Jul 262017
 

Buyers today will typically have the home they purchase inspected by a licensed home inspector. Acting as buyer agents we always will insist they do as they are buying a ‘used’ home and not everyone takes care of their home the same. And even a well-maintained home may have defects that the seller was not aware of.

A new roof can be an expensive surprise.

As the seller, you should expect this as part of the sales process. Even if you are selling ‘as-is’ a buyer will most likely do an inspection just to make sure they don’t get any surprises. They buyer hires and pays for this inspection so the inspector will be working for the buyer. With that in mind they will almost always find something wrong. The buyer will then present you with a Buyers Inspection Response that lists items they want repaired before they will close on the sale.

First, here are things expected of the seller for the inspection, which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours.

  1. As a common courtesy, the seller should vacate the home during the inspection. Pets should be removed or crated during this time. If you cannot leave for some reason at least leave the inspector and buyers alone so they have some privacy. The inspector needs to be able to discuss items freely with the buyer.
  2. Access to the mechanicals, such as the furnace / AC, water heater, etc. is necessary for the inspector to check them out. Move boxes, items, etc away so they can remove the panel on the air handler unit.
  3. Any access to the attic areas or crawl spaces must be clear of all items. Cars parked in a garage can keep them from attic entry if that’s where the opening is. Locks on crawl space entry must be removed or a key left behind.
  4. Any electrical panel should not be blocked or hidden. If there is a picture hanging over it remove it. The inspector will need to pull the cover off to check the wiring.
  5. Any outbuilding, detached garage, etc should be unlocked or key left in home so inspector can enter.

Second, here are some things the seller can do to help prepare for an inspection.

  1. We usually suggest or sellers have the furnace / AC serviced when they list their home unless they’ve already done so recently. That way there are no surprises and inspectors will always point out serviced systems.
  2. If the home has a crawl space peek in there or hire someone to check it out before listing. This is where some of the most expensive repairs come from. Often from a non-working sump pump that leads to water damage and mold.
  3. If the roof is more than 10 years old or age is unknown, have a roofing contractor inspect the roof for damage before listing your home. This gives you time to get quotes and check for insurance coverage way before the inspector finds and reports the issue. This also is often an issue with appraisers and having the roof replaced can be a condition on the sale of the home.
  4. If you or a ‘buddy’ have done electrical work or you are aware of some electrical items that just don’t work correctly, it would be a good idea to have an electrician come inspect and repair any of these items. These often show up in inspection reports.
  5. Leaking pipes, call a plumber. It’s often not just repairing the pipes but repairing water damage that can run up the costs on inspection repairs.
  6. If you have a wood burning fireplace, it’s best to have it inspected and cleaned by a chimney sweep.
  7. If there are any major items you are aware of but don’t want to fix, get quotes beforehand. It helps with negotiations when you have a quote on the repair costs ahead of time.

Keep in mind the Buyer’s Inspection Response is a negotiation and not necessarily a demand. But the items listed above are generally items that should be addressed, as nobody wants a leaky roof, electrical or plumbing issue, water or mold issue, or a furnace that breaks down the first time it gets cold. We generally say look at the items you would want fixed if you continued to live in the home and work from there. In some cases it can be negotiated as rather than making repairs the seller adjusts the selling price in compensation to the buyer.

As both buyer and listing agents we’ve see it all. For question on home inspections, selling, or buying a home feel free to call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110. We work 7 days a week including weekends and evenings.

Oct 212016
 

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

1308Interior10

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

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

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

Electrical:

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

Furnace / cooling systems:

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

Windows / doors:

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

Roof / exterior:

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

Plumbing:

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

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

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

 

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 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!

Jan 312015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

 

 

 

 

Nov 012013
 

Almost ThereYou’ve probably heard the horror stories from friend or had the unlucky experience yourself where you’ve sold your property and then unexpectedly you haven’t. You were making plans to move, maybe already had an offer on another home and now everything is back to trying to sell or buy a home. It’s one of the more frustrating parts of buying and selling real estate, but it happens. So in this article we’ll discuss some of the common reasons and some indicators to be on the lookout for.

