Jun 192016
 
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.

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.

Apr 232016
 
Save The Earth

Save The Earth

We are not referring to a fad that utilizes lots of shades of green, such as a color scheme using hunter green for decorating accents. But you might have heard the term ‘Green Building’ or ‘The Healthy Home’ being tossed around lately. The idea is building homes along the lines of being friendly to the environment. While using products that don’t harm the environment are considered, that actually is not the focus of a ‘Green Home’ today. Instead the focus is on the amount of energy used to heat and cool and how that in turn affects the environment. More energy used uses more of the non-renewable energy sources on the planet. So an energy efficient home is thus labeled a ‘Green’ home for using less energy.

With new homes there are a lot of new design options and building techniques that can add up to a lot of efficiency for overall energy requirements. We attended a workshop held by David Weekley Homes in Avon that discussed many of the new implementations they have rolled out with their homes. You can find out a lot about their ‘Energy Saver’ homes here. You can see where a lot of builders are working on building changes here. So if you are planning to build you might want to look into your options that can pay off in the long run.  Be sure and give your Realtor (The Derrick Team) a call for assistance with local builders.

Now for the other part of a ‘Green’ home we look at existing homes. The reason I bring this up is that it’s quite probable that at some point in the near future there is going to be a energy rating applied to all homes. You may already have gotten notices from your energy provider about free energy audits that they provide to check your homes efficiency rating. At this point they are going to test your home and recommend items you can address to make your home more efficient such as insulation, window replacement, etc. But at some point they will also be applying a rating to be used for comparison purposes. Comparison to what you say? To other homes when you go to sell your home. Most likely it will be a common item to list a home’s efficiency rating, much like the gas mileage when shopping for cars, in the not too distant future.

So what does this mean to you today? It might be prudent to pay attention to what adds to your home’s energy efficiency with any updates you do to your home. For instance if you need to replace the furnace, consider spending a little more to get a higher efficiency unit. And it might be a good idea to take advantage of a ‘Free Energy Audit’ if your utility provides one. I know here in Hendricks County, Hendricks Power & Duke Energy will do free audits for their customers.

So if you want your home to be ‘Green’, it’s going to take a little more work than slapping the trendiest color of green on the walls. If you have any questions on updating your home and the future value call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110 today and we’ll be happy to discuss with no obligation to you. Or use our handy Contact Form here!

 

 

Mar 052016
 

Open HouseEvery time you talk to a good real estate agent while at an open house you will eventually hear from them “Are you working with an agent?” Good agents will respect that you are the other agent’s client unless you tell us otherwise. What is usually surprising is when the person tells us that they don’t want help from an agent in their search for a new property. They might even be annoyed when we offer to represent them in any transaction even thought it costs them nothing because the seller typically pays all commission fees. It’s one of those puzzling items that we run across quite often.

If you are one of those buyers not ready to commit to an agent representing you here are something to consider: A good buyer agent will spend a great deal of time and effort to find the perfect home for a committed client. This will include all the proper preparation and education on the processes for the client, searching and showing potential homes to the client, and of course working with the client with an offer all the way to closing and beyond. So if you don’t commit with an agent you’ll find most agents will only offer information on their listings you contact them about but not much else.

Now for a couple of suggestions when looking for an agent to help you: Do some research on agents in your area. Ask family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors if they’ve worked with any agents recently or any recommendations they might have.  Visit open houses in the area you are looking in to find agents that work that area. Google them and find out about their Internet presence. You’ll see their knowledge of the area from all of this. Then to see if they are a good personality match meet with them at their office and discuss what you’re looking for. Even at this point you have nothing to lose, as you are committed to nothing until you start looking at properties with the agent.

Finally keep in mind any buyer agency documents you sign are typically only for the homes that agent has shown you. If you decide to move to another agent later on that new agent will represent you on any additional homes you look at and decide to purchase. So as we tell our clients you can fire us at any time without further commitment.

The Derrick Team loves working with buyers no matter what price range. From first time homebuyers to those looking for acreage in far out rural areas we are glad to help. Give us a call or text us anytime at 317-563-1110 and we’ll be glad to meet with you to discuss your plans and options for purchasing a new home! Or use our handy Contact Form here.

Feb 152016
 

One of our favorite events of the year in Hendricks County!

The Derrick Team will be sponsors again.

See fun from last years event here!

Here is a link to Hendricks County Humane Society’s web site with the latest details.

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Feb 122016
 

A well planned garage sale can put some $$$ in your pocket!

Garage sale todayIf you are planning to move, or just need to make some space, a garage sale (sometimes called a yard sale), is a great way to get rid of unwanted or unused items and pocket a little cash. Here are some general ideas that can help you clean up and get a reward.

Plan

  • It’s not a good idea to have sales on holiday weekends as most people already have other plans.
  • Look for community sales you can join or invite neighbors to join as you have more stuff and can split the advertising costs. More stuff increases a shoppers chance of finding something they like.
  • Check with your Homeowners Association and/or with local ordinances as sometimes a permit or registration is required. Some HOA’s only allow them during ‘community sales’.

