This story is about a newlywed couple who trusted me to help them buy their first home. I was so excited to work with this couple. They are a young and vibrant couple that married just a few months before we started their home search. The wife, like me before I became a Realtor, is a marketing manager for a local fitness franchisee and her husband is a finance manager. Ironically they got married the same date my husband and I did, although many years apart. I felt an instant connection to these guys!
As is customary for all of my home buying clients, I recommended they get pre-approved before we started house shopping. They worked with Jeff Love, Senior Loan Officer at Milestone Home Lending, and he put together a fantastic financing plan for my client. Because this couple was a first time home buyer and still have a relatively low income level, as they are recent college grads, they qualified for $0-down loan and a non-repayable grant from the state of Indiana.
This couple’s max budget was $200,000 and they wanted to buy in Fishers, Indiana. That was a tall order to fill! Fishers is bustling city that is in high demand and homes there sell very quickly. It is not uncommon for buyers in Fishers to offer more than the original list price for homes and for the buyers to pay all closing costs. Those offer strategies may ensure the buyer gets the house he/she wants, but they are expensive buying strategies. My offer strategy for this couple was to get the seller to pay for most of the closing costs and to not exceed my client’s budget…and make that happen in Fishers. Yikes!
It was a grueling process. Many of the houses we wanted to look at sold within hours and before my clients could even get off work to go look at them. Nearly every house had multiple showings at the same time and we rarely had a chance to view the house by ourselves. In fact, we kept running into the same people at house after house. We felt like we were getting lapped on 400-meter track.
We made offers on four houses and each one got rejected. It was heart wrenching, watching my clients fall in love with a house and then ultimately not earn it. After every failed buying attempt we re-evaluated our offer strategy and tweaked our game plan for the next offer we were going to make. Ultimately, our strategy did not change much, because our strategy made the best long-term financial sense for my client, but it required patience and persistence.
It all came together on our fifth offer. The house was part of an estate and needed a little cosmetic TLC, but the floor plan, lot and location were just what my client wanted. The three-bedroom house is in a quiet neighborhood and just a bike ride away from Fishers’ city center. It had two full baths, an eat-in kitchen, a screened in porch and a fenced in yard for their dog. The kitchen and bathrooms hadn’t been updated, but they were in good shape and can be updated over time. We made an offer and after a counter offer, we got it accepted.
The inspection came back with very little issues and the sellers agreed to fix the few items on our list. Now my clients could breathe a sigh of relief. Assuming the title work came back clean, we were on our cool-down lap of this marathon. My clients were going to actually buy their first house!
Their financing package was complex and took a while to put it all together because of the type of loan and the grant they received. We had to delay closing three times, but the financing package was worth the extra push-ups. Thanks to our offer strategy and the unique financing plan, my clients brought no money to closing and actually received a check from the seller at closing. That is unheard of! The seller literally wrote my clients a check at closing! They had enough money to buy some paint and light fixtures for their new house!
Putting this buying transaction together was like a workout: hard, but worth it! I am so happy how it turned out for my clients and I know this is a great house to start their new life together.
If you would like to learn more about a $0-down loan or see if you qualify for a non-repayable grant from the state, reach out to me today. I’m here to help you reach your homeownership goals!
© 2019 McCoyMovesYou
It’s Race Week in Indy and as I was looking forward to all of the fun this weekend, I realized that home buying and selling is a lot like an Indy Car race. There are a lot of laps and several pits stops that have to be made before you can cross the finish line and take the checkered flag!
Whether you are selling or buying, the process will include a home inspection and inspection response, an appraisal, title work and lots of personal financial documents to be pulled and submitted for mortgage approval. So many moving parts and pieces. It really can be daunting if you don’t have the right Realtor who can help you along the way. A good Realtor will outline the process for you and so you know what to expect along every turn.
It’s still a Sellers Market in Indianapolis with limited home inventory and lots of buyers. Now is a great time to sell your house!
Check out my latest video…
If you are looking for a Realtor who can help you cross the finish line quickly and efficiently, let’s chat! Call me directly for a personal property evaluation!
© 2019 McCoy Moves You
Life is very cyclical and so is home-buying. A person’s first house will tend to be a smaller home with two or three bedrooms and a smaller yard. As a person’s life changes, like getting married or having children, their home needs change too. As the family grows, so too does the home. And yet again, after the children move out, the homeowner may downsize to a smaller house that requires less care and maintenance. It’s a pretty predicable cycle.
