Indianapolis Community and Life

7 Places to Catch Live Music in Indianapolis

Posted by Paula Henry on Jul 27, 2014 10:00:00 AM

It's a Friday night in Indianapolis, and you feel like listening to some tunes. Do you:

a) Listen to Pandora on your phone

b) Go buy a guitar and try to figure out how to play

c) Head out on the town for some live music 

While all three are certainly options, our recommendation would be C. Indianapolis may not have the reputation for live music like Nashville does, but it certainly delivers! In addition to having multiple venues consistently ranked in the nation, Indy has a variety of place to listen to some live music - from intimate to rockin'. Regardless of your musical preference, Indy has a venue for you. 

musicians

8 Seconds Saloon

If you're a country music fan - or enjoy line dancing - 8 Seconds Saloon is the venue for you! Located on the West side of town, live musicians play every Friday night. Big names such as Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban have graced the stage. If you need a break from the music or dancing (they offer free dance lessons on Wednesdays and Saturdays), you can take your turn on the mechanical bull. (Hold on tight!)

Radio Radio

Radio Radio is in the Fountain Square district, an up-and-coming area known for great dining and retro-culture feel. It caters to audiences who seek the "up and coming" musicians with an eclectic line up of jazz, rock, and rockabilly. Check out their winding bar and first-class sound system that attracts both local and national artists.This smoke-free venue is a great place to chill. 

Melody Inn

Just a short drive North of downtown, Melody Inn is one of the oldest bars in Indiana. You can listen to live, original music from a vinyl booth at the Tee Pee restaurant or at the original oak bar. There's something for everyone with bands that play everything from punk to indie to metal. When there's not live music, you can listen to tunes from their jukebox. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the retro atmosphere, complete with an old school Ms. PacMan game. Cover is $5 and parking is free. 

The Vogue Theatre

Located right on College Avenue in Broad Ripple, The Vogue converted from a movie theater to a night club in 1977. They have been awarded "Best Place to Hear Live Music" and "Indy's Best Dance Club" time and time again. They have hosted headliners such as John Mayer, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Snoop Dogg, and many more. 

The Rathskeller

The Rathskeller Restaurant boasts a Bavarian flair with its 19th Century Athenaeum building right in the downtown/ Mass Ave area. You'll feel like you're in a cozy inn tucked in the Bavarian hills and/or a lively beer hall in Munich. They host the best local bands (from acoustic rock to polka to blues) on Wednesdays-Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays). Some of their spring and summer concerts are in their beautiful outdoor Biergarten, which includes 2 bar "huts," a large band-shell, and 2 dance areas. 

The Slippery Noodle

The Slippery Noodle has been around since 1850, earning it the title of the oldest bar in Indiana. It has received acclaim from Rolling Stone as being one of the nation's top blues bars. You can hear live blues artists 7 days a week and has a full menu to enjoy. The Slippery Noodle has been graced by stars such as Patrick Dempsey, Harrison Ford, and Dave Matthews.

The Jazz Kitchen

The Jazz Kitchen is a prominent jazz club and restaurant in Broad Ripple that attracts local, national, and international musicians. Don't be deceived by its name, though. Every Thursday, they host other genres, like Latin Dance Party. It was voted one of the "World's Top 100 Jazz Clubs" by Downbeat magazine. It draws a unique crowd of all ages and backgrounds.

 

If you're new to the area, make sure you check out these amazing music venues. Where do you enjoy hearing live music in or around Indy? Share in the comments below! 

Topics: Indianapolis, Things to do in Indianapolis

Not Worth the Money: 6 Baby Products You (Probably) Don't Need

Posted by Paula Henry on Jul 24, 2014 10:00:00 AM

We serve (and love) a lot of young families. Oftentimes, they are upgrading to a bigger home because their family is expanding. It's our joy to help them purchase their first (or sometimes second or third) home and watch their precious families grow.

