Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Todd Group’

How to Be a First-Time Homeowner With No Regrets

Posted by Kelly Todd on February 7, 2014  |   No Comments »

First Time Home Owner

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Be a First-Time Homeowner With No Regrets

Wandering into the great unknown that is first-time home ownership takes guts, money and guidance. You have to have the guts to take the leap, so that one’s on you. To help you foresee some of the financial pitfalls, there are great resources available, like this one and this one. You can also turn to an experienced lender such as Marty Mates (Caliber Home Loans) or Misi Johnson (Access National Mortgage), or a real estate agent you trust. And you probably won’t be wanting for advice — whether you asked for it or not — from family, friends or coworkers.

Despite all the well-meaning resources available, I meet buyers and sellers everyday who tell me stories of first-time home-buying regret. I hate regret, so to help you act like a pro, even if it’s your maiden buying experience, here are four common regrets I’ve heard about and how to avoid them.

Regret No. 1. “When we bought our first home, we paid attention mainly just to the price.”

Only seeing the value of a home in terms of price and not paying close enough attention to other details can lead to regret. Before making an offer, think about how long you plan to live there. You aren’t likely to stay in your first home forever, so even though it may seem far away, factor in the home’s potential resale value.

When you judge a house by its reasonable price, you might be tempted to focus on the amenities — walk-in-closet, garden tub, big laundry room, etc. — and fail to notice the power lines in the back, lack of a coat closet or “eccentric” orientation of a room with windows. (How are you going to fit a sofa in there?) A “good deal” might not seem like such a good deal after all.

When a number drives your buying decisions, you can also lose sight of your goals. Why are you buying a home? How do you want your home to accommodate your lifestyle? Often, buyers are scared to pull the trigger on the first few houses they see because they are fearful that they are acting too soon. Your real estate agent should help you uncover your goals and priorities and select houses that are the “best fit,” pre-qualifying your options so that you see the best of the best.

Regret No. 2. “We didn’t think through our move very well, and it turned into a real nightmare.”

Whether you’re a typical DIYer or a hire-it-out kind of person, take into account all of your options before committing to a moving strategy.

If you are considering moving yourself, and you have a team of very tolerant, strong, patient friends and family, go for it! Otherwise, I would almost always recommend hiring a professional moving company.

These companies do moves daily and know how to take tricky turns and bends without damaging your walls and belongings. Movers also carry insurance that will cover your items should they break during the move. I’m guessing Uncle Mike isn’t going to re-patch your drywall or replace the Target dresser that loses a leg on your DIY moving day.

Hiring pros can also save time and stress. Before the big day, they will come in and evaluate your move, taking into account everything to be transported, especially items requiring additional security or care, and then provide you with an estimate for your move.

If you are like me, you would rather pack yourself so that you have an opportunity to purge some things (silver lining).  Other people would rather stand in rain for a week rather than pack their own things. If this is you, hiring a mover to pack and move is a good idea. However you pack, be sure to label everything to save time when you unpack at the new place.

 

Regret No. 3. “I fell in love with a rug/color/pattern/style, dropped a lot of money on it, and it never really worked in our house.”

Do not spend money on new décor before you move into your house! Live in the space, friends. Far too often people get sucked into the weekend “Big Bang Sale” or “Door Buster Savings” and walk away with a sectional for the basement that won’t make it down the stairs. I know moving into a new house is exciting, and decorating is even more exciting, but taking the time to know scale and orientation of how you want to live in a house will save you big bucks down the road. I’ve personally made this mistake several times and I wish I were more patient. When in doubt, consult someone who has a keen sense of style (I love sharing my “decorator” two cents) or an interior designer for feedback.

A lot of people get hung up on defining their personal style and decorate accordingly, which can make your home feel dated fast. Instead of going all out Arts and Crafts, Victorian or modern, consider first what you want from your space. For example, is your family room meant for formal gatherings or do you want it to be your everyday TV-watching-kids-playing room? Let your lifestyle guide your decorating decisions.

