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Sw03es, And Other Real Estate Ppl, I Need Your Help!


ArmyofOne
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First time homebuyer here, and i need advice...thinsg to watch out for, etc etc.

and is it a sound investment? my wife and i are really tossing the idea around, and we are almost positive we want to do it.

now where do we start?

thanks.

Also, FWIW, I am in no hurry to do this and want to do it right. I have awesome credit, and my wife and i are lookin in our area, we found a 2112 sq ft, 3 bdr 1 bath in watertown NY that we really like, for $46,250, <_< not sure f thats a good thing or bad. it was built in 1920, newly renovated with new siding, roof, windows, updated piping in the 80's (copper) modern wiring, meets all city codes and standards...im wondering why its so cheap...?

we are prepared to spend ~$800-$1000 a month on a mortgage, including taxes and ins...

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Are you going to have a down payment?

Look for fixed mortgages, ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) and sub-prime loans are very risky.

this is why im asking these things... i currently have saved about $1,000, but i can have up to $5,000 in a few months, not much i know, but i dont need much of a house either...just a small one lol.

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2112 sq ft... for $46,250

Down here that would run you about $400K in a decent neighborhood. Be glad you don't live in CA where it would probably be closer to $750K.

10% down in a few months would help you out way more than $1000. We put down $20K on our first house which was a little over 10%. Ask your mortgage person about an 80 10 10 setup and you should be able to avoid paying PMI. If your wife is on the loan, make sure she has good credit too.

You do NOT want an ARM. It may look good now, but in a few years when the rate hike hits it will hurt. I'm no mortgage expert and I don't have a crystal ball, but I would expect to see a rate hike here soon if inflation keeps creeping up so look to make your move sooner rather than later.

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Will you have any $$ left in savings if you spent $5k on your down payment? You want to try to not wipe out your savings account - for any reason (car, vaccation, motorcycle, etc.)

20% is the goal you're trying for with down payments, otherwise you end up needing PMI (private mortgate insurance) which is required for loans w/o 20% down. Some people will say you don't need to put any money down, but there is a reason why our country is at the highest level of foreclosures ever right now. To get rid of the PMI, you have to wait until the amount you have paid in equals the 20% down payment - then you have to refinance your loan. Just really do your research and err to the side of caution. You want to keep your high credit rating. A good book "Home Buying for Dummies".... sounds silly but there is allot of straight forward info in it. If you're planning on paying $800 - $1k per month - you should be looking at really short loan time like 15 years since the house is around $48k.

On Saturday nights, Suzy Orman has a show on CNBC. There is a segment called "Can I Afford It". You don't have to call in, but really great insight on what smart spending and healthy debt (yes - a house is healthy debt) are all about.

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Man - down here that would run you about $400K in a decent neighborhood. Be glad you don't live in CA where it would probably be closer to $750K

No kidding!!! Jeez, we bought my house for $114k about 7 years ago, the house was built in 1951 & is almost 1400sf. It's currently valued at about $130k. But Northeast Ohio living is a bit different from GEORGOUS Virginia Beach or California! I bet it's amazing!!

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Josh, 3 things, 1. Location. 2. Location. 3. LOCATION

That's one thing my dad's office always advice people, that the location matters. Now I'm not too familiar with your area so I'm not very sure why a 2100 sq 3/1 home is selling at that price...

But advice for first time home buyers, make sure you have computed all your financial obligations (cars, cellphones, etc.) before you move on. You mentioned that you have good credit, and that's a big PLUS in buying a home. More loan options are available for you.

