Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 48

Planting a Good Investment

by Rose Price

Tree of HeavenLooking for a simple way to add beauty and value to your home? Plant a tree!  There are a wide variety of trees that thrive in central Illinois, but making the best choice takes a little work. Adding a healthy, beautiful tree is an excellent investment in your home’s value.

First of all, you’ll want to have a good assessment of the quality of the soil where you want to plant the tree. The pH balance of your soil, for example, can make the difference between a beautiful tree and a dead eyesore. Soil testers can be purchased at most lawn and garden centers.

The University of Illinois Extension has a wonderful website filled with information about trees you might want to consider. You can use the site to filter trees by size, tolerance to different conditions, exposure and use. It also contains useful warnings about pests specific to central Illinois.

You’ll also need to know how well-drained the planting area is before you put the tree in the ground. Too much water in the soil can cause problems for the roots. Adding bark mulch around the base of the tree will help add nitrogen to the soil.  And wrapping trees in the fall and winter will protect them against the cold and deer.

Whatever your choice is, you’ll probably want to consult with a local garden center or tree farm to confirm you’re making a good decision.  Do you have a favorite tree? Send me a picture! Plant a tree, invest in your home’s value, and make Illinois just a little more beautiful.

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!

Facebook 

**

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

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

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

    Champaign Condominiums 

    Selling Your Champaign Home

    Champaign Real Estate Market Information 


    Let’s Connect!


    Facebook

 

 

 

**

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!


    Facebook

 

 

**

 

 

Sharing Closing Costs

by Rose Price

The last thing to do when you purchase a Champaign home is the closing,and some people don't know that you can actually split the costs. This is a time when the paperwork will be completed, and for the home seller it is the remaining mortgage balance and the agent's commission will be deducted from the sales price. However, many however don't figure in the closing costs that are involved as well. 

While the amount and who will be responsible can vary from state to state, typical closing costs refer to all of the taxes, fees and costs required to close a real estate transaction.

When selling your home, it is important to ask your agent for a breakdown of what you are expected to pay in closing costs as well what the buyer will pay. In most states the buyer and seller split closing costs but some states consider the buyer to be responsible or both parties can be required to pay the costs. 

Typically the person responsible for paying closing costs can be dependent on the market. For example in a market that is plentiful, the seller could have more of a chance in having the buyer pay the majority of the closing costs. But in a market that is struggling such as now, buyers tend to have the upper hand and many sellers will pay the majority of the closing costs in order to complete the sale.

Below are some of the common closing costs faced by sellers and buyers:

Escrow/attorney fees: Some states require third-party escrow companies handle real estate closings, while others dictate attorneys perform the function. Title companies, title agents, lenders, brokers and even real estate agents are allowed to handle closings and/or escrows depending on the state. These fees are usually split between the buyer and seller.
Title insurance: There are usually two types of
title insurance that must be purchased – the lenders’ policy and the owners’ policy. Usually either a title company or in some states a lawyer will research the title to make sure there are no liens against the property or unidentified owners. These policies protect the lender and new owner for the full value of the property. Usually, the seller pays for the owner’s policy and the buyer pays for the lender’s policy. This is often referred to as clearing title.
Transfer or documentary taxes: These are paid either to the state, county, city or a combination depending on the state. This is where the government agency gets their share of the transaction. This is also known as a reconveyance tax.
Recording fee: Usually paid to the county for recording the deed, which shows ownership of the property.
Mortgage tax: This is an additional tax collected by some states. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia are the states that collect this tax.

Brokerage commission: The fee you contractually agreed to pay for the selling of your home.


Aside from these costs, the seller may be responsible for costs such as any credits that were promised to the buyer for repairs or home warranties. Don't forget that Federal law requires that sellers and buyers receive a copy of a
HUD-1 form outlining all charges in a real estate transaction.

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!


    Facebook

 

**

Help for Buyers

by Rose Price

Have you been searching for that Central Illinois dream home and are finally ready to make an offer? You may have some concerns about the down payment and in this difficult economy it can be difficult to pay a large down payment so what are your options?  There may be an option to help you you complete the sale if you don’t have extra cash.

Different lenders have their own minimum down payment requirements and can vary depending on the mortgage program, loan amount, borrower income and credit rating. A good rule of thumb is roughly 20%, but you can find different ways to help you meet down payment requirements, including buyer assistance programs -  also called down payment assistance programs.

Assistance programs and grants can help you avoid robbing your savings or 401K or borrowing the money elsewhere to come up with a cash down payment. Some of the most common buyer assistance programs are for first time home buyers, but other assistance programs are available as well. How do they work? Below are some key requirements of standard programs. 