Because we know how expensive babies (and homes) can be, we thought we would help you be a bit more money-conscious with your purchases. Whether you're registering for your first child or hoping to buy a baby gift for someone you know, we've collected a list of baby products that you probably don't need. In fact, we think that you (and your baby) will be plenty happy without them.

happy-baby

To get the best list possible, we interviewed a series of parents (of varying ages) and combined their responses. This list is not comprehensive and is in no particular order. If you happen to love any of these items, we hope you don't take their opinions personally.

Wipe Warmers

The purpose of wipe warmers is to heat up wipes before they go on your baby's bum. Some are available in different colors to match your nursery and promise to heat evenly and consistently. These puppies cost around $30 (and don't include the wipes to go in them). According to baby mom Allison, "Why not save the money and hold them in your hand for a few minutes if they're too cold?"

Bath Thermometers

You can purchase thermometers (some that float, others that go over the water spout) to measure the temperature of your baby's water in case you're concerned it's too hot. Their purpose is to ensure "safe and comfortable" bath temperatures and cost around $30 to do it. About this product, father-of-three Jason commented, "I understand wanting to not scald your child. But why not stick your hand in and test the water temperature that way? That's what I do for my kids, and it works."

Bottle Warmers

Baby stores now sell specific gadgets designed to warm up your baby's bottle. It promises to "heat your baby's bottle to the perfect temperature every time in just minutes." They range in price from $20 for a small travel version to a whopping $130 which doubles as a baby food maker. It was suggested (and seconded) for this list because a mug of water is capable of doing the exact same thing." Ali, mother of 14-month-old Gunnar, warms up a cup of water in the microwave then adds the bottle. "It's usually ready after 2 minutes, but I test it on my wrist to make sure," she said.

Video Baby Monitors

Video baby monitors came on the scene several years ago. They include a camera that you put in the baby's room (presumably on the crib) and a hand-held monitor with a screen for you to take with you to another room so that you can keep an eye on your baby. Our panel of parents concluded that the video monitor would probably be nice, but it seemed extravagant, especially for the price. (The cheapest we found online was $99, but they can cost up to $400.) "A regular, old sound monitor worked well for our daughter," said Sam.

Movement Sound Monitors

A movement monitor ($99-330) is a safety system for your baby's crib that "monitors your baby's micro-movements and alerts you if they stop or become irregularly slow." In a world where SIDS is a reality, new father Trey purchased a movement monitor to help give him peace of mind. Instead, they got little sleep when the machine went off 3 times in one night. "Apparently our son is still when he sleeps. It about gave me a heart attack thinking that he was dying when the alarm went off. I determined that the monitor wasn't worth it in the end," he said.

Name Brand Shoes

It can be fun to dress up your baby, but there's little need for name brand clothing - or shoes. A Google search discovered that infant Nike's, for example, can put you out $45-60 a pair. According to our panel, babies grow out of shoes incredibly quickly, so why spend a lot of money on them (especially if your infant isn't even walking/using them)? 

Babies are expensive; there's no doubt about that. So why not save some money where you can by avoiding the premium items that you (probably) don't need anyway.

Topics: Children

One Tank Getaways: Best Indiana Road Trip Destinations

Posted by Paula Henry on Jul 20, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Indianapolis is a great place to live! Not only do we have professional sports teams, world-class musicians, and incredible actors, we get to brag about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the zoo, and an award-winning children's museum. (What's not to love?) 

But in the event that you're wanting to get away for a day or a weekend, you're in luck! You can get to several fun locations with just one tank of gas (depending on your car's gas mileage, of course). They don't call Indiana the Crossroads of America for nothin'! 

roadtrip

All that being said, if you’re looking for some road trips close to home, look no further. We’ve compiled the Best Indiana road trip destinations (in no particular order).

South Bend

Notre Dame is the biggest tourist attraction for South Bend. The 150 year-old University has a beautiful, expansive campus. Whether or not you’re taking in a Fightin’ Irish football game, you’ll want to check out the 80,000-plus seat stadium, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Grotto of Our Lady Lourdes (a replica of the famous shrine). You’ll also want to visit the Studebaker National Museum, the South Bend Regional Museum of Art, and the Northern Indiana Center for History. Don’t forget to drop by the South Bend Chocolate Company...it’s delicious!