This story is about a mature client who was ready to sell his large family home and get into a smaller and carefree home that was closer to his son and his family. We sold his large four-bedroom house in no time, but it took us quite a while to find just the right house for him to purchase.
My client really wanted to live in popular Carmel, Indiana, but he also wanted to pay cash for his new home with the proceeds from the sale of the large house. We had a very limited budget that consequently limited our selection of available houses. When we did find a house that was in his budget, it literally sold in a few hours for more than the asking price. Not only were we competing with other mature adults who were in the process of downsizing, we were also competing with those younger first time home buyers. Both types of buyers desire the same kind of house. So many shoppers and so little inventory!
Patience is a Virtue!
I counseled with my client to look at some other financing options that would allow him to spend a little more money on his next house, but he was adamant that he only wanted to pay what cash he had available from the sale of the earlier house. My next suggestion was that we broaden his search to Carmel’s neighboring areas that would put him closer to his son, but allow him some more affordable housing options. He wasn’t to keen on that idea, but agreed to consider it.
Time was running out for my client to make a smooth transition from his old house into his new house, so he decided to lease an apartment for a short-term lease until he could find just the right new house. I kept searching in Carmel and everywhere around it. My client was steadfast in his specifications and the days turned into weeks, but still nothing satisfied his criteria.
Finally after about six weeks of shopping, seeing more than 20 homes and making offers on three houses, we finally found the right house! It was a small three bedroom house just inside Fishers and only about five miles from his son’s house. The house has a low maintenance exterior, small yard, a sunroom off the back and a side patio that’s great for grilling and dining. It’s in a quaint neighborhood with plenty of shopping and dining in the area.
I hated it that my client had to move twice, from his original home to an apartment and from the apartment to his new, smaller home, but it allowed him the extra time to find just the right house! When we closed, he had a few weeks left on his apartment lease, which allowed him to get all new carpet and fresh paint throughout his new house before he moved in. My client absolutely loves his new house! He is using the smallest bedroom for an office and loves relaxing in the sunroom.
So if you are shopping for a smaller home and have a limited budget, know that you will have plenty of competition between first-time-home buyers and down-sizing buyers. Your search could take longer than you expect. Be openminded and patient and you too will eventually find a perfect new home that fits all of your criteria!
Remember my professional services are free for buyers. If you are ready to begin searching for your next home, let’s chat!
© 2019 McCoyMovesYou
There were so many reasons why I was so excited to sell this adorable cottage in Carmel, Indiana. I mean, look at how cute it is! Talk about ‘curb appeal.’ And wait ’til you see the backyard. The owner was a master gardener and she and her husband devoted many, many hours to creating a gorgeous English-style garden in the backyard.
And they were equally meticulous inside the house and had taken exceptional care of the house. This couple built the house in 2003 with Estridge Builders and added some well-thought out features when they designed it. They extended the footprint of the master bedroom and added extra windows for more natural light. They increased the size of the laundry room and included a large storage closet. They used solid wood for the floors, added crown moulding in the great room and used French-style doors on the den. Since the original build, they updated the master bathroom with a walk-in shower, granite counters and Kohler accessories. This house was a real gem on Carmel’s east side and it was close to schools, shopping and dining.
The owners loved to travel and fell in love with the western landscapes of Arizona. On a recent vacation they looked at some homes for sale and, on a whim, decided to make an offer on one. The offer was accepted and it was time to fully embrace their retirement out west.
I was so thankful for the opportunity to sell this house and I am so happy for my clients who got a chance to fully realize their retirement dreams. If you are ready to give up Indiana winters and move to a warmer client, give me a call. I’d love to help you sell your house!
© 2019 McCoyMovesYou
A client of mine recently had a mechanical failure and, after the first diagnosis, they thought it would not be covered by their home warranty. After I found out about it, I got my HSA client rep involved and got my client a second opinion. It turned out to be a wonderful home warranty success story! I want to share the results, because I know some consumers are skeptical about home warranties. Watch this video to see how my client saved about $5,500 on a home repair!
On December 14 I got introduced to a new client who was moving from Seattle to Central Indiana for a new job. He was bringing with him his wife and a young son and they wanted to close on the new house before he started his new job on January 14. Ummm…okay!
