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House Hunting is Hard Work


terrawombat
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The funds for refinancing through the USDA RD loan are apparently on hold. Funds for purchasing are still going.

 

Saw a couple more houses this weekend - one of them was beautiful inside and out and the current owners are upside down on it so they're trying to dump it cheap - selling it for 85% of what they bought it for in 2005, not to mention the thousands they dumped into the thing for upgrades and improvements. The husband has his own HVAC, drywall, insulation business and it looks like he used his trade skills on his own home. The 2-car garage is fully insulated, dry wall, and painted with the pipes and electric already run for a heater (just needs the actual heater). Rest of the house is extremely modern with nice wood floors, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances throughout. One of the downsides that I see is the lot is extremely small, however, the lot next door is completely vacant and it sold for $5,000 in April of this year. If I could somehow acquire that lot to build my shop on then this house may be a winner.

 

We were supposed to do a pre-inspection of another house that is on the top of our list, but the tenants said they would not be able to vacate the house for an hour or so as they were pressed for time and needed to be completely moved out by November 1st, so we had to reschedule for sometime this coming week, pending the departure of the tenants. I think it's better we wait until they're out of there just in case they do any additional damage to the home during their move.

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Appreciate the offer. Sticking to the Eastern Shore and I'm being incredibly picky and staying on Kent Island.

Good for you. You have done a whole lot of homework and have a good idea of what you want. keep looking and if it is there, good chance you will find it.

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I know how you feel. I spent 6 months looking for a house with the same realtor. I probably look at 300+ houses. Damn near everything I look at was absolute junk or would take $10-20k min to make it bearable for me to live in(I'm very picky). Towards the end of the search I was doing most of the leg work, in fact she told me that the house I ended up buying was no longer on the market twice!

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We did a pre-inspection of our current No. 1 this evening. Tenants had mostly moved out and only had a few small items left so the place was mostly vacant. The place is a complete mess and just about everything needs attention or needs to be replaced. Fortunately, the bare bones of the house seem to be in good shape and there were no signs of mold. They had a dog that basically chewed up every piece of trim in the house. The hardwood floors are water stained from a leaking toilet. The appliances need to be thrown in the trash and replaced with new. They took the washer and dryer, although there was an older washer and dryer in the garage that may (or may not work). The crawlspace didn't look too bad, but we'd have to get under there and secure some of the insulation.

 

I was a lot less interested in the house this time around. I'm going to throw out a pretty pathetic offer and if they accept - great. If not, we'll move on to the next one and wish the future owners of the home the best of luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Assume you don't qualify for a VA mortgage?

 

I don't have good news for you either, unfortunatley. We are working with VA financing to buy a house right now. We are also still in the looking phase, and have been getting extremely irritated, frustrated, and disappointed in the process. The VA mortgage process does require all of the paperwork and BS noted in previous postings as we have had to jump through many hoops and provide a lot of paperwork just for pre-qualification.

 

We have been looking for nearly 5 months now and still have no solid hopes for what we want. We made one offer a while back, but the seller was quite unreasonable in his asking price and would not move much. We are being quite picky in what we get, as we realize--at our age--this will likely be the house we live the rest of our lives in.

 

I feel your pain. Best of luck to you and keep us posted on your progress.

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The second inspection of our #1 didn't go so well. I took my GF's father (contractor, carpenter, handyman, etc.) with us and he pointed out some things with the house that would need immediate repair - most notably, the roof. The house also looked way worse without furniture and revealed more problem areas. It was known going into this that the house was a fixer-upper, but I at least thought it would be a livable fixer-upper. I also was finally able to get the Plat for the house and it revealed something that did not interest me in the slightest - nontidal wetlands surround the house. Lots of additional hoops to jump through when building accessory structures. Not to mention that the land is constantly wet. No thanks - no offer to be made on that house.

