Sarah ODonnell
Sarah ODonnell
Sales Associate, ASP

Central Indiana Real Estate News Blog by Sarah ODonnell, Realtor

Moving In Today's Market

The real estate market has improved and rates are still low.  What does this mean to you as a home owner who is thinking of making a move?

  1. You can buy MORE home for less with a lower interest rate. It is the perfect time to UPGRADE!
  2. There are fewer homes available on the market.  This will help you get a premium price in a shorter time frame. But you will need to have a plan if you must sell your current home in order to purchase the next one. Are you open to a short term rental? Have you thought about renting a POD so you can stay with family or in a furnished apartment for 1-3 months while looking for your next home? We can talk about this!
  3. Most sellers will not accept a "first right offer". Sellers don't want to take the risk of waiting for a buyer to put their home on the market and get an accepted offer. They fear that they will miss out on THE buyer if they accept a "first right offer". So the chances of finding your next home...

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Trust Zillow or Other Home Value Estimators

  1. They haven’t seen your home.  The way you have maintained your home may differ from those recently sold.  The updates you have done along with the features your home has may set it apart from the rest.  
  2. They haven’t seen your neighbor’s home.  Again, every home has features and updates that can impact the value.  Utilizing square feet, number of bedrooms/bathrooms alone does NOT give you an accurate reflection of value.
  3. They typically use sales prices of homes within a region.  Comparing a home that sold in a $300k+ custom neighborhood to a home that sold in a production neighborhood a half mile down the street will certainly skew the avg price/sq ft!
  4. They do not factor in all potential factors such as a nearby train track or power lines, location in the neighborhood (front vs back), if your backyard is private, etc.  
  5. They do not accurately factor in market demand and trending.
  6. They do not see the layout of your home or the comparable homes.
  7. They are not experts in what today’s buyers are looking for and how your home fits those criteria.
  8. They don’t have the neighborhood knowledge.  Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find that information.
  9. With pricing being KEY in selling your home, relying on Zillow or other systems that assign value to your home actually COSTS you money.
  10. Zillow is not Sarah O’Donnell.  Sarah will work her butt off for you, positioning you where you need to be based on your condition, location and current market demand.

For a FREE market analysis...

Top Mistakes Buyers Make

1. Making an offer without being prequalified.  It is even better to be preapproved!  A preapproval will put you forward as a qualified buyer, giving you a better chance to reach an accepted offer with the seller.  Take the time to speak with a lender.  Their specific questions about income, debt, savings, etc will help determine a price range you can afford.  Your credit will also help determine what loans you are elligible and there are some homes that cannot qualify for certain programs.

2. Limiting your search to Open Houses, ads and Internet Searches.  Many homes listed on the Internet and in magazines have already sold or have accepted offers.  It is in your best interest to contact a Realtor.  They have up-to-date information and details that may not be available to the general public.  They are the best source to help you find the home you want!

3. Choosing a Realtor who is not committed to forming a strong business relationship with you.  Making a connection with the right Realtor is crucial.  Choose a professional who is dedicated to serving your needs.  Choose a Realtor that is in the business FULL-time.

4. Not considering long term needs.  Generally speaking, when purchasing a home, it is better financially to plan on living there for a minimum of 3 years.  It is important to look ahead 3-5 years to think if it will suit your needs at that time.  And if you are transient and don't see yourself staying somewhere for more than 2 years, it might not even be in your best interest to purchase a home.  And don't forget to consider resale potential of the home!

5. Not following...

Costs of Owning a Home

Can you really own a home for less than renting?  YES!  But keep in mind that there are many other costs than just your montly payment.

1. Maintenance Costs.  Homes need to have routine & preventative maintenance performed in order to keep them in good condition.  This results in annual expenditures you would not have while renting.  Includes painting inside and out, servicing your mechanicals, caulking, etc.

2. In order to have the best chance of keeping a home's value from depreciating, you will want to consider potential updates.

3. Repairs will be your responsibility when you own a home and you can often expect an unexpected repair every year.

4. The first few years of paying on your loan will mostly be paying interest and the principle amount of your loan will take time to be reduced.  Any amount you put toward your monthly payment above the minimum will also help lower your balance as well as reduce interest over the life of the loan.

5. Your home owners insurance policy can go up if you make claims, so be cautious as to what you claim or repair on your own.

For more information on what to expect and plan for when preparing to own a home, give me a call at 317-292-3882 and I'd be happy to set up a time to meet and answer all your questions!


'Moving Up' while interest rates are low

After 3+ years of thinking of selling and buying a larger home, my husband and I finally took the plunge this year.

We recently closed on our new home at a 3.75% interest rate. If we had the interest rate we had on our old home (5.625%) we would have had to buy a home for $70,000 less to have the same monthly payment!

Since we closed, the rates have went up to 4.125%. Even that little jump would have resulted in $10,000 difference in purchasing power. This doesn't even begin to break down the difference in how much of your monthly payment goes towards principle based on the interest rate that the potential savings over the life of your loan.

That is something to think about if you have been waiting for the market to improve to sell your current home and "move up". As the market continues to improve, the sale price of your home may increase, but so will the home you are looking to buy and the interest rates too.

I'm glad I listened to my own advice! Smile


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