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Old 01-10-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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Since April, my Husband and I have been trying to buy our first home in Missoula. My husband is born and raised here, his family is here and he wants to raise our family here. It is amazing that there is nothing we can buy. We have coem to 2 reasons as to why. The money we make being(or dont make) and the housing market being so high. I know that many peopel can come to Montana with money and buy really nice houses. What I am needing advice on is how we can buy our first home, a home for under 200k that is not a junk hole for alot of money. I am so discouraged every sunday when we go to open houses and the homes for 199K-180K need to be repaired and fixed for them to even be liveable. Does anyone have any advice for us on buying our home in Missoula? Thanks
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:28 PM
 
495 posts, read 420,399 times
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Hi -

No advice just sympathy. It is a sad situation isn't it. As you probably have seen some areas are cheaper than others even though they are not that far apart, also getting out of missoula just a ways can be cheaper, you may have explored those options though.
If I have any advice at all to give you - DON"T beleive anything a realestate person tells you.
My experience in looking for a home:
> if you don't have an existing place to sell for the agent to sell, 50 percent of the agents lose interest in you.
> If you aren't willing to move into any piece of junk they show you after about showing you 10 houses they will lose interest in you.
> The agents will try and fit you into a house 'they' are trying to sell, because someone in their office has it listed or instance.
> Don't expect the agent to look for the house 'you' want - there may be a house just for you but the agent won't mention it to you becasue someone else in their office maybe trying to sell it to their client and they don't want to get in the middle and sell it to you and **** off the other agent.
> Every agent I ever worked or talked with had one thing in mind reguardless of what they said....they want to show me 10 houses and have me buy one in a couple weeks - or they quit calling me back up.
> The agent and bank will make you feel like they are doing you a favor even though your the one spending the money.
> when it comes time to buy they will soak you for everything little thing they can think of, tell them you want a list of every exact cost before you go to closing.
> They want some one who is all wet, ready to be screwed and desperate to buy. DISPITE what they all will tell you about being to serve you.
> Ask the agent for a listings of all the sold house in the last couple, three, four or five years that have sold in the areas you are interested in...........just glancing over those listings you will get a good idea exactly what houses are really selling for, NOT what they are asking for them. Take that list and drive buy the houses on the list, it won't take long and you'll start getting a good feel for what the houses are worth, sure the house could be in any condition but you will get a good general idea what to expect.
> don't ever let anyone know, including your agent that you 'want that house' - any good sales person knows that once they know you 'want' something the barganing is over, over for you that is.
> the market is down now, the number of houses being sold is off what looks like to be 10 or 20 percent, but the median price is still going up, but the median prices is deceptive.
> NEVER trust 'your' agent, or take them at their word or anyone else's word..when it comes to realestate, I know alot of people (agents on here will totally disagree) but it's your money, and never trust anyone in business dealing when it comes to 'your' money, always cover you butt -
> they will make you feel like they are doing you a favor, that's their job, and that you should be gratefull and 'move' on a house. NEVER start feeling like you are wasting their time or owe them anything because they've showed you one or twenty houses. They might be mother Thersa herself but they need that commission to pay this months mortgage on their own house, and don't forget it.
I had a agent one time who tried to sell me everything but what I wanted, even when the house would pop up right in the area I wanted they wouldn't call, I'd call them and say "what about that....." - in one case our relationship terminated when she said "if you want this house we have to go write it up today" - the house had an obvious and disclosed major foundation repair, I said no way until and unless I knew more - At that point I summized she got the hint that I wasn't going to be shuffled into any old house, and in typical fashion she lost interest. They can say anything they want but that's the way they operate even though they'd deny it from here to eternity.
And when anyone says to you "we have to trust each other" look for the nearest exit, you'll about to get hosed......
On the good side the market is definetly softening around here, I heard of people having their house on the market for months on end, and not selling or taking alot less than the asking price....so even though you are in a comprimising position financially - don't let them buffalo or bull you around, it's your money, you are doing them the favor and look at it that way - or as I like to think - 'screw them' and their house.
Remeber houses have been driven up way past what they should be, so personally I would feel bad about making an offer of much less than the asking price. And dont' fall for the "You make the sell mad or insult them" - they always try to give you that crap.
And don't feel like you need an agent AND DON'T SIGN any agreement with a buyer's agent DON'T.
Get those listing of sold house, pour over them, then if an agent can find you a place, ok, if not if there is a 'for sale by owner' go talk to the owner yourself, you'll have an idea what the house is worth.
Remeber some sellers are just fishing, they'll inflate the price just to see if they can catch one.
Watch out to, sometime a house in the neighborhod will be "extremly" over-price and maybe so on purpose, the idea is that it will make the other over-prices seem fair priced in comparsion even though that aren't. Once again have that listing will really help.
Good luck and don't take any crap-ola, and remember a piece of sh*t is not a bargin at any price. In other words rotten apples aren't even a bargin at half price.
I know someone who got kinda suckered into a home, they 'fell for the place' and that was it, case closed they took the bait, hook, line and sinker, then they dumped another 50k into the place, when it was all said and down, they could have got a nicer place in a nicer neighborhood. But they 'had to have' that place. And they weren't very market savy. They basically got took, and they pretty much bought at the market top. So it's not lik they are gonna sell in a couple years and make anything.
And oh don't beleive that "you'll build equity" - it doesn't work that way - you build 50k in equity, when it comes time to move up - the move up house has inflated at the same pace so any ground you gain is out stripped by the inflated price of the mover-up home. You'll only come out ahead by selling and moving to a cheaper area in that case.

