget is not out of this world huge.</strong>  It's been difficult to find the homes that are absolutely top notch but still within our budget....but we have done it.  It just takes time. We have been in....26 homes in the past 3 weeks.  It's time consuming but fun and exciting and stressful all at the same time.  I am also in love with our realtor (he is funny and adorable and smart and <strong>he wears a fanny pack</strong>). It is really important to find someone you get along with! Lots of good value homes sell within the first few weeks of being put on the market.  It is important to keep your eye on the listings that you like (we have a search set up and are emailed all changes and new listings EVERY MORNING) because things can move REALLY fast. If you are planning to move within the next few months...I would start looking immediately.  But if you are talking one year...that is too soon (IMO) because like k8888 said, you might get attached to a home but just not be able to put in an offer since you aren't moving yet.  I would recommend putting together your list of "<strong>non negotiables</strong>" right now. It is really tempting to get into a house and be like OMG it's gorgeous look at the kitchen OMG i love it...when really, there are things about it that are horrible and it wouldn't work for you. That way, you know immediately whether or not a house is for you based on whether it meets your non-negotiable requirements. PS I am really familiar with cincinnati so if you need any neighborhood recommendations let me know!!!!! <strong>HYDE PARK OMG loveeeee</strong>....I think you would like it there too!
    Posted by butterflyjumper1[/QUOTE]

    1) Yeah - our taste is kind of ridiculous right now. I think we'll adjust when we see what's out there! We've been looking at sibcycline.com sporadically (particularly when we're feeling like GET ME OUT OF HERE!) which is a good resource for Cincinnati listings, apparently.

    2) Fanny packs = hysterical

    3) That's really good advice about putting together a list of "non-negotiables". We don't have a list like that, yet. I'm going to do that when I have a bit of time on my hands and can look at some listings and decide what a like/do not like about the particular listing.

    4) That's where we're looking! Hyde Park, probably in Mariemont (spelling?) and Indian Hill :) Fiance's from there and the homes look like they fall within our prospective budget, so it's promising. :)

    5) I think k8888 and your advice about not looking too soon is probably a good idea. There have been a few homes we've seen that are PERFECT FOR US but then they are "Under Contract" like a week later! There are also ones that have been on the market FOREVER, so we're like, what's wrong with it?!

    You guys rock. Thanks so much.
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    ahhhhhhh you are right! we were pre-qualified. we are still in the "searching" phase so it makes sense, haha. sorry I was so confused, I am still REALLY new at this!

    Hyde Park and Mariemont both are awesome!! I am not familiar with Indian Hill but I am sure it is nice!  I THINK Hyde Park might be more your taste than Mariemont.....Hyde Park is where Nick Lachey tends to hang out, haha! My fiance ran into him there once and I about peed myself when I found out about it.  It is a great mix of families + cool stuff to do + nightlife + restaurants and YOGA STUDIOS!! kick-a$$ yoga studios!

    The non-negotiables are crucial. We NEED a big kitchen and at least 3 bedrooms and etc. etc. etc. (the list goes on and on). there are other things that we would like (a jacuzzi bath tub, for example!) But wouldn't be deal breakers. I would make a list of each and know the difference between the two - the needs vs. the wants. 

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    BTW if a mortgage lender pulls your credit, it is a hard hit and will knock down your credit score by 5 points so I wouldn't start going and getting prequal's or preapprovals quite yet.

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2012-weddings_nwr-houses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:066005ef-215f-48b1-8655-328b41e07c52Discussion:a74d3c6e-f8a9-430b-83cc-f1eba8a28099Post:3cbf3a20-90a7-4713-9a0e-bedc5c62f781">Re: NWR: Houses</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>BTW if a mortgage lender pulls your credit, it is a hard hit and will knock down your credit score by 5 points so I wouldn't start going and getting prequal's or preapprovals quite yet.
    </strong>Posted by michelle11988[/QUOTE]

    this is a really good point! this is why we didn't get our prequal until we were ready to buy. obviously we haven't bought yet, but we didn't meet with a mortgage broker until we were actually in the timeline of "we would put an offer on a house if we found the right one"
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2012-weddings_nwr-houses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:066005ef-215f-48b1-8655-328b41e07c52Discussion:a74d3c6e-f8a9-430b-83cc-f1eba8a28099Post:3cbf3a20-90a7-4713-9a0e-bedc5c62f781">Re: NWR: Houses</a>:
    [QUOTE]BTW if a mortgage lender pulls your credit, it is a hard hit and will knock down your credit score by 5 points so I wouldn't start going and getting prequal's or preapprovals quite yet.
    Posted by michelle11988[/QUOTE]

