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Santa Claus and the Magic Champaign/Urbana Key!

by Rose Price

"You better watch out, You better not cry, You better not pout, I'm telling you why.....Santa Claus is Coming to Venice!"

Yes, that’s right! The countdown to the arrival of Santa Claus is quickly winding down and that means one thing to us! We MUST be on our BEST BEHAVIOR if Santa Claus is to shimmy down our chimney with his enormous red velvet bag of wonderful toys.

While you are decking the halls, and hanging the mistletoe, you may be wondering how Santa is going to be dropping off your presents if you're part of the 55% of homeowners without a fireplace. With only 45% of homes in the U.S having a fireplace, according to the Hearth and Home, it looks like good ole' Mr. Santa Claus needs an alternative entry point into 55% of the homes in Champaign/Urbana on Christmas Eve this year!

No need to fret, Champaignrose believes in the Magic of the Home & family, especially around the holidays! I knew Santa had to have a very special way of getting to all those good children in all the homes that didn't have the Fireplace for him to come down.....so I asked his head Elf. "How does Santa get into a home that doesn't have a chimney for him to get in?" 

He looked up at us with his snow, sparkling face, smiled and said.....that's easy!  Magic and his special Champaign/Urbana Key!

Santa’s Magic Key Poem                                                                      

Dear Santa, we have no chimney                                                                                                                                                                                       as you can plainly see,

And I was terribly worried

that you would pass over me.                                                                                                                

We hung this very special key

right by the door.

Then Mom told me to jump into bed;

and not to worry anymore.

Your magic will make this key fit,

to open our door.

So you can come in tonight

and tip-toe across the floor.

So you see, Santa has his special key he uses whenever he can't get in a chimney, or if a chimney is a little too small from all the Christmas Cookies Santa has eaten at the houses he has already visited. So little ones rest assured that Santa will always be able to bring you your presents wherever you may be. Just remember to leave him some cookies and milk...... and maybe some carrots for the Reindeer too.

If you'd like to become a homeowner in Champaign/Urbana IL, please give us a call or check out our website at www.champaignrose.com

Selling Your Champaign/Urbana IL Home

by Rose Price

It's spring and you've always been told that this is the perfect time to put your Champaign/Urbana IL Home on the market. That's TRUE, but what else should you focus on to insure that your home sells quickly; at the highest possible price? Here are a few things to consider when you're looking objectively at your Champaign/Urbana IL Home:

You know you have an incredible house that you've put your loving touch into, but what else can you let potential Buyer's know?

 1. Are you living in an area with spectacular views of wooded lands, water, historical significance?

 2. What is your neighborhood like? Is it extra friendly where neighbor helps neighbor when someone's in need?

 3. Your local schools....what are they like, can you highlight something specific with the teachers, teaching philosophy, awards?

 4. Do you have outdoor living space? Great patio or deck, outside stove for cooking summer meals, plenty of space for entertaining?

5. Is your yard exceptionally large or beautifully landscaped?

6. Do you have a corner lot?

 7. Have you recently put on a new roof, siding, shingles, windows?

Then look inside your home and do the same.

1. Do you have a fireplace and hearth that is different than many they may see in other homes?

 2. What about your kitchen, the heart of your home? Granite or Marble Countertops? Designed by a Home Interior Professional? Center island with vegetable sink?

 3. Is your home friendly to the environment? Have you used energy efficient windows & doors, do you have solar panels, is the flooring bamboo or cork?

 4. What about storage space, mud rooms, bonus rooms?

 5. Are there beautiful hardwood floors under your carpets?

                      

The graph above shows the percentage of home buyers that felt these "Hidden Gems" were worth every penny they cost in the overall sales price of a home.

 These are all things that you want to highlight about your home, that shows the buyer the difference and special "gems" in your home versus other ones they may look at... and why your home is the only one they'll want to buy. At ChampaignRose, I look at all these special selling points with you to develop a marketing strategy that optimizes these features and in turn highlights them for potential buyers.

