I am a prodigal child of the Fool; back after having been a member until the "pay" system was put in place. I just wanted to share my experience of buying our first home, and say I would definitely do it again. I am grateful for the advice I've gotten from these boards.I have heard so many people that don't want to buy that small, fixer-upper as a first house. It seems so many people these days mortgage their lifes away buying that two-story, $175,000 (a good chunk of $$ here in Michigan) house in the ritzy new subdivision as a first home. They're scared of a fixer upper. While we weren't scared of buying one, we were looking for a moderately priced nice home. Well, me being quite a frugal person, borderlining on cheap I will admit, we were a bit scared off at the prices. At first we were figuring on settling for a decent house, in an OK neighborhood. Well, the more we looked around, we really wanted something in one of the better neighborhoods, so we began looking around, and the prices were a bit more than we wanted to pay, not sure if we could afford it at the time (looking in the range of $80-100,000). Well, the more I read on the Fool from people, the more I realized, the best way to go was to buy the worst house in a good neighborhood rather than the best house in the worst neighborhood. Well, the first house my wife looked at one day on her lunch break was a place she pretty much described as a dump, that had been a smokers house. I said "no way". Well guess what? That's the house we ended up buying in the end. We looked at it, and I saw that it really just needed mostly cosmetic help. We bought it for 20% less than the other houses we looked at. In the three years we've lived here, we repainted and recarpeted the entire house (before we moved in, it was nasty), later put in a new front door, new garage door, and I just finished the basement a few months ago. The yard was also a disaster, and we've done a little landscaping, and I've put work into making the grass presentable. I must admit, surprisingly I have really enjoyed working on the house and making it into what we want rather than buying some perfect house that may not be totally what we want. And to top it off, we've only spent about $10,000 on all the renovations so far, bringing our expenses to about $90,000 and after our recent refinancing, it was appraised at $120,000; 50% higher than when we bought it! That has been the most gratifying thing so far. Though I don't remember too many names, and probably no one remembers me, I just want to say thanks to those I've talked to. And for those of you looking to buy your first home, take a chance on that fixer-upper, chances are you'll get a lot more out of it than you think.
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