Monday, November 17, 2008

Buying a House in Louisville, KY

Buying a house in Louisville, KY is a great experience that can allow you to take advantage of opportunities not available in recent years. The housing market in Louisville has seen inventories increase and prices drop making it a good time for home buyers to get into the market. In addition, Louisville's housing market has not seen quite the troubles found in other areas of the country.

If you want to buy a house in Louisville, KY the first step is to speak to a mortgage lender and ensure your credit report, credit scores, and debt/income requirements are going to allow you to make a sound home buying decision.

The next step is to contact a Louisville, KY real estate Realtor and partner with them to ensure your best interests are protected when buying a home. Kentucky real estate law allows buyer's agency, which means you can secure exclusive representation from a real estate Realtor who is regulated by legal and ethical guidelines designed to protect your interests. This is usually done at little or no cost to you!

After finding a real estate agent, you should begin to search the internet for all Louisville, KY MLS Listings. Make sure you prioritize the homes you find by how well they fit your needs and wants, their location, and whether of not they have any additional features that add value for you.

Now you can select the homes you wish to see the most and make plans with your real estate agent to preview them. After finding a house in Louisville that fits your needs best, then you can put in an offer and enter negotiations.

I wish you luck buying a house in Louisville, KY! It is a great time to be a buyer in the real estate market...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Real Estate in Louisville, KY

When searching the MLS for real estate in Louisville, KY, please use the powerful real estate search tool I offer on my website.

With the advent of free online real estate MLS searches, especially ones with an abundance of search options, the home buyer now has the opportunity to view a huge number of homes without driving all over town hoping to find a nice new home.

I encourage my clients to do as much searching for real estate in the Louisville, KY area as possible online as it also helps me get a much better understanding of exactly what they are looking for in a new home. This improves our communication about real estate, lets me give them much better service, and makes the process of finding a new Louisville home fun.

Make it a priority to do all of your searching for Louisville, KY real estate using the excellent MLS tool found on my website!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Go Green!

When remodeling or purchasing a new home, there are many things to consider. Commonly used to insulate boilers and pipes, most homes built after 1980 could harvest asbestos or other environmentally defected insulation techniques. Environmental efficiency is on the rise because of technology and green sustainable methods progressing rapidly. Not only will these methods produce a healthier lifestyle, it will save you money!

Prior to making the move, make sure your home has been inspected by professionals who know how to detect any type of toxic materials in the process. Improper insulation was used in millions of homes and while it is safe when enclosed or in good condition, deteriorated asbestos can cause a slew of health problems, such as mesothelioma and malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos is a form of insulation which is swiftly becoming obsolete because of environmental awareness and new protocols. Asbestos could be present in different forms in buildings built in the years 1930 to 1975.

The Eco-Friendly Paradigm

When involved in real estate, it is especially important to embark on the proper inspections to insure the safety of your clients, building workers and your reputation. Problems with asbestos in older buildings should be addressed in a rational manner. A good course of action is to identify materials which could harvest asbestos, mark the condition and establish a plan that addresses any negative condition in the building.

Damaged asbestos can produce diseases such as mesothelioma, a cancer in which treatment is limited. If not caught on time, it can lead to malignant mesothelioma. Although it needs to be removed by professionals, it is worth price for a healthier, positive lifestyle. The Research and Development (RAND) organization has helped raise awareness and education for those affected and those seeking to avoid themselves the problem. With the help of think tanks such as RAND and other organizations, removal in work places and public facilities is on the rise.

While remodeling of current buildings for better energy efficiency is a must, it does not come without its hazards. Older homes and buildings contain toxins and proper preparation is needed to avoid the breathing of harmful chemicals. Asbestos can be found in attics, pipes and ceilings. The Department of Energy concluded that cooling and heating counts for up to 50-70 percent of all energy used in the average home in the U.S. In today's state, this philosophy can also save natural resources. Environmentally sustainable insulations are made from recycles materials including cellulose, polyurethane foam and cotton fiber.

