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Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Welcome to Griffith, Indiana!

by The Jana Caudill Team

“The town that came to the tracks,” known today as Griffith, once boasted in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the town having the most baseball diamonds and for having the location where the most railroad tracks met at one point.  It had been the railroads passing through town, heading to and from Chicago that kept the town alive for many years, lending stability to Griffith through the panic of 1893, and the Great Depression.  Though there is only one remaining railroad travelling through town today, Griffith remains a vibrant community dedicated to the ideals of hard work and community learned from the past.

Click on our links to learn more about residential Real Estate available in Griffith today!

Welcome to Dyer, Indiana!

by The Jana Caudill Team

A settler by the name of Aaron Norton Hart, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania played a key role in directing the construction of the roadway and drainage infrastructure in Dyer back in the 1860’s and 70’s, subsequently opening the area up to agriculture and other commercial use in the surrounding predominantly marshy region.  Understandably the town adopted its name from something as near and dear to Hart’s heart as the town itself.  The town’s namesake is Hart’s wife, Martha Dyer Hart.  That same sense of community and spirit is what placed Dyer at number 97 on CNN and Money Magazine’s 2005 list of "100 Best Places to Live in the US.” 

Click on our links to learn more about residential Real Estate available in Dyer today!

Property Tax Exemption Site for Lake County Up and Running

by The Jana Caudill Team

Here’s an update for all our Lake County friends, family and neighbors, copied from our friends at Professional’s Title Services:

 

Some really good news this morning…

The Lake County Auditor’s website for filing Property Tax Exemptions is now up and running.  There’s even a short video tutorial, for those uncomfortable online. 

To submit the form online, taxpayers must have the following before they access the application:
A valid driver's license or state ID
A credit card (There is a $5.50 convenience fee charged for online filing.  Well worth not having to suffer the hassles of the LCGC.)
A valid email address
Acrobat Reader 4.05 or higher  (Acrobat Reader is available for free from the Adobe website)

Please follow this link:
https://www.lakecountyin.org/portal/media-type/html/group/auditor/page/file-exemptions

It’s quite simple, but if people feel better about it, they can also print out the forms and mail them in.  If taxpayers provide an email address when they file, the Auditor will let them know when their exemptions are approved or denied (and, if so, why).

Please call PTS if you have any questions or problems.

-John

John P. Hagerman
Professionals' Title Services
Office (219) 736-1825
Fax (219) 736-1835


Have a wonderful day!

Welcome to Crown Point, Indiana!

by The Jana Caudill Team

 

Considered to be the “hub of Lake County,”Crown Point Indiana is located just 40 miles southeast of Chicago’s Loop making up just one of the Loop’s 77 official community areas. Crown Point and Crown Point real estate offer new homes, single-family family homes and even luxury homes. Condos for empty nesters are ample along with apartment rentals. This historic town of 27,000 residents is famous for housing the courthouse from which bank robber John Dillinger escaped. It has a vibrant downtown scene coupled with the feel of suburban living and close proximity to one of America’s largest urban areas.

Click on our links to learn more about residential Real Estate available in Crown Point today!

Welcome to Chesterton, Indiana!

by The Jana Caudill Team

Today's post is the next in our series of "Welcome To..." blogs highlighting Northwestern Indiana communities, and today we'd like to welcome you to CHESTERTON, INDIANA!

 

In 1834 the town of Coffee Creek took its name from a local creek running through what was at the time downtown.  Although Chesterton finally adopted its current name in 1870, the region and the Indiana Dunes have always been synonymous.  Today there’s more to Chesterton than just its 15 miles of breathtaking, sandy, Lake Michigan beaches.  Locals enjoy great restaurants, golf, wonderful city and state parks, and as always, take great pride in their town’s role as the gateway to the great Indiana Dunes.

Click on our links to learn more about residential Real Estate available in Chesterton today!

Welcome to Cedar Lake, Indiana!

by The Jana Caudill Team

Today's post is the first in a series of "Welcome To..." blogs highlighting Northwestern Indiana communities, and today we'd like to welcome you to CEDAR LAKE!

The 794 acre lake at the center of the community from which the town of Cedar Lake hails its name is an outdoor recreation destination for residents and visitors alike.  Over a century ago the Monon Railroad reached the western shore of the lake making the young town a tourist hot spot for Chicagoans escaping the hustle and bustle of city life.  That was in 1882.  Today, with over 6000 feet of accessible shoreline, picnic tables, gazebos, and 18 acres of open space Cedar Lake is a wonderful place to raise a family, rest and recharge, and enjoy the great Indiana outdoors.  The lake has two public marinas with access for boating, jet skiing, and fishing, and don't forget ice fishing in the winter and snowmobile races across the lake.  Upscale condos and houses are newer to the area.  In Cedar Lake it's resort living with close proximity to Chicago and Lake Michigan.

Click on our links to learn more about residential Real Estate available in Cedar Lake today!

What is a Buyer's Agent

by The Jana Caudill Team

This blog piggy-backs on the previous article, “Buyer Self-Representation.”  The answer to the question Can I represent myself? is Yes, but why would you?

That article naturally leads to the question of agency, and specifically for this article, buyer agency.  A buyer’s agent represents and has a fiduciary duty to the Crown Point, Hobart, and Dyer buyer in a Real Estate transaction.  That’s the simple answer.  The listing agent represents and has a fiduciary duty to the seller in a Real Estate transaction.  This way each side has their own representation.

