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Moving with Children

by Rose Price

You may not be the only one who is overwhelmed by a move to Champaign, your children may be extremely nervous or even downright dreading the move! Here are some tips that can help:

1. It's a good idea to inform your children about moving as soon as possible and not delay the news. Children need time to let the big news sink in and you will need the time to help them prepare!

It can be natural to assume that the less time kids have to think about moving, the easier it will be for your children. However, experts say it is actually the opposite. Kids need time to get used to the idea of moving. Don't put off telling them about moving.

2. Welcome your children's questions about moving.

Open lines of communication will go a long way toward helping your children feel comfortable with moving. And it's okay even if you can't answer all their questions right now. Your kid's questions can give you an idea of how they're feeling about moving — whether they're excited or uneasy. Some questions may also offer an ideal way to get them involved in the moving process, such as suggesting they get online to locate nearby libraries or parks.

3. Be positive and upbeat about the move.

Your attitude about the move will influence your children's attitude as well. If you dread moving, then the move will seem dreadful to them too. Be enthusiastic, upbeat, and positive about the experiences and opportunities in store, and your children will be more likely to feel the same way.

4. Let your children know they can help with the move.

This is a good time to emphasize that the move is a family event and that everyone will be part of the planning, packing, and perhaps even choosing the new home. Start your kids on thinking of things they can do and how to get ready for the move. Assure your kids that their contributions, however small, will be valued and greatly appreciated

Have you mastered the art of moving with children, please contact us to share your tips - we'd love to hear them!

 

 

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Turning Foreclosed Properties Into Rentals

by Rose Price


There is an interesting trend in the market that is gaining attention in Champaign/Urbana as well as the entire country.  Federal officials  are hoping to launch a pilot program in early 2012 to convert government-owned foreclosures into rental properties.

The program, which was cited by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week as one way to address the housing crisis, would sell foreclosed homes now owned by Fannie Mae (FNMA, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FMCC, Fortune 500) to investors in bulk. The properties would then be converted into rentals.


The initiative began back in August, when the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced they were seeking suggestions on ways to dispose of repossessed homes now owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.

In addition to getting the properties off the government's books, officials are hoping putting the homes back into productive use will stabilize neighborhoods and housing values. Also, it is looking to expand the supply of rentals, which are increasingly in demand.

The agency is not releasing details on how the rental program would work, instead saying it is "proceeding prudently but with a sense of urgency to lay the groundwork for the development of good initial transactions in early 2012."

Administration officials said they are continuing to work with the agency to develop the program.

Housing, stocks, gold and oil: Hot or not in 2012?

Until now, most foreclosed homes have been sold individually because investors have demanded bigger discounts to buy large numbers of properties.

But federal officials are warily eyeing the expected surge in foreclosures as banks ramp up their action against delinquent homeowners. The process had been stalled since late 2010 when banks' shoddy paperwork practices came to light.

There are close to 2 million homes in the late stages of delinquency, according to Lender Processing Services. Since foreclosed properties often sell below market value, they can wreak havoc on home prices.

Converting these homes to rentals can both help the neighborhood and minimize losses to Fannie, Freddie and the FHA, which hold about 250,000 properties, Bernanke told lawmakers last week.

He urged lawmakers to ramp up their efforts to fix the housing market, placing particular emphasis on the problem of vacant homes on the market.

"Restoring the health of the housing market is a necessary part of a broader strategy for economic recovery," he said.

Bernanke's comments launched a full-court press by Federal Reserve officials last week to raise awareness of the continuing problems plaguing the housing market.

His proposals were quickly followed by Fed Governors Sarah Bloom Raskin, who spoke on ramping up enforcement of mortgage servicers, and Elizabeth Duke, who said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could do more to help heal the housing market.

Meanwhile, New York Fed President William Dudley gave a speech that touched on a wide range of housing policies -- including principal reduction and mortgage refinancing -- that he believes will boost the economy.

The Fed has already tried to boost real estate sales by pushing mortgage rates down to record lows through massive bond-buying programs.

But the renewed push for housing help indicates that the Fed, which has basically run out of monetary policy ammunition to revive the real estate market, is urging the federal government to ramp up its efforts.

"The Federal Reserve is signaling in even stronger terms the need for the government to do more to help housing," said Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst with the Washington Research Group.

Thank you to Tami Luhby at CNN Money for the information.

Contact me to learn more about this trend, or to buy or sell a home in Champaign, IL! 

