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Old 11-21-2013, 11:06 AM  
1stTimeDIY
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I have been kinda of Crazy with this home search. To the point my husband is like i don't care just pick one. The money we are using is money of mine from a settlement from my fathers wrongful death I had to go to court to use it 10 years early so while i was held up in court proceedings in two states i started research.

A very good friend of mine grew up in the area, she is also animal control and is dispatched through the police. She has been a HUGE help in this process. She lets me know what areas are safe or not, and if a home I'm interested in is in her area and vacant she will stop and get photos and even talk to the people next door if she can.

I have been through about 5 realtors before working with the one I'm now dealing with. With my friends info I would call realtors about homes I knew were in a bad area, or had major obvious flaws not shown or mentioned in sales adds. Some realtors didn't even return calls, others did there best to sell me homes knowing they were not what i wanted or where I wanted. The one I'm working with now Is the broker of the company and has been working this area for 20 years or so. He is totally honest and has yet to make me feel like he is pushing me in the wrong direction.

Zillow realtor.com and google maps have all become my best friends lately. Any home I'm interested in i find out sales history, i use zillow to find out prices of homes surrounding it ect. Google maps is great because I can street view the house as well as the homes surrounding giving me a basic idea as to how well kept the homes in the area are. I have honestly taken homes off my list because although the home looked great the properties surrounding it were in disrepair and or the yards looked like junk yards. Im also able to mark homes i liked watch them sell and compare asking price VS final selling price. so far about 80% of the homes have sold well under asking price. What I can afford down there is so much better then what I could afford up here as well.

I have toyed with the idea of moving down and renting till i find a place, but with two toddlers i just cant handle the idea of moving twice in less then a year. The boys are also why I'm so torn on turn key VS fixer upper. I just don't know if i can realistically handle fixing up a home, working full time and taking care of them.

I will keep everyone posted and I'm really hoping to make a decision this week or next and make an offer. My husband is planning on leaving his job in the next 2-3 weeks so he can help me start packing and getting this home ready to be listed.



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Old 11-21-2013, 12:21 PM  
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On realty agents or realtors the guy that listed the house we bought said at the closing this will be his first and last short sale. I think he got a great deal feeling some accomplishment at the sale but he also got so little commission it wasn’t worth the effort. I joked with him because we paid 24k for the house is it 10 times harder selling a 240k house? He said not really its most times much easier selling the 240k house.
When we first contacted him as he was the listing agent he was kind of using that house as a jump off point for lots of first time buyers. Show them the crappy house and then say well for just double that plus a little I could show you this, and get them with the upsell. People mostly want to know what the payment is going to be and that’s it. As long as the payment isn’t much more than their rent they say why not. Reality agents are really working for the seller something to keep in mind.

Whatever you do figure out your time and your cash flow and be realistic about it. In our case we paid cash for the house so we knew the initial outlay was done and all the cash we make or had saved for this could go into the house. The opposite would be the move in ready place where you just have to gage your payments. Sometimes the worst case is in the middle. You have a payment but also a house that needs cash. It’s easy to underestimate in that case.

Sounds like your friend is being a great help with this. I know how you get to the point your husband is with just buy something, but keep fresh in your mind every day is the first day of your house hunt. Buying for the sake of buying is never a good idea. The best deal most likely will take the longest, and when it comes along you might have to act fast on it.



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Old 11-30-2013, 07:23 AM  
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Well we put in an offer on one of the "turn key" homes the day before thanksgiving. A little bit of negotiating yesterday and everything is signed. It will be inspected Wednesday or Thursday and if all goes well ( fingers crossed) we can potentially move the closing up from the current closing date of December 30th!!!! Meaning we could potentially be in our new home before Christmas!! I'm hoping this inspector is as good as he sounds. I spoke with former clients of his, and when I mentioned him to my realtor he told me that is the inspector he would personally use and has had family use him as well. My realtor will let him in for the inspection. This guy will send me the normal on paper report as well as e-mail me color photos. He also video records all his inspections as he is doing them. I guess it helps him for making his report to make sure he dosent miss/forget anything. I will also get a copy of this video to watch and then can call him with any questions and or concerns. I can't physically be there for it but thanks to technology it's almost the same!

