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Old 06-30-2013, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Idaho
4 posts, read 5,293 times
Reputation: 10

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Here's my situation... I am just about 25, have a 22 month old and my bf. I currently live in mountain home Idaho and have beenfor the last 9 years! I hate the heat, really miss the rain and thunderstorms. I am working on building my credit score, for I just started and it's a poor score of a smidge over 6 hundred. Was looking to move and buy a home that's preferably newer or at least no structural damage or infestations, something nice and safe for my son. At least now, hah B/c I've searched prices, I need a minimum of 2 BD 1 1/2 Bth, at least 1,000 sq ft. Lil fenced yard in good neighborhood with some stores or job opportunities. I've worked at my job for over 3 1/2 years and have worked to move on up and for a year now have been the manager when the too 2 managers are gone, pretty much an overall supervisor in a grocery store. I make 13.17hr and that's good for this area, min wage is 7.25, but cost of living is cheap here. Anyway, was looking to move somewhere between Seattle and Blaine. Blaine because that is where my boyfriends mom lives and only person I know in Washington, and Seattle just to be able to at least go do something on my days off work, not too often. Was thinking Bellingham till I read all those threads on here bout the ugly truth, and this is the first time on this site btw lol. I was hoping for a low mortgage payments, and in order to do that I guess I need to budget at probably no more than $150,000~$200,000, and that's probably pushing it, I need to consider all the utilities and now I'm learning some thing called HOA fees??

I'm just getting stressed feeling in my brain thinking of everything and hearing different things...really needed to just post my situation and possibly ask for help and others input. Thank u so much!
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:19 AM
 
7,362 posts, read 13,180,066 times
Reputation: 8933
If you don't want to pay for HOA, then don't look at those kinds of communities. There's some benefits to living in a community that has HOA fees for maintenance, amenities like swimming pools, fitness, clubhouse (depending on community); but it also comes with that lame caveat that you gotta follow those rules (like the whole Pink Flamingo BS). HOA can be found anywhere, even in Seattle. Some people like it, some *hate* it. As it is, don't worry about this issue unless you just happen to find that house that does have an HOA... then you weigh in whether it's worth it or not.

Bellingham is a good choice to check out, at least it's close to your bf's mom who'll probably be a great support. I'm not sure about the job market there. You mentioned the grocery store, have you looked into transferring (if they have a local store)? Don't worry about "The Ugly Truth" Bellingham thread, every city in the world has its boosters and its detractors. Some detractors are just bitterly loud. If it makes you feel better, look into the poster named Lamplight-- he's got some great photos of Bellingham and the area in the WA picture thread.

Personally, I'm very much the "Rent first, buy later" crowd. I'm sure you can find something within your budget, but you seem to be getting overwhelmed about the housing now. Just find the job first, and look to rent so that you can settle in. And when you're reading to tackle on buying a house... you'll be ready and more confident.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:22 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,539 posts, read 54,095,162 times
Reputation: 30760
Inkpoe gives good advice "Rent first, buy later" with the credit crackdown lenders will likely require you to be in your new job here for two years before approving a mortgage. There are very few homes in western WA for that price range, and they will not be new. In Bellingham that would be a 20 year old condo, or an older mobile home.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Idaho
4 posts, read 5,293 times
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I really appreciate your suggestions. Do you know how good the schools are in Bellingham and if the crime rate is fairly low? Also with the HOA things, do those fees change often and if I were to move to a house with it, does that mean my household members would be able to play free golf and use the pool for free, or is it just a cheaper price? I've liked online and saw some homes in sudden valley, is that a good area?
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:10 PM
 
Location: West Coast - Best Coast!
1,977 posts, read 2,855,110 times
Reputation: 2322
You most likely can't afford a house in any community that charges HOA fees. You can maybe afford a condo or a small home out in a rural area, but condos frequently have major HOA fees (which I would never pay...I don't like paying hundreds of dollars every month to a board that gets to decide how to spend my money) and the only developments that have HOA fees tend to be newer and in suburban areas. Honestly, you don't have much to choose from, so I don't think you're going to be in a position to be picky when it comes to things like walkability to stores or good quality schools.

Oh, and regarding free golf and pool... no, country clubs and pools charge extra for memberships. Sometimes private clubs require you to be a member of the HOA in order to join, though. I don't think any of that is going to apply to you, though, quite frankly.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:56 PM
 
7,362 posts, read 13,180,066 times
Reputation: 8933
Quote:
Originally Posted by raneedawn View Post
I really appreciate your suggestions. Do you know how good the schools are in Bellingham and if the crime rate is fairly low? Also with the HOA things, do those fees change often and if I were to move to a house with it, does that mean my household members would be able to play free golf and use the pool for free, or is it just a cheaper price? I've liked online and saw some homes in sudden valley, is that a good area?
Bellingham is fairly safe.