  • Home buyers must qualify for a loan that allows gift funds from a charitable organization
  • Limits may apply to the price of the home
  • Funds can be used for the down payment and for closing costs
  • Gift funds can be used for new or existing homes

There are several different organizations that provide buyer assistance, including Grant AmericaNehemiah and American Family Funds. Many other buyer assistance organizations are available, so do some homework and talk to your tax preparer and mortgage lender about options.

Always speak to your lender about available programs in your market, they can help you structure the down payment assistance to be compatible with their underwriting guidelines and offer advice on program advantages for your type of loan. 

​For more information and help finding that perfect home for you and your family contact me today!

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!


    Facebook 

 

 

**

 

Is Seller Financing for you?

by Rose Price

With an increase in credit requirements, it can be tough trying to get a home loan. Even buyers who have excellent credit are having difficulties getting approved. On the flip side, many people that are anxious to sell their Champaign, Illinois home, can’t get qualified buyers to the closing table. If you are interested in taking out the middle man and controlling more of the process, you may want to consider seller financing.

If you have never heard of this before, basically the person selling the home lends the potential buyer the money to purchase the house. The seller becomes the mortgage holder and the buyer sends monthly mortgage payments directly to the seller. The transaction is usually completed using a promissory that states the interest rate, length and terms of the loan and default consequences.

In today’s market, sellers may need to get their homes sold quickly, and seller financing is a way to get the property sold faster – it opens up the market to more buyers and the paperwork process moves quickly.

Some advantages to doing this type of financing:

  • Faster closing – Sellers and buyers can avoid long waits for loan committee review, underwriting and legal review.
  • Lower Closing Costs – buyers don’t have to shell out additional money for bank fees and other closing costs associated with a traditional mortgage.
  • Flexible down payment – most sellers are willing to take less money down than lending institutions.

Of course this is not for everyone and many home sellers may not be in a position to where they can offer financing. On the downside, there is risk involved on both sides – the seller is taking a risk on someone who may have some shaky payment history or poor credit, and the buyer is dependent on the seller to have been upfront on the terms of the sale (like making sure that the seller’s lender approves the arrangement). As with any large transaction, especially a property purchase, both parties should consult with a real estate attorney and financial expert to make sure that the transaction is legal and is financially sound. If you are ready to buy and can’t find a lender, seller financing may be worth checking out!

For more information or if you're looking to buy or sell your home using seller financing, Contact Me Today!

 

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!


    Facebook 

 

 

 

**

 

Your Credit Report

by Rose Price

Having your credit report is an important step in buying a Champaign, Illinois home.  You should know your credit report before your lender views it. You can get the information by calling and requesting it. Once you have the report in your hand, check the “high credit limit”, total loan,” and “past due” columns.  It is a very good idea to get copies from all of the reporting agencies. 

Credit reporting companies:

Experian (800) 682-7954 www.experian.com

Equifax (800) 685-1111 www.equifax.com

TransUnion (800) 888-4213 www.transunion.com

You can also get a copy of your credit history at the following online locations:

http://www.transunion.com

www.creditreports.com

What if I find a mistake in my credit history?

You can correct simple mistakes by writing to the reporting company, pointing out the error, and providing proof of the mistake. You can also request to have your own comments added to explain problems.

For example, if you made a payment late due to illness, explain that for the record. Lenders usually understand about legitimate problems.

What about my overall (or FICO) score?

What does it mean? Prior to the late 1990's, credit scoring had little to do with mortgage lending. When reviewing your credit worthiness, an underwriter would make a subjective decision based on past payment history. Then things changed.

Lenders studied the relationship between credit scores and mortgage delinquencies and found a definite relationship. Almost half of those borrowers with FICO scores below 550 became ninety days delinquent at least once during their mortgage. On the other hand, only two out of every 10,000 borrowers with FICO scores above eight hundred became delinquent.

When can I stretch the percentages?

In the  Champaign housing market, lenders sometimes will allow you to stretch their allowable debt ratios. One of the best ways to encourage your lender to do so is to increase your down payment.

 Underwriters sometimes also will stretch the ratios for other "compensating factors," including:

  • Strong cash reserves after close of escrow
  • New payment that’s only slightly higher than current rent or mortgage payment 
  • History of increasing earning capabilities 
  • History of an ability to save money 
  • Large cash down payment

 Contact me today to check out what's available in the Champaign Urbana area!

 

 

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!


    Facebook 

 

 

 

 

**

Four Short Sale Myths

by Rose Price

The nations economy has been faced when financial challenges, and Champaign, IL has been affected as well. This has unfortunately has made foreclosures and short sales common place in today's real estate market. Even though it's very common to see short sales and foreclosures on the Champaign, IL market, much of the information regarding these types of homes is outdated or simply untrue!

