Category Archives: Real Estate

King Park Indianapolis

The Secret of Moving to the Suburbs Without Losing the Perks of City Life

When you first moved to the city for college and stayed to build your career, you may have resolved never to leave. But now you’ve established yourself in your career and settled down to raise a family. At this stage in life, you’re not alone if you no longer view city life through rose-colored glasses. Gradually, you realize you’re tired of facing the realities of city life like:

  • Finding parking spots
  • Carrying groceries through streets and up flights of stairs
  • Dealing with noisy neighbors
  • Wrangling toddlers in small apartments with no yard space

Still, the city hasn’t entirely lost its allure. You hate to sacrifice what you love about the city just to overcome a few annoyances. Lucky for you, many suburban communities offer perks similar to city-dwelling but without the stuff that bothers you. If it’s time to consider a move to the suburbs, here’s how to do it without giving up what you love about city life.

Experience the Ambiance

The move from the city to the suburbs often causes people to wax nostalgic about the unique aspects of city dwelling. They don’t want to say goodbye to all-night take-out places, one-of-a-kind clothing boutiques, and well-maintained city parks. But, many suburban centers have similar perks. Plus, these sites are usually less crowded outside of city limits.

Make a list of your must-haves or nice-to-haves for a suburban community. Think rec centers, local theaters, concert venues, bars, nightclubs, or whatever else you typically do in the city. Then drive around and look for those options every time you go house hunting. Park the car and take a walk downtown. Go into the shopping mall. You might be surprised at the array of stores it offers. In short, be on the lookout for places that can become your new favorites.

However, be cautious about clinging too much to any one suburban downtown area. It’s only one factor in what creates a community’s atmosphere. Interact with the people you pass on the street. Many suburbs have replaced the isolated, city-life mindset with more neighborly patterns of interaction. Strike up a conversation with someone at the local coffee shop and ask about the area. Watch for friendly interactions among store clerks and customers to get a sense of the community atmosphere.

Visit Local Schools

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

In the city, a top school frequently means an expensive private school. But your kids can obtain a quality education at a public school in the suburbs. No wonder almost every family moving to the suburbs has “top-rated school system” at the top of their must-have list-even families without kids yet. As you evaluate area schools, examine these factors:

  1. Look beyond test scores. Kids are more than their test scores, and so are schools. Test scores are only an end way of measuring a school’s performance. Class size is a better indicator of how much personal attention your child will receive from teachers-smaller is better.
  1. Examine all grade levels. You might be making the move to the suburbs when your children are barely in preschool, but you could live in your new house until they head off for college. With that in mind, visit schools for all grade levels in the area. Make sure the middle school and high school options meet your education standards, too.
  1. Make sure your favorite extracurricular activities have community support. You can’t predict which hobbies your kids will adopt as they get older, but you can make a few good guesses. If you take your kids to the theater frequently, make sure the school district has a strong history of supporting the arts. If you attend sporting events, look for a school with an established sports program. You want your kids to have options when they start developing their non-academic skills.

Consider the Commute

For many people making the switch from city to suburb, the extended commute becomes a primary consideration. After all, what’s the point of finding a larger, quieter living space if you’re hardly home to enjoy it? For any community you consider moving into, think about these factors that will affect your commute:

  1. Public transportation. Does the thought of fighting rush hour twice a workday send your blood pressure through the roof? If so, look for a suburb with public transportation options built for commuters. Don’t just locate the local train station on the map. Actually visit it. You need to know about parking availability and overall convenience. You could even take a test train ride into the city to time the trip and gauge the crowds.
  1. Carpool lanes and toll roads. If you don’t mind driving, you’ll probably still want options to speed up your commute. When you make the hull out to the suburbs to house hunt, pay attention to the highway and calculate the cost of paying for less-crowded toll roads. Look out for carpool lanes. If you see any, ask around at the office if any co-workers would share the ride with you.
  1. Working from home. Increasing numbers of suburban dwellers have cut their commute down to the time it takes them to walk from the bedroom to the office-they telecommute. That might not be an option every day, but your supervisor might be willing to let you work from home a few days a week.

Finally, estimate how often you envision yourself heading into the city for reasons other than work. If you think you’ll visit it more than once or twice a month, look for suburbs just outside the main hub to cut down on your travel time. That way your favorite city spots won’t be too far away.

Your trek to the suburbs can yield many of the amenities that city life does. Use these tips to find the perfect community and home for you. Once you’ve found it, call a moving company to arrange moving your belongings. Get ready to make new memories that will last a lifetime in a space that won’t feel cramped as your family grows.

If you want to make the move from the city to the suburbs, a local agent  in your area will be able to assist you with all of your moving needs.

skd273191sdc

Buyer Beware: Read This Before Buying a Flipped House

When relocating you will more than likely go through the process of finding a new home. Buying is a huge commitment, and it will be important take your time to ensure you find the perfect house for you and your family. During your search, you will most likely come across flipped homes for sale. A flipped house is a redevelopment of distressed or abandoned properties, fixing them up and selling them for a profit.

According to RealtyTrac, homes flipped in 2013 accounted for 4.6 percent of all U.S. single family home sales during the year, up from 4.2 percent in 2012 and up from 2.6 percent in 2011. There are a lot of people that are great at flipping houses, but there are some that do the bare minimum — mainly cosmetic improvements – to sell the house and make a buck. If you’re considering purchasing a flipped home, below are a few extra steps to ensure you purchase the best home for you and not one that was just cosmetically flipped.

  • Do your research.  Check online, ask your realtor and talk to the neighbors to find out about the house prior to the renovation. Realtors will have disclosers if the current owner received them, so make sure to ask for all documentation.
  • Hire an experienced home inspector and have your inspection done as soon as possible. A home inspector will be able to tell if the work on the house was complete and done properly.
  • Look for structural problems. Tip-offs include cracking in the exterior brick, evidence of tuck-pointing in the area, unleveled floors and bad finish work. If you suspect issues, consider hiring a structural engineer.
  • Check for permits on the house – unpermitted work is a bad sign. Make sure the permits were pulled and closed out properly with inspections done at completion.
  • Pay attention to details. Does the dryer and heater vent out of the house? Is there a new circuit breaker panel with a state inspection sticker on it? Ask to see the manuals of the new appliances as these should be on hand if they were recently bought. Check to see separate hot and cold knobs in the shower, this usually points to old plumbing.
  • Who worked on the house? Find out what contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc., that made improvements on the house and check their reputations online, such as the Better Business Bureau website and Angie’s List.
  • If you are considering buying a house that was up for auction, talk to your realtor about the risks. These are generally without warranty or any guarantee of clear title.

There is nothing wrong with buying a flipped house, but there are always some bad eggs in the basket.  It is important to do your research, pay attention to details, and, if all else fails, ask an expert before making a commitment to buy the perfect house for you.

References:
http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post–5-questions-buyers-can-ask-about-a-flipped-home
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/buying-a-flipped-home-be-careful-2013-08-26
http://www.zillow.com/blog/problems-with-flipped-houses-78938/
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2014/07/how-to-spot-a-home-flip-money-pit/