Fort Wayne

The second largest city in Indiana, Fort Wayne serves up the perfect mix of urban convenience and natural beauty. If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll want to check out Jefferson Pointe, a beautiful outdoor mall. Kids will love the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and Science Central (an indoor educational playhouse), while adults can take in a performance at the Embassy Theater. Joggers and cyclists can keep active on the Rivergreenway that links to city parks. You just might come across Johnny Appleseed’s grave.

Evansville

Home to University of Evansville, this sizable metropolis comes paired with small town friendliness. Located on the Ohio River at the hub of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, Evansville has a lot to offer! Whether you want to take your chances on the riverboat Casino Aztar, take a hike on the Riverfront promenade, step into history at Angel Mounds State Historic Site, or play with the family at Kid’s Kingdom, Evansville has something for everyone.

Brown County

Just south of Indianapolis, Nashville (population: 803) is a charming town with cool boutiques, artsy finds, and artists’ inspiration: rolling hills and natural beauty. Visitors flock to Brown County State Park, the state’s largest for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. You’ll want to shop their Country Craft Gallery that features 30 local artisans and their pottery, jewelry, and baskets. Do a tasting of the local flavor at Brown County Winery. It’s a gorgeous destination, especially in the Fall!

Indiana Dunes

Just one hour southeast of Chicago, this Lake Michigan coastline features towering sand dunes. You can bask on the beaches, build sand castles, bird watch all from this beautiful location. Check out the National Lakeshore. Nature lovers will adore hiking trails, swamps and bogs, all next to the Dunes State Park, which features 16-plus miles of trails complete with diverse plants and wildlife. Tour local historical homes, and visit closeby Chesterton for fine dining.

North, South, East or West: you’re bound to find some good old Hoosier fun wherever the road takes you!


Topics: Road Trips

Save Yourself the Sweat: Top Indianapolis Moving Companies

Posted by Paula Henry on Jul 17, 2014 10:00:00 AM

If you have an upcoming move, we sympathize with you. Moving can be incredibly overwhelming, not to mention exhausting. From scrounging around to find boxes to finding the time to fill them (then label, tape, and haul them), switching homes can be stressful (even when it's a move you're really excited about). 

That being said, we recommend saving yourself the sweat and hiring the job out. Why not? Indianapolis has some top notch moving companies out there with reasonable prices. They can help you get from point A to point B in no time.

Moving

A few words...

Before we dive right in to some of our favorite moving companies, we wanted to clarify that we base our information off of Angie's List recommendations. If you have an Angie's List account and mention that, you will often receive a discount (which would be worth the price of signing up in the first place). We acknowledge that there are many other wonderful moving companies out there, but we felt confident in the many, many reviews that Angie's List offers. 

Additionally, not all moving companies are full service (include packing), move pianos, or will help you go from state to state. That's why we've broken it down into categories so that you can easily find what you're looking for. 

Moving State to State

Northstar Moving Company - Long distances are their niche. That being said, they don't even offer local moves. They even have a move like a movie star option where they roll out the red carpet and pack as much - or as little - as you want. (Their website is hilarious and worth a look, even if you aren't moving out of state!)

Local Movers

Two Guys and a Truck/John Mitchell Moving - Most likely you have seen this iconic truck driving around town. They're a locally-owned company (which we love!), and they have over 40 years experience. They specialize in residential and commercial, local and long-distance moves. They even have a page of their website devoted to choosing the right moving company.

Leaders Moving & Storage - Based out of Ohio, Leaders serves the Midwest with over 20 years of experience. They tout that they have completed over 100,000 moves. They offer moving, storage, and additional services (like box rentals).

Sherman Moving - According to their website, Sherman Moving completed 1,000 complaint-free moves last year. They do full and partial packing, as well as local and long-distance moves. They also offer a climate-controlled storage facility if that's something you might need.

Moving Dawgs- Moving Dawgs is an Indianapolis-based moving company owned and operated by firefighters. They offer labor only moving services and "work like dogs" to get the job done.

Piano Movers

Oftentimes, your piano is the third most expensive possession you own (behind your house and car). That being said, you don't just want anyone moving those expensive ivories. 

