Jan 192019
1937 flooding in Indiana

Damaged Farmhouse – 1937

In 2004 FEMA started to finally update flood maps do to the discovery of several areas not properly covered during previous years flood events. This is  an ongoing process and in some cases homeowners are not aware their home has been designated a high flood risk area and may require flood insurance. The process is not very scientific and mistakes are made.

Any time you have a mortgage on property in a SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area), the lender will usually require you have flood insurance, which can be pricey. The issue is that you may not even realized it until you go to sell your house. You get a buyer and all the sudden the buyer walks because he was told he needs flood insurance by his lender.

We just had this come up with one our listings and the seller found out from a neighbor who just sold their house that the whole street end overlooking a small creek was now in a SFHA. Of course they look down the hill at the creek, so flooding has never been and issue. But now they will have to address it due to disclosure laws.

You might want to do a quick check if you have any doubts on FEMA’s web site here.

Flooded area of downtown Indianapolis - March 1913 Photo: HistoricIndianapolis.com

Flooded area of downtown Indianapolis – March 1913 Photo: HistoricIndianapolis.com

Oh oh! Found out the bad news? Now you can try and get a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) that exempts your property. But guess what, you are going to have to pay for it. More details here on FEMA’s site. Not all homes will be able to get one so you’ll be stuck with the higher rates.

Best not wait till it’s time to sell your home. Just the insurance costs will deter some buyers, not the mention that they may think you’ve had flooding problems before. Sometimes the random power of the government will bite you when you least expect it.

The Federal Government has continued to extended the subsidy on flood insurance for a few more years but plans to slowly implement increases.  You might want to check this out while you still have time if your home is anywhere near a creek or major drainage ditch. And be sure and check any property before your purchase so you won’t have any surprises later.

Mar 022017

Many of our listings qualify for the USDA no money down program. This program is for rural homes such as ares in the western areas of Hendricks County and beyond such as Danville & North Salem. Check here to see if this is an option for you.

Next Home
Another option for you might be the ‘Next Home’ program. Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority has a program to use and supplement other offerings for home buyers who need some help to purchase a home. They provide a brochure on their web site detailing many of the options here: Homeownership Brochure.

The lenders who are participating in the program are listed here: Current Lenders.

Call The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110 to start your search for a new home. Don’t forget, we can help you with your home purchase and our services are paid by the seller, not you. So let’s start looking!


Also included these handy links if the above links do not work.

Website link: http://www.in.gov/ihcda/2507.htm

Income Limits: http://www.in.gov/ihcda/files/2011-12_Income_limits_FOR_LENDERS.pdf

Participating lenders: https://ihcdaonline.com/AuthorityOnline/participatinglenders/participatinglenders.aspx

Brochure: http://www.in.gov/ihcda/files/IHCDA-OpportunitiesForHomeownership-032410.pdf

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

Aug 282014

Much Ignored Sign

As you drive on county roads in Hendricks County you often find the sudden 90-degree turn with a short bit of road before another turn back in the direction you were driving. This is usually due to the nature of how early roads were based on trails that often cut across the areas of land before they were sold. You can see variances from some of the earliest maps of the county roads vs. today’s maps. (The old maps below are available at  http://www.co.hendricks.in.us/)

Once land was purchased and prepared for use by the new owner they often asked that the county vacate the road across their new land. This is evident in early records of county proceedings in various meeting documents in archives. For roads still used the solution often was to reroute the roads along the property lines. Of course when mostly used by slow foot and horse traffic 90 degree turns weren’t much of an issue. Today these corners are usually marked with tire skid marks from inattentive drivers.

If you live on a tricky road or a neighborhood, we will be happy to help you sell your home. Call or text The Derrick Team today at 317-563-1110 with any of your real estate needs.

Hendricks County 1865

Hendricks County 1865

Hendricks County 1876

Hendricks County 1876

Hendricks County 1904

Hendricks County 1904

Hendricks County 1920

Hendricks County 1920

Oct 132013

Update: Since we wrote this post in 2011 Avon has even more now as other area communities build them as well. Here is an interesting video from Mythbusters: http://youtu.be/OvoFjirrgYA

We know that local governments have to look for solutions that solve issues and a common way to do this is looking at what other communities have done to address the same issue. The “Let’s see how that’s working for them” mindset. When it comes to traffic control in the Indy metro area, the city of Carmel in the northern metro area jumped in with the trendy solution to busy intersections by installing roundabouts, and are still adding more every year. Saying it’s been used in Europe for a long time and is a proven way to ease busy traffic flow was they typical reason given for the decision. Whatever the reason, they’ve embraced it so other local governments are paying attention.

Avon was in the same predicament and after paying for traffic studies decided to “give it a go” as the British would say. With 5 done and more in the planning stages, they really jumped in with both feet and aim to be the #2 roundabout community in the Indy metro area.