 

 

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What is The Role of a Property Appraiser?

by Rose Price

Are you a first time buyer looking for your perfect home in Champaign, IL? If so, you may wonder what a home appraiser does. Home appraisers are a necessary part of your real estate transaction and it is important to know exactly what the appraiser's responsibilities are.

One of the most common misconception about appraisers is that they work for the home seller. Actually, appraisers are hired to be impartial and provide an accurate "value" to your home in order for lenders to determine if the collateral supports the debt. These same lenders are also putting a lot of pressure on appraisers which result in higher than market value home appraisals.

If you are buying or selling a home it is a good idea to do some research on the role of appraisers and how they effect you.

Below are some quick facts your should know about the appraiser and the process:

•Appraisers are licensed by individual states after completing coursework and internship hours that familiarize them with their real estate markets.

•The lender might use an appraiser on its staff, or contract with an independent appraiser. If you are allowed to choose the appraiser, and it isn't someone the lender is familiar with, the results might be subject to review before they are accepted.

•The appraiser should be an objective third party, someone who has no financial or other connection to any person involved in the transaction.

•The property being appraised is called the subject property.

•You will probably pay for the appraisal when you apply for your loan.

What You'll See on a Residential Appraisal Report

Appraisals are very detailed reports, but here are a few things they include:


•Details about the subject property, along with side-by-side comparisons of three similar properties.

•An evaluation of the overall real estate market in the area.

•Statements about issues the appraiser feels are harmful to the property's value, such as poor access to the property.

•Notations about seriously flawed characteristics, such as a crumbling foundation.

•An estimate of the average sales time for the property.

•What type of area the home is in (a development, stand alone acreage, etc.).

 

Contact us if you have any advice or experience with home appraisers that you would like to share that might help local homebuyers!

 

 

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Hidden Benefits to Buying a Home

by Rose Price

If you have been thinking of buying a home, chances are that you have asked yourself the standard questions: Have you saved enough money for a down payment? Can you afford the expenses associated with owning a home? Are you going to stay in the home for a short period of time or is this home a place you intend on living in for years to come? Can you qualify for a mortgage?

There is alot to think about and if you are considering the benefits of home ownership, some of those benefits are missed by homebuyers when considering their options.

Tax deductions when you own a home

Mortgage interest tax deduction. First-time homebuyers may be pleasantly surprised when they file their personal income taxes after they purchase a home as their primary residence. The interest payments they have made to their lender are fully deductible. When you start making mortgage payments, almost the whole loan payment consists of interest. In the early years, you pay little principal back on the loan. If you have an equity loan on that primary residence, you can also deduct interest paid to the lender on loans up to $100,000.

Property tax deduction.

In addition to the mortgage interest tax deduction, you can also deduct on your federal income taxes your real estate tax payments associated with your primary residence. IRS Publication 530 has more information about how to deduct your property taxes. And, for now, it seems that Congress will continue the mortgage interest tax deduction and the real estate property tax deduction.

Buying a home with extra perks

Buying a historical property. Buying a historical home has its pros and cons. You may be able to buy a home with history and heritage, but you may have to pay quite a bit more to renovate and keep up with home maintenance. If your historic home is in an historic district, you may have other limitations on what you can do with your home and how you must maintain the home. There may be a federal tax credit and state tax credit available to owners of historic property. In some parts of the country, if you own a historic home, you may be able to get a real estate tax benefit from your local tax assessor’s office. Thirty states now offer state rehabilitation tax credits for historical properties. Keep in mind that you may have to comply with certain building standards to keep and maintain historic property to receive a tax benefit. If you’re willing to put in the work to maintain a historical home and restore it to its original beauty, you may benefit financially. Start your search for a historic home with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Buying in a community targeted by state or federal governments for redevelopment.

One of the most important rules of real estate is Location, Location, Location. In some cases, you can benefit by finding a neighborhood that has the backing of the federal or state government. Some government agencies will give lenders incentives to have them lend money in certain communities and neighborhoods. If you can qualify for these benefits, you might find that the interest rate on your loan is below market or that some of the closing costs associated with your purchase are covered by the lender or the governmental agency. The Community Reinvestment Act is a federal law that encourages lenders to meet the needs of borrowers in low- to moderate-income communities and the location of some of these properties can be targeted under specially designated census tracts. Talk to your mortgage broker or real estate agent to find out if you can look at homes in these census tracts.

