I’m back

Dave · February 1, 2005 at 6:40 am · Filed Under Mariners 

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting at a drastically reduced rate the last few weeks. For a variety of reasons, I took a short hiatus from regular blogging to keep my sanity. The rest was good and needed, but as the calendar turns to February, I’m looking forward back to getting back to regular posting habbits. You can expect a new Future Forty before the night is over, and I promise I’ll post the results of the Feed Surveys this week.

And, on a quick personal note, if someone out there with experience in the realty/mortgage industry wants to provide me with some friendly counsel, email me. I’m beginning the process of buying my first home, and have found it relatively impossible to get an objective opinion on much of anything, despite the hours of research I’ve already poured into this. Having someone without a vested interest in taking my money to bounce things off would be a big help.


29 Responses to “I’m back”

  1. Zzyzx on February 1st, 2005 7:32 am

    The one advantage I had when I bought my house is that I was friends with my mortgage broker. See if you know anyone who does that 😉

  2. Greg Thompson on February 1st, 2005 7:39 am

    To reduce the possibilities of expensive problems down the road be sure to have the house professionally inspected, and have yuor attorney review the paperwork before you sign. Both are cheap insurance.

  3. Josh on February 1st, 2005 8:04 am

    First Nellie and now you. Welcome back!

  4. msb on February 1st, 2005 8:32 am

    well, FWIW, apparently Rich Amaral is now in the mortgage business when he isn’t running his baseball camps…

  5. Evan on February 1st, 2005 9:12 am

    In addition to an inspector, if you happen to know an engineer, they’re always good to look at the structure of the building.

    My brother (an engineer) and his roommate (another engineer) once got out of their lease by having their building condemned (concrete beams under tension in the basement).

  6. devil's advocate on February 1st, 2005 9:28 am

    Just bought a home 6 months ago. My only advice is to make sure you get a final walkthru, preferably on the day you are going to sign. You don’t want to go in to the title company and sign those papers, having last seen the inside of the house weeks prior.

  7. Morisseau on February 1st, 2005 9:43 am

    Here’s another couple of things to remember, which should be obvious but somehow escaped me on my first time buying. First, mortgage brokers make their money based on the amount they loan you, so they’re inclined to loan you as much as possible. Calculate a monthly budget based on what you’re comfortable spending, and give that number to your broker, and have them tell you how much they’ll be able to loan you for a payment of that size. BEWARE — they will offer you loans for MUCH more, leaving you little money for incidentals such as groceries, or beer. Second, real estate agents are much the same way — the buyers agent and the sellers agent each make (usually) 3% of the sale price of the property. Therefore, it is in the best interest of EACH of the agents concerned to drive the purchase price up higher. Much more so than the word of the agent representing you, the best indicator of a fair price is the sale price of similar properties in the area. Be very wary of an agent urging you to move ahead quickly in any situation. Finally — remember, the seller is selling for a reason, and every month that they don’t sell, they’re stuck paying interest on a property they don’t want. So you’re in a position of strength. If the seller is paying $800 in interest a month, it won’t be to his/her advantage to wait 6 months for the asking price rather than to settle quickly for an offer $5000 lower.

    I think I say that everyone at USSM is anxiously awaiting the housewarming BBQ before King Felix’s first Tacmoa / seattle start.

    best luck

  8. Zzyzx on February 1st, 2005 9:58 am

    “So you’re in a position of strength. If the seller is paying $800 in interest a month, it won’t be to his/her advantage to wait 6 months for the asking price rather than to settle quickly for an offer $5000 lower.”

    Be careful playing too many games like that in the Seattle area at least right now. It’s a seller’s market and will be as long as people keep moving here.

  9. Dave on February 1st, 2005 9:59 am

    I guess I forgot that not everyone knows that I live about 3,000 miles from Seattle, and will be purchasing my home in North Carolina. Unless you want to travel 3,000 miles for that housewarming, I wouldn’t count on gathering at Dave’s New Place before the King Felix Party.

  10. Zzyzx on February 1st, 2005 10:08 am

    Dave – I knew, but I still thought that advice was good anyway 😉

  11. Tangotiger on February 1st, 2005 10:57 am

    ugh. I just wrote a long post, and I left the “Yes” in there, and now my post is lost.

    A summary of my long and lost post:
    – all mortgage bankers essentially borrow from the same souce (FannieMae), so beware of sweet deals, as they have hidden costs

    – your big decision is fixed or ARM, and depends alot on whether you expect to still live in the same house 5 to 7 years from now

    – you lock-in your rate for a set period, 60 days say, and if you don’t close, you get a new (maybe higher) rate… the longer your lock-in period, the higher your rate or closing costs

    – go to etrade.com, as you’ll get a good “market price” to judge against

  12. jason on February 1st, 2005 11:11 am

    One good thing to start with is to check your own credit online (equifax or whatever) for $10. Make sure there isn’t anything on there that there shouldn’t be.

    Once you have your ducks in a row find a bank to *pre-approve* you for a mortgage loan. This is basically going through the mortgage process before actually knowing which house you’re interested in buying. The bank will look at the factors involved and decide how much to loan you. Then you will know in advance that the most expensive house you can possibly afford will be “x”. My sister did that and was able to move into a home within 3 weeks of seeing it for the first time.

