Home Buying

Launching: Educator Mortgage Program

  • Now Offering: Discounts for Educators

    Now Offering: Discounts for Educators

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In conjunction with Supreme Lending, we have introduced a special Educator Mortgage Program that will be made available to teachers and all employees working in any public or private education system. This program is designed to benefit those who spend their days bettering the lives of others. You shape our children, our communities, our future – let us serve you, your family, your future.

What’s offered?

  • Discounted closing costs
  • Real estate agent fee credits
  • Priority loan processing
  • School Donations

Who can participate?

  • Teachers/faculty
  • Coaches
  • Custodial/facilities staff
  • Librarians
  • Secretaries
  • Professors/adjunct faculty
  • Counselors
  • And any public or private school employee

If you work in the public service sector and you are looking to find out if this program could work for you, contact us or visit our dedicated website.

Four Things to Avoid When House Hunting

  • What neighborhood works best for you?

    What neighborhood works best for you?

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House hunting can be exciting but there’s also plenty to consider when you’re conducting your search. When looking for a house, most people have a good understanding of what features they want.  But what about the things you need to avoid?

To dodge some major house hunting pitfalls, take a look at our quick tips below.

Looking outside of your price-range. Find out how much you can borrow from your home lender and stick to it.  While it can be tempting to stretch your budget for a home that appears to be just right, people often forget about hidden costs like taxes, insurance, utilities and fees that will be tacked onto the purchase price or the monthly payment. To avoid temptation, scratch any homes off your list that are clearly out of your price-range.

Buying the first home you see.  There’s a lot to consider when buying a home and without a strong basis of comparison, you could be making the wrong decision. Make sure you’ve done your research and have a good idea of what average prices are in the area you’re looking in and see how each home stacks up. You’ll also need to investigate the neighborhood to make sure it’s on par with your family’s needs. Once you’ve had a chance to look at some options, you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve made an informed decision.

Homes that need major renovations. Unless you have the cash flow and ability to renovate, these homes are best left untouched, especially for first time home buyers. Think about how much time you’re willing to wait while your house is being renovated – are you prepared to wait even longer? Renovation projects tend to go over-time and over-budget, so unless you’re looking to stay put for several years, this home might not be worth the headache.

Not getting inspections. Make sure you arrange an independent inspection to assess the overall state of the home, even if your lender doesn’t require it. Since sellers may not disclose all issues, an inspection is a great chance to discover any potential roadblocks and decide if they will make or break your buying decision.  Knowing the true state of the home can also provide some great bargaining power.

Whether you’re searching for your first home or your thirtieth, our expert team is here to help make your home-buying process as smooth as possible. Contact them for more information today.

Sources:

http://www.trulia.com/pro/buyers/house-hunting-pitfalls-to-help-buyers-avoid/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/03/06/the-7-top-home-buying-mistakes-you-should-avoid/

Franchise Feature: Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis Downtown

    Indianapolis Downtown

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Originally nicknamed the “Crossroads of America” for sitting at the junction of multiple highways, Indianapolis has certainly become the intersection of culture, nightlife, nature and sports.

With a bustling downtown, major sports teams, numerous parks and an affordable housing market, it’s easy to see why folks are flocking to Indy.

Known most notably for the Indy 500, which recently took place at the end of May, Indianapolis is famous for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Along with world-class racing, Indianapolis has major sports teams such as the NFL Indianapolis Colts and the NBA Indiana Pacers, making it an ideal place for sports fans.

It’s the 12th largest city in the nation, second only to Washington DC in its number of monuments.  It boasts major universities such as Purdue, Butler and the University of Indiana.

Besides its many monuments, residents can enjoy neighborhoods with a diverse range of dining, shopping, theatre, art, live music and nightlife such as:

Zionsville

A lovely place for families to settle with top rated schools, a charming New England style downtown and a quaint community full of unique local shops and restaurants.

Carmel

Money Magazine named Carmel the 3rd best place to live – now that’s impressive! It has a strong local economy with projected job growth and top rated schools, along with pedestrian friendly streets and an authentic sense of community.

Northern Indianapolis

Located only 15 minutes from downtown, this area has an exciting mix of entertainment, local art and dining.  Residents have access to great local schools and safe investment opportunities as Northern Indianapolis has an established real estate market.