Modern Piano Moving - Modern Piano Moving offers state-to-state or local piano moving services. From uprights to concert grands, they move them all with care in climate-controlled trucks. No piano job is to big, small, or unique for them!

Carmel Piano Movers - Carmel Piano Movers take care of all of your fine musical instrument moving needs - from organs to harpsichords to pianos. Their staff is professionally trained in transporting, packaging, and assembling your musical masterpieces.

Have more questions about moving to or in Indianapolis? Let us know! Short of coming and packing your boxes, we're happy to do all we can to make your move as stress free as possible. 

 

Topics: Moving to Indianapolis, Moving

Top Little League Programs in Indianapolis

Posted by Paula Henry on Jul 13, 2014 11:00:00 AM

It's summer time, which means that it's prime baseball season! Parents everywhere are spending hours at the ball fields cheering on their little ones' teams. What's not to love? Kids get to learn camraderie and sportsmanship while parents revel in the growth of their children. (Can you tell that we love Little League here at Home to Indy?)

If you're new to the area, you might be wanting to get your children enrolled in a local baseball program here in Indianapolis. Well, look no further! We'll fill you in on everything you need to know. (If you're not in Indy, you can insert your zip code in this search engine to find Little League programs for your area.)

baseball in glove

A little about Little League

According to Wikipedia, Little League baseball and softball dates all the way back to 1939 in Pennsylvania. Specific divisions are available for children ages 4-18. There's even a Little League World Series held every August! If you're interested in learning more, you can visit the Little League Museum in Pennsylvania. 

Divisions

Little League has multiple divisions based on age. These are according to the Little League regulations, but they may vary according to your area:

Tee-Ball: This is for boys and girls, ages 4-5. Players hit a ball off of a "tee" at home plate.

Minor Leagues: The Minor Leagues are for children 7-11. It is often coaches pitching at the younger levels and players pitching at the higher levels. 

9-10 Year Olds: This gives kids the opportunity to experience tournament competition up to the state level. Pitching distance is 46 feet. 

Little League (or Major Division): Little League is for boys and girls ages 9-12. This series culminates with the Little League World Series. Pitching distance is 46 feet. 

Little League Intermediate: This division is new, as of 2013. It's open to players 11-13, who are permitted to lead off and steal. Pitching distance is 50 feet. 

Junior League: The Junior League is for 13-14 year olds. Pitching distance is 60 feet, 6 inches.

Senior League: 14-16 year olds play in the Senior League. Pitching distance is 60 feet, 6 inches.

Big League: The Big League is for 16-18 year olds. Pitching distance is 60 feet, 6 inches.

Local Leagues

Ben Davis Little League - The Ben Davis Little League program is a chartered member of Little League International in the 8th District. It currently boasts 19 teams and is bound by these borders.

Fall Creek Little League - Fall Creek boundaries include this area of town and are part of District 7.

Washington Township Little League (formerly the Westlane Delaware Trail Little League)- This program has served the township for over 60 years. Their boundaries are defined by this map, where you can also find out additional information.

Eagle Creek Little League - Eagle Creek has a similarly rich legacy which dates back 50 years. They are part of Dictrict 8 and have these boundaries.

Regardless of whether your kids play in Little League games, it's always a fun family activity to go out to the ball fields and watch teams play. Looking for more recommendations of children's activities? Give us a shout. We're no experts, but we certainly love Indianapolis and all that it has to offer!  

Topics: Indianapolis, Family Activities, Children

Why your Zestimate doesn't add up

Posted by Paula Henry on Jul 10, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Everything you see on the internet must be true, right? Wrong. I can't tell you the number of times that my clients will reference something that they read on a real estate website only to be shocked when they find out that it's not true. This is especially true when it comes to Zestimates. 

2+2=5


What is a Zestimate?

A Zestimate is an estimated market value for an individual home from the ever popular real estate website Zillow. It utilizes a home's sales price, sales history, tax assessments, and square footage into consideration to come up with a value based on comparable homes. 

On their website, Zillow claims that Zestimates are "a starting point in determining a home's value and not an official appraisal." Unfortunately, some people who are eager to sell their homes will take it as the gospel truth.