For schools, check out:

SchoolDigger.com - School Rankings, Reviews and More - Public and Private Elementary, Middle, High Schools
GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community
Washington State Report Card

As for HOA, every association is different. We can't answer about the fees or amenities unless there is a poster here who is also a member of that community you're inquiring about. Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about housing/HOA because you need to find a job first. It doesn't sound like you have a loan set in place, so its kinda putting the cart before the horse to even worry about the HOA.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:49 PM
 
3,930 posts, read 7,493,613 times
Reputation: 4416
You will find more affordable housing in Burlington, Mount Vernon, or Marysville than you will in Bellingham. Marysville schools are pretty bad, so I'm not recommending that you buy there, but if you're going to rent first you have plenty of time to move out before your child starts school.

Of these three, Burlington is most likely to have the type of house and neighborhood that you are looking for (when you buy). When you do buy, I recommend that you get a 3 BR, not a 2 BR, for two reasons: 1. your family may grow, and 2. 2 BR is harder to sell. Most houses have at least three anyway.

If you're renting, just go wherever the rent is good, as long as you stay near I-5 so you can get to Seattle and Blaine quickly. Lower rent means more money saved. More money saved means you'll be in your own house sooner.
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Idaho
4 posts, read 5,293 times
Reputation: 10
I actually really want a 3 bdrm, just thought those were more expensive lol, so that's good there's more of those. I was looking into mount Vernon, haven't really come across anything negative about that city yet. My plan was to just save here while I have my job and lower bulbs that I'm used to and then move and buy a home. I think Burlington is too small, I love in a 6 sq mike area with 14,000 population right now and have completely out grown the idea of seeing everyone I know and everywhere I go. It's nice though getting to know the frequent customers that shop at my work place though. Are there any USDA loan qualified places there? And I think I've come to the conclusion of not wanting to go to Marysville because people say it's hick town, and here it's somewhat like that. Do you have info on Everett? Oh and I miss being around some trees in the neighborhood or city
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,010 posts, read 22,749,611 times
Reputation: 34910
It actually sounds like Bellingham would fit most of your needs. I lived in Bellingham, then bought a house in Sumas on the Canadian border and commuted to Bellingham, which was hell, but that's the only place i could afford to buy.

My only complaint about Bellingham was the weather, really. I was young when I lived there, and had a good time. I always felt safe.

FHA loans don't require as good credit score as traditional financing. Last I heard you only needed a credit score of around 580, though not sure if that's still the case. You also only need 3.5% down and they'll wrap the closing costs into the financing.

My daughter moved from a job she'd had for around 8 years, to a new area for a new job. The lender was okay approving her for a loan for a new house, right after she moved and changed jobs, because she was still in the same line of work. So, if you can find a similar job, that may work for you, too.

As far as HOA's go. I HATE them! I had a condo in Davis, CA. I would never do it again. The HOA fees are unpredictable. They can always raise them. If you default on paying your HOA fees, they can foreclose on your home. Yes, the HOA, not the bank!

Paying for a golf club membership would always be cheaper, in my opinion, and at least you could cancel it whenever you wanted to.

So, I suggest going the single family home route. I don't know about the USDA loans, but I am familiar with FHA and they're great.

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/buying/loans
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:47 AM
 
7,362 posts, read 13,180,066 times
Reputation: 8933
Quote:
Originally Posted by raneedawn View Post
Are there any USDA loan qualified places there? And I think I've come to the conclusion of not wanting to go to Marysville because people say it's hick town, and here it's somewhat like that. Do you have info on Everett? Oh and I miss being around some trees in the neighborhood or city
Marysville would be a good temporary situation for someone trying get settled here. Its quite affordable and there's lots of stores (opportunities) around for you. But there other places you can live close by as well like Lake Stevens, Snohomish that are nicer, safe and family oriented.

There are plenty of threads that refer to Everett, so read up on those. Everett is a step up from Marysville. Its really where it starts to get "crowded" as you head to the metro.

And yes, there are USDA loans around here. Incidentally a couple people I know on FB were talking about the USDA loans... One girl who is a hairstylist was upset because she just applied for a USDA loan and found out there's a year waiting list. Somebody else rec that she goes to MT. Vernon, as that's where he got his USDA loan, and the whole thing from start to finish took about 2 months. Apparently that was where she went. So, you might have to see for yourself if it's a realistic option or not.

Last edited by Inkpoe; 07-04-2013 at 11:55 AM..
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