There are several items that can require negotiation when selling / buying real estate and each one can be a potential trouble spot. Obviously the starting point is negotiating the price and contingencies in the purchase agreement. An offer with more contingencies is the first warning as that makes more hurdles to get over to finally close the transaction. The Derrick Team takes pride in writing ‘clean’ offers that avoids this when possible. Solid offers mean better chances of closing making everyone in the deal happy.

Problem Spots
But there are usually at least 2 contingencies that cannot be avoided after the price has been agreed upon. First the buyers should be getting an inspection for their own protection and a seller should be prepared for this, even if selling ‘as is’. Once the inspection report is done the buyer can renegotiate getting items repaired or an adjustment to the price. This is a common part where things go wrong as the buyer is in control here and the seller has to be on top of things to keep the buyer happy. If the buyer is not satisfied they can walk away and only be out the inspection costs.

The second contingency kicks in if the buyer is getting a loan, as then the property must be appraised to determine the value meets the loan amount. This can be tricky in today’s market because of the recent drop in home prices in some areas (that’s just now starting to climb again). This is a wild card and again the seller needs to be prepared for this possibility. In some cases the appraiser will point out some condition items of the home that have to be addressed as well, especially if its a FHA, USDA, or VA loan.

A few of the other common reasons are the buyer loses their job, the buyers own house sale falls apart, or the buyer loses interest and walks away (usually forfeits the earnest money). In rare cases the seller suddenly doesn’t want or need to move anymore and does a mutual release to remove the property from the market. In that case the buyer can hire a lawyer but it usually costs less to just go find another home.

For all these reasons and more it pays to have a good Realtor working for you. As mentioned a solid clean initial offer reduces the chance of a deal falling apart.

Being Prepared
A seller should know the general condition of their property and thus have some expectations on what a home inspection is going to turn up. When setting the marketing price that should be a consideration so if needed you can have a little wiggle room to address possible issues. One of the things we guide both sellers and buyers on is that the inspection report should be used to spot potential safety and expensive repairs, not cosmetic issues. But then there is always those surprise issues that show up (mold, hidden water damage, termites, etc) that can change everything.

If the home marketing report is used to set a realistic sales price the appraisal shouldn’t be an issue. But some homes are easier to estimate depending on the types of homes in the area. If there is an issue with the appraisal there are ways to keep the deal moving forward and a good Realtor knows how to do that. But this sometimes is what we call the ‘wild card’.

So a couple of things to watch for from the initial offer are a low earnest money amount (buyer doesn’t have much to lose if they just walk), or a lot of contingencies that have to be addressed before closing. A good Realtor will discuss all these with you and if any of them are a big concern.

Another red flag can be when the lender seems to be dragging their feet on getting the loan approved resulting in multiple delays on the closing date. Again a good Realtor can stay in contact with the lender to see what is holding things up and let you know what your options are if things don’t look good.

What You Need
A smart Realtor stays on top of every deal to make sure no options are missed when things start to go wrong. We at The Derrick Team work hard for our clients to make sure we get deals closed. We advise our clients on possible sticking points to try and eliminate surprises and explore multiple options when there are. We want everybody to be happy when we walk away from the closing table with another successfully closed transaction.

Call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110 when you are ready to sell or buy and know you’ll be well represented in your next real estate transaction. Use our handy Contact Form here.

 

 

 

Jun 142013
 

Almost ThereAfter your agent has successfully negotiated the final documents with a buyer you smile and think your home is finally sold. Nope, the show hits the road and a good agent kicks into high gear. Depending on contingencies there will more negotiations possible during the sale process.

