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Avoiding Home Owner Assoc. Horrors

by Rose Price

Only about 25 percent of homeowners purchase a property in a development, that has a homeowners association, or HOA. Now all home ownership has issues, but HOA's have unique operational, legal and financial issues that buyers must consider and perform their due diligence when purchasing in a common interest development. It's ultimately the buyers choice, but many people won't even consider purchasing in an HOA these days because of the many horror stories associated with this type of home ownership. 
I read about some of those HOA horror stories in a great article and wanted to share them with you. 

Click this link to read this article on Home Owner Association Horrors:

http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2013/09/10/avoiding-hoa-contract-problems/

Originally written and posted by: 

By Leonard Baron

By Zillow   | Posted Sep 10th 2013 9:00AM

 

Champaign IL Real Estate Tax Bills

by Rose Price

Champaign Real Estate Taxes

By now you should have received your Champaign County Tax Bill. The Champaign County Collector mailed roughly 76,000 real estate tax bills that will result in collecting over $285 million dollars. This revenue will go to over 125 tax districts (schools, cities, etc.).

Real estate tax bills were mailed May 3, 2013. The first installment was due June 3, 2013 (30 days after the bills were mailed) and the second installment will be due on September 3, 2013. If haven’t received your tax bill, contact the Champaign County Collector at 217-384-3743.

A single tax bill includes the full year's taxes with two installment payment coupons. There is no second bill for the second installment. Taxes must be paid in two equal installments. Partial payments are not allowed by law.

The Champaign County Treasurer’s office offers many convenient ways to pay.  

1. In person at the Champaign County Treasurer’s office at the Brookens Center, 1776 E. Washington, Urbana, Illinois using cash, personal/business checks (except 30 days prior to the tax sale) or VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and VISA Debit. A convenience fee averaging 1.75% is required on all credit card transactions. A flat $3.95 convenience fee is required for VISA Debit transactions. Champaign County receives no revenue from the convenience fee. We do not accept 2 party checks as a form of payment.

2. At your local participating bank with the original tax bill. (Follow this link for a List of Banks that accept payment)

3. 24-Hour Drop Box in the south circle drive of Brookens Center

4. Mail your payment. A United States Postal Service Postmark is accepted as date of payment for the calculation of late fees. 

5. Internet payments using VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and VISA Debit at: www.illinoisepay.com  (A convenience fee averaging 1.75% is required on all credit card transactions.  A flat fee of $3.95 is required on all VISA Debit transactions). Champaign County receives no revenue from the convenience fee.

6. Toll free telephone payments using VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and VISA Debit at: 1-877-690-3729 (Jurisdiction code 7004). (A convenience fee averaging 1.75% is required on all credit card transactions.  A flat fee of $3.95 is required on all VISA Debit transactions). Champaign County receives no revenue from the convenience fee.

7. Automatic Deduction from bank account. See form included in your tax bill or go to the Treasurer Forms page on this website to print out a form.

The above information is provided by the Champaign County Treasurer’s Office

Know Before You Go with Facebook

by Rose Price

In a tight economy, many people are having to look far and wide for the right job opportunities.  Which can mean moving to unfamiliar places, a daunting prospect, especially if you have school-age children.  Finding the right neighborhoods and school districts is a vital part of making the experience a good one in the long run.

To get the information you need to make a good decision, you’ll rely a lot on a local real estate professional, someone who has an established network of contacts throughout the area.  But, you probably have your own network, and it’s a perfect time to put it to use.

I’m talking about Facebook and other social media sites.  If you’re a regular online, let your friends and contacts know where you’re planning to move and ask them for information about the area.  Ask about neighborhoods, schools, local parks and attractions, favorite restaurants and other places that may soon be a big part of your new life.  If your Facebook friends don’t know themselves, maybe they have other friends that do.

You can do the same thing with other services like Twitter or LinkedIn.  Tweeting something like: “Planning to move to Champaign. What are the best schools in town? #Champaign” is a simple way to solicit information from a variety of people. 

If you already have a job in the new location, make sure to ask your new company’s human resources department for any assistance they can offer you.  Find out specifics like where you’ll need to go to get your car registered and a new driver’s license.  Churches can be an excellent resource as well.

Of course, you’re going to want to see your options personally before you make any decision. And you can plan ahead for your scouting trip by using services like Yelp to pinpoint specific shops, services and restaurants that will be important to you. 

And having prepared before you tour the area with a real estate professional, you’ll be in a much better position to ask specific questions and provide information that will make your search for a new home a much easier and enjoyable experience.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company. Photo courtesy dougtone/flickr.com

 

Is Your Lawn Feeling The Heat Wave?

by Rose Price - Champaign, Illinois Real Estate

Making a good first impression when you’re trying to sell your home is vital, and one of the first things prospective buyers are going to see is your front yard.  There’s nothing quite as important as having a luxurious, well-maintained landscape to set the scene when a buyer first sees your property. 

