Jun 022017
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 022017
 

Virtual 360 Tour by Matterport

Think of this technology in terms of the Google ‘streetview’ where you can walk around with your browser and see the views captured from Google’s streetview recordings from their vehicles. In this case the same technology is used to capture the interior view of a home.

When you connect via the link you have the option to view via a ‘dollhouse’  or ‘floorplan’ display which you then click on a spot to be whisked into that area of the home. As you move about the home you can pan around as if you were standing in the room itself. There isn’t a better way to view without actually standing in the home. As so many buyers first shop via the Internet, this is a tremendous tool for the difficult to photograph large homes.  This is especially handy for buyers moving from another distant location. We think you’ll be as amazed as we were when we first saw the potential.

Call or text The Derrick Team on this or any other questions you have on how we go ‘Above & Beyond’ to market your home. 317-563-1110.

Nov 102016
 
Our Danville listing that sold in 9 hours.

Our Danville listing that sold in 9 hours.

Common wisdom has spring starting in late March because the calendar and outside weather tells us that. A common misconception is that the prime home selling season starting around the same time. But there are other factors that come in to play that show by March you’ve already missed the first opportunity to sell you home. Like this past spring we sold the most homes in March, and all of those homes had been on the market for at least a month, if not longer. So people who waited until March to list missed the largest surge of selling activity. A good time to start is now by finding your realtor and talk to them about what you need to do to your house. The Derrick Team is more than happy to come out and discuss what you need to do with no obligations!

Getting ready
First you have to consider the preparation of getting your home ready to sell. Depending on how you ‘keep house’, this can be anything from a couple of weeks to 2-3 months or more. The basics that you will need to address are de-cluttering, cleaning, and making everything looking spiffy! This often includes painting, replacing worn / outdated fixtures & flooring, and repairing items that will need to be addressed to sell the property. We see this all the time where the homeowner is totally unaware of how long it will take them to get the home ready for the market. So a good time to start working on this is around the Thanksgiving holidays in November when you might have some extra time off from work to do as many chores yourself to save from paying others to do it for you.

When should you be ready?
Plan to be on the market in January after the holidays are over. This gives you cushion, as the end of January to early February is our latest recommend time frame to target getting your home on the market (see chart below). Why then you ask? First, when the weather is bad buyers are sitting at home searching the Internet and getting ideas on what they want to see as soon as the weather gets better. You want them to find your home so you’ll be the first on their list. Second, you want to beat all the other sellers who do wait until March or April to list. Again you’ve picked up those buyers chomping at the bit while the weather was bad. Third, first time home buyers will start as soon as they get their tax returns. So there are at least 3 good reasons to be on the market early.

This past spring was our busiest ever and in April local sales in central Indiana were the highest ever recorded after a very busy February & March. Many of our listings had accepted offers the day they went on the market. We saw that many sellers that waited until May / June had to sit and compete with all the other late listings, when the market normally slows somewhat. All the current reports show this spring should be at least as good as last spring with interest rates still in the reasonable range and consumer confidence continuing to grow. There is a pent up demand from first time home buyers that continues to propel the housing market.

If you have any desire to sell in the next couple of years it costs you nothing for us to come talk with you. We’ll be happy to help with a free CMA and tips for getting your home ready with no obligation on your part. Call or text The Derrick Team at 317.563.1110 or shoot us an email. Don’t wait and miss those early buyers.

Spring Home Sales

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!

 

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

May 262015
 
This porch sold this house with multiple offers!

This porch sold this house with multiple offers!

A question we realtors often get is ‘What can I do to my home that will add value when I’m ready to sell?’  If you watch HGTV and read most articles on the subject you usually hear things like ‘kitchen upgrades’ and ‘adding / renovating bathrooms’. Those items do add value but usually only if you sell soon after doing it. After a few years they once again will appear outdated to current buyers and you’ll be stuck in the endless cycle of updating every time you want to sell a home. But one item we see buyers love time and time again is a really nice porch or patio area. It’s not unusual to show buyers several homes and once they see a home with a really nice covered / enclosed porch they stop and say ‘let’s write an offer on this one!’