Downtown

This neighborhood has something for everyone with single-family homes, condos, high-end lofts and converted work/live spaces available. It’s highly accessible as well with interconnected biking and running trails and has plenty to do for every type of interest from the Colts and the Pacers to Mass Ave Theatre.

Broadripple/Meridian Kessler

Known for its older homes and historically rich background, this neighborhood is only 5 minutes from downtown. It offers a wide range of dining an entertainment options and has a strong LGBT community.

While the city has much to offer, Indianapolis also has ample outdoor space for nature lovers to enjoy such as Eagle Creek Park and Nature reserve, one of the largest parks in the U.S., along with hundreds of local parks and bike paths.

Residents enjoy a low cost of living compared to the larger cities in the nation, meaning locals can stretch their dollars a bit further and enjoy all that the city has to offer. Studies show that the cost of living in Indianapolis is approximately 4% cheaper than the rest of the nation when looking at housing, healthcare, childcare and transportation.

Along with a lower cost of living, residents can enjoy the benefits of an affordable housing market. The median home values in Indiana are below the national average. According to Zillow, the median home value in Indiana is $130,400, whereas the national average is $178,400.

With a thriving city culture, low cost of living and reasonable housing prices, Indianapolis is an ideal place to set up shop and get the best of city living without the expensive city price tags.

If you’re looking to buy a home in Indiana, check out our office in Carmel, IN – a northern suburb of Indianapolis.

Sources:

http://careers.angieslist.com/life-in-indy/

http://www.zillow.com/indianapolis-metro-in_r394705/home-values/

http://cost-of-living.startclass.com/l/195/Indianapolis-IN-Metro-Area

http://www.clrsearch.com/Indianapolis-Demographics/IN/Quality-of-Life

http://motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com/2015/05/26/juan-pablo-montoya-earns-nearly-2-5-million-for-indy-500-win-full-box-score-with-winnings-attached/

5 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

  • Are you ready to buy a house?

    Are you ready to buy a house?

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For some, home ownership seems to be a natural part of life. After all, many individuals don’t want to rent forever and when the market is right, there are a lot of individuals that jump at the opportunity to make a purchase.

But, how are you supposed to know when it’s the right time to make a purchase versus when it feels right to make a purchase?

Luckily, there are 5 questions you can consider and, depending on the answers, use to guide your decision as to whether home ownership is the right decision for you.

  1. Do my finances support my decision to purchase a home?

No matter how badly you want to be a homeowner, you simply can’t decide to make such a significant purchase if your finances aren’t in order. Of course, feeling financially secure will be different for different people, but you should have enough money for a 10% down payment as well as for mortgage insurance depending upon the amount of your down payment.

If you haven’t saved for a down payment, it’s unlikely that you’re ready to purchase a home. But if you have, you can answer “yes” to this question and continue considering the following questions.

  1. Will I be in this area for awhile?

In the past, staying put for just three to five years was enough to purchase a home. But nowadays, you should want to stay put for at least seven years to consider home ownership.

Primarily, this is because there are a lot of associated costs with purchasing a home including closing on the sale and moving, among others. And, when it comes time to sell your home, you’ll lose even more money.

So, if you aren’t willing to settle down or can’t count on settling down depending on your job and unique situation, it’s probably best not to buy.

  1. What are the standard costs of ownership?

What will you be spending, and how does this break down on a month-by-month basis? The simplest way to determine the standard costs is to calculate your home price minus your down payment into a mortgage calculator.

You can even plug in costs like property taxes and homeowners insurance to get a more accurate picture.

  1. What hidden expenses are there in homeownership?

While most homeowners understand the standard costs they can expect, few understand that there are many hidden expenses as well.

Hidden expenses include everything from homeowner association fees, routine maintenance costs, and significant expenses like a new roof or a new paint job. You can’t plan for all of these costs, so having a comfortable savings account is necessary to ensure that should something arise, you can handle it.

  1. What’s going on in the market in my area?

Even if you’ve answered “yes” or “I’m prepared” to all of the questions above, there’s one more you have to consider: what’s actually happening in the market where you live?

