Make An Offer

For most of the buyers, this is where the nerves show up. You found a home that you want. The listing price is only a starting point and I will guide you to make the most attractive offer, whether it’s below, at or above listing price. Once the offer is submitted you get to wait, and it will seem interminable. I will be with you through what comes next.

Step 7: Make an offer on a home you love

Step 8: You have an accepted contract. Now what?






Next Stage

Posted on March 29, 2020 at 3:10 am
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Get Ready

If you are financing your new home and we survived the inspection period, this is the time to pay close attention to your finances. Never miss a payment, make sure you are following the instructions of your lender, and also make the phone calls needed to make your home ready for you when you move in.

Step 17: Hire movers and start packing

Step 18: Hook up your utilities

Step 19: Get your down payment ready

Step 20: Secure your new home

Step 21: What is clear to close

Step 22: Wire transfer your down payment





Next Stage

Posted on March 29, 2020 at 2:00 am
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |


This is the day. Even when we will just sit around a table signing, it can be exhausting. You will go through a few steps this day and you will be a homeowner! The contract will specify exactly how soon you get to move in, and on that day you will get the keys and move in! I will get my REALTOR ® hat off, and put my friend one.

Step 23: Attend the walkthrough

Step 24: Attend closing

Step 25:  Wrapping things up





Back to the Beginning

Posted on March 29, 2020 at 1:00 am
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Inspection Period

If our offer included an inspection, this is a big day. Not only you will have an expert looking over the home to make sure there are no unseen defects that we might negotiate to have fixed. This is the day that you will spend the most time in your future home before closing. You can start measuring things and figuring out what goes where!

Step 9:  Schedule the home inspection

Step 10: Don’t spend extra money

Step 11: Schedule the closing on your calendar

Step 12: Set up homeowner’s insurance

Step 13: What is the inspection period?

Step 14: Attend the home inspection

Step 15: Read the inspection report

Step 16: The appraisal





Next Stage

Posted on March 29, 2020 at 12:17 am
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Thinking on Buying

You are doing the numbers, thought about where you are in life and you think it is time to buy a home. Knowing what to expect can reduce some of the anxiety and help you find your way to your new home.

Before you start looking for the perfect place, you need to be prepared to be the one that snags it from other buyers!

Step 1: Find a Realtor you feel will be your advocate

Step 2: Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage

Step 3: Download our home buyer’s checklist





Next Stage

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 3:30 am
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Look For It


By this time we’ve talked about what you really want and need in a home. Knowing this, your price range, and my knowledge of the area you want to live, I will send you a list of matching homes in the market and start our hunt!

Step 4: Find the home of your dreams: the 80/10/10 rule

Step 5: Time for showings

Step 6: Do you want a home warranty?







Next Stage

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 3:20 am
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Moving Day Cheat Sheet

Once you’ve bought your next home, the thought of getting settled in, decorating, and living in your new space is incredibly exciting. But the actual logistics of preparing for and executing your moving day…not so much.

For most of us, it’s a time filled with stress and anxiety. Packing might take longer than expected, movers could be running hours late, and you might forget to transfer utilities on time.

However, if you start preparing weeks in advance, the day itself can be much more manageable, even if there are some day-of hiccups. Follow the tips in our new moving day cheat sheet to help your big move go as smoothly as possible.

Posted on June 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Step 1: Find Your Realtor/Advocate

These days most people start their home buying search by looking at sites such as, Zillow, or Trulia. That’s completely understandable, but when you are ready to move beyond the searching phase to the purchasing phase, the First thing to do is hire a Realtor to represent you and advocate on your behalf.

Search engines are fun while you are looking, but tedious when you’re seriously trying to find your next home. They don’t tend to be accurate or up to date.  Those searches are actually advertising portals made to sell ad space, not be an active Realtor portal that provides the most accurate and up to date information.

A Realtor can set you up for automatic search via the BLC (Broker Listing Cooperative).  This means that each day (or how often you want to receive the search results) you’ll be emailed a list of all new properties matching your criteria or price reductions which now put a property in your budget.  This is a HUGE time saver.  And if you’re in a market like Indiana, where great properties sell in a matter of days, it can be an enormous advantage to be able to get in and to see a property within a day or two of it going on the market.

So, how do you find and pick a Realtor?

Well, hopefully, you’ll contact me at 317-413-1360 or so we can meet for coffee to see if we would be a good fit together.  Remember, not all Realtors are right for all people. You need to find someone who is not only great at his or her job but someone you like, as you’re going to be spending a lot of time with that person. See if you click. If so, you need to determine if that person has the experience, customer service, and understanding of the market that you’re looking for.

Start out by noticing how quickly the Realtor responds to your initial phone call or email.  If the Realtor doesn’t get back to you within a maximum of 24 hours, that’s a bad sign.  This business moves fast and deals can be lost if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly on your behalf during negotiations.

