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Buying a house in Indiana

Posted by Mark | Apr 29, 2021

Buying A house in Indiana

A place which you can call truly yours. The piece of land and the roof surrounding you, the place on earth which is rightfully yours. This is how buying a house feels like. It is a portion of the earth that is completely yours. It’s no wonder that buying a house is a special milestone in the life of many. For most, it is a once in a lifetime decision. Therefore when it finally happens, it is a thing to be proud of and to cherish forever.

As buying a house is such a crucial step in your life, it is no wonder that a lot of thought and effort goes into the decision to finalize the house. Typically a buyer goes through the following stages before buying a house in any part of the world:

Stage 1: Realization that his/her income levels have matched up to a certain standard so that he/she can afford to buy a house.

Stage 2: A rented apartment and the hassle of changing apartments when the lease run out, is too much of a bother.

Stage 3: They are willing to settle in a particular city or town at least for the foreseeable future.

Stage 4: They go to banks or mortgage loan providers to get loans for buying a house.

Stage 5: They go to realtor agents to see houses and decide on a final one that suits their budget as well as needs.

Stage 6: They make the purchase and complete the necessary documentation and finally move into their new house.

Although this stage-wise method makes house buying exercise seem easy, it is quite an overwhelming experience for most. If you have to do it in your own country, where you are familiar with the process of buying a house, it might make the job a little easier. But imagine buying a house in a different country. That is quite an experience for some.

This article is mainly for those who are from outside the US and willing to buy a house in the USA, especially in the state of Indiana. But if you are living in the USA for quite some time or maybe a US citizen from birth, this article will familiarize you with the process of buying a house in Indiana. To directly go to that topic, skip to the topic “The house buying process in Indiana”. For non-US citizens, read along to get to know why you should buy a house in the US and why in Indiana.

Why move to the USA/ Why should you buy a house in the US?

If you are looking for a country to study or work in, the US is perhaps on your list. But if you are still confused why you should move to the US, here are some of the advantages the country offers viz. a viz. others.

Work opportunities

The first thing that anyone looks for in a country is work opportunities. The USA is the biggest economy in the world and also one of the most advanced, there are different types of work opportunities. From high-level research to entry-level jobs, there are opportunities for every professional in the US. Employers are willing to look overseas for the very best talent to boost their business. If you have a skill that a US company requires, they will often help in any way they can, from organising visas to helping you find a home. Once there, you can enjoy good job security and satisfaction and, providing you demonstrate a good work ethic and continue to be an asset, your career can flourish. For an immigrant to come and work here, it can be a very successful stint, both from a work point of view as well as from a remuneration point of view.  Tech employees in the States are among the highest-paid employees in the world.

Cultural Diversity

If cultural diversity is what you seek, then the USA is the place to be. Or if you are worried if you will be able to mingle with Americans here, then be rest assured that America is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with people from all nationalities residing and working. With almost 200 different nationalities currently calling the USA home, it is a country that has learnt to accept and celebrate diversity. You will not only make plenty of new American friends, but you will meet people from all over the world. This positivity and tolerance are essential to a good experience and justifiably earns a spot in our top reasons to move to the USA.

Economic Powerhouse

America has the largest economy in the world in term of GDP. It ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP. The U.S. dollar is the world’s primary reserve currency, a sure sign of stability and respect. A survey of all OECD countries demonstrated that Americans attain the highest average household income in the world. America also ranked number one for the affordability and security of food in a Global Food Security Index. So rest assured that you are moving to a country that has the most powerful methods in its reserve to deal with an economic crisis.

Living Space

Americans on average have over twice the amount of living space per residency and per person as European Union residents. This also means that land prices and property prices are more affordable, with some exceptions such as New York City or Los Angeles. Yes, the major cities are very expensive to live in but the suburbs or other cities are comparatively cheaper. So if you are thinking of moving to a house in the suburbs, America will be a lot cheaper than Europe or other developed economies.

Also depending on your choice, you have a lot of variety in the USA than in other countries. You will get to experience different climates here as the country is vast. Be it its tropical climate, sunny beaches, cold mornings or high octane city life, the USA has everything to offer. 

