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Thread: Advice on Buying a House

  1. #61
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    I don't know. If I'm a FSBO, unless I'm desperate I can guarantee I'm factoring that commission into the price I'd accept for the house if I agree to work with a buyer's agent at all.


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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    I don't know. If I'm a FSBO, unless I'm desperate I can guarantee I'm factoring that commission into the price I'd accept for the house if I agree to work with a buyer's agent at all.
    In reality you end up taking the best offer and it doesn't matter if there's a commission involved. It pretty much works like this: You price it high. The buyer lowballs it. You counter and pretty soon it becomes clear what the buyer will pay. The amount he will pay won't change based upon a commission. As a seller you'll also hold out for the highest price you can get, regardless of commissions. For example if you got an offer of $300K, you'll try to get $310K out of them regardless of whether you have to pay his realtor's commission or not. You're not going to quit dickering just 'cause he agreed not to use a realtor.

  4. #63
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    I mean, I'm absolutely taking a lower offer if it's better than an otherwise "higher" offer net of commission.

  5. #64
    Are we not men? Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    I can't offer much advice on buying a home, since I've only bought one in my life and we're still in it 18 years later, so I'm not the most experienced home buyer. So the financial aspects I would leave to more the more seasoned veterans here. I can offer some caveats based on what people I know have experienced.

    I would agree with the idea of buying a lesser home in a better school district. Our house is a little on the small side, especially the bedrooms, so it makes a good starter home. We've seen a lot of our neighbors move on to larger homes down the road. When the housing bubble burst, our neighborhood had its fair share of foreclosures, but things bounced right back up when the economy got better. People are always looking to buy into a nice school districts, so if you have to sell for some reason, there's a good chance you'll find a buyer quickly. Meanwhile, people I've known who bought in bad school districts, even though they put lots of time, effort, and money into updating their house, have had problems trying to sell, and often end up buying a new house and then renting out the old one. Of course, many of them have actually been able to cover the mortgage, maintenance, and a nice tidy profit when they're handy and can take care of repairs themselves. I actually know a couple people who have done well enough that they ended up buying a few more properties to rent out. But you do have to factor in costs like attorneys fees if you need to go through eviction proceedings. So I recommend against buying in a poor school district unless you're ok with the prospect of becoming a landlord down the road.

    Buying vs. renting can seriously depend on where you live. Living in someplace like the LA or Chicago, buying a home can be just plain out of reach. My wife and I moved back to Ohio from Chicago primarily because trying to buy a home anywhere near the city was hugely expensive. When we left, the price for a studio condo was more than a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house a nice suburban Ohio school district. I can't say what Atlanta is like, but in Ohio, when you factor in cost per square foot and what you can get for your money here, buying is typically much cheaper than renting. Actually, I have a couple friends, one who works for a company based in LA, and one for a company based in Connecticut, who have jobs that pay them LA and NY Metro salaries, but since they travel a lot for work, their companies allow them to telecommute for office work, they do quite well for themselves and were able to pay off their mortgages in a relatively short period of time. Of course, part of that too was sticking with a reasonably priced house in a decent neighborhood and resisting the temptation to upgrade to an overpriced McMansion, or in the one guy's case, resisting his wife's desire to own a "Century Home" in a historic district. Century homes look really cool, but not only does it cost a lot to maintain a 100 year old home, I've heard that when you do repairs or improvements, you have to get the local historical society to sign off on things or risk losing the "Century Home" designation.

    Also with owning vs. renting, you don't have to worry about the landlord selling your home out from under you. I had to move twice as a young adult when the apartments I was living in went condo.
    Last edited by Yachtzee; 02-13-2020 at 04:10 AM.
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  6. #65
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    The buyer? Not really. It's the seller. I'm particularly curious about how this works when a house that's selling is not using an agent. Invariably the way these things work is that the buyer has an agent and that agent's commission is paid for by the seller at closing. If you're the buyer, why not get an agent? You're not paying for him
    You say tomato, a seller's agent says tomahto. I just sold two properties with an agent.I have a good idea of the value of homes in each market. In each case, the selling price they got me for the homes was better than I thought they we'd get, more than double what they earned in commission.
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  7. #66
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    You say tomato, a seller's agent says tomahto. I just sold two properties with an agent.I have a good idea of the value of homes in each market. In each case, the selling price they got me for the homes was better than I thought they we'd get, more than double what they earned in commission.
    I agree. I think it's worth it to pay an agent for the very reason you stated.

  8. #67
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    I'm going to be a voice of dissent on the school district thing. I think a school district should be a consideration in terms of your house, but maybe not the neighborhood you want to live in. If there's an area that really appeals to you and you think is good for your family in other ways, then I don't know that the school district should be the break factor there (provided you're ok with sending your kids there, have charter school options, or can budget for private school). I don't think it makes or breaks the value of the house as patently as some others here have said.

