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Displaying blog entries 101-107 of 107

What is The Role of a Property Appraiser?

by Rose Price

Are you a first time buyer looking for your perfect home in Champaign, IL? If so, you may wonder what a home appraiser does. Home appraisers are a necessary part of your real estate transaction and it is important to know exactly what the appraiser's responsibilities are.

One of the most common misconception about appraisers is that they work for the home seller. Actually, appraisers are hired to be impartial and provide an accurate "value" to your home in order for lenders to determine if the collateral supports the debt. These same lenders are also putting a lot of pressure on appraisers which result in higher than market value home appraisals.

If you are buying or selling a home it is a good idea to do some research on the role of appraisers and how they effect you.

Below are some quick facts your should know about the appraiser and the process:

•Appraisers are licensed by individual states after completing coursework and internship hours that familiarize them with their real estate markets.

•The lender might use an appraiser on its staff, or contract with an independent appraiser. If you are allowed to choose the appraiser, and it isn't someone the lender is familiar with, the results might be subject to review before they are accepted.

•The appraiser should be an objective third party, someone who has no financial or other connection to any person involved in the transaction.

•The property being appraised is called the subject property.

•You will probably pay for the appraisal when you apply for your loan.

What You'll See on a Residential Appraisal Report

Appraisals are very detailed reports, but here are a few things they include:


•Details about the subject property, along with side-by-side comparisons of three similar properties.

•An evaluation of the overall real estate market in the area.

•Statements about issues the appraiser feels are harmful to the property's value, such as poor access to the property.

•Notations about seriously flawed characteristics, such as a crumbling foundation.

•An estimate of the average sales time for the property.

•What type of area the home is in (a development, stand alone acreage, etc.).

 

Contact us if you have any advice or experience with home appraisers that you would like to share that might help local homebuyers!

 

 

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Use Curb Appeal and Good First Impressions to Sell Your Home

by Rose Price

With the general consensus being that it's a buyers market, the current real estate market can be very competitive for Champaign home sellers.  You need to make your home stand our to buyers by allowing them to envision themself calling your house home. How do you do that? With impressive curb appeal and awesome first impressions! 

This is where the home staging process begins and by following a few important staging tips, you will be prepared to  wow potential buyers and create an unforgettable home shopping experience.

Begin with your front yard. It should be inviting and clean. A good wash or fresh stain to the exterior of your home will present a fresh clean look.

Your lawns, shrubs and trees should be trimmed and flower beds and pots weeded so as not to take away from the exterior view of your home. If you are selling during the winter season, be sure to free the walkway of any snow or ice.  If the outside is inviting,  buyers will want to continue inside your home. 

Now that you have attracted a buyer into your home, first impressions don't stop there. A buyer will know within minutes of stepping foot into your home if they want to take a thorough look through the home.

A few things to consider when staging the interior of your home include the following:

  • Keep your home clean and free of clutter. Old newspapers and knick knacks do not attract buyers!
  • Remove "personalization" in your home by taking down family photos, knick-knacks and such.
  • Eliminate any strong scents that may be in your home (i.e. pet odors, candle scents, cigarette smells, etc.)  A fresh coat of paint is always a good idea that could help freshen and clean-up a room.
  • Some rooms in your home may appear small to some buyers so you may want consider removing extra furniture in a room to give the illusion of more space. The same effect can be achieved by eliminating clutter from closets.
  • Burn some calories with your cleaning and impress you buyer!  

Home staging is a tried and true method of getting the edge to sell your home and having curb appeal to draw potential buyers in is key! Contact me with any questions, I would be happy to help you with selling tips!

 

 

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Hidden Benefits to Buying a Home

by Rose Price

If you have been thinking of buying a home, chances are that you have asked yourself the standard questions: Have you saved enough money for a down payment? Can you afford the expenses associated with owning a home? Are you going to stay in the home for a short period of time or is this home a place you intend on living in for years to come? Can you qualify for a mortgage?

There is alot to think about and if you are considering the benefits of home ownership, some of those benefits are missed by homebuyers when considering their options.

Tax deductions when you own a home

Mortgage interest tax deduction. First-time homebuyers may be pleasantly surprised when they file their personal income taxes after they purchase a home as their primary residence. The interest payments they have made to their lender are fully deductible. When you start making mortgage payments, almost the whole loan payment consists of interest. In the early years, you pay little principal back on the loan. If you have an equity loan on that primary residence, you can also deduct interest paid to the lender on loans up to $100,000.

Property tax deduction.

In addition to the mortgage interest tax deduction, you can also deduct on your federal income taxes your real estate tax payments associated with your primary residence. IRS Publication 530 has more information about how to deduct your property taxes. And, for now, it seems that Congress will continue the mortgage interest tax deduction and the real estate property tax deduction.

Buying a home with extra perks

Buying a historical property. Buying a historical home has its pros and cons. You may be able to buy a home with history and heritage, but you may have to pay quite a bit more to renovate and keep up with home maintenance. If your historic home is in an historic district, you may have other limitations on what you can do with your home and how you must maintain the home. There may be a federal tax credit and state tax credit available to owners of historic property. In some parts of the country, if you own a historic home, you may be able to get a real estate tax benefit from your local tax assessor’s office. Thirty states now offer state rehabilitation tax credits for historical properties. Keep in mind that you may have to comply with certain building standards to keep and maintain historic property to receive a tax benefit. If you’re willing to put in the work to maintain a historical home and restore it to its original beauty, you may benefit financially. Start your search for a historic home with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Buying in a community targeted by state or federal governments for redevelopment.

One of the most important rules of real estate is Location, Location, Location. In some cases, you can benefit by finding a neighborhood that has the backing of the federal or state government. Some government agencies will give lenders incentives to have them lend money in certain communities and neighborhoods. If you can qualify for these benefits, you might find that the interest rate on your loan is below market or that some of the closing costs associated with your purchase are covered by the lender or the governmental agency. The Community Reinvestment Act is a federal law that encourages lenders to meet the needs of borrowers in low- to moderate-income communities and the location of some of these properties can be targeted under specially designated census tracts. Talk to your mortgage broker or real estate agent to find out if you can look at homes in these census tracts.

Additional benefits of home ownership

Building Equity. At the beginning of the life of your loan, you will be paying most of your payment to interest. But every month, that balance will shift and you will be paying more of your payment toward principal and less to interest. Instead of paying rent to a landlord, you will be making the payment toward your investment in equity. While the last decade has not been a good one for homebuyers, historically, when you make your monthly payments, you will find that your loan balance decreases and you increase equity in your home.

Freedom of being a homeowner. If you look at rental listings you might find such criteria as “no pets” or “no painting.” Owning your own house gives you the freedom to make your home into whatever you want it to be, and the satisfaction that comes with building a home. You can make changes and upgrade your home, building more of an investment in your future and being the king or queen of your castle.

Owning a home is a big step and you should think carefully about what home you purchase for you and your family. Do you still have questions about owning a home? Contact me!


 

Tips for Being a Good Host and a Good Guest

by Rose Price

Having a home in Champaign, IL during the holidays means that you have access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country this time of year. While holiday get togethers are fun they can also be stressful!  Here are a few tips to ensure that you have a fun holiday weekend with your family and friends this Holiday.

Holiday: Tips for Hosts and Guests

Hosting the big holiday dinner is a huge responsibility. It's normal to feel overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, decorating, and maintaining the guest list. (And let’s not even begin to think about the clean-up afterwards!) Here are some tips on how to make  your holiday fun for everyone.

1.  Remember, people will take your food- So, plan for leftovers ahead of time. Have some extra Styrofoam containers, paper plates, aluminum foil, and plastic grocery bags available for guests so they can take a little morsel or two home at the end of the evening. This will prevent the loss of your favorite Tupperware, plates, or bowls from your own cabinets

2.  Prepare for clean-up- Be sure to keep some extra cleaning supplies nearby just in case an accident happens, and it is also a good idea to always keep some soapy dishwater in the sink for used cutlery and plates as guests finish eating.

3.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help-As the host or hostess, it’s easy to assume that it’ your responsibility to do everything. This isn’t true! Asking for help with cooking, decorating, or cleaning will be a fun, easy way to get things done efficiently.

4.  Don’t leave out the specialty foods-Make sure that there is a variety of things for all of your guests to eat. It’s usually good to have a few dishes that are vegetarian, vegan, low-fat, and/or low-carb.

 

As a guest, it is important to remember that you have many responsibilities as well when it comes to showing good manners.

1.  Be thankful for the invitation. A thank-you note or small gift (such as candles or box of chocolates) is a great way to show appreciation to your host or hostess. Also, it is a good idea to offer to bring a dish, even if it is not a potluck dinner.

2.  If you have special food needs (such as vegetarian, low sodium, sugar free), you need to make sure your host or hostess is aware of the situation and can make necessary accommodations for you.

3.  Timing really is everything- Simple concept: if dinner starts at 7p.m., be there at 7p.m.! It is always a good idea to arrive on time or no later than half an hour after the scheduled time.

4.  Be available to help- Remember, your host/hostess has gone through a lot of work to accommodate you. It is of utmost importance that you do as much as you can to lend a helping hand when you have the opportunity.

If you have any holiday tips we’d love to hear from you! Have a Happy Holiday!