Unfortunately, this summer’s heat waves are taking a major toll on landscaping. But there are several things you can do to avoid a scraggly, brown grass, withered shrubs and dead flowers.

When caring for the lawn, remember not to cut the grass too short.  Making your front yard look like a putting green might be nice, but trimming that closely to the ground can wind up doing far more harm than good in a hot, dry climate.  Set your lawn mower to cut just the scraggly tops of the grass and your lawn will reward you for it. 

In dryer climates, the lack of rain means lawns will dry out and go dormant.  It won’t die, but it won’t be a gorgeous, healthy looking green.  Keeping it looking that way requires regular watering, and if mother nature isn’t helping, you’ll need to get out the sprinklers and hoses.

Now would be a good time to remind you to check to see if you’re under watering restrictions, a common ordinance in areas affected by drought.  Watering rules can be very specific and the fines expensive.  If you have a sprinkler system, double check to make sure it’s set to run only during the allowed time frame.

Watering a large lawn can be an expensive proposition when the water bill comes.  You can make the most of watering by doing it at night, when the sun won’t evaporate the moisture before it has time to soak into the ground.  Soaker hoses cost about the same as regular hoses, but use less water more efficiently.

Soaker hoses are also ideal for keeping shrubs, flower beds and gardens alive during the brutal summer months.  Heat and lack of rain can kill delicate plants quickly, so keep a close eye on them and keep them well-watered if you want them to stay looking good for the entire season.

You can save yourself a lot of headaches ahead of time by planting drought resistant strains of grass and plants, especially in areas where the soil quality is poor.  And make sure you feed your landscape with the right amount of the proper fertilizers.

Without mother nature’s help, maintaining a beautiful lawn may take a little work, but the result is well worth the effort when you want to sell your home.

 

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate Champaignrose.com
ChampaignRose.com

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What is Your Home Worth?

by Rose Price

Homes in Champaign Il, like the rest of the country, has seen home prices bounce around the last several years. The same question is always being asked, "How much is my home really worth?"

Being informed and know what your home will sell for today will should be the first step in preparing to sell your Champaign, IL home.  A home is worth what someone will pay for it. Everything else is an estimate of value. To determine a property's value, most people turn to either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis.

An appraisal is a certified appraiser's estimate amenities, energy efficiency, the quality of the of the value of a home at a given point in time. To make their determination, appraisers consider square footage, construction quality, design, floor plan, neighborhood and availability of transportation, shopping and schools. Appraisers also take lot size, topography, view and landscaping into account.

The list price is the price tag put on a house in a real estate listing; it usually is only an estimate of what the seller would like to get for the property. The sales price is the amount a property actually sells for. It may be the same as the listing price, or higher or lower, depending on how accurately the property was originally priced and on market conditions.

A seller may need to adjust the listing price if there have been no offers within the first few months of the property's listing period.

The appraisal value is a certified appraiser's estimate of the worth of a property, and is based on comparable sales, the condition of the property and numerous other factors. Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process; fees range from $200 to $300. Appraisers use several factors when estimating value including historical records, property performance, condition of the home and indices that forecast future value.

Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a real estate agent or broker. Because brokers and agents are not state-certified appraisers, they may not perform appraisals in most states. Instead, they estimate the value of a property using a CMA.

You can do your own cost comparison by looking up recent sales of comparable properties in public records. These records are available at local recorder's or assessor's offices, through private companies or on the Internet. Neither of these services produce official appraisals. They also don't factor in market nuances or other issues a certified appraiser or real estate professional might in assessing the value of your home.

 

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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Garden Clubs of Illinois Flower Show

by Rose Price

Looking for something FREE to do in Champaign, Illinois?

An advanced standard flower show of the Garden Clubs of Illinois, Inc. will be free and open to the public Saturday, June 9, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana.  Exhibits include floral design,  horticulture and educational.

It's more fun sharing your gardening expertise and learning from others. Garden clubs offer opportunities to make new friends and acquire new skills. No wonder their membership is growing.

For more information you can call 630-617-9269  or email  gardenclubsill@aol.com

Thanks .news-gazette.com for the info on this great Champaign, Illinois event!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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Dealing with Credit Score

by Rose Price

If you've been searching for a new Champaign, Illinois home then I'm sure you've heard the words "credit score" quite a few times. With the Illinois lenders tightening their requirements it is more important than ever.