Home prices in some cities are skyrocketing at the moment whereas others are remaining more stable. Meanwhile, those who are renting may experience an increase in their income but in all likelihood, their rent is increasing as well.

Consider the market in your area and by doing so, you can better determine whether or not a home is the right investment at this time.

If You’re Ready to Purchase a Home, United Real Estate Can Help

If you’ve read through this article and are convinced that now is the right time for you to buy a home, the team at United Real Estate can help.

As a national leader in the real estate industry, we have the experience and expertise to assist with all of your needs. Contact us to purchase your dream home, today!

First Time Home Buyer FAQs

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Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions most people will make in their lifetime.  Naturally, this means that potential homebuyers are going to have a lot of questions.

This list of FAQs will help prepare you for answering your customers’ most important queries.

Q: What are the most important things to consider when looking at the condition of a home?
A: There are several things to look at when determining whether or not to purchase a home. One is the age of the roof. A roof usually lasts between 15-50 years depending on its materials. Another area to look at is whether the foundation is raised or slab. Newer homes tend to have slab foundations, but a raised foundation makes it easier, and usually cheaper, to access underneath the home to address electrical and plumbing issues.

Q: Do I need an attorney to be involved?
A: It depends on the state. Some states require attorneys to draft a real estate transaction contract or purchase agreement, while others use an escrow company instead. Check with a real estate agent to find out the laws in a specific state.

Q: How do I decide what to offer the seller?
A: How much the seller paid for the home, how much the seller still owes on the home, and how long the home has been on the market are all things to consider when coming up with an offer. In addition to questions about the house, it is important that the buyer asks themselves how much they can feasibly afford and how valuable the house is to them when considering an amount to offer.

Q: Do I need to get a home inspection?
A: While it is typically an additional expense for the buyer, a home inspection will cover the entire house- inside and out- and can prevent costly surprises down the road. At the end of the inspection, a signed report of the findings will be given to the buyer. No other party is entitled to see the report unless the buyer allows them to.

Q: What is a house closing?
A: This refers to the final transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. This transaction usually takes place in the office of someone who is licensed in initiating the transaction and purchase agreement such as a real estate lawyer or title officer. The date for closing is set during the negotiation phase and usually takes places several weeks after the buyer’s offer is officially accepted by the seller. There are several fees involved in closing, which can be paid either by the buyer or the seller- depending what they established during negotiation.

Q: Do I need title insurance?
A: Title insurance covers you in case the title search missed something that would make the purchase of the home invalid. While a title search is conducted during the home buying process, there can be things that aren’t caught until after the buyer has moved in, meaning they could potentially lose their house. If this were to happen, the buyer is likely to receive damages if they purchased title insurance at closing. Two title insurance policies are needed- one for the buyer and one for the lender.

This post is provided by our mortgage partner, Supreme Lending, using the following sources: 

http://realestate.findlaw.com/buying-a-home/questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-home.html
http://www.homeclosing101.org/costs.cfm
http://www.zillow.com/home-buying-guide/what-is-title-insurance/

Can People Still Buy a Home with No Money Down?

  • mortgages

    mortgages

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Although it’s highly unlikely, yes – it is still possible to get a home without a down payment.  Prior to the mortgage crisis and recession, many lenders offered mortgages without any down payment. Some lenders even allowed consumers to borrow up to 105 percent of the home’s purchase price so they could finance their closing costs.  While we all know that mortgage requirements are much stricter, there are still loan options that can make homeownership a reality.

Today, a handful of government sponsored programs allow consumers with good credit and a steady income to buy a home. Here’s the low-down on loans with low/no down payment requirements.

VA Loans

These loans are only available to veterans, current members of the military and their spouses. While these loans don’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance, there is a funding fee that can be wrapped into the loan.

USDA Rural Development Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans to those with qualifying credit scores and income levels. Candidates for these loans must be able to afford payments but have a low or moderate income. Additionally, you must purchase a property in a designated area. These loans are primarily designed to help low-income families in rural areas purchase homes.

FHA Loans

Insured by the Federal Housing Authority, FHA loans come with a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent. FHA charges an upfront premium and additional premiums each month. The standards are usually pretty lenient but a series of guidelines are published and will give you exact eligibility requirements.