How to Have a Good Move!

by Rose Price

If you have just purchased a Central Illinois home and will be moving soon, you know that you will need to deal with the dreaded packing and unpacking!  Not many people enjoy this process, but it can be a lot less stressful if you are organized and make a plan. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Plan ahead and research the best price and service if you will you require the assistance of a moving company. It’s a good idea to price this out ahead of time by using a moving calculator.
 

Stock up on the following supplies: strong packing boxes (more than you think you will need), markers and tags to label boxes, rolls of packing tape, bubble wrap for fragile items, packing paper, scissors and a knife for opening boxes.
 

Pack room-to-room keeping similar items together and use smaller boxes for heavier items so it is easier to lift.
 

You don't need to spend alot of money on packing items to protect your delicate items. You can use towels, linens and curtains to line the bottom and sides of boxes with fragile items. All fragile items should be individually wrapped and clearly marked FRAGILE.
 

Make sure that any opened boxes or jars are tightly sealed before packing them. You don't want to find out that the bleach spilled once you have reached your new home!
 

Use colorful tags to identify the contents of the box and which room it will be taken to in your new home.


There will be so much to do and it will be easy to forget what you have. Make a master list of all household items and personal belongings.
 

Be sure to pack a box with all the essentials and mark it “Open Me First.” This box may contain items such as: a few basic tools (flashlight, pocket knife, masking tape, light bulbs), bathroom essentials (toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes & paste, hand towel), Kitchen items (paper towels, coffee maker & filter, paper plates, cups, utensils, pet food, trash bags).
 
Moving to a new home should be an exciting time and planning ahead will make all the difference to avoid a experience  Do you have any helpful moving tips that worked for you? Share them with us!

 

 

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Is Now the Time to Refinance?

by Rose Price

As interest rates drop to historic lows, several homeowners in Champaign, IL are making the decision to take advantage of refinancing their home. Keep in mind, even if your neighbor is refinancing, it might not be the right move for you. Below are some things you need to take into consideration before making your final decision regarding refinancing.

Although rates are low right now, the present economic crisis has caused a lot of lenders to reduce the amount of loans they give out.  This is a drastic change from the last few years when requirements were very loose and almost anyone was eligible for a mortgage. If you are figuring out how to save on your mortgage refinance, its vital to make sure you do your homework and get your facts right.

First, look at your loan-to-value ratio. In a no-cash-out refinancing (where the amount of your new loan doesn't exceed the balance of your existing loan, plus points and closing costs, if applicable), you may be able to borrow as much as 95% of your home's value. However, if the value of your home has fallen below the amount of your existing mortgage balance, you may not be able to refinance at all. This sadly, has been the case for many homes.  But you may be able to proceed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009's Home Affordable Refinance program.

The major advantage of refinancing to a new lower interest rate is that you will save a substantial amount on your monthly mortgage payment. This is of course why most people choose to refinance their mortgage. It is important to keep in mind however that there are going to be costs involved with refinancing such as closing costs, points, and possible appraisal  and attorney fees.

Do your research and shop around for the best refinancing interest rates. All banks are not created equal, some banks and financial institutions charge higher rates than others. Normally, the smaller Community Banks and Credit Unions are more consumers oriented and charge lower rates.

In addition, when shopping around, look and compare interest rates and points versus no points before you refinance. Look out for embedded points included in the closing costs. Keep in mind, some lenders will include points in the closing cost without necessarily actually quoting these costs as points.

As a homeowner, it is important you do your research and educate yourself -- reach out to a professional who can walk you through refinancing as it's not a one size fits all solution.   

Have questions? Contact me today for help understanding the entire refinancing process.

 

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Did You Know Your Cell Phone Can Do This?

by Rose Price

Cell phones are a part of life and most of us carry them everywhere and are lost if we forget it at home!  While technology has improved over the years that cell phones can do so many things we never imagined. However, there are some other neat tricks that can help in an emergency that you might not have known. Below 5 things you never knew your cell phone could do! These tips might be helpful as we begin the holiday travel in Central Illinois.

1. Emergency - The emergency number worldwide for mobile phone is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number, 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked.

2. Hidden Battery Power - This seems to happen when we need our phones the most! Not to worry, to activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with a reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This, reserve will get charges when you charge your cell the next time.

3. Have You Locked Your Keys In The Car? Does your car have the remote keyless entry? If you lock your keys in the car and you have the remote keyless entry and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock doors or the trunk.

4. How To Disable A Stolen Mobile Phone - To check your mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone - *#06# A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. If your phone gets stolen, you can call your handset provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. If everyone does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

5. Free Directory Service For Cell Phones - Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. When you need to use 411 information, simply dial: 800-FREE411 or 800-373-3411 without incurring any charge at all.

 

 

 

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Displaying blog entries 101-107 of 107

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