Buying a House in one page (for entertainment only)
Finding a house:
  • Location, location, location.   Houses can often be changed, but location, school district, yard can’t be changed.  Buy for location
  • Find houses on or
  • Don’t use a buyer’s agent.  If you know what you’re doing, work directly with the seller’s agent - this way, they get more commission (and will work to make the deal happen)
Making offers:
  • Educate yourself about how much a house is worth; use sales within the last 6 months of comparable houses (“comps”).
  • Lowball is 20% below a comp (based on sales)
  • Remember, an offer isn’t binding until a contract is signed; that cuts both ways
  • Try to check your emotions at the door; it took us > 10 offers to get a house; don’t be stupid w/ a high offer price
Home Inspection
  • Get a good inspector; inspection takes 4 hours, costs around $750
  • What to watch out for differs by region, but some biggies are:
  • Mold: Check for good, working gutters; check for lack of moisture in attic and basement, check for good bathroom venting
  • Termites: Check for chewed up wood outside the house
  • Oil tank: Ensure it’s not in-ground
  • Radon: mainly Jersey
  • Get a good lawyer.  The terms matter, a lot.  Should be around ~$1500
  • You need a downpayment, so start saving.  These days, it’s 20%.
  • ARMs are scary - know what you’re doing for those.  Otherwise, 15yr or 30yr fixed are your best bet
  • Closing costs are expensive and can run > $10k
After all this, pop a bottle and enjoy the closing!
Further reading: Home Buying for Dummies

© 2013 Todd M