Advertise

  • Run an ad in the newspaper and/or post an ad for free on Craigslist, Facebook groups, or other local Internet sites.
  • For larger sales passing out local flyers or posting on local store bulletin boards can draw traffic as well.
  • Put signs out the day before (check local ordnances) and check to make sure they are there the day of the sale. Most of the Indy area has 24 hour rules.
  • Remember, attaching signs to public signs and utility poles is a no-no, they must be free standing.
  • Good signs make a difference as most people are drive bys so make sure they are sturdy and easy to read from the road.
  • If it’s windy or you had a storm overnight go check them right before the sale is going to start. Consider using boxes with weights in them. And make sure and go pick them up after the sale.

Before the Sale Preparations

  • Supply plastic bags or boxes for multiple items. Keep old newspaper handy to wrap up fragile items.
  • Put dogs away as some people are scared or allergic of them.
  • Have a small calculator handy, buyers might otherwise question your addition.
  • Make sure you have room for parking safely on the street or yard area.
  • Place an ‘All Sales Final’ sign to make sure you don’t get people coming back the next day.
  • Have plenty of change at the start, at least $50 in small bills and coins. More if you have a lot of low priced items.
  • Don’t take checks from strangers as you have no way to get your money if the check is not legit.
  • Keep the money on you, not in a cash box as a tempting target. Carpenter aprons are a handy item to keep your money on you.
  • Price everything or at least group them on a table with a sign that says ‘All Items on this Table $5’. Price items in good shape for about a 3rd of what they are new. Make it easy on yourself and price them in even amounts like 50 cents, $1, $5, etc.
  • Provide electric power to test plug in items and batteries in battery operated items.
  • Have some soft music playing so people don’t have to whisper if they are talking about an items price.
  • Provide cold drinks (you can make a little money there) and even snacks as that can help keep people browsing.
  • Make sure all items are clean and neatly arraigned and during lulls in activity be sure and straighten the displayed items.

For the Sale

  • Expect early birds for the ‘professional’ yard sale shoppers looking for the under priced item they know are worth more and they can make a tidy profit from (if you want to discourage them put in the ads ‘Early Bird Pays Double’).
  • Put man items (tools, electronics, sports items, etc) and high dollar items by the street so the woman can get the man to stop.
  • Put broken or items with little value by the street with a sign ‘Free Pile’. This gets people to stop as well.
  • Don’t expect much for clothes, only baby items generally will sell at all. Use cheap hangers for hanging items (like from the dry cleaners) as buyers will probably take the hanger with the item.
  • Be sure and check the pockets as you might sell a shirt for $1 that has a $10 bill in it! As items sell, spread items out to fill in and make it look like you have plenty of items left to sell.
  • Be ready to haggle as everyone is looking for a bargain at yard sales.
  • Towards the end start dropping prices. This is where the price per table is handy. Just start moving everything to the cheap table. You can also box similar items (like toys, games, books, etc) and put a price on everything in the box.

After the Sale

  • Determine what items you want to keep for a possible future sale and box them up.
  • The rest can be donated to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, your favorite charity, or the trash man.
  • Don’t forget to go pick up the signs! Then sit back and count the money!
  • And if this is in preparation of moving, call The Derrick Team and we can help you with the next step, staging your home to sell and of course helping you market your home to buyers!

Call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110. We work 7 days a week!

Download our free Garage Sale Tips Booklet here

Jan 282016
 

Carpenter announced at our 2016 rally that this new product will be available soon for our listings. It’s really cool and The Derrick Team plans and using it. It’s basically ‘Google Streetview’ for homes as it works the same way. Check out this demo of a Colorado Ski Lodge. Depending on your Internet speed it may take a minute to load.
Call us today at 317-563-1110 for more details on this and other tools The Derrick Team uses to sell your home.

Jan 252016
 

TheFaceOfCarpenter

 

Award Wall

Leadersmonthly

 

Jan 212016
 

 

We helped a buyer with this home sold as a short sale. They got a deal on 24 acres and this home.

We helped a buyer with this home sold as a short sale. They got a deal on 24 acres and this home.

What Is A Short Sale? You’ve probably heard the term, especially if you are looking in the home buyers market, of a home that is listed as a ‘short sale’. It sometimes can be described as a ‘pre-foreclosure’ as well, but basically it means the same thing as while a home is listed as a short sale the foreclosure process is continuing to be executed by the lender.

A few years ago this wasn’t something you saw on the market, but times have changed and as we all know things have been hard for a lot of people who own homes. So the banks (strongly encouraged by the federal government with HAFA) have worked on options for people who owe more on their home than it can sell for (short of the current amount of the mortgage). So a home that is listed as a short sale or possible short sale is usually a homeowner who cannot afford the home but is trying to avoid foreclosure.

Each bank has their own approach for short sales so this is just a general description of what to consider when shopping for homes. This information is mostly from our own experience in the short sales we’ve worked with so your own experience will vary, based on the lender involved and the agent’s due diligence.

