Tuesday, March 4, 2014

5 Simple Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

A starter home does not and should not mean you have to buy a house that you're not really that fond of and are already thinking about selling before you even move in. By conducting a little due diligence and having a checklist of both wants and must-haves, you can start your home buying experience without many, if any, pangs of regret. Think about these few items before you start your Elizabethtown KY real estate search.

If you're in the market for a starter home you may be either newly married or a young professional or both. So odds are you are at a point where the number of family members you have has not been finalized yet. Buying a starter home doesn't have to mean you need to move two years from when you move in. Consider at least one more bedroom than you currently need or a house with space in an easy to convert area like a basement where you can expand. Basically start by looking for more room than you currently need. This way you don't want to have to sell your house every time you add a family member. Homes with 3 or more bedrooms sell a lot faster than homes with only 2. Many Elizabethtown KY home buyers set their search parameters for a minimum of 3 bedrooms so they won't even see a home with 2.

There are several areas you should consider as the "infrastructure" of any house you're considering buying. Roofing, flooring, heating, cooling, windows and gutters all come to mind. Be sure to ask exactly when these were last replaced, if ever, and check with a licensed contractor to see what the normal lifespan is for each. Your local Elizabethtown KY home inspector can answer many of your questions. First of all, "starter home" shouldn't mean fixer upper. Second of all, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to get money either off the purchase price or to be paid at closing if any of these major items are at or past normal their typical lifetime.

Location, location, location has always been the real estate mantra but right after that it should be closets, closets, closets. This is especially true in the bedrooms where you'll want to store a lot of clothing and personal items. Make sure you are satisfied with the amount of storage space you'll have to work with once you move in. Walk in closets are great but not always easy to make part of the floor plan so don't thumb your nose at his and her traditional bi-fold door closet space if it fits what you need. Also consider your overall storage footprint including attic and basement areas.

Think about a home office. Some companies encourage working from home and having a specific workspace will make it that much easier to be productive and may even win you more flexibility in your work or office schedule. A home office can also become a guest room or expand into a regular bedroom if need be when your family does expand and you don't want to trade-up. If houses you look at have both a den (bonus room) and a living room, the smaller of the two can easily be used as office space without losing a bedroom in the process.

Does it have more than one bathroom? That should be one of the first questions you ask whether this is your first home purchase or not. Three bedrooms, one bath sounds so close to three bedrooms two baths, but it's not. In fact, it's miles and miles away. Many older homes, especially those with three or less bedrooms, have only one bath. Unless you absolutely know where you would put one in yourself and are ready to take on the project or the expense, make sure you have multiple baths in the properties you're looking at to buy.

Buying a home will always be one of the most important and (can be) stressful decisions you make. Knowing what you want, what you need, and what can absolutely wait until your next home purchase are very important facts to get straight before you start your search. Be sure to spell everything out to your Elizabethtown KY real estate agent so they do not waste time (yours and theirs) by showing you homes you would never consider. Remember to relax and work your way through the process in a positive manner; it should be exciting not excruciating to buy your first home.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bluegrass Valuation Services: A Talk With Lance Shore, Appraiser

 “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” 
– Helen Keller

True to these words, we invited Lance Shore, a real estate appraiser and owner of Bluegrass Valuation Services, who graciously accepted our interview for this post. To many, a dream remains a dream and never gets off the ground; but to Lance, all his aspirations and hopes became a reality when he worked hard to really aim for them.

Bluegrass Valuation Services was born in 2009 as a company but Lance Shore had already been in the property appraisal business for several years. He was already working as an appraiser for another company and just decided to take things to the next level by starting his own business. The name of the company, Bluegrass, was actually taken from the state’s name (Bluegrass state), he also grew up on a street named Blue Rock Road, and his favorite color is blue. Since this is a family owned and run business, Lance opens up to say that it's really hard work but there are a lot of good reasons to be your own boss. There is a lot of competition in this industry and Lance shares that:
On a local level, competition is pretty much “par for the course”, there are several good appraisers in the area and we all compete for a limited number of local banks; not to mention national lenders. As far as regional competition, like in Kentucky for example, there’s an overall trend of decreasing number of appraisers in the industry. As a whole, there’s less and less competition but locally, it’s something like “status quo.” 
Lance shares that Bluegrass Valuation Services, as of late, has been getting a lot of business in Jefferson County. He also happily adds that historically, Hardin County ranks high up on their list for the most business that they have received. The company does a lot of appraisal business in Kentucky and the scope that they usually do is not limited to valuation services for residential properties (mortgage & finance, personal use, litigation, and portfolio analysis). They are also in the process of opening a technology division, which will allow them to offer an applications-based system in and around the real estate industry.

