Sep 132018
 

It’s easy to forget when you are spending a lot of money on a house that you are buying a USED home (unless you happen to be building a new one). And often it is at least several years old, if not a few decades or more. When we first talk to buyers we find out how comfortable they are with home maintenance which can dictate how old of a home they might be comfortable with. But truth is a lot of older homes are better built than some of the newer styles. But that’s another whole blog post so we won’t go over that here. But the real key is that when you’ve successfully worked out the Purchase Agreement (PA) with the seller, you’ll want to pay and professional inspector to carefully go over the home to point out any flaws or defects the home has that aren’t readily apparent.

1308Interior10

Inspection of the furnace /AC and water heater is very important!

As you are looking at homes with your real estate agent you can usually note the basic conditions that tell you what might be needed. Because we’ve talked to our clients before showing them homes we’ll point out things and ask if they are comfortable taking care of that after the sale. For example, many homes will need some painting of some sort, and most our clients will be OK with that since they might want to change the colors anyway. But for holes in the walls or cracks in the ceiling it might depend on how handy our client is as to if that makes them move on to the next home. The reason we point this out is these are the items in the homes condition that are readily apparent and are “known issues” at the time you write the purchase agreement. So you factor those items into what you are willing to pay for the home. We help guide our clients on what their costs may be in addressing these issues.

The inspection after the PA is accepted by both parties is to look for the “unknown issues”. A good inspector will help educate you about the home you are about to purchase going over items like the furnace operation, water shut offs, etc. That’s why it’s important to be there why the inspector is doing the inspection. Unlike many agents we try to be there for all our buyer’s inspections. (sellers should leave during inspections). Inspectors will ALWAYS find something wrong, it’s their job. And remember these are USED homes. The age of the home will also determine how to look at issues as building codes have changed over the years so what’s OK in a 50-year-old home may not be for a home only 10 years old. What I like to point out is there will be a list of items the inspector finds on every home as no home is perfect. So as either a buyer or seller, don’t freak out when you see the list. That’s why we like to be there so we can mention this or that is a common problem found in most homes. Having attended many inspections, we’ve listed below many of the common items found at inspections, even in homes less than 10 years old. For a buyer don’t be surprised at the list and as a seller look this list over to see if you can address some of these items before you put your home on the market.

Electrical:

  • Loose outlets and switches (very common)
  • Open /uncovered junction boxes
  • Non-working GFCI outlets (important in newer homes)
  • Non-grounded outlets (important in newer homes)

Furnace / cooling systems:

  • Dirty filters (very common)
  • Dirty furnace (showing lack of servicing)
  • Improper ventilation for combustion systems (gas, propane, oil)
  • Indoor circuit breaker not matching outside AC unit

Windows / doors:

  • Broken seals on double-pane windows (very common)
  • Doors that won’t latch
  • Broken / cracked glass
  • Missing / damaged screens (very common)

Roof / exterior:

  • Roofing nail pops (very common)
  • Loose or missing shingles
  • Loose vinyl siding
  • Roof damaged (hail damage or worn out)
  • Rotten / damaged soffits or window trim
  • Unlevel or cracked concrete patio / sidewalk / driveway (very common)
  • Gutters full of leaves
  • Improper downspouts

Plumbing:

  • Dishwasher drain without proper loop (very common)
  • Leaky pipes / drains under sinks
  • Low water pressure (common in older homes)
  • Improper water heater pressure relief valve drain pipe (very common)
  • Sump pump inoperative in crawl spaces

These are just some of the more common items that are found in just about every home. If you inspected your current home today many of these items would probably show up. The main thing to keep in mind is you are not buying a perfect home (inspectors will also find problems with brand new builds). Use the inspection report to address items that relate to safety, security, and structural conditions. That’s what we are there to help you with as you go through what some might call the ‘scary’ home inspection. It’s usually something that all parties can negotiate items to be addressed and it’s very rare that a buyer has to move on to another home. Having a good REALTOR will help you make your deal work out, as either a buyer or seller.