First off, short sales usually take a long time (despite the common name). This is because all offers must be approved by the lender, and more commonly the investor who holds the note for the loan and signed off by many different people. Some banks are better than others at working with the seller and their agent. If the approval is still in process, it’s going to be a bit longer of a wait.

TIP: When considering making an offer on a short sale, find out if the hardship package has been submitted and approved. That can speed up the process of the lender approval of your offer.

In most cases you’ll find these homes are being sold ‘As Is’ so you are looking at a probable ‘fixer upper’. But depending on how long the home has been on the market, the general condition of the property, and the area sales numbers, you might find a really great deal on a nice home because the lender is more willing to accept lower offers at that point. The number one thing to have if you decide to make an offer on a short sale is; patience. So what we find is most often buyers that are ready to move right now will find a short sale will not work due to time constraints. In the end most short sales are sold to investors with cash offers.

But if you have the time, or are looking for investment property, a short sale can be worth considering. Just understand that there are often delays that can take up to 6 months or more to get a deal closed. And it’s not unheard of for a lender to change their mind and end up rejecting an offer they accepted a few weeks earlier. So be ready for anything if you decide to make an offer on a short sale. But you just might be rewarded with a really good deal.

Questions on a particular short sale home in the Indy West Metro Area? Give us a call at 317-563-1110 or use our handy Contact Form. We can help guide you through this maze and see if you think this is worth a try for you. Just be ready to hurry up and wait.

Jan 182016
 

If you are looking at older homes or homes out in the country, chances are you’ll see some that have a private well as their primary water source. We’ll discuss what it usually entails and what to watch out for. But we will stress as always that you want to make sure and have any house you plan to buy inspected before you close on the purchase, and if the home has one, the well. These often go hand in hand with a private septic system. Check out our companion post on septic systems here.

What is a private well?

Older homes were often built in areas where municipal (city) water was not available. With old farm homes the original water source might have been a cistern filled by rain or a well with a hand pump outside. Fortunately, these systems normally will have been upgraded to a modern pressurized well system by now and is the system used for new homes today as they are still being built in areas that don’t have municipal water sources nearby. A typical single family home well consists of the well bored into the ground with some type of electrical pump that pulls the water out of the well on demand. In some cases, the pump is above ground and draws the water out but here in central Indiana most wells are deep enough to require submersed pump which is typically located near the bottom of the well and pumps the water up to the pressure tank. The pressure tank is used so that the water maintains a constant pressure when a spigot or faucet is opened. The pressure tank will have a controller that turns the pump on and off depending on demand. The diagram below (from Axsom-Franke Plumbing’s web site based out of Columbus IN) shows the basic layout of a system utilizing a submersible pump common in central Indiana.welldiagram

Depending on the water quality from the well there may be added filters and more commonly a water softener (due to the area’s hard water) as part of the complete system servicing a home. It’s also not uncommon to have a reverse osmosis system that further processes the water for drinking and the icemaker in a refrigerator. While each of the additions to the water service help the water quality it’s important to note none of them purify or sterilize the water so water quality is something the homeowner must always be aware of. Regular water testing is recommended just to be sure the well is producing quality water.

What to look for

A seller should have information on a well and you’ll want to make sure and review any documentation they might have. Depending on the age of the home and the well itself you’ll want to look for the equipment such as the pressure tank and if included the water softener. Both these items tend to perform poorly after years of use, and if the water quality is very hard they will wear out sooner. So if the units are older consider asking for a home warranty as they seem more likely to fail within the first year of new owners (probably due to the change in user demands).  Since the pump is probably down in the well you’ll want to know if any work has been done recently and the age of the pump if it’s ever been replaced.

wellheadWhen touring the home look for a well head somewhere out in the yard. It’s usually a 5” diameter pipe, these days typically PVC, sticking out of the ground about a foot or so that has a cap and a power conduit to one side similar to the image on the left. Note the distance to things around it as an older installation may not conform to current local ordinances. The most common issue we’ve seen is an improper distance between a well and septic system which is 50’ minimum in Indiana.welltank

Next locate the pressure tank, it’s usually located in the basement or a utility room with the furnace, water heater, etc. You’ll be able to tell if it’s a new unit pretty easily as it will look similar to the image to the right. Older tanks may have issues with keeping pressure so consider the cost of replacing it if it looks rather old. Ask your inspector to look it over carefully if it appears very old. Keep in mind the cost of replacing the pressure tank or the pressure switch which controls the pump is usually minor to the cost of replacing the pump or having a new well dug.

As far as other parts of the system (filters, water softener, etc.) are concerned, these items tend to be replaced on a regular basis so don’t put much faith if they look more than a few years old. Just count on installing new systems after you move in. We’ve found renting equipment like that makes more sense because of the improvements made to these types of systems every year. But it really just depends on the quality of the water from your well. We’ve seen two different well systems on homes next door to each other that have completely different water quality with wells of similar age.

