Look for active listings in the greater Bloomington area.
Learn about the guy you may spend hours with in a car, driving around looking at properties.
There are lots of things you can do to get your house out the door, so to speak.
Buying a home is a little like peeling an onion - first you lop off the parts you don't want.
Houses and properties that Brian's customers are selling.
First, welcome to town! Second, here's a whole site about how to find a place to live in Bloomington.
Rental properties managed by Brian - apartments and houses.
Brian's answered a bunch of questions about Real Estate, especially in Bloomington and Monroe County.
People who have worked with Brian talk about why they made the right decision.

Buying a Home in Bloomington / Monroe County

 

 

 

 

 

Ask Me Anything


Please include an email address
or phone number, and I'll get you an answer.

 

 

I go into a little more detail on some of these topics on the FAQ page.

 

 

Brian Lappin Real Estate, Bloomington, Indiana

 

 

 

 

Useful Links

Google Maps
The kindly and wealthy folks at Google have driven all over Bloomington, creating a "Street View" of every road. This lets you plug in an address of a house you're considering, and look at it from the street. You can also look at the houses across the street and and look at your potential neighbors. You can see if two houses down there's a park, or possibly a trailer park.

When looking for a new home, there are some important decisions to make to help you locate the right one.

We've all heard the Realtor's mantra, "Location, location, location." It is far from the complete story, but it is important. When I get a picture of the sort of house you're looking for, I can help you find the right fit in terms of neighborhoods and other geographic parameters.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to get the ball rolling. It could be useful to actually write down your answers.

Questions to be answered in your first meeting

  • Do you see yourself walking or biking to work or shopping?
  • Do you want to be near a large body of water?
  • Do you enjoy the suburban tapestry?
  • Do you want a lot of land?
  • Would you like to live in the country?
  • Is public transportation an important option?
  • Is new construction or owning an older home important to you?
  • Do you want to live in an older neighborhood?
  • What's your budget?
  • How important is a basement?
  • Are there any features that you would very much like to have, such as a 3-car garage, swiming pool, deck, outbuilding(s), mature trees, etc.?
  • Would living in a condomium be an option?
  • Do you want to live downtown?
  • Will you be entertaining extensively in your new home?

If you live in Bloomington, you might not be familiar with all neighborhoods, but there might be some you like or don't like. Talking about these will help me suggest other neighborhoods that could be similar in some ways.

If you are moving to Bloomington from out of town, you might consider subscribing to the local paper online and look through the real estate and home section. The local Board of Realtors has a very nice online house listing site called Homefinder. If you can get access, set up a more personalized MyHomefinder site. Make a list of what's important. Decide where you want to end up. I'll use my experience to look for and email you properties to look at.

I've found that in the homebuying process people have their own list of things that they want, but the homebuying experience is not so unique that if you take ten properties that have some similarities and you line them all up and you look at them that many people will pick the same 3 or 4 as the best ones. Houses have a way of stepping forward from the rest of their competitors. Parameters: price range, square footage, bedrooms, baths, basement, lot size, garage, part of town. We go over the list, but they're not all equal. The best ones have a way of revealing themselves. I think you have to go in and poke them.

There is no magic formula

When deciding how much to offer on a house, I don't think there's a magic formula. I've met people who like to use magic formulas, such as everything should be 10% less. Or if it's a sellers market, 3% less. My personal view is that if you look at 10 houses, three or four of them will reveal themselves as the best houses. The best of them, within similar parameters, including price, may be priced properly. And there shouldn't be a lot of negotiation there. I'm sorry to say that, but there are houses that are actually worth more than they're listed for. It's rare, but it exists. And there are houses that are clearly overpriced.

History

We also look at the history of a listing, which is available to Realtors. When I send people listing information – the detailed sheet. What I do is choose the listing history button, then I copy and send that. And it's good to know. People want to know. If you've got a property that's been on the market for 280 days, you know, I've got to think that they're a little more motivated. Something's wrong. There's work that needs to be done that they refuse to do. Or they don't want to sell.

Location

When you're thinking about where in Bloomington to live, I think that one of the important things to consider is where do you and your family travel. Do you work on campus? The east or west side of town? Do you shop downtown or on the west side? There's a lot of parameters involved in that choice. School districts if you have kids. Do you like an older, more mature neighborhood? Tax rates? Bike trails? Public transportation? What sort of urban development? Commute times? Parks? Do you want the option of walking or biking to work? Biking or walking to shopping?

Get a Good Inspector

In terms of looking for flaws in a house you're considering, I think everyone's got to have a qualified, quality home inspector in there. Some people have that talent themselves, but most people don't. They can't rely on their abilities to assess a property, and I can make assessments to a certain extent, but I'm not going to be able to tell if a place does or doesn't have termites or radon. I'm not going to check out the crawl-space. But I can point out certain structural elements that are positive or negative. There are a lot of under-engineered properties here, whether when they were built, or remodeled -- re-muddled in a way that has taken away from that. There are a lot of older properties that I walk in and go, “This house, when it was first built was lovely. Now look what's happened.” But it's difficult to bring that all back.

A lot of people don't like older architecture. Some people prefer it – the charm. A lot of people perceive that the old houses were built better than newer ones, but that's not necessarily true.

Get a good inspector.

Search Online

To do some online house hunting of your own I can set you up with your own personalized My Homefinder account which gives you a level of access, a level of searching that is a level higher than what's available to the general public. Licensed realtors do have some more powerful searching tools, but this account is the closest to that.

The problem with the general, public realty searches is that you get results that are much too long. You need to define your choices to whittle it down to something manageable.

Just looking through the house listings is an exhausting process anyway. Not everybody can stand that level of frustration. So by having the next level up – My Homefinder – personalizing your search, you get a lower frustration level by getting a little better quality of searching. And once I start working with someone, they have the right to expect me to do searching as well and sort of select and score the properties. I can make the process more efficient.

We might come up with a list of 30 properties that satisfy certain criteria, but only 12 of them make any sense with what they're looking for.

People only have so much time to look at properties and you should look at ones that are the most appropriate rather than looking at way too many houses, which can be confusing. It's better to have some focus.