Second, understand how to work with a Realtor: Working With Real Estate Agents

Third, expect to sign a buyer representation agreement. Legally before you disclose confidential information to your Realtor, you should have a signed buyer representation agreement.  That helps to ensure that your Realtor will keep private information confidential.

So, let’s get together and have coffee and chat!









Have any questions?

Call or text: 317.413.1360

email me:


Posted on November 21, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Step 2: Get Preapproved for a Mortgage


So, You’ve picked ME as your Realtor…Yey!

Now what?

Now we need to get you ready and able to buy a home. This involves:


Buying a home involves A LOT of paperwork.  Don’t worry, you picked the right agent when you hired me.

I will introduce you to a unique solution called dotloop. It is an online workspace that connects everyone and everything needed to complete a real estate transaction in one place. dotloop allows us to edit, complete, sign, and share documents without ever needing to print, fax, or email. It helps us eliminate the paperwork and to keep your transaction organized. We save all the documents there, and you will be able to see the process in action while I do the work.

You will create an account and will be able to fill all of the forms needed, from the convenience of your phone, tablet or computer! You could also sign all of them in a secure and verified way.

It will speed up the process of buying a home, by giving you the ability to put an offer the moment we find THE ONE and any other document that will need your approval and signature from there.


As Realtors, we won’t put an offer in on a house for a client unless he or she has been preapproved.

Without a pre-approval, a Seller does not know if the offer is financially reliable. In addition, it’s essential that you have an understanding of how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a home, what your monthly payments will be as certain price points, what interest rate you qualify for, and how much you’ll be paying each month in taxes, home owner’s insurance, etc.

The Mortgage Underwriting Approval Process, it’s an article that I highly recommend all buyers read before applying for a mortgage.

Having the right mortgage lender is a crucial part of ensuring a smooth transaction. Working with a bad mortgage lender can make the process a living hell for everyone involved and put your purchase in jeopardy of not closing on time or at all.

You might end up regretting the lender you chose for years if you end up paying a higher interest rate than you should have if you had shopped your loan through various lenders. You could also lose out on your dream property because your mortgage lender was disorganized and couldn’t get you fully approved during underwriting, etc. That’s why it’s important to work with the best. We recommend:

Our Recommended Lenders

Sue Vyzral
Hallmark Home Mortgage

Nick Claghorn
AnnieMac Home Mortgage

Lisa Stayton
Amerifirst Home Mortgage

Janai Santana Roberts
Elements Financial

Paperwork You Need to Gather

Each lender has slightly different requirements regarding what documentation they need from you for the preapproval process, but in general, expect to provide the following items:
• A completed application. The lender will give this to you directly
• The two most recent months (or a quarterly statement) of any asset information listed on the application. Generally: checking, savings, 401k, mutual funds, individual stock accounts, IRA’s, etc
• The most recent month of a paystub
• Past two years’ worth of W2 (i.e., 2017 and 2018 W2)
• Past two years’ worth of US Tax Returns (i.e.. 2017 and 2018 Federal Tax Returns)
• 2017 and 2018 Corporate Tax Returns (if self-employed and you own over 25% of the company)

Getting a Pre-Approval Letter

Generally, once you submit the above items to your lender, you should receive a pre-approval letter within 2-3 business days. The lender may ask for additional documentation. They are not trying to be difficult by asking for additional documentation. After the housing bubble burst, underwriters became much stricter regarding the loan approval process, so a lot more documentation is needed today than it was 10 years ago.

In addition to receiving a pre-approval letter, which shows the amount you can afford to purchase, you should ask your lender to show you what that preapproval amounts into in terms of a monthly mortgage payment plus any PMI, taxes, and insurance. That way you can make sure you are comfortable with what your monthly housing payment will be at that pre-approval letter. Once you’ve received your pre-approval letter, forward it to me for your file so we can have it when we are ready to submit an offer.

Get a Loan Estimate and Understand Your Closing Costs

Also, mortgage lenders are required to provide you with a Loan Estimate (LE) within 3 days of receiving your pre-approval. The LE provides an estimate of the closing costs you’ll need on top of your down payment and shows exactly what fees the mortgage lender is charging you. Make sure you understand these fees.

Generally, we estimate closing costs to be approximately 2.5% of the purchase price of the property. Your mortgage lender can provide you with more detailed estimates: based on your exact pre-approval price. Remember, these closing costs are due at closing (except for the appraisal and inspection fees which are due on the day those services occur) and are on top of your down payment.

Therefore, if you’re buying a $500,000 property and putting down 20% towards the loan you’ll need to have $112,500 cash available at closing ($100,000 for your down payment and approximately $12,500 for the closing costs).

Should You Shop Your Loan Around?

