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Speedy Spring Sales In Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Putting your home on the market can be stressful. Showing after showing after showing requires your home to be presentable at all times. You’re forced to vacate at a moments notice, not to mention the kids and the dog.  So, how can you make this process a little less stressful and guarantee you home sells?    

First of all, buyers are always more interested in a home the first few weeks it's on the market, the longer it sits, the lower your chances are of selling quickly and for top dollar.  So, you really need to be prepared and come out blazing.

There are three main ingredients in a quick home sale: 

1) It needs to show well 

2) It needs to be marketed well

3) It needs to be priced correctly. 

So, without further ado, here are some of the best tips and tricks to optimize these three ingredients and to ensure a speedy spring sale.  

Rent A Storage Unit

Most people think, “ok, declutter, let’s put everything in the closet.” This is  BAD idea, the closest are part of the home, so anyone viewing the home is certainly going to look at the storage spaces and an unorganized, overstuffed closet doesn’t show well.  Your closets should be as clutter free and beautiful as you’ve mede the rest of the house. Instead of shoving things in the basement and closets, consider renting a storage unit.  It is super convenient and will allow you to keep your home show ready much easier.  As a general rule, you probably don’t need or use a third of your stuff, and it’s actually probably closer to half. Things like holiday decorations, old baby stuff, seasonal clothes, your kids old art projects…put it all in storage. Better yet, you can choose a portable unit, which can be transported on moving day, making your move even more convenient.  

Staging/Photography

A professional home stager sees your home from a the most discerning buyer's perspective and a good stager knows exactly how to highlight your home’s best features and minimize it’s flaws.  The first impression a buyer gets is often from listing photos online, so naturally these photos should be the highest quality possible.  Also of note, is that studies show homes with more than six listing photos online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers. 

However, not everyone wants their home staged, and we understand. So, what can you do instead?  Have a friend or two or three take turns walking from the curb through your house as if they were a buyer. Encourage them to look for areas to improve.  Then have your agent do the same thing.  Even the most beautiful homes can benefit from these practices.  

Find The Right Real Estate Agent

Don't hire a real estate agent just because your friend used them or because their son is in your kid’s English class. Hire an agent with a proven track record.  Someone who has proven their ability to sell homes fast.  You want someone who is familiar with the neighborhood.  You want someone who is not afraid to correct your errors.  Face it, they do this for a living and no matter how hard you try, you’re going to miss some things.  Your agent should be able to walk into your home and tell you exactly what buyers will love and hate, and then help you fix those hate points.  

Besides a great track record, look at their reviews.  What is it like to work with this person?  You should also make sure your agent is savvy online, since this is where most Real Estate business starts these days.  Look at the photos on their website (remember tip #2?), make sure they hire professional photographers to take photos of the home. Look at their social media.  Are they utilizing these outlets to sell homes? 

Do Some Work Yourself

If you’re really trying to sell your home, don't leave all the marketing to your agent. Get the word out yourself.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; if you have these use them.  Send e-mails, texts, let people know!  Don’t stop at your friends either.  Make it known in your neighborhood too! You never know who may know someone whose looking for a home in town. Let others help.

Depersonalize

This is Important, and can be hard for some people.  Most homes are covered with family photos and this can make it hard to imagine yourself living their.  At this point it still seems like someone else’s home, but your buyers need to imagine themselves living there. So, no matter how cute those baby pictures are, take them down when you put your home on the market.  Same goes for extravagant art.  You want your home to be interesting, but you don’t want the art distracting from the home itself.  People also have different tastes in art, so if they hate the art, they again, may find it hard to imagine living there.  

 

Upgrades

You don't need to go overboard on remodels to make your home more appealing. Honestly, chances are, you probably won’t get this money back in the sale.  So, instead, focus on the little things, especially the kitchen and bathroom.  New sinks and cabinets go a long way! Light fixtures, new shower curtains nice towels; these are all little things that can have a huge impact on potential buyers.  So, instead of spending $35,000 on a full kitchen remodel, get rid of your mismatched appliances and spend $3,500 on new stainless steel appliances. Small investments can make a huge impact, and you’ll have a better chance at optimizing your ROI.  

Lighten Up

Chances are pretty good you are not a vampire, its likely your buyers aren’t either, so brighten up your home.  Dark or poorly lit home can feel a little depressing.  A bright combination of natural and artificial light is the best way to go.  G the highest wattage lightbulb your fixture will allow, which even come in eco friendly styles now and it will instantly make your home brighter and more inviting.  Every time you leave for a showing, turn the lights on and open the blinds.  A fresh coat of paint will also go a long way.  A lighter natural color paint will help make your rooms look larger.  Last finishing touch, a good solid cleaning.  Make those baseboards sparkle!   

Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal is so hugely important, it can’t be overstated.  Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see.  If it doesn’t look great, a buyer won’t even consider it.   So, clean up the yard.  Consider trimming the hedges and the lawn, add fresh mulch, maybe get your lawn edged, a good pressure washing is always good, clean the driveways and walkways, maybe a fresh coat of paint to the trim and shutters as well. Everything matters, even the little things like polishing the brass on the front door.   Go a bit farther, add some Flowers near the entryway, a splash of color helps your home feel alive and inviting. 

Offer incentives

It may seem a little counterintuitive in a seller’s market, however the facts don’t lie. Last year, the best year for U.S. home sales in almost a decade, 37% of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyers.  With the added competition in the market, incentives could be the deciding factor for a buyer.  If you’re a seller and you’re able to offer a little money toward closing costs, you’re making it easier for that buyer, which may in turn make them more willing to give you the full asking price.  So in the end you could end up with a faster sale and a larger profit. 

Know The Facts

Spring and summer are the best times to sell your home.  If you can wait until then, you probably should.  However, selling during the peak season also means there is more competition and buyers can be pickier.  So, if you are selling in the Spring and Summer, these tips are especially important. Another important fact, is that homes that aren’t priced right just don’t sell, and the longer your home sits on the market, the less desirable it is.  Buyers often expect something to be wrong with these homes.  You absolutely have to price your home right, it’s that simple.  Do some research on local comps, get a few suggestions from other agents, and then ultimately listen to your agent, which should be the expert we discussed in the beginning of the article.  It can be hard hearing your home isn’t worth what you thought, but it’s not worth wasting the summer on.  Let your Agent take the lead on pricing and negotiating.

Looking for more information on how to Sell your home quickly this Spring, give the Rose Price Team a call 217.202.8843.  Not ready to chat yet? Then visit some of our FREE Seller's Resources.  We also have numerous FREE resources for Buyers.    

Check out Trulia, a Great Real Estate Resource.

March 24th is the 75th anniversary of Chanute Airfield's Tuskegee Airmen! Champaign Illinois was the birthplace of the Tuskegee Airmen. These brave men showed incredible heroism and courage at a time of severe racism in our country and a belief that black soldiers were inferior to white, that they didn't have the capacity or fortitude sufficient to fly warplanes into battle. 

It wasn't until 1941 when A. Phillip Randolph pushed President Roosevelt to include Black Americans in combat roles, that they became eligible to fight. However, St. Louis and Detroit were the original designated locations for training sites, but neither city would allow these men to train in their airspace. it was Champaign County that stepped up and supported the program and offered Chanute Army Air Field to host the training.  This historical event took place during the week of March 19-26, