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Roommate Tips, Unique Homes

Historic Indiana Schoolhouse From 1883 Gets an A-Plus Transformation

Fort Wayne schoolhouseTony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The room where students at District School No. 4 once learned their ABCs has been transformed into a grand living space.

On the market for $683,000, the converted schoolhouse on Aboite Center Road in Fort Wayne, IN, is now a one-of-a-kind single-family home.

“To find an intact one-room schoolhouse is hard. Then on top of that, for it to be made into this gorgeous home with a back addition? The way they did it is just incredible,” says the listing agent, Andrea Zehr.

Built in 1883 and last used as a schoolhouse in 1938, the historic structure sat empty and forlorn for decades. The current owners began renovating it in 2016, after the former owner finally agreed to sell it.

“The prior owner would not sell it unless there was someone that was going to not tear it down and do right by it,” Zehr explains. “There were definitely other people that wanted to buy it and then take it down—and he would not sell it.”

Interior of former schoolhouse in Fort Wayne, IN

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Exterior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Addition

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Historic photo

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Before renovation

Schoolhouse owners

During renovation

Schoolhouse owners

During renovation

Schoolhouse owners

Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Entry

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Inside, the former schoolhouse serves as an open space with areas for dining and relaxing. Where the kitchen island now stands is where the original schoolhouse structure ends—the space beyond was added by the current owners.

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Watch: Roll With It: $359K W. Virginia Property Includes a Skate Rink

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The addition to the original structure resulted in two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a basement with an office and extra living space.

Kitchen

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Kitchen

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The kitchen features cherry cabinets, a copper farm sink, 12-foot ceilings, and floors made from wainscoting from the schoolhouse.

Hallway

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The master bedroom opens to a patio, and the master bathroom includes dual sinks, LED lights, Bluetooth speakers, and a heated towel rack.

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The basement has 9-foot ceilings and a built-in sleeping area under the stairs, as well as a desk area and space for entertaining. Outside, there’s also a swim spa year-round exercise pool.

Aerial view of exercise pool

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Outdoor space

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The current owners make a living dismantling old barns and reclaiming the wood. They used some of that material as well as other repurposed items for this project.

“They restored everything that they could. The things they couldn’t salvage or had to replace were replaced with things that were repurposed,” Zehr explains.

For example, there’s barn wood from a 1950s barn, lighting from an old building, a door that came from an elementary school in the Iowa town where the two owners met, and much more.

Original chalkboard on display

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Before renovation

Schoolhouse owners

They also gave a proper nod to the property’s past—using original chalkboards as wall decor.

“The original slate chalkboard was still there when they purchased this property. The writing on it predates 1938, when the last classes were held there, so it’s pretty special,” Zehr says.

Exterior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The exterior of the original schoolhouse is brick, with a slate roof. The addition features a metal roof and vinyl siding.

“The reason why they didn’t try to do more brick on the exterior for the addition is because it’s so hard to match. So they went with siding and a barn kind of look,” Zehr explains.

The agent noted that the addition was carefully designed to align with the slim profile of the schoolhouse, so that it didn’t look like an afterthought. It’s the same width, going straight back, and doesn’t interfere with the front view of the original structure.

Aerial view

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Sadly, the school’s original bell tower was unstable and could not be salvaged.

The schoolhouse design was the work of the architect John F. Wing, a well-known Indiana architect in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His firm designed several buildings, including the gymnasium at Purdue University and many schools.

The owners spent several years converting the schoolhouse into their home, but are ready to move on.

“I think that perfect buyer is someone that really loves and appreciates the history,” Zehr says. “It’s just a really amazing sight.”

Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Kitchen and interior space

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Hallway and stairs

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The post Historic Indiana Schoolhouse From 1883 Gets an A-Plus Transformation appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Home Decor, Mortgage, Refinance, Unique Homes

5 Rampant Mortgage Myths You’ll Hear These Days—Completely Debunked

These days, things are changing so fast, it’s tough to keep up. That’s especially true in the mortgage industry, where interest rates and the overall home loan landscape are shifting with such head-spinning speed, it’s easy for outdated information to circulate, leading home buyers and homeowners astray.

You may have heard, for instance, that everyone can score a record-low interest rate, or that refinancing is a no-brainer, or that mortgage forbearance means you don’t have to pay back your loan, ever. Sorry, but none of these rumors is true—and falling for them could cost you dearly.

