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Top 100 School Districts in Illinois!

by Rose Price

Once again the Champaign/Urbana IL area has 3 area school districts that have earned spots on the highly coveted list of the TOP 100 SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN ILLINOIS for 2016! With 863 School Districts in Illinois, earning a spot on this list isn't an easy task, you have to be truly outstanding in virtually every category. For the 3 School Districts that have found their way to this list, I feel they exemplify this type of achievement in their school programs on a daily basis. These districts are:

URBANA SCHOOL DISTRICT #116

 

 

TUSCOLA COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #301

 

MOUNT ZION COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #3

 

 

 

 

Fall Selling Tips

by Rose Price

Fall Selling Tips

Fall officially began Sept. 23, but don’t give up on selling your home. October, November and December can actually be very good months to sell. 

Conventional thinking has always been that if you miss the spring selling season, your done, forget it, wait until next year.  However, things have changed.  More single, first-time and millennial buyers as well as baby boomers are looking to buy (and sell).  The market is great.  Also, almost all sales begin online and via apps. Buyers don't have to take time to drive around -- they can sit down with a tablet in their pajamas and search for homes.  An additional bonus when selling your home in the winter is that there will be fewer homes on the market, so yours will stand out that much more.  

So, thanks to the internet, ever more hectic schedules and mobile lifestyles, the fall months are no longer a real estate dead end. Buyers are still out there and with less competition, your odds are actually pretty good!  So, put that sign back up. 

Here are some extra tips to help you sell your home in the fall. 

 

Add Curb Appeal

This is always important.  A home sale begins with the first look; whether they are driving past the home or viewing it online. So it’s important to keep the exterior of the home looking it’s best. Also, you live in your home, you’re there every day, so it may be hard to take an objective view, so ask a friend or neighbor to give you a brutally honest opinion.  Don’t be sensitive to the response, it will ultimately help you sell your home faster.  Are the leaves picked up? Are there balls in the yard? Bicycles? How do the gutters look?  Are the downspouts clogged with leaves?  It’s a good idea to pressure wash your siding, deck, patios, and driveway to really make them pop. You could also snazz up that lawn and plant seasonal flowers like  Mums.  It’ll add that little something extra, and make your home more inviting. 

Make The Price Right

All home buyers comparison shop and with help from their realtor they will definitely know when a home is overpriced. The price you want for the house has nothing to do with the price you’ll get for the house.  Price your home to sell and trust your realtor.  Really, it’s what you’re paying them for and if you don’t absolutely trust them, then you shouldn’t be working with them.  Remember, if your home is priced too high, buyers won’t even look at the property.  The other good part of the fall is that this time of year buyers are ready to make an offer quickly, even more of a reason to price the home correctly the first time.  Overprice it, and you’ll be holding on to it all winter.

 

 

Web Appeal

Web appeal is the new curb appeal,  even more so.  This is the reality of today.  You need to pay attention to how you are presenting your home on the web.  All home buyers start their home search online, so the first impression of your home will come from viewing the pictures in the listing. So, make sure you have a lot of photos; both exteriors and all of the rooms, any unique features, close-ups, wide shots, all of it.  Make your home stand out.  That being said, don’t take any photos until you first de-clutter, de-personalize and clean.  Add some extra ambient lighting and try to make the rooms appear as big as possible (achieved from taking photos at certain angles).  Also, as the seasons change, so should your pictures.  You don’t want a home you are trying to sell in the winter to be presented in the summer. This is really beneficial in the fall, because of all the warm colors of the leaves, make your home look beautiful. 

Make Your Home Move-In Ready

It’s ever more important to make your home move-in ready!  Take care of small improvements and repairs now.  If the home needs new carpet, put it in. If rooms need a fresh paint job, get them painted. When buyers look at your home they are imagining living there…they don’t want to imagine all of the time and costs of doing these things themselves. The same goes for repairs. Replace damaged screens, dripping faucets, repair scratches on floors and cabinets, replace broken tiles, etc. Fixing these problems gives you a competitive advantage over other sellers not willing to take the time.  Staging has also become important. Staging presents the best features of the home as well as the home’s potential. If you can’t afford to hire a professional, google it.  You’ll find plenty of tips online or you could always ask your realtor for tips!  They’ve done it before. 

Get Comfy Cozy

With colder weather buyers want to feel cozy.  Before showing your home, fill the home with pleasing aromas of the season by burning a cinnamon-scented candle or baking pumpkin cupcakes. And turn the hear up, make sure it’s warm in the house.  Viewings in the fall are also subject to the changing light patterns; it gets darker earlier, so make sure there is enough lighting throughout the home to compensate. Emphasize comfort in your home!  Maybe a satin table cloth, and comfy plush towels. Use the natural beauty of your house.  If you have a fireplace, accentuate it!  All these things will help you sell your home quickly this fall. 

Landscaping and the Fall Selling Season

by Rose Price

Now that Fall has begun in the Champaign area, and the selling season is off to a terrific start, it's important to be mindful of the first impression a potential buyer has of your home.  Many interested buyers will drive by a home and neighborhood to get a feel for what living there would be like.  So you need to make sure that you've put your best foot forward and that means making sure the front of your home and it's landscaping are up to par and says "Welcome to our Home".

Although this is usually the last place you look to "tidy up", prospective buyers can be very particular about the landscaping of the home and may not even get  to the inside if they don't like what they see outside.  Therefore, it is important to make sure your landscape say's "this homeowner pay's attention to details and has kept up all the maintenance of this home".

First place to start...your lawn! Buyers love to see pretty green grass, regardless of season, so make sure you have kept the grass cut to a low manicured level- usually 3 inches, and have used seasonal seeding in areas that are sparse. Watering may be necessary with seeding or to perk it up, so water a few times if needed.  A few brown spots are bound to happen, and aren't the end of the world, you'll just make sure that the focal point is elsewhere.

Second, make sure you've edged your sidewalks and driveways, and taken care of any weeds that are lurking in and behind bushes and shrubs.  Using a Round Up type weed killer will save your knees , and will make sure you've gotten even the most stubborn weeds out of the way. It is also the season for those lovely Fall leaves to cover the ground, so be sure to rake on a consistent basis and bag the leaves as you go.

Third, make sure your shrubs and bushes are nicely trimmed, and pruned, if necessary. Nothing is worse that driving up to a home with bushes and shrubs that are overgrown. If you have wood chips or stones around these areas, you may want to add a few bags just to freshen them up. A little effort goes a long way with landscaping basics, and you'll be surprised how beautiful it will look.

Lastly, add a "pop" of color! Although we have beautiful colors in the trees, once leaves are on the ground they look pretty dingy, so look for some Fall flowers that will give you a nice spot of color and emphasize the entrance to the home. Chrysanthemums, Mums, Sunflowers , and Astors are all hearty Fall flowers and take minimum effort to keep them looking great.

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