A lot of sellers may feel apprehensive when they need to get an appraisal in Hardin, Meade, Jefferson, Bullitt, Grayson, or Breckinridge Counties, because some think that it takes hours or that they really need to prepare. Lance happily shares that for a typical house, appraisals for personal use, the whole ordeal of getting the house "inspected" will only take about half an hour or so. For litigation purposes or divorce settlements though, he quickly adds that appraisals [the whole process] may take months.

To anyone wishing to get into the appraisal business, the process of getting certified usually takes a minimum of two years (as an apprentice or working with a superior) and current requirements now look for a Bachelors degree as the minimum. There are a lot of seminars and classes to attend and tests that one must take before they can actually venture out into the appraisal world. Aside from this, anyone is free to check out their website, it contains a lot of information that one will find very useful when getting in the appraisal business in Kentucky. Lance adds,
 “It’s quite an involved process…  it’s a very lengthy process to get into the real estate appraisal industry.” 
What many people may not know, is that Lance may be considered one of the “pioneers” in selling houses for HardinHomes.com back when they first opened in 2005. While he may have a real estate license, he is not active in the business of selling houses nowadays and keeps busy with his valuation services business located in Radcliff, KY. He tells us that the appraisal business cannot be called a lucrative business but rather a “satisfying” business.

Earning a living by working for himself since 2001/2002, he enjoys being his own boss the most. He adds that while it takes a lot of his time and keeps him busy from sun up to sun down, he really loves running the business. He personally takes care of the in-house duties and “the little things that makes running a business really hair-raising.” When asked what the biggest challenge that Bluegrass Valuation Services has faced, Lance said “the large amounts of legislature that really changed the industry for most appraisers, a lot of us had to completely retool our customer base and some of us had to start from scratch.”

When asked about what he thinks of the real estate market this year in Kentucky, Lance shares that:
The market as a whole has been fairly stable this year. Other states had been seeing a bit of appreciation since the national numbers are showing high [since the recession]. Kentucky has been fairly stable. We've seen some pockets of depreciation, but overall, it’s been pretty stable. 
Being a full-time IT student as well, his day is really loaded with a lot of work and Lance really appreciates being connected with the Radcliff Small Business Alliance. Now, if all these tasks were not enough, Lance is also actively writing a book about real estate appraisals. He says that he wants to share information with anyone who might want to get in the business and he writes this in article format. Everything from the introduction all the way down to how to run a valuation services business will be found in this book. On his website, he has written a series of articles on how the whole real estate appraisal world actually runs.

When an appraisal is what you are looking for, do not hesitate to contact Bluegrass Valuation Services because your house deserves to be appraised by the best. Check out their website at bvs-ky.com. Make sure to LIKE their page on Facebook: Bluegrass Valuation Services. You may also call Lance Shore directly at 502-264-1936.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why Getting A Kentucky House Inspection Is Important

(Image credit to homeinspection247.com)
With the recent winter weather conditions, a lot of buyers are now being extra cautious before they close on house. Maintaining a house can get expensive if minor issues become even bigger (read: deferred maintenance). The benefit of getting a house inspected before you close on it, is that you will have a clearer picture of the value of a house and a better understanding of how the owners have taken care of the home. In this article, we will give you some insight on why this is an important step when buying a house.

House Inspections Can Save You Thousands But Only Cost You Hundreds
As a buyer, you, of course, want to make sure you get the best deal. You will be paying for the house for several years. Many homes have already had repairs, some major. You want your inspector to reassure you that these repairs have been made correctly. The typical Elizabethtown home inspection costs $300-$400 so it's absolutely worth the investment. Make sure the home inspector has a Kentucky home inspector's license.

SCHEDULING: House Inspections Do Not Take Long At All
Home inspections rarely take more than few hours. Make sure you have a list of home inspectors who work in the Elizabethtown, KY area. In many cases, you must schedule the inspection with the home inspector a few days or even a week prior to the date you want them to inspect the house.