Contact The Derrick Team today at 317-563-1110 with any questions on buying or selling real estate. We work 7 days a week, evenings too!

A Home Inspection Nightmare

 

May 232018
 

I’ve talked about homeowner’s maintenance responsibilities before and how that affects a homes value when you are ready to sell. But often ignored is the lot outside the home and that can sometimes lead to issues. I’ve mentioned before how it’s important to maintain your home. It can be for your own safety and security that everything works inside your home such as the furnace, water heater, electrical system, etc. But recently we’ve been running into issues with dead and dying trees, and that can lead to some expensive issues if not addressed, especially if they fall on your home.

Newer homes in neighborhoods often have very few if any large trees around them. Sometimes a few are left by the developer to maintain some sort of natural look in easements, common areas, and nature parks, depending on the type of development and requirements by the local zoning laws. But as neighborhoods mature we see landscaping that’s been ignored for way too long.

In homes older than 20 years previous landscaping can often grow beyond what was needed when originally planted (think large bushes hiding the front of the home). The decorative Bradford Pear was very popular back then and now we’re seeing them topple over in windy conditions as they don’t mature well without proper pruning. And any large tree close to the home should be looked at closely to make sure it’s healthy and won’t be falling on the home any time soon. It’s becoming a more common issue that some of the older trees are dying due to extreme weather, changing local conditions, and most commonly bug infestations such as the Ash borer killing Ash trees here in central Indiana.

Large Maple Trees Getting A Haircut

For the larger mature trees over 30 years old it’s a good idea to have an arborist or qualified tree trimmer examine the tree. Once the trees reach 30 – 40 tall you need to understand what could happen if it topples in a storm. Most of the time you’ll find they recommend a good pruning will help ‘storm proof’ a tree. They thin out the branches and remove unhealthy or dead branches, so the tree will fill in with younger branches and you’ll end up with a safer & shadier tree.

Another item to pay attention to is plants and trees too close to the home. Bushes and thick plantings up against the home can cause moisture and insect issues. Large trees too close to the home can damage the foundation and basement walls with their roots, not to mention clog up underground drainage pipes & septic systems.

So as a seller you’ll want to look at your landscaping before listing your home, so you can remove problem landscaping yourself or have it done professionally (highly recommended for large trees).

As a buyer, be sure and look around at any tall trees. Any more you should assume if there is an Ash tree, or large Bradford Pear around, it will have to be removed in the near future. Sometimes your home inspector will point out landscaping issues but most the time they focus on the house, so you’ll want to do your own scouting as well.

If you have any questions on this topic or any others on buying or selling your home don’t hesitate to contact The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110.

Mar 282018
 

If you are looking to buy a home in the near future, you will find you’re a up for a challenge here in central Indiana. The past 2 years we have seen the strongest ‘Sellers’ Market’ in years. What does that mean to you?  Basically, there or more buyers than there are homes for sale. So, sellers have the upper hand as in most cases if priced right, homes sell in less than a day, often with multiple offers. As a buyer, that is what you are up against, several other buyers whom are looking to buy the same home you want.

Listings are down, sales are up = Sellers Market!

What’s a buyer to do? Well first you must make sure you have an experienced agent representing you. The key in a multiple offer situation is making sure and writing a ‘strong’ & ‘clean’ offer. The ‘strong’ part is having your financing well in hand with a good prequalification letter from your lender. The ‘clean’ part is limiting the contingencies in the contract and understanding that the seller is going to be mostly interested in their ‘net’. There are a few tricks to make sure that’s how your offer works out and that’s what The Derrick Team is good at. Last year all our buyers were able to purchase homes they loved in this competitive market.

And what’s a seller to do that wants to buy after they sell their current home? Well that can get a bit tricky but there are some options. First if you have enough equity in your current home and great credit some lenders offer what amounts to a ‘bridge’ loan. There are different names for this but basically you use the equity to get a loan to purchase a home first, then sell your home after you move out and use those proceeds to then get a permanent mortgage on your new home. The advantage is you don’t have to scramble to find a home when your current home sells in one day.