Travel

If you are someone who loves to travel and wants to be in a country with many travelling options, the USA is the country to be. Due to the large geographic size, the US boosts natural forests, great trails, sunny beaches, big mountains, rocky canyons and what now. If you go to Alaska, you will get to experience winter like no other. There are so many different types of places you can visit even without leaving the United States! If you would like to take some time to explore the snowy mountains in the winter or swim with the tropical fish down south in the summer- America has it! You’ll always find plenty of places to occupy your free time.

No matter where you’re from or what you do, there will always be something in America that could be a great fit for you and your family!  

Leader in Science and technology

The United States has been a leader in scientific research and technological innovation since the late 19th century. The country wants to remain at the top as far as innovation and research in science and technology is concerned. Therefore a lot of capital is invested in research and development both from the federal government as well as corporates. This is the most attractive point for any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduates. The US provides the best infrastructure, huge amounts of funding, best minds to work within this domain. So if you are a STEM graduate or aspire to work in this field, the USA should be in the top 3 if not at the top of your list of countries to study and work in.

Health

The U.S. is a worldwide leader in medical innovation. America single-handedly advanced or contributed significantly to 9 of the top 10 most important medical innovations since 1975, as ranked by a 2001 poll of physicians. Since 1966, more Americans have received the Nobel Prize in Medicine than the rest of the world combined; this meaning that you can be positive you will receive the very best treatment should you need it. This standard of care does come at a cost and many people moving to the States worry about the cost of healthcare. In some cases, however, employers offer generous medical and dental care policies as part of your salary package depending on the job. 

Although countries like the U.K, Germany etc. offer better healthcare facilities as the cost of healthcare is borne by the government and as the such USA lacks behind. But if your employer is offering a generous healthcare package, then you will get the best treatment in the world. The US healthcare system may not be the best in the world, but it is not bad enough not to consider it entirely.

Why you should consider moving to the state of Indiana?

Moving to the US is a big deal, but choosing from the 50 states for your new home is an even bigger task. Each state has different advantages and disadvantages. We will list down some of the reasons why you should move to Indiana. Since this is not a biased article (we don’t do that here!), we will also list some points which will highlight what you should keep in mind before moving to Indiana.

Here are the top reasons why you should consider moving to Indiana:

Affordable Housing

Source- Pixabay

So you want to buy a house? That is the reason you are reading this article. Unless you are a millionaire who doesn’t care about budgets, affordable housing will pretty much be a very important point for you. Cities in Indiana have the most affordable housing prices. It is equally applicable for someone who is looking to rent or to buy. Homes in Indiana are relatively new, and construction projects are continually developing around Indiana’s cities.

The capital city of Indiana, Indianapolis is more affordable than other capital cities like New York City or San Francisco. The average price of a studio apartment, a 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom apartments are all less than the national average. Houses in Indiana are cheap because there is plenty of developable flat land available for new construction and the outlying municipalities aren't particularly concerned with growth and development limitations.

Lower cost of living

With a cost of living index of 82.1 , Indiana easily makes the Top 10 list of most affordable states in America. Indianapolis is one of the cheapest cities in the US, too. According to Forbes Magazine, the cost of living in Indianapolis is 7.6% below the national average making it a great place to both live and work. This is especially good for those who are just starting fresh out of college and may not be able to afford New York or San Francisco level rents in their first job. Houses are affordable and so are other services like restaurants etc. If you would like to know more about moving to Indianapolis, here is an interesting article for you. Similar to Indianapolis, the cost of living in other major cities are less than the national average. This means more savings and more money in hand to pursue other pleasures in life.

Increasing job and business opportunities

Major cities in Indiana like Indianapolis are fast becoming tech hubs. Although Indiana was conventionally known for its automotive sector, jobs in new industries like technology, IT, healthcare etc. have grown in number. The healthcare and technology sector is among the major growth sectors in the city. Tourism and sports are the other two industries seeing significant traction and are expected to do well in the future. People who are employed in the healthcare and technology sector can see Indianapolis as a good alternative to other such tech hubs like Silicon Valley or New York. Due to its lower cost of living compared to these cities and subsequently a better quality of life with comparable incomes, Indianapolis is a good option to start your healthcare or technology career. More than 90 national companies have headquarters in the city, including Eli Lilly and Company, Anthem Inc., Angie's List, RCI, Simon Property Group, Dow Agro Sciences, Finish Line and the NCAA. Which is a good thing if you’re looking for work. Indiana is one of the only Midwest states guaranteeing residents the right to work without the obligation to join a union.