From a personal perspective I was skeptical because of what I saw in the early stages of Carmel’s rollout. Traffic flowing smoothly until granny pulls up and will not enter the roundabout if ANY cars are in the circle resulting in long lines of backed up traffic. The other issue is roundabouts tend to bring out the aggression of those many aggressive drivers in Carmel. The fundamental requirement for smooth flowing traffic at a roundabout is being polite, paying attention (not texting or yaking on the cell phone), and slowing down to safely drive through. None of these are common in Carmel drivers. So when Avon announced their plans I was dreading the fact I would be required to use roundabouts to get anywhere in the area.

Fast forward to today and after a couple of years of use, drivers in this area generally follow the requirements listed above and traffic does generally flow better through our area roundabouts. So now my skepticism has abated as whether this was a good move by the town of Avon. The interesting part will be to see as the town grows and traffic increases, will these current designs be able to handle the traffic as smoothly as it does now.

For those not sure yet, try to follow these instructions from www.RoundaboutUSA.com :


  • As you approach a roundabout there will be a YIELD sign and dashed yield limit line. Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary.
  • When you enter, yield to circulating traffic on the left, but do not stop if the way is clear.
  • A conventional roundabout will have ONE-WAY signs mounted in the center island. They help guide traffic and indicate that you must drive to the right of the center island.
  • Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.
  • Left turns are completed by traveling around the central island.

A couple of unanticipated bonuses on roundabouts have occurred to me recently. One, you never have to worry about signals being down due to power or technical issues. Second, if you go through a roundabout and realize you meant to turn off at an exit, you just drive around again and exit at the correct one (good for a busy Realtor who forgets where their next stop is).

So love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay. I do ask that you do everyone a favor, you still need to use you’re turn signal when exiting. That signals waiting drivers that’s it’s OK to proceed.

Let me know what you think about roundabouts. Maybe you found another bonus we all need to hear.

And that about rounds up this post (couldn’t resist).

Feb 252012

Dennis At Work

As a Real Estate Broker Associate we’re covered by Indiana license laws in what we can and cannot do. So please throw out that image you’ve formed of realtors from HGTV and any movie or TV show that has a Realtor in it. That’s as about as close as CSI cop shows are to crime fighting.

We often joke that most people think all we do is show houses. Well that is a certain part of our job. Especially agents who specialize in buyers (The Derrick Team are both buyer and listing agents). But that actually is a small part of the larger picture. A better way of describing our main job is lots of marketing (our selves and our listings), research (the market and current trends) and contract negotiations, (or as I like to say, Haggling).

There are a lot of other little things we do spread around daily but these three main functions are what drive our business. Now let’s talk a little about our business model.

In general almost all real estate agents are independent contractors. Most people don’t realize that we work for ourselves and ONLY get paid when we sell houses. Because of Indiana license laws, we sales associates must work WITH a broker, but don’t work FOR them. In our case this is Carpenter Realtors and we love how they do the WITH part (that can be for a later post). So we are INDEPENDENT contractors, and ONLY GET PAID when we sell a home (or close the transaction to be specific). So when we are busy doing all the marketing, researching, and haggling, we are doing so in the hope that everything eventually results in a CLOSING! (Sometimes it doesn’t for items beyond our control). So whatever you thought we did before, now you know in summary, we work our butts off for ourselves and sometimes get paid for it…. And did I mention 7 days a week, 365 days a year? (yes we’ve been called on Xmas and New Years). So I’ll just say it this way,” I don’t want to make money, I just love to sell Real Estate!” (Sorry Don) OK I love to sell Real Estate, and a little money helps pay the bills.


It’s a lot of work to sell 5 million!

If you are in need of a professional Realtor, now you know what we do, day in and day out. Give The Derrick Team a call today at 317-563-1110. We love to sell real estate, buying or selling!

Feb 152012

Getting ready to put your home on the market? You might want to check out the requirements an appraiser will need to OK your home for an FHA loan. Why is this important? A large portion of homes are sold with the buyers getting some sort of FHA financing, or requires the home to pass FHA appraisals. If your home doesn’t pass that test, your limited to conventional or insured conventional loans, or cash buyers. That shrinks your buyers market, considerably…..!

From the FHA (HUD) web site:

Required Repairs: Required repairs are limited to those repairs necessary to preserve the continued marketability of the property and to protect the health and safety of the occupants, A.K.A. the three S’s:

Safety: protect the health and safety of the occupants

Security: protect the security of the property (security for the FHA insured mortgage.)

Soundness: correct physical deficiencies or conditions affecting structural integrity

In general this all sounds good as any buyer wants their property to be a good investment as it’s a rather substantial one for most buyers. But as a seller you can easily get tripped up on the sale process after a buyer has made an offer. You’ve negotiated a sale price that you feel comfortable with, and then the appraiser calls out many defective items that will need to be addressed in order for the FHA loan to be given to the buyer. Now your stuck with paying for the repairs, or letting the buyer walk away. And you’ll have to make those repairs before the next FHA buyer comes along. We’ve seen this happen more than once….