If that isn’t an option, we always recommend a ‘plan b’ for our sellers. Find some sort of temporary housing arraignment after you close on your current home, such as short-term rentals or staying with friends or family. The idea is if you cannot find a home quickly after the sale of your home you don’t want to have to rush buying your next home and maybe settle for something that you’ll regret later. We did have sellers that managed to find a home and close on both the current and new homes at the same time last year, but it’s difficult to do in this market.

Just getting ready to sell or buy? Feel free to call The Derrick Team for a no obligation meeting to go over your options in today’s challenging market at 317-563-1110.

Looking to buy a home? The Derrick Team offers FREE ‘one
on one’ home buyer consultations. Click here for details.

Mar 022018
 

Excellent Communicators

“My wife and I had started out with another company to try and buy a home and soon found ourselves leaving message after message with no communication back. When we got a Christmas card from the Derricks we decided to give them a call since they were neighbors of ours. 98% of the time Connie would answer our calls, and 100% of the time they would respond. The Derrick Team’s effective communication through a otherwise rough sale of our previous home to the purchase of the home the Derrick Team helped us find went flawlessly and I can’t say enough nice things about the Derrick Team. Thank you!”

Brandon & Katie Pugh, Zionsville, IN

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“Dennis and Connie did a great job selling our home. They are courteous, professional, and gave us the attention that we deserved as we went through the house selling process. We particularly appreciated their follow through on all of our questions in a thorough and timely manner. We highly recommend Dennis and Connie Derrick to anyone in the market, whether buying or selling a home! George and Sharon Keenon, Avon, IN”

George and Sharon Keenon, Avon, Indiana

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First Time Home Buyers

“Connie and Dennis, first thank you so much for helping me find my amazing home!  You two have been incredibly kind and helpful!  Thank you for reaching out to me when I first started looking for a home.  You were the only ones who were consistent in helping me.  It was also really nice how you guided and walked me through the home buying process and you were always willing to help.  You were also really calm and laid-back during the process. You didn’t rush me and you gave me extremely helpful advice.  It was also really cool having two realtors on my team guiding me through the process. Thank you again for everything! “

Stephen, Whisperwood Lakes ~ Danville

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“Dennis and Connie helped us find our first home! They made the process easy and they were with us every step of the way. It was wonderful to work with them and know that any and all of our questions would be answered! Blessed to have worked with this great team!”

Alex & Laura, Plainfield – Indiana

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Selling Your Home & Buying Another

“Dennis and Connie,
WE LOVE YOU GUYS!! You sold our tiny house in the city within 24 hours of listing it, and helped us find our forever dream home quickly when the market was VERY competative! You knew how to write up a clean attractive offer for us to ensure we would get it. You guys made one of the most stressful times of our lives bearable and fun. Hands down, the best agents around!”

Matt and Karen St.Clair, 213 Maple St. Greenwood

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“Choosing The Derrick Team to list our house and find our dream home was the smartest thing we have done. They made the process of selling as stress free as it can be and were always available to answer questions. During the process of looking for a home to buy I appreciated their honest opinion of the homes that we were looking at to keep us focused on our goals. My wife and I truly felt as if we were going through the entire process and the support they provide afterwards with friends and family, you will not be sorry when you decide to make Dennis & Connie your realtors.”

Chris and Angie Book, Avon, IN

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Happy Clients!

“To whom this may concern,I had wanted to buy a house in Indiana .My son had recommended me to this cute little couple ,”The Derrick Team” . When I say team, I mean team. Dennis and Connie showed me as many houses I wanted to see.If I had a question it was never , “a stupid one”, if you know what I mean. They made me feel very comfortable and as if anything was possible.They made my dream home mine. I wish I could tell you the whole story. Let’s just say I had a plane flight back to Virginia and they called me the morning of and told me I’d gotten the house….they worked to the last second. Amazing ,just amazing! I love them both dearly.They also have been in contact with me several times since to see how I and my house was doing.God bless them both! They deserve it. Sincerely, Elaine Bass”

Elaine Bass, 7909 Patterson Dr. Avon , Indiana 46123

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“Ok so first of all, they are great people!!! We felt so comfortable with them both (which I think is most important). We wanted to see a house and we usually did that same day,.. Very professional and knew their job well!! They came highly recommend and exceeded all our expectations!!”