Most people are unaware to the fact that eco-friendly products can cut energy costs by 35 % per year. Due to these recycled materials, waste is decreasing in crowded landfills. Proper insulation will save you on bills. Rather than expensive and mal-treated wood, interior walls can be made from steel and concrete, avoiding many of the problems associated with asbestos and other insulation methods. Currently, many cities in the U.S. have created lumberyards which re-store where you can purchase recycled building materials that are authentically strong and inexpensive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Louisville, KY MLS Search Site

I want to introduce to you my new site to search the MLS in Louisville, KY for free! It has all of the home search features you have come to expect from my previous site, but it now loads and displays information much faster.

To view the site and try it for yourself visit Search MLS Louisville, KY and begin to explore all Louisville, KY homes for sale.

Keep in mind when using my site to search the MLS for your new home you should start with a very simple set of search parameters. Once you see what the system returns, then begin to refine the search to give you better results. Searching for your new home in Louisville has never been easier!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Find a New Home Through the Louisville, KY MLS

A great way to locate your new home is by using the MLS in Louisville, KY. There are public versions of the Louisville, KY MLS available were you can easily locate the home of your dreams!

I am available to help you learn how to best utilize the MLS search features, and to provide you all the available information about any home you desire.

Contact me through my website, and remember to have fun searching the Louisville MLS for your new home!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Expert Real Estate Louisville, KY

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for supporting this blog! I have decided to no longer update this particular blog as I am moving my web presence over to my Expert Real Estate Louisville, KY site. My goal is to provide you, the real estate consumer, with a comprehensive web resource for all facets of buying or selling a Louisville home. Please visit my new site, browse around, and feel free to leave your comments...

You can research buying or selling a Louisville, KY home, search the MLS Louisville, KY for free, find relocation information, and discover what it is like to live in Louisville.

The site will be a continual work-in-progress, so remember to check back often and see what's new!

As always, I welcome your comments, and I look forward to providing you excellent customer service as your real estate expert in Louisville, KY!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Musical Interlude

I thought I would post a few links to some music I truly enjoy. Glenn Gould is an astonishing pianist who is one of the few people ever to master Bach's Goldberg Variations. Some have commented that he has a brain in every finger. He was controversial because he sang the 'melody' out loud while playing and you can hear it on all of his recordings. Additionally, it is suspected that he had Asperger's Syndrome and that played a role in his musical genius.

I recommend right-clicking these links and opening them in a new window. While you are enjoying the music, go to my website, Real Estate Louisville, and take the time to explore the site. You may find your new home while appreciating some of the greatest music ever composed!

Glenn Gould, Bach's Goldberg Variations 1-7

Glenn Gould, Bach's Goldberg Variations 8-14

Glenn Gould, Bach's Goldberg Variations 26-30 - The beginning of this one is unreal! Lots of cross-hand technique that I've tried unsuccessfully to incorporate into my rendition of chopsticks...;)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Planning for the Future's Hard - Because the Future Hasn't Happened Yet

Ha, ha! I love that title. When you get done reading, take a look at the link below to see where I found it...

I think it is an apt title for this post because it is obvious and oh so true. It is hard to plan for the future, not only because it hasn't happened yet (obviously), but because it is hard to find the time, motivation, and guidance to do it in a productive manner (true).

How does this apply to real estate, especially for you first-time home buyers? Simple...You need a financial plan in place before you even consider making an offer on a new home. It takes time, personal honesty, and the motivation to see the plan through to implementation to make it a success.

What should you consider in this financial planning? You need to accurately assess your income from all sources, determine your credit scores and correct your credit report (see the post below), and you need to analyze your expenses. You need to determine your short and long-term budget, plus you may need to consider adjusting spending habits. You should seriously consider speaking with a professional financial planner.

The reason for all of this planning is because a home is a tremendous asset, probably the largest asset you will control, but it is very hard to quickly turn into cash. In other words, if you are committed to a mortgage, you will have to continue making those payments regardless of any other unexpected changes to your financial status and risk negative effects if you fail to do this as promised.

Yes, you could borrow against the equity in the home if you have any, but this will most likely serve to make your financial situation worse. So, it is extremely important that you have planned not only for your normal budget, but added extra as a buffer.

