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.

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!

Feb 202014
 

Deciding to own a home is an important decision that people shouldn’t take lightly. It’s a large financial investment of both time and money. But it’s a good one for those who have settled down roots in a community they want to live in for the next few years at least. Or maybe you’ve outgrown your current home with an expanding family. Whatever the reason this chart outlines the typical processes involved with buying a home.

 HomeBuyerFlowchart

Talked To Lender?

This should really be a part of your decision process in the beginning for several reasons. Most importantly you need to know if and what you can qualify for. You may find some unknown issue with your credit that needs to be fixed first. Or you may find you can buy a more expensive home than you originally thought. But no matter if you are buying your first home or selling and buying another, you need to know your financial position first. If you don’t know of any lenders give The Derrick Team a call and we can recommend one.

Call The Derrick Team

Now you know your financial situation you’re ready to tour some possible homes. Don’t make the mistake of going it alone as you really can save a lot of time using a realtor to help you. And it comes as no cost to you as the seller pays the fees. Call The Derrick Team and we’ll sit down and go over the processes and determine how to start your search for your new home.

The Home Search

This can be a long process or can happen real quickly. It just depends on what you are looking for and what’s on the market at the moment. We can really help you narrow down the choices and point out the items to focus on with your particular needs. We will set up an automatic search that sends you properties as they come on the market so you can be the first to have a chance to make an offer on that perfect home. We also can quickly get you information on any home you happen to see on your own. There is no reason to not have a realtor help you with your search.

The Offer & Negotiations

Once we find the home you want we will go over your options working closely with your lender to put together an offer that tempts the seller to accept immediately. We pride ourselves in writing ‘clean offers’ that often result in our clients winning over other offers submitted at the same time. We work closely with you every step of the way in the negotiations during the offer process.

Hire A Home Inspector / Negotiations

Once you have an accepted offer the first step for you is to hire an inspector. While you don’t have to do this step we always recommend it based on our experiences in hidden problems with homes. We can recommend inspectors and Dennis will do everything possible to be with you during the entire inspection to answer any questions you have. We work with you every step of the inspection process and if needed, negotiated repairs. If for some reason seller is unwilling or unable to make repairs you then have the option to go back to searching for homes again.

Home Appraisal Process

The home appraisal is another point that can become an issue if the property does not appraise for the sale price. While this is usually the seller’s issue we will work with your lender and the seller to negotiate a new sales price if needed for you to get the loan. If for some reason seller is unwilling or unable to adjust the price you then have the option to pay the difference or go back to searching for homes again.

The Closing

After making it through all the contingencies in the steps to buy a home we now have the last step with the actual closing where you take ownership of the property. We will be there at the closing to assist you in this step as well. The only thing left after this for you to move in!

 

As you can see this process can be very complicated (and this is a very simplified description of the actual process). Having a realtor on your side each step of the process is something every buyer should have right from the beginning. With The Derrick Team you have 2 agents there to help every step of the way. Call or text us today at 317-563-1110, 7 days a week. Your realtors are here to help! Or use this handy Contact Form!

Download our Buying A Home book for free!

 

 

 

 

Jan 022014
 
Merlin-Dreaming

Dreaming of a new home?

We always suggest any homebuyers check with a lender before getting started on your search for a home. There are many reasons for this but the most important is knowing where you stand in what you can afford and what options you might have available to you. You might find you’re not in a position to buy in the area you want or maybe you can actually afford more. For example if you are looking for a fixer upper you need to know about 203K repair loans and if you qualify. There are so many options you just need to find out what works best for you.

If you want to be ahead of the game you need to gather all the info the lender will ask you and review it yourself first. The usual rule is 2 last paychecks, 2 months of bank statements, and last 2 yearly tax returns (signed). Now consider what other bills you owe such as car payments, credit cards, and any other ongoing payments for more than a few months as they will show up in the credit check by the lender. Add these all up and then you might see the need for a ‘financial diet’.

