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Oct. 26, 2020

What You Need to Clean if Someone Gets Sick

‘Tis the season for all kinds of illness to get passed around and for some to come back home. From influenza to stomach flu and everything in between. When someone in the family is ill, you will want to be proactive with cleaning measures in your home to keep it from spreading as much as possible and help those who are ill recover more quickly.

Here are some helpful cleaning tasks to stay on top of those icky sicky bugs.

Open Some WindowsSomeone Gets Sick

Yes, it is getting colder and wetter outside, but even if you just open one window a crack for about 15 minutes it is helpful. Fresh airflow will help to get those yucky things hanging out in the air moving along to somewhere else.

Change and Wash Hand Towels

Changing out hand towels daily is a good general practice during cold and flu season even when no one in the home is sick. If someone in the home is sick amping up the hand towel switches to twice a day is even better. Don’t forget about kitchen towels as well as every bathroom.


Remind everyone in the home about the importance of frequent and proper hand washing and not touching your face. Instruct everyone to use plenty of hand soap and scrub every area of their hands including between fingers, under nails, and wrists for at least 20 seconds. Everyone should wash their hands when they come back home from being out and about, before meals, and after using the restroom.

Contain Used Tissues

When someone is hanging out on the couch or in their bed sick, they will probably accumulate a large amount of used tissues. Make sure the sick person has a waste receptacle or at least a plastic bag to put used tissues in and keep them from sharing germs with other surfaces.

Clean and Disinfect Bathrooms

Ideally, when everything is running smoothly in the home and everyone is feeling well, your bathroom should be cleaned once a week. When someone is sick, however, you may want to do a quick wipe down every day and follow up that cleaning with disinfecting every few days. A deep bathroom cleaning should be done when everyone is back to full health.

Wipe Down High-Touch Surfaces

Frequently wipe down any things in the home that are touched often, including remotes, phones, light switches, faucets, door handles, drawer pulls, the fridge handle, game controllers, etc. Remember to clean them and then disinfect them. If you start with a cleaning wipe follow up with some disinfecting spray to ensure all germs are removed and killed. Be sure to change your cleaning wipe and not use just one for the entire home.

Wash Bedding and Soft Surfaces

Frequently wash bedding of the sick person and kill germs on any soft surfaces they come in contact with. If they are hanging out on the couch don’t forget about throw pillows and blankets.

Related: 5 Cleaning Tasks to Bundle to Save Time

Clean Toothbrushes

Your toothbrush should be cleaned every week or two and sanitized if you get sick. It should also be switched out for a new one, or a new head for electric brushes, every few months. If someone in the home had strep throat the toothbrush should be changed out when the illness is over. You can clean toothbrushes in the sanitize setting on the dishwasher or by soaking them in hydrogen peroxide for 15-30 minutes and rinsing thoroughly.

We want to be your relocation experts for the Northwest Indiana Real Estate area so whether you're moving in, or moving out, trust your next Indiana relocation to the Nicole Hanson Group

  Contact Us  


12 Cleaning Tasks You Can Complete in a Minute or Less

Tips for Getting  Your Home Market Ready


Posted in Homeowners
Oct. 7, 2020

5 Important Ways to Winterize Your Home

5 Important Ways to Winterize Your Home

It gets cold around NW Indiana. Better be prepared! Here are some tips on winterizing your home so it lasts for years!

First, it’s important to be prepared. Winter storms can come out of nowhere and there are always things you don’t think you will need until you do. There are plenty of emergency supply lists out there but the basic supplies you want to have on hand are a snow shovel, extra water and food, and backup batteries.  

Second, head outside to take care of any maintenance before the snow hits. Check your gutters and clean them of any debris build-up. If your gutters are full they can cause ice dams and icicles to form which can damage your roof and pose a danger to anyone walking nearby. This is also a good time to caulk up any cracks in the window or door frames to prevent the cold air from coming in. If you have a wooden deck you may want to add an extra coat of sealer to protect it from moisture and save you some work in the spring when the thaw comes. 