Why Zestimates aren't accurate

Don't get us wrong, getting a Zestimate isn't an entirely bad place to start. But I wouldn't recommend using them for anything other than just that - a place to begin - because, sadly, it's not reliable or accurate in most cases.

Although Zestimate may provide an accurate home value for some homes, it may be off by a large amount for other homes. Past sales history isn't always a reliable predictor of a home's value. The real estate market can be very volatile as we saw with the housing boom (economic bubble) of 2000 and its subsequent bust a few years later. Tax assessments may be inaccurate as some homes may not have been assessed in years. The Zestimate also doesn't take into account all of the housing features and upgrades for each home, such as a recent kitchen remodel.

It doesn't add up

A home is only worth as much as the Indianapolis real estate market (home buyers) is willing to pay. That market derives value from other "like" properties or what's known as "sold comparables." (These are homes that have sold recently that are similar in characteristics and location.)

If you type in an Indianapolis (or surrounding area) address to check the Zestimate, a value will pop out within a matter of seconds. Think about it for a moment: How is it that Zillow was able to evaluate a property's value so quickly when billion dollar lenders and banks still insist on the 'ol human appraiser approach? 

Zillow doesn't have all the information

Zillow, Trulia, and other popular real estate sites only have about 80% of the homes for sale listed that they include in their calcuations. This means that they're not even including 20% of the market in their estimates. Do you want to trust a figure that is missing nearly a quarter of the data?

Real Estate is appraised by choosing reasonably similar sold comparable properties and assigning the specific characteristics of the subject home.  Adjustments are made to the sold price. Then and only then is an average price derived from at least 3 sold comparables in most cases. If Zillow could employ this algorithm into their Zestimate, they would have an unrivaled real estate market value estimation tool on their hands. But, unfortunately, they don't.

Bottom line: There are elements to a property that cannot be automated. Upgrades and subtle differences are nearly impossible to differentiate unless you are at or in the location physically. You need a human being there to truly evaluate the premesis.

If you insist on using Zillow's Zestimate feature, take the outcome with a grain of salt. Otherwise, you might be disappointed when your appraiser delivers their final report.

 


Topics: Moving to Indianapolis, Buying a Home, Estimate

Homes for Sale: How to Read an MLS Listing

Posted by Paula Henry on Jul 6, 2014 11:00:00 AM

If you don't have experience with real estate, then staring at an MLS Listing may leave you scratching your head. And that's okay... we don't expect you to know what all the abbreviations mean. Besides, that's what we're here for, to help you make sense of it all. 

So if you're in the market for a new home and aren't sure how to read an MLS listing, you've come to the right place.

man scratching head

What is an MLS listing?

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service, and it's an essential tool for finding real estate for purchase or renting. MLS listings can be accessed online by consumers and realtors. They contain important property information and details that you'll want to know. Key information about the property is provided on the MLS, such as the address, property characteristics, price, sales terms, tax information, and (in most cases) pictures. 

Keep in mind that not all properties for sale will have an MLS listing. Homes that are "for sale by owner" or government auctions won't be found on the MLS unless they're being marketed by a realtor.

How do I make sense of an MLS listing?

If you aren't up on all your real estate jargon and abbreviations, we sympathize with the obvious frustration of trying to make sense of an MLS listing. (They can be downright confusing!) So, what do these terms mean?

Status – Refers to the listing status. This lets you know whether the property is active, pending (in escrow), or sold. The MLS use several statuses to indicate the availability of properties. Here are some of the most common:

  • Looking For Backup – This MLS status potentially indicates that the seller is actively looking for a back up offer – perhaps the current buyer is expressing second thoughts, or having trouble closing. Usually, however, this is used interchangeably with “pending,” which means that the property is in escrow and unavailable.
  • Pending – The property has a signed contract and is not available to be purchased. Also, the property is likely not available for showings, either. If the buyer and seller reach a disagreement in escrow, or the buyer changes their mind or cannot perform, then the property may come back on the market.
  • Back on Market (BOM) – The escrow fell through, due to financing or inspection troubles, or the buyer changed their minds. The property is now available to be shown and purchased.
  • Hold – Usually this is a status in relation to short sales. This means that the seller has likely started a loan modification, or loan work out with the bank and is not showing or selling the property at this time.

