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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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LovenStampfuls Build-Your-Own Christmas Event!

by Rose Price

Looking for a fun and unique event where you can make homemade holiday gifts? Join fellow Champaign craft enthursiast this Friday, December 9th where you can eat, drink and be merry, of course with several stamping projects to make and take home!

LovenStampfuls is excited to host this festive event. Meg Loven, said this about the event: "The idea is to come up with a variety of fun ways to using stamping when getting ready or decorating for a party. If everyone brings a different type of party item or decoration, then we'll have a fabulous variety of ideas that we can show to customers or use as inspiration for our own upcoming events! Each attendee will bring enough of their item to send one home with everyone else--just like a regular card swap, except for party ideas." 

Register for this Champaign event on the website and decide what you are going to bring! Make sure you bring enough for everyone to take home!

 

 

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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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The Krannert Center Presents the Nutcracker!

by Rose Price

Visions of sugarplums will dance right before you in this stunning performance of The Nutracker presented by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Herr Drosselmeyer sets in motion Clara’s dreamy night of warrior mice, waltzing flowers, billowing snowflakes, and a nutcracker prince in this production choreographed by Deanna Doty of Champaign Urbana Ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s lush strains played by Sinfonia da Camera.

This performance will last approximately 2 hours and is reccommended for ages 5 and up.

See this holiday classic in Champaign beginning December 2nd and enjoy the show with the whole family!

 




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Best Bathroom Remodeling Choices

by Rose Price

Many homeowners in Central Illinois are making the choice to remodel their existing home in lieu of buying a new home as a result of the recession and economy. In a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), it is reported that respondents indicated that a bathroom remodel was one of their most common projects during the first half of this year. In fact, almost 61% percent of all remodels were done on bathrooms.

The popularity of bathroom remodeling may be attributed to the concept that it can be a very affordable way to make your master suite more comfortable and add value to your home when it’s time to sell.

If you are considering making some improvements to your bathroom, below are some tips to help give your bath a great lift:

Vanity Sinks: From artistic vessel sinks to furniture pieces that have been modified to accommodate plumbing, sinks can become a bathroom showpiece while keeping their functionality.

Countertops: Granite, ceramics, recycled glass and marble are all popular materials to consider if you want to update the counters of your existing vanity.

Showers: Open, walk-in showers are very popular right now and can be designed to accommodate more than one person.

Faucets: Old, polished brass fixtures really date your bathroom – check out new silhouettes and finishes for your faucets and cabinetry.

Lighting: Bathrooms that are well lit, especially with natural light sources look fresh and modern. Consider glass block windows and skylights to bring in natural light and create an open feeling.

Tile: Tile can be used creatively in the shower and wet areas as well as the floor and for backsplash.

As with any home improvement project, it is a good idea to first list your objectives, create a budget and do your homework before you select a contractor. The NAHB also offers a list of resources and reference guides to help make decisions and find qualified professionals.

 

 

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Holiday Foodbank Fundraiser

by Rose Price

Tis' the season for giving! Make plans to support a great cause and have a great time on Friday, November 25th for the Central Illinois foodbank fundraiser.

The Central Illinois Foodbank collects donated food and grocery items from growers, manufacturers, processors, and wholesalers for distribution to charitable agencies serving people in need.

This community event will be held at The Iron Post at 120 S Race St., Urbana from 5-10pm. Featured musical guest will be Boneyard Jazz Quintet. Make plans to come out for some fun this holiday weekend and bring some canned goods to help out those in need this holiday!

 

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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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Dance For People With Parkinson's

by Rose Price

Parkinson's disease is a devastating disease that affects thousands of people and sadly has no cure. Krannert Center is hosting an event this Friday, November the 18th along with Mark Morris Dance Group, Unity Parkinson's Disease Support Group, Carle Clinic, Dance at Illinois, and Krannert Center Marianne Jarvi and Kate Kuper, instructors Beverly Hillmer, accompanist.

This workshop originated by the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group focuses on improving mobility, flexibility, balance, range of motion, mood, and overall quality of life. Caregivers, friends of patients, and anyone with mobility issues are welcome to join in this free movement session with live music led by Marianne Jarvi and Kate Kuper of Dance at Illinois. Please dress comfortably for this gentle, full-body workshop.

This event is Friday, November 18th at 10am at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts located at 500 S. Goodwin Ave.,Urbana, IL 61801. Phone  (217) 333-6700
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Mortgage Points Explained

by Rose Price

If you are a Central Illinois homebuyer who is requesting quotes from a lender for a home loan, you have most likely found that the quotes frequently include both loan rates and points. If you are like most people, you may be confused by what exactly a point is.

Mortgage points describe certain charges to be paid in order to obtain a mortgage on a home. Each mortgage point is a fee based on one percent of the total amount of the loan

A point is a fee equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. For example, A 30-year, $200,000 mortgage might have a rate of 6 percent, but come with a charge of 1 point, or $2,000. A lender can charge 1, 2 or more points. There are two kinds of points: discount points and origination points.

 •Discount points: These types of points are really prepaid interest on the mortgage loan Because, the more points you pay, the lower the interest rate on the loan and vice versa. Borrowers typically can pay anywhere from zero to 3 or 4 points, depending on how much they want to lower their rates. The advantage to this type of point is that it is tax-deductible.
 

Origination fee: This is a fee that is charged by the lender to cover the costs of making the loan. The origination fee is only tax deductible if it was used to obtain the mortgage and not to pay other closing costs. The IRS specifically states that if the fee is for items that would normally be itemized on a settlement statement, such as notary fees, preparation costs, and home inspection fees are not deductible.

The longer you keep the home financed under the loan that has the purchased points, the more money spent on the points will pay off.  And if the homebuyer has the intention to buy and sell the property or refinance in a big hurry, the buying points will actually end up costing more than just paying the loan at the higher interest rate.

Whether or not you pay points, or how many points can be effected by a variety of factors.  The amount of money that you can put down at closing and also how long you plan on staying in your home can be a factor. If you are planning to stay in your home for a long time, you may find it worth it pay points so that it reduces your interest rate.

The process can be confusing so make sure to have your mortgage lender explain these fees with you at length!

 

 

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America Recycles Day 2011

by Rose Price

Tuesday, November 15, marks the 13th annual America Recycles Day and local company Green Purpose, LLC, will hold a special event to help educate the consumer on how recycling works in benefiting our environment. The Green Purpose Team’s goal is to reach Zero Waste Status in Champaign County! Now, that’s a goal that deserves great praise. Their approach to recycling is very innovative. They do everything they can to recycle the items they collect, but sometimes some items are non-recyclable. That does not stop them! Green Purpose, LLC, turns those non-recyclables into neat and usable creations. They call it reusanomics. They also prevent usable items from reaching a landfill by doing a Materials Exchange where members can get perfectly usable items free of charge.

Don’t forget to stop by Green Purpose, LLC  in Champaign to not only learn more about recycling, but also to get inspired into creating  your very own works of art from non-recyclables.

For more information about the Green Purpose event, contact Steve Rosenberg by clicking here.

Location: Green Purpose, LLC, 807 Pioneer St., Champaign, IL 61820 Date: Nov. 15, 2011
Time: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

 

 

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Displaying blog entries 371-380 of 384

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