Something else to consider when planning your finances for buying a new home is there will be unexpected and possibly new expenses that you will experience for the first time. Yard maintenance, exterior maintenance like the roof, gutters, windows, and landscaping, plus all other mechanical and electrical components in the house will now be solely your responsibility. And...You have to keep up with these things. If you let the maintenance go, it could cause at least minor financial troubles leading up to major damage to the home.

I suggest getting out a piece of paper (or firing up the computer) and making lists of all of your current expenses, plus your expected new expenses. Call around to your friends and family who are already homeowners and ask them what they pay for routine maintenance and upkeep. Add a buffer to this. Be realistic and make sure when you are finished, you have enough money left over to pay for the mortgage you think you want. You may be surprised, but at least you will have that surprise behind you, the adjustments made, and your budget planned before you enter into a contract to purchase your new home.

Most of all, I suggest the guidance of a professional financial planner. A very small investment to save or earn potentially substantial sums of money in the future.

Okay, now the inspiration for the title: Frank Caliendo as GWB. Note that this is not considered political commentary by me, just a guy trying to be funny.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss buying or selling real estate, contact me through my website, Louisville Homes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Owner's Title Insurance

At some point in time during the process of buying a home the issue of owner's title insurance will arise. If you are making an offer to purchase in the Louisville area you may be using the standard Greater Louisville Association of Realtors contract. This contract contains a specific paragraph that advises buyers to purchase an owner's title insurance policy and actually requires you to initial a space acknowledging you are declining this option.

What is title insurance? First, you need to realize that the word 'title' refers to the chain of ownership of a piece of property. At some point in the past, that particular piece of property was surveyed and conveyed to an entity, whether it is an individual, a corporation, or other legal vehicle, and a record was established in a local government office. In Kentucky, the records are maintained by the county in which the property is mostly located.

In addition to the chain of ownership that is maintained by the county, there will also be records pertaining to all legal claims against the property that have occurred throughout the years. These could be in the form of easements, liens for work performed, mortgage notes, special assessments, etc. Any one of these, and many, many others that are not listed, could affect the ownership of the property and this is where title insurance comes into play.

For someone to sell you a piece of property they must legally own that property and have full authority to convey ownership to another entity. As a quick example, if a married couple owns a piece of property jointly, the husband or the wife individually could not sell that property without the consent (in writing on the deed of transfer) of the other party.

One of the most important steps in the transfer of property is the title search. Typically, the lender will commission a professional to search the chain of title for the property to be transfered to ensure the seller has the legal authority to transfer the property and there are no outstanding recorded claims against the title. While this search is considered very thorough and should be enough to protect the parties involved, the lenders know that problems can and do arise and they will always buy a lender's title insurance policy to protect their interests from an unrecorded or missed claim. In other words, if someone makes a legal claim to the property and threatens the lender's investment, they will be covered and defended fully by this policy.

Here is a great post on this topic by Dan Melson that enumerates several of the ways problems can complicate the transfer of property.

What does this mean for you as a buyer? Simply put, if you do not have an owner's title insurance policy in force and a legal claim is made against property you have purchased, you will have to defend the claim out of your own pocket. Even worse, if you lose the legal battle, you will lose the property and most likely still owe the lender for the money you borrowed. You will be in big financial trouble.

Owner's title insurance policies are very inexpensive in this light. In fact, they are typically only a few hundred dollars and I think they are well worth every dollar in piece of mind, protection, and investment smarts. So the next time you are asked if you would like to accept an owner's title insurance policy, you may want to give it serious consideration. Please feel free to visit my website, Real Estate in Louisville KY, to read more about the process of buying a home and to contact me with any questions you may have on this subject.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Wow! What a great time to buy a home! Interest rates are extremely low, lenders have stabilized their underwriting requirements, and there is a huge inventory of homes to choose from in the Louisville area... It's an ideal market to maximize your buying dollar!

If you are thinking of purchasing your first Louisville home my website, Louisville Homes, has loads of useful information and tutorials to help get you started.