 

Two more popped up this past week so we decided to go check them out and then our agent told us that she just had a contract fall through on a house in my price range, so we checked that out too. Of the first two house, only one was a viable option. A pre-fabbed rancher built in the 70's sitting on 3/4 of an acre. The construction of the house is awful, but it seems like there is infinite land to build on. It also comes equipped with a large two-story shed that is insulated, dry walled and heated. Basically, a detached Mancave that the previous owner used as his "smoking hut" (not cigarettes).

 

The second house we looked at has been vacant for a while and it looks like some teenagers have been using it as their party house. Beer cans and burn holes in all of the carpets - place is trashed and it's on a small lot with wet lands and a stream in the backyard. Just went on the market and the asking price is pretty high. No thanks.

 

Third house is the one our agent told us about. Contract fell through on the previous buyer. Great house, very solid construction, and very well insulated/sound proofed. It's right off the major road that runs through the town of Stevensville, MD and you can't even hear the traffic when you're in the house. Price is right, too. Only problem is it's on a narrow, long lot and I don't think I can even get a driveway to the rear to put up my shop. Not entirely sold on this house.

 

Getting very irritated and frustrated. STILL don't have a letter of pre-approval from the bank even after sending them every bit of financial information about myself. I absolutely hate sending this kind of stuff to "some guy". Yea, he works for a well-known bank, but doesn't mean I trust him.

 

Oh well, the hunt continues...

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Getting very irritated and frustrated. STILL don't have a letter of pre-approval from the bank even after sending them every bit of financial information about myself. I absolutely hate sending this kind of stuff to "some guy". Yea, he works for a well-known bank, but doesn't mean I trust him.

Interesting, but I have a question. Could your banker be waiting on you to find a house? I ask because after filling out the loan application for pre-qualification my banker told me how much they would approve a loan for us and what the monthly payment would be. He then said that once we find a place within that price range he will tailor a pre-qualification letter for that property. Makes sense to me so that inquiring minds (seller/sellers realtor) don't know your maximum price.

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Interesting, but I have a question. Could your banker be waiting on you to find a house? I ask because after filling out the loan application for pre-qualification my banker told me how much they would approve a loan for us and what the monthly payment would be. He then said that once we find a place within that price range he will tailor a pre-qualification letter for that property. Makes sense to me so that inquiring minds (seller/sellers realtor) don't know your maximum price.

 

Yes, that's part of it, BUT, I have given him all of the information that he requested and he has not yet told me that he's received it and/or verified it to create the letter. What I should have said was, "I still have not had confirmation from my mortgage company that they have everything from me and can easily give me a letter of approval."

 

You may know this already, but I'll tell you anyhow just in case you don't. Pre-qualificaiton and pre-approval are two entirely different things. Pre-qualification just does a credit check and figures out what you can afford based on what you have TOLD them. So, you could have lied and told them that you make more money than you actually do (not saying you did, just throwing out theoretical scenarios). As such, a pre-qualification letter doesn't hold much merit when submitted with an offer. It basically tells the owner that you probably have decent credit and may be able to afford the house.

 

Pre-approval, on the other hand, comes once you've submitted every last bit of financial information to Joe Blow at the bank. This includes previous year's tax returns, W2's, paystubs, bank statements, social security card, drivers license, nude pictures of your spouse, etc etc. The bank then uses this to verify all of the information that you told them when you filled out your pre-qualification application. If everything checks out, then you're likely to become pre-approved for that same (or more) number that the bank gave you before. A pre-APPROVAL letter from the bank is a much more serious document when you submit and offer to the seller. It tells them that the bank has done a financial lobotomy on you and found out you're not a complete douschebag and you can afford their house.

 

Yes, all letters, both pre-qualificaiton and pre-approval, are tailored to the house and the offer amount. If the sellers knew how much we were actually pre-approved for, they would think we are low-balling piles of dog poo (which we are, minus the poo part). I'm not even sure how the banks have come up with their figures for me, since house payments would be 40% of my yearly GROSS salary and I'd have to live on ramen noodles and water to afford it.

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My experience with VA was much better in the pre-approval part. I sent them a ton of info, as you have described, and they emailed a letter of pre-approval to me and our agent within 2 hours...and this was at 6:00 p.m..