Third, head back inside for the final preparations. Some of the most simple fixes can keep you from spending a bunch on heating. If you have an attic you may want to add more insulation to keep the warm downstairs air from leaking upstairs. Windows and doors are the leading cause of cold air in the house, with leaky frames and panes letting the heat out and the cold in. To fix gaps buy a draft guard that slides under your door, or put a towel or blanket down in front for an easier solution. Windows can be fixed a number of ways; you can install double-pane windows, caulk around the frames, weatherstrip, or use insulating film.  

Your pipes are at the most risk during the winter when the cold weather will freeze any standing water causing pipes to burst and a huge mess. To prevent this make sure your indoor pipes are well insulated and any exposed water to outdoor pipes should be turned off with valves and drains open to let out extra water. Your water heater should also be flushed to get rid of any debris and keep water moving through the pipes. Then use faucet and pipe covers to keep them insulated. 

Checking your heating methods is important before turning them on. Making sure there is no build-up in your chimney or filters on furnaces will prevent fires from starting in your home. Installing a programmable thermostat will keep your heating bill low while also keeping your home toasty warm. This type of thermostat allows you to set the times you want the heat on (when everyone is home) and when you want it off (when no one is home).  

More: 2 More Ways to Winterize Your Home

Though the weather outside may be frightful, your house doesn’t need to be. If you follow this advice on winterizing your home you will stay nice and toasty during the cold winter months. 


Posted in Homeowners
Oct. 5, 2020

10 Tips for Relocating on the Cheap

Moving can be expensive. If you have to sell a house, buy a house, move across the state or even across the country, those relocation costs can add up quickly. But, there are some tips, hacks, and shortcuts you can take to make your relocation a little easier on the wallet. Here are 10 tips for relocating on the cheap.

#1. Ask for help.10 Tips for Relocating on the Cheap

Obviously, if we ask for help we don't have to pay for it other than maybe a case of beer and a pizza or two, but, getting others to help you can make the entire process much easier. You can trade services, babysitting, or just a meal or two.

#2. Start collecting packing materials early.

Any time you have something shipped to you, retain the box, shipping materials, and any other packing supplies liquor stores are a great place to get heavy-duty boxes that are segregated, which make packing glasses and breakables much easier. Collect newspapers, bubble wrap, and any old blankets to protect furniture that's going with you.

Related: 6 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Painting Indoors

#3. Have a "hold all" box.

Have one large plastic tub or box where you keep all of your must-have items such as pens, markers, scissors, packing tape, important documents, toiletries, and medicines or anything that you might need last minute or one of the first things you'll need in your new home.

#4. Label everything.

You don't need to go to extremes by buying boxes that are already pre-labels. Do it yourself by marking boxes with the exact contents and where those contents belong. Be sure to pack the things you'll need first last.

Related:5 Major Benefits to Using a Buyer's Agent

#5. Clean up as you go.

Often times the final cleaning can cost quite a bit, especially if you are so tired from packing you just want to hire a cleaning company to come in once everything is done. If you pack up an area, give it a good cleaning immediately after space has been cleared. This could prevent you from hiring cleaners or just doing it all yourself.

#6. Start now with donating and tossing.

If you're planning on having a garage sale, organize your garage so that you have donation items, for sale items, and trash and clean up as you go. Sell anything that's in good shape to give you a little bit of cash for the road.

#7. Double duty all of your linens.

Clothes, towels, blankets, and all linens can be used to wrap other things that you don't have to spend money on bubble wrap or specialty containers. Use towels to packing around dishes and rep blankets around pieces of furniture.

#8. Pack strategically.

Give yourself enough time to make sure you pack strategically using every bit of space in the most logical way. Not only do you want to maximize the space but you wanted to be protected so become a master at packing Tetris.

#9. Check out hotel deals.

If you're traveling long-distance, see how you can save with hotel deals. Often hotels along the way will offer discounts and incentives and it might be more beneficial to call directly into books through an external travel site.

#10. Wait to buy until you've settled in.

Before you rush out and buy things you think you're going to need, let yourself settle in and make a list of items that you might need the first week.