So where do you start? First examine the short term debts such as credit cards and revolving accounts that have a balance that could be paid down. Also look at things like car payments, especially if you are in the last year of the loan. Now figure out where you can diet (items you can do without i.e. financial ice cream). Take that money and pay down or off any bills you can to get yourself in better financial shape. Why is this important? First you want make sure you are ready for the financial responsibility it takes to own a home. But more importantly it helps you qualify for a better rate and possibly save you thousands of dollars on your home mortgage over the life of the loan.

So buckle down and stop eating out all the time. You’ll find you get in both better financial and physical shape with proper dieting. Call The Derrick Team with any questions when considering a home purchase. We’ll be happy to help you even when you are starting your ‘financial diet’. We can help guide you months, even years in advance of your next home purchase! Call or text today at 317-563-1110 or use our handy Contact Page.

 

 

Mar 082013
 

I need a lot of money to buy a home.
Not really. Depending on your credit rating and financial income there are ways to purchase a home with practically no money down. There are programs that finance up to 4% of the required 3.5% down required for typical FHA loans, leaving you extra to be used for closing expenses. Combined with seller assistance you can really purchase a home with little or no money down. (more details here)

I have to pay a REALTOR to help me buy a home.
Not true! REALTOR services are 100% paid for by the seller so as a buyer we represent you for free. There is no advantage to not using a REALTOR to purchase any real estate property. But by law and our ethics we must represent you and your interests over the seller’s, as they are represented by their own agent. (more info here)

I don’t need to worry about financing until I find the home I want to buy.
Bad move. We always suggest the first step is to check with a lender to find out where you stand in getting a loan. Sometimes they say go for it. Other times they may find you need to take care of some things financially to put you in a better position to get a good loan. But the main reason is that you don’t want to spend time looking to find the perfect home and THEN discover you cannot get a loan to buy it. It also helps guide you to what kind of home you can afford and in some cases where you can look (like you can afford more home than you thought). (check this post for details)

The national news on real estate is all I need to pay attention to.
Big no-no. The cliché in real estate is location, location, location. And as far as the real estate market is concerned, city, area, neighborhood. Just 2 blocks away can be a different market, depending on the area. This is where using a REALTOR pays off as we know the market in our area. For ANY questions on real estate ask a local agent. (typical local report here)

REALTORS get paid by their brokers no matter if they sell homes or not.
Mostly false. Except in a few cases almost all REALTORS work as Independent Contractors. The Derrick Team works with Carpenter Realtors as contractors and we only get paid with successful transactions, of which a portion is shared with Carpenter for services provided. So if you spend time with one agent, then use another to write an offer, the first agent gets nothing for their work. Keep this in mind when working with an agent. If you like an agent, stick with them so they will get paid for their work for you. That will in turn make them work harder for you. (read this for more info)

Give The Derrick Team a call today at 317-563-1110 with more details on these or any other questions you have. Remember, our services are paid for buy the seller so it costs you nothing.

Feb 032011
 

While the local Indy Metro area is starting a slow rebound, it’s still a buyers market in this area. Home prices are very slowly starting to recover towards 2007 highs but more importantly interest rates are still pretty low for mortgage loans.

So what’s your first step? Shop for a lender with good rates and offer different options for loans. That’s important because different loans help if there is a special requirement or need for the home you decide to purchase. For example you find the home you want in the perfect location but it needs a little fixing up. An FHA 203K loan can be a great option there.

Little low on cash? Find a lender willing to work with an Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority first time home buyer programs which can help with the down payment and loan rates. Another option for homes that qualify is the USDA no-money down program. This is for more rural homes such as our listings in Bainbridge and Danville. You can check homes eligibility at this web site.

Don’t wait too long. ½ an interest point in your loan can cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. And in a buyers market you have the advantage in many homes to select from which could save you money vs. 12 to 18 months from now.

Have a home to sell? Consider selling it at a low price to sell quickly so you can buy your new home and save on the home price and the loan interest which could easily more than make up the difference.

Call or text The Derrick Team with any questions and we can begin to help you find that perfect home today! We work 7 days a week, evenings too!

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