Typically the first will be from an inspection done for the buyers. This can be just for the buyers satisfaction but more often these days the buyers lender will have requirements that your home will have to pass before they will give the buyer a loan on the home. Common ones are termite inspection or tests on the well water and septic system if they apply. FHA loans can be denied if there is peeling lead based paint or the roof is beyond its designed life.

A good Realtor will note these items at the time of listing so you as the seller are prepared for possible costs involved with selling your home. But some items cannot be seen and thus will be part of the negotiations after the inspection report is delivered to the buyer and the buyer’s lender. These expectations also can be discussed before the inspection with the buyers if the accepted price considered items needing repairs. This is one of the reasons home warranties are popular now, as this will assure the buyer if mechanicals such as heating systems are really old they will be taken care of after the sale for minimum costs. The Derrick Team always recommends home warranties to our sellers.

Next comes the wild card, the appraisal. A good Realtor has looked carefully at the comparative home sales when pricing a home and has advised the seller on the possible appraisal value. Except for cash buyers, the appraisal will always set the price the buyer is going to pay. That is unless they can apply more cash on top of the loan amount to make up the difference (very rare these days). At the time of sale a good Realtor will examine recent comparative sales to provide to the appraiser if applicable. These days communications with the lender / appraiser / Realtor has to be limited so caution is the word. If the appraisal comes in lower than the sale price, the seller must discusses with their agent possible negotiations and options to keep the sale in motion. A good agent will have ideas to work out a deal that is acceptable to all parties.

Finally there is the closing. Working out a good time for everyone to meet and sign the paperwork along with when buyers take possession is one of the final negotiations, often based on the original purchase agreement but can be changed if all parties agree. The good thing is this is the one everyone is eager to accomplish and usually can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction. You know everything’s been handled well when you have a smooth closing.

So keep in mind when hiring a Realtor to sell your home, the marketing is only the first step. You want an experienced Realtor ready to be representing you every step of the way, keeping all the gears well oiled all the way to that smooth closing. Call The Derrick Team today to discuss our marketing and closing processes that leads to happy clients at 317-563-1110.

Apr 262011
 

When you are shopping for homes, you are looking at things such as the local area, number of bedrooms & baths, yard size, etc., things you deem important depending on your life style. You may even look at certain architectural styles, building levels, or if there is a basement. But beyond maybe the difference between a gas and electric stove, not many pay attention to the home’s mechanicals. We’re referring to heating / cooling systems, water heater, water source (well / municipal) waste systems (septic / municipal), etc. This is where the home inspection is important tool to utilize in the home buying process.

So you searched the internet and toured a dozen or so homes that fit your criteria, finalized your selection, and made an offer on the best one. Your REALTOR should have encouraged you to make your offer contingent on the home passing a Home Inspection by a certified Home Inspector. You will be paying this inspector to check the home for defects, including those mechanical systems you may have not paid much attention to during those many home tours. View this as a mechanic looking at a used car before you purchase it. Only this used car is very expensive so you really want everything looked at thoroughly.

The second thing to note with having your potential new home inspected is it’s also an education for you about the home. A good home inspector will show you the function of the homes mechanicals, such as how to change the furnace filter, shut off the water supply, check the electric panel, etc. So it’s best to view the inspection as good education on taking care of the home, while looking for major defects. A typical inspector will probably find something wrong (he’s trying to earn his money), but you really should only worry about addressing major defects (like a safety issue with electrical wiring or structural issue with the roof). Your REALTOR should be able to help you address any issues in the Inspection Response if a major defect is uncovered.

And in the case a really major defect is found (foundation is crumbling), you may find paying the Home Inspector and walking away from the deal will have saved you thousands of dollars in the future. That’s the best money you’ll have ever spent for something you didn’t buy. Any good REALTOR should recommend you do a home inspection on a home you are buying, and if they don’t, they’re not looking out for your best interest. The Derrick Team always recommends home inspections for our buyers, and I (Dennis) will usually be there with you to help you understand the process. Call or email us with any questions you have in the home buying process today!

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