We want to be your relocation experts for the Northwest Indiana Real Estate area so whether you're moving in, or moving out, trust your next Indiana relocation to the Nicole Hanson Group

  Contact Us  


12 Cleaning Tasks You Can Complete in a Minute or Less

Tips for Getting  Your Home Market Ready


Sept. 21, 2020

12 Cleaning Tasks You Can Accomplish in a Minute or Less

We all get busy during the day and before we know it, we have little time to go through the house and get it clean. To help keep your home tidier you can accomplish many cleaning tasks in just one minute or less. You can fit these tasks in between other larger tasks when you have a minute here or there and before you know it your home is much cleaner than before.

Here are 12 Cleaning Tasks You Can Accomplish in a Minute or Less

Clean Your Phone12 Cleaning Tasks You Can Accomplish in a Minute or Less

You have probably heard this somewhere before, but your phone is one of the dirtiest things you use all day. It is frequently being touched after you have touched other items as well as set down on different surfaces. The next time you have a minute between other tasks, use it to clean your phone. You can even just take that minute to put your phone in one of those blue light phone cleaners.

Make the Bed

It may seem like something that just drags or holds you back in the morning when you already have so much to do, but making your bed really doesn’t take that long and it makes a huge difference in the cleanliness of your room and also your mood and how you feel. Some say that making your bed gives you a sense of accomplishment and sets you up for a better day. It also makes climbing into bed so much nicer. So take that extra minute to make your bed.

The Fridge

Ok so doing a complete cleaning in the fridge will probably take longer than just one minute. But even if you take your one minute between other bigger tasks to work on a portion of the fridge, you can get a good amount done. You could start by just pulling out anything that is old and needs to be tossed out.

Makeup Brushes

Cleaning all of those tiny brushes seems tedious and time consuming. But it only takes one minute to clean just one. So just break down the chore into smaller chunks. Before you know it all of your brushes will be clean.

TV Remote

While you’re sitting down to watch your favorite show, take advantage of a commercial break and clean the tv remote. Mix together equal parts water and rubbing alcohol then dampen a clean cloth with the mixture (making sure to wring out extra moisture so it isn’t too wet) and wipe down your remotes. Make sure to pay special attention to in between the buttons. A cotton swab dipped in the cleaning solution is helpful to get the gunk out of the tight spaces.

Coffee Table

In many of our homes, the coffee table quickly becomes a catch-all for used dishes, junk mail, homework, etc. The nice thing is, it only takes a minute to clear it up! Deposit those dishes in the kitchen sink, dump the trash to the can, and wipe away any dust.

Garbage Disposal/ Kitchen Drain

Even if you scrub down the surface of your sink daily a funky smell can still come out of the garbage disposal or even just the drain. It is super easy and quick work to clean it up with an old toothbrush and a few drops of dish soap. Don’t forget to scrub down the rubber drain guard on both sides. After you are done with that, stick a few citrus peels in the disposal and grind them up to freshen and clean all the stuff below the drain.

Light Switches

Grab a disinfecting wipe or a cleaning cloth sprayed with all- purpose cleaner and take a minute to wipe down all of the light switches in the house.


Doorknobs come in contact with so many hands and become a germ hotspot. Take a minute to wipe them down the same way you did the light switches.

Entry Area

It is not uncommon for everyone that lives in the home to walk in the door and drop their stuff they were traveling with in a pile right inside. Use your few minutes of time to place shoes in the shoe bin or line them up, hang up coats, and sweep the floor to keep that dirt from traveling further into the home.

Laundry Baskets

Even though we mostly use laundry baskets to transport clean clothes out of the dryer, they still collect dust , hair, and other debris. It is a super quick job to grab a damp cloth and wipe them out real quick.

Unload Clean Dishes

Leaving clean dishes in the dishwasher backs up the whole clean dishes process as the dirty dishes begin to stack up on the counter and have nowhere to go. So take your quick minute to unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher creating room for the dirty dishes awaiting to be cleaned.

Using a few spare moments to accomplish cleaning tasks will help cleaning in your home to feel less overwhelming and like it is a task that is actually attainable.