Knowing your budget will help you avoid regrets, too.  Decorating is not cheap, but it also doesn’t need to break the bank. Look at photos of rooms and décor that catch your eye. Create a look-book on Pinterest or Houzz. Browse issues of Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. The Indiana Design Center in Carmel is open to the public and offers fabulous resources, from flooring, to fixtures, to countertops. Showing someone an example of what you like will help her or him understand you and assist you with buying decisions.

Be cautious with trends.  I love chevron, but if I put it all over my house, it will look crazy in, say, five years.  It is better to select your staples (couch, rug, etc.) in timeless fabrics and prints, and then use your accessories to “pop” your room.  It is much less expensive to buy a new lampshade or pillows every few years than it is to recover a couch and buy new rugs. I love adding drapery to rooms to warm things up.  This could be a great way to bring in your own style.

My budget go-to shop for those “pop” items is TJ Maxx HomeGoods. Browse their accessories, rugs and lamps. Of course Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma Home have great products and ideas. I also think Target has come a long way in the home décor game, often featuring designers such as Nate Berkus who create seasonal pieces.

Regret No. 4. “We never made friends in our first neighborhood.”

When you are buying a home, you are also buying into all those homes around it. Once you buy, adapting to the neighborhood is a lot easier and more fulfilling when you are proactive about making friends and meeting new people.

Find out if your neighborhood has a homeowners’ association. If it does, check with the folks there regarding the “happenings” of the neighborhood and get involved. An HOA can share with you the ins and outs, and dos and don’ts of your new home base. Even better, being on your HOA board will help you get to know people and be aware and involved regarding changes or issues that may affect homeowners.

To learn the lay of the land of your new neighborhood, don’t wait for neighbors to come to you. If you see someone out and about, introduce yourself!  If there is a parade, pool party, block party, euchre night … attend! You will likely never regret it.

 

Whether you’re a first-time owner or a seasoned pro, the Kelly Todd Group can help you have the best experience possible. Contact us to meet.

Devour Downtown

Posted by Kelly Todd on January 15, 2014  |   No Comments »

 

Unknown

 

Have you ever wanted the opportunity to dine at the city’s most talked about restaurants? Check out Devour Downtown from January 20th, 2014 – February 2nd, 2014 and have a chance to try out one or all of these fabulous restaurants without breaking the bank.  Click on their website below for a list of restaurants and menus!  This is an event you will not want to miss!

Devour Downtown

A Time to be Thankful

Posted by Kelly Todd on November 27, 2013  |   No Comments »

Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kelly Todd Group would like to wish you & your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We sincerely appreciate your support & business and wish you a lovely holiday season.

Cheers!

Kelly, Michael, Kris & Scott

Being Happy With 90 Percent

Posted by Kelly Todd on November 15, 2013  |   No Comments »

 

 

 

90percent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Happy With 90 Percent

When you’re in a relationship, there will be little quirks that your partner has that you would prefer he or she not have. But you live with them and it’s ok. Because 90 percent of the time, your partner is perfect.

Whether you are buying or selling, you will never have a perfect experience. I would love to tell you that everything will be sunshine and rainbows, but this is the real world. While we do everything possible to minimize unexpected hiccups and stress, we can’t control everything. Therefore, it is useful to accept these facts up front so that you aren’t unnecessarily disappointed when something doesn’t go according to the ideal plan.

BUYERS

If you are a buyer, you are never going to get 100 percent of what you want. For example, you might get your ideal location but have to concede the walk-in closets and granite countertops. The important thing is to set priorities. Your agent should know and understand what is most important to you so that he or she can figure out the best compromise when it is necessary.

I typically walk through a home with buyers and raise questions and objections. For example, they need to think about the salability of their home in the future. When you are laying out your priorities, consider how long you plan to be in the house. What are your immediate and future needs?

