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 Finding a Realtor: 

We used a buyer's agent. They get paid a percent of the sale price of the house instead of us paying them a fee. We went with Deeb Realty (don't know if they exist in Eastern IA) because the house we were thinking of buying was listed through them. We ended up going with a different house, ultimately.

Finding a lender: 

This was the dumb assest annoying part. Because we were only in our mid-20s, no one took us seriously. We communicated with US Bank (who never got back to us), Wells Fargo (who never got back to us), and the company that shared an office with Deeb (who were dumb and I'll get to that). We went with Mutual of Omaha Bank because I work for the Insurance side and they couldn't ignore someone who was less than a block's walk away 40 hours a week. 

The lender issue:

The dumb ass lender said "yes, we'll finance you for houses that cost up to $X using the amount of money you currently have saved." Later when we show interest in a house "you can't even look at this house because you can't afford it." "But it's $X or under." "Too bad." So in short, make sure you have at least 3.5% of the purchase price already saved in case a lender is a dickface. MoO Bank just wanted the money when we signed the closing paperwork so they were much better to work with. Within 6 months of closing our loan was sold to Bank of America so it's not like it mattered anyway.

What do I wish I was told & random tips:
  • When you're shopping under a specific price point, you might have to go above it. The house we bought was a little more expensive than we were originally looking for, but it turns out it wasn't actually out of our reach as far as down payment and monthly payments. It's only more than our apartment because we're paying extra toward the principal every month.
  • Get a house government approved by Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They only require a 3-3.5% down payment and because it's gov't subsidized, the inspection process is more aggressive. They won't allow you to buy an unsafe broken piece of shit.
  • It takes a long time to find a house you'll like. It took us 3 months and the house we're in was actually the last one we were going to look at for a while. We were going to quit after this because of house hunter fatigue (I'm sure it's a real fake condition ;) )
  • Get a good home inspector. Ask for recommendations from your Realtor.
  • There are a couple sites that have crime reports by neighborhood. I got those from Steph and I can't remember what they are. They're VERY useful. You do not want to live at 33rd & Shot In The Face. For sure, one is SpotCrime http://spotcrime.com/#2001%20n%2062nd%20st%20omaha%2C%20ne

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July 2012

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