Columbus and Madison, IN, Real Estate Blog

19 Terms that Scare Homeowners, but Shouldn't

from's blog: My4Walls

1. Appraisal

An appraisal is the estimated value of a property. A property is appraised to know the amount of money that a lender is willing to lend for a buyer to buy a particular property.

If the appraised amount is less than the asking price for the property, then that piece of real estate might be overpriced. In this case, the lender will refuse to finance the purchase.

Appraisals are designed to protect both the lender and buyer. The lender will not get stuck with a property that is less than the money lent, and the buyer will avoid paying too much for the property.

2. Certificate of title

This document ensures that a particular property is legally owned by the seller and that no other individual owns it or can lay claim to it.

3. Closing

Closing happens when you meet up to close the deal. It’s also referred to as settlement. It involves the buyer and his or her attorney, the seller and his or her attorney, as well as the escrow agent.

4. Closing costs

This refers to the additional expenses spent in financing and purchasing the property. Costs usually include lawyer’s fees, loan origination fee, escrow impounds, appraisal, survey and title search fees. The closing costs usually amount to 6 percent of the sale price of the property.

5. Comparative market analysis (CMA)

The CMA is conducted to determine the market value of a property, which is needed to make a fair asking price. The analysis is done by comparing the property in question to other similar properties that have been sold recently in the area. It’s one of the ways to find out the salable factors of a property.


How do you communicate with your Realtor?

from's blog -My4Walls

Call, email, text, or (gasp!) in-person, how do you best communicate with your REALTOR®? Agents evolve with the times and rely on the mode that works best for their clients. The speed at which we move away from personal contact, however, may surprise you...

In 2015, nearly two-thirds of all Americans own a smartphone. And since research finds that 90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes, there is no better channel for urgent, responsive communication.

Of course, an extended relationship with your agent through the life of a transaction dictates all modes of communication. The important thing to remember is to set expectations and boundaries.

  • How late at night do you what to be contacted?
  • How early in the morning is too early?
  • Which type of news would you like to hear on the phone?
  • When is a text or email appropriate?
  •                                  And of critical importance, never share financial or personal identification information with anyone electronically unless you verify the receiver first.

Establish the preferred methods of communication between you and your REALTOR®...

Top 5 Tips for Buying & Selling at the Same Time

From's blog: My4Walls

Tip 1:

Have a ‘Plan B’. If that means a short term arrangement in a rental or staying with family, have an alternative. Remember your first goal – sell this house!

Tip 2:

Be prepared to make a quick decision. With lower inventory in the area, if you do come across your dream home you have to act fast because it might not be on the market long.

Tip 3:

Work with a REALTOR® on a conditional ‘acceptance of offer’ agreement that stipulates that the seller can have time to find suitable housing or make arrangements if the buyer is willing to provide that time.

Tip 4:

Sellers should pre-inspect their homes to avoid second negotiations on the inspections and a potential delay in closing times.

Tip 5:

Consider using a POD or a similar storage option to keep specific items in one place during the process and avoid packing and unpacking multiples times.


It might seem like a daunting task, but our REALTORS® have a lot of experience working with simultaneous buyers and sellers....

First Time Home Buyers Expo


Get Your Home Ready For Sale

from's blog: My4Walls

REALTORS® agree on two tenets of a quick sale: a house that is priced appropriately and one that shows exceptionally well. Having your home show worthy before that first potential buyer walks through the door is critical, and easier than you might think. If your budget is tight, don’t worry. There are a few easy steps that require little or no investment.

  • Declutter. It can’t be said enough. If your kitchen and bathroom countertops are covered in stuff, the house screams, “There’s not enough room in here!” Leave just the essentials in the bathroom and hang clean white towels for a spa feel. Remove all but the most logical appliances from the kitchen counters. Don’t ignore the closets either; remove items so that the space feels larger and more useable. Declutter cabinets; a serious buyer will open them. Consider a short-term lease on a storage unit for larger pieces.
  • Depersonalize. Your home doesn’t need to look like a hotel or museum, but you could remove some personal photos and mementos so potential buyers can imagine the place as theirs.
  • Neutralize. True neutralizing probably means painting. If that’s reasonable and needed to update the home, your REALTOR® might recommend it. If painting is not realistic, maybe coordinate window treatments, pillows and other accessories in the room to get a cohesive look.
  • Organize your space. Make sure spaces are clearly defined and logical. A desk in the bedroom or a child’s playset in the breakfast nook sends the wrong message....