As they say in the market, “location, location, location.” This proves to be a major key in home hunting. This is not to say that a house on a busy corner is a bad one; it just might not produce the same market as one on a quiet street. The values for two exact homes in different locations could be vastly different.

Think of buying a home like going shopping. You can buy the $1,000 dress, but then you might not have enough money left to buy shoes and jewelry. If money is no object, you might not have this issue. But for the majority of people, you aren’t going to get what you want all the time.

There are some things that I would not call “deal breakers” for buyers because they can be updated or changed relatively easily. These include:

  • Outdated kitchens and baths
  • Bad carpeting or flooring
  • Paint colors
  • Poor landscaping

And then there are those things that buyers should not compromise on. For example, you can’t control how your neighbors treat their homes. If the homes are run-down and in poor condition in the neighborhood you’re considering, this is a bright red flag. Look around the neighborhood and see if it is a place you would like to call home. If every other home looks like it is falling down, but the one house you want to see is perfect, it won’t matter in the long run — keep on looking.

Another deal breaker is if the home doesn’t have the space you need now, and you aren’t willing to add on — move on. Also, consider if the home is located next to immovable items. You will forever be next to power lines, water towers, rail road tracks, highways, sewage treatment plants, etc., if those things are in place today.

As a basic point, the right house should meet your criteria for numbers of bedrooms and baths. The overall space should fit your needs. Oftentimes, people tackle their dream list (think four bedrooms, three full baths, finished basement, fully updated, etc.) but don’t want to face the price.  You may not get everything on your wish list, but you can certainly find 90 percent.

While you need to stick to your guns only your top priorities, you do have to be flexible on location and price. If you prefer to have it all and not adjust the price, you may have to move to a slightly different area from where you are currently searching. If that isn’t an option and you have a set area, you will likely have to scale back your expectations.

SELLERS

The same 90 percent “rule” applies to sellers as well as buyers. Sellers’ biggest hot-button issue is the inspection. Buyers will likely request inspection items the seller doesn’t want to perform. Repairs the buyer considers important often seem ridiculous to the seller, but you have to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.

A major disappointment can also rear its head when there’s just not a buyer for your home. If there isn’t a buyer, you can’t create one. But you can think about how you might be able to improve the situation.

First, consider the facts. If 15 homes have pended in your market over the past month and you haven’t gotten an offer, look at the condition, price and location of your home. You can’t change your location, so you may want to consider improving the condition or lowering your price. If only one house has pended, the market is just soft and there’s not enough evidence to suggest you need to change either your home’s condition or price.

For sellers, the wait for a buyer is the most common headache that makes the selling experience less than perfect. To improve your odds, your agent should make sure the condition and price of your house are done right, looking at statistics and market research to compare.

They should do everything they can to get people in your house. Consider the number of showings you’re getting; this should be a direct reflection of the market. Hold your agent accountable for generating showings.

It often takes patience for the right buyer to come, and when they come, you have to have the best house — priced competitively, right size, right location, the amenities the buyer wants, curb appeal, etc. Or, you have to at least have 90 percent of what they’re looking for in a home.

Whether you’re selling or buying, the Kelly Todd Group can help you have the best experience possible. Contact us to meet. 

How Do I Get Paid When I Sell a House?

Posted by Kelly Todd on November 6, 2013  |   No Comments »

clipart_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Get Paid When I Sell a House?

It’s taboo. We aren’t supposed to talk about religion, politics or money, but I know that many of my clients want to know exactly how and why I earn a commission on a home sale. While I certainly can’t answer this question for every Realtor in Indianapolis, I can speak for myself. If you want more information, I am happy to discuss this “taboo” subject in person.

First of all, I am not paid until your home sells. At the time of closing, after all the work has been completed, I receive a commission.