After you decide on a new home, it usually takes 30-45 days to process all of the paperwork before you can go to the closing and officially own the home. So here it was already the middle of December when we first became acquainted and I had 30 days to find this family a house, get an accepted offer, an inspection and approval, mortgage approval and title work complete. There are so many moving parts and pieces to the sale of a home and it takes a large group of people to pull it all together. I’ll never forget when the mortgage banker called me and said, “I just want to make sure I’m reading this right. You want to close when?” Not only would we have to work fast, but we would have to work around all the typical hustle and bustle of the holiday season and vacation time that many people already had planned. Fortunately, we had the A-team in place and everybody involved was willing to go the extra mile to get this transaction complete.
Where oh Where?
The buyers and I got to work looking at houses online, but before we committed to seeing houses in person, I needed to learn a little bit more about my clients so I could guide them to neighborhoods that would suit the lifestyle they desired. Choosing a good school system was their number one priority, but they also like to spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking, biking and bird watching. They also wanted a larger lot with some privacy and a house with extra space for out-of-town guests. I previewed some houses in person and we narrowed down to a short list of 7-8 we wanted to see together.
Because of the tight time constraints we decided to have some virtual showings where I Facetimed the buyers as I drove from home to home and toured the houses. That worked out pretty well, but they still wanted to see a few of the homes in person, before they were comfortable making an offer. A quick check of flights and Mrs. buyer would be here in a few days. We were so excited to meet in person and make a final decision on their new home.
Just two days after our virtual tours and on Christmas eve, I got a call from another agent saying one of the properties we were strongly considering was going to have a second showing and she was expecting to receive an offer. Drat! So after much counseling and consideration, my clients decided to make an offer contingent on a visual inspection when the wife arrived in a couple of days. So with a house full of guests and a ham in the oven, I wrote and submitted the offer on Christmas Eve. The sellers acknowledged our offer and allowed us the couple of extra days we needed for the buyer to fly into Indy. Shew!
The day before Mrs. Buyer arrived, we received notice that we were in a multiple offer situation on the “Christmas Eve” house and we needed to submit our highest and best offer by 1 p.m. the next day. Yikes! Not only did she need to look at the house she already made an offer on, but we also had to decide on an alternate house, in case our offer wasn’t highest and best. We firmed up our list of homes we wanted to see and planned for an early start when Mrs. Buyer arrived. I picked her up at the hotel before the sun rose and we were off on a cold and rainy December morning.
We quickly checked a few houses off our list and, by 10 a.m., we arrived at the “Christmas Eve” house that we wrote the earlier offer on. It did not disappoint! She loved it even more than she did when we toured it via Facetime. The buyers determined their highest and best offer and I submitted it to the sellers before we even left the property. While we were at the house we saw a female Cardinal and heard some Blue Jays chirping around the yard and, ironically, the street name was Coopers Hawk. For a family that is into bird watching, it felt like it was meant to be!
Pursuit of Hobbies
We grabbed a quick lunch, toured the surrounding area and identified the schools, parks and necessary retail destinations for food and shopping. The buyers had already learned online that Eagle Creek Park is a hot spot for birdwatching, so we made time to pop into the Park to check it out. It was awesome. They have a bird sanctuary on the reservoir and a whole building and garden dedicated to Ornithology. We spent a few minutes getting a grand tour with one of the staff members and it was just another sign that this was meant to be.
As we headed to the airport, I got a text from the other agent, confirming that my clients’ offer was the highest and best offer and they won right to buy the house. It was a fantastic feeling for Mrs. Buyer to get on the plane knowing that she had a home to move into in just a few weeks! We still had a long road ahead of us to get through the inspection, appraisal and title work in just two weeks, but at least we found the house.
I always recommend my clients attend the inspection of their new home, so they can learn a little bit about the mechanicals from the inspector as he checks over everything and also to hear firsthand from the inspector what his concerns are, if he has any. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly convenient for these buyers to be at the inspection, so I filled in for them and Facetimed them when necessary. Fortunately, this house had been very well maintained and there were not a lot of major issues to discuss with the inspector.
The appraisal came back just where we needed it to be and the title work was completed without any issue. We negotiated the inspection repairs until two days before closing, but ultimately came to a mutual agreement between the buyers and the sellers and we closed as planned on Friday, January 11. It was a fast and furious and a little nerve-wrecking for all parties, but we got it done!
