Thursday, July 28, 2005

First Home

I am buying a house next year. I am using the word house loosely in that I am looking at houses, townhomes, condos, boathouses. My first preference would be a condo because I like urban living. I like being able to look out of my window and see cars and stores and to be able to walk down the street and get a newspaper and a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. Houses on the other hand do better in a hard economy and appreciate in value more quickly relative to condos so they seem like better investments. Plus, there are condo association fees and those can be steep. But then with houses there's maintenance, yard work, roofing and so forth.

First home buying can be intimidating to the novice buyer. Should I go for a condo or a house with a yard? Should I get a fixed-rate mortage or an ARM? How does my credit score affect my chances and how much mortgage payment will I be making a month? What kind of maintenance fees can I expect? How much house do I want? How much house can I afford? And what are those co-ops anyway?

I started looking at houses at the end of June. (Seems like I started everything at the end of June - new investments, new apartment lease, new goals, this blog) At that time I had a vague idea that I wanted to move out of the rent-trap but nothing more. Since then I have gone a step farther. I have started, what the French like to call, a dossier. It's a lot less impressive than it sounds really. My home-buying dossier consists of a few torn sheets from a notebook that I have scribbled all over and some cuttings of real estate articles for the Seattle metro area.

Turns out downtown Seattle condos are going for $5-6 million. Since when did Seattle become New York? A 2 bedroom house out in the boonies is still $500,000 and a 1 bed/1 bath condo with a waterview in downtown Kirkland is $315,000. The $500k house seems like a veritable mansion at 2200 sq ft compared to the Kirkland condo but apparently there have been incidents of mountain lion attacks in the neighborhood (acc. to a community article I dug up). Lovely isn't it?

And thus begins my home buying adventure. I am not daunted in the least. I mean to make this happen. My timeline is second half of next year which gives me plenty of time to get ready. Problem is knowing where to start. :)

4 Comments:

At 7/28/2005 5:09 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Pretty much all I can say is OUCH! NJ is overpriced as well, but I don't think at that level. Good luck - I know you will exceed your goal because you really have yourself together.

 
At 7/29/2005 10:08 AM, Blogger mmb said...

Thanks. I am beginning to think I should get into real estate. Housing prices here are crazy.

 
At 8/01/2005 1:15 PM, Blogger Madame X said...

I forget where I saw it, but there was some cost-of-living article that had Seattle as the #1 most expensive place to live in the US! You may be worse off than us New Yorkers!

 
At 8/02/2005 9:26 AM, Blogger mmb said...

I remember that article. It was on Forbes. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read that. It wasn't until I went looking for houses though that I realized how true it is. Seattle even has co-ops these days, did you know? Always thought that was a NY thing.

 

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