Looking to spruce up your NW Indiana home for sale? Start with these cleaning tips and here are some more great ideas to get your home ready to sell.



Contact Us Now

Posted in Sellers
Aug. 31, 2020

Study: More Renters Leaving the Market - Feel Good About Buying

After dropping to the lowest levels in history in April, the real estate market has bounced back significantly in June and specifically, renters are most optimistic about home buying right now. Despite the current global climates, most consumers think it's actually a good time to buy a home. Renters are the biggest proponent to this right now and first time home buying is extremely favorable.Study: More Renters Leaving the Market - Feel Good About Buying

Perhaps it's the low-interest rates, inventory, and home prices or a combination of all three that's really driving these renters to leave renting behind and move forward into homebuying. Home sales jumped dramatically in May and new listings are coming on the market all the time. If folks have to buy and sell, the current pandemic is certainly not slowing them down.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, "pending sales in May, which represent sign contracts on existing homes, jumped a record 44% compared with April. The total inventory of homes for sale at the end of May was 19% lower than May 2019." [Source]

For those that have maintained employment throughout this time, buying is extremely favorable but consumers are still concerned about job security even as employment improves slightly. However, most Americans assume that home prices will strengthen and because home values were already increasing going into this pandemic, the affordability was weakened despite low mortgage rates. Most people assume that mortgage rates will continue to rise over the year but will remain relatively low due to the current climate. This is giving many consumers the freedom to look for homes at their leisure without being rushed or without a sense of urgency to make an offer right away.

However, in many hot markets across the country, homebuying is at an all-time high with escalation clauses in multiple offers. Homebuyers need to get creative in these hot markets, especially one home is priced below market value in a desirable neighborhood. Homes close to top-rated schools, amenities, or subdivisions that offer perks such as swimming pools, clubhouses, and provide a variety of services are in high demand.

Related: How moving into a small town could save a ton of money

Folks that are choosing to buy rather than rent are looking for an all-inclusive neighborhood. We are getting more comfortable walking to her local coffee shop, school, place of worship, or even markets and restaurants. Many consumers are thinking long term knowing that this pandemic will probably not last forever. They're looking forward to buying a home that supplies all of their needs both at home and within the immediate neighborhood.

More: How to Take Advantage of the Home Buying Affordability in Today's Market

Homes that provide the amenities allowing families to be entertained are also becoming highly desirable. Outdoor living spaces, room for a home office, and backyards are some of the top priorities for homebuyers right now, especially those that need to work from home. Buyers are realizing that they don't need a luxury home to provide them with all the safety, sustainability, and amenities of life at home.

For more information on finding your perfect Northeast Atlanta home, contact our office at any time. We specialize in helping renters move into the homeownership phase of life and if you need to sell, we offer top negotiating skills and expert listing care.

Local Review:

"Nicole is the best of the best. She knows the [Northwest Indiana] area backward and forwards and is one of the most responsive professionals I have ever worked with regardless of profession. She's an honest and straight forward person who is easy to work with. She's great at working with people so I imagine  her team is as professional and responsive as she is." - Jordy BlitzzNovak

Portage | Chesterton |ValparaisoCrown PointGriffith | Dyer | Highland | Scherereville | Munster | St. John


More Information for Buyers:

What Comes with the House?

How to Be Your Mortgage Lender's Best Client

What is the Seller's Disclosure Form?

5 Hidden Costs to Buying a Home

What is Earnest Money?

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 26, 2020

4 Upgrades to Increase the Chance of a Fast Real Estate Sale

Are you thinking about selling your home? If you are, you likely want to maximize the profit you’ll make. Many people invest in some home upgrades before they sell, but not all of these upgrades actually have a good return on investment. If you’ve looked at some of the homes for sale in Loganville, GA, you’ve probably seen a number of upgrades highlighted. Which of these upgrades are actually going to increase the value or make selling a home easier, and which won’t? Here are some of the best home upgrades you can make.