So how do I earn my commission? With the Kelly Todd Group, you receive a blend of tactics, experience and street smarts to set you up for success. That includes the following:

Market Research

Asking the right price at the right time for your home is critical to a successful home sale. We know how to carry out a thorough market analysis to establish fair market value. At the Kelly Todd Group, regular market updates help us identify sales and competition to ensure we are competitive for our sellers.

We are checking comparables like a teenager checks her cell phone — constantly. At any given time, we know what’s under contract. We are previewing properties. We know the market to keep you competitive throughout the selling process.

Staging

Most of our clients keep very nice homes, but that is not enough when it comes to selling their homes. When you’re selling your house, it needs to look like a model home. As part of our services, we help with staging, from the curb to the coat closet. As a general rule, half of what you have in your house needs to be removed, and the majority of personal items need to be taken out. Deshrine your rooms of too many family photos, but not so much that your home looks sterile. We make sure buyers can see themselves in the house. Your kitchen can’t look like you just made breakfast and walked out the door.

The only tell-tale signs that someone actively lives in your home should be a fully stocked fridge. And even your refrigerator, stove and closets should be immaculate. What’s behind these closed doors is a direct reflection of the overall condition of a home.

Prospective buyers don’t care about how much you paid for it, how much money you put into it or the stuff you have in it. They just care about their needs. We know what it takes to get the best response from your showing and solicit a high offer. This expertise is part of how we earn our money on a home sale.

Administrative Services

No seller wants to mishandle the administrative tasks that go along with listing and selling a home. Typically, our sellers simply don’t have the time or interest in dotting all those i’s and crossing all those t’s. As part of our commission, we complete and manage all listing documentation and contracts. We gather feedback from showings and communicate it with our sellers.

We also negotiate the transaction with the buyer’s agent once an offer has been made. Once a sales contract is drawn up, we confirm that all contingencies are completed. We also closely monitor all lender and escrow activities to ensure a successful closing.

Marketing Tactics

We know what works when it comes to marketing your home. To market a home to its fullest potential, we complete the following:

  • Listing entered into the BLC: This is the multiple listing system service that is available to all cooperating Realtors so they can immediately see that your home is ripe for the picking.
  • Weekly reverse-prospect searches: These types of searches help us pinpoint prospective buyers and directly contact their agents.
  • “For Sale” sign and flyer box: Of course, nothing says your home is up grabs as well as a sign in your front yard.  If traffic and safety allow, we include a brochure box so passersby can grab a highlight sheet for their own use or to share with a friend in the market for a home.
  • Lock box placed on your property: Your home’s security is paramount. When we contact you to schedule a showing, and you approve the date and time, we use a lock box to get in and out. For added security, our lock boxes electronically document who enters and exits your home.
  • Advertising:  An “Open House” ad featuring your home will be marketed on websites and on TalkToTucker.com. Your home will also appear in ads in Tucker Talks Homes Magazine
  • Online listings: A Tucker survey found that 88 percent of consumers begin their home search online, and 32 percent of buyers found a home via the Internet. That’s why we promote your home on online sites including msn Real Estate, Home Search, HomeFinder, Luxury Portfolio, Yahoo! Homes, Aol Real Estate, MIBOR, Homes.com, Zillow, Overstock.com, Trulia and Realtor.com.
  • Social media: People looking for a home are talking to friends, checking local agency’s social channels and sharing like crazy. When you list with Kelly Todd Group, expect to see your home on Kelly Todd Group and Tucker’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
  • Professional photography/tour: Frequent showings aren’t the only way interested buyers can take a look around your home. When your home looks its very best, we hire a professional photographer to take video and photographs — inside and out — to create a virtual tour of your home and to produce glossy, poster-size promotional pieces. (Ask someone at the Kelly Todd Group to show you a sample.)
  • Direct alerts: When we list your home, we can send direct alerts to potential buyers regarding your listing. Working through a vast network of agents, we get to hot leads fast.
  • Open houses (if desired): If an open house is requested, we will handle all the details.
  • Professionally scheduled showings: The Kelly Todd Group uses Tucker’s Centralized Showing Service to schedule showings. When someone wants to show your home, you are contacted quickly. Before anyone visits your home, you must approve the showing date and time.