Additional benefits of home ownership

Building Equity. At the beginning of the life of your loan, you will be paying most of your payment to interest. But every month, that balance will shift and you will be paying more of your payment toward principal and less to interest. Instead of paying rent to a landlord, you will be making the payment toward your investment in equity. While the last decade has not been a good one for homebuyers, historically, when you make your monthly payments, you will find that your loan balance decreases and you increase equity in your home.

Freedom of being a homeowner. If you look at rental listings you might find such criteria as “no pets” or “no painting.” Owning your own house gives you the freedom to make your home into whatever you want it to be, and the satisfaction that comes with building a home. You can make changes and upgrade your home, building more of an investment in your future and being the king or queen of your castle.

Owning a home is a big step and you should think carefully about what home you purchase for you and your family. Do you still have questions about owning a home? Contact me!


 

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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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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A recent survey on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) and Habitat for Humanity International conducted by the NAHB Research Center found that individuals who are renting perceive homeownership as a preference. In fact, 68 percent of individuals currently paying rent for their residences said they would prefer to own their own houses. Although previous releases issued about this study have discussed the feeling among consumers about the cost of owning a home, this information demonstrates that regardless of concerns, the general perception among those surveyed is that they prefer to own a home. The complete study reported opinions from consumers and builders on various topics related to home building.

There are many noteworthy challenges that come with renting and this was shown in the survey by Whirlpool and Habitat as well. The majority of renters also displayed a perception of being concerned with their costs—60 percent said they were concerned about the cost to rent, while 52 percent said they were concerned about the cost of electric and gas bills.

"We're encouraged that this study demonstrates the desire of consumers to become home owners," says Tom Halford, general manager, contract sales and marketing, Whirlpool Corporation. "Whirlpool Corporation is proud to work with Habitat for Humanity International to help build homes that can have a positive impact on families and communities."

According to the survey, another factor when it comes to home ownership is the perceived safety. Of all renter respondents, 44 percent said they had not taken any action to increase the safety of their households in the past 6-12 months. Other respondents said they undertook minor safety precaution projects such as installing a lock on a door (32%) and putting in a smoke alarm (31%).

Besides owning their own houses, other desired changes that renters indicated they would like included having a backyard (39%), the ability to decorate (38%), upgrading appliances (36%) and increasing home eco-efficiency (31%).

For more information, visit www.whirlpoolcorp.com/habitat or www.Habitat.org.

Want to know more? Contact your real estate agent for any questions regarding homeownership in your local area.

 

 

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Home Buyers Looking For Latest Trends

by Rose Price

In today's tough competitive real estate market, potential Champaign, Illinois homebuyers have increasingly made it clear that their‘must have’ list of amenities now includes efficient, sustainable materials and features that focus on making their home an affordable sanctuary to live and work. Gone are the extravagant, over the top, “McMansion” types of home and now the trend is for thoughtfully planned living areas that combine both indoor and outdoor lifestyles and make room for a home office. Below are some of the top trends that homebuyers are looking for:

  1. Green building and sustainability – from recycled materials to water wells and water collection systems, today’s home buyer is concerned with organic, sustainable features. While green building can sometimes be expensive up front, even the cost conscious know that the results may save money in the long run.
  2. Energy efficiency – those who go green are also concerned with sustainable, efficient resources. Buyers want energy efficient appliances and the latest in insulation techniques using spray foam and gels. Not only do they reduce current energy costs, but energy efficient homes help with resale.
  3. Outdoor living areas – more people are staying home these days, and one of the hottest trends is outdoor living areas that create a seamless indoor to outdoor space and include living room style features. From comfortable sofas to televisions and sound systems and creative outdoor cooking areas, the right outdoor space becomes a natural extension of the interior.
  4. Main floor master suites with luxurious baths – now more than ever, home is an oasis for hardworking homeowners, and large masters on the main floor (away from kids rooms or play areas) are key to a homeowner’s satisfaction. Along with the master, buyers are interested in soaker tubs, walk-in showers with seating and dual showerheads.
  5. Home offices – more and more people find themselves telecommuting or working from home in the evenings, and space for a home office has taken priority over traditional home features like formal dining and living and even media rooms. Home buyers seek that unique space that separates work from family living areas.

Home buyers priorities have shifted to reflect changing economic times. The top trends reflect a new desire for comfort and flexible lifestyles, along with an ever growing concern for sustainability and efficiency.

Reach out to a well-informed realtor who can give you the latest industry trends!

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Displaying blog entries 41-48 of 48

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