Now do you have a downpayment or are you going to bank on a 100% loan? There are several ways to tackle this. I'm not a loan officer, neither is my dad, but there are many options that are UNIQUE to every buyer. There will never be TWO EXACT buyers with the same exact setup, same exact loan program. Everyone's different. First step really is to speak with a loan officer. Now at first you may feel uneasy doing this, especially if no one has referred you to them (Josh I've got a couple RELIABLE ones) but what you want to do, if you decide to speak with a loan officer either by walking in, or from a referral from one of us guys here, is to give them your basic info (stated income, expenses, what you want monthly, down payment or not, etc) but DON'T give your SSN yet. They CAN'T, I repeat, CAN'T FORCE YOU to give them your SSN number. Now they will give you a basic example based on IF lets say, you have so and so credit, and if there are no hidden strings attached, they can give you a good idea of what loan package is right for you and what the maximum amount loan you can go for.

There are many loan options. There's always the fixed, interest only or negative ammortization. Fixed programs vary, depending on how long you want to live in the house. IF you dont plan to live there very long, sometimes the loan officer can get you a program that's fixed for 5 or 10 years, then it adjusts then on, but you would have sold the house before then. If you plan to die in that house (which more than likely you'd want to upgrade in the future, trust me lol) then go for a 30 year fixed. Interest only is ONLY ADVISABLE if the market is stable in your area, meaning that the prices won't fluctuate too much, or go down. Interest only, is simple, you only pay the interest, principle stays the same (so if you have a $100,000 house, interest only, after let's say 5 years of paying interest only, your principle is still $100,000). Now I highly advice NOT to get the negative ammortization. What that means is that you pay an even lower monthly payment. Your principle doesn't go down, and you don't pay the "full interest" payment. What that means is that let's say if (idk how to explain this really) you should be paying $1000 a month to cover the monthly interest of the loan, in the negative ammortization program you pay LESS than that $1000 (these are example figures ok!). So let's say you pay only $800 a month. That extra $200 is STACKED on top of your principle, so on a $100,000 after paying the negative ammortization program for let's say 1 year, your new principle balance is $102,400

Then you have to remember, there's the buyer's closing costs, which is DIFFERENT from the down payment. What is the buyer's closing cost? It is the amount of money that you need to close the deal. It includes the home inspection fees which realtors ADVICE their buyers to do before moving on with the deal, home warranty (another ADVICE we give to buyers) escrow fees, the banks "fee" to borrow money from them (sounds ridiculous but you have no choice), and your first month's mortgage (Steve correct me on this, but I know i probably missed a few things out on this aspect). First month's mortgage is this, let's say you closed Escrow on Jun 1st, technically you make the first mortgage payment on AUGUST 1st, but that whole time in between ISN'T FREE HOUSING because you already paid up front with the closing costs. Closing costs run you about 3-5% of the cost of the house (so on a $100,000 home, your closing cost will run you about $3k-$5k)

Another advice, DON'T make major expenses. Hold off on that 60" Plasma tv that's on sale or that ES350 that you're kinda dreaming about. lol.

Ok that's a very brief over view of the real estate life. Any questions, just ask me (to the extent that I can help) or SW. ;)

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Josh, 3 things, 1. Location. 2. Location. 3. LOCATION

That's one thing my dad's office always advice people, that the location matters. Now I'm not too familiar with your area so I'm not very sure why a 2100 sq 3/1 home is selling at that price...

But advice for first time home buyers, make sure you have computed all your financial obligations (cars, cellphones, etc.) before you move on. You mentioned that you have good credit, and that's a big PLUS in buying a home. More loan options are available for you.

Now do you have a downpayment or are you going to bank on a 100% loan? There are several ways to tackle this. I'm not a loan officer, neither is my dad, but there are many options that are UNIQUE to every buyer. There will never be TWO EXACT buyers with the same exact setup, same exact loan program. Everyone's different. First step really is to speak with a loan officer. Now at first you may feel uneasy doing this, especially if no one has referred you to them (Josh I've got a couple RELIABLE ones) but what you want to do, if you decide to speak with a loan officer either by walking in, or from a referral from one of us guys here, is to give them your basic info (stated income, expenses, what you want monthly, down payment or not, etc) but DON'T give your SSN yet. They CAN'T, I repeat, CAN'T FORCE YOU to give them your SSN number. Now they will give you a basic example based on IF lets say, you have so and so credit, and if there are no hidden strings attached, they can give you a good idea of what loan package is right for you and what the maximum amount loan you can go for.