My clients have finally settled into their new home and are adjusting to winter life in the midwest quite nicely. I am forever grateful for their confidence in me to help them from afar!
So if you think moving halfway across the country or even across town is for the birds, then call me. I will be happy to help you make a smooth landing in your new nest!
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Eric Kelley, Bright Star Mortgage, and Brad Moss, Title Links, for their assistance bringing this transaction to close. Meeting our tight deadline wouldn’t have been possible without their assistance.
My friend Jeff Love and I put this video together to help first time homeowners better understand the financing process and answer some common questions. Watch this video to learn more about the financing process, how long it takes, how debt and bad credit influence your home loan and how much you need for a down payment. If you have more questions after watching the video, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Jeff Love. We’re here to help!
I don’t know about you, but my kids have been home for two days with all activities cancelled due to the cold weather. They are climbing the walls! Open a box of crayons and let them color up some warm thoughts of sunny days ahead! Print the .pdf and take their minds off of their entrapment at home. Cabin fever be gone!
Don’t get cabin fever this year! Put these cold winter days to good use and get a head start on your home improvement list. Here are a few ideas that you can knock off your list over the winter.
To Do List:
Upgrade your thermostat
Add insulation to your attic
Freshen up your interior paint on your ceilings, walls and trim
Add tile backsplash in the kitchen or bathroom
Seal leaks around your doors, windows and electric and light outlets
Replace the hardware on your doors and switch plates
Update your lighting fixtures
None of the aforementioned projects cost a ton of money and you can find all the materials at your local hardware or big box store. If you like the idea of these projects, but aren’t into DIY, give me a call and I can point you in the right direction to a qualified contractor.
Don’t let winter get you down. Get busy inside your house this weekend!
I’m gonna try to keep this story short. Lord knows the process was anything but short, but that’s how it goes in real estate sometimes.
A friend of mine called me in the fall of 2017 about helping him sell a rental property and, of course, I jumped at the chance. On the surface the selling situation seemed easy. He was going to sell the house to the tenant. Perfect!
Make it Your Own
The five-bedroom house was on a cul-de-sac in a quaint neighborhood on Indy’s northwest side. The tenant and her family lived there for more than five years and had put a lot of sweat equity into the house. Not only did they maintain it like they were the property owners, but they finished the basement with their own hands and money. I was so excited for this family to take ownership of this beautiful home that they loved so much. Unfortunately, the tenant family was financially challenged and it made taking ownership of the house very difficult.
The tenant told me she was pre-approved by a bank in Michigan and she would send me the pre-approval letter. The letter didn’t come quickly, so I took matters into my own hands and reached out to the mortgage banker myself. He was hard to get a hold of and made promises of delivering a pre-approval letter that never came. I grew more and more suspicious after Googling this banking outfit and found nothing. When I looked him up in the NMLS, his license number was registered to a woman in Utah. What?!?! He finally sent me a pre-approval letter and because of all of my suspicion, I shared it with one of my friends who is a reputable mortgage loan officer in Indianapolis. He confirmed that the letter quoted financing programs that didn’t even exist and the fine print stated that the applicant still needed to apply for financing. So the letter was just a notice of possible financing, not actual financing. Every time I turned, there was another red flag. As much as I wanted to sell this house for my own benefit, I couldn’t let this family be taken by a fraudulent outfit in Michigan.
The reality was that the house they lived in and they loved was not affordable for their current financial situation. I talked to them about buying another house in the same school district that would be easier to finance, but they wouldn’t hear of it. I introduced them to Home Partners of America, where they could rent-to-own the house they already lived in. They were also not interested in that option. I was running out of ideas to make this work and they were falling behind in rent. The situation grew more and more dim every day.
Light at the end of the Tunnel
The light finally shined on this family when a relative stepped in to buy the house and agreed to lease it back to them. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved. The relative was buying a fantastic investment property with a longterm tenant who loved the property. And, the tenant and her family got to stay in the house that had been their family home for so many years.
After seven months of back and forth, my client finally got to sell his rental property. It didn’t come easy and it took patience and persistence, but we finally got it done!
If you are considering buying a new home, I’d be happy to recommend a reputable mortgage professional who can help you evaluate your financing options. Call me today to get started!