Lori & Scott Zorman, Highfall Ave , Greencastle

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Building A New Home

“After assisting us sell our house, The Derrick Team was our rock of support as we went through the process of building a new home. They were there when we needed them, answering questions and providing guidance in dealing with the builder and mortgage company. Kind, caring, and down to earth. We greatly appreciated everything! Don’t hesitate to give them a call!”

John and Abby, Carolina Commons, Avon, IN

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Need help buying, selling, building, or just planning for a future move? Call or text The Derrick Team today at 317-563-1110.

Jun 022017
 

You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘The 3 most important things in real estate are; Location, Location, Location.’ While is seems silly to repeat the same word there is a reason we real estate agents say this. I’m going to discuss the details in this post.

As you probably know we are in a hot ‘sellers’ market’ right now that started gaining ground in 2015 and kicked into high gear in 2016 and so far has not let up in 2017. But this is not necessarily a universal thing as the market varies by the local market AKA ‘Location’. In many cases areas have become hot markets because of new trends. While others see slower but increasing growth in their respective market. And there are still markets with very little activity.

With what I’ll call ‘trendy markets’ we have seen some of the most explosive growth with buyers who want to move there causing the market prices to skyrocket. Some of the examples would be Fountain Square, Bates Hendricks, and Lockerbie Square in near downtown Indianapolis where young professionals have been snapping up tear down / rebuild homes like crazy in the past few years. There are other areas that have always drawn a special crowd such as Broad Ripple, Irvington, and Carmel. The first group is a newer trend as Millennials want to live close to the action in a revitalized downtown Indy. Broad Ripple and Irvington have always been popular with the younger urban cowboys while Carmel is an area popular with people with money and that want everyone to know it. The thing to consider is what happens to these markets when trends change.

The more traditional markets grow around slower developments in an area such as school districts, access to shopping, and restaurants. These are the areas the market has grown steadily along with local developments. This has been most noticeable in the ‘doughnut counties’ around Indianapolis, especially west and south but lately includes the northwest and northeast areas and everything around Carmel. This is where home builders bet their money and invest in large developments with lots of houses in the price range to match most of the existing housing. For most of the younger buyers with kids we will find it’s the school system that drives their choice on where to buy a home and this is usually the market builders are tapping into.

Finally, there are specifics to consider on the ‘Location’ importance. These are infrastructure items next door or nearby. Close to a school, good. Next to an airport, not so good. Busy roads, train tracks, airport flight paths, all can be something that people avoid like the plague. Walking distance to a park, shopping center, or downtown square, can be attractive for many buyers.

So as you see location plays a big part in in pretty much every real estate transaction. And what’s happening in a location drives the market prices. For example, a large executive home in Carmel sells quickly while the same home elsewhere takes longer to sell because of less demand. In some areas we’ll see the same type of home on 2 sides of a street and one will go for up to 10% more because of the school system.

So when you are looking for a home you should seriously consider the location as a prime factor in your decision. You can always change a home (updates, remodel, etc) but you cannot change the location. If you are not sure about market locations in central Indiana call The Derrick Team with any questions you have at 317-563-1110. We’ll be glad to point you in the right direction to the location that works best for you!

May 172016
 

Been looking for that perfect home but just cannot see it browsing the classifieds or on the Internet? Well we’ve stated the many reasons why you should use a REALTOR® when making an investment like a new home in another blog post. But did you realize that even if you decide to build, you’re better off working with your REALTOR® to guide you through the process? Years ago builders accepted the usefulness of paying REALTORS® a fee and it’s worked so well they now market directly to REALTORS® to move their inventory.

But what’s important to you that as professional REALTORS® we will work with you to determine your needs and are familiar with the various builders working in the market. We can help you get the best deal in the area you most desire because of our working relationship with the builders. And best of all, it costs you nothing.

