June 27, 2016

Looking to buy a home in Lexington, KY? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone.

Do your homework.

Before making a offer, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

June 26, 2016

Buying a Condo in Lexington, KY

Lexington, KY has a number of condo opportunities both in terms of one floor living and town homes. Here are tips for buying condos.

Condo and town home living are very convenient for homeowners across all ages. It is a lifestyle that provides maintenance free living. However, buyers must realize they are turning over a great deal of decision making about property maintenance to a homeowner’s association, board, or property management company. The buyer’s comfort level and property value will more likely be ensured if the property is well maintained. To prevent disappointment, it is important to ask questions of property managers and read homeowner policy documents carefully prior to purchase. Speaking with current homeowners is also a good idea.

Questions include the following:

1. Are there major repairs that will require an assessment of residents outside the usual monthly HOA fee? For example, a tennis court may need resurfacing and funds held are not sufficient to cover the expense. Residents may be assessed an additional fee to make the repair.

2. Will monthly fees pay for removal of snow and ice? If so, with what frequency?

3. Do monthly fees cover the cost of replacement of the roof? If so, who determines when the roof will be replaced?

4. Do monthly fees cover the cost of exterior paint? If so, who determines when exterior painting will be done?

5. What portion of your monthly fee covers common area insurance or is there a payment separate from monthly fees?

6. Who is responsible for landscaping? Who maintains the common area space and how often is the lawn mowed?

7. How are board members elected and what is their responsibility?

8. What is the financial viability of the HOA? This is very important as lenders will demand financial stability in order to approve the loan to purchase.