APN – This stands for Assessor’s Parcel Number. 

Zone – This refers to the zoning that the county has assigned to the property. It determines what type of structure(s) can be built on the property. 

FP – # of Fireplaces

YB – The year the property was built.

STO – The number of stories within the particular structure.

APX SF – Square footage within the property.

APX LSZ – Square footage of the lot.

Sale Type – Indicates if the property is a regular (or standard) sale, short sale, foreclosure, probate, or some other type of sale.

LP and OLP – Refers to the List Price (current) and the Original List Price. This shows if there has been a price reduction or change.

DOM (Days on Market) - Refers to the number of days on the market in the current listing. CDOM includes any previous listing periods.

LP/SF and SP/SF – The list price and sold price per square foot. 

Are there other abbreviations that perplex you? Leave a comment below, and we'll help decipher it for you! 

Topics: Buying a Home, First Time Homebuyers, MLS Listings

Real Estate Terms You Need to Know Before Buying or Selling a Home

Posted by Paula Henry on Jun 29, 2014 11:00:00 AM

If you've never bought or sold a home before, chances are you might not recognize a lot of real estate jargon that gets tossed around. Words that we use in our vernacular daily might sound like gibberish to you. And that's okay... we get that it's not something you've had to deal with before. 

But if you're in the market to buy or sell your home, there are certain terms that we think it's important for you to know. After all, this is going to be one of the biggest financial transactions of your life, so we think some preliminary knowledge is in order. (Don't worry...we've done all the research for you!)

Educating yourself on the lingo is important because it will help you be more confident in the process - and it can ensure that you're "in the know" with what to expect and what your realtor is talking about.

real estate terms

Terms You Need to Know

As-is: If a home is for sale "as is," the seller is saying that they want to sell the home "as is" - meaning, they are unwilling to repair, remedy or improve any aspect of the property. As the buyer, you're agreeing to purchase the property in its "as is," present condition, without any warranties or guarantees of its condition whatsoever.

Underwriter: When you apply for a home loan, your mortgage application will be sent to an underwriter who will determine if you qualify for the mortgage. An underwriter is like a real estate detective. It's his/her job to make sure you have represented yourself and your finances truthfully (that you haven't made any false claims on your loan application). 

Buyer’s Agent vs. Listing Agent: There are usually two agents involved when you buy a home; the “buyer’s agent,” who represents you, and the “listing agent,” who represents the home seller. 

Fixed Rate vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgages: Conventional loans include “fixed rate” and “adjustable rate” mortgages. A fixed rate mortgage has a predetermined interest rate throughout the life of the loan; the most common are for 30 years. An adjustable rate mortgage has a variable interest rate; the most common are for 5, 7, or 10 years.

Pre-approval Letter: Before you apply for a mortgage or even start looking for a home, you should get a pre-approval letter from the bank, which is an estimate of how much they’ll lend you. This letter will help you determine what you can afford and ensures home sellers that you will be able to get a loan when needed.

Listings: Real estate agents frequently refer to homes for sale as “listings.” A “listing” on a website shows information about the home, like the price and number of bedrooms. 

Inspection: After you’ve made an offer on a home, you’ll need to schedule an inspection, which costs around $500 (depending on the market). The inspector will go through every nook and cranny of the home, reviewing everything from the plumbing to the electrical, foundation, walls, heating, and appliances.

Appraisal: When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will require an appraisal of the home you want to buy. A licensed appraiser will estimate the home’s value based on comparable homes that have sold in the area and an investigation of the property.

Contingencies: When you put in an offer on a home, you can specify certain conditions that must be met before the deal will go through – these are called contingencies. You have to make sure you can actually get the loan (a financing contingency), that the inspection doesn’t show anything too crazy (inspection contingency), and that the appraised value is close to what you’re offering to pay (appraisal contingency). Those are just a few common examples; there are several other types of contingencies, which you should discuss with your agent.