Here are some of the top misconceptions of short sales:

Short sales can take up to a year to close. This is simply not true. It can take 7-10 days for the lender to acknowledge receipt of the complete short sale package, which consists of personal seller documents and related real estate items, including the buyer's short sale offer. Once a negotiator is assigned it can take an additional 30 to 45 days for a BPO or appraisal. After this has been completed usually another 2 to 3 weeks for management / investor review and short sale approval.

If you purchase a short sale, you will end up paying too much.  Some listing agents may set a short sale below market value, this is a tactic used to attract multiple offers. Remember that a listed price on a short sale is fabricated, because you won't know how much a bank will accept until the offer is submitted. However, most banks will consider a price at a minimum of 90% of market value.

Lenders of a short sale won’t accept a discounted payoff. Many sellers are often surprised to learn that in markets where prices have fallen over a 5-year-period, a home might be worth 50% or less of its original value when the seller bought it. Lenders know about these declining markets and will do their own research about value and typically come to the same conclusion. The value of the home is not based on the amount of the mortgage; it's based on recent comparable sales.

Short Sale Sellers Must Be in Default Before the Bank Will Approve a Short Sale. The lender will approve a short sale based on the seller's hardship and the value of the home. Many sellers may struggle to make the monthly mortgage payment, but have not fallen behind in their payments. It is true that sellers in default receive immediate attention, but a seller can also pay a mortgage payment on time each and every month and still qualify for a short sale.

Do you have questions about a short sale? Contact your premier Champaign IL real estate professional today to see if this type of purchase is a good fit for you and your family!

 

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!


    Facebook 

 

 

**

Why I Work by Referral in Champaign, IL

by Rose Price

Relationships Are More Important Than Transactions.

If you are shopping for a home in Champaign, IL, you may have noticed that many real estate agents take a transactional approach to sales-identifying clients, closing the deal, and then moving on to the next one. I choose not to work that way because I believe you deserve more from the professional you decide to work with. That is why I work by referral and have testimonials from happy clients here in Champaign, IL.

Since my primary source of new business is referrals from people who know and trust
me, I don’t have to spend precious time prospecting and promoting myself. I can dedicate
myself fully to the activities that benefit you most, and always deliver truly exceptional
service.

You Control My Business

I know that I must earn your future referrals, so I aim to exceed your expectations. I
have vested interest in making sure that you are completely satisfied at the end of our
transaction together. I want you to be so “fired-up” that you can’t wait to tell your friends
and family about me and the fantastic service you received.

When you come across an opportunity, I appreciate you referring me to great people like
yourself, who would benefit from the excellent service and personal attention I provide.

Service After the Sale

I devote myself to serving the needs of my clients before, during and after each sale.
Instead of disappearing after the closing, you can expect me to keep in touch. I will be
sending valuable information to you each month, and will also be calling from time to
time just to check in and see if you need anything.

I hope you will turn to me for help with any of your real-estate-related needs because it is
such a privilege to work exclusively with people like you who I admire and respect, and
who value the service I provide.

Working by referral is all about trust. And let’s face it, when we are seeking any
service we are looking for someone we can trust-someone proven who comes highly
recommended and is already on our side.

Are you ready to find your dream home in Champaign, IL? Contact me today - I would be happy to help!

 

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!


    Facebook 

 

 

**

Tax Deductions for Home Owners

by Rose Price

Most of us don't look forward to tax season, but if you own a home in Champaign, IL, you may be eligible for some tax breaks! Since you don't want to miss out on any home-related tax deductions, you'll want to meet with a tax advisor or use a tax program to find out which deductions you can claim. Here are some of the more common deductions that I would like the residents of beautiful Central Illinois to be aware of:

Mortgage Deductions.The interest you pay on a home mortgage is usually tax-deductible. Every year, you should receive a “Form 1098” from your lender which details how much mortgage interest you paid. To claim this deduction, you need to fill out “Schedule A”, under “itemized deductions” to record your interest deduction. These deductions can also include late payment charges and pre-payment penalties.

Moving expenses. If a move is connected with taking a new job that is at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job was, you can deduct some of the expenses for you and your family and the cost of moving your household goods.

Deducting Real Estate Taxes. Real estate taxes are deductible in the year paid. They are generally reported on Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, the annual statement from the financial institution holding your mortgage, or on your county real estate tax assessment statement. You should also deduct any prorated taxes collected from you at closing. These amounts are not always included on Form 1098, but may be itemized on your real estate closing statement.

Business Use of Your Home. If you are a homeowner who uses any portion of your home for business, from daycare to home office to rental property, you can take a deduction for business expenses.

Of course, tax deduction change every year and you may be able to claim deductions that you weren't even aware of! To get the most out of this tax season contact a professional tax advisor.

Are you ready to buy your dream home in Champaign, Illinois? You could claim these exemptions and deductions next year! Contact me to start your search!

 

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


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!


    Facebook 



     



    **

    

     


 

 

Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 48

Syndication

Categories

Archives