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House hunting: Back to basics

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nicole Leidholm
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
House hunting can be a very stressful yet rewarding experience. Going from house to house looking for the perfect home seems daunting but with a few helpful tips from the Airman and Family Readiness Center's Home Buyer and Foreclosure Avoidance class my husband and I were prepared for the long haul.

When my husband and I moved to California we went back and forth between buying a home or renting. We looked at all the positives and negatives of buying a house. What happens if we got orders to permanently change station shortly after buying?

We ended up renting but my husband, the fixer upper, kept dreaming up ways to update the house and doing home improvements. Unfortunately, when renting a home it's not practical to do home improvements.

This past spring we played around with the idea of finally owning a home. After looking at rentals we decided the mortgage on a home would be the same cost as renting, and that was for a high-end home. Our basic allowance for housing is probably one of the top reasons house buying seemed more reasonable. So, we started looking in newspapers and online for houses in our price range.

Eventually we sat down with a realtor and went over houses that were short sales, real estate owned homes and this thing called escrow. As a first time home buyer, all these terms were confusing. I felt like I need to take a step back because all of this was overwhelming.

Back at work I heard of a class for first time home buyers that helped Airmen and their families get on the right foot. My husband and I signed up for the class and a few weeks later headed to the AFRC.

I would have to say taking a step back to learn everything was about home buying was one of the best things we could do.

The class was very informative. First it went over credit and how things affect your credit and how to better your credit, especially for marketing yourself for getting a loan. They went over different types of loans: Veteran Affairs loan, Federal Housing Administration and bank loans, and which type of loan was right for us such as the upfront cost versus overall costs. Lastly was home buying and the types of homes out there, REO's, short sale and resale. We also learned how escrow worked and all the money that is needed to do inspections on the house before buying so you know what you're getting yourself into.

It was a good experience for us to take the class. There is no more confusion in what our realtor is saying when she has all this jargon about homes.

We've now started looking at homes, and thanks to the AFRC's home buying class I feel like I can be confident in knowing what I'm walking into, can understand what our realtor is saying to us and the real costs to buying a home.

Now all we have to do, the hardest part of home buying, is wait until we hear if our offer has been accepted before we can have the joy of living in a house that we can call our own.