SOLD – 5456 E Main Street, Avon

5456 E Main StreetJake and Carrie had been living in a rental for long enough!  They needed a yard for their dogs to play, and they wanted a place to call their own.  They’d been stabilizing their credit and income for a few years, and they knew their time had come, so they walked into their bank for a loan and walked out with an approval letter and a phone number for Jennifer.  Their tale is a bit of a novel, but ultimately Jennifer found them the PERFECT place…a great ranch, close to work, with a superb outbuilding that came with an air compressor (“pretty nifty,” Jake the auto-mechanic thought!)  Their inspections went smoothly.  Their appraisal came in strong.  And their closing went off without a hitch.  Now, Jake and Carrie and the dogs are settling in, nicely, and Jennifer is happy to hear of their progress on making their new house a home.


SOLD!! 7611 Moultrie Court, Indianapolis

7611 Moultrie CourtDon told his friend Rick to call Jennifer when he learned Rick was in the market.  (Friends give the best advice sometimes!)  Rick wanted a property he could apply vision and effort toward to make his home. And he wanted to keep his budget low.  Distressed properties are plentiful today, but the delicate balance of price vs condition (to use as collateral on a loan) is a tight-rope walk. Fortunately, Jennifer knew where to point him for financing,
whether he bought a yet-uninhabitable property or something that just needed a
little freshening up.  He ended up buying a house that would be considered
somewhere in the middle, and he got the sweetest deal on both the house and the
loan terms.  The National Bank of Indianapolis has a loan for buyers that is
just amazing.  (Call Jennifer for more details on that!)  Jennifer
talked to Rick the other day and it sounds like he’s tearing into that place
without a moment wasted and having a ball doing it.  It’s going to be
fabulous when it’s done, and he’s promised to invite her to the unveiling in
the spring.

SOLD!! 11064 Schoolhouse Road, Fishers

SchoolhouseWendi’d had a run of bad luck and needed to relocate for work.  What could she do with the house in Fishers?  The neighborhood had been hit hard during the
recession, and there was no way to sell it high enough to pay off two mortgages.
One brisk October morning, Jennifer laid out Wendi’s options:  1)
find the cash to pay off the mortgage balance, 2) let it go to foreclosure, or
3) compromise and apply for a short sale with both mortgage lenders.
Jennifer knew it wouldn’t be easy when she chose the latter, but they
dove into it. By January, the ladies were looking at three offers.
The highest was chosen and the ride began. The first lender
approved the offer in short order, but the second was not as cooperative.
Jennifer sparred with that lender while the buyers hung in there for
EIGHT months! The bank’s delay tactics frustrated everyone to the point
that the buyers chose to move on in August. So, Jennifer put it back on the
market – still fighting with the second lender – and found a couple more
offers!  The highest was submitted in September.  BOTH loans now had
to be re-approved because the first approval had expired.  It was
maddening!  At times, there was a desire by all to just give up. but
patience prevailed, the approvals moved more quickly in the second round, and
they closed in late October – 366 days after the process began.  Jennifer
was reminded that persistence pays off, even after patience runs out, and that
there is a solution to hardship.  It’s not always easy, but it’s always
the lesser of three evils.

SOLD – 6068 Pillory Drive, Indianapolis

pillory6068 Pillory Dr was a hard one for Jennifer, because she had to deliver the news she does not like to ever deliver to sellers.  This neighborhood had sustained brutal quantities of foreclosures and shortsales in the prior 2 years.  Some 35+ homes were on the the market at that moment, and supply and demand dictated a sales price that would generate a dreadful loss on the sale in order to make that big move to the new job in St. Louis.  They were young, it was their first house, they’d bought it without representation, and they’d overpaid at the peak of the market six years prior.  Not fun news for Jennifer to deliver on a Saturday morning, but they were not surprised.  They’d been watching their neighborhood, they had a feeling the news wouldn’t be good, and they had prepared themselves financially, because the job waiting in St Louis was career-changing and promised a rewarding future.  Absorbing the loss now, freed them up to spread their wings and head west.  Sigh.  Jennifer listed the house at the appropriate price for the market, began the marketing, showed it enough to generate an offer, and then helped them negotiate the terms to protect as much equity as they possibly could.  The timing was perfect, too, because the house never had to sit empty.  The job was secured, the moving truck was packed, they closed via mail a week later, and their new life began with a lesson learned…when buying in the future, get representation from a strong Realtor who knows the local market to avoid over-paying!

