Buying a Home



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8/2/2017 Kitchen Remodels & ROIs: What Buyers Are Looking for Today

In 2017, a minor kitchen remodel offers the 4th best return on investment (ROI) out of any home improvement projects, so when doing so, it’s important to do it right. Since the kitchen is likely one of the first things potential buyers see when going through your home on an open house or showing, it’s easy to see how making a good impression with your kitchen can help sell your home quicker and for more money. However, you do want to be sure not to overdo it. As a general ... Read more

How to Search & Understand Real Estate Listings

Target Your Search, Look at Properties and Choose a Home

Millions of homes are sold each year. There's no shortage of housing options, but with so many choices the challenge becomes finding the property which best meets your needs.

The housing market is complicated becuase of the stock of homes for sale in always in flux. Even if you could have a complete list of every home for sale at a given moment, in a given area, such a list would quickly become obsolete as new homes become available and listed properties are sold.

In effect, buyers are looking at a dynamic market. It is important to know as much as possible about the choices in preferred markets, and the way to do that is by working closely with a local REALTOR® who is familiar with local markets and current real estate trends. Also, REALTORS® have access to all homes on the market, including those that have not yet been advertised.

Detemine What You Want in a Home

A home is more than just a collection of bedroom and bathrooms. Several properties, each with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, that are priced the same, may likely have radically different designs, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, dimensions, exterior finishes, neighborhoods, etc.

First, list the features and benefits that you want in a home. Consider such things as pricing, location, size, amenities (extras such as a pool or extra large kitchen) and design (one story or two, colonial or modern, etc.).

Next, determine your priorities. If you can't get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are most important? For instance, would you trade fewer bedrooms for a larger kitchen? Or a longer commute for a bigger lot and lower cost?

Last, consider your future needs. If you'll need a larger home later on, maybe now is the time to buy a bigger house rather than moving or expanding in the future.

Target Your Search

Know what you want and target your search in preparation for working with a REALTOR®. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) statistics show that a high percentage of buyers now research their options online and elsewhere for about six months on average before consulting a REALTOR®.

Basic targeting measures, such a general location and affordability can help you refine your search and focus on home that offer the most desirable features.

Make sure to target your desired neighborhood. All neighborhoods and communities have  unique character and value. One community may be well known for historic homes, while another offers both suburban living with easy access to downtown office areas. Determine which neighborhood(s) will work for you so you do not waste time looking where you don't want to live.

Look For Homes

Your REALTOR® will find you home listings based on your criteria. You can also look for homes online, in local papers and real estate guides, and by driving through local neighborhoods that you've targeted.

Look at as many homes as possible both locally and online so you can make a sound decision when you choose a home. We recommend keeping a file with information on each of the homes you like. Your REALTOR® can help you determine the pros and cons of the properties you are interested in.

If you are buying a condo, it is important that you and your agent review that strata minutes to determine whether are are any critical structural or mechanical defects. Also, take a close look at the current finanical statements to make sure the finances are sound.

Choose a Home

A house is shelter, but a home is far more. It's where you live, relax, entertain friends, raise families, and work. A home is where you spend much of your life, so take your time to choose a house that can become your home.

Don't make hasty decisions, especially about financing. Be sure you can really afford the home you choose.

Understaind and Decoding Real Estate Listings-A Short Guide to Lingo and Acronyms

Real Estate ads are usually full of acronyms and terms that are unfamiliar to first-time buyers. Here's a cheat sheet to let you in on the lingo.

4B/2B: four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Area: The location of the home in which you want to live. Our MLS has divided Louisville and the surround markets into areas. Example: Area 2 consists of the Highlands, Germantown, and Butchertown.

Bedroom:? Usually a sleeping area with a window and a closet, but the definition varies in different places.

Bathroom: There are three types of bathrooms: a full bathroom is a room with a toilet, a sink, and a bathtub; a three-quarter bathroom? has a toliet, a sink, and a shower; a half bathroom ?or powder room has only a toilet and a sink.

Closing Costs:? The entire package of miscellaneous expenses paid by the buyer and the seller when the real estate deal closes. These costs include the brokerage commission, mortgage related fees, escrow or attorney's settlement charges, transfer taxes, recording fees, title insurance, and so on. Closing costs are generally paid through escrow.

CMA: Comparative Market Analysis or Competitive Market Analysis. A CMA is a report that shows prices of homes that are comparable to a subject home and that were recently sold, are currently for sale, or were on the market but did not sell within the listing period.

Contingency:? A provision of an agreement that keeps the agreement from being fully legally binding until a certain condition is met. One example is a buyer's contractual right to obtain a professional home inspection before purchasing the home.

Exterior: Tells you if the home has a deck, pool, patio, ect.

FDR: Formal dining room.

Gar: Garage (yes or no).

HOA: Home Owners Association fee.

InclSqFT: Sqaure footage is classified as above grade, below grade, non conforming, and total sqaure footage.

Listing: An agreement between a real estate agent and a home owner that allows the agent to market and arrange for the sale of the owner's home. The word "listing" is also used to refer to the for-sale home itself. a home being sold by the owner without a real estate agent isn't a "listing", it's called a FSBO (for sale by owner).

MLS: The Multiple Listings Service. An MLS organization that collects, complies, and distributes information about homes listed for sale by it's members, who are real estate agents. Membership is not open to the general public, although selected MLS data may be sold to real estate listings web sites. MLS organizations are local or regional, but there is no MLS covering the entire United States.

Mo Maint: Monthly Maintenance charge.

Real Property: Real Estate is legally called and referred to "real property."

REALTOR®: A Real Estate agent or sales associate who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.

Title Insurance: An insurance policy that protects a lender's or owner's interest in real property from assorted types of unexpected or fraudulent claims of ownership. It's customary for the buyer to pay for the lender's title insurance policy.