In a nutshell, that’s what you, as the seller, receive from the Kelly Todd Group when you work with us.  If you have other questions about our process or services, please contact us. If you want to talk politics and religion now, it might be best if you contact someone else.

“The Essential Kelly Todd” aka “What’s Inside My Purse”

Posted by Kelly Todd on October 25, 2013  |   No Comments »

photo

“The Essential Kelly Todd” aka “What’s Inside My Purse”

What’s inside a woman’s purse says a lot about her. When you go through the home-buying or home-selling process, you get to know a lot about your agent. In the interest of transparency — and the need to purge — I’m sharing the contents of my bag so you can get to know me a little better.

Normally, my purse is filled with receipts, papers from the kids’ school, gum wrappers, etc., so it looks deceivingly spare in this photo compared to its typical state. Don’t let it fool you … it’s usually a disaster. (I couldn’t help but do a little staging.)

I never can find sunglasses or keys, which conveniently always present themselves at the bottom of my bag. Target and Nordstrom Rack are my favorite places to get glasses because, sadly, mine get scratched, bent and completely destroyed all too often.

I’ve been carrying this Tory Burch hobo bag for the past eight months or so and I love it. It is lightweight, has a durable liner and fits perfectly over my shoulder.

While cleaning out my purse, I removed about five toy cars that belong to Cooper, our 3 year old, but managed to miss his orange “shooter,” as he calls it. The shooter is a little rocket dart that fits into a robot hand.  Believe it or not, this little dart is one of his favorite things, and you can tell by the size that we are always on the hunt for the shooter.

I typically have random jewelry in my purse such as earrings — usually missing its match — bracelets, etc. I love to put it all on in the morning but get annoyed by it by the end of the day, so it retires to the bag.

My husband doesn’t understand why I carry a “purse within a purse” but come on, doesn’t every woman? In my little Louis Vuitton clutch, I keep all the critical goods:

  • Hand sanitizer wipes (for little hands and little messes)
  • Lipstick (always makes me feel better)
  • Sunscreen (everyday)
  • Gum (good behavior bribes for my kiddos)
  • Tylenol/Aleve (for extra-stressful days, sore TRX muscles)
  • Epi-pen (our oldest child has a tree nut allergy)
  • Library card (don’t leave home without it)
  • Pens (list-making and taking notes, from books to read and beers I like, to houses to show)
  • Hair bands, etc. (for windy days and long days)
  • My 5-year-old daughter’s bows, clips and other hair baubles (she can’t live without them)

I work out most days and can’t stand having my hair in my face when doing Pilates or at F3 (Fit, Flex, Fly), so I normally have a few headbands in my purse.

You can typically find supplements and vitamins stuffed randomly in all pockets.  My family and friends think I’m a bit crazy, but I do love my vitamins.

My phone case is constantly being put on and taken off of my phone throughout the day. It’s plastic and pulls my hair out when I talk on it, so I remove the case when I’m talking. But the case has to go back on when I pick up the kids from school. They seem to think my phone is their personal toy. Maybe I should ask for a better phone case for Christmas.

I always have my moleskin notebook. I love these books to keep me organized and on task. I just can’t give up actually writing down lists and to-dos.  I use my cell phone for calendars, but can’t give up the paper lists.

My wallet goes with me everywhere (clearly) and a checkbook. While I rarely use checks, except for the occasion when I don’t have cash for a babysitter, I never want to be without it.

I usually have a stack of business cards that I receive from people throughout the week. These might be other Realtors, vendors who can provide home-related services to my clients (past and present), buyers or sellers. I’m a big communicator, so if I need to reach someone who isn’t in my contacts list ASAP, I can do it.

