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Forum » Chew The Fat » Any homeowners?
I'm on the cusp of potentially buying a house - it's a fun and yet terrifying experience! Any words of wisdom or things you wish you would have done differently? Also how much are homes in your area? Coming out of California where a house is easily $800k, I'm relieved to find a nice home here for about $200k


I think the only information I would have liked to have known before committing to the purchase of our home was the situation surrounding the sale of it.

The lady living here was basically being kicked out by her parents because they didn’t like her lifestyle or the people she associated with, something we only discovered much later. It made getting her to leave so we could move in awkward

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Rick Ace Rhodes
I'm not a homeowner myself, but let me give you two pieces of advice based off of my parents experiences:

Headaches are going to happen. You are going to have all kinds of problems. Some common, some weird. Don't get worked up over it, just deal with it as they come.

Or do the exact opposite and have a temper tantrum every time something happens. If your child ever decides to become a writer, they'll have tons of material about their father getting angry over the simplest of problems.

More importantly, don't rush into something. Take you're time. My parents have complained non-stop over the past several years about the area they chose to move to. Had they known more about it, they would have not moved there and now regret the decision. Don't make the same mistake. Really get a feel for where you want to move to first, and get to know the house you want before making a final decision.
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I'm a homeowner. My realtor was pretty good and was quite knowledgeable. So he let us know all sorts of things to watch out for especially when it came to law regarding this stuff. Was almost 3 years ago so my memory is fuzzy. Gotta make sure any modifications the old owner did are up to code and have permits. I believe most local cities have sites where you can check this up. The house I bought had a finished basement but found out only half of it was permitted. Asked the owners to get it permitted before selling it to us. If anything went wrong and we got the house it would be our new responsibility. 

Doing a home inspection is also pretty useful. Don't know if they're required in most places but if the house has major issues they'll be able to spot them out for you and you can put that stuff forward during negotiations.

Also get real familiar with the Platt. That's where your property is marked. Wouldn't want to try and build a shed or something then realize you build it outside your Platt. That would be bad.

It may be too late since you picked your location but I made sure the schools in the surrounding area had good scores and reputations so that by the time my daughter had to go there she'd have at least a better education.

Yeah 200K for a house isn't bad. I got sort of lucky and found one for about 300K where most houses in my surrounding area can range from 450K to 700K depending on the area and the vicinity to DC. Only downside is the commute.
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shakin steak
Don't make an offer before getting the inspection.

When you hire contractors, put what you want in writing and be extremely specific. If you tell them you want something, write it down. Give it to them and have them sign it before starting. You have to sign theirs so get it your way, too. Trust no one, even if you think you have a good relationship.

Chicago has an enormous range of prices. Anywhere from $40,000 to millions. Of course at the extreme low end, you are getting a place that needs a lot of repair. Location is also a big factor. Two miles east of me, you could pay for a condo double or quadruple what we paid for a 5 bedroom vintage single-family with full basement and many original features. Two miles east of that and you are mega-rich.
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