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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

 

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An exhibit entitled Prologue to Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit will make a stop at the Champaign County,  Courthouse in Urbana from May 17 through June 18. This exhibit offers a groundbreaking view of Abraham Lincoln and of Lincoln’s America during the middle of the nineteenth century. The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular Courthouse hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For security reasons cell phones are not allowed in the courthouse.

The exhibit reveals a very different perspective of Lincoln the politician, and of Lincoln the president. He is often thought of as a “railsplitter” and a man of the people, but the exhibit shows that he was actually a sophisticated lawyer who learned the use of legal technicalities and mastered the art of argument. Indeed, Lincoln was shaped as much by his professional life as by any other single force, and by the end of his 21 years on the circuit, he was ready to enter the most elite group of lawyers in the nation. In spite of Lincoln’s statements in his autobiography he was, in fact, a very accomplished lawyer. It was those accomplishments, and Lincoln's entire experience on the circuit, which propelled him to the presidency.

Thanks news-gazette for the info on this historical Champaign County event!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

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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 

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Bird Walks

by Rose Price

Have you been looking for a early morning walking partner in Champaign county?  Do you need to get out of the house for some fresh air? Or have you always been interested in bird watching? Champaign County, Audubon Society, is having  Sunday Morning Bird Walks in Busey Woods and Crystal Lake Park beginging March 4 and continuing each and every Sunday through May 27.

Meet at the Anita Purves Nature Center parking lot, 1505 N. Broadway, Urbana, at 7:30 a.m. Walks usually last about 1-1/2 hours. Birders of all skill levels are welcome.

Thanks News Gazette for the info!

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 


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How to Avoid Foreclosure

by Rose Price

Many Champaign home owners that have gone through a foreclosure process can testify that it can be a scary situation. I’ve heard some heartbreaking stories in the last few months. The foreclosure process is painfully personal and can be painfully fast. Do you realize you and your family can lose your most precious asset in just a few short months?

So what happens in a foreclosure--and when? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has prepared an easy-to-understand foreclosure timeline. Just to emphasize how pressing foreclosure can be, I’ve put that timeline into very human perspective below:

You miss one payment. You get a call or note from your lender. Not so bad, right? You’re just juggling the bills a little right now--no problem. You’ll pay as soon as possible. Not to worry.

You miss two payments. Your lender calls again. Where are the payments? You’re still trying to convince yourself that everything is OK, but you still can’t make the payment, either. Things have to get better, don’t they? You’re starting to worry, but you do nothing.

You miss three payments. You get a scary “Demand Letter” or “Notice To Accelerate” from the bank that says you must pay all the missed payments in 30 days. If you don’t pay or negotiate different arrangements, the bank can start foreclosure. Now you’re really worried, but you’re hoping it’s a bluff. Foreclosure takes forever, doesn’t it? So you again do nothing.

You miss four payments. You still haven’t paid or made other arrangements within that 30 days. The lender turns you over to the legal team, and now you’re responsible for all the legal expenses, too. Once again you do nothing--because you’re overwhelmed and terrified.

You get notice that your home will be sold by the Sheriff--and you’re in foreclosure. But it’s only been just a few short months! You’re told you can save your home if you make all the missed payments and pay all the delinquency costs. But where will you get all that money, and why would the lender accept other arrangements now? So you again do nothing. It’s too late!

You get one last chance to save your home. You can still keep your home even after the sale if you pay all the missed payments and all foreclosure costs. You can’t do it.

Your home is lost. Why? Because you didn’t take action to save it.

Although foreclosure may differ by state, this gives you a good idea of how foreclosure works--and how fast it can happen. HUD notes that a housing counselor could have helped even after the fourth missed payment. Doing nothing if you’re facing foreclosure is the worst possible thing you can do.

Doing nothing is not an option if you want to save your home. HUD advises that you be honest with your lender as soon as you suspect you’re in trouble. You can also contact HUD to find a housing counselor who can help. You don’t have to face foreclosure alone, please contact me if there’s anything I can do, I’m always available to assist with all your real estate questions, even difficult ones like this.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

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Free cupcakes plus wieners and wine at Sleepy Creek!

by Rose Price

Bring the whole family down to Sleepy Creek in Fairmont, Illinois this Friday and Saturday!

There will be FREE cupcakes this weekend at Sleepy Creek to raise funds and support a local bakery to help open up!You may remember local creative types Eric and Patty Woller from the Salt Fork River Art Fest, Freeky Creek Films, and TLC and Food network challenges. Now, they need our help to open shop in Homer. AND, there are plenty of perks and incentives in exchange for your donation. Soooo..... Let the cupcake craze begin.... 

Crazy Cupcakes with your Wieners. Friday, 5-8 p.m.Make'n Bacon with Jack Cupcakes and Pork 'n Beans

Saturday, May 5 - FINAL FUNDRAISING DAY!Wango Tango Jalapeno and Mango Cupcake. Happy Cinco De Mayo While supplies last....

The festivities will be held at the Sleepy Creek Vineyards Tasting Room Located between Champaign and Danville. Take the Oakwood exit 206 off I-74, head south 3 miles.