Porch’s used to be pretty much a standard feature on all homes back before there were air conditioners. So many older homes built before the 1940’s include what was really considered the ‘outdoor room’ for sitting or even sleeping in on hot summer days. Usually covered to protect from rain but open on 3 sides to make sure and allow a breeze to flow thru, these were the gathering rooms for the family and often nearby neighbors to share the latest gossip and local news. After WW II the mass of homes built for returning vets often left off the larger porches to cut costs. In later years air-conditioning became a more standard item on new homes and porches became more of a luxury item as they really weren’t needed to deal with summer heat.

But now there is a new trend back to making a porch area more of an ‘outdoor room’ again. With all the high end outdoor furniture you see today in home improvement stores you really would feel like you’re are sitting inside with a porch furnished like that. Add to that the idea of having an ‘outdoor kitchen’ and now you can cook and eat without ever entering into the home. With so many people (myself included) loving to grill out, the whole idea of the cook ‘n eat area outside has become a very attractive item for home buyers. And with the ‘hustle & bustle’ of today’s lifestyles a nice porch is considered a retreat to go relax, read a book, or nap on a hammock. Let’s just say there are not many people who say they wouldn’t utilize a nice porch on their home.

So if there were one item that I would say adds value AND is something you can enjoy until the time you decide to sell a porch or even just a nice patio area is the way to go. Other than normal maintenance most porches never ‘go out of style’ so it’s a safe bet that it’s going to add value when it’s time to sell your home.

If you’re thinking of any updates to your home and want a REALTOR’s opinion, text or give us a call at 317-563-1110. The Derrick Team is here to help!

Apr 302015
 
Another Sold

Derrick Team Sold Another One

We find there are many reasons people choose to sell and /or buy homes. First time home buyers are looking to not throw money away on rent. Empty nesters don’t need all the space in their large home anymore. The family is growing larger and more bedrooms are in order. New job requires relocation to a new city. I could go on with a lot of reasons we’ve helped people with their real estate needs. But everything and anything as to why people move falls into one common reason: Life Happens.

When buyers are looking at a home they often ask why the sellers are moving. Of course they want to know if there is something wrong with the home, area, etc. but it’s also a basic curiosity. Unless the seller has OK’d it we cannot disclose this type of personal information. But then we are not disclosing anything when we honestly say ‘Life Happens’.

Often we’ll hear from a seller they had no intention of selling anytime soon, but then suddenly something comes up and now they are in a hurry to sell. A lot of things can change a sellers mind suddenly such as the aforementioned job transfer. But other times it’s not good news that is the cause. We as realtors often deal with joyless reasons such as the seller’s health issues, relationship problems, or even deaths.

So the main thing I think everyone should take away from this blog post is there are many reasons you can find yourself in need to sell your home and buy another. Be careful not to box yourself in thinking you’ll never move from your current home. We’ve been told by many sellers that they expected to die in the home (as stay forever) as we signed the listing contract. For whatever reason you may find yourself selling unexpectedly it’s because ‘Life Happens’.

The main problem we see when someone has to sell their home unexpectedly is when they have been using their home as a loan bank and tapping the equity to pay bills or make large purchases. All the sudden they find the ‘value’ the bank used to give the loan does not match the market value and now they have to pay money to sell their home. Be very careful when utilizing your home’s equity in loans because you know, Life Happens.

When Life Happens and you need to sell or buy a home, be sure and call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110. We understand there are many reasons to move and we will be there to help you no matter what your situation is. We understand that somethings are beyond your control because Life Happens.

Apr 272015
 

In the old days it was common for the seller to throw something in with the home to sweeten the deal during negotiations. Sometimes this is still considered but if the buyer is financing the purchase that gets a little tricky. Anything not installed in the home is considered ‘Personal Property’ in legal terms. So when you write up an offer any ‘Personal Property’ listed can become a problem when a lenders underwriter sees this. There are guidelines many lenders are required to follow if they plan to sell the note after closing. One we see more of is no personal property is to be included in the sale of a home. Lenders do not want to see that big screen TV being paid for over 30 years of the mortgage.

Part of the home.

Part of the home.