Here’s where it gets a little sticky.  As the buyer, and to establish the agency relationship with a buyer agent you must have a contract with that agent stating explicitly that you and the agent have an agency agreement (Buyer Agency Agreement.)  Without this formal, signed agreement all Realtors default position in the transaction are to represent the best interests, and hold a fiduciary duty to the seller.

That’s right.  The default status of any and all agents participating in a Real Estate transaction is to have an agency relationship to the seller unless stated otherwise in writing.  It doesn’t matter that the agent took you through twenty homes last Sunday, or gave coloring books to your kids to keep them busy while you toured all those homes.  It doesn’t matter if they are your neighbor, your cousin, or belong to the same PTA board.  If you do not have an agency agreement, in writing, stating that the Realtor is working on your behalf and as your agent THEY ARE NOT YOUR AGENT.  They are just the Realtor who drove you to all those home showings.

Good Realtors want that agency agreement too.  Transactions close more smoothly when each side has someone watching out for their best interests.  Be sure to request a buyer agency agreement from your Realtor.

Buyer Self-Representation

by The Jana Caudill Team

Can I represent myself when buying a Crown Point, Munster, or Chesterton home?  What most people who ask this question really mean to say is, “Won’t I save money (translated commission) by doing it myself instead of using a Realtor?”  The answer to the first question is, Yes.  You absolutely can, and you have every right to represent yourself when buying a home.  You can find homes for sale by owner in the newspaper, call to set up showing appointments for yourself, negotiate on your own behalf, etc.  You can hire the appraiser and an inspector.  If you’re going it alone you will probably at a minimum need to hire an attorney to draw up the contract to purchase, but beyond that you can do it all for yourself, drawing on your own life experience to help guide you through every decision until closing.

The answer to the second question, “Will I save money by doing it myself?” is NO.  As a homebuyer, doing it yourself, you will not save money by not using a Realtor, and you may in fact spend more.  There are many reasons for this, primarily including who pays commissions in a Real Estate transaction, and higher average sales prices for homes for sale by owner.

In a Real Estate transaction the seller generally pays all commissions, both to the listing agent representing the seller, and to the buyer agent representing the buyer.  If this is your first Real Estate purchase this may not make sense on the surface (click here for a lengthier discussion on agency).  However, all commissions are paid out at closing by the seller, NOT by the buyer.  The bottom line is the buyer does not pay commissions.  Just like at the car lot, the buyer does not come in and have to pay a commission to the sales person who sold them their brand new car.  That commission is paid by the dealer (seller).

In addition, homes listed for sale by owner tend to be advertised for a higher price than like homes listed with a Realtor.  This is because a Realtor will show sellers how much homes are going for in their market at that time by providing a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), and will use that information to price their home competitively with other homes on the market.  And again, if you’re looking to purchase a home that is listed for sale through a Realtor you need to keep in mind two things.  First, the seller pays all Realtor commissions, and second, and just as importantly, that Realtor is professionally representing that seller only.  They will use all their skills to negotiate and secure the highest sales price possible for their sellers – treating the buyers fairly through the entire process – but representing the seller’s interests above all others.

So, the question, will you save money by representing yourself ?  No, you’ll probably end up paying more for the house you ultimately purchase, and since commissions are paid by the seller, AND the seller has professional representation with their Realtor shouldn’t you have professional representation too?

The Purchase Offer - Part 2

by The Jana Caudill Team

We talked about price, good faith or earnest money, down payment, and financing terms last time.  All of these issues are important in putting your best offer forward, but in order to make one that will be sound and attractive to the seller your offer to purchase must also address the issues of time of possession, contingencies, and inspections.

  1. Time of possession.  The contract for purchase must spell out a specific time when the home is turned over and available for occupation by the new owners.  Possession is often defined by an event such as “day of closing” or “two days after closing.”  That’s the time when the previous owners will be completely moved out and the home is ready for the new owners to move in.  Some offers may request early possession, meaning the home is turned over for occupancy prior to the closing date.  You will certainly want to consider a time of possession that is most convenient for all parties, however venturing too far from possession on the day of closing may warrant a rental agreement to bridge the gap on the calendar.
  2. Contingencies, such as appraisals, inspections and mortgage funding are common in offers to purchase, and protect the buyer in case of the unexpected.  An appraisal coming in under the expected valuation can affect the mortgage approval process as can inspection issues like a leaky roof, lead paint, or a faulty foundation.  Cover your bases by including appropriate language specifying what contingencies need to be met in order for you as the buyer to proceed to the closing table.
  3. Consult with your Realtor.  Chose a reputable Realtor with the experience to help you with your Crown Point, Valparaiso, or Chesterton home purchase.  They can help you gather information on recent home sales that is useful in determining an offer price.  They will also help you navigate the offer to purchase contract and take the time to consult you on the various contingencies, inspections, and other issues that can help spell out an offer no seller will refuse.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Contact Information

Photo of The Jana Caudill Team Real Estate
The Jana Caudill Team
Redkey Realty Leaders
503 East Summit St., Suite 2
Crown Point IN 46307
219-661-1256
Fax: 219-663-5949