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House help.

This is the post I've been meaning to write all week, but have repeatedly gotten sidetracked from.

As probably everybody knows, I'm buying a house. I'm currently somewhere in between inspection and closing.

I've talked briefly with n0thingman, lilostitch, telephasic and momacress (along with probably several others), but I wanted to ask the questions here, all at once, for everyone to see:

What are the things you wish someone had told YOU beforehand?

What are the hidden expenses that will catch me unawares?

telephasic was mentioning URA loans and grants to me -- anyone have any experience with that?

How would you recommend handling finding a mortgage?

And, well, any other questions that I haven't mentioned.

Also, Pittsburgh homeowner people: Anything Pittsburgh-specific I should know about?

C'mon people: educate me!


May. 17th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
In PA, you don't need a lawyer. So unless you want to shell out extra money, or have a really complicated problem with the sale, why bother? A good agent, who is working on your behalf rather than the seller's, will do. However, if you want someone to review any paperwork, I hereby offer the spousage's services. Or my own - I was a Realtor for a few years before I moved across the state.

Can't predict the hidden expenses. Because they are hidden. :-) But assume that there will be a few unexpected repairs, and put some money (or some credit) aside for emergencies.

The URA means extra paperwork and tediousness. Do you really need such things? Your agent should be familiar with URA and FHA programs - ask.

I used the bank where I had my checking account, so you could start there. You can also use an independent broker, who can work to find you the best rate.

As a first-time buyer, you may qualify for some good programs - discounted rates, or not needing PMI even if you aren't putting much down. Ask your agent and your banker.

They can also explain closing costs to you - things like transfer taxes and assorted fees. Transfer taxes are generally 2% of the sales price, split evenly between the seller and the buyer. Fees to record the deed. Oh, and there is usually a mortgage application fee, too, to cover the costs of running credit reports and ascertaining the value of the property. Some loans allow you to wrap some or all of those costs into the loan, which can be handy if you don't have much extra cash. A higher sales price, part of which is then returned to you at closing, is another way to cover closing costs.

Make sure that you insure your home for its replacement cost, which is not necessarily the same amount as its cost or its value. You can get a discount from the insurance company if you insure both your home and car with the same one.

Edited at 2008-05-17 11:50 pm (UTC)

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