Which brings up the final item for you to check. Be sure and order a water test when you do the inspection. Your inspector knows the proper way to take a sample and will send it to a lab for analysis. It’s not unusual for the test to show poor water quality in a home that someone has been living in. That’s when you ask for the well to be disinfected with chlorine bleach and then retested.

Don’t forget that once you buy a home with a well water system there is some required homeowner maintenance. Filters need replaced and salt added to your water softener if they are part of the system. And regular water testing is recommended. If the test shows bacteria here is a great document from a local home inspector (Center Grove Inspections) on how to disinfect your well: Water Well Care

If you’re in the market for homes that might have a well (older or rural type homes), you’ll want an agent with experience and of course The Derrick Team is here for you. Call or text 317-563-1110 today with any questions you might have.

Helpful Links:

Found this great video on shocking your well here:
https://youtu.be/MZJ6FxK6cwk

Indiana State Dept of Health information on wells:
http://www.in.gov/isdh/23258.htm

More online resources for homeowners with wells:
https://www.wqa.org/
http://www.groundwater.org/
http://www.wellowner.org/
http://www.ruralwaterresources.com/

See more details on the well diagram above at:
http://axsomfrankeplumbing.com/well-pump-installations/

 

 

 

Jan 152016
 

anothersoldOne of the biggest steps to adulthood is that first time one buys their own home. After living with your parents and then in rentals having to live by the landlord rules that next true step to freedom is purchasing your own home. At the same time it’s a big step in responsibility as now you are solely responsible for payments and upkeep.

We love working with first time homebuyers as they are always excited and fun to work with. We take them step-by-step on the entire process and stay in touch after the sale. But what many people don’t realize is how important first time homebuyers are to the sale of all homes.

There is a market for homes we call ‘first time homebuyer’ or ‘starter homes’. These are smaller, lower entry point homes in any given market. As homeowners outgrow these homes they will find they are now looking for first time homebuyers to purchase their homes so they can move up to a larger home. The people with the larger homes are looking for these ‘moving up’ buyers to purchase their home so they can move to, well you see where this is going. First time homebuyers are the first domino that keeps the real estate market busy.

10 first time homebuyers will purchase 8-9 inhabited homes (a few are vacant for various reasons) on average. Of the sellers who then proceed to purchase new homes you now have about 17 transactions. As those sellers become buyers you go down the line and the original 10 sales become 25 – 30. So on average a first time buyer triggers 3 home sales.

This is why it is important for our economy that lenders work with first time homebuyers and have options available that will work for those with good credit. It’s what keeps the housing market moving forward.

We work with several lenders that have many options for first time homebuyers. No matter where you are in the buying / selling domino chain The Derrick Team is here to help. Give us a call or text 317-563-1110. Or use our handy contact page.

Jan 142016
 

If you are looking at older homes or homes out in the country, chances are you’ll see some that have some type of private septic system for waste-water disposal. We’ll discuss what it usually entails and what to watch out for. But we will stress as always that you want to make sure and have any house you plan to buy inspected before you close on the purchase, and if included the septic system.

What exactly is a septic system?

Unlike a municipal (city) sewer system which treats waste-water for a large number of dwellings a private system is normally installed to treat a single family home.  In rare cases a group of homes in the country will be on a shared private system and the only thing I’ll say about that is be VERY careful if that is what services a home you are interested in. Now for purposes of this discussion I’ll show what a single household septic system SHOULD be based on current guidelines. For older homes this may not be the case so you might want to check with county health department records to see what actually is installed (if they actually have any records of it at all).

Most homes with a private septic system are serviced by what is known as a ‘gravity’ type system. The diagrams below from the Indiana Construction Guidelines document (found at the link at the end of this post), show a common installation meeting current requirements. But most installed systems should at least have a tank to catch solids and a drain / absorption field. (I saw an old farm house where the tank drained directly into the creek in back).  The diagrams include a dosing tank which is a new recommendation but not usually needed for most gravity systems. Perimeter drains are also a newer item and are often required in newly installed systems.

Construction_Guidelines_for

The basic idea is the tank will handle the solids which are partially digested by microbes and then the liquid overflow will drain out to a absorption field to keep the tank from constantly filling up with liquid. The nice thing with the gravity system is the maintenance is much simpler than some of the other types (no motors or pumps unlike the dosing tank shown in the system below).

Construction_Guidelines_flo

With regular maintenance a properly installed gravity system can last many years. What many people don’t know is that the system is sized depending on bedrooms in the home at the time of installation, not bathrooms. It’s based on how many people might live in the home at any given time.