There are many loan options. There's always the fixed, interest only or negative ammortization. Fixed programs vary, depending on how long you want to live in the house. IF you dont plan to live there very long, sometimes the loan officer can get you a program that's fixed for 5 or 10 years, then it adjusts then on, but you would have sold the house before then. If you plan to die in that house (which more than likely you'd want to upgrade in the future, trust me lol) then go for a 30 year fixed. Interest only is ONLY ADVISABLE if the market is stable in your area, meaning that the prices won't fluctuate too much, or go down. Interest only, is simple, you only pay the interest, principle stays the same (so if you have a $100,000 house, interest only, after let's say 5 years of paying interest only, your principle is still $100,000). Now I highly advice NOT to get the negative ammortization. What that means is that you pay an even lower monthly payment. Your principle doesn't go down, and you don't pay the "full interest" payment. What that means is that let's say if (idk how to explain this really) you should be paying $1000 a month to cover the monthly interest of the loan, in the negative ammortization program you pay LESS than that $1000 (these are example figures ok!). So let's say you pay only $800 a month. That extra $200 is STACKED on top of your principle, so on a $100,000 after paying the negative ammortization program for let's say 1 year, your new principle balance is $102,400

Then you have to remember, there's the buyer's closing costs, which is DIFFERENT from the down payment. What is the buyer's closing cost? It is the amount of money that you need to close the deal. It includes the home inspection fees which realtors ADVICE their buyers to do before moving on with the deal, home warranty (another ADVICE we give to buyers) escrow fees, the banks "fee" to borrow money from them (sounds ridiculous but you have no choice), and your first month's mortgage (Steve correct me on this, but I know i probably missed a few things out on this aspect). First month's mortgage is this, let's say you closed Escrow on Jun 1st, technically you make the first mortgage payment on AUGUST 1st, but that whole time in between ISN'T FREE HOUSING because you already paid up front with the closing costs. Closing costs run you about 3-5% of the cost of the house (so on a $100,000 home, your closing cost will run you about $3k-$5k)

Another advice, DON'T make major expenses. Hold off on that 60" Plasma tv that's on sale or that ES350 that you're kinda dreaming about. lol.

Ok that's a very brief over view of the real estate life. Any questions, just ask me (to the extent that I can help) or SW. ;)

:blink: :blink: :blink::wacko::wacko::wacko:

my head is spinning right now lol...the housing area here is fairly stable, but i dont want to do those weird mortgages i want a standard 15 year mortgage. my credit scores are all 3 in the low-mid 700's. i guess i just really have to research to find out whats best. we cant do anyhthing yet, we dont have enough of a down payment, it would be nice to get in for no money down, but is that the best idea? i know i was gonna do it on the Matrix till i saw what it would do to the principal on the loan...

my head hurts now... :cries:

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RFeldes has a great suggestion about checking into a VA loan. As I've never been in the military so I don't know what is available, but if there is something like that, deffinitely worth looking into!

Otherwise, you already said you'd be interested in a 15 year, fixed loan - GREAT!!! You might even be able to do a 10 year. Here's an example: A 50k loan at 8% is $606.64 per month for 15 years, $477.83. If you do zero down (traditional load - don't know about the VA option), just remember the PMI (mortage insurance) that is required until you get to 20% down, then you have to refinance. You already said you'd like fixed - don't let anyone talk you into an ARM, balloon or sub-prime - all terribly risky. I would say look into zero down as long as you can get a FIXED & not-sub prime loan. Please do not wipe out your savings account (ever).

And do your research - ask the realator why the house is selling for $47k, check out other houses in the area to see whet they are worth.

