Blast from the past

One of our favorite things about selling real estate is getting to look at all the amazing homes around Indianapolis.  Especially in Midtown, there are always homes we view that surprise us.

Just the other day, we were previewing a home for one of our clients and stepped right onto a set from Mad Men. The home was in really good condition….it just looked like it hadn’t been touched since it was built in 1951. Pink and black bathtub and toilets, wide foyer/hallway entry with honeycomb tile, all kinds of vintage chandeliers, limestone fireplace, shag carpets, velvet wallpaper…. and the biggest blast from the past: a built-in tube television.

Definitely needs some cosmetic updating, but the layout is amazing and it could be the coolest ranch home in the area.

Contact us if you want more info on this home, or any home in the Midtown market!

builtin tv

-Indy Scene Team, “We Sell Midtown!”

What’s a buyer’s agent?

We see it all the time. Buyers driving around from house to house, calling multiple phone numbers they see on “For Sale” yard signs, asking multiple agents the same questions: what’s the price? how many bedrooms? what’s the square footage? etc. etc.

That’s all good if you are a causal shopper, asking info about homes that you are curious about. But if you are serious about buying a house in the near future, that is not the best use of your time.

It’s in your best interest to find an agent, ONE agent, who can represent you as your buyer’s agent. They will listen to what it is you are looking for, and use that criteria to find the best possible home for you. If the agent is a member of MIBOR (Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors), and most agent’s are, they have access to every house that is available on the market. They can set up showings for you and take you to view as many homes as you’d like.

This is better for a couple reasons:

-It saves you time. Instead of calling each listing agent for homes you are interested in, you just have one point of contact who can do the research for you.

-When you call a number on a sign, you are calling the listing agent, who represents the seller. If you end up buying that home, then the agent would be representing you AND the seller.  A listing agent CAN represent both a seller and a buyer on the same deal, as long as both parties agree to it in writing. This happens all the time, and it happens successfully, but do keep in mind that there is a conflict of interest and it can sometimes get sticky.

Our recommendation is to research agents who are experts in the area or neighborhood you want to buy in. Look at the testimonials on their website or Zillow profile. Even better, if you know someone who has recently bought a home, ask them who their agent was and if they liked them.

One last thing- as a buyer, you don’t pay anything to your agent. Your agent get’s paid by the listing agent when you close on a home. Yay!

Happy house hunting!

~Indy Scene Team

How to pick the right Real Estate Agent for you

There are a lot of real estate agents out there. Not every agent if for you, and (believe it or not) you are not for every agent. So how do you know which one to hire? Here are a few tips to help guide you while interviewing and researching real estate agents.

1. Testimonials/Reviews

Read an agent’s reviews from other clients they have worked with recently. What other homebuyers and sellers say about an agent will be your best insight into how the agent works, and how the experience will be working with them.  You can find their reviews on their website, Zillow profile, or Facebook. Or you can ask the agent for a list of their recent clients who you can call.

2. Market knowledge

Look for an agent who specializes in your area or neighborhood. Those agents are going to be most knowledgeable about what’s selling and what’s currently listed near your home. They will also know the nearby restaurants, shops, schools, etc., which they will use (at least they should!) to better market your home to buyers who want to be near those amenities.

3. Look at their current listings.

Get online and research the agent’s current listings. Especially look at their pictures and the property descriptions. 90% of homebuyers start their search online, and use pictures to determine if they want to go see a home in person. So the pictures better show VERY well online! The description of the property is important as well. It should include all information about the home that current buyers are looking for (if ACTUALLY included of course!). Click HERE for a list of what current homebuyers are looking for.

4. Do you like them?

You don’t have to be best friends with the person, but your agent should be someone you generally have a good gut feeling about. If you like your agent and have a good rapport with them, the more likely you’ll trust them.

Hope that helps in your search for a real estate agent! As always, call the Indy Scene Team with any real estate questions you may have.

~We sell Midtown!

 

Why the outrageous flood insurance?

A client of mine wanting to purchase her first home was looking in the Broad Ripple area, and we got her an accepted offer early in September (yay!).  It was disclosed on the listing that the home is in a flood plain, and we knew that the seller paid flood insurance.  They informed us that they paid around $2,000/year. All good! said my client.

We did NOT know, however, that new flood insurance rates would kick in on Oct. 1st due to a new law, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The law, which took effect July 6, 2012, is phasing out subsidies that have kept flood insurance rates low. Why the phase out? The program was left billions of dollars in debt due to several disastrous events.

The law won’t affect anyone who’s had a policy before July 6, 2012, as long as their policy doesn’t lapse. Anyone who has purchased a home in a flood plain since then, however, will now have to pay a much higher premium. Although the law has been in force since July 2012, the rates weren’t available until Oct. 1st of this year, so no one knew the true impact.

But now that Oct. 1st has come and gone, we know how bad it really is. The new flood insurance quotes are so outrageous, it will make it extremely difficult for people in flood plains (i.e. Rocky Ripple and surrounding neighborhoods) to sell their homes.

If a buyer is getting a mortgage, the lender will require flood insurance. If the flood insurance is as high as we’ve been seeing, it could potentially affect the buyer’s debt to income ratio, making them ineligible for the loan.

So, the moment you’ve been waiting for- HOW MUCH are these new rates? My client for one, was quoted around $5600/year by one company, and then settled with a quote from State Farm for roughly $3400/year.  A lender I know had a client quoted at $7200/year.  I wasn’t exaggerating when I said outrageous!

What can be done? The only thing anyone can do as of now is to push congress to change the law. That is what residents in Rocky Ripple are urging others to do. In the meantime, if you’re looking to buy at a home in a flood plain, get your insurance quote before you make an offer.

Check out Indiana Flood Maps.

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Why you need an extra AC inspection before you buy.

AC unit

We just had lunch today with Amie Gaddis, a rep from Home Warranty of America (HWA), and found out some interesting info that home buyers should know!

On top of your regular inspection, Amie suggests getting a certified AC inspection done as well (especially in the winter months when the AC isn’t running). One of their biggest claims is for AC units, and your home warranty only covers normal wear and tear (usually problems due to aging)….that means leaks, holes, coil issues-those things are not usually covered.

The extra AC inspection costs around $40-$50, and is well worth it! If something does happen to be wrong inside the unit, you can ask the seller to have it fixed before you close.

Obviously there are a ton of home warranty companies out there, and it can be hard to know what the differences are and why you would choose one over another. A couple reasons we like HWA, and recommend it to all of our clients, is because they offer a program that covers unknown pre-existing conditions. Also, their coverage for the buyer begins the day they close on the house. We know of another company that doesn’t cover the buyer until 30 days after closing. So make sure to read the fine print, and ask these questions when shopping around for a Home Warranty!

If you have home warranty questions, contact Amie at 317-801-2736 or AGaddis@hwahomewarranty.com.