To help home buyers and homeowners separate fact from fiction, we asked experts to highlight some rampant mortgage mistruths out there today. Whether you’re looking to buy or refinance, these are some reality checks you’ll be glad to know.

Myth No. 1: Everyone qualifies for low interest rates

There’s a lot of buzz about record-low mortgage interest rates lately. Most recently, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.88% for the week of Aug. 6, according to Freddie Mac.

This is great news for borrowers, but here’s the rub: “Not everyone will qualify for the lowest rates,” explains Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®.

So who stands to get the best rates? Namely, borrowers with a good credit score, Hale says. Most lenders require a minimum credit score of about 620. Some lenders might require an even higher threshold (more on that later).

Your credit score isn’t the only factor affecting what interest rate you get. It also depends on the size of your down payment, type of home, type of loan, and much more. So, keep your expectations in check, and make sure to shop around to increase the odds you’ll get a good rate.

Myth No. 2: Getting a mortgage today is easy

Many assume today’s low interest rates mean that getting a mortgage will be a breeze. On the contrary, these low rates mean just about everyone is trying to get a mortgage, or refinance the one they have. This glut of applicants, combined with the uncertain economy, means some lenders may actually tighten loan requirements.

In fact, a realtor.com analysis found that 5% to 20% of potential borrowers may struggle to get a mortgage because of these stricter standards. And getting a mortgage could become even tougher if the recession gets worse.

For example, some lenders may also require higher minimum credit scores and larger down payments. In April, JPMorgan Chase began requiring a 700 minimum credit score and 20% down payment.

Jason Lee, executive vice president and director of capital markets at Flagstar Bank, says some lenders aren’t offering the loans that are considered riskier—such as jumbo loans, which exceed the conforming loan limit (for 2020, that max is $510,400).

“There aren’t as many loan products available,” Lee says.

And even if you do manage to get a loan, it may take longer than you’d typically expect.

“Based on low rates and a high volume of refinances, loans are taking longer to complete from application to closing,” says Staci Titsworth, a regional mortgage manager for PNC Bank.

As such, borrowers should ask their lender how long the process will take to close, and make sure they’re aware of the expiration date on the interest rate they’ve locked in—since with rates this low, they could go up.

“Most lenders are locking in the customer’s interest rate so it’s protected from market fluctuations,” Titsworth adds.

Myth No. 3: Everyone should refinance their mortgage

“With mortgage rates hovering near record lows, a refinance can make sense and can help free up monthly cash flow,” Hale says.

Still, not everyone should refinance. Homeowners should make sure to take a good hard look at their situation to see whether it makes sense for them.

For one, it will depend on your current interest rate. If it’s low already, it may not be worth the trouble—particularly since refinancing comes with fees amounting to around 2% to 6% of your loan amount.

Given these upfront costs, refinancing often makes sense only if you plan to remain in your house for a while.

In general, “refinancing is a good idea for homeowners who plan to live in the same home for several years, because they will reap the monthly savings over a longer time period,” Hale explains.

Myth No. 4: You can apply for a mortgage after you’ve found a home

Many people assume that you can find your dream home first, then apply for the mortgage. But that’s backward—now more than ever. Today, your first stop when shopping for a house should be a mortgage lender or broker, who can get you pre-approved for a home loan.

For “a buyer in a competitive market, it’s typically essential to have pre-approval done in order to submit an offer, so getting it done before you even look at homes is a smart move that will enable a buyer to move fast to put an offer in on the right home,” Hale says.

Mortgage pre-approval is all the more essential in the era of the coronavirus pandemic. Why? Because many home sellers, leery of letting just anyone tour their home, want to know a buyer is serious—and has the cash and financing to make a firm offer. As such, some real estate agents and sellers require a pre-approval letter before a potential buyer can view a home in person.

Nonetheless, according to a realtor.com survey conducted in June of over 2,000 active home shoppers who plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, only 52% obtained a pre-approval letter before beginning their home search, which means nearly half of home buyers are missing this crucial piece of paperwork.

Aside from getting their foot in the door of homes they want to see, home buyers benefit from pre-approval in other ways. Since pre-approval lets you know exactly how much money a lender will loan you, it also helps you target the right homes within your budget.

After all, as Lee points out, “You don’t want to get your heart set on a home only to find out you can’t afford it.”