Check this out: http://realestate.yahoo.com/Homevalues Enter the address, instant estimated value and values of nearby houses.

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I'm not sure about real estate in your area Josh, but doing a VA loan, at least here in Fresno,CA is NOT the best way to go. Even though the market here is bad, a lot of listings won't accept offers if the buyers are using a VA loan. I'm not saying it's not possible in your area, but don't be surprised if the offers you make are turned down because of it..

Haha, I knew it would make your head spin cuz it's a lot of info! But that's just the beginning, wait till you start making offers, and those looooooong contracts. ;) ;)

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I'm not sure about real estate in your area Josh, but doing a VA loan, at least here in Fresno,CA is NOT the best way to go. Even though the market here is bad, a lot of listings won't accept offers if the buyers are using a VA loan. I'm not saying it's not possible in your area, but don't be surprised if the offers you make are turned down because of it..

Haha, I knew it would make your head spin cuz it's a lot of info! But that's just the beginning, wait till you start making offers, and those looooooong contracts. ;) ;)

using my VA loan is NOT an option, this is my first home and wont be my last, there will be kids in my future eventually. I only get ONE VA loan, and its gonna be used to buy our house for my 20 year mark in the army, when im getting ready to retire from the service.

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using my VA loan is NOT an option, this is my first home and wont be my last, there will be kids in my future eventually. I only get ONE VA loan, and its gonna be used to buy our house for my 20 year mark in the army, when im getting ready to retire from the service.

Good idea! Take advantage of other nice loans out there available. Just don't go for the Negative Ammortization, all I can advice you! If you have any more questions, just let me, or SW know. We'll be glad to help you out Josh! I know real estate is a whole new ball game, and I know how people feel when they are fed soo much information in one sitting, especially if it's not in person or through phone and just reading it all on a forum. lol.

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Josh, back in the day, while riding out the financial fall-out of 9/11, worldcom, enron, etc... i hid in the residential sector for National City Mortgage, producing residential mortgages. Not the case today, strictly commercial, but beside the point. I would suggest surveying the credit union environment in the area. Now, most of them, if not all of them under CUNA regulation, are "conforming" lenders...aka...traditional and by the book. But, they have some leverage ability too, loans that they make and plan to "shelf" them, not sell them to secondary market players "Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac". Basically, they make the loan, they keep the loan, you pay them for the entire loan. If it the loan goes bad, it's their problem, and their problem only. Now, having said that, they have programs that aren't subprime, aren't negative am "which you're not in that ball park for", and they're not interest only "bad, very very bad, these days". Many credit unions have a "1st time homebuyer" program, which offers 100% financing, but requires you to attend their classes, usually one or two. They basically teach you the basics of homeownership, how to take care of it, how to AVOID the financial pitfall, especially the one of feeling like since you have a new home, riding high on cloud 9...you need a new car too, or boat, or motorcycle...etc... That's where most get into trouble. Credit unions are easy on the fees as well, and usually better rates, usually. Credit unions are "non-profit" setups....aka...no tax liability...so they're "supposed" to pass along that savings to their members through lower fees and better rates. However, not all are like that...avoid the big ones...go for the smaller ones that are just starting out and itching for a footprint in their market.

You don't have to load up on one loan either, you can do this with two if need be. Although they're fading fast, and are forecasted to be slim around winter, once all of this subprime paper gets digested by wall street and we can see the true damage. But the "twofer" set up consists of one main loan at 80% of the value, and then a second loan "home equity" for 15% of the value... known as an 80/15, with the remaining 5% coming from you. Basically look at it as a 95% loan to value finance package. And if done right, your total payment for both is usually within a few bucks if you did a straight 95% value single loan, with carries that PMI "private mortgage insurance".