Last edited by JoeJoeMan; 01-10-2008 at 07:51 PM..
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:33 PM
GLS
 
1,985 posts, read 5,103,573 times
Reputation: 2458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickelburgs View Post
Since April, my Husband and I have been trying to buy our first home in Missoula. My husband is born and raised here, his family is here and he wants to raise our family here. It is amazing that there is nothing we can buy. We have coem to 2 reasons as to why. The money we make being(or dont make) and the housing market being so high. I know that many peopel can come to Montana with money and buy really nice houses. What I am needing advice on is how we can buy our first home, a home for under 200k that is not a junk hole for alot of money. I am so discouraged every sunday when we go to open houses and the homes for 199K-180K need to be repaired and fixed for them to even be liveable. Does anyone have any advice for us on buying our home in Missoula? Thanks
Sorry, no magic. "Crap" houses means your husband has to be a handyman, and if owning is that important to you, you'll probably both have to give up weekends to work on the house for a few years.

If you can't do the above (and I couldn't), you might find some financial "tricks". For example, look at homes slightly higher in price, in hopefully better condition, and ask for a lease/option to buy. You might be able to accumulate a small amount for a down payment over 1 to 2 years.

In the interim, you can soften your disappointment by eliminating a lot of houses online. Try using trulia.com or zillow.com. You can do a lot of shopping and eliminating without tying up all your time visiting. You can also find info on foreclosures or potential short sales.

I would also suggest presenting your problem on the "real estate" professionals forum. It doesn't matter if you think they are on your side or "the enemy". It helps to know what they are thinking.

Although the above does not solve your problem, I hope it helps.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:13 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 12,915,777 times
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When we moved here all we could afford was the $28,000. we paid for our place. True it is an older huge wooden mobile on piers on the rez. but what the heck It's frigging paid for already. We didn't mind being so far out because we had to travel a lot on business anyway. The commute to Missoula from our town can be done but it's a little scary and rough on some folks. The smaller houses in our town seem to end up going for way under $100,00 even though a few folks are asking way more than that sometimes.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:44 AM
 
3 posts, read 10,036 times
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Default How about building?

Thanks for the informative replys! We will certainly use some of the advice in the next few weeks.
We have another question: How about having a home built.
We have been told, by a builder of course, that building is much cheaper than buying, since we can find cheap lots and at this time of year all laborors are desperate for work. We've heard of a way to appraise the house initially and then discount the home so that we don't have a 100% financed home.
Is this possible?

Thanks again in advance for your help.
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Old 01-12-2008, 01:07 PM
 