What to look for

So now that you understand the basic function what do you look for when purchasing an home with a septic system? When we list a home with a septic we try to find out what the seller knows as far as location, last time is was cleaned (pumped) out, and if they had any issues or repairs done while living there. Also, if there were any additions / remodeling done to the home was the septic upgraded or moved properly if needed (otherwise if might be undersized if bedrooms were added or part of the drain field was covered up). This is basically what you as a buyer should want to know before you even make an offer. When looking at the home you might be able to walk out in the yard and at least locate the clean-out for the tank. Then you have an idea from there where the drain field might be as it usually will be away from the home and downhill from the tank. Look for any fresh digging or uneven spots to indicate some work had been done. Or look for standing water in that area which might indicated the drain fields are not working, especially if the water is discolored and smells like, well not good. If all looks OK from what you can tell you’ll still want to have it inspected, and in some cases your lender will require it as part of the loan approval. If everything checks good and you end up buying the home you do want to keep in mind that even if you don’t see your septic system, it does require some maintenance (see list below).  If the home is empty or is a foreclosure there is no real way to tell how well the septic will perform once you’ve lived in the home for awhile. Best just to assume the worst in that case and figure in the repair / replacement costs when making your offer.

If the type of home you’re looking for might have a septic you’ll want a real estate agent that has some experience with them and yes, The Derrick Team does. Our current home has one and they function just fine when properly maintained. In my younger days I owned a home with a system that had major problems as well. And that was no fun at all. Give us a call or text today at 317-563-1110 to see what we can help you with, we work 7 days a week.


Here is a list of recommendations based on what most septic companies see from common repairs:

  • Have your tank pumped every 3-5 years depending on usage / number of persons living in the home.
  • Take care of the absorption field as its basically a function of the volume and strength of water poured into the system so conserve water when you can. Never funnel rain or basement drainage systems into it or onto the yard area where the absorption field is located.
  • Minimize use of chemical or biological liquids and check for ‘septic system safe’ labels on cleaners and such. Even antibacterial products may adversely affect your system as there are bacterial microbes that break down the solids in the tank.
  • Don’t dump in or flush anything that doesn’t decompose.
  • Keep trees, bushes, or any building away from the tank and drain field as roots and shading will reduce the systems effectiveness and possible lead to it failing.

For more details on gravity and other systems check out this link to the Indiana State Department Of Health:  http://www.in.gov/isdh/23283.htm

 

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!

Dec 012015
 

Adopt! Don’t Shop!

We encourage all animal lovers to adopt when getting new pets. Purchasing pets leaves a pet in a shelter that otherwise could have a new home. And make sure and spay / neuter your pets, all ours are.

All of our current bunch of pets in the Derrick household are rescues in one way or another (except the tropical fish). We always like to help find animals a ‘furever home’. This is a list of the current residents and their story listed by seniority.


Fred


Fred came from a family member in 2002 who had rescued him but then found he didn’t get along with their current cats. Fred easily fit in with our pets at the time and has slowly worked up to the alpha cat that the others all respect. You could say he is alpha pet as the dogs give him leeway as well. He is the one cat that will always find me when I’m sitting on the porch and jump in my lap for a nap. He’s quite bold except when there are storms then he cowers in the basement. But then most our pets do the same.


Merlin


Merlin is a beautiful longhair that adopted us in 2008 by just showing up on the back porch. He was hanging around one afternoon and just walked up to me while grilling dinner that evening. I picked him up and he purred up a storm and never left. He has a personality based on the fact he knows he is cute and won’t let us forget it. He’s a happy kitty and gets along with everyone. He has become The Derrick Team mascot because he is so photogenic and everyone thinks he’s cute, which of course he is.


Skittles


Skittles is another longhair that just showed up one day in 2010. Once he figured out this is a great place to live he never left. While he is still considered semi-feral he will let Connie pick him up and take him into the ‘cat room’ for the night. His name of course is based on the fact he normally skittles when people get too close to him. But he too gets along with all the other pets and has settled in as a permanent member of our pet clan.


Bailey


Bailey came about after we had just lost our last dog Jazz around Xmas of 2011 due to sudden illness. Connie was working with Ark Foster Care at the time and found her on their web site. We had both hated not having a dog in the house and we adopted her in Jan 2012. She is an awesome dog and everyone loves her. She is a very happy dog now as she was found in an outdoor shed with 10 puppies. So after a hard life in the beginning she now enjoys guarding our couch every day.


Juno


Juno came from a family member who was no longer in a position to care for her. She is an older dog but is very healthy and loving. She immediately attached to Connie and will follow her everywhere in the house. Even though she is smaller than Bailey by half, she still tends to act as the alpha dog, but that’s probably more because Bailey just doesn’t care. Juno’s goal in life is to always warn us when the mailman is around. Apparently she doesn’t want us to get the bills in the mail.


Sassy



Sassy is our most recent rescue in late 2015. She came from Luv A Dog and is a young full blooded GSD. She was mistreated by her former owner so local animal control removed her from the home and a kind policeman took her in for police dog training. Unfortunately (but good for us) she flunked out of police dog school so we were lucky enough to adopt her. She’s one very large puppy and full of love. We’ve owned GSD’s before and love the breed. Despite failing school she still makes a great guard dog. Her favorite toys are rocks, empty carboard boxes, and sticks.

If you love a breed, there are rescues out there so Adopt! Don’t Shop!