Enough for now.... but I would suggest a credit union. You're Army, you should be part of the Army Federal Credit Union. Don't blow your VA yet. You've got options. Tread with caution with lenders who don't charge fees.... When dealing with this, and you need that option, go "direct"...aka...you go to the bank or credit union, not "ACME Mortgage, LLC". Those are brokers...dot-connectors...and trust me, you're paying those fees, 5-fold, easily.

Get home son, Red White & Blue missin' you! :cheers:

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First thing you need is to check out that area real good. That's a really low price for a house in good shape with that square footage.

I was just thinking of something, could it possibly be a HUD or repossesed home? It does sound too good to be true, but if its a good neighbor hood, good title and everything, i say GO FOR IT. :cheers:

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Sorry I'm late to the party gang, I was out of town. This is gonna be long lol

First of all Josh, congratulations! Its a very big purchase, but its an important one and starting out buying a first home at your age is a great move. I'm going to quote things I've found in the posts I want to comment on and address them directly.

My first peice of advice, you need a realtor to represent your best interests in this transaction. You need an outside and dispassionate point of view and you need someone who knows the markets you're shopping in to help advise you. You shouldn't do it on your own.

and is it a sound investment?

Overall, yes. There is no "national" real estate market, real estate is very locally driven. You can look up the 30 year history of market trends in your area, my guess is it will be up overall. When you factor in the tax benefits of home ownership, its a great investment.

now where do we start?

Get pre-approved by a lender and find a great realtor you trust. If you need a name, I can get you one. I belong to several nation and world wide referral networks and I can get you a great agent. So you know, I could keep a portion of the commission from your purchase but I wouldn't. That goes for lenders too, although the Army will have you set there.

Look for fixed mortgages, ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) and sub-prime loans are very risky.

This is not neccisarily true. These mortgage products get a bad name because they are utelized by the wrong people. Depending on his situation and the amount of time he's going to live in the property an ARM might be a good choice for him. My home is financed on an ARM and I wouldn't have done it had it not made sense. I have clients who have their real estate investments financed with pay option ARMs that are negatively amortizing (defering interest). For most homeowners thats crazy, but for these people its what makes the most sense. They of course would not make sense for Josh.

I agree that for Josh though probably a 30 year fixed with an interest only option (to help him if he needs it) is the way to go.

So everybody knows, ARMs typically are locked in rate for a period so you would have a 5, 7, or 10 year ARM and you wouldn't have to worry about the rate re-adjusting until the 6th, 8th, or 11th year respectively. Right now ARMs are a good deal interestwise vs fixed rate loans, and while they are typically interest only you can make principal payments without penalty.

20% is the goal you're trying for with down payments, otherwise you end up needing PMI (private mortgate insurance) which is required for loans w/o 20% down

This is also no longer true. They structure loans now with first and second trusts to avoid PMI, but in reality PMI isn't such a big deal, especially since its tax deductible up to an income ceiling and now that they have lender paid PMI.

On Saturday nights, Suzy Orman has a show on CNBC. There is a segment called "Can I Afford It". You don't have to call in, but really great insight on what smart spending and healthy debt (yes - a house is healthy debt) are all

No offense, but I think Suze Orman is an idiot. I'm not a fan. She has her own rules and just "ignores" anything that doesn't fit into them and when I watch her I tend to get very...flustered.

Ok that's a very brief over view of the real estate life. Any questions, just ask me (to the extent that I can help

That was very well written, I'm impressed.

my head is spinning right now lol...the housing area here is fairly stable, but i dont want to do those weird mortgages i want a standard 15 year mortgage. my credit scores are all 3 in the low-mid 700's. i guess i just really have to research to find out whats best. we cant do anyhthing yet, we dont have enough of a down payment, it would be nice to get in for no money down, but is that the best idea? i know i was gonna do it on the Matrix till i saw what it would do to the principal on the loan...

Also remember EVERY state is different, so my experience and Denny's experience won't neccisarily jibe with your state. NY is a little different I know because I refered an agent to some family in Albany when they bought. You need to talk to a local professional.

