House Hunters: How to Find a Hidden Gem (and Not a Money Pit!)
In order to produce the podcast and keep content up free for you, I work with partners so this post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.
Today we’re going over home buying tips so you can snag a great deal on your dream house!
What You Need to Know About Buying a House
I don’t know how things are in your area, but here in the Triangle, the housing market is hot. Prices have shot up. The median price of homes currently listed in Raleigh is $379,000.
To give you some context, a townhouse on our street went for more than double what we paid for our single-family house a few years ago.
Just the other week, I caught a story on the local news about how unaffordable the Raleigh Durham area is getting. If you want to buy a house you have to be a savvy house hunter.
Now you may have heard that you can snag a deal with a fixer-upper, but how do you know which houses are diamonds in the rough and which ones are money pits?
If you’re thinking of or are planning on buying a house soon, you may be facing these same questions and challenges. That’s why I’m pulling from the archives my interview with Louis Guillama.
He's the Vice President of Real Estate Operations over at Coastal Credit Union. He has decades of experience with the real estate agent side as well as home renovations.
In this episode we’ll discuss:
- differences between buying new construction vs resale
- spotting great (and still affordable!) neighborhoods
- finding a fixer-upper (instead of being stuck with a money pit)
Hope you enjoy!
Resources on Buying a House
If you’re looking to buy, here are some resources to help you find an affordable place you love!
- Best Budget and Money Apps: Personal Capital, Tiller, Mint
- Grow Your Stash Faster: High Yield Savings with CiT Bank
- Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money
- My friend was about to buy a million-dollar house with no research
- What You Need to Know About Mortgages
- Buying a Home: From Contemplation to Closing
Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!
Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.
If you need an agent, Daymark Realty has a fantastic team ready to help find the perfect house for you in the Triangle area!
Rollover Your 401(k) Easily with Capitalize
We’re grateful for wonderful partners like Capitalize. Not only do they support the podcast, but they help make managing your money so much easier.
Did you know that it’s estimated that there are currently over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts? In fact, the average American changes jobs every 4 years.
And because of the Great Resignation, you or someone you know might be changing jobs even more
It’s an extreme case of out of sight and out of mind. Is your old 401(k) in there somewhere, left behind at a job you're no longer with?
One huge benefit with an IRA is you get to choose how your money is invested, not your old employer.
If you want to consolidate your old 401(k) and have more options with how you invest, it may be time to roll them over into an IRA.
With Capitalize, they handle the process from start-to-finish – for FREE. They handle the process from start-to-finish, and yes that includes calling the 401(k) provider on your behalf.
Find out how and get started today!
Buy New Construction or an Older Home?
I don’t know how things are in your area, but here in Raleigh, if there is a strip of land, they will build on it.
We have a new developing coming up down our street including some new homes across the street!
We’ve noticed that our home’s value is rising along with plenty of properties around us.
The first time we went house hunting, my husband and I went with new construction.
The second time around, we went with an older home.
And there are noticeable differences with both choices so if you’re hunting you may be wondering what’s the best option for you.
Louis shared some things to consider.
Also with new developments, you’re also looking at the potentially having an HOA.
While some may have bad feelings about them. Louis pointed out how they can work to your benefit.
So if you’re considering buying a house with an HOA, take some time to do research and better understand it.
Spotting Great (and Still Affordable) Neighborhoods
It is very tempting to buy in a trendy or popular neighborhood.
The hot restaurants, fantastic parks, and the best schools all seem to be in only a few spots.
But you're going to pretty much pay a premium to live there. And you may instead find that they don’t even really suit you.
Louis had an example of how buying into a hot neighboorhood isn’t always the best move.
So what do you do? How do you find that gem of spot?
Ah, the diamond in the rough or as HGTV calls them – fixer-uppers.
Finding a Fixer-upper (Not a Money Pit)
If you’re ever watched house hunters, then you’ve probably seen this – a couple looks at homes and makes comments about the places.
Sometimes it’s a legit complaint (they notice the AC unit isn’t in good condition), but most times they complain or compliment all about these surface finishes.
“I love the countertop”
“Did you see the fixtures? Oh!”
And my favorite are the couples who hate the paint. Yes, there are people who can’t see past one of the most easily fixable things.
When I spoke with Louis Guillama, he told me that time and again people buy based on what they see.
Which is understandable, but if you’re trying to get a great deal you need to focus on crucial areas of the home.
So this is where I can tell from personal experience that’s he’s right.
Our first home – the new construction? Yeah, we thought we could save money because it was all new.
Sometimes when you see these builders come in and have developments go up quickly and the quality isn’t what you expect.
We saw things here and there that were done right the first time and when it came time to sell. Another issue was evident. The windows seals were broken.
We had to replace all but like one window.
So better believed that this time around we had a home inspector.
We did this with our current place. We loved the house’s layout, the natural light, and the overall location, but the basement.
There was so much potential, but between us and the inspector, we saw we needed to make a repair if we have planned on finishing it.
If we bought as is, while we could have afforded it, money would’ve have been tight for awhile.
Instead, we negotiated a lower price that allowed us to get the basement properly fixed, keep the mortgage affordable, and now have an awesome home office space for both of us.
Which is a huge win in our book.
And if you’re looking at a fixer-upper, it pays to well… pay someone to dig into your potential home so you can avoid a money pit.
Support the Podcast!
Thank you so much for listening to the podcast!
- Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
- Leave a review. Honest feedback and reviews make a big difference and gets the word out about the podcast. Leave your review on Apple , Spotify, or Audible.
- Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in 4 weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!
Like the music in this episode? Our theme song is by Gentle Regime. Additional music by Lee Rosevere.
This episode was originally released in July 2019. Shownotes have been updated April 2022.