Other Mentions

Rose & MyrtleMyrtle
Myrtle is painted turtle that came from a former co-worker in 2009. At some point she was a cute pet store turtle that then grew up and became a burden (turtles are very easy to care for). We setup a tank in the fish room and she has been happy to eat and sun under her lamp and continues to grow. Turtles can live for a long time.

Rose
Rose is another type of painted turtle that came from a friend of a friend in 2011. They were moving and once again the turtle was too much work. So she has her own tank next to Myrtle and is enjoying a nice life in comfort.

The Tropical Fish Room
After many years of having fish tanks in the house I finally built a dedicated room in our large pole barn / garage in 2009. Originally setup to breed angel fish it’s now setup to just enjoy watching the fish in 3 tanks totaling about 240 gallons. We enjoy sitting out there in the evenings and relaxing. It’s especially nice on cold winter nights to as we heat the room to tropical temperatures.

pondThe Pond
In 2005 I dug out a 35’x40’x5’ hole in back of the barn and created our own little pond retreat. Setup with plants, waterfall, gold fish, and a small wood deck, it’s become a nice place to relax on warm summer evenings. The pond also has self-populated with bullfrogs, crawdads, and an occasional turtle. Every winter the pond freezes and each spring it thaws and comes back to life. It’s a natural wildlife habitat and both our cats and the neighbor cats like to hang out there.

RockyRocky
Rocky is another kitty that just showed up in 2009. He’s talkative and friendly but won’t trust just anyone. In the end only our neighbor could pick him up so we agreed to share him. We split the cost to have him neutered and while he visits with us sometimes he mostly spends time in their horse barn in back.

Nov 172015
 

Something a lot of people don’t understand: Every dollar you spend on your home will not increase the value of the home by the same amount. It’s known as the Return On Investment (ROI). So here are four examples that you would not gain much value if you added them to your home.

 Pool Time1. In areas where they cannot be used year around, swimming pools don’t add much if any value, and to some buyers will only looked at as an expense they are not interested in. Do not install a pool as an investment. Only do so for your personal use and understand the issues when you go to sell. The only exceptions are in the warmer climates and upscale neighborhoods where many homes have pools. If it’s an above ground pool, you might consider removing it when you go to list your home (or at least offer to do so at your expense if potential buyers don’t want it).

 2. Any improvements that bump your home in value that exceeds the neighborhood around you. Prime example would be a complete kitchen redo with expensive tile floors, granite counters, & custom cabinets where the other area homes are vinyl floors and Formica counters with stock cabinets. While you’ll be the best showing home in the area, your ROI will be much lower than just a standard update that matches surrounding homes.

3. Large investments in rooms that may not be common in your neighborhood such as converting an attached garage to a family room or fancy entertainment center in the basement. If you eliminate a garage, be sure your parking area matches area homes. If most homes have garages you’ve not gained much by the extra room. And for adding value to your home a fancy basement doesn’t add much more value than just a plain finished basement. Your ROI will again not amount to much.

4. Any project that you borrow a lot of money to complete. That loan will come off the proceeds right after your mortgage and thus reduce your net considerably while again not adding dollar for dollar increase in value.

The best advice we can give you is before you invest a lot of money in your home with the idea of selling in the next few years, call The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110. We’ll be happy to do area comps to give you a rough idea on your possible ROI. We’ll be happy to offer advice on some simple low dollar projects that will help you in the long run.

 

Nov 132015
 

When you go to sell your home, this phrase is a good summary to set the stage on today’s market so I’ll define it here in a little more detail.

Price War
This is pretty self-explanatory but holds even more weight today. When we do a Comparative Market Analysis of a home we tell the seller the low range of prices is what you have to be at to win the Price War. Not usually a thing easy for them to accept, but to sell quickly you have to be the best deal around. The good news is that home values are creeping back up. But sellers who insist they want top dollar often will find their neighbors are selling much quicker because their high price makes the neighbors home look like a better deal. In other words you want a neighbor who lists at a higher price so you can easily win the Price War.

Beauty Contest
Now we move into the subject that not everyone understands. Today’s buyers are much more demanding on what they want their home to look like. It used to be “Move in ready” if the home had fresh paint, clean carpet and/or great flooring. Now we have to deal with the HGTV syndrome. Buyers want updates, whatever is the trend at that moment. Nickel finish fixtures, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, it’s a long list that comes from home improvement shows on HGTV and home centers playing along by pushing these items in ads. We like to refer to this look as being the ‘Shiny Penny’ that catches the buyers attention. While some buyers know to look beyond these items and think bigger such as home location, floor plan, local area, etc, the eye candy listed above from the HGTV syndrome is what impresses most. So in todays market it not just neat and clean to win the Beauty Contest, its show me the wow factor when I look at your home.

So if you cannot win the Beauty Contest, you’d better win the Price War. If you’re not in a position to win with the Price War, you’d better be first prize in the Beauty Contest. If you want to sell your home really fast, be ready to win both!

Want to know where you stand? Give us a call or text at 317-563-1110 or shoot us an email and we’ll do a free CMA and tour your home to give you ideas on what’s worth updating to win both contests.