Offers: Once you find the right home, you’ll make an offer on the property with the help of an agent or attorney. If the seller counters your original offer, it’s usually because they want more money or a faster timeline for closing the deal, at which point you’ll have to negotiate. When submitting an offer, it’s a good idea to include a cover letter that explains why you want to buy the home and adds a personal touch.

Closing Costs: Be prepared to pay a lot of fees when you purchase a home. Typically, closing costs will amount to 2-5% of the purchase price of the home, and that doesn’t include the down payment. Common fees include excise tax, loan-processing costs and title insurance. For a more exact list of what you’ll be charged, ask for a “Good Faith Estimate” from your lender.

Title Insurance: After all the negotiations are done and the seller has accepted your offer, you should receive a home title report within a week. Most mortgage lenders require you to pay title insurance as part of the closing costs; title insurers search the public records to make sure the home seller actually had rights to the title and that there are no liens on the home (like an unpaid contractor or unpaid taxes).

What did we miss? Are there other real estate terms that you don't (or didn't) understand? If so, leave a comment below, and we'll give our best explanation.

Topics: Selling a Home, Homebuyers, Buying a Home, House Hunting, First Time Homebuyers, Home Search, New Homes

What You Need to Know About Homeowners' Insurance (But Probably Don't)

Posted by Paula Henry on Jun 22, 2014 11:00:00 AM

 

Buying a home is likely one of the biggest purchases you will make. That's why it's super important to protect it by having good homeowners' insurance.

But a lot of people don't bother having any, especially if they're renting. (If you're a renter, we strongly suggest that you get a homeowners policy since your landlord's insurance likely won't cover your possessions in the event of an emergency.)

In the event that you DO have insurance for your home, do you know what it covers? If you're like most homeowners, you probably have the same policy you did when you first purchased your house.

Because there are so many factors to consider when it comes to homeowners' insurance, let's take a look at what you need to know (but probably don't).  

hands covering house

Why do I need homeowners' insurance?

People take out homeowners' insurance for the same reasons they purchase car and health insurance: for protection. If a home is damaged or someone else is injured on the property, insurance helps owners cope with the financial consequences. Whether it pays for natural disasters, such as flooding or lightning damage, or man-made problems such as fire, vandalism, or theft, homeowners' insurnace can get you back on your feet and help get your life back to normal after your house or possessions are damaged or lost.

What you need to know

Don't let the bank pick your policy for you.
If you have a mortgage but haven't chosen homeowners' insurance, your mortgage company will probably pick out a policy for you and include it in your escrow payments. The lender is protecting its investment, so they will likely choose one that is more expensive. Take our advice and choose one that's best for you and your family.

Even a policy with bells and whistles won't cover everything.
If you're in a flood-prone area, you'll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Tornadoes are often covered by standard policies, but don't expect coverage for earthquakes, landslides, war, or government actions. Ask your agent about what's included if you're not sure.

Some items may need additional coverage.
Some high-value items in your home may require a separate "rider" on your policy. Items you might want to consider include: wedding rings, collectibles, or expensive artwork. Ask your agent if you're interested in extra coverage for these extra special items.

Water damage is tricky.
Damage caused by a leaky pipe or a flooded dishwasher may be covered; however, the aforementioned flooding probably won't be. As a result, ask your agent about whether mold damage is covered (and under what circumstances) since remediation can be pricey. Damage from sewer systems can also be iffy in regards to coverage. (Don't confuse sewer with septic tanks, which are treated differently by most policies.)

Accidents happen...and some are actually covered.
Life sometimes seems like a series of accidents. Sometimes your homeowners' insurance can help cover them. Did your child do jumping jacks on your glass table and crash? Did you accidentally spill red wine on your white carpet? Did your dog face off with your TV and win? Believe it or not, your policy may help replace, clean, or replace. It's worth looking in to!

Most policies cover your belongings when you're not home, too.
Your auto insurance policy probably won't cover your laptop that's stolen out of your car, but your homeowners' insurance probably does. Some policies cover cell phones, items you take with you on vacation, and your child's college stuff as well. Not sure? Ask! 