 If you plan to put your Champaign/Urbana IL home on the market  this spring, NOW IS THE TIME. Give me a call and I'll be happy to come to your home and evaluate all these points with you, and will share up to date market conditions here in Champaign/Urbana. Buying & Selling homes in the Champaign/Urbana IL area is what I do best! I've lived her my entire life, and participate in many community projects and events. I also am a consistent Top 1% Producer in the Champaign/Urbana area. That means I have exceptional local knowledge, most current real estate information  which will give your home the exposure and fast sale you deserve.

Champaign Illinois Housing Facts for Today's Marketplace

by Rose Price

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

by Rose Price

As 2014 comes to an end, I want to Thank all of you for your faith and trust in me to handle all your Champaign/Urbana area Real Estate Needs!

I've lived here for 20+ years, and know the area so well, and love to share with my past and present clients all the great reasons to live in the Champaign/Urbana area.

I'm looking forward to 2014 and all the possibilities it will bring for all of us. Please check out my new site...downtownchampaignrose.com to learn everything you need to know about Downtown Champaign, Midtown and Campustown.  I'm so excited for this site to go live...it's going to be incredible!

In closing, I wish you and your families an abundance of Christmas blessings and a happy, healthy & prosperous NEW YEAR!

5 Tips to Prevent Theft When Moving

by Rose Price

5 Tips to Prevent Theft When Moving

  1. Protect the contents of the medicine cabinet . Medicine is stolen more often than anything else. Hard narcotics and prescription drugs will sell for big money on the street, protect them by packing discreetly. Did you know that pain pills like, Codeine, Morphene or Vicadin can sell for as much as five dollars on the street and expensive perfume is impossible to trace?
  2. Inventory your sports equipment. Equipment like, surfboards, climbing gear, kayaks, quality bikes, snowboards, skiis,skates and more, are sometimes stolen by neighborhood kids as well as thieves as you prepare to move. So if you can, move your sports equipment yourself.
  3. Secure your financial information. Pack and transport bank statements,  investment info, social security numbers, bills and anything that has your personal information. Did you know that your date of birth, social security number and one credit card statement can be combined and easily be sold on the black market for as much as $1,000.00 dollars. Identity thieves are almost impossible to catch. Even more frustrating is the fact that you'll spend countless hours trying to correct your credit agency profiles. So contact your banks and credit card companies and the post office to give them your new address and instruct them to verify all credit requests by phone.
  4. Protect your fine china, crystal and sterling silver. Believe it or not, these items sometimes disappear and aren't there upon your arrival. Even expensive bowls get removed from moving boxes. Sometimes it takes weeks before you even realize they're gone.
  5. Inventory and be certain about  your jewelry. Gold, silver, and precious stones can easily be pawned or sold for big  money. Thieves can quickly slip items like these into a pocket on moving day. I advise you to put these items in the same box with your medicine cabinet contents; and put them in your carry on bag or a personal bag that's always with you. 

I hope these moving tips help you. Have a powerful day!

Champaign IL Real Estate Market

by Rose Price

CHAMPAIGN IL Real Estate Market Update

Champaign County Home sales continue to surpass last years home sales, during the same time periods, even though mortgage rates have begun rising.

The Champaign County Association of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service reports that 349 homes were sold in June. That's up from 330 sales in June 2012. The Champaign County Association of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service also reported that, the value of those homes sold was $58 million, compared with home sales figures of $56.9 million last June. Again, trending up.

I'm seeing an increase in buyer activity and closed sales even though interest rates have begun climbing. If you are looking to buy a home in Champaign IL, in the near future, you may want to buy now to get more house for your money or to save money due to the cost of higher interest rates.

According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.; In June,  the average interest rate for the U.S. North Central region, was;  4.08 percent on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.This is up from a rate of 3.55 percent in May.

I believe activity and demand will stay strong until the Fall. June also showed strong numbers for: Pending sales,under contract sales and sales awaiting closing, which were at  318, compared with 233 pending sales last June. Still trending up.

The association reported 1,238 home sales January to June, 2013 This is an increase over the 1,149 sold in  the first half of 2012. This means that sales are 7.74 percent ahead of the same period last year.
2013  sales totaled $191 million, which is up from $184.3 million for the same period last year. June sales volume accounted for 30 percent of that $191 million, showing just how strong June has been this year.