Oct 172015
 

Wine & Spirits Tasting Extravaganza on November 6th, 2015

Photos from this years event:

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Once again we’re looking forward to one of our favorite events in Hendricks County, the HCHS Annual Wine Tasting event. This year it’s been expanded and moved to the Hendricks County Fairgrounds. As usual The Derrick Team will be one of the sponsors but we really excited about all the extras this year. Find out all the details on the flyers below or at the Hendricks County Humane Society’s web site. Come out and support our local Humane Society and everything they do for Hendricks County animals. We’ll see you there!

HCHSWineTasting

Connie and Elaine having a great time at the 2014 wine tasting.


From The HCHS Press Release:

Finding homes, saving lives is the mission of the Hendricks County Humane Society. To fund its many programs in pursuit of that goal, on Friday, Nov. 6, the HC Humane Society will host its 11th Annual Wine & Spirits Tasting Extravaganza at the 4-H Conference Center in Danville. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. for Platinum sponsors and VIP ticketholders and at 7:30 p.m. for general ticketholders, ending at 10:30.
The festive event, emceed by Buffy Phyne of Pet Pals TV, includes live music, comedian Steve Pyatte, and wine and bourbon tastings. Cash bars will offer beer, wine, and cocktails. A multitude of Silent Auction items include a $2,500 hardscape for your landscaping delight and a Colts game ball autographed by Andrew Luck. Throughout the evening local artist Dane Grubbs will be creating a painting for sale in the Silent Auction.
In 2015 as of August, the HC Humane Society spent $19,545 on medical needs, spent $14,644 on spaying and neutering, found adoptive homes for 158 cats and dogs, and through its Pet Food Pantry program distributed 26,057 pounds of food. Thanks to Papa Joe Jr’s Italian Restaurant of Avon and Ray’s Trash, all money raised at the Extravaganza will directly fund these programs.
On behalf of the cats and dogs, the HC Humane Society is grateful for attendees and sponsors, without whose contributions our work would not be possible. Major platinum sponsors include Allen & Scott Enterprises, Edward Jones-Harold Tinsley, Hendricks County 4H Fairgrounds and Conference Center, Hendricks County Flyer, Ray’s Trash, and The UPS Store-Brownsburg.
All adult guests aged 21 and over are welcome to attend this exciting event. VIP tickets are $50 each and general tickets are $30 each or two for $50 and are available at Big Red Liquors in Plainfield or from the Humane Society website www.hendrickscountyhumanesociety.org or at the event.


Photos from last years event


The Derrick Team - Your Pet Friendly Realtorswinetastingad

HCHS-WT-Schedule-full-page

Aug 192015
 
Building a deck

That’s me, working on our home.

First time home buyers are always fun to work with because of the excitement they bring to the process (along with some anxiety). First timers have made that commitment to own their own home because they have been paying rent, sometimes for years and have nothing to show for it but an empty bank account. This article is for those first timers and those considering their first home purchase. It’s also a general summary of the responsibilities that come with owning your home and most importantly taking care of your investment.

First and foremost is of course the financial aspect of making payments as almost all first timers must get a mortgage to cover some part of their purchase. There is also the need for insurance and we cannot forget that the government will take some of your money in property taxes. But most of this is explained up front during the discussions on financing and the purchase itself. I want to discuss the after the sale responsibilities of maintenance.

All home owners should understand the value of proper maintenance of your home. It’s an investment and you probably expect to sell it someday and at the very least get some of your money back that you’ve paid into it. And when you do indeed decide it’s time to sell, proper maintenance or lack of it will have a big impact on how much return you get on your home investment.

Let’s start with the basics, regular maintenance such as lawn care. Don’t just mow the lawn but maintain the trees, bushes, and general landscaping to keep the yard looking neat. Go ahead and plant flowerbeds and install attractive lawn decorations but don’t overdo it and make the yard look like a flea market for landscaping. It’s also important to keep up your home appearance for the sake of your neighbors who are selling. Remember the more they get for their home when they sell also increases the value of your home. Plus it’s just a good idea to keep your neighbors happy.

Maintaining the home’s exterior is probably one of the most important as water intrusion will destroy not just the outside but the interior as well. Keep the gutters clean and make sure the downspouts carry the water away from your foundation, the further the better. Make sure your roof is in tip top shape and if you don’t know what to look for have it inspected by a roofing contractor on a regular basis. Replace loose or missing siding or any of the exterior cladding on your home as soon as you see it. Waiting to do repairs on the exterior is inviting much more damage to the homes entire structure and will cost much more in repairs in the long run.

Next on the list would be your mechanical systems which typically consists of your heating / cooling system, water system (plumbing, water heater and possibly a well & septic system), and electrical. All these often need some regular maintenance, especially the heating / cooling system so be sure and become familiar with the systems in your home and follow recommended guidelines. Again, regular maintenance can save you money by extending the lifetime of these systems and avoiding major repairs from ignored minor issues.