Don't be afraid of $0 down, just understand that $0 down loans are harder to get than they used to be, and 5% down makes everything a WHOLE lot easier. This is an investment, and like any investment there are different scenarios to look at relative to your situation and the type of risk you're comfortable with. There is ALWAYS risk in investing, but Real Estate is historically one of the safest investments you can make.

Also, how did you check your scores? I've had a few situations lately where clients actual scores were lower than they were showing on those internet sites like FreeCreditReport.com.

Josh, Have you looked at a VA guaranteed loan with 0 down? That's how I bought my first home when I got out of the Navy. Not sure how it works today.

Thats excellent advice, and there are some great VA loans out there.

Otherwise, you already said you'd be interested in a 15 year, fixed loan - GREAT!!! You might even be able to do a 10 year. Here's an example: A 50k loan at 8% is $606.64 per month for 15 years, $477.83. If you do zero down (traditional load - don't know about the VA option), just remember the PMI (mortage insurance) that is required until you get to 20% down, then you have to refinance. You already said you'd like fixed - don't let anyone talk you into an ARM, balloon or sub-prime - all terribly risky. I would say look into zero down as long as you can get a FIXED & not-sub prime loan. Please do not wipe out your savings account (ever).

I smell Suze Orman ;)

Let me tell you why I don't like Suze Orman, she's WAY too conservative for me. If that works for you, thats great but it doesn't work for me. For one thing, forget about having a paid off house at this point in your life Josh. It makes no sense. You and your wife have incomes that you need to be able to offset to minimize your tax liability. If you have a paid for house, you have no interest deduction and it hurts your ROI (return on investment). You're better off keeping your real estate investments at 20% equity (this maximizes your safety net and you're getting the best rates) and on a 30 year loan. You would then take your other assets as they amass and roll them into other investments to maximize your ROI and relegate your risk.

Also remember, less than 20% down DOES NOT mean PMi, and PMI is not as evil as it once was now that its tax deductible for many people (including you). "subprime" is also not a type of loan, its a risk category (if a borrower is subprime, they are subprime), if you have less than a 50% debt-to-income ratio and 700+ credit, you are absolutely not subprime.

I hope this helps. I'm more than happy to discuss this with you over the phone too, although I know thats hard with you in Iraq. I cannot stress enough though that you need to get LOCAL knowledge from a experienced real estate professional. If you want a name just tell me and I'll find you one.

I'm excited for you!

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haha! Thanks Steve. :cheers:

I've picked up a couple stuffs here and there just from what my dad usually lectures. Imagine if I totally paid attention to EVERYTHING he tells his first time home buyers, I'd probably end up typing up a novel for "First time home buyers" lol. Plus over time, I've put the puzzle pieces together so when there are some people, like Josh, that is requesting some information, I can somewhat, somehow help. :D

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Well you sounded like a seasoned pro to me LOL

Also to Josh, remember that you can NEGOTIATE in today's market. Don't have the cash for closing costs AND the down payment you need? Get a seller credit for the closing costs and finance them.

I just bought a new real estate investment and I had the seller pay the closing even though I could have just to keep from tying up the funds.

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Also to Josh, remember that you can NEGOTIATE in today's market. Don't have the cash for closing costs AND the down payment you need? Get a seller credit for the closing costs and finance them.

OMG, i can't believe I forgot to mention that! And that's practically the practice of my dad's buyers nowadays because of the slow housing market. lol

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It is "not" a one time loan Josh..Check here..http://www.valoans.com/valoan-tip08.cfm..I used mine twice and can use it again as was explained to me. Keep in mind it is a guarantee and not a loan from the VA. You meet your obligations on the exhisting loan and you have residual for your next home up to around $400k.