 

We keep having the same issues with the houses, though; either it is a great house but in the wrong place or the property is too small, the price is out of line and the seeler won't play, or it needs too much work to qualify for VA financing. VA is tough in that respect, if a house needs more than just some minor cosmetic repairs, they will not approve it. FHA is similar but not quite as strict.

 

Keep your head up, brother...the right one is out there. :cheers:

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  • 2 weeks later...
BRENT!!!!! :wavey: how's it going?

 

Hey Pete...it's going OK right now. We found a house that we really like, FINALLY, so we will be signing the offer on it today and see what happens.

 

Congrats on finding a house!

 

I actually found one on Friday and will be signing the offer today after work. One of those houses that I've had my eye on for a while, but wasn't quite satisfied with the asking price, so I never really bothered to look at it. Then on Friday, I filtered nearby homes for sale by the ones that have had price drops in the last few days and this one popped up - and it was a massive drop in price. My first inclination was that something is majorly wrong with the place so they're just trying to unload it cheap, but after an inspection by myself and my GF's father (carpenter), we couldn't find anything majorly wrong. Lots of little stuff here and there, but no deal breakers.

 

I did find out that it's a short sale, so that could potentially take a while, but my agent thinks that they're dropping the price to unload the house before winter because it was not yet winterized.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I am guessing no news is good news. Did you find a home yet?

 

My wife and I have been looking at several, but they all fell short. That was until this past weekend. Found a nice place in the country with 15 acres, two car garage, large shop and horse barn. It sits at the top of a hill at the end of a maintained gravel rd, if you keep on the road it ends up looking like a mud bog. We are prepared to put down a reasonable offer, but plan to talk with the well service folks first. A house with no water is more than we want to take on.

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I placed an offer on a home last month and it was approved by the owners within about five days. Unfortunately, it's a short sale, so I need the approval from the seller's bank(s). They like to take their time with this part, but if and when they approve my offer, I'm on their clock and have to get all of my loan paperwork to them in a certain timeframe (I believe it's two weeks, but need to double-check my contract to be certain). I've been working with my lending officer to make sure all of our ducks are in a row so that we're prepared to send them everything when the time comes.

 

You would think the bank would want to get this house off the books for this fiscal year. I also thought they wouldn't want to spend the money to winterize the house, but I guess not.

 

On to the house - it's a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home that needs some TLC. It's on about 3/4 of an acre, which is a pretty good size lot for the area. Already hooked up to public sewer and well so no need to worry about septic or water issues (as long as I pay my quarterly water/sewage bill). No garage, but plenty of room to put up a moderately-sized shop. Also enough room to fence in the yard for the dogs to run around in. Biggest problem I see with the house is the lack of a central HVAC system. Still has window A/C units and baseboard electric heat. I'll be getting quotes on a full HVAC system as soon as I move in.

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Glad to hear you found something that you are interested in. :cheers:

We finally found one as well and have an excepted contract and deposit on it. It is a 3/2, 1550 sq ft, custom built pool with 3 waterfalls, 1.7 acres, completely move-in ready, and a 2 Jeep garage.

 

Here are a couple pics...

 

 

 

 

 

...and a couple videos - be sure to right-click the video and select open in new window or tab.

 

 

 

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very nice Brent! :yes:

Thanks Pete. We got a terrific deal on it, too! The owner passed away, the house was paid off, and the children did not want to keep it up as they do not live in the area and it has been rented for quite some time. The current tennant decided to move to NC and they do not want to deal with the house any more.

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Nice house! Love the pool!

 

Speaking of pools, I checked out an older farmhouse that had a large, detached shop and an in-ground pool. Wanted to put of offer on it, but turns out that in-ground pools are not allowed for USDA Rural Development loans. I guess low-to-medium income families and in-ground pools don't go together :yes:

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Nice house! Love the pool!

