Author Topic: First-time homebuyer blues  (Read 3510 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
First-time homebuyer blues
« on: May 24, 2015, 07:33:47 PM »
We are very moderate mustachians, hoping to retire in mid-fifties, currently mid-30s. We were living and renting in a PRICEY city where it made no sense to buy, so a year ago we moved for same-paying jobs in a lower COL small town area. We started renting and watching the housing market, which is very strange out here. My max comfortable budget is 225k for something that needs very little work, but we are very willing to buy a less expensive home that might need moderate work. But almost everything here is around 170k or lower needing a LOT of work and/or something major that we want is missing (garage, yard, location, etc). OR houses seem to be 250k+ and just ok. Almost every home in our ranges tends to sit on the market for months, so we've been able to walk through many of them so far. Sad to say we have very little home repair skills and even less time to learn with our 1 year old and jobs, though I would love to...

Something finally came up that is lower in our range (180k) and fits our wants/needs as advertised, which we are realizing is very rare for this area. Our offer was accepted (just as another offer was brought forward - we got "first dibs"). We can pay for some repair jobs right away, then save for 4-5 years for bigger updates. However the home was advertised as having a "newer roof" (roof is 14 years old, common opinion around here is that roofs last about 25-30 years), but the inspector found soft spots and doubts the roof can make another 3 years - we're in New England. We asked the seller's agent to find out if the roof had a warranty and she immediately responded that "it's got another 3 years so there's no reason to repair it right away, but they can hire a roofer to check if they want a second opinion". I'm interpreting this as "the seller won't budge on the accepted offer," but that means we can't afford to do the other random repair jobs the inspector found plus a roof in three years without living on the edge for 6 months to a year. And we're not comfortable hiring a roofer when the inspector clearly said three years MAX.

I'm wondering how we determine what our "walkaway" point is, since this is a weird market and there is NO telling if any house that so closely matches our wish list will come up again any time soon. Do we swallow our pride and pay up to take the home as-is, knowing something else has to give, like getting our student loans paid off early? Or do we say no and have faith that another home is out there... even though our research has shown that in the past three years, very, very little has come up like this house? Thanks all.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8034
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: First-time homebuyer blues
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2015, 08:40:04 PM »
Are you happy where you are renting? What is motivating you to go from renting to buying? Since you've been in your location for a while, I'm assuming your current housing situation isn't dire. But a lot of it depends on how you feel about rebting. If you rent for another three years, will you be miserable with regret? I'm not sure you need to buy in this situation, but your emotions around continuing the hunt should be taken into consideration.


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
Re: First-time homebuyer blues
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2015, 08:49:49 PM »
Ehhhh. How's your gut feel? Are you worried they may be covering up other shoddy work?


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2544
Re: First-time homebuyer blues
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2015, 08:55:08 PM »
If you contact the sellers agent with an inquiry about the state of the roof and they indicate to you they may be willing to negotiate on a roof replacement, the agent isn't doing a very good job!  Indicating they are willing to take less money without a formal request in hand would be pretty poor negotiating.  Don't be discouraged until you get an estimate and make a formal request.

If you love the house, I wouldn't let a roof deter you.  It sounds like it is a reasonable value for the area and 3 years gives you plenty of time to barter with a roofer, make friends with a roofer, learn to roof yourselves.  Heck, by the time you actually need a new roof, you may be able to strap your kid into a harness and make it a father/child bonding activity!  4 isn't too young for that, right?  :)

If you don't love the house or don't mind renting, be willing to walk away.  They may be few and far between, but they aren't impossible to find.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7375
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: First-time homebuyer blues
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2015, 06:44:44 AM »
A new roof will run you, say, $5k if you use the top notch 30-year architectural shingles? I paid $4500 for mine a few years ago. Your market may differ. Just be aware that's probably coming out of your pocket in the next few years. Along with some other things you didn't expect. That's what happens when you own a house. Maintenance expenses should be budgeted in. Ideally your total costs of owning will be lower than your total costs of renting. Otherwise you're making this decision on non-financial criteria.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!