Thanks news gazette for the info!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

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    Selling Your Champaign Home

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Learn Ways to Make Your Home Affordable

by Rose Price

Are you finding that your Champaign, Illinois home is just becoming to costly? If you’ve never heard of this amazing website launched by the federal government, you better go check it out!  Making Home Affordable is a website that offers a variety of online tools that will help today's homeowner determine if they are eligible to participate in the “Making Home Affordable” loan modification and refinancing program. In this tough economy saving money anyway you can is key!

This site will show you how this program works and who is eligible for assistance. This is the same $75 billion program you may have heard about in the media. To see if it can help you, first have this information in front of you:

* Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.

* Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.

* Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.

* Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.

* Your most recent income tax return.

* Information about your savings and other assets

* Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of your household, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources.

* It may also be helpful to have: A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable.

There are many programs out right now including the energy tax credit, $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers, and long term interest rates lower than 5%. There is something for everyone it’s just a matter of knowing where to look.  

Check out these opportunities and see if any of them can help you or contact me to discuss your current situation.  Together we can find a solution to your real estate needs.

What are you concerns about home affordability in the Champaign Illinois real estate market?

 

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

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Young Artists Exhibit

by Rose Price

Make plans to go out today in  Champaign, Illinois and see some beautiful art!  As part of the Boneyard Arts Festival, enjoy the student artwork from Hua Nian Art Studio on display in the Children's Department on the ground floor. The art will be on display until April 28. Library hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Boneyard Arts Festival has grown into an 'open source' festival that Champaign County residents have truly made their own. Last spring, the Boneyard featured over 130 different venues - both indoors and out - where residents and visitors alike could enjoy an incredibly diverse range of performing, spoken and visual art offered by nearly 500 artists from all backgrounds.

The Boneyard Arts Festival is string band music in Sidney, yodeling in downtown Urbana, a cinema festival in Champaign, Brazilian bossa novae on the U of I campus, opera and origami, glass blowing and graphic design, puppetry and painting, juggling and jewelry, hip hop break dancing, photography, ceramics and so much more.

Thanks 40 North for the info!

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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Potential Costs When Selling Your Home

by Rose Price

There are some cost you may not know you could encounter when selling your Champaign Illinois home. Below is a list of some of the most common costs associated with selling your home.

Closing Costs: Although most of the closing costs are the responsibility of the buyer, the seller is expected to pay the property taxes and insurance up to the date of the closing, even if they're not due yet. In addition, some buyers will ask the seller for help with other closing costs as part of the negotiations.

Home Inspections: Although the buyer pays for the home and pest inspections, it's a good idea to get your own inspection before putting your house on the market. This way you're aware of any hidden problems before selling.

Home Repairs: If your inspector finds problems or if you know of problems that you have been wanting to correct, it is time to fix them. The less problems that the home has, the more attractive it is to buyers. Don't forget to budget for new paint, plants, hardware etc. that offers a fresh new look as well.

Realtor Commission: Typically there's a 4 percent to 7 percent commission on the sale price of the house if you opt to go with an agent. Usually this rate is between 5 percent and 6 percent, so be sure to account for this cost when pricing your home and figuring up your expenses that come with selling your home.

Legal expenses: Many sellers choose to work with a real estate attorney to examine the sales contract and assist with closing, which can be complicated.

Prepayment penalty: Many mortgages have prepayment penalties if you pay off the mortgage early. Be sure to examine your mortgage agreement and read the fine print.

Other Fees Negotiated by the Buyer: Buyer negotiated fees are becoming more common in the current real estate market. Some of the most commonly seen buyer negotiated fees might include a home warranty paid for by the seller, the cost of repairs needed to make the sale, and the cost for a home inspection. Keep in mind that most all parts of the real estate contract is negotiable.


Many homeowners are not aware of the costs involved with selling a home but there are some perks as well. With any home sale you are eligible for a tax write off of up to $250,000 gained in the sale of your home for a single owner, and $500,000 for married couples. This applies for most state taxes as well; check with a tax professional to get all the details of any tax credit that may be available to you and your situation. 

Contact me today for assistance in selling your Illinois home!

 

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP

Prudential Landmark Real Estate
Champaignrose.com

 

    Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 

    Featured Champaign Properties 

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    Selling Your Champaign Home

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The 10th Annual Boneyard Arts Festival

by Rose Price

The 40 North Boneyard Arts Festival is an annual four-day event showcasing the broad range of creative activity flourishing in our community. Make plans to stop by on April 20 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The goal of this event is to bring together local artists and businesses for a special event showcasing the art that lives in Champaign County.

More than a traditional arts walk, the Boneyard is a unique countywide celebration that takes place in a wide variety of venues (over 100!) - both traditional (clubs, galleries & museums) and non-traditional (ice cream shops & real estate offices) - and features the work of literally hundreds of artists.

Sculptors, weavers, painters, photographers and other visual artists join musicians, actors, dancers, poets and performers of all kinds in sharing their creativity throughout Campustown, Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Homer, Rantoul, Sidney and St. Joseph. 40 North invites artists to partner with local businesses, arts organizations, nonprofits, schools or municipal offices in hosting a performance or display of work...and join the celebration!  

For a complete list of venues and artists please visit 40north.org or pick up The News-Gazette on Monday, April 16th for the official map of the festival.

Thanks News Gazette for the info!!!

 

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

 

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