Landscaping the Yard4 Upgrades to Increase the Chance of a Fast Real Estate Sale

Landscaping generally gives you a 100 percent return on your investment. This means your sell price should increase by a dollar for every dollar spent on the yard. Landscaping has a second major benefit, though: it increases your home’s curb appeal. This can be invaluable in helping your home sell. Often, even if the interior of your home is amazing, potential buyers will pass by if the exterior isn’t inviting. Those who do decide to view the interior may still pass on your home because the overgrown or unkept yard gave them a bad first impression of the property. Put down new sod, work with a landscaper, trim hedges, and make other improvements to your yard to really help your home sell.

Do Minor Remodeling in the Bathroom and Kitchen

These remodels also usually get you most or even more back on what you invested. You can usually redo your bathtub, toilet, vanity, sink, floor, and other fixtures in the bathroom for around $10,000. However, you don’t even need to invest that much if your bathroom only needs some minor repairs and isn’t dated. Re-caulking the tub is fairly easy and inexpensive. You can also re-glaze it for less than $500 and make it look like new.

In the kitchen, you may spend a little more, but you can still do a very nice remodel for $15,000 or less. This will give your kitchen a refresh, but you will likely need to spend more if you’re going to change up the floor plan. That’s not usually necessary, though, if your kitchen just needs a facelift. You may not necessarily need to put in new cabinets—just switch out the doors/drawers and paint the cabinets. Put in new flooring, change up the lighting, and redo the countertops.

Related: 4 Tips to Staging a Kitchen

Consider Converting the Attic or Basement into a Bedroom

4 Upgrades to Increase the Chance of a Fast Real Estate SaleIf you can add an additional bedroom to your home, it can give you a very nice return on your investment. If you have an attic that has enough room for a bedroom and around $40,000 to invest, you can increase your sale price. You will need to make certain the room has an egress window and a closet in order for it to be officially classified as a bedroom, but that’s often not too difficult. Even if you can’t meet those requirements, you can still create livable square footage and classified the space as a bonus room. That can make your home very attractive to potential buyers.

Add a Deck or a Patio

Indoor/outdoor living is very important in Georgia. Adding a patio, deck or a porch to your home gives you an outdoor entertaining space that will add value to your home. You may not necessarily recoup 100% of what you spend, but you’ll get about 90% back. That extra 10% isn’t lost, either—like your landscaping, having an outdoor space can make the property more attractive to buyers. Even if you don’t make every cent back, your outdoor space may help sell the property more quickly or bring in competing bidders.

Ready to Sell Your Home?

If you’ve done a few home improvements and are ready to put your home on the market, we’re here to help. Contact Nicole Hanson Group today

More Tips for Homeowners:

What is a Property Lien?

3 Steps to Lawn Renovation

A Checklist for getting your home market ready

5 kitchen improvements that will increase your home's value

Best tips for marketing your home online

Posted in Sellers
Aug. 25, 2020

What are Closing Costs?

In every home sale, you will hear the term, “closing costs” brought up. It might be one of the more common costs that buyers are expecting, however, oftentimes a buyer doesn’t understand what they are paying for when it comes to closing costs, or if they are even required to pay them. So, what are the closing costs?

There are typically 5 different sections of closing costs that equal out to the total lump sum you are being asked to pay before receiving your keys.What are Closing Costs?

Title/Recording Fees and Transfer Taxes - Including in this are items such as title search, title insurance, recording fees, and transfer taxes.

Prepaids and Escrow - This covers any prepaid days of interest, prepaid taxes and insurance fees, as well as the initial escrow deposit.

Loan Related Fees - These fees include origination fees, applications, underwriting, credit reports, and discount points.

Mortgage Insurance - This is specific to each home and will vary drastically pending on the insurance premiums the previous homeowner maintained.

Property Specifics and/or 3rd Party Fees - This is another portion that varies drastically on each sale, you can expect items such as appraisals, termite inspections, home inspections, attorney fees, and surveying fees to be included.

With all closing costs, you are able to negotiate. While the exact number will nearly always remain the same, oftentimes you are able to discuss the costs with the seller and the seller may offer to pay them in full, pay a portion, or require you as the buyer to pay them in full. With any home sale you should be sure to budget for closing costs even if you are hoping to have them paid by the seller.

Related: Should I get a new home or an existing one?