If you’ve signed the contract to build a home without the help of your REALTOR®, then one only knows what kind of deal you got.

So if even if you are only thinking of building a home, contact your REALTOR® first. They can make sure you get the best deal before you sign, and then help you work with the builder during construction. It’s the best money you never had to spend!

Questions? Feel free to text or call The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110 or use our handy Contact Form.

Dec 072015
 

When I purchased my first home back in 1985 I was in the same situation as many first time home buyers: I had more energy than cash. So it was natural that any home in my price range would be a little rough. But I had basic carpentry and general home repair skills that I learned from my dad so a little work didn’t scare me. The home I purchased had been built during WWII and was a solid little home. But it did indeed need a little attention.

The first project my buddy and I attacked was the wobbly toilet. That ‘little’ project turned into replacing most of the rotten bathroom floor and the cracked leaky toilet. We did this while the girls kept reminding us that it was the ‘only’ toilet in the home so we had to get it done in one afternoon. We did get it taken care of and over the course of several years I did quite a bit of those little (and sometimes big) projects. But I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands and never really gave it much thought.

Today many first time home buyers are in a similar situation as they’ve grown tired of paying high rent but don’t have a lot of cash to buy a ‘move in ready’ home. What this article will discuss is some of the more expensive items to look for when searching for a ‘fixer upper’ so you don’t end up with a ‘money pit’ that needs a lot of money (that you didn’t have in the first place).

When looking at lower price point homes one of the first things to check is if it has a private well and / or septic system. You don’t need to automatically avoid them but understand the possible costs if either (or both) are in bad shape and need repaired or replaced. I’ll be writing another blog post about them in the near future. If you are looking at newer production homes which are commonly found in some areas with affordable prices you typically avoid issues with your water and sewer because they are provided through the local town or city.

Next you want to look for possible foundation issues as anything wrong with the foundation affects the entire building. Major defects such as crumbling foundation walls or sagging floors can be very expensive to repair. If the home has a crawl space, you’ll want to be sure and find out if anything has been done to it lately and be sure and have it inspected as we see a lot of moisture problems show up that the owners were not even aware of while living there. One of the advantages of homes with basements is you can usually easily see if there are any moisture/leaking issues.

After that be sure and look up at the roof and gutters as nothing ruins a home more than a leaky roof. Check on the age of the roof if the seller knows and look for stains in the ceilings anywhere inside the home. Make sure when you hire an inspector they will go into the attic to look for any staining or damage on the upper framing structure.

The reason I mention the above items first is they all will pretty much require you hiring a company to repair / replace and in each case the costs are usually very expensive and not usually covered by typical homeowners’ insurance. There are many other items such as plumbing, electrical, heating & cooling systems that need to be checked so you’ll want those inspected as well. Again you probably will need to pay someone to repair these items unless you have knowledge of these items or have a friend / family member who works in that trade and owes you a favor. You can also ask about a home warranty when you purchase your home to cover some of the mechanical systems (heating /cooling, water heater, etc) the first year you live there.

So what kind of home isn’t a ‘money pit’? Generally, you want a home that is in need of updating (which can be a personal opinion), fresh paint, new flooring, or just general cosmetic issues that you or a general handyman can take care of for materials and low (or free) labor costs.

HomeSweetHome

Home Sweet Home

The home that we now live in was a ‘fixer upper’ I purchased in the ‘90s that I knew needed major repairs. But I also knew it was a solid home because I had it inspected and it is in a great location in Hendricks County. I have since gutted and redone almost everything myself or paid contractors for items beyond my knowledge and/or abilities and we now have a great home that is perfect for us.

Buying a ‘fixer upper’ isn’t for everyone but sometimes the current financial situation requires you to at least consider a home that needs a little fresh paint and new flooring. Just remember to look at each home with the idea of it’s potential after you do a little work to ‘personalize’ your home. It’s actually nice to sit back and look at your work and take pride in what you’ve accomplished.

