The American Dream is affordable again, thanks to plentiful houses and rock-bottom interest rates. But you'll need to protect yourself with purchase agreements, inspections, disclosures, and more to keep your dream alive. Kentucky laws require buyers and sellers to perform certain specific acts. Familiarize yourself with this process before beginning your home search.
What an Agent Can Do
Though some people handle home purchases on their own, most feel more comfortable with an agent. A professional can readily find properties that might interest you and aid in negotiations with the seller. Ask friends for referrals and interview several local agents.
The seller's disclosures alert the buyer to potential problems with the property. In Kentucky, sellers must provide information about everything from appliances to leaky basements.
Once you're ready to commit, spell out details such as total costs and mortgage information in a purchase agreement. This contract outlines everyone's obligations through closing. In Kentucky, the agreement must be in writing.
Buyers have the right to ask for a home inspection that examines the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, roof, and structural integrity of the house. The results may reveal potentially troubling problems with the property. The American Society of Home Inspectors can give you tips on hiring a professional.
Do I Need Title Insurance?
A title search determines that the seller owns the property and is free to sell it. The process is complex, so most people prefer to use a real estate attorney or title company to conduct the title search. Lenders will require title insurance, but the policy covers only them. To make sure you're protected as well, purchase coverage for the amount of your loan.
Foreclosures and Short Sales
Buyers sometimes can find bargains in homes that are in foreclosure or whose owners are in financial trouble. In Kentucky, as in most states, foreclosures are sold to the highest bidders at public auctions. The property is sold “as is,” meaning there is no warranty. If the property is sold for less than two-thirds of its value, the original owner has up to a year to redeem it, or take it back, by paying the amount for which it was sold plus interest. In a short sale, the owner has the lender's permission to sell the home for less than what is owed on the loan. The buyer should be aware of possible hidden costs in short sales for things such as back taxes.
This article only provides an introductory overivew to the topic. For specific legal information, you should contact a real estate attorney in Kentucky.