    Also, make sure you take a look to see if there are any city or state programs for first-time homebuyers. The city of Seattle has something like this where they’ll loan an individual up to $30,000 or something for their downpayment at a fixed 2.2% interest rate or some crazy good deal like that. That way you end up having two mortgages right off the bat, of course, but the higher the downpayment the lower rest of the payments and/or the lower interest rate. You would have to meet income requirements, but since you don’t actually live here then it’s just an idea, and worth checking out. For all y’all that do live in seattle, check it out.

    uh… oh, and get your house inspected and all that.

    A good rule of thumb is that if you can find an ugly house with bad yardwork and terrible paint and shag carpet it will knock as much as $25,000 off the price of the house… and those are all things you can fix yourself for +/- $10,000, so that’s always something to keep in mind if you don’t break your thumb every time you pick up a hammer or whatever.

    good luck!

  13. JJM on February 1st, 2005 11:17 am

    Speaking of hiatuses and write-ups on minor leaguers, John Sickels is leaving ESPN and starting a free daily weblog.


  14. Evan on February 1st, 2005 11:30 am

    Hey, I like shag carpet. Especially on the walls. With the whole room lit in blue light.

    Whoa. ’70s flashback.

  15. Troy on February 1st, 2005 11:31 am

    What part of NC do you live in again Dave? I want to say Fayetteville, but I can’t really remember.

  16. Dave on February 1st, 2005 11:33 am

    High Point, at the moment, but am probably going to buy a house in Greensboro or Winston-Salem.

  17. David on February 1st, 2005 11:45 am

    Dave, if you’re a handy fellow, you should look into the properties outside Greensboro in Glencoe Mill Village: http://www.glencoemill.org/ It’s a 19th-century Mill neighborhood that someone has purchased and is reselling the properties for dirt cheap. The catch, of course, is that the properties themselves leave much to be desired – such as windows, doors, plumbing or electricity, and, in some cases, portions of walls. However, for 30,000, you can get a shell of a house and fix it up yourself (or pay someone to do it). I have two friends who are doing this, paying 25,000 for the house and then doing most of the work themselves. They think they can go from start to finish for about 40,000 on top of the original outlay. If you had professionals do all the work that number might double, but it’s still a great price for a nice house in a unique area.

  18. Troy on February 1st, 2005 12:04 pm

    Given those two options, I’d pick Greensboro . . . but that’s just me. Can’t really go wrong on Tobacco Road.

  19. Paul Molitor Cocktail on February 1st, 2005 12:54 pm

    Dave, while you are out house shopping, can you FedEx me some real NC BBQ? Oh, and some cole slaw…

  20. Troy on February 1st, 2005 1:47 pm

    Mmmmmm. NC BBQ. I’ve been gone three years but I’ll be visiting in February, so I’m sure I’ll be hitting that up.

  21. eponymous coward on February 1st, 2005 2:30 pm

    Try the Steel Pig for Carolina BBQ without going to Carolina. Or Milt’s on the Eastside. 😉

  22. David J Corcoran on February 1st, 2005 2:39 pm

    I’d stay in the Greensboro area, not Winston-Salem. Or go in between, to Friendship off I believe NC-68 and US-70 (not sure, haven’t been to Greensboro in about 3 years; my sister went to UNCG). That’s a nice booming area where property is a bit cheaper.

  23. MZak on February 1st, 2005 2:50 pm

    Buy these books: Home Buying for Dummies and Mortgages for Dummies. I’m not a fan of the Dummies books but these are simple, straightforward, accurate and quick reads. But in the end you’ll learn more by doing than reading. These are good overviews. Ask as many questions as possible to as many people as possible. Find a good realtor if you can. You’ll know one the moment you meet them as they stand out from the rest. They’re cheaper than attorney’s and if they want a good customer over the years, will be available for you whenever you need. I’ve found mine to be invaluable.

  24. FrayLo on February 1st, 2005 4:21 pm

    I’m an engineer and I could look at the house beforehand. But I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything, because there are many different kinds of engineers.

    you probably want a civil engineer.

  25. Adam M on February 1st, 2005 5:14 pm

    I’m also an engineer, and could look at your house beforehand. I engineer model trains, mostly. Is that a problem?

  26. Jon Graves on February 1st, 2005 5:23 pm

    Hi Dave,
    The hardest thing about buying a house, IMHO, is trusting the various professionals at different levels of the process. In the end, you just have to do it to stand a chance in a competitive market.

    Best of luck,

  27. fiction on February 1st, 2005 7:19 pm

    Dave…Now that you are posting again when you have the time please rate the SS in the minors. Know in previous postings suggested Adam Jones maybe switched to pitching, Tui outfield, Morse 3rd or ? Cabrerra sounds to be the future Lopez 2nd base? Your expertease will be appreciated..

  28. Dave on February 1st, 2005 8:10 pm

    You know, that comment would fit in really well in the Future Forty thread…

  29. msb on February 2nd, 2005 9:23 am

    so is the NC BBQ the mustard-based kind you find in SC?