How to Wake up Your Home from a Winter’s Slumber

Content from's blog -my4walls

It's sort of a tease, we know. There's snow on the ground and a quick glance at the weather tells use it’s a chilly 28 degrees. Dang it. But hope abounds, spring will arrive! When you live in south central Indiana, mid to late February is the time you start to think, “hey, this winter thing might actually end.” Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

If you are contemplating selling your house this spring, preparations should be on your mind. Transitioning your home from the doldrums of winter to the new hope of spring is important if you want your home to show it’s very best. REALTORS® offer their best low-cost tips for getting your home ready for the spring market.

  • Clear all debris from the yard. Clean up flower beds. Even if they aren’t blooming, get a nice clean slate. Put some potted plants at our entry way. Use a hearty plant that can withstand some ups and downs in the weather. 
  • Step back and examine your curb appeal. Did ice, salt and snow do a number on your light fixtures, front door or mailbox? Replace, repair or repaint.
  • Inside, get your carpets cleaned. Your traffic areas likely took a beating with all those snowy boots.
  • #1 tip – wash your windows, inside and out. Your only cost is elbow grease and the impact is amazing. Let that natural light shine in!

  • Ask your REALTOR® for more tips. Chances are, they have seen it all and can guide you through the no and low cost options as well as the more extensive repairs that bring the best return. Happy selling and happy Spring!


Cold Weather is no Match for this Market!

from's blog: My 4 Walls

Cold Weather No Match for Eager Buyers and Sellers

While March to September have long been thought “the” housing season in central Indiana, the truth is you just never know. That proved to be the case in January when sales shot up 12.8 percent over January a year ago and pending sales rose even further by 17.0 percent. A pending sale is one in which the sales contract has been signed by all parties, but the transaction hasn’t completely closed. Once a home is pending, it typically closes in 30 to 60 days. Only about three to four percent of those deals fall through in our market.

Even when you recall that 2014 laid claim to the worst winter any of us can remember, these are impressive gains. It shows that buyers are out there, ready to act. REALTORS® say clients that typically wait until spring are eager to get started now because the mortgage interest rates are so favorable. In fact, REALTORS® say it’s the number one reason business has picked up. It’s hard to beat a sub four percent loan rate. A mild January this year did not hurt.

Another interesting finding, new listings jumped 23.9 percent in January and this is after they increased by 13.1 percent in December. Getting more homes available for sale should make for a great spring selling season. The number of available homes has been lacking for more than a year. With more to choose from, your home search will be more productive…and fun.

Why wait until spring? Call us today!


2015 New Construction Moving in the Right Direction

From's blog, My 4 Walls:

It seems as though all the numbers are moving in the right direction. Builder Confidence is up once again, the 13th consecutive quarter of year over year improvements. We just reported at the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis (BAGI) that January Permit numbers are up six percent over last year at this point, and according to the National Association of Home Builders, all segments of the market—single-family homes, condominiums and multifamily rental—registered increases compared to the same quarter a year ago. Additionally, the single-family index increased six points to a level of 54, which is the highest fourth-quarter reading since the inception of the index in 2008.

We can confidently say the economy is recovering and housing is recovering right along with it. In fact, an overall improving economy in central Indiana is a direct result of the stronger housing market. Residential construction is an often overlooked component of a region's overall economic growth and health. Historical trends prove that the strength of an area's overall economy is predicated on the strength and diversity of its housing market. 

So, now that we see all the signs of a strong economy here in Indiana and a growing housing market, what does that mean? In our opinion, it means it’s a perfect time meet that pent-up demand of the recession and start thinking about new construction. It’s not only a ripe economic state but it’s also a perfect time of year. Spring is on the horizon and builders are ready for the peak construction seasons ahead. 

If you’re ready to being the new construction research, please contact our knowledgable and experienced agents!


Is Staging Effective?


5 Questions to ask your Realtor during a Home Tour

Questions from's blogger Chad Pluid

For buyers to make the best decisions about the home they could be potentially purchasing, you will need your Realtor's honest opinions during a property tour - that's why we're here. Below are 5 questions to get the conversation started:

1. What do you like about the home?

Real estate agents see many homes every day. Ask your agent about the unique qualities that stand out to them, but make sure the home is functional to suit your needs.