If you like to have more information about doing business in Indiana, this insightful article will provide a lot of good information to help you get started in your journey.

There is a lot of options for leisurely activities

Indiana offers countless attractions, including 900 lakes, resorts, museums, casinos, and restaurants. Whether you want to spend the day at Brown County State Park or take the kids to the Indianapolis Zoo, you’ll never be bored when you become a Hoosier. Tourism is certainly picking up in the state. 

Did you know that Indiana is home to over 130 picture-perfect covered bridges? Take a drive across the state and enjoy crossing over these bridges that look like they belong in a movie. There’s even an annual Covered Bridge Festival that draws two million visitors each fall. Head south, and you’ll find several state parks and forests with captivating scenery. The north boasts a gorgeous beach along Lake Michigan.

The state has four seasons to offer to its residents. Enjoy sunny summers, snowy winters, beautiful springs, and breath-taking views of fall foliage.

College options

If you or your kids are planning on enrolling in college soon, Indiana has one of the largest community college systems in the country. You’ll find three world-renowned universities – The University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, and Indiana University Bloomington – among other great schools. Indiana University is a popular choice for residents, but the state offers several other renowned colleges and universities to choose from. Indiana University is a public university situated. The university is home to over 110,000 students coming from all across the globe, out of which the majority of the students are studying at the Bloomington campus. Indiana University offers plenty of courses, but some of the renowned programs Of Indiana University are offered by the business school and music school.

This makes Indiana a perfect place to stay for parents who have kids who are about to join college or universities.

If you are interested in learning about how to get admission in Indiana University, you can check out the article here .

So just like we promised, we don’t bring you one-sided points. We give you both the highs and the lows so that you can take an informed decision about moving to Indiana. True to our promise, here are some of the things you should keep in mind before moving to Indiana:

  • Extreme weather: During the summer, it can be awfully hot and humid here. Winter temperatures can easily dip below 15 degrees. Just be prepared for these seasonal extremes.

  • Lack of public transit: The consensus is that there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to public transit systems here. Need to get around? Your best bet is driving your car. Unless you own a car or are unwilling to drive yourself or your family around, you must reconsider your decision to move here.

  • Low diversity: Let’s be honest; the state isn’t exactly ethnically diverse. For the most part, you won’t find a variety of nationalities or different cultural influences in the Hoosier State. Although the state is improving now with all the tech and healthcare talent coming in, Indiana lacks behind cultural diversity compared to states like California or New York.

  • Lack of things to do: Besides places like Indianapolis (the largest city in the state), residents tend to complain that there isn’t a whole lot of fun stuff to do around these slow-paced parts. So if you are not living in one of the big cities, you might have some boring weekends. Although this is highly subjective and does not apply to everyone. If you are looking for peace and calm, the state is highly recommended.

So those are some of the points you should keep in mind if you decide to move to Indiana. So enough about the state, let us dive right into the process of buying a house.

Indiana’s housing market

Indiana’s housing market is very healthy as of 2020. Being part of the Rust Belt, Indiana has lots of jobs in the manufacturing industry, but it's also got plenty in the agricultural field. Job growth and the influx of more workers allow interest rates on homes to rise and create a "fast-moving market. Unfortunately, builders are struggling a bit when it comes to churning out new housing to keep up with the demand.  Indiana's got a ton of new construction in the works, pretty much all over the state. Some areas to note that has plenty of new development underway include Michigan City and South Bend in the north part of the state, Lafayette, Kokomo and Indianapolis in central Indiana, and Evansville and New Albany in the southern part of the state. Those who have their hearts set on a brand new place should have plenty of luck on their hunt here.

To start, the average home value in Indiana is currently about $133,700. Homes are currently listed on the market for around $179,900, and renting a house costs about $1,075/month. As far as home appreciation goes, home values increased 6.9% in 2018, and they're predicted to rise another 3.7% over the next year. The current average price per square foot is about $104.