So what are things that can be included?
Common items include built in appliances like stoves, dishwashers, built in microwaves, and even refrigerators (though they don’t have to be mounted per say). Other items are built in play equipment like swing sets, sandboxes, & basketball goals. Also items that are large and bulky can be included like sheds, above ground pools, spas & hot tubs, and boat docs. Built in items like in wall speakers, retractable projection screens, and those fancy outdoor grills & ovens. Only a couple of items slide by the built in requirement like window treatments and pool tables, but sometimes even those cannot be included.

Then there are the no-no’s.

No-no

No-no

Common items that will be rejected by a lender are accessory appliances like wine coolers, blenders, coffee makers, that extra freezer in the garage or anything that is not built in to cabinets, walls, etc. Outdoor patio items and lawn equipment will never be considered in addition to any sort of furniture inside or out. Even items like bar stools that match the bar cannot be listed on a contract. Any of that shelving in the garage cannot be included unless mounted to the walls. I think a normal rule of thumb is if you can move it without using tools to undo it, it is considered ‘Personal Property’, with of course the occasional exception.

Now keep in mind this really only applies if the buyer is getting financing to purchase the home. With cash deals, anything goes! Otherwise these items can be included with a ‘Bill of Sale’ that takes place after closing and not paid out of the loan financing. This places the transaction separate from the home purchase and the lender doesn’t care about that part of your deal.

Be sure and go over everything with your Realtor when you list your home. This is something The Derrick Team will detail on your listing contract so feel free to contact us with any questions when you are preparing your home to sell. Call or text us at 317-563-1110 or email us at DerrickTeam@DerrickTeam.com

Also want to give a shout out to JP Brens at Caliber Home Loans in Avon who provided us with great info on this subject. Be sure and give JP a call at 317-414-2743 with any questions on financing questions you have. We highly recommend JP for any financing needs you need!

Mar 202015
 

The answer should be obvious but I still want to go into some details so you’ll understand why I’m blogging about this. And of course to let you know that The Derrick Team ALWAYS takes great listing photos.*  One of the common complaints we hear from buyers is the lack of or poor photos on home they want to see.

There really is no excuse for an agent not to provide plenty of photos for the MLS so they are distributed throughout the Internet sites home buyers use. Yet sadly many agents only take a couple, and often those are poor quality anyway. A trend (that drives me crazy) are the photos taken with cell phones, tablets, or really cheap cameras, that are just plain, ahem, terrible. These devices lack the lenses to produce proper depth and color and often are too dark to see much for indoor photos. They are fine for selfies and personal photos but paid professionals should do their best to help their clients and decent cameras are not expensive any more. Those agents also have the option to pay professionals so there really is no excuse for poor quality photos to market their paying clients property!

I use a Coolpix-510 for our great photos. Additional flash when needed.

I use a Coolpix-510 for our great photos. Additional flash when needed.

With all that said, you should pay attention to what agents provide before you hire them to list your property. Buyers actively search the Internet first before deciding to tour homes. Do you want your home with limited photos that are dark, blurry, and just plain show your home in a bad way? Homes with photos like that will get fewer showings for that reason alone. It’s easy to check on this by looking at the agent’s current listings and marketing materials. Pictures tell thousands of dollars in this case.

Here in central Indiana MIBOR requires members to provide a minimum of 2 photos per listing. This should only be acceptable in what is referred to as ‘listed & sold’ entries. These are homes that never were marketed and the information is not for the public but for reporting purposes only. Otherwise agents are allowed to post up to 24 photos of each listing and those photos are then distributed to other Internet sites for marketing.

The Derrick Team will always use as many photos of a home as possible to make sure the Internet buyers see everything they need to. Often this is way more than the 24 photos so we add more photos to our dedicated website and other marketing materials & virtual tours that we create for each of our listings. We pride ourselves in taking great photos that reflect the home in the best possible way we can. If conditions are not great for the first photo shoot (cloudy, raining, snow, etc.) we always take updated photos at the first opportunity we can. And as the flowers pop up and the grass greens we’ll update as seasons change.

The main reason for great photos is that there is a lot of marketing involved with selling a property and every piece of that will include photos of your home. You want to hire an agent that will make sure those photos best represent your property to potential buyers. You want to make sure those buyers are drawn to come see your property in person, as that’s the last step before they write up an offer. Great photos sell your home.