The median home sales price for the Champaign County region was $145,000 in June, down from $155,500 in June 2012. So were selling more but at lower per home purchase prices. The year-to-date median price was $135,000, compared with a median price of $140,000 for the first six months of 2012. Home sale prices was the only category that trended down so far.

Days on the market also continue to go down across Illinois. According to the Illinois Association of Realtors, homes are staying on the market an average of 83 days. Last year homes were on the market roughly 103 days. Again, showing an active Champaign Illinois Real Estate Market. Champaign County Home Buyers and Home Sellers, are coming to terms in the improving Champaign Real Estate Market.

Rose Price - "Have a Powerful Day"

6 Ways to Go Organic

by Rose Price

Champaign Illinois your Weekend Destination

by Rose Price

Come visit this vibrant city! Champaign IL has so much to offer........................

This weekend is our BLUES,BREWS and BBQ festival! What's better than a little BBQ in fabulous Champaign IL,  with the Blues playing all weekend!

Champaign Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival

Then on Saturday, June 29th, our Bloomington Gold Corvette show Road Rally! Always fun to see all these great vehicles, and don't forget the GoldSchool Seminars will be held on Friday, June 28th from 8 am - 4 pm at the I-Hotel.

AS Templates

 

 

 

6 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS

by Rose Price

 

The typical American spends more time thinking about buying a car than buying a house. Even though the house they buy might wind up costing several times as much as the car.

Why is that? While buying a home has long been part of the American Dream, it’s a daunting task – especially for first-time homebuyers. Many would-be buyers, overwhelmed by the process and the current state of the market, give up and decide to rent.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The fact is, today’s housing market is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for first-time buyers. Interest rates are at near-record lows, homes are more affordable than they have been in years and there are plenty of homes for sale (with more on the way, thanks to the foreclosure crisis). Buyers are more likely to truly find the home of their dreams than they were in years past.

Based on the questions I’ve received over the years, I’ve compiled a list of 6 tips every first-time home buyer should take. Keep these tips in mind as you begin the search for your perfect home, and I’m sure your experience will be far easier.

Tip #1: What’s the budget? This is the question my husband asked me when we were shopping for our first home. It seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many buyers don’t start by figuring out how much money they have to spend on their house purchase. It’s easy to show up at open houses and fall in love, but why waste time looking at homes that are out of your price range? The last thing you want is to find your dream home and realize it’s way over your budget.

Banks will tell you that you can spend up to 28 percent of your gross monthly income (GMI) on your mortgage, taxes and homeowners’ insurance premium, and up to 36 percent on your total debt. If you take out an FHA loan, you can go even higher – to 42 percent of your GMI.
The problem is 42 percent of your GMI will feel like nearly 60 percent of your take home pay, or more if you are contributing to a 401(k) at work. Remember this: Just because someone will lend you more money doesn’t mean you should borrow it.

To calculate a housing budget you can live with, start by figuring out how much you spend each month. Track your daily expenses in a notebook over the course of four weeks to get a real sense of how much is going out and where you’re spending most of your available cash. Watch your savings and calculate how long it will take you to come up with a down payment.

Before you commit to a mortgage amount, be sure to take the true cost of making those monthly principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments each month and apply them to your take-home pay. Don’t worry about mortgage deductions or the after-tax consequences – just look at the numbers and think about what else you spend each month and try to understand if you’ll feel comfortable. Because if you can’t sleep at night worrying about paying the mortgage or fixing your broken water heater, you’re spending too much.

Tip #2: Come up with a realistic wish-list. The key here is ‘realistic.’ Based on the housing budget you figured out, and where you want to live, compile a list of what you’d like to have in your first home.

Research is helpful when putting together your list. Check out some homes in your price range online to get a feel for what your money will buy, and make your wish list based on the home you see. If you’d love a fully renovated kitchen but none of the listings in your price range have one, be prepared to compromise. You can always upgrade later, but you really shouldn’t spend more than you can afford just for nicer finishes.