SOLD! 1544 Cherrywood Ct, Westfield

1544 Cherrywood CtDanyelle & Brian were getting married in October!  They’d been working hard to get their credit established and hoped that their time had come to buy their first home, but they didn’t know where to start until their lender referred them to Jennifer.  What a great idea that was!  Jennifer came up with a list of 10 really good possibilities within their budget, in an area close to their jobs and scheduled a morning out with them.  The last one they saw was THE one, and the negotiations commenced almost immediately.  A very good deal was struck that enabled Dany and Brian to buy a home with as little cash out of pocket as possible, and the couple got to close on the purchase of their first home just a few days before they flew out to Las Vegas for the big day.  When they got back to Indiana, wedding gifts were piled in the family room, waiting to be opened and enjoyed.  Jennifer loves the hunt with all her clients, but that joy is compounded when her clients trust her to help them start their life together on the right foot.

FINALLY SOLD – 123 Anywhere Street, Indianapolis

For the purpose of protecting the privacy of the parties involved in this transaction, Jennifer will not disclose the address of this property, and the names of the characters involved have been changed. The story behind “123 Anywhere St” has to be told, because it is not merely a story, but a novel– a series of sales, in fact, that FINALLY found a conclusion with a closing in late August that Jennifer, honestly, thought would never come. This closing was a testament to Jennifer’s stubborn persistence in getting a property sold NO MATTER WHAT happens along the way, and this story will never fit on a postcard!  

Jennifer listed this property in April 2009.  It was beautiful at that time; professionally decorated, priced well, and she was confident that it would be sold in a matter of weeks at the list price of $425,000.  Very shortly after it was listed, both Mr and Mrs Seller lost their jobs unexpectedly.  The spring of ’09 was the height of the recession and probably the peak of unemployment in our market.  Job loss is hard on families, and it was not long before they filed for divorce.  He moved to California, she tried to maintain the house, but inevitably, a short sale application with two lenders commenced, and the troubles began.  The first offer received that summer was at $349,000.  Bank of America (BOA) was not shorted, and Wells Fargo (WF) was offered 60% of the outstanding balance on the 2nd, which they declined to accept.  The two banks’ fighting caused that sale to fall apart.  Some months later, a second offer was received for less money, which now shorted BOA, and WF was offered about $6,000 as a settlement (because first mortgages are always in control in a short sale situation), which was declined.  Three months were wasted with WF fighting for more money, so buyer #2 grew impatient and moved on to an easier purchase.  

Buyer #3 was happy to fund a larger settlement to WF in their purchase terms, but BOA wouldn’t allow it.  Any money over and above the $6000 belonged to BOA, and something like that just can’t be hidden in a purchase loan these days, so that sale in the $280,000s fell apart, too.  Meanwhile, the house was vacated, and it began to deteriorate from neglect.  The pool cover collapsed, the roof started leaking, the cedar siding began to rot out, the furnace failed and vandals partied in the house.  To complicate matters, at some point, WF sold the bad second mortgage to a loan shark, who now demanded $13,150 as his settlement to release the lien.  What?  

Enter buyer #4 – a cash buyer who was willing to pay the higher settlement to the second lien holder, in exchange for a lower purchase price to BOA.  No loan was involved, so that could be finagled.  After a few months, BOA approved the terms of the sale in the mid $200s, and a closing was set for September, 2011.  It was almost over, Jennifer thought.  WRONG.  Buyer #4 flaked out and never showed up to closing!  Really?  Yes!  Good grief.  Enter buyer #5 in January, 2012.  Purchase price was to be $210,000.  With the second lien resolved, Jennifer got to start over with BOA for a new approval, which she got, a couple months later and they were, once again, ready to set a closing date for mid June, as soon as the buyer’s lender was ready to close the loan.  Fifth times a charm?  NO!  That deal failed in the appraisal because it was rejected as collateral due to the condition of the house at that point. Now Jennifer needed another cash buyer to close quickly.  At a couple points along the way, she nearly gave up.  But after a mental rest between fall-throughs, she’d muster the energy to go again.  

By the time buyer #6 came along in early July, it was a matter of sheer stubbornness that made her resubmit that offer to BOA and go through it all over again.  This time it worked, and the deal was closed on August 29th.  The closing was actually comical for a variety of reasons.  It lasted over two hours.  One of the parties came to the table with alcohol on the breath.  The other was a first-class piece of work.  But nobody was leaving that table until that deal was done.  Period.  

In the end, Mr Seller sent Jennifer a purple feather boa as a thank you gift.  At first, the irony was lost on her, though she is well-known for her love of purple, but a few hours with it in hand, Jennifer realized the boa stood for BANK OF AMERICA. It was an award for taking on BOA and winning! HA! That is a gift she will always treasure, and heavenknows she has a story in this one for all-time’s sake.  The lesson here is never give up, and enter into short sales with multiple liens very, very carefully! 