Myth No. 5: Mortgage forbearance means you don’t have to pay back your loan

The record unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means millions of Americans have struggled to pay their mortgages. To get some relief, many have been granted mortgage forbearance.

Nearly 8% of mortgages, or 3.8 million homeowners, were in forbearance as of July 26, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The problem? Many mistakenly assume that mortgage forbearance means you won’t have to pay your loan, period. But forbearance means different things for different homeowners, depending on the terms of the mortgage and what type of arrangement was worked out with the lender.

“Forbearance is not forgiveness,” Lee says. “Rather, it’s a timeout from having to make a mortgage payment where your servicer—the company you send your mortgage payments to—will ensure that negative impacts to your credit report and late fees will not occur. However, because forbearance is not forgiveness, you will need to reach some sort of resolution with your loan servicer about the missed payments.”

The paused payments may be added to the back end of the loan or repaid over time.

“It does not forgive the payments, meaning the borrower still owes the money,” Hale says. “The specifics of when payments need to be made up will vary from borrower to borrower.”

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

Source: realtor.com

Home Decor, Unique Homes

The Pros and Cons of Building vs. Buying as a First-time Homeowner

As the seller’s market continues, many first-time homebuyers are deciding which route is best for them: buying an existing home or building a new one. While the right answer varies from person-to-person, there are several pros and cons for each option. As the housing inventory shortage continues, new construction has grown in popularity but the demand still outpaces the supply, so many buyers look to existing construction. Understanding what each option entails will help homebuyers make a better, more informed decision in their home buying journey.

building a homebuilding a home

Read: How New Constructions are Helping Ease the Housing Shortage

Buying an Existing Home

Existing homes are often referred to as resale homes. “Resales are properties that are previously owned and re-selling not new.”

How To Know If an Existing Home Is The Right Choice For You

Sonia Graham, Realtor with JPAR Maryland Living advises that “Existing homes are a great choice too  – you can tell if the bones are good; neighborhoods are established. Maybe you want something with good bones and a vintage feel that you can also update.”

Things To Consider With Existing Homes

Graham states in the Annapolis-Baltimore area that approximately 65% of recent sales are existing construction and that, “we are in a seller’s market here in Maryland. Homes are being priced really well, however, because of the lack of inventory, homes get sold at higher than listing.” This is true across the U.S. In September 2020, existing home sales increased by 9.4% from the previous month and 20.9% increase from last year for a total of 6.5 million homes.

existing home buying vs buildingexisting home buying vs building
  • Total housing inventory declined from the prior month and one year ago to 47 million, enough to last 2.7 months at the current sales pace. What this means for buyers: There are less homes to choose from.
  • Existing homes prices were up 14.8% from September 2019 and according to the National Association of Realtors “September’s national price increase marks 103 straight months of year-over-year gains.” What this means for buyers: You may pay more for less home depending on your budget.
  • In September 2020 properties remained on the market for 3 weeks – an all time low according to NAR. What this means for buyers: The market is fast paced and requires buyers to decide and act quickly to secure a home.
  • Eighteen-percent of September 2020 sales were purchased by cash buyers according to NAR’s data. What this means for buyers: Buyers must make strong, clean offers to compete against the large portion of cash buyers.
  • For homes that sold in August 2020, homeowners had just over 3 offers on their home according to NAR. What this means for buyers: Expect that you will have to compete and present your highest and best offer every time.

Buying A New Construction Home

Housing starts, or new construction, rose 8.1% from this time last year, according to National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun. Sonia Graham says that 37% the Annapolis-Baltimore home sales have been new construction. And there’s a reason the new construction has grown in popularity: it’s helping to ease the housing shortage.

construction buying vs buildingconstruction buying vs building

How To Know If New Construction Is The Right Choice For You

Sonia Graham states that with new construction “the biggest incentive is the closing help; using the builder’s lender generally keeps the cost lower for the builder and so they have more room to offer incentives.”

Read: Questions to Ask Before Buying Land to Build Your Dream Home

Read: When Should We Start Building Our Home? Pros and Cons of Building in the Spring

Things To Consider With New Construction

As Graham says, “everyone loves the idea of being the first to live in a home – nothing used by anyone before, everything sparkly and brand new…” However, it’s important to understand no home is perfect; existing or new. This is why Graham strongly suggests “using the home inspector your Realtor works with… red flags will be found in the home inspection.”