2. Do you have any concerns?

Please ask this question - especially before you fall head over heels with a property. Buyers need to know potential flaws of a property. High utility bills? Lack of storage? Etc...

3. Is the price right?

We get this question all the time, of course! Your agent should compare the sale price of similar homes that have recently sold in the area with the property you are interested in.

4. How long has it been on the market?

Don't expect a 'deal' from the sellers if it is a new listing. If the home has been on the market for a while, they may be more willing to negotiate. Many buyers assume...

Interactive Median Home Price Map


2015 Market Outlook


Radon 101

EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.


Moving Checklist

from Mibor's blog, My 4 Walls:

Ask any seasoned REALTOR® and they will tell you when it comes to moving, they have seen it all! The expertly executed most organized seamless transition to…the opposite. After years of working with their clients during their moves, here is some advice from central Indiana’s REALTORS®.

  • As soon as you are sure you are moving, obtain an in-home estimate of moving services from several moving companies. Get written estimates and read the ‘rights and responsibilities’ documents they provide. Compare the estimates to truck rental and honestly assess how much help you will help from friends and family. This will help you decide if you want a professional mover or the DIY approach.
  • Make a master list and create a location in your house called “packing central”. Always put your list back in that location as well as all packing supplies, contracts, receipts, etc.
  • Six weeks before – or as soon as possible if you have less than six weeks – complete the change of address form with the United States Post Office. Change your address everywhere else you can think: banks, insurance providers, credit cards, children’s schools, magazine subscriptions.
  • Before packing a single item, donate, sell, recycle or toss anything you don’t need. Keep all donation receipts.
  • Packing. Ugh, the packing! If possible, pack computers and other electronics in their original containers. For fragile items, like glassware and dishes, pad the bottom of boxes with a bubble wrap or other packing materials. Mark the outside of all boxes with a short description of the contents and the room...

Wishing you a safe and happy 2015!


2014's Home Buyer Profile


Happy Holidays


Selling Your Home During the Holidays

From's blog, My 4 Walls:

Recently, we caught up with Nicole Pence of FOX-59 to share some information with consumers about selling during the holidays. In addition to a strong upward trend in average sales price, interest rates remain low making this an opportune time to sell. If you're thinking of putting your house on the market during the winter, there are several things to consider:

  • Work with a REALTOR®! Having a reliable REALTOR® on your team to help you navigate the selling process and offer professional advice is very important.
  • There is such a thing as over decorating. Keep in mind that clutter makes rooms smaller and hard to see. Décor can help sell – but it can also deter. Find a good balance so the room is inviting, but not overwhelming.
  • Price it to sell. No matter how it might look – it has to be priced correctly. Working with a REALTOR® gives you access to up-to-date housing data and knowledge about your specific market. 

  • Make curb appeal that much more important.  In the fall and winter, trees become more and more bare.  Your house will become more exposed, so make sure you have touched up the exterior paint and clean those gutters.  Also, make sure to clean the driveway and walkway of any snow or ice.

  • Take professional pictures. Especially now, when the majority of people shop online, you MUST have good quality photos. This is the first impression of your house. Including photos from other seasons, not just winter – will also help!

  • Make it warm and cozy! Turn on all lights and be sure your heat is on. Make potential buyers comfortable and feeling warm about your house.

Why you should check out the newest hot spot in downtown Columbus: Henry Social Club

After a much anticipated grand opening, Henry Social Club has exceeded our expectations with a warm and contemporary atmosphere, fresh and creative cocktails, and a local seasonal food menu with lots of small plates to share, and an extensive selection wine, beer and spirits, and the friendliest and most helpful staff to boot!

Upon arrival, we tried the custom crafted cocktails: the Royal Mail, a perfect blend of Pusser’s Rum, lime juice, honey syrup, Prosecco & lime. The Devil’s Due was also a pleasant surprise: Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Cynar, sparkling water, orange twist & mint. It’s hard to try just one with names like 812, Hold Fast, Bushwick, Queen Mother and Hit Me!

Our group started out with some shareables: Marcona Almonds with sea salt, Bacon Wrapped Dates, Deviled Eggs with bacon, chives and jalapeño, and Olives marinated in chili. The plates were the perfect size to share and priced right, so guests are able to try a few different options.

The Cheese Plate with crostini featured...

Poplar Woods Subdivision - - Coming Soon, Columbus IN