I would also normally have a few bars (Larabars are my favorite) as emergencies. I often go through the day living in and out of my car.  It’s nice to have something to snack on that is healthy.

I’m a creature of habit, so when I change purses (which I just did this week), everything moves to the new one.  (If only moving from one house to the next could be so simple.) With my purse, I like to be organized and feel prepared at all times, and we run the Kelly Todd Group the same way.

I might not invite you to look inside my purse, but I will answer any questions you have about how we work at the Kelly Todd Group. Give me a ring.

Myths about Home Buying

Posted by Kelly Todd on October 11, 2013  |   1 Comment »

 

myth vs. realityMyths about Home Buying

Home buying can seem like a mystery until you go through it at least once. Myths abound that can   make buyers nervous and skeptical of the whole process. Following are 6 myths I hear from buyers that   are mostly bunk.

MYTH: If your inspection is terrible, you’re stuck with a lemon.

FACT: If a major defect is identified during an inspection, and the seller is unwilling to correct the problem to the buyer’s satisfaction, the buyer can typically walk away from the sale. However, both parties have to agree to release the money. This is why your Realtor has to counsel you on the home, especially code-related issues such as grounded outlets, age and functionality of mechanicals, and biological contaminants (e.g. mold, radon, etc.). If and when an inspection turns sour, your Realtor should advise you how to move forward.

MYTH: When you buy a house, you get possession 30 days after closing.

FACT: You get possession of your home when the contract stipulates you get possession. Typically, this is at the closing or within a week of the closing. There is no hard and fast rule, but 30 days isn’t the norm. This longer period was more usual in the earlier years of house sales. In the market, since I’ve known it, it is much more common to receive possession at closing or within a few days after. Some sellers and buyers will negotiate a “rent-back” scenario where a closing will take place and the seller will retain possession of the home, paying the buyer rent based on their agreement. There are some complications with rent-back scenarios, such as liability, insurance, etc. If a seller wants to stay in their home 30 days after a sale, buyers likely won’t bite.

MYTH: When I visit a house, I’m being watched.

FACT: While it is a fact that the owners of a house can have a video camera monitoring activity during an open house or visit by a prospective buyer, this isn’t a given. If you are concerned about being watched, it’s perfectly fine to ask the person who is showing the house if there is surveillance equipment around the house. Oftentimes they will not know the answer, as it doesn’t have to be disclosed by the seller. We like to abide by the rule “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And simply mind your manners.

MYTH: If I buy an older home, I will have to replace the sewer line.

FACT: A lot of people looking for a home in the Meridian Kessler and Broad Ripple neighborhoods believe that a giant hole dug up in their front yard is in their immediate future. The fact is that it is not! While these areas of Midtown Indianapolis often do suffer older-home ills, you can take steps prior to buying a home to avoid a costly repair. During a home inspection, buyers can have a sewer or plumbing company scope the line to see if there are cracks or breaks. If these are present, you can ask the seller to fix them. Even if they don’t agree to fix them, such an inspection can save you from buying a house that will cost thousands of dollars down the road.

MYTH: I will only need to bring my down payment to closing.

FACT: I wish it were as cut-and-dried as that, but unfortunately there is more involved. There are costs associated with securing a loan and closing at a title company. Both are required for the majority of transactions. If you are paying cash, you can avoid the lender fees, but will still have to pay some title fees. Throughout your purchase agreement negotiation, you will determine different credits and costs.

For example, you will likely receive a pro-rated credit for your property taxes. You might also negotiate for the seller to pay some closing costs on your behalf. These credits, along with your earnest money deposit, will be added to the settlement statement, providing you with a clear picture of your debits and credits. So, at the end of the day, it may be a little less or a little more than your down payment.

Your buyer’s agent should talk you through this agreement before you ever begin to write one. When you are giddy about the huge walk-in closet and Jacuzzi tub, you are likely not paying attention to the legally binding document you are about to sign. I provide copies of all documentation to my buyers in our initial buyer consultation, before we ever look at a home. No one wants a surprise at closing.