Pre-Steps before buying a house in Indiana

So after going through the pros and cons list of living in the state of Indiana, you have finally decided to call it home. You want to buy a house in the state. You may even have a city in your mind. That’s some good progress already done. Then let us take a look at some of the pre-steps to take before buying a house in Indiana.

Decide on the type of house you want

Before getting into the bandwagon of hunting houses, it is very important to decide on the type of house you want. It is very easy to get lost and confused about the type of house you want if you do not have a picture in your mind in the first place. Are you looking for a studio apartment or a one-bed/one-bath joint? Or are you looking for a four-bed/four-bath joint? Depending on the type of house you want, you can start searching. This will streamline your house search process as well as reduce wasting time in seeing unwanted houses.

Depending on the type of house you want, set a budget

Easier said than done but setting a budget before you start searching for your house is very important. It is very easy to go overboard with the money if you find a house that you like very much. But it is not worth putting yourself in a debt trap to get your dream house. Set expectations right and set a budget. Also set an upper and a lower limit to the budget, so that if a house does catch your eye, you can spend accordingly. But be careful not to go too overboard with the budget. The budget should be made considering a lot of options and using a very careful thought process.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

If you are paying in cash, then you can skip this step. If you need a mortgage to buy a house, you should get pre-approved. A pre-approval letter with your offer has become nearly a necessity in Indiana home buying. Why go look at homes and just tease yourself if you cannot get the money to purchase the home? Also, getting pre-approved gives you and your real estate agent three important pieces of information. Getting pre-approved for the loan will tell if you can get a mortgage, how much the mortgage can be, and what type of loan product you will use to buy your home. Each of these is an important piece of the puzzle. To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you have many options. Some people use their bank and some people use a mortgage broker. Exercise your choice as you deem fit.

The process of buying a house in Indiana

Once you are done with the pre-steps, then you can start the process of buying a house in Indiana. The process of buying a typical house in Indiana looks something like this:

Start searching for a house or meet with a realtor 

You can start searching for a house yourself by going online. Here is a website you can use to look for houses in Northwest Indiana . There are other websites too where you can look for houses. 

Alternatively, you can start meeting with real estate agents or realtors. You do not need to use the first real estate agent you meet. Make sure the real estate agent has the skills, knowledge, experience, and training to help you, and that he or she is not too busy to meet your needs.

Make sure you explain to the realtor or the real estate agent in great detail the kind of house you are looking for before beginning the search. This will save time and effort for both parties involved. Once you start seeing houses, don’t be in a hurry to lock the first house you see. See a few houses and then decide.

The decision to go online to search for your house or a real estate agent rests with you. Some people prefer the old style of meeting with agents and seeing houses. Tech-savvy home buyers might want to schedule appointments online and then begin the process of visiting houses.

Start by writing out a list of everything you want in a home. Rank each item based on how important it is to you. This will help you begin to separate your "must-haves" from your "nice to have."

Then discuss with your agent whether your list is realistic. They know what homes in your price range and target neighbourhood are like and can point out where you might have to make concessions.

Trust your agent. As long as they stick to your price range, they can show you a variety of properties and might even surprise you with a house you wouldn't have considered without them.

Ask To See A Home

The next step is to go and take a look at the various houses shown by the real estate agent. Alternatively, you can see the house online. Some websites offer 3D tours to make it easy to visualise. You won’t make a purchase decision without physically seeing the house. Online research can streamline your house search. You can shortlist some houses and reject some which do not fit your criteria. That way you can save time.

You will meet your agent at the home and take a tour of the home. Maybe you will like it, but maybe you won’t. If you do not like the home, continue searching and seeing homes. If you do like the home, take the next step.

Some house hunting tips are

  • "Must-haves" vs. "nice to haves": No home is perfect. As you view homes, you'll have to decide which of your priorities are non-negotiable and which are nice to have.

  • Understand current housing inventory: Depending on the time of year you're lookin g for a home, you might have fewer options to choose from. If there are fewer houses on the market, you might have to adjust your expectations.

Make an Offer to buy

Once you find the home you want to buy you will make an offer. Your agent will give you advice about the price and terms to offer. This will be a careful balance of your needs, what you can and are willing to pay, how much you want the house and consideration of what the seller may take unless you are willing to pay the list price.

