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Selling Or Buying Your Dream Home

The lowest interest rates in years are encouraging hundreds of Kentuckians to look for new homes.

Americans move a lot—about a dozen times between birth and death, or roughly 20 percent of the population each year, according to the Census Bureau. There are tactics for buying the right house, at the right price, and with the right financing.

How much can you afford?
First, figure out what you can afford, as U.S. home prices are up more than 50 percent over the past decade. You can financially manage about three times your annual salary, says Gerri Detweiler, a licensed mortgage broker and consumer advocate.

To find out how much a bank would lend, add your total monthly debts, such as car loan, credit cards, and projected new mortgage payment. The total should not exceed 36 percent of your monthly income before taxes.

Want to build?
Planning to build rather than buy a pre-existing house? This experience, while letting the owners design their “American dream” one doorknob at a time, can be challenging, exciting, and a little bit scary.

The Home Builders Association of Louisville suggests getting builder referrals and looking at the products used in the construction as well as the overall design itself.

Several pre-construction meetings are essential: personalities can mean a lot when you’re going through a six-month construction process.

If you are thinking about putting your home on the market, whether to buy a bigger home or move into a condo, there are things you can do to make your place stand out when potential buyers come by.

Seller’s fix-it-up list
Follow this list of specific repairs and touch-ups and you may decide the house looks so good you might even take it off the market.

•Repair the exterior. Nothing turns off buyers faster than what they see first—cracked sidewalks, peeling paint, and loose gutters.
• Freshen up the basement, which needs to be dry, neat, and odor-free.
• Paint those worn interior walls. Patch the holes and nicks on the wall and in the woodwork before picking up the paintbrush.
• Make sure the doors don’t stick, kitchen drawers open easily, all the windows open, and all light switches work.
• Put the pets outside while the house is being shown, and clean up any mess they’ve made in the yard.

If you opt to use a real-estate agent, make certain that he or she is aware of all the features that will make the house attractive to potential buyers, including the excellence of a nearby school. Tell the agent about existing manufacturers’ warranties on appliances that will be staying in the house.

While moving is one of life’s most stressful events—ranking only behind death and divorce—proper planning can ease the way.

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