The home has new flooring laminate/carpets ect. The kitchen is redone but needs all appliances. What was formerly the garage was enclosed finished off and turned into a bedroom, bathroom and a laundry room. I'm slightly concerned because two of the bedrooms that were pre existing have damage to the door frames (seems like previous owner may have had kids who kicked the doors in). It looks to be cosmetic and a simple fix. That just worrys me about the hvac, water heater, electrical system. I worry that all the work was just done to the kitchen/ garage area and the rest left as is. That is why we are getting an inspection though and those concerns will be addressed.

I already have projects I'd like to do to make it "home" but those will have to wait till after our current home sells. For instance I'd like to add a backsplash in the kitchen. Also I'd like to custom make an entertainment center. Put a fire pit in the back yard. Possibly remove or at least shape and trim two evergreens in the front yard. I also REALLY wanted a fireplace. Adding an actual fireplace just isn't cost effective in the near future. What I did find tho was a faux fireplace on pintrest that's wood framed in then faced with brick or stone. No I can't have a fire but I could put candles in it. Sooo I'll still be all over the forum as I DIY my own personal touches.

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Old 12-01-2013, 12:07 AM  
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1stTime> I applaud your desire to do some hands on fixing up of your own home. Let me take a little space here though to share personal experience. My wife and I bought a Fannie Mae home (cheap) 2 years ago. It was built in 1890, so our plans are to gut it and rehab while we live in it. We paid for a thorough home inspection - we told the inspector that we already know it's a "fixer-upper", we just wanted a professional assessment of what items needed attention. Termite inspection went fine (THAT will be VERY important for you in south GA). The only water we had for the first 6 weeks was a hose faucet in the basement (we made arrangements for a plumber to replumb the whole house). The roof was replaced including new sheathing about 10 years ago, the furnace is a high efficiency gas unit 10 years old, and the brick foundation (full basement) is in good shape for its age. The first thing we did was gut the kitchen (down to studs and subfloor). Two years into our project, the kitchen is about 95% complete, the laundry/mud room (off the kitchen) is about 99% complete, and the half bath on the main floor is 100% complete. Upstairs, we converted a very small bedroom into a "master" bath (99% complete) and walk through closet (gutted) off of the "master" bedroom (have plaster and lath pulled off of 2 walls). We had custom maple cabinets built - about $7k, and about $3k in appliances in the kitchen. The rest of it we did ourselves. Let me say wholeheartedly that WE WOULD NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! There is great satisfaction in everything that we have done (and will still do), however, in a year's time, you'll be damn tired of living in a construction zone! Want a good laugh? When we bought the house, we thought that by now we'd have been 100% finished! It will take you far more time, and money, than what you can anticipate. What you think will take a day, will take you at least a week. What you think something will cost you - multiply that at least X4. I'm not telling you don't do it - as I said, there is a lot of satisfaction in completing projects. Just be sure that you are VERY aware of what you're getting into. (And if you do it - please post some pictures!) It is a lot more difficult than you realize to work on the house when you have a full time job, and that's not even including having a family at home to take care of. We are both very fond of the DIY shows and have learned a lot from them, but I've found that you can learn how to do almost anything by going onto youtube and doing a search for whatever project you're planning (the DIY books at the home improvement stores also help). Good luck!

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Old 12-07-2013, 11:21 AM  
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Well the search continues. The home I offered on had some issues. Upon inspection water damage and mold was found, the roof needed to be replaced, outlets were not properly grounded, AC unit needed to be leveled, missing attic insulation, exhaust fans in the attic didn't work and there was live exposed wire in the attic. The Reno wasn't too bad but they somewhat neglected the rest of the home. I asked that the seller either come down on price or fix the roof and electric. Seller felt they had come down enough in price as it was. They did come down quite a bit but the home was priced incredibly high in comparison to the other homes in the development. Anyway I terminated contract. But with the bad news comes some excellent news. As I have stated I have been watching the areas market closely for several months. A home I LOVED but has been very high in my range and needing work was just drastically reduced into my range.