If you are interested in getting approved for a loan or learning about types of loans available,
contact our preferred mortgage partner – Supreme Lending. Their team is passionate about helping consumers make homeownership a reality.

Radon: Do you Really Need to Test for It?

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In a word, yes. Testing for radon is critical to the home buying and selling process.

According to the EPA, testing for radon is non-negotiable, estimated at causing about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. The tests are simple and inexpensive and as a homebuyer, it will give you an irreplaceable peace of mind.

Quick Overview

Radon is a gas that can’t be seen, smelled or tasted – but its’ estimated to cause thousands of deaths per year. Breathing air with randon can cause lung cancer and the Surgeon General estimates that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., with smoking causing the most cases.

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil rock and water and permeates the air you breathe. The gas gets into your home through cracks in solid floors, construction joints, cracks in walls, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, cavities inside walls and through the water supply. It can be found in all types of buildings but homes are the most worrisome, as you spend the most time there.

Ultimately, home repairs will need to be made if your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter or pCi/L or higher.  Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be more easily reduced.

Testing

You can test your home through a ‘DIY’ kit but if you are selling your home, you’ll likely want a qualified tester to do the testing and provide recommendations for you. A list of qualified testers is available by contacting your state radon office.

As a home seller, there are many ways to mitigate radon that has already managed its’ way into your house. Sometimes solutions are as simple as adding a vent fan or better sealing of foundation cracks. Newer homes are often built with radon resisting features.  A full list of solutions are available from the EPA here.

The home buying and selling process is full of nuances, to get assistance with the process or advice on your situation, contact us. We’re happy to help.

Condo Buying: Investing in a Condo Over a House

  • Lincoln Park

    Lincoln Park

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When you’re determined to purchase your own home, it doesn’t have to be a single-family house. Condos make great investments and offer several advantages over other types of residences.

These are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when buying a condo:

  • Access to amenities. You don’t have to pay for separate memberships to a local pool or golf course. Living in a condo means that you’ll be able to use the amenities your condo community offers, such as clubhouses, pools and fitness center.
  • Low maintenance. When you live in a condo, you only have to maintain your living space. You’re not responsible for maintaining the building, grounds or common areas.
  • Financial incentives. Owning a condo gives you a chance to build equity, and you’ll also be able to use tax deductions on property taxes and mortgage interest payments.
  • A sense of community. Living in a building that has a lot of other units occupied by owners, rather than renters, means that you’ll have a good sense of community. Some of these also offer planned community events.

Need additional information on buying a condoContact United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Vacation Home Hunting? Three Tips for Purchasing Your Vacation Home

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    breck

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Having a vacation home to go to on weekends saves you the hassle of booking a room when you want to get away. With more demand for these homes in recent years, it’s a good time to consider buying a vacation home.

Keep these tips in mind when you start your search:

  • Save up money. Many buyers pay for their vacation home in cash. This isn’t a requirement, but it could boost your chances of finding and buying a home more quickly.
  • Have enough for a down payment. If you can’t pay cash for a vacation home, at least have a large enough sum of money set aside for a down payment. Plan on having around 30 percent in savings for this.
  • Consider buying a foreclosure or doing a short sale. A large percentage of vacation home buyers end up saving money through short sales or foreclosure purchases. These are more complex ways of buying a home, so you’ll need the help of a good realtor if you plan on going this route.

Ready to start searching for a vacation homeContact United Real Estate, and follow us on Facebook.

Get Up To Date Home Listings With URE iPad App

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    app II

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Buying a home is generally a time-consuming process for most people. Fortunately, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by making use of convenient home listing apps for homebuyers. 

United Real Estate offers an app designed for use with iPads. As long as you have iOS 4.0 or higher, you can download this app and use it to start searching for homes. This app makes it quick and easy for you to look through available properties and narrow down your options. It provides you with a number of benefits, including:

  • Up-to-date and highly accurate information on available real estate properties
  • Map that shows all homes for sale in the location you choose
  • Advanced search features that let you search by square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, price range and lot size
  • Ability to search homes based on price reduction and newest listings
  • Views on property details
  • Close to 40 points of interest shown in your chosen location
  • Ability to save your searches
  • Convenient one-click access to United Real Estate representatives

Need more help finding your new home? Contact United Real Estate, and visit our Facebook page.