Inspection Done, Now What?
Once the home inspector has given you his/her report, it is now up to you and the seller (negotiating through your agents) to agree on what repairs need to be made prior to closing. For minor repairs, give the seller a few days or a week to get them done. Major repairs may take some time to finish, such as a roof replacement, flooring, piping, and windows. If this is the case, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. Be sure to ask your home inspector to check the repairs once done.

Different Kinds of Inspections
Just like doctors, there are also different types of home inspectors; there are general home inspectors, termite and pest inspectors, RADON inspectors, water, oil tank, and septic inspectors. If you wish to thoroughly know the condition of a house prior to buying, make sure you get a thorough inspection and make changes and repairs as needed.

Consider House Inspectors Your Friend
Home inspectors are [should be] unbiased when doing their inspections so you should have peace of mind. If possible, you should be there while the home inspectors are inspecting and be sure to ask question.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A few 2013 Holiday Events in Radcliff KY

Monday December 2 starts the holiday off with the Festival of Trees. You can view these beautifully decorated trees at the Colvin Community Center located at 230 Freedoms Way Radcliff KY Monday through Friday from 9-5.

Saturday December 7th at 6pm is the Christmas Parade in Radcliff. The parade starts near Ollies and ends on Wilson Rd across from Walmart. Following the parade is Christmas at the Cabins located at Saunders Springs.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Buying An Elizabethtown, KY Home During The Holiday Season

Check out this house for sale near Fort Knox, KY here: http://bit.ly/1hHCnFd

There is a little real estate myth, that during the colder months, sellers are usually more forgiving when it comes to their asking prices and are actually very eager to sell their houses. Of course, that is true for some sellers but not all. Statistically, there are fewer buyers looking to buy homes in Elizabethtown during the holidays. Naturally when supply stays about the same and demand is reduced, sellers can be more flexible. Here are some tips to get you closer to that piece of Elizabethtown KY real estate you have been looking for.

When scheduling home tours during the holiday season, remember to remain flexible. Yes, you want to see the house right away, but, you have to also consider the sellers and their schedules. You should of course find a Realtor near Fort Knox, KY that will be able to make the calls and coordinate the appointments.

During the holiday season, some sellers will not put their houses on the market because they are busy with family activities. Your choice of homes for sale may be somewhat limited. Keep in mind that even if there are only a small number of homes for sale, you may still find the one you are looking for. You will also notice that there may not be much competition for the house you want.

One thing to keep in mind when inspecting a house for sale around Fort Knox, KY area is that the weather may hide some structural defects that will only be seen once the cold season ends and spring rolls around. So, make sure you are well aware of this and discuss it with your Elizabethtown KY home inspector who will be doing the inspection for you.

Check your Elizabethtown mortgage company's holiday hours because you want to be able to get the documents done as soon as possible. Keep in mind that during severe weather conditions your plans may be delayed by a day or two. Also be prepared for  the additional costs you'll incur especially during the gift-buying season.

When buying a house, remember to take your time. Carefully plan out your finances and try not to overspend during the holidays :) Good luck on your house hunt!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Finding Adventure As A Realtor In Hardin County, KY: Shirley Carr

With a ready smile and words of wisdom to share, Shirley Carr, a Realtor with HardinHomes.com, is definitely someone you will not forget. Having agreed to do the interview at such short notice, it is no wonder she is well loved by her family.

Shirley started out her Real Estate career after retiring from over 35 years of teaching at Fort Knox schools. From the way she eloquently speaks, one can easily tell she has great patience and understanding. Aside from volunteering her time with Hearts of Hope she decided selling homes with her husband, Barry Carr, who is also a Real Estate agent with HardinHomes.com was the right move after retiring. She gets a lot of advice and pointers from him and finds that working alongside each other is really wonderful. “Working with Barry is awesome; especially when I first started out because he had already been an agent for a while so he could easily help me. He does what he’s best at and I do what I'm best at. We bounce ideas off each other for strategy, for advice, and anything else, and it’s really great that we work together selling homes near Elizabethtown KY.”  

When asked about some of the challenges she faces as a Realtor, she quips that people are still trying to comprehend her being a Realtor, and not a teacher. She admits that prior to becoming a Realtor, she had never sold anything. She has already come to the realization that being a Realtor is not really a job.

