Need a little Housing advice...


<p>I recently was accepted to my #1 choice for my PhD program (Wisconsin - Madison). I'm counting the days before I visit next week, but want to be a little educated on what my housing options would be before I head out there.</p>

<p>Here's my problem...</p>

<p>I was looking at housing listings on Wisconsin's webpage (I know not the most expansive list...but a good first place to start) to get an idea of what is available in the area and what rents typically run.</p>

<p>Well, it appears most apartments in Madison proper (especially near campus) don't have what I am looking for...namely they all lack W/D hookups and charge outrageously for parking (approximately as much as I paid for parking in Pittsburgh as an undergraduate). Apartments in Madison proper seem to go for about 600-900/mth for one or two bedroom spaces as well...</p>

<p>My fiance and I are thinking the best bet will be to rent or buy (preferably buy) a house outside of Madison proper but still on or near a bus ride (or Park and Ride lot if they exist in Madison). We would like to buy a house to build equity and the likes...</p>

<p>Here's the problem...</p>

<p>I have steady income from my TA here (and will have full financial support in Wisconsin) and great credit. However, it seems that it may be impossible for me to get mortgage assistance due to my low salary. Combined we make enough to qualify for assistance, however, my fiance has horrible credit! I mean horrible credit (i.e. defaults in the past year...). He's working on his credit problems, but I don't make enough to qualify for a mortgage on my own it seems.</p>

<p>Does anyone know about any programs that can help me and my fiance buy a home in Wisconsin? Any programs where both applicants don't have to have stellar credit?</p>

<p>I know it's a bit early to think about all of this, but I'm just getting my feelers out to see what's available to assist young people with attaining home ownership.</p>

<p>I think it would be a mistake to buy anything before you have lived there for a while. Why are you in such a hurry to buy? Rent for at least a year and then decide. Suppose you and your boyfriend break up? Suppose you don't like the Ph.D. program? Suppose you don't like Madison? Depending on the market, if you had to/wanted to sell, you could get totally screwed. You also mention the fact that your boyfriend has poor credit but he's "working on his credit problems". He shouldn't even be considering purchasing a house until his credit problems are GONE! If a house were in your name and he decides to split, you're stuck with a mortgage that clearly you won't be able to afford. It's a very poor idea all around. Best bet -- RENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>

<p>Just as clarification. He is not my boyfriend, he is my fiance, we have been together for over 5 years and there is no break-up in the horizon. We are planning on getting married after we move (no date set as of yet).</p>

<p>I'm also not definately buying a house, just want to know the options available for low-income assistance for home buying. This is more of a research project for what is available when and if the time comes. </p>

<p>Another clarification. If feasible, I want the home under my name solely, but use his income to go into the mix in the application as well if that is at all possible.</p>

<p>We realize we will likely have to rent for a year or so...however, I have heard that owning a house usually only pays off after living in it for ~5 years. I plan on finishing up my PhD in approximately 5 years (or less since I will have my MS coming in) so it may not be economical either at this time.</p>

<p>There is a small chance I won't like the program, but I see this as very small. I have an incredibly horrible advisor currently and am very specific in what I'm looking for in my PhD advisor. When I visit next week I'm going to spend a lot of time feeling out how he is as an advisor (I already know he is VERY well respected in my specialty). </p>

<p>Anyone have practical information on programs out there?</p>

<p>ophiolite - you can contact a good mortgage broker in the area you want to buy and s/he will be able to give you very specific answers to your question. Nowadays, mortgages are available with poor credit, but you may find the higher interest rate so unattractive that you decide to wait. The best mortgage brokers can advise you on how best to improve your credit (and steer you away from mistakes like closing credit card accounts where that will hurt instead of help your credit) and advise on how long you would have to wait to get a better mortgage rate. The best way to find the best mortgage broker (imo) is through a realtor you trust in the area.</p>

<p>Going this route will also help you avoid the predatory lenders out there who seek out folks with poor credit and are happy to lend to them. Bad, bad deal.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Homes around Madison are pretty expensive and taxes on them are very high. Appreciation has been outstanding but could be level in the near term. I think your situation makes buying where a decent house is $200K or more problematic at best. There are some programs for first time home buyers but it might be hard to even qualify for those.</p>

<p>The rental market is large and very diverse. New high-rises within easy walking distance our great but $$$. Probably above the range you indicated. Parking in the downtown is at a premium too. They will ticket you if you try to park anywhere illegally. The UW owned Eagle Heights apt. housing is good for couples and cheap but no wd connections I think.<br>
There are also many houses to rent. They will have laundry hook-ups. I found a nice place within a few blocks of campus in a day. Rent would be around $1200 or so for a small 2/3 br with parking.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone. </p>

<p>I've been looking a little further into renting apartments/housing and I'm finding the good places don't seem to list on the University website.</p>

<p>D used Craigslist for real estate listings when she went to St Louis to start grad school......</p>