495 posts, read 420,399 times
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I have no experience with having a house built - but what I've heard and maybe other here will agree, is that contractors are notorious for screwing up and screwing you in the process in any number of ways.
Of course that is not to say, there aren't good honest contractors out there, it's just that the playing field is also loaded with shady ones.
My friend really got screwed over, not on a new home but a big remodel, to the tune of about 75k, and it was a contractor that he actually got a good recommondation on initially. They guy basically did sh*t work that didn't pass inspection and had to be redone. They were fixing up the house to sell it, the screwing basically took out all their profit from any potential sale and then the market started going south (down in price)which made it worse.
Which is another thing, I 'think' what is going on in the market now is that, newer homes particularlly on the low end, are still rising in price, probably due to the increase in material costs. And that they are being built with less and less meaning that to squeeze a profit out, no garage, no yard, etc...but the price still keeps going up, you've probably noticed that.
The people on the bottom have X amount of dollars, like their budget is a 180k, so homes will be built to grap that market share, it's just that you'll get less and less. That's part of the condo craze, because the market has been reduced to that, most people can't afford a real house anymore. SO "we'll build'em a condo".
On the other hand I hear the existing homes in the mid-upper price range are sitting and having to be reduced in price to move them.
That's not to say that a big fish still won't appear from Calif with a fist full of house-cash-out-dough and drop it here without a whimper on a way over-priced house.....I think that still has and impact here, as sellers are still hoping to catch 'the big one' so house prices are stubornly staying high, even though not selling. Don't forget most people don't have to sell there house, they just would like to. However some people 'have to' sell their house and those are the people that in the end will have to come down in price when push comes to shove....so we'll see what the future brings.
Personally, I want to buy a house, but I ain't about to give away my hard earned cash to an outragously over priced market, basically giveing someone else a couple hundred thousand dollars profit for doing NOTHING, no thanks, let some other sucker to it.....If when the market really craps out, the houses will probably still be somewhat over-priced but....I'll start looking then, and I won't feel the least bit bad about making offers that are substaintially less than the asking price, if everyone did that we'd would have some reasonable prices around here. But people are to willing to throw away their money or go in hock up to their eye-balls these days, (A fool and his money are soon parted) no thanks that ain't for me...I'm actually living a lot cheaper and saving lots of money by still renting, considering what buying a house would cost, taxes, upkeep, insurance, etc. Some people say when renting you are just giving your money to your landlord, that's the realestate and the bank talking though, because when you buy you are giving your money away to EVERYONE - the bank, the taxman, the insurance company, the plumper, your name it, and what little is left over you pay on the principle, in the end you might, just might come out ahead, maybe you'd have to add it all up and hope that in the furture there is another explosion upward in realestate prices... and then you'd have to sell only to buy something else to realize a profit.
Call me silly but I just don't feel like giving away and extra 100-200k to someone else for doing nothing, just because the market is over valued.
Oh and another bit of advice......don't start think that you have to have a home..because then you start feeling like that then you can't rest until you get one - and that's the perfect way to get taken....You don't have to buy a house, no one is holding a gun to your head. If you want to buy a house - fine - just don't get to feeling like you 'have to', look at it more like, "I'd like to buy one and when a good deal comes along I do it", even if it takes a year or more. But hey that's just me talking for my situation, your's is, I'm sure completly different.
And thanks for giving me the oppurtunity to ramble on again
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Old 01-12-2008, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 39,199,795 times
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I've seen it here. When a couple of the contractors build for a developer, they do great work because they know the developer has the money to come after them. When they build for private individuals, they do shoddy work because they know the person only has the money to get the house done, not be able to go after them for shoddy work.

But we also have some honest good contractors here in town. I've seen them do things like build a 12 by 12 shed for their tools to be locked up at night and then leave the shed for the owner at no extra charge.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:29 PM
GLS
 
1,985 posts, read 5,103,573 times
Reputation: 2458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickelburgs View Post
Thanks for the informative replys! We will certainly use some of the advice in the next few weeks.
We have another question: How about having a home built.
We have been told, by a builder of course, that building is much cheaper than buying, since we can find cheap lots and at this time of year all laborors are desperate for work. We've heard of a way to appraise the house initially and then discount the home so that we don't have a 100% financed home.
Is this possible?

Thanks again in advance for your help.
Don't know how much this will help, but I have had one home built in Rhode Island, and two built from scratch in California, another MAJOR remodel in California. My experience has varied from "the contractor from hell" to an excellent craftsman who was reliable and came in within budget. On the disaster contractor I had to live in an 8 foot trailer for 18 months and finish the house myself. I stopped the bank draws to the contractor and took him to the Contractor's Board where he eventually lost his license. In other words it is easy to make mistakes in choosing a contractor, and if you do, the costs may cripple you, not to mention the stress.

On the positive, I am currently having two contractors bid on a house for me outside of Ronan. Both have good reputations. I am finding their bids coming in at about $125/square foot for a "basic" house, and $150/square foot for a "nice" house. Obviously, these are very rough guidelines because it depends on your personal taste. If you have to have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, stone fireplace, etc you could easily run the cost up to $200/square foot.