Some of the more common things to consider that often get called out are:

  • Peeling paint, especially on older homes (pre 1978) that might contain lead based paint.
  • Roofs that have outlived their life (a judgment call sometimes, others more obvious).
  • Exposed wiring or dangerous electrical issues.
  • Broken or missing windows.
  • Loose or missing handrails and balusters.
  • Holes in walls and flooring, especially as pertains to firewalls (between garage and home, or other units in multi unit buildings).

This is a very short list but it covers some of the items we’ve seen called out, more than once.

Appraisers are required to go by the FHA guidelines or they can be fined and lose their license. Some will be more strict than others and sometimes you can request a second one at your own expense. But that doesn’t guarantee anything, so the best approach is to address obvious items up front, and be prepared for some surprises, even on newer homes.

If you so desire you can review the entire FHA list here: http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/handbooks/hsgh/4150.2/41502c3HSGH.pdf

Or just give The Derrick Team a call. We’ll be glad to come do a walk through and help point out the obvious items we’ve seen called out. Some items can only be determined by a professional (electrician, HVAC tech, etc). But we can at least give you a heads up. Call us at 317-563-1110 today!


Aug 162011

As Realtors we often look at tax data, most importantly assessment value, in part of our Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). It’s not uncommon to find that the homeowner may not have a common deduction on their property taxes. The most important one, the Homestead Credit can mean a much higher tax bill if not applied to the property if it’s applicable. If you are the owner and you live in the home, you are eligible. Another common one is the mortgage deduction that is usually only $3000 or less but still, it’s a few more bucks in your pocket if it applies (you have a mortgage on the property).

There also is a new process in which you must re-apply for your Homestead Credit to keep it in effect. In your last property tax statement there was a pink sheet that told you that all information must be updated by 2013 or you can lose this credit. In most counties you can do this online. I just did ours for Hendricks County at this link: Hendricks County Parcel Search. Just type in your address and find your information. Then on your property information page click on the Homestead Deduction button and fill in the information. You will get an email later confirming your Homestead Deduction has been OK’d from the auditors office. Only takes a few minutes and can save you hundreds of dollars.

There are many others and I’ve borrowed a table from the Indiana Department of Revenue flyer and added it below. Look it over and if you have questions call your county tax assessors office to get more details. Many require a form to fill out and some documentation to prove your eligible. But in the long run it’s money in your pocket that is rightfully yours!

Indiana Property Tax Deductions

Here are some handy links from the Indiana GOV web site:



Jul 262011

Hendricks County Court House in the Square Today

Hendricks County Court House in the square today in the center of Danville

Interesting bit of history of the beginning of Hendricks County government from the History of Hendricks County by Honorable John V. Hadley written in 1914. The government provided whiskey distributed by the coroner to help people pick out the property to purchase. Not a marketing strategy we can really get away with today…

The act organizing the county of Hendricks was approved on December 29. 1823. The county was named in honor of William Hendricks, then governor of the state of Indiana. According to the provisions of this act, the men selected began to investigate several claims made for the location of the county seat. Many localities were at work striving for the honor, among them the community near George Mattock’s tavern, two miles east of Belleville, where a town had been laid out named Hillsboro.

This site was discarded in favor of a location as near as possible to the geographical center of the county, and on the second Monday in July, 1824, the site of Danville was chosen. Four men, Daniel Beals, George Matlock, Robert Wilson and James Downard, being the owners of land in four sections having a common corner, each donated twenty acres touching the common corner for the benefit of the county seat, all of which was laid out into public square and town lots. Thomas Hinton was appointed agent of the county, and on October 20, 1824, he placed on file a plat of the town of Danville.

The lots were immediately put up at a public sale, and this continued for three days. An order was made by the commissioners for fifteen gallons of whiskey to assist the purchasers in making their selection. Samuel Herriman, the coroner, was the distributor on this occasion. The price paid for the lots ranged from three to one hundred and fifteen dollars. The latter price was given by Mr. Hulse for the lot on the northeast corner of Main and Washington streets. The lot on the southwest corner brought the next highest price.

The court house was completed and the first term of court held in Danville in April of the year 1826. The building was constructed of peeled hickory logs and cost one hundred and forty-seven dollars. The jail was of the same material. The first county commissioners were Thomas Lockhart, Gideon Wilson and Littlebury Blakely. They divided the county into nine townships, of nearly equal area, and there was sufficient population in but four of the townships at that time to give them a civil organization. The first representative of the county in the General Assembly was Lewis Mastin.

And thus the history of our government in Hendricks County was started….

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