Tip #3: Get pre-approved for a mortgage. In this market, many deals contingent on financing fall apart because buyers can’t find a bank to give them a mortgage. Getting pre-approved for your mortgage will help you avoid this problem. Start by shopping around for a lender. You should speak to at least three or four different types of lenders including big national banks, mortgage brokers, regional banks, local lenders and possibly a credit union. Check out the Yahoo! Homes Mortgage page to see a list of lenders in your area, along with estimated rates and payments.

Once you’ve compared a few loans from different types of lenders side-by-side and decided on the right one for you, it’s time to get pre-approved. Some lenders will charge for pre-approval, so be sure to ask about those costs up front. You’ll need to provide the lender with details of your credit, income and assets to start the process. The bank will verify everything and issue a letter that tells you, and sellers, how much the bank is willing to lend you.

Typically, pre-approvals are good for 60 to 90 days. If you don’t find a home within that period of time, you may need to re-qualify with your lender.

Tip #4: Find a good home inspector. A knowledgeable home inspector is just as important as a great real estate agent. Getting a home inspection can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, but it has to be thorough. Ask friends and co-workers for referrals, or find out if your real estate agent has anyone they would recommend.

Once you’ve gotten a few names, interview potential candidates. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: find out what their process is for inspecting a home, how long it usually takes, what their expertise is and what kind of information and paperwork you will receive after the inspection. If there’s anything special about the property you’re interested in – for example, a septic or propane tank – be sure the home inspector knows what to look for. Finally, be sure to follow up on any red flags in the home inspection report by hiring experts to come in and take a closer look at a possibly radon issue or evidence of a pest infestation.

Tip #5: Understand the true costs of homeownership. This tip comes from one of my Twitter followers in Florida, @pstaines. Many first-time home buyers get so caught up in the idea of owning a home that they forget about life after closing. The real costs begin after you move into the house. In addition to mortgage payments, you’ll owe taxes, insurance and homeowner’s association (HOA) fees, and be responsible for any maintenance issues that come up while you own the home.

These costs are all the more reason not to spend every last dime on your mortgage payment. If you have nothing left after paying your mortgage, you’ll be unable to pay all the other fees or save for unexpected expenses.
 
Tip #6: You may love the home, but get to know the neighborhood before you make an offer. This is another good tip from one of my Twitter followers, @abirenews in Atlanta. He suggests talking to the neighbors to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to live there. Bad neighbors can affect your property’s value, but good neighbors can be an invaluable resource to first-time homebuyers.
 
If you think you’ve found the neighborhood you want to buy in, take it a step further. Drive from your potential new home to your office during rush hour to see what the commute is like, and to places you’d go on a regular basis like the grocery store, gym and gas station.

There’s a lot to think about when buying your first home, but remembering these tips should help you navigate the process and avoid potential minefields. Take your time, do your research and don’t let anyone pressure you into buying a home you’re not completely sure of. In this market you’ll be there a while, so make sure it’s somewhere you want to live for the long-term. 

Preparing for Down Payment and Closing Costs

by Rose Price
 

Now that you've found the Champaign Illinois home that meets your needs. It time to start making offers and getting ready for closing.

A generation ago, it used to be the norm to put 20 percent down, but with the real estate market in its current state of flux, many first-time homebuyers are finding ways to pay just 3 to 5 percent of the total cost upfront. Federal Housing Act (FHA) loans increasingly have become a popular option for first-time buyers, says Greg Herb, regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors. These competitively low-interest loans are ideal for buyers with less than perfect credit, and because the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) minimizes the risk of default for lenders on these loans, borrowers are only required to put down 3.5 percent of the cost--a far cry from the traditional 20 percent down payment.

Still, there are advantages to paying more at the start. A larger down payment ultimately means smaller monthly bills down the line. Also, if you purchase a conventional loan (i.e.: one that is not backed by a federal agency), paying 20 percent or more upfront will eliminate the need to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) charges. PMI is insurance for your lender that can be paid upfront or in monthly installments, and is designed to offset your lender's risk in the case that you've paid less than 20 percent on your home. It can cost around $55 a month per $100,000 financed. While it's important to note that FHA loans also carry mortgage insurance with a down payment of under 20 percent, their low barriers to own still make them a good choice for first-time buyers.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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