If you would like to read about defensive buying techniques, especially when the economy exhibits some signs of challenge, go here. I have posted an article giving advice on how to take advantage of a buyer's market here. Keep in mind I think there are endless ways to structure deals that can be very beneficial in their own right, especially in the current market in the Greater Louisville Area.

There is no doubt that a savvy buyer who has properly prepared themselves financially and through thorough market research stands to be in an advantageous position presently. The mortgage rates are going to fluctuate, home prices will probably begin to rise as the market recovers, and the inventory will decrease as more and more buyers make their move. It's a great time to buy while the market adjusts!

Please feel free to contact me through my website with any questions regarding buying a home. You can also search the entire Louisville MLS for free on my site. Good luck, may this market treat you well!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Credit Reports, Credit Scores, and Buying a Home - The Basics

Let's take a brief look at credit scores, credit reports, and how these items affect your home buying power, plus your long-term financial strength. Three companies provide this information to potential lenders, and others who deem this information necessary; Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Also, it is a federal law that you be provided a copy of your credit report from these three companies once a year. Go to to view your reports.

First, your credit report is a compilation of your credit history related to things like credit cards, revolving charge accounts (gas card or Sears card), previous mortgages, student loans, car payments, etc. It contains detailed information on your payment history, whether or not you have any negative items affecting your credit, plus details of your personal information known by the credit reporting company. It is very important you immediately dispute any negative reports in these credit reports if they are incorrect, or take whatever steps necessary to correct the negatives if they are correct.

Several items on your credit report will affect your credit score, the number that is supposed to represent to the lender the risk they will take on by loaning you money. The factors are, in no particular order, the length of your credit history (the longer they have data for you, the better), the length of time you have had your accounts open (again, the more time, the better), the type of accounts you have (variety is good), your payment history with your accounts (on time, never late is your goal), and the ratio of your debt to your credit limit (Even if you have a credit card with a $100 max limit, if you carry a $100 balance, you are considered 100% financed, and this is viewed as a negative.).

How can you improve your credit scores by viewing the information on your credit report? Most credit reports will have a summary page that tells if there any negative items on your credit report. It is very important you do whatever necessary to remove these items from your credit report. Let me give you an example...

Back in the days before free credit reports existed, I had an outstanding medical bill that went to an old address and was never forwarded that I did not know about until I made an attempt to make a purchase that required my credit to be pulled. This negative showed up because the bill had gone to collections. All I had to do was call the doctor's office, explain what had happened, pay the bill plus a small penalty, and they immediately reported the matter resolved to the credit reporting companies. I also followed up with the credit reporting companies and it took a few weeks of time for everything to stabilize, but the action disappeared from my credit report and I was able to again get prime rates. It won't always be this easy, but you have to do everything in your power to resolve all negatives if you want credit and the best rates.

Another way to improve your scores is to get your debt ratios below 50% on your credit cards and revolving charge accounts. As I stated before, just because your balance is low in terms of dollars it doesn't mean that is a positive if your debt ratios are above 50%. Use your credit report to compare account balances and credit limits and devise a plan to get your balances under the 50% (25% is even better) debt-to-credit-limit ratio as soon as possible. This will definitely improve your credit score.

Two more ways to improve your scores are to pay all of your bills on time, and not to have too many people pull your credit at any one time. There is some debate as to how much your credit score is affected by numerous pulls, and it seems to be less of a problem if all of the pulls are for the same thing, but your score will go down with every credit pull no matter what it is for. Don't go buy a car on credit, then the next week buy a TV on credit, then a house...Space your purchases out reasonably and monitor your credit scores to see when they recover from each purchase.

Speaking of monitoring your scores, for a small one-time or monthly fee any one of the credit reporting companies will give you your credit score. It can be worth it to monitor your score as you prepare to buy a home to see what changes are improving your score and to have an objective goal to work towards to get the best possible rates and terms.

I hope this post has provided you with some helpful guidance to first gather your credit report, correct any negatives, and then improve your score. If you think of the thousands upon thousands of dollars in interest this work could potentially save you, I think it is well worth the effort...Please feel free to contact me through Louisville Homes for Sale if you have further questions.