    Thanks so much for this comment. That makes total sense and I will totally keep that in mind.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2012-weddings_nwr-houses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:066005ef-215f-48b1-8655-328b41e07c52Discussion:a74d3c6e-f8a9-430b-83cc-f1eba8a28099Post:420ddedd-cbed-401e-b3da-b1aaf1636005">Re: NWR: Houses</a>:
    [QUOTE]ahhhhhhh you are right! we were pre-qualified. we are still in the "searching" phase so it makes sense, haha. sorry I was so confused, I am still REALLY new at this! Hyde Park and Mariemont both are awesome!! I am not familiar with Indian Hill but I am sure it is nice!  I THINK Hyde Park might be more your taste than Mariemont.....Hyde Park is where Nick Lachey tends to hang out, haha! My fiance ran into him there once and I about peed myself when I found out about it.  It is a great mix of families + cool stuff to do + nightlife + restaurants <strong>and YOGA STUDIOS!! kick-a$$ yoga studios!</strong> The non-negotiables are crucial. We NEED a big kitchen and at least 3 bedrooms and etc. etc. etc. (the list goes on and on). there are other things that we would like (a jacuzzi bath tub, for example!) But wouldn't be deal breakers. I would make a list of each and know the difference between the two - the needs vs. the wants. 
    Posted by butterflyjumper1[/QUOTE]

    HAHAHAHA The first thing I said to fiance when we were considering moving to Cincinnati was "WELL ARE THERE GOOD YOGA STUDIOS!?" That is too funny.

    Indian Hill is a little more removed from the city, is a bit more expensive in general, and will probably be more of a "we'll move there in a few years when fiance makes partner" kind of thing. Maybe. Obviously have no clue hahaha. Most of his friends are in Hyde Park and they belong to Hyde Park Country Club so I think that's the front runner right now!

    Thanks again, ladies!
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    You're right! I got it mixed up- pre-qualified and pre-approved. Thanks for the correction!!

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2012-weddings_nwr-houses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:066005ef-215f-48b1-8655-328b41e07c52Discussion:a74d3c6e-f8a9-430b-83cc-f1eba8a28099Post:3cbf3a20-90a7-4713-9a0e-bedc5c62f781">Re: NWR: Houses</a>:
    [QUOTE]BTW if a mortgage lender pulls your credit, it is a hard hit and will knock down your credit score by 5 points so I wouldn't start going and getting prequal's or preapprovals quite yet.
    Posted by michelle11988[/QUOTE]

    Yes, def. good point! I wouldn't get pre-approved unless you're in the right timeframe of buying (ex. 6 months if it expires).
    "Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."
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    We looked for a house for 3 years.. Kind of on and off, because we looked when I first got pregnant with our daughter, and then as time went on realized we hadn't found anything, so we stopped looking and rearranged the place we did live to accommodate our new addition. Then we started looking again when she was about a year old and looked for an entire year. And got super serious in Jan of 11.

    We looked a  dozens and dozens of houses. Found one we really thought we loved, put an offer in, and they wouldn't budge and neither would we. I was about to give up when we found "our" house. But found it in March, put in an offer, and they accepted it right away. We would have went much higher, but wanted to start out low, b/c it had been on the market for a long time (most people don't want 5 bedrooms) They wanted a long closing period, so we closed July 2nd of 2011 and moved in the 3rd. Other than the ugly colors she had painted it was move in ready. Very clean, she just had poor taste!

    I think it took us so long because we needed 5 bedrooms, and didn't want to be in a development that the houses all looked the same, and we also wanted to be in a certain area.
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