JUST SOLD – 7525 E 550 S, Zionsville

Jamie and Jennifer wanted to claim a gigantic country estate in Zionsville and make it their own. It was bank-owned and a mess, but they had the vision. They also had a problem, because they had a house to unload before they could buy again. Banks won’t accept contingent offers, so the horse HAD to come before the cart (or the egg before the chicken). Panic was mounting as price reductions on the dream house ticked down nearly every week, which obviously increased activity on it. They were going to have to step out on a limb and do a bit of gambling on this one. Jennifer wrote an offer for a delayed closing, not contingent on the sale of their existing house, knowing full well that if she didn’t get the current house sold QUICKLY, they would not be able to close on their purchase, and their earnest money would be forfeited to the bank. Yikes. Losing is never an acceptable option for Jennifer, but moving in faith is, so it HAD to work! The current house was prepared and  priced to sell! She got it sold and closed a month earlier than necessary, and the bank owning the estate was none the wiser. Jamie and Jennifer were free to move forward with the rehab financing for their dream house, and they got to close on their purchase last week. Jennifer had held their breath for three months while it all fell into place, but this will go down as one of her greatest accomplishments. Now to the contractor responsible for that rehab…it’s in your hands, and Jennifer cannot wait to see the finished product!

JUST SOLD – 8064 Windham Lake Way, Indianapolis

So many details had to fall into place for Jennifer to get this one to closing.  It was a foreclosure, so the bank would not accept her clients’ offer with a contingency on the sale of her homestead.  Yikes.  Gambling would be required, because this was the BEST deal on the west side for her client, and it simply had to be secured.  They decided to remove the contingency and resubmit the offer, holding their breath that the pending sale of her existing house would be settled.  The new offer was accepted, and while she worked through her inspections and appraisal, Jennifer babysat the details of her sale to make sure it closed first.  What a challenge!  But that is a story for another time.  It was finished, her client got her condo, and all is well.  What’s next, Jennifer wonders?

FCRA: The Legislation that Saves the Trees & Your Credit Score!

Every day you find the same thing in your mail box…endless solicitations from credit card companies, banks, insurance agencies and other financial service firms. You stand over the trash can when you get home from work, scanning your mail, annoyed by the daily chore. Mark and I receive no less than five mailings a day at home – every day, sometimes more! We single-handedly throw away at least two trees a year in solicitous paper that we never even open. “Well,” you might say to yourself, “I must have good credit since they all want my business” (and you are probably right), but it gets old, doesn’t it?

There is a good reason to put an end to this eternal stream of junk mail, and it is far more important than attempting to save the trees or simplify your daily routine. Your credit score may be at risk!

Financial service firms check your credit score over and over and over to ensure that the “preapproved offers” they send to you are still legitimate based on your current credit score. Heaven knows, they wouldn’t want to waste more postage than necessary! (There is irony in that, isn’t there?) So, in being on these lists that the consumer credit reporting companies sell to their financial service customers, your credit rating is constantly compromised by their marketing research.

Now, it is true that these marketing inquiries carry less impact to your credit score than an application for a home mortgage or a car loan might, but numerous “soft” credit inquiries add up over time and can have a significant impact on your credit score. It is not at all uncommon in my line of work to hear of would-be home buyers thwarted due to credit scores that are just a hair under the minimum requirements (generally, 640 for the government loans like FHA and VA). And in this new world of score-based pricing on conventional loans, allowing other parties to impact your credit score is simply no longer acceptable. Their marketing efforts could cost you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan if your score is a couple points lower than it should be to qualify for the lowest possible interest rate. One loan officer told me that she’s seen customers’ credit scores come up 20 or 30 points in as little as 30 days once they put a stop to all these “soft” credit inquiries.

So, why let financial service firms effect your credit scores if you’re not interested in their offers? My thoughts exactly!

The new Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows consumers like you and I the right to OPT OUT of solicitations via mail. It is true! We can get rid of a BUNCH of that junk mail, spare the trees AND save our credit. Just by filling out one little opt-out form online. Hit this site if you wish, and thank me later!

Here, you can opt-out electronically for a period of 5 years. If you want to make it permanent, you can begin the opt-out online, but you do have to follow up with a written, snail-mailed request. There are instructions on the site. It’s free, it’s fast and easy, and it’s brought to you only by your favorite Real Estate Agent as my public service announcement for the day. You are welcome!