MYTH: My Realtor can’t help me if I buy an FSBO (For Sale by Owner) home.

FACT: Good news! As long as an FSBO seller is willing to work with a buyer’s agent (which most are), your agent can definitely help you. There is no charge to use a buyer’s agent. Commission (listing agent and buyer’s agent) is charged to the seller in Indiana. Just be sure to let your buyer’s agent be the liaison to any and all homes. If you have a buyer’s agent, call them and let them reach out to the sellers, FSBO and other listing agents.

What’s the home-buying myth that’s holding you back? Contact the Kelly Todd Group, (317) 258-5253, to find out if it’s true.

Keys To Your Neighborhood

Posted by Kelly Todd on October 1, 2013  |   No Comments »

Indianapolis is a vibrant city with a variety of cultural and social neighborhoods boasting everything from historical highlights to the buzz of an trendy community. While living in Indianapolis you can experience every aspect of a large city – and make your home in the neighborhood that offers the feel and amenities that are most important for you. Check out our online quiz to help you narrow down which neighborhood suits you best!

Find Me a House Online: Realtor’s Perspective

Posted by Kelly Todd on August 23, 2013  |   No Comments »

Searching the internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find Me a House Online: Realtor’s Perspective

It’s a fact. When someone is looking for a new home, they go online first. But with so many resources and so much conflicting information out there, it can be tough to know where to start besides just Googling “find me a house online.” From a Realtor’s perspective, if I were a non-Realtor in the market for a new home — starting from scratch — here’s how I would approach the online search in Indianapolis.

Step 1. 

Talk to a friend. If you’re not familiar with Indianapolis’s many neighborhoods, ask your friends for their thoughts on where to live. You never know who they know or what they know, so ask people you know and trust before you take your search online. (Google is not a friend, but you can count Mark Zuckerberg as a friend if you’re contacting real friends via Facebook.)

Step 2. 

Once you’ve narrowed in on an area that seems to fit your needs, Google the name of that neighborhood (e.g. Meridian Kessler, South Broad Ripple, Meridian Hills, etc.) to learn more about what it has to offer. Look for features such as restaurants, shopping and schools. Narrow your search to one or two neighborhoods, or a general area of the city.

Step 3. 

Now you can really search online! Here are four search tools to consider.

TALKTOTUCKER.COM

Most people who live in Indiana are familiar with several real estate brokerages. For the purposes of this post, let’s talk about F.C. Tucker. I’m certainly most familiar with this site and honestly, I think it is the best around. Pull up TalkToTucker.com and begin your search.

Pros

Tucker’s website is fabulous for many reasons. Here are a few.

MIBOR Data // Tucker’s website is unequivocally accurate. The data comes directly from MIBOR (Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors), pulling data three times a day to provide the most up-to-date information to our customers.

Status Checks // On TalkToTucker.com, you can easily tell if homes are pending, active or even if they have an open house scheduled. When you a view a home and it shows that it is “active,” that home is actually available for sale.

Search Ease // You can search by neighborhood or school district, and the site actually provides homes in that neighborhood.

Street Smarts // If your best friend drives by a great house and says, “Hey, check out the home for sale on Delaware,” and gives you no other detail, no need to worry. On TalkToTucker.com, you can search by street names without having any other information. Many national sites require cities, zip codes and more before they will deliver what you want.

Con

The site is very user friendly and easy to navigate, but I have one caveat.

Log In to Do More // The only challenge with the site’s new design is that after you view the detailed property description of three homes, you have to log in do more. This might deter some buyers and send them off to other sites that don’t require an account.

While I’m a big fan of TalkToTucker.com, there are many other more popular sites. Be aware that many of these websites do not provide the most accurate data. Be diligent about where and when your resource is getting its information. The data many other sites publish trickles down from other sources, and by the time it is on their websites, it’s outdated or inaccurate. But I know you might still go there, so let’s talk!