  • “Housing starts had hit 1.617 million in January and fell to 934,000 in May. The recovery hit a snag due to the shortage and rising cost of lumber, with the price of softwood lumber up 81% year-over-year as of September”, according to NAR’s latest data. What this means for buyers: As lumber prices increase, so will new home cost. The increase cost in lumber is ultimately transferred to the buyer.
  • Thirty-nine percent of buyers choose new construction to “avoid renovations or problems with plumbing or electricity.” What this means for buyers: There should be no looming large expenses like a roof or plumbing with new construction.
  • Closing costs are negotiable. Unlike with existing homes, builders tend to be more open to paying for some or all a buyer’s closing costs. This should be negotiated early-on and put into writing between the buyer and builder. What this means for the buyer: If the burden of closing costs AND a down payment are an issue, new construction could possibly ease that burden by helping with closing costs.
  • Builders provide warranties, but read the fine print! Builders will typically provide a one year builder’s warranty; however, they don’t cover everything. It’s advised that buyers request to see a copy of the warranty prior to purchasing the home. Buyers may also purchase additional home warranty options which cover more.

To decide which option is best, it’s important that as a buyer you work with an experienced and knowledgeable Realtor that is proficient in both areas. As Sonia Graham reminds, “Its truly a family by family choice and neither is “right or wrong” as a whole – just “right or wrong ” for the client and their family.” By working with a Realtor, buyers can feel comfortable and informed on which choice is best for them. To start your new or existing home search, download the Homes.com app on your smartphone or search via the web.


Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She’s passionate about the power of real estate. She’s also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.

Source: homes.com

Home Decor, Unique Homes

A Guide To Everything You Need To Know About Home Ownership Costs [Free Download]

Along with the excitement of purchasing a new home, comes the additional costs that you will be expected to pay as a homeowner. Apart from covering the mortgage of your home, you’ll have additional expenses – such as home insurance – that you will be expected to cover. If you’re looking to budget for a home purchase, it’s important that you consider these costs as they can add up to thousands of dollars each year.

To help you make educated decisions when budgeting, we’ve compiled a list of the major home ownership costs in one free, downloadable guide. Get the Home Ownership Costs to Consider guide here.

Home Insurance

Home insurance policies help protect against serious damage and destruction, like fires, leaks, floods, or break-ins. It also protects a homeowner from personal liability. Some banks may offer home insurance products, although you can typically purchase a home insurance policy through a home insurance agent or broker. 

Tip: You may get better rates if you use a broker or agent. It’s also important to keep in mind that policies typically renew on an annual basis.

Condo Fees

The cost of maintenance fees should be taken into account when you’re buying a condo. This recurring cost is in addition to your mortgage and impacts how much home you can afford. 

Your mandatory monthly fee will vary by your building and square footage. It typically covers:

  • Utilities (such as water and garbage collection)
  • Building insurance
  • Maintenance of common areas (such as the gym, pool, front desk, hallways, landscaping)
  • Building reserve fund (covers emergencies and long-term maintenance projects such as a new roof or elevators repairs)

What Are Status Certificates?

If you’re looking to purchase a condo, you’ll want to look into obtaining a status certificate so that you have as much information about the building and your unit as possible before buying. A status certificate provides valuable information about the condo corporation and its financial

situation. It includes details on the budget, legal issues, the reserve fund, maintenance fees, and any fee increases expected in the future. 

Tip: You’ll want to carefully review your status certificate with your lawyer before making a purchase.

Property Tax

Property taxes are paid annually by homeowners to their municipality. These taxes are ongoing and are separate from your mortgage. Your annual property tax can often be paid in installments.

Tip: It’s important to remember that this cost is not due at closing, but is a recurring cost.

How Are Property Taxes Calculated?

Your property tax rate will vary depending on the value of your property as assessed by your provincial assessment authority. This is then multiplied by a rate that falls between 0.5% to 2.5%.

How Do You Pay Property Taxes?

You can pay your property taxes either through your mortgage provider or directly to your municipality. 

Your Utility Bills

When you purchase a home, you’ll have to set up or transfer your utility bills to your new home. If you live in a condo, these costs may be included in your monthly maintenance fee. Your utility bill will include:

  • Hydro (electricity)
  • Heat
  • Water and Garbage
  • Internet, Phone, Cable

For the full details on the home buyer’s journey including examples, advice, pictures and sample calculations, download a copy of our free Home Ownership Costs to Consider Guide here.

Source: zoocasa.com