Really knowing what homes are on the market and keeping up with that... realizing that you are trying to help clients find a house that they want. At first I was really nervous, and I thought that I couldn't really sell anything, I don't know anything about this, but, it’s not about selling something, it’s more about helping people find what they are looking for.
Shirley is proud to say that working with HardinHomes.com has been one of the best things ever. “We are so up to date and modern [with regard to marketing homes on the internet and using technology] that I believe we're ahead of everybody else.”


When asked about the local Fort Knox and Hardin County real estate market, Shirley says that, “Lately it’s been fairly slow; I haven’t sold many houses during the government shutdown. But, things are starting to flow again and picking up. We're seeing more activity than in the past."

For any aspiring Realtors or those who wish to get into the real estate business, Shirley shares:
The important traits are honesty, hard work, and being outgoing. Really listen to your clients and understand what it is they want and are looking for; what they're saying to you, so you can attend to their needs right away.

Because of technology, Shirley has also closed deals with people who have purchased a home near Elizabethtown without physically being there. She managed to do all the leg work, like providing tons of home photos. She becomes friends with many clients. "I have been blessed that people I have worked with have also become my friends and part of the family.”


When not busy showing homes or helping her clients find the house of their dreams, Shirley spends time with her granddaughter. She also finds time to volunteer at her granddaughter’s preschool. While volunteering, she likes to spread the word about Elizabethtown houses for sale to anyone who might interested in buying. With a busy lifestyle, Shirley is definitely keeping her schedule jam-packed.

There are more testimonials listed on her real estate agent profile page. Shirley can be contacted directly at 270-300-8444 or at ShirleyCarr@HardinHomes.com should you wish to work with her in finding that dream house of yours or simply have real estate questions.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Adobes Mexican Restaurant - Serving Up Authentic Mexican Dishes Daily

 “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”  - George Bernard Shaw

Food is an important part of life, we need it to survive. Man cannot survive on just one kind food. Yes, a majority of us love our mashed potatoes, bagels, pizzas, and pastas but if  we want to make our lives more exciting, we have to try new things. We need to try different cuisines to awaken our taste buds. The good thing about the Fort Knox, KY area is that you do not have to travel far to have a taste of world cuisines. There are several different types of restaurants in Radcliff and Hardin County that serve really exciting Mexican food. Today, we take a look at a newly opened Radcliff restaurant called Adobes Mexican Restaurant, it tastes as good as it sounds.

Having just had their grand opening last month, Adobes Mexican Restaurant already has loyal customers who keep coming back for their authentic Mexican dishes. This family-run restaurant lives up to its name, serving high quality meals to their customers. The owner, Emeterio Reyes, says:
We make everything fresh always… a lot of people order fajitas, chimichangas, and grilled chicken. We have a variety of dishes.
When asked where Adobes Mexican Restaurant sources its ingredients, Emeterio proudly says that, “We get our supplies from food distributors and small time businesses. We buy from big corporations as little as possible. “

Do not be frightened by the amazing number of items on their menu because Emeterio guarantees that their prices are really affordable. He states that the dishes are all pocket friendly with prices ranging from $5.99 to $8.99.

The majority of customers are usually a younger crowd and families who can always be seen happily dining at Adobes Mexican Restaurant. They do offer discounts to military families and the fire department. Aside from that, you can easily catch Emeterio himself manning the restaurant and making sure that everything is running smoothly.

When you want to check out something new in the restaurant scene, consider Mexican food and don't forget to visit Adobes Mexican Restaurant where you will always be treated like family and your dishes are made with fresh ingredients. Adobes Mexican Restaurant is the place to go if you are feeling hungry and want great food at a great price. The crowd will always be welcomed as they happily dine on Mexican specialties that only Adobes Mexican Restaurant can deliver.

Proud owner, Emeterio Reyes, assures all his customers that they will definitely enjoy their Mexican cuisine experience and will keep coming back for more. Adobes Mexican Restaurant is open daily from 11:00am till 9:30pm. Go ahead and indulge. This is real Mexican cuisine you need to experience.

Be sure to visit Adobes Mexican Restaurant on Facebook and don't forget to click "LIKE" to get the latest news and promotions they are offering. Give them a call at 270-351-4200. They are located at 593 W. Lincoln Trail Blvd., Radcliff, KY 40160.