You should also pay attention to your interior structure such as walls, ceilings and flooring. Much of what needs attention here will be from normal wear and tear but keeping things clean regularly helps in the long run. Allowing items to get really dirty ruins the finish and you’ll find in order to make it look good enough to sell you’ll have to replace it completely, and those costs take away from your bottom line.

This is just a few basics items of what you need to take care of to maintain your home. Each home has different priorities to the maintenance schedule such as type of building materials, type of heating system, etc. But regular maintenance can make your return on investment when it’s time to sell well worth it. We’ve seen a lot of owners take a lot less for their home because of the poor condition it was in due to the lack of maintenance. Keeping your home in great condition makes financial sense but it’s also nice to live in a well maintained home so do it for yourself and your family’s health and well-being as well. And again, a neighborhood of well-maintained homes brings everyone’s homes value up when it’s time to sell and makes for happy neighbors.

If you have questions on your homes’ condition in preparation to sell feel free to call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110, even it’s a few years away. We’ll be happy to come out and take a look and let you know what you might need to address at no obligation. It’s what we love to do, help people with home ownership!

 

Jul 082015
 

Hendricks County May 2015 Report from IARWell let me tell you.

While spring is the traditional busy season the weather has turned warm during this unusually wet start to summer and the real estate market barely slowed down. Normally we’ve seen summer slowdowns after schools let out and families go on vacation. But this year while not as crazy as this past spring we’ve been busy selling houses on into July, the time of year I usually plan projects around the house.

The biggest problem we’ve been having and other realtors concur, we cannot get enough regular listings ($100-$250K single family homes). That particular part of the market is the hottest and homes sell quickly in that range.

Reading reports (links below) will confirm what we’ve seen but in general I think a lot has to do with the continuing lower interest rates that we thought would be climbing higher by now. When the Feds continue to say they will start raising them soon that adds to the urgency. So for now its go, go, go.

If you are even slightly thinking of selling, give us a call and we can help you decide if now is the right time for you to sell. Call The Derrick Team today at 317-563-1110!

Check out the general realtor sentiment with this site: http://www.stats.indiana.edu/housing/RealtorSentiment.asp

Great site for looking at your county sales info from the Indiana Association of Realtors: http://www.indianarealtors.com/Research/Indiana-Real-Estate-Markets-Report.aspx

Hendricks County May 2015 Report from IAR

Hendricks County May 2015 Report from IAR

Jun 152015
 
A Shiny Kitchen

A Shiny Kitchen

There are many different reasons buyers are out looking at homes. Normally when working with a buyer an agent tries to determine a buyer’s motivation before they start showing them homes. But some agents will just about show houses to anybody who asks (eventually they realize their wasting time, but that’s another blog post). For the most part the buyers out looking are at least thinking about moving or buying a home when they go out looking. We’ll break down the different motivations in this article.

Tire Kicker
You know the saying about car shoppers and the same can be said for home shoppers with a low motivation. They’re just looking at homes thinking about moving. Maybe their thinking their current home is too small (or too large), and want to see what’s out there for a price they can afford. They are working with agents they know and are willing to show them homes because of previous dealings. We have clients like this and we know eventually they will find a home that motivates them. But it can take months, if not years before they purchase a new home.

First Time Home Buyer
First Time Home Buyers usually have a higher motivation than Tire Kickers, but often not much higher. They’ve been thinking about buying a home for a couple of months (or years) but are usually renting and don’t have an immediate reason to move. Their motivation can pick up a level or two if they have a lease coming up and have to move by a certain deadline. Let’s just say their motivation varies, depending on the weather.

Growing Family
A current homeowner that has a more immediate need can have a much higher level of motivation due to a baby (or two) on the way and they are running out of room in their current house. They are working with an agent who has listed their home and hope to find one to make an offer on as soon as they get an accepted offer on theirs. Their motivation becomes very high when they have that accepted offer.

House Just Sold
This applies to a homeowner like above who for whatever reason is moving and has just sold their home. The motivation factor is very high in this case. This is where you might get above list offers if they really like a home.

Job Transfer / Relocation
Depending on the timeline (as in just started or already changed jobs) these home buyers are motivated or very motivated. Sometimes they will just buy a home that works and plan to move in a few years once they know they are staying in the area. Highly motivated buyers in this category might make above list price offers as well.

Investor
Never in a hurry until they find a good deal. Usually a low cash offer but sometimes will pay good price on a nice home with good income potential whether flipping or renting.

The reason sellers need to know all this is there is a wide range of motivation in the buyers looking at your home. So what you need to do is make your home stand out so you impress all buyers that look at your home. This is what we refer to as being the ‘Shiny Penny’. All buyers will gravitate to the ‘Shiny Penny’ and you’ll get more and better quality offers if you make sure your home stands out.

Want to make your home a ‘Shiny Penny’ when you’re ready to sell? Call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110 and we’ll come talk to you about what you need to do to your home with no obligation to hire us when you’re ready to sell. We like to help home buyers and sellers with all their real estate needs.

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