You credit score is commonly referred to as a FICO score, and is a proprietary tool created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. This is not the only way to get a credit score, but the FICO score is the measure that is most commonly used by lenders to determine the risk involved in a particular loan.

Due to the proprietary nature of the FICO score, the Fair Isaac company does not reveal the exact formula it uses to compute this number. However, what is known is that the calculation is broken into five major categories with varying levels of importance. These categories, with weigh in brackets, are payment history (35%), amount owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%) and type of credit used (10%). All of these categories are taken into account in your overall score - no one area or incident determines your score.

The payment history category reviews how well you have met your prior obligations on various account types. It also looks for previous problems in your payment history such as bankruptcy, collections and delinquency. It takes into consideration the size of these problems, the time it took to resolve them, and how long it has been since the problems appeared. The more problems you have in your credit history, the weaker your credit score will be.

One of the largest components that is reviewed is the amount that you currently owe to lenders. While this category focuses on your current amount of debt, it also looks at the number of different accounts and the specific types of accounts that you hold. This area is focused on your present financial situation, and a large amount of debt from many sources will have an adverse effect on your score.

The other categories (length of credit history, new credit and type of credit used) are fairly straightforward. The longer you have a good credit history, the better. Of course, common sense dictates that someone who has never been late with payment over twenty years is a much safer bet than someone who has been only made on time payments for a few years. Also, people who apply for credit a lot probably already have financial pressures causing them to do so, so each time you apply for credit, your score gets dinged a little. Finally, a person with only one credit card is less risky than a person with 10, so the more types of credit accounts you have, the lower your score will be.

It is important to understand that your credit score only looks at the information contained on your credit report and does not reflect additional information that your lender may consider in its appraisal. For example, your credit report does not include such things as current income, debt to income ration, and length of employment. However, because your credit score is a key tool used by lending agencies, it is important that you maintain and improve it periodically.

Your credit score is a major factor when purchasing a home, especially in this tight lending environment. Contact me today if you have any questions about your credit score.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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City Wide Garage Sale

by Rose Price

Looking for some great deals in the Champaign, Illinois area?  Now is your big chance! Who knows what you may find at Paxton, Illinois'  city wide Garage sale! It will be continuing both June 1st and 2nd from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm.

The last several years they've had approximately 100 sales!

Maps will be available at both Caseys locations and Colonial Pantry. www.paxtongaragesales.com has all the sites listed where you could find the deal of a life time. From games to clothes, antiques and jewelry. They will have it all!

Won't be in Paxton during the weekend? What about Farmer City? They will also be having a city wide garage sale June 1st and 2nd from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm!

For more information call 309-928-2676 or write an email to msv101985@yahoo.com

 

Thanks New-gazette for the info on this great weekend event in the Champaign area!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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Champaign County Humane Society Annual GIANT Garage Sale

by Rose Price

Get out of the house this Friday and/or Saturday and check out the Champaign County Humane Society Annual GIANT Garage Sale

Gigantic selection of housewares, toys, books, music, clothing, gardening, tools, pet items, jewelry, children's toy and clothing, plus Antiques Booth and our Unique Boutique, available for sale to benefit the homeless pets at Champaign, Illinois,  Humane Society. Or adopt a pet to add to your family!  $2 admission charge Friday and Saturday. Sunday its only $1 and they will be practically giving away the left overs!

This event will be held at Kesler Hall, Champaign County Fairgrounds, Coler and Fairview avenues in Urbana

Thanks News-Gazette for the info on this great local event!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

    Champaign Condominiums 

    Selling Your Champaign Home

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Tips for Buying a Home

by Rose Price

Are you ready to find the perfect Champaign, Illinois home for you? Then you'll need to think about a few things before getting started.  These are some of the top 10 things you need to know when buying a home.

1. Don't buy if you can't stay put.

If you can't commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner - even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it's an even worse proposition.

2. Start by cleaning up your credit.

Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

3. Aim for a home you can really afford.

The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

4. If you can't put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.

20% is the norm these days, but there are options if you don't have the cash. There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a down payment as small as 3 percent of the purchase price.

5. Buy in a district with good schools.

In most areas, this advice applies even if you don't have school-age children. Reason: When it comes time to sell, you'll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.

6. Get professional help.

Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

7. Choose carefully between points and rate.

When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points -- a portion of the interest that you pay at closing -- in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time -- say three to five years or more -- it's usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.

8. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.

Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

9. Do your homework before bidding.

Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that's about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

10. Hire a home inspector.

Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal anyway. But that's just the bank's way of determining whether the house is worth the price you've agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

    Champaign Condominiums 

    Selling Your Champaign Home

    Champaign Real Estate Market Information 


    Let’s Connect!


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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

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