    We live in the second-worst school district in the state of Pennsylvania, but the value of houses in our neighborhood has skyrocketed. People are moving to and back to the city in droves and the neighborhood and houses here are very desirable, to the point of bidding wars in some cases. I guess there's a chance that will improve the school district over time, but as of now it seems unlikely. Still, I'm happy to be here. There's an ideological factor here too; I have friends who are appalled that we would consider private school, but to me it's the trade-off for raising kids in a bustling, diverse neighborhood where you can walk places. I think the "buy in a good school district" may be a piece of advice more skewed toward the suburbs. If that's where you want to live, then yes, that should be a big factor. But you can live in a great school district that still may not be the best place for your family.

    Lots of good advice here.
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  10. #68
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I think the "buy in a good school district" may be a piece of advice more skewed toward the suburbs.
    I think you nailed the thesis of the rest of your post right here, and I agree.

  11. #69
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I'm going to be a voice of dissent on the school district thing. I think a school district should be a consideration in terms of your house, but maybe not the neighborhood you want to live in. If there's an area that really appeals to you and you think is good for your family in other ways, then I don't know that the school district should be the break factor there (provided you're ok with sending your kids there, have charter school options, or can budget for private school). I don't think it makes or breaks the value of the house as patently as some others here have said.

    We live in the second-worst school district in the state of Pennsylvania, but the value of houses in our neighborhood has skyrocketed. People are moving to and back to the city in droves and the neighborhood and houses here are very desirable, to the point of bidding wars in some cases. I guess there's a chance that will improve the school district over time, but as of now it seems unlikely. Still, I'm happy to be here. There's an ideological factor here too; I have friends who are appalled that we would consider private school, but to me it's the trade-off for raising kids in a bustling, diverse neighborhood where you can walk places. I think the "buy in a good school district" may be a piece of advice more skewed toward the suburbs. If that's where you want to live, then yes, that should be a big factor. But you can live in a great school district that still may not be the best place for your family.

    Lots of good advice here.
    This is all true, my advice on that was a very, very defensive position where it's a safeguard for anyone worried about losing principle in a bad recession. I'm also a big believer in streetcar suburbs where you get good schools and walkability both.
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  12. #70
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    Under contract to sell our 5 year old townhouse. (Used longtime friends who we knew for a fact were fantastic realtors.) Townhouse served us well while our kid was in middle and early high school. No time for a yard or maintenance when weekends were at softball tournaments, track/cross country/swim meets, band concerts, etc. Daughter is in private school so we aren't locked into a school district. Now she can drive and she'll be off to college in 18 months, so it's time to rethink and redefine what constitutes "home". Relatively easy to do as neither of us are sentimental about, well, much.

    Looking for a house that has good bones in our current part of town so that Mrs. can do what she has always wanted to do - rip out walls, gut kitchen & bathrooms, etc. This is in her professional wheelhouse and I've had some exposure to construction recently through work. Lined up an apartment for 6 months so we have time to find what's right for us and get it renovated before moving in. We'll be sitting on cash and flexibility as all sorts of properties start going on the market in mid to late spring. We'll be nimble in ways that most other people can't.

    Let the headaches and fun begin!

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  14. #71
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    From Bankrate.com:

    For today, Friday, March 19, 2021, the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 3.320% with an APR of 3.490%. The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate is 2.520% with an APR of 2.780%. The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rate is 3.120% with an APR of 3.910%, according to Bankrate’s latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders.
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    Re: Advice on Buying a House

    Quote Originally Posted by 15fan View Post
    Under contract to sell our 5 year old townhouse. (Used longtime friends who we knew for a fact were fantastic realtors.) Townhouse served us well while our kid was in middle and early high school. No time for a yard or maintenance when weekends were at softball tournaments, track/cross country/swim meets, band concerts, etc. Daughter is in private school so we aren't locked into a school district. Now she can drive and she'll be off to college in 18 months, so it's time to rethink and redefine what constitutes "home". Relatively easy to do as neither of us are sentimental about, well, much.

    Looking for a house that has good bones in our current part of town so that Mrs. can do what she has always wanted to do - rip out walls, gut kitchen & bathrooms, etc. This is in her professional wheelhouse and I've had some exposure to construction recently through work. Lined up an apartment for 6 months so we have time to find what's right for us and get it renovated before moving in. We'll be sitting on cash and flexibility as all sorts of properties start going on the market in mid to late spring. We'll be nimble in ways that most other people can't.

    Let the headaches and fun begin!
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