If you are thinking of looking for a ‘fixer upper’ be sure and give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you find a home that needs a ‘little’ attention. Or one that needs a ‘gut job’ if that’s what you are up too. I don’t mind crawling round a home with a flashlight to help point out obvious ‘major’ issues with a home you are interested in. While I’m not a trained inspector I can at least point out some things that will keep you from wasting your money hiring an inspector to tell you the home ‘has issues’. Call or text The Derrick Team today at 317-563-1110, 7 days a week. We’re here to help!

Jan 312015
 

RinehartSOLDSo you’ve been though the process of searching, touring, and determining the home you wish to purchase. You made an offer and your Realtor just called you and told you your offer has been excepted. Congratulations, you just made the first step in your home purchase process. But you’re not quite done yet. Now it’s time to get busy as you and your Realtor have some things to do.

First, your Realtor should let you know specifically what to do per what you put in the Purchase Agreement (PA). There are contingencies that must be met to complete the entire purchase.

Getting A Loan
Typically if you are getting a loan there is a contingency for you to be able to obtain acceptable financing and the property to appraise for the purchase price. Your Realtor will work closely with your lender to make sure all the information is exchanged on the property and purchase agreement with all needed parties. This includes the Ernest Money (EM) you put down on the property (which is deposited in escrow by the listing broker at this point, so make sure you have the funds to cover). It is YOUR responsibility to provide all your personal financial information to lender as quickly as possible when anything is requested. Failure to do so can lead to delays or even the default of the PA, which then can make you lose the property and possibly your EM. Time is of essence after the first few days so do everything you’re told as quickly as possible. What ever you do, DON’T go spend a lot of money. We’ve seen more deals fall apart because buyers ruin their credit rating just as they are about to purchase a home. If you need to buy something, talk to your lender first.

The Home Inspection
At this same time you’ll be told to hire an home inspector if it was in the PA. We always recommend one for every home purchased as you want to make sure there is no hidden major problems that end up costing you a lot of money in the future. Take the time to get this setup as quickly as possible, and make the time to be there during the inspection. A good inspector will show you things you need to know, like how to check the furnace or water heater. They will educate you a little about your new home. A good Realtor will be there with you for the inspection (I will always try my best to be there for the entire inspection.) After the inspection we will write the inspection response based on what is documented in the report. At that point we will negotiate with the sellers if there are issues that need to be resolved.

Homeowners Insurance
After those two items are addressed things will slow down a little bit while waiting for the lender to finish preliminary underwriting on your loan and the appraisal is ordered. You will need to call and get homeowners insurance as that will be a lender requirement. Check with your auto insurance company as discounts often apply to combined home and auto insurance.

Listen To Your Advisors
If there are other contingencies your Realtor should keep you advised on anything you need to get taken care of. Be a responsible buyer and follow the advice of your Realtor and lender to make sure the entire transaction proceeds smoothly. Buyers who do not complete contract items in time can find they lose the property and their EM. But stay in the required timeframes and everything will move more easily to you owning a new home.

Just starting to look? Give The Derrick Team a call today at 317-563-1110! We will assist you every step of the way to get you into you’re new home.

Apr 052012
 

Derrick Red Ad signThe Derrick Team loves working with buyers. Whether you are first timers or looking for your retirement dream home, we can help you every step of the way. If you haven’t figured it yet, this is more than just looking at homes and picking one out. There are many steps in this purchase and we will help guild you all the way.

The seller of the property you’ll eventually buy will pay our commission fees so you don’t have to worry about that cost.

But we do expect something pretty simple in return for us helping you. That is: Let us help you!

In other words, Work with us. Now this may seem a little simple to you but you have to understand we will spend a lot of time working on your purchasing process; searching for homes, showing homes, checking home values, negotiating contracts, working with vendors, etc., and will not get paid until you have successfully purchased your new home.

So all we are really asking for is a little loyalty, that’s all!

Just starting your search? Thinking about it in 6 months to a year? Know someone who is looking to buy? Give us a call today for a non-binding ‘meet ‘n greet’ to see if we can be your Realtor. We love to help people buy homes!

Call 317-563-1110 or shoot us an email today!

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