Safety is often rewarded. 
Most insurance companies offer a discount if you have deadbolt locks, alarm service for security and fire, and sprinkler systems.  

Things you wouldn't think are covered, sometimes are. 
If you lose power for an extended period of time and have to toss all of the food from your refrigerator and freezer, your police may help you restock. If you lose your keys, some policies will cover the cost of new locks for your home. If your boiler dies or a pipe bursts, some policies will pay for emergency repairs. 

 

If you're in the market for some insurance for your house, there are obviously a wide array of homeowners' insurance policies available, so make sure that you shop around and ask lots of questions before you purchase. Talk to family and friends about who they use and if they're satisfied with the customer service they receive. 

One final tip: it pays to have proof of what you own in the event of an emergency, so we recommend taking a video (or lots of photos) of every room of your house. Don't forget your outdoor furniture as well!

Whatever policy you have, make sure it's one that you're comfortable with in the event of anything catastrophic happening. (Heaven forbid.) 

Topics: First Time Homebuyers, Homeowners Insurance

What You Need to Know About Symphony on the Prairie

Posted by Paula Henry on Jun 15, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Marsh's Symphony on the Prairie is one of our favorite perks of living in Indianapolis. Not only do you get to hear the sounds of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, you get to do so while enjoying the great outdoors at Conner Prairie in Fishers. What's not to love?

Symphony 

What is Conner Prairie, anyway?

In case you've just moved to the area (or will be soon), you may not have heard of Conner Prairie. It's an outdoor, living history musuem that's on 200 beautiful acres in Fishers. From April to October, you can visit historic areas. Think of it like going back in time and being able to interact with the people of the pioneer days. You can get up close and personal with the livestock in the Animal Encounters Barn or throw tomahawks at the Lenape Indian Camp. It's an awesome way to step back in time.

What does Conner Prairie have to do with the Symphony?

Every summer, Conner Prairie hosts the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for evening performances in their ampitheater. Each year, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs a variety of fun music from many genres and generations of music - including classical, rock, pop, folk, big band, disco and jazz. This year, you can choose from rockin' options including music from the Beatles and the Beach Boys or something more traditional like Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. If you're especially patriotic, you can enjoy the Star Spangled Symphony which includes a fireworks display at the finish (weather permitting, of course). 

What you need to know

Value Packs are available, but single tickets prices are:

  • Adult $24 in advance, $28 at the gate
  • Children (2-12) $14 in advance, $13 at the gate
  • Premium Concerts are a bit more (see website for details)

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the Hilbert Circle Theatre box office or at your local Marsh Supermarkets. (If you use your Marsh Fresh Idea card, you can get $1 off!) 

The concerts start at 8:00 pm, but the gates open at 6:00 pm if you want to snag a good parking spot and spots for the performance. (If you want to come early to take in some of the amazing history at Conner Prairie, that's an additional admission fee.) For an additional $20, you can purchase premium parking that gets you a quick commute to your seats and a fast exit after the show. (Note: these must be purchased in advance.)

What you need to bring

Umbrellas (just in case) 

Blankets for chilly nights (or an extra fleece)

Picnic basket filled with food! (Some people bring mini-crock pots of dips and meatballs, while others keep it simple with sandwiches and snack foods.) 

Hand sanitizer or wipes (to clean up after you eat)

Napkins or paper towels (and lots of 'em!)

Tide pen (You never know when you might need it!)

Drinks (Alcohol is permitted. If you plan on bringing wine, don't forget the opener!)

Comfortable lawn chairs

Bug spray

Dancing shoes (Regardless of the genre of music, you can usually find some people up front getting their groove on!)

What NOT to bring

Cameras and recording devices (They are prohibited.)

Pets (Sorry, Lassie has to stay home.)

Grills

Fireworks (though you might see some after the show)

Tiki torches

Cigarettes (Conner Prairie is a smoke-free facility.)

 

Bring your family to a fun-filled summer evening where you can lounge on a blanket and enjoy a picnic with a larger-than-life soundtrack! 

Topics: Things to do in Indianapolis, Just for Fun, Fishers, Family