Check out The Derrick Team’s listings and you’ll see that we take marketing our clients’ property seriously, which includes great photos. Call or text The Derrick Team today at 317-563-1110.

Good pictures show the outstanding features on this home in Oak Bend Estates in Avon.

Good pictures show the outstanding features on this home in Oak Bend Estates in Avon.

 

 *Occasionally the home sells before or on the day we list it, then we may only have taken preliminary photos.

 

Mar 102015
 
Avon Home ready to show

Make is sparkle!

You’ve completed all the tasks to get your home on the market such as cleaning, decluttering, painting, etc. and just signed the contract to sell your home. Signs in the yard and your home is officially on the market. Now you start getting the calls from agents who want to show your home. Here are some tips on making your home stand out.

Be Ready To Show
First it’s generally a good idea to have the home ready for showings at all times. You just never know when an agent is out showing homes and their client’s spots your home and wants to check it out. Last minute showings aren’t that common but they do happen. In some cases that’s not possible depending on your situation but keep in mind you want to avoid turning down showings if at all possible. It often comes when an agent shows a nearby home and spots yours. So it pays to always be ready.

30 Minute Drill
Since you are going to be living there you will probably create messes as you cook, play, etc so just be neat and try to always clean up afterwards. Create a family drill where each member has a task to clean up an area in less than 30 minutes. Clean homes usually sell faster so in an ideal market you won’t have to do this drill very many times.

Light It Up
When you have a showing make sure all the lights are on and the drapes / shades are open. You want to buyer to see your bright clean home in the best possible light. Change out those money saving bulbs for brighter wattage in darker areas. When we are showing homes we often try to walk ahead of our clients and turn on lights but we don’t always see all the lights and may miss some nice accent lights that show off an area of the home. A neighbor or family member could come set up the home if you are not in a position to do this for all showings.

Air It Out
Smells invoke reactions and buyers will react to bad smells, even in a beautiful home. If possible open the windows and air out the home before showings. Remove any items that may cause bad smells like the trash with last nights leftovers, dirty litter box, soiled laundry, etc. or the smell will come right back when you close the windows. Avoid strong smelly sprays & scented candles as they often make the buyer think you are covering things up. Sometimes a little splash of bleach in the drains can make a room smell fresh and clean, but don’t overdo it.

Make It Nice
If you really want to impress your potential buyers put out some individually wrapped snacks on the kitchen table with a ‘help yourself’ sign. Little bottles of water work nicely with that as well. Have some soft easy listing music playing in one area just to make it feel comfortable. If you have a dedicated entertainment room a ‘G-Rated’ movie playing at a low volume can be a nice touch. The idea is to make them envision themselves enjoying living in your home.

For Pet Owners
Like most pet owners you probably let yours run around the house while you’re away. You really want to address this during showings as not all people like or feel comfortable around pets, especially large dog breeds. We’ve seen where agents wouldn’t even enter a home if a large dog is loose. So at a minimum we suggest you crate both cats and dogs for showings. Keep in mind it’s for the pets’ safety as well as doors may not be closed and your pet may escape the house and run away. But really the best option would be to remove the animals during showings. Talk with a neighbor or family member about helping if you are not always available to do this.

Vacate!
This may seem obvious but sometimes we come across sellers who hang around while their home is being shown. We’ve dealt with this a few times and it really makes our clients uneasy. The last thing you want to do is make them uncomfortable, as that feeling will stick with them. If you want to keep and eye on people looking at your home go over to a neighbors and hang out or sit down the street in your car. This is completely acceptable and it makes it easy for you to know when it’s safe to return to your home.

We try a prepare sellers that it can be quite a job to sell your home. But the better you are prepared the better your home will show so hopefully you sell quickly and you won’t have to do all these items very many times. Feel free to call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110 or shoot us an email with any questions you have about selling your home. We’re here to help!

Feb 232015
 

Sold Another Avon HomeYou often will hear about improvements to a home that help increase the value. But you really don’t know if the value was really improved until you go to sell your home. What you want to increase is the buyers’ perceptions which will in turn increase what they will offer. As long as it appraises you will have increased the value based on your improvements.