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It is "not" a one time loan Josh..Check here..http://www.valoans.com/valoan-tip08.cfm..I used mine twice and can use it again as was explained to me. Keep in mind it is a guarantee and not a loan from the VA. You meet your obligations on the exhisting loan and you have residual for your next home up to around $400k.

yeah ralph, i talked to my dad and i had misunderstood this. i can only have one AT A TIME! lol. oops. looking like a VA loan is the way to go....ill keep you guys posted, meghan will be doing some reasearch until i come home, as we cant make a financial descision like this one without both parties present.

Hold of on the names steve, as i said, give me till around thanksgiving... I REALLY do NOT want to rush this. at all. this is the LARGEST financial commitment i have made in my life (aside from getting married :P) and i dont want to botch it up.

as far as income goes, meghan is still unemployed...but with my promotion my base pay has gone up. the credit check was done at the credit union i am a member of, as a courtesy to us for the purpose of homebuying.

my only issue i can forsee is my debt to income ratio...with meghan not working, its like 52%...however, if i turn in my housing and begin getting my BAH (basic allowance for housing, which i would get a sa homeonwner and it would pay my mortgage). then i would be WELL under my 50% D2I ratio.

...food for thought. I just figure since the housing in my area is going private, they are gonna make us sign a lease for $1200 a month plus utilities, which i can, but DO NOT WANT to put in someone elses pocket. if im gonna pay that much, it will be on a property so i have something to show for it in 5 years, not just giving it away to my landlord, that is stupid IMO.

Steve, is there a way you would be willing to fly/drive up from DC to represent me? If you even do that sort of thing. I dont know what kind of real estate you deal in...

also, realtors, i know how they work on the selling end, you sell your property with them, and they get a cut, usually 7-10%. how do they charge for the services when your a buuyer? and can these charges be integrated into your mortgage?

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This VA talk sparked my memory, so I went back and pulled a few files from my past "I always keep copies, just in case I need to protect myself". You guys are right, VA benefits aren't a 1 time thing. It just needs to be your primary residence. VA loans are a bit of pain to do though, if memory serves me correct. More paperwork needed, and I can't rememer, but something about a valid certificate of elidgablity, or something to that effect. Good LTV ranges though. They just want to make sure you're not using that benefit for investment reasons.

With today's world, it's quite easy to do some research on real estate, quite specific research actually. Josh, it might be worth the time to surf the net for the county's registry of deeds office, or real estate site. they're usually all the same "http://web.co.wake.nc.us/rdeeds/", where you substitute your county "wake is mine" and your state "nc, duh, is mine".

But if you google the county name + "registry of deeds", you'll start getting on the path. Here in Raleigh, you can actually pull up everyone's home, photo included, and see who bought it, when, how much, what's been done to it, sales around it, building materials used, etc....

You're on the path to riches man, with that excellent thinking about rent. You get no sweat equity with a rental. And as technical as you are, no doubt in my mind what ever you buy someday, will be the nicest in the neighborhood.

One thing to think about though, and to take into consideration, is Meghan handy around the house? I ask, becuase you being military, and knowing what kind of repair guys lurk around military towns "sure sweetie, $2,500 is normal to fix a toilet, you're husband would agree, if he were here and not in Iraq". She'll have to fix some thing while you're gone. Something to consider when taking on a home. Those repair guys are everywhere down in Fayettville "Ft. Bragg" and Jacksonville "Lejeune", which are both predomitely women run towns these days, with dad off to kick terrorist !Removed!!!! :cheers:

....oh man, i'm getting that wild hair again...need to sign off, before Dubbya' comes back.

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Josh, also check and see if the state of New York has a Veterans home loan program, here in California they give loans and you get a great break in that you do not have to pay for Fire insurance, it is included, and the interest rate used to be cheaper than what the market had. I know some states are offering programs for their vets. As for VA yes it is reuseable as long as you pay off the previous loan. You will need to file for a certificate of eligibility was the Veterans administration. Just requires a DD214 or proof of military service.

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