In general closing costs will be anywhere between 2-6% of your purchase price, it is always recommended to plan for the higher percentage just to be on the safe side, although in recent years closing costs have generally been costing around 3-4%. An example would be:

• Purchase Price: $300,000

• 2% Closing Costs = $6,000

• 6% Closing Costs = $18,000

For more information on purchasing a home and the finances needed to do so, to browse available homes, or to speak to an agent, please feel free to contact our office at any time.

Related: 5 Reasons a Home Hasn't Sold

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 19, 2020

More Millennials are Embracing the Suburban Lifestyle After All

More Millennials are Embracing the Suburban Lifestyle After AllMore and more millennial's are moving out of urban environments and the city into suburban lifestyles. No, this isn't a rush on cookie-cutter homes because millennial's are running far from that type of confined lifestyle. The media often suggests that the suburbs are boring at best but suburbia is changing. Many young professionals and young families are giving the suburbs a second look according to a new article by Forbes magazine. Many of these millennial's have never seen themselves living in such a neighborhood but more and more there's been a decline of millennials living in big cities and an ongoing reshaping of suburban, multigenerational communities.

This isn't just with the onset of COVID-19. Sure, more people are working from home than ever before but even with people retreating to their vacation homes, backyard offices, and over the garage living spaces, suburban living is on the rise.

We've heard the term "boomers", which refers to baby boomers and in the past, this demographic has dominated the suburban neighborhoods with their 3 to 4 bedroom homes on a 10,000 square-foot lot. But with more of this demographic retiring, downsizing, or "smart sizing" this opens up a wealth of properties for the next generation. However, there is one major change… A lot of millennials are not having kids.

According to the article, today's birthrate is at a record low. "The demand for the current stock of Boomer homes, typically older and larger, especially homes of massive proportion, is not likely to accelerate until the boomers and generation Xers kids decide to have their own kids."

Apartments, condominiums, and garden communities in the suburbs are becoming increasingly attractive to both the younger and older generations. Multifamily developers are finding that housing options rich with amenities and villages complete with services are the new generation of buyers regardless of age.

Homebuyers are looking for more urbanesque design attracting folks that like city life and having it all right at your doorstep including walking to the grocery store, being close to your favorite coffee shop, restaurants, and meeting friends.

Because of this, many suburbs are also getting a makeover. Mini town centers are being developed complete with restaurants, shops, markets, exercise facilities and bars. The construction of apartment condominium units in suburban Chicago is reported to rival the number of units being built downtown. Developers are definitely responding to the desire of millennial's for a little bit more space, amenities, and that tightknit community atmosphere without giving up urban living altogether.

Typically, people live in the city to eliminate travel costs and the hassle of owning a car, but with more of us working from home, access to transit lines, and easy commutes, the mobility options for living in the suburbs is becoming more affordable. With the growth of mixed-use suburban developments and accessibility, millennial's, as well as generation Xers and baby boomers, are all finding comfortable homes in suburban neighborhoods.

This is what we love. We specialize in northwest Indiana communities such as Portage, Dyer, Hammond, and Gary. Would love to help you find the right suburban home for your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Contact us at any time to learn more.

Posted in Real Estate News
Aug. 12, 2020

Can You Buy a House Completely Online?

Can You Buy a House Completely Online?

More and more people are doing everything virtually these days including buying and selling real estate. The demand for digital tools and technology has increased exponentially over the last couple of months simply because were trying to stay safe and stays distant. But even before the pandemic, more and more people were moving towards online transactions including real estate. Everything is streaming nowadays including schools, work meetings, and even exercise classes so it naturally begs the question if you can buy a house completely online?

A recent report from Zillow found that both buyers and sellers are likely to purchase or sell a home completely online and 36% of Americans said the pandemic makes them even more likely to buy a home completely online and 30% said they would do the same even after the pandemic was over.

Are there pros and cons to buying a home online?