Absolutely! Every lender charges different fees and different interest rates, so it’s crucial you shop your loan around to at least two lenders, in my opinion. We recommend waiting 2-3 weeks between meeting with lenders as the lender will need to pull your credit report to give you an accurate pre-approval letter. If your credit is pulled by various lenders in the same week, it could affect your credit by a few points. If you wait a few weeks between having your credit pulled it generally won’t affect your credit at all.





Have any questions?

Call, text: (317) 413-1360

email me at or

Posted on November 20, 2018 at 10:01 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |

Step 4: Finding the Home of Your Dreams

The 80.10.10 Rule

At this point, you’re probably excited and full of optimism.  You’ve gotten pre-approved, your Buyer’s Questionnaire printed out, and have (hopefully) started to complete it.  Now comes the most important step. Finding the right home.

Before we start, what is the 80/10/10 rule?  No home will be perfect but thinking through the process I’ve outlined below will help eliminate homes that simply will not work for your family.   However, once we begin looking at homes, I want you to think about them in this way:

  • Does this home meet 80% of my needs?
  • Can I change 10% to make the home meet 90% of my needs?
  • Can I live with the remaining 10% I cannot change?

Now make a list of your top 4-6 needs and a list of your top 4-6 wants.  Examples of needs are:

  • 3 bedrooms (because we have 2 kids and they will fight and drive us crazy if they have to share a room)
  • In a certain school district/s
  • Yard for the dog (because you’re sick of walking the dog in the dead of winter)
  • Central AC (because the kids are driving you crazy complaining about the heat)
  • Updated and move-in ready (because you don’t even own a hammer)

These are the things you absolutely cannot live without.  You won’t even see a property unless it has every one of the above items.  Get it?

Then, make a list of your wants.  Examples of wants are:

  • Hardwood floors throughout
  • Ensuite master bathroom with double sinks
  • Updated kitchen with granite and stainless steel
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Rainbows over the home, flying unicorns, and pots of gold in every room

These are the things you’d really like but can live without if needed (unless your budget is $40 million then we can probably find something with everything on your list).

Once you’ve made your lists, share them with me.  That way when you see a property you love with the kitchen of your dreams, we can remember that it doesn’t have central AC so we don’t waste time seeing it.  Once that’s done, I’ll set you up for an auto search on the BLC (Brokers Listing Cooperative).  This means that you will receive an email as new properties that come on the market matching your criteria as well as any price changes which put homes in your budget that were previously over your budget. It’s the best way to find a great home in Indy.

When the email comes in I need you to:

  1. Check the BLC to review all of the properties sent to you that day.  Hover over the shaded heart to mark properties you want to see as ‘Save as Favorite’.  That tells me to schedule that home when we schedule a time to see homes. Properties you want to think about longer ‘Save as Possibility’.  Properties you definitely don’t like mark as ‘Discard Listing’.  If you have any questions about a particular property once you click on the address to bring up more information, write those questions in the ‘Notes for you and your agent’ located under the pictures.  I’ll monitor those sections and will get answers to those questions to you.
  2. I’ll ask that you select your top four or five properties as your favorites; keeping the others as ‘Possibles’ or ‘Discard Listing’. When we look at homes, I’ll schedule your favorites and we should intend to make an offer. Note:  If time permits drive by the properties to look at the neighborhood; checking for anything undesirable.  Eliminate homes by driving by.  Don’t have time?  Consider Google Maps for undesirable buildings or structures nearby.
  3. If there’s something you want to see, shoot me a quick text or email letting me know when you’re available and what you want to see.  That way I can set up the showings.  Remember, some properties require 24 hours’ notice for showings or need time to prepare for a showing, but I will always my best to set a showing scheduled. Also, properties are usually available to be seen Mon – Fri from 9 am – 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am – 6:30 pm.  Sometimes sellers will allow us to view a property outside of those hours, but it’s up to the individual seller.  Also, during the spring and summer, great properties sell in 3-4 days so it’s important that you review the BLC email daily so we can jump on a great property as soon as you see it.
  4. Tell me when you are available. I’ll set up the showings and email you where we are meeting and when.
  5. Remember to wear comfortable slip-on shoes for showings as we’ll generally need to take them on and off at each property.
  6. I’ll bring printouts for each property so no need for you to bring anything other than snacks or drinks if you think you might get hungry.

While you’re looking at the BLC feeds each day I’ll also be networking our contacts to find you homes, before they go on the market.

At this point there should be no need for you to continue to look on other sites such as Zillow, Trulia, etc. as all of those properties should be showing up in your BLC feed. For more accurate search and save time going through unfitting properties, we can tweak the search parameters of your BLC feed so you will only spend time reviewing the ones that can get your heart start fluttering!

Now on to the showings!





Have any questions?

Call or text: (317) 413-1360

or email me at

Posted on November 20, 2018 at 8:13 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Buyer Step by Step |