Here are a few points that may help you if you decide to build:

1. Physically inspect at least 3 houses he has built in the past year. Talk privately with the owners and ask them what they liked and what they didn't. Cover all your areas of concern, i.e. reliability, quality of construction, budget, demeanor of his subcontractors when on site, etc.
Make sure he is licensed and bonded.

2. Have your plans drawn ahead of time. This will cost you around $1000 to $1500 based upon my experience in Polson. Triple-check them. Every last detail. Sleep with them if you have to, but make sure they are perfect BEFORE you start.

3. Make sure you and your spouse can devote enough time and energy to the project. It takes tons of time to make all the decisions you will be asked to make on lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, roof materials, paint colors, siding, trim, appliances, flooring, etc. All these things need to be picked out in a timely manner. If you change your mind or delay your decisions this slows up the contractor and YOU will pay for it. Some states consider building a new house from scratch to be suitable grounds for divorce proceedings.

4. Be prepared to be frustrated by things you CAN'T control. These include well, septic, building fees, etc. For example: Every neighbor around me found water at between 280 feet and 380 feet. I had to drill to 555 feet and it cost me about $6000 over budget. You may run into decisions like this where you feel you are between a rock and a hard place, but you don't have many options.

5. Try to be objective when you pick out things that you have control on, i.e. flooring. Just like you don't grocery shop when you are hungry, don't walk into a building supply place with stars in your eyes. Decide ahead of time a few things that are luxuries that are really important to you, and get them. However, try to offset this with areas you are willing to compromise on. Here is another point: Doublecheck ahead of time if your contractors allowances are FAIR. If you already know you want tile flooring, make him include it in the bid. Otherwise you are going to pick out something nice and the salesman is going to say, "Sorry, but your contractor has only allowed $6.00/yard for indoor/outdoor carpeting.

6. I doubt you will save much because "all laborers are desperate for work this time of year". The real labor costs are with the skilled subcontractors (electricians, plumbers). If they are good, they have their work lined up well in advance and assuming they haven't been grossly over-charging, they don't discount their fees much. The two builders that I am considering have projects lined up well into next Fall.

Don't let any of the above discourage you. I continue to build despite some bad experiences because I like to customize out floorplans to our unique needs. However, with freedom to choose comes great responsibility. If you make a mistake it's going to be painful.

If you do all of the above you will probably come close to answering your own question. In terms of my own experience, I have never found it "cheaper to build than to buy". However, I have found the finished product better because I got to make all the decisions.

Good luck. I will pray for you.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:19 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,973 posts, read 24,832,521 times
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We built here 2 years ago. You're looking anywhere from $95 to $120 (more at the top end than the bottom) a sqft plus the lot. For the last year and a half or so prices have been rising due to demand and the subcontractors have been runing up the rates getting it while they can. This is just starting to change with more people looking for construction jobs but prices have not dropped much yet.
I highly suggest you rent and just keep looking, look in the paper for FSBO's or the weekly paper like The Mountain Trader or one of those. If you're looking at 200k or below (a moving market right now) you most likely will have to do some work like paint and upkeep or the house won't be real huge, usually around 1200 sqft. It all depends on where you want to start and what you'll be happy with.
Forget zillow and such, their prices are way too unreliable. Instead look at the MLS either via Realtor.com (it draws from the local mls) or a local real estate web site. You don't have to use a realtor from the website just to search the local mls.
They are out there, I have a friend who sold his house for 199k and it was in move in condition so I know they're out there.
Good luck!!!
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:44 PM
 
722 posts, read 1,033,209 times
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I work at a real estate office and I totally agree with JoeJoe (for some reason I usually do), agents can totally try to push you into a home you are not ready for or do not like. It is your decision! A good agent will tell you that and remember it themselves. (our agent told us to go home and sleep on it, which we really appreciated) My bro in law bought a home out there for around $150K that was brand new construction about 2 years ago. If you truly are looking for the $190-180 range then I believe with some diligence that you can find what you are looking for. I know they have some good stuff out there because a realtor from there recently sent me some MLS printouts of homes there for the $200K range and I was surprised how nice they were. Is price and condition your only expectations in looking for a home? You may also want to consider living outside of Missoula, like in Stevi or Lolo.
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