ZILLOW AND TRULIA

Zillow and Trulia are very popular sites that see a lot of action. Here’s what you need to know.

Pros

Sold Info // What is cool with Zillow and Trulia is that you can search recently sold homes to find out how much they fetched.

FSBO Included // Zillow allows you to search houses that are for sale by owner, which is not an available search option on broker’s sites or MIBOR.

User Experience // The site design and graphics on Zillow and Trulia are nice. The layout of information makes it relatively simple for the user to read and navigate.

Cons

Don’t Trust a Zestimate // My biggest challenge with Zillow is the “Zestimate” it provides. The Zestimate is Zillow’s estimate of the value for each home featured on its site. I’m not exactly sure how Zillow develops its Zestimates, but its Zestimate Accuracy score for Indiana listings ranked one star out of four at the time of this blog post. Yikes. What I have found is that its numbers are often completely inaccurate, as the comps they use are not ones that a Realtor or even an appraiser would use. The comps should include a combination of these five factors: conditions of sale, financing conditions, market conditions, locational comparability and physical comparability. Since Zillow’s figures are often incorrect (sometimes too high or too low), consumers get an unrealistic picture as to what a house is worth or for what amount they should sell their house.

Outdated Data // The information Zillow and Trulia receive does not come directly from MIBOR and is often outdated by the time it is published on their sites. When I have clients who email me asking to see a home that I know is inactive or has closed, it’s often because they saw the house on Zillow or Trulia. I find myself spending a lot of time clearing up misconceptions about the market and educating buyers and sellers on what homes are truly active in the market.

REALTOR.COM APP

Realtor.com has search capabilities and an incredible app. To be honest, I haven’t used its website much, but it does pull from our local MLS (multiple listing system), so that’s a good sign. Here’s the scoop on the app.

Pro

Geo Targeted // The Realtor.com app allows you to search for homes based on your physical location. I often find myself in a neighborhood with clients and they will ask, “What else is around here for sale?” The first think I do is whip out my Realtor.com app and search for “nearby homes for sale.” The app shows me which homes are available based on my current position.

Step 4.

Now that you have a clearer idea of the neighborhood you want to explore and how much house you can afford in that neighborhood, find a Realtor to verify the information you’re taking in is accurate and current. Your Realtor will create a customized search for you and you alone — not the masses searching the Internet. I create searches for my clients that will notify them the second a home hits the market that matches their search criteria.

Your Realtor will use our very own Broker Listing Cooperative system, often referred to as BLC, and it is the same feed that all Realtors search on, know and trust. BLC also allows me to be far more specific and detailed. For example, I can create a search that stipulates that a main floor master bedroom must have double sinks in the master bath and a separate tub and shower. When you have a search set up by a professional, you will get the most accurate data — bar none. Your Realtor might also know about homes that aren’t yet on the market. It’s nice to have an advocate with the inside scoop on properties and markets.

Step 5. … looking to the future

You need a partner on your team who can be honest with you and look at a home you’re interested in buying through the eyes of a listing agent. When I help buyers purchase, I am certainly trying to fulfill their needs and wants in a house. However, I am also looking at each home as their listing agent in the future.

I want to discuss any obstacles that the buyer might face when they go to sell their house (busy road, small yard, bedroom configuration, etc.). My goal is to set them up with the perfect home and also create a competitive advantage for them when they are ready to sell. No online search can do that.

If you are ready for Step. 4, contact the Kelly Todd Group, (317) 258-5253

  • Share

  • Contact Info:

    Kelly Todd, REALTOR®
    F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.
    First Vice President, Residential Division
    317.580.7822 Direct
    317.258.5253 Cell
    317.524.7563 Fax
    kelly@talktotucker.com

    F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.
    9279 N. Meridian St.
    Indianapolis, IN 46260