First and foremost, the most important improvement is to clean your home like it’s never been cleaned before. This will always be our number one recommendation to anyone who’s getting their home prepared to sell. We’ve heard all kinds of reasons why people want to skip this step but you’re hurting the home’s value because of the buyer’s perceptions. ‘If the owner does not clean the home they probably don’t take good care of the home in general.’ In other words they wonder what else has been ignored in the upkeep of the home in general.

The first part of this involves decluttering. Remember that you plan to move soon so purge first to save you a lot of trouble later on. Then store away as many personal, small items as you can to make the home look neat. You’ll be glad you did this first when you start to clean. While you can clean the home yourself and save money it might be worth having professionals come do a top to bottom cleaning once, then you can just do maintenance cleaning from that point on. Clean homes will always sell faster and for closer to original list price. So this is the biggest bang for the buck, even if you pay someone.

After the cleaning look over everything in the home such as kitchen / bath fixtures to see if there are any stains or damage that didn’t come clean. At that point consider replacing them and be sure and match or upgrade what you currently have. What you use as replacements depends on your home décor and price point. This is a good time to talk to a local REALTOR to see what would work best for your home. Now use this same thought process on everything else in the home. Scarred or damaged walls? Go ahead and repair / paint and be sure and use a neutral color. * Stains that won’t come out of the carpet? Consider replacing the carpet or at least getting a quote. You’ll want to talk to a REALTOR before you spend too much money on new flooring.

After cleaning and repairing things can get a bit trickier. This is where someone with local market knowledge can be the biggest help. While a complete bathroom or kitchen makeover will help you sell your home, you may spend a lot of money and only get a little increased value in return. What really drives major updates is the local market for your type of home. In markets in other parts of the country homes sell for much higher values (starting at $500K), so updated baths and kitchens are expected with a basic home. So in that market a $20K kitchen upgrade could pay off while here with an $85K starter home, not so much.

Better investments locally are to look at the condition of the mechanicals such as heating/air, water heater, sump pump, etc. For example have your furnace serviced before you put the home on the market and keep the paperwork on anything done, especially if there is a transferable warranty. These are the type of items that can come up in an inspection so you’ll probably have to do this anyway. But what you want is to show the buyer you take good care of your home. That is the basic perceived value you want to impress on buyers who tour your home. That in turn will increase their offer and what the real value of your home is to that buyer.

If you are looking to increase your home’s value feel free to call The Derrick Team to come take a look at your home. We’ll be happy to discuss what you need to do with no obligations. We love to help people sell their homes that much! Call or text 317-563-1110 or email us at DerrickTeam@DerrickTeam.com. We work out of our Avon Indiana office to help buyers and sellers in the entire Indy Metro Area.

* If you plan to do the painting your self be sure and do a neat professional job. Sloppy paint jobs can be worse than walls that need painting so invest in some good paint tools and tape to do it right.

Feb 112015
 

There are many great ways to expose your home to buyers but virtual tours add an element that shows your home in a manner perfect for social media. Visual Tour is a product by Paradym that we utilize for all our listings. We customize every one of our listings by adding more photos than the original 24 uploaded from MIBOR BLC and change the look and music to make each tour unique. We utilize the social media tools and post tours to our web site www.DerrickTeam.com as well as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

VT Active Listings QRCode

QR Code

We also use the print tools that include QR codes that we place on every take one flyer for our listings that make it easy to see a tour with a smart phone or tablet while sitting in front of the home. One of the newest tools is the mobile marketing option that creates a code buyers can text and see the tour photos and details on their mobile device and we capture the number for follow up. This allows us to get instant feedback on what buyers think of the listing as well as contacts to invite to open houses.

Another feature we like and use is the reporting function that allows us to send weekly traffic reports to our clients so they can see the online interest in their home. This complements the other Internet traffic reports we provide each of our listing clients.

Tour-View-Report-1

Traffic Report

The Derrick Team has always utilized Visual Tour because we want to provide the best marketing tools for our listing clients. In order to guarantee to have your home marketed with Visual Tour you’ll have to hire The Derrick Team as most other agents do not offer it. And of course no other agents offer the extensive Internet marketing that we do. Call or text 317-563-1110 for a no obligation comparative market report and all the details on how we market your home.

Be sure and check out our current listing tour below.

Virtual Tour Inventory WidgetGet Adobe Flash Player

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