 

Speaking of pools, I checked out an older farmhouse that had a large, detached shop and an in-ground pool. Wanted to put of offer on it, but turns out that in-ground pools are not allowed for USDA Rural Development loans. I guess low-to-medium income families and in-ground pools don't go together :yes:

Wow...that is interesting. There are so many rules and hoops to jump through any more. I can't believe what we are going through to be able to use my VA benefits.

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Nice house! Love the pool!

 

Speaking of pools, I checked out an older farmhouse that had a large, detached shop and an in-ground pool. Wanted to put of offer on it, but turns out that in-ground pools are not allowed for USDA Rural Development loans. I guess low-to-medium income families and in-ground pools don't go together :yes:

Wow...that is interesting. There are so many rules and hoops to jump through any more. I can't believe what we are going through to be able to use my VA benefits.

 

Oh yea - I've heard some horror stories of VA loans. Mostly the same stuff that happens with FHA and USDA RD loans. The "certified" FHA/VA/USDA RD (they're all the same) inspectors will nit-pick every little detail about the house during their required inspection prior to closing. They'll basically say that the home is approved for the loan if this list of 50 things is fixed with the house. The sellers and/or bank will generally fix some, but not all of the issues and the loan will fall through because of it.

 

I'm pretty nervous about the inspection of the house I put an offer on, if it ever gets that far. There are definitely some obvious issues with the house - including an unfinished master bathroom (some drywall and paint is needed) and some hokey electrical wiring for some ceiling fans that were installed by the PO. I think they'll let me slide on the bathroom, but because the electrical wiring isn't up to code, they'll want the bank to fix it prior to closing. It has taken the bank over a month to respond back to my offer and I imagine it will be another month or longer before I hear back. I can't imagine how long it will take them to hire a certified electrical contractor to re-wire or remove the wiring (even though I intend to rip it all out anyway).

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Yep...we tried hard to avoid short-sales. I have two friends that bought short-sale houses and both of them waited 3-4 months for a response to offers and then it took nearly a year before they finally got to closing.

 

I was told by our Realtor that FHA/VA lenders will not approve a loan on a house that is not move-in ready...or incredibly close to it. He said the Safe, Sound, and Secure are three primary requirements to even hope for approval. This is why we were happy to find a house that is a straight sale and is currently occupied. We had an inspection last Saturday, and everything went very well except for an active termite colony being found in the kitchen bay window area. They are on the outside only and the seller is paying to have them taken care of this week. The property will be treated and we will sign a contract with the pest control company to pay $150 a year and they will check it and treat it once a year and include a $250,000 damage repair guarantee.

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Yep...we tried hard to avoid short-sales. I have two friends that bought short-sale houses and both of them waited 3-4 months for a response to offers and then it took nearly a year before they finally got to closing.

 

I was told by our Realtor that FHA/VA lenders will not approve a loan on a house that is not move-in ready...or incredibly close to it. He said the Safe, Sound, and Secure are three primary requirements to even hope for approval. This is why we were happy to find a house that is a straight sale and is currently occupied. We had an inspection last Saturday, and everything went very well except for an active termite colony being found in the kitchen bay window area. They are on the outside only and the seller is paying to have them taken care of this week. The property will be treated and we will sign a contract with the pest control company to pay $150 a year and they will check it and treat it once a year and include a $250,000 damage repair guarantee.

 

I tried to avoid short sales, too, but there's just too many of them around the area I'm looking that it became rather difficult. I have a clause in my contract that if I don't close by Jan. 30, 2012, I can walk. I did see one house where everything was approved for USDA RD, but it fell through at the last minute because the buyer got a raise at her job, pushing her out of the maximum salary requirement. That house was in no worse or better shape than the one I put an offer on, so there is some hope, however, I'm still anticipating that it will all fall through because the house isn't up to snuff, hence why I keep my eye on new homes popping up for sale on a daily basis...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Offer submitted, offer accepted. Got to call the inspector to set up a time later this week for a walk through.

 

Image Not Found

 

In a smaller town with almost 7 acres. No shop, but plenty of space for one. Was owned and built by the same.couple in '58 until last year when she passed away.

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