As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying and selling real estate completely online. The benefit of course is convenience. You can go through virtual tours, open houses, and high-quality images that are gonna make the experience nearly as good as being there. But, nothing beats actually being there in person. We tend to go with our gut and get an emotional sense of the home and that's hard to do simply with online photos or videos. Even if the real estate agent completes an in-home tour wall you are on the other end of the phone, nothing beats actually standing in the home, looking around, observing details, and checking out the neighborhood.

So how do you buy a home online?

First of all you'll want to choose a real estate agent. We have agents that specialize in the Northwest Indiana real estate market from Hammond to Portage and everywhere in between. Whether you looking for Lake Michigan waterfront homes, a great investment property, your first home, or your 10th home, we have agents that specialize in this area and assist buyers only. Interview your agent, ask them questions, find out how many clients they like to work with on a regular basis so that you know they have your best interest at heart and have time for you.

You can find a mortgage lender online as well and complete the application process as well as final signing. Everything can be done online including zero contact mortgages.You can get preapproved online, run all your credit report, and even scan and email secure documents such as tax returns, W-2s, and bank statements.

Related: The Pandemic Has Actually Made Homes Cheaper in Northern Indiana

You can submit an online offer and even wire earnest money to an escrow account or title company.

The appraisal can happen without you being present and even home inspectors are taking virtual tours around the house with face time or zoom meetings. While we always recommend accompanying the inspector, in these interesting times, most inspectors are doing everything possible to keep their client safe and yet provide them with the most up-to-date and accurate information about the property.

Depending on the escrow company and lender you choose, some final signings can even be done remotely. Most need to be done within the presence of a notary but each lender is different and may have options for completely zero contact closing arrangement. If nothing else, this may be the only time you come face-to-face with another person.

If you're interested in learning more about how the Nicole Hansen Real Estate Group handles our buyers and sellers these days, don't hesitate to give us a call. We can ease your mind about how to buy and sell safely online, how to price your home, how to get in touch with the lender in our area, and how to close on the home of your dreams. We look forward to talking with you today.

More Tips for Home Buyers

Posted in Real Estate News
Aug. 7, 2020

Can I Use an FHA Loan to Fund a Foreclosure?

There are a lot of good deals to be had right now in the Northwest Indiana real estate market. From affordable homes in Dyer and Portage to investment jackpots in Hammond, and surrounding neighborhoods. However, if you don't have a lot of cash to spare, there may be a way to use an FHA loan to buy a foreclosure.Can I Use an FHA Loan to Fund a Foreclosure?

The primary function of the FHA or the Federal Housing Administration is to ensure loans against default if there made by approved lenders and meet the guidelines. These loans are intended to make it easier for homeowners to buy homes that they may not otherwise qualify for.

That guarantee can also offer a steady inventory of foreclosures when buyers can't meet certain obligations and have to give up their properties. FHA loans can be used by multiple types of residential homes and properties depending on the state of repair regardless of which lender currently owns them. However, there is one major catch, the homes need to be lived in by the borrower. You cannot use an FHA loan to buy an investment property that you're immediately going to rent out. You must live in the home for two years before turning it into an investment rental.

Related: 5 Requests buyer should never ask for

So what should you know about using an FHA loan to buy a foreclosure?

Not only must it be your primary residence but it must be inspected to ensure that it meets the minimum standards of livability. This means that it must be appraised and approved by an FHA appraiser.

You can, however, get at 203K rehabilitation loan with a 3.5% down payment where the lender finances both the purchase of the home and any repairs that need to be made.

Your credit score needs to be 580 or higher and 20% of the appraised value of your credit score between 500 and 579. This can be a tricky position when you're competing with investors that may have all cash. [Source]

It helps to have your financing, credit history, and any cash you do have ready to go and on hand in order to compete. Not all cash buyers win out on a foreclosure. Terms can be just as important as a cash offer. It also helps to have a real estate agent that understands the process and can help you navigate the sometimes confusing waters of buying a foreclosure and an FHA loan. For more information contact our office. We have experts that specialize specifically in FHA loans and foreclosures and short sales. With your investing for the future or looking for a great deal right now, trust Nicole Hansen Group for your next Northwest Indiana home purchase.

More: Are you a first time buyer? Start here


Posted in Buying a Home