One of three things will happen to your offer. It will either be rejected, accepted or countered. If rejected you can re-submit another offer. If your offer is countered you can continue to negotiate, accept the counteroffer, or walk away.

Currently, in Indiana, homes typically stay on the market for 43 days . But every market goes through seasonal changes. During some months, homes get snatched up more quickly than in others.

Depending on when you're house hunting, you might have to make an offer sooner than you'd expect — especially if homes spend fewer days on market than the annual average.

If your offer is accepted, you will work with your agent towards closing on the property.

Post steps after buying the house

So if your offer is accepted, congrats. You have successfully made a purchase. But hold on before you start taking out that champagne bottle. Buying a house is not the same as buying other physical goods. There are many post steps that you need to take care of before you can say that the house is completely yours.

Complete the numerous contingencies in the offer

Once your offer is accepted you will need to begin satisfying the numerous contingencies you reserved in the offer and satisfy any other items included in the offer. Often, you will be making an earnest money deposit, and this is usually first.

Inspection

Inspections give you peace of mind about the condition of the property. You should always hire a licensed inspector and make sure they check out the following parts of the property:

  • Roof

  • Foundation

  • Electrical system

  • HVAC system

  • Plumbing

If the home has a septic system, it's also a good idea to pay for a septic inspection that scopes out the system with cameras to look for any potential issues.

Aside from a general inspection, Indiana also recommends buyers have the following inspections and testing done before closing on a home:

  • Radon Testing: While it's not required by law, Indiana strongly recommends that homes are tested for radon. If the seller hasn't had the house's radon levels tested recently, consider having it tested before closing on the home.

  • Termite Inspection: If you're applying for a VA or FHA loan, you'll most likely be required to have a termite and pest inspection in Indiana.

Appraisals

Unlike an inspection, an appraisal isn't strictly about the condition of the home; it's about its value. If you're taking out a mortgage, your lender will require an appraisal to ensure the house is worth the amount of money they're giving you.

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Final steps

When it's time to close, you'll be able to do a final walkthrough of the property to ensure it's still in the expected condition. While you might be excited for the buying process to be over, stay focused so you don't miss anything.

During the walkthrough, be sure to run through the following checklist:

  • Inspect the ceilings, walls, and floors for cracks chipped or peeling paint or other imperfections

  • Test every light switch and electrical outlet

  • Run the water to look for leaks and check the pressure and temperature

  • Flush all toilets

  • Make sure you have working keys for all the doors (don't forget any garage door openers or smart lock technology)

  • Test any appliances that are included in the sale

  • Check the heating and air conditioning system

  • Open and close all windows while checking that they lock and there are no unexpected drafts

  • Make sure all trash or belongings from the previous owners have been removed

On closing day, be prepared to sign a ton of paperwork. Your agent (or your lawyer) should explain every document before closing, but still, ask any remaining questions you have before signing.

That’s it. You have successfully bought a house in Indiana now. Let’s open that Champagne bottle or Sparkling Wine bottle now!

In a nutshell, if we have to summarize the entire house buying process in Indiana, it is something like the following:

  • Get your finances in order. You'll need a solid credit score and debt-to-income ratio, an appropriate down payment, and enough savings to cover closing costs and homeownership expenses.

  • Decide what neighbourhood is right for you. Find an area that fits your lifestyle and is a good investment for the future.

  • Partner with the right real estate agent. A great agent will have experience in your area and price range. They'll also be able to help you throughout the home buying process.

  • Get pre-approved. Most sellers won't show their home to buyers who aren't pre-approved. Do your research and find a lender that offers the best interest rates and terms and that will ensure the deal closes.

  • Go house hunting. Compare your options and make sure you understand your local market and what its condition means for your choices.

  • Make a strong offer. Price isn't the only factor sellers consider. Talk with your realtor so you can make a competitive offer that benefits you and the seller.

  • Prepare for inspections and appraisals. Inspections and appraisals give you and your lender peace of mind about the purchase but are prepared for more negotiating if anything unexpected comes up.

  • Do a final walkthrough and close. Take the time to check the entire house closely. Once you officially close on the house, it's all yours!

I hope this article provided some useful information about buying a house in Indiana. Do let us know in the comment section and ask your questions. We will be happy to help.

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