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The Story: Why it's called "My Longest Year"

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His Longest Year

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1) Location is key: good schools, even if your kids are not even close in age; nearby convenient shopping, check out town services, i.e. a pool, classes etc.. It might be worth it to pay more taxes to get better schools.

2) See if you can talk to a few neighbors, walk around the neighborhood. If you do this with a dog or kids you will meet all sorts of people.

3) Do a thorough home inspection with an inspector you choose. Get a written report with cost estimates for repairs. Accompany the inspector on his visit and ask questions. You'd be surprised how many people do not do this.

4) When you come in from out of town, beware of realtors who show you a few crappy houses and one nice house. They think you are an easy mark and expect you to pounce on the good house. It's happened to us more than once.

5) Realtors will hate me, but use more than one realtor. By law, they work for the seller, unless you have another legal arrangement and are paying the agent directly. Be vague or confusing about price range...you want to have some bargaining power; or use a different realtor for each price range.

6) Remember, most realtors only know the town they live in and even fewer of them have experienced frequent moves. So use different realtors if you are looking at more than one town. A good knowledgeable realtor is worth it, but hard to find.

7) It is easy to change wall color, wallpaper, curtains etc...Look for a layout suitable to your lifestyle and nice flooring. You can always refinish good wood floors.

8) Look for the orientation of the house. I have only bought houses where the kitchen and family room face south; I spend time in these rooms and I want them sunny. It also helps with passive solar, summer and winter.

9) In my experience, it's easier for do-it-yourselvers to fix up bathrooms than kitchens.

10) Buy for the future. My brother is having to add on to his house only 3 years after buying it. A small 3 bdrm. house seemed big compared to their apt., but with a MIL now living with them and a baby they are cramped. The house also only has a one car garage, in the snow belt! Luckily, in NC you can leave a car parked outside, without having to shovel before work.

11) Look for flexible-use rooms. Can a downstairs room be a study or a bedroom? Is there a shower downstairs? If you ever can't climb the stairs, because of surgery or an injury etc...this is a godsend.

12) Robert A.M. Stern, the architect, said, "a house should fit like a mitten, not a glove."

Good luck! I think you already have the right attitude; don't let anybody push you into anything you are not 100% sure about!

Another tip: if you're military and happen to be with USAA, check out their Movers Advantage program. You get a referral to a very qualified real estate agent, a USAA go-between should things not go well, AND a good sum of money from USAA once you close.

Will be back with more details from the trip!

Costco.com is a great company.

Among all the other fabulousness you get with being a member is a home buying program with a nice rebate. Definately worth checking into.

I have no affiliation with the company i am just a happy customer :-)

Love and Laughter,
Amy

Good advice from Non-superwoman---Also--Location is probably more important than the house itself...a great neighborhood to hang out in, village to shop in, good schools, rec programs, a place to connect with other people, safety, investment. You can move to a different house down the road, but you will put down serious roots in a neighborhood with E in school and making friends too. And try to meet the neighbors. Drive around and approach the house from different streets and directions. How exciting...you'll find the place that feels right. Trust your instincts. xoC

mmm, definitely a lurker here, but i moved to NC in june of 06--and we've been renting for the past year, but now are looking to buy...so i'm in the same boat. just wanted to check out everyone else's thoughts! anyway, NC is great! you'll love it!

Of course, before anything, you should look into what kind of house you're wanting and for the agent that would be representing you. Have you heard of or seen "Bought & Sold" on HGTV that airs every Sunday at 10pm? It's a show that would be really helpful to you. It's about a group of real estate agents and the show takes you inside the whole deal. I know this because I work with them. Check out http://web.hgtv.com/webhgtv/images/pac/59889/start_at_home.html?section=boughtsold,panel=videos for more information and good luck on your next home!

i am just taking notes!!!!!!!!!!

Hey!
Yes! Here's a very important hint! ! !
Make SURE that the real estate agent/broker represents "YOU - THE BUYER"! !

And, when you have the home inspected do NOT use the inspector that they choose. Do some research on your own and find a reputable inspector of YOUR choice.

We used the inspector that the sales people ram-rodded through, and even though we thought that we knew the sales people, we got burned. You would think that since we were the ones with the incoming money to them that they would have been more truthful with us. But we ended up with a less than perfect product in relation to the way it was presented and shown to us.

"Our" sales people actually represented the sellers more than they did us who were the buyers.

Make sure you have the real estate people on YOUR side - not the seller's side.

Good Luck!

I love your sweet blog/website. You're projects are always excellent. I'm probably in your Mom's age range - so you're dear.

Thanks.
Janice

I found it hard to find everything I wanted in one house so we had to find the one that was the best fit even though I didn't like some stuff. I searched the internet for a couple of months before we actually went to look for a house. Any way when you get to NC let me know....we moved there Aug 06. Good luck on the house hunting.

Lurker coming out to share that with small children you MUST have a designated play room. We had one in our first house and do not in our second house, even though it is bigger. We truly miss it.

i wish we had talked to the neighbors...and i wish we hadn't rushed into it. i would have liked to have rented a place first for at least 6 months- to get a feel for the place- and figure out exactly what neighborhood we wanted to live in. it has all worked out in the end- and we are leaving now so everything is manageable...but we were too rushed and didn't mull over the decision long enough. plus, you really can't get a true overview of the land in such a short amount of time...i could barely remember what the town looked like after we signed papers and drove back to the hotel. but as i said- most things work out fine- so good luck to you whatever you decide to do! owning a house is FUN!

House hunting sooo exciting!!

We were picky on our contract, I am sure the sellers thought we were crazy but its alotta money and I wanted everything my way haha. They replaced all the carpeting, fresh paint on all the walls, replaced trim work on the outside put new vents on the roof, etc..it was alot of little things but they sure do add up in the end. We asked for them to pay a percentage of the closing costs (depending on the area ask the realtor but here its usually the seller that pays) also asked for a professional home cleaning & 1 yr home warranty. Make sure u do a final walk thru before closing to make sure all requests u put in the contract are complete.


Go to the police station and get a crime report ask them which areas to stay away from. U might be able to search online our police dept has incident reports online by street. Talk to the neighbors.

As far at the mortgage part goes u can go on www.creditboards.com and u can have a broker look at your GFE and they will let u know if everything looks right or not. We went to USAA they were really easy to deal with.

Our home inspection was thru this company http://www.homegauge.com They did a great job we were here when they inspected which they highly recommended so u could learn more about the house. We got an email complete with pictures of things that needed to be fixed so we could amend our contract. They check EVERYTHING!! They have sample inspections on the site too.


Hollar if u have specific questions. Are u gonna be close to me??


Good Luck

Good luck on the house hunting!

LOVE Room Service :-) The best advice that I got and took when we bought our house was to visit at all times of the day--morning, noon and night. It may be quiet mid-day, but what's it like at night or on the weekends? Wishing you all the best.

go with a fixer-upper but with not too much fixing to do. you'll do fine and i cant wait to see what you find!

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