The home has amazing square footage and is in a nice area. It seems to have had some updates done. The master bath in petecular (jacuzzi tub anyone?) double vanitys separate potty room and shower not to mention the master and master bath are the size of a small country. Open floor plan and very large bedrooms. A den with a fireplace(personal want of mine since I was a child).... It has some issues first off there was water damage in the laundry room but the drywall was removed and replaced to prevent mold from starting. It has not been finished off. Some tile is missing in the master bath (3-5 tiles) they look to be a very genetic white and probably easy to find replacements. The carpet in the master was poorly layed and will need to be replaced. Other carpets in the home are stained, but with two toddlers I'm in no rush to replace it just yet. The kitchen is pretty dated and akward, BUT is a huge open space with great potential for future work. It's by no means unusable just dated. We will need appliances but we can handle that and prefer that. Some rooms the paint is ugly and old but that again is an easy fix. It's only a 3 bedroom but has an "office" that could easily be converted to a guest 4th bed with private acess. I'm super excited over this home as I market it as one I wanted months ago but couldn't swing work and the asking price. It's a bank owned forclosure we are offering a bit lower then asking but even at it's current asking price we can handle the work. Of course this again will be pending an inspection but quite frankly unless it has major structural issues we would be able to handle some big issues (or well have a comtractor handle it).

I'm feeling good about this and I'm gonna stick to my theory that things happen for a reason and my other two offers didn't work so that this one would. This is like I said a home I have watched and loved for a while but financially couldn't go for it.

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Old 12-07-2013, 11:56 AM  
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Step back a little, it's not wise to fall in love after one or two dates. Buying a house is like speed dating and you end up buying what could be the best of a bad bunch. Love for a home grows with time and memories. You have to look at the bones, the heart and sole of the house. Does it have enough to help you and your family succeed and do you have what it takes to help the house succeed. Good luck.

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Old 12-07-2013, 12:28 PM  
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I love it because it has potential to over time become perfect. I by no means feel as though I'm rushing. Like I said I have been watching the market for almost a year. I have in all honesty over the past year found about 40 homes that I liked enough to look further into. Such as past sale prices, google mapping the area, distance to my job and husbands school. Talking to friends in the area to get more info. Out of those 40 many have been taken off my list due to area it was in, or it sold, or realistically it was too much money to do what was needed. My realtor has gone out to 7 homes now this one included. Given me floor plans and photos ect. I promise I'm not just sitting online going oh that one looks pretty let's make an offer on it. I have also in my list saved homes like this one, that I liked a lot but was out of reach financially for me. This one just happened to fall into a place I feel I can buy the home and have money left for what we want done or to do. Also I have lived in this area before so I'm not moving somewhere totally unknown to me. If I was rushing and buying emotionally I would have bought a place I found a while back that on an emotional level I loved but in comparison was priced too high with too many issues.

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Old 12-07-2013, 01:00 PM  
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I think you are doing fine, until you say "love". That's when people tend to throw common sense aside. If you can go with the inspector or find someone to go with them is always a good idea.
I went with a friend when he had an inspection done. The inspector did a good job it looked like (4 hours and nice report) he found one problem that resulted in a discount but I found two issues and my friend found two issues and the inspector assured us that these weren't problems and some had been repaired, they did not show up on his report. Now six years later all five issues have had to be dealt with. Their offer should have included a plumbing inspection that would have allowed a plumber to open a wall here and there. All said they still love the house but they fell for it to soon.

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Old 12-16-2013, 05:18 PM  
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Well we got the place I most recently posted about!! The bank that owns it had given me a sheet with a work estimate. It came up to about 12k in work including materals and labor. I spoke with my Inspector before he went out and gave him the name of the guy who did the estimate. He informed me that he has worked with him in the past and his prices are fair and he knows what he is doing. With that he told us we had a very good chance of not finding anything major on inspection. He was correct there were a few little things that the inspector brought up that weren't on the work estimate. we will have to contract out to get the electrical system looked at as the breaker in the house is old and the company had a class action lawsuit. Not an issue really as it was never upgraded after additions were added and we would like to eventually get a tankless water heater, so we would have to upgrade anyway. The HVAC system will also most likely need to be replaced as its older and was not working correctly again not an issue as it was from before the additions and I want a system that can handle the square footage.

Many of the issues are cosmetic. structurally the house is in great condition and the additions were done properly. The roof is new but for some reason they did not put gutters on the house. With what we paid for the home all the things that need to be done ASAP can be done right away and we can even start on some of the cosmetic things before our current home sells. Im so thankful the offers on the other two homes didn't work out. I'm also glad this house was price dropped into my price range and the bank was willing to accept my offer. We close January 3rd and head out of the snow covered north east to the south they are expecting temps of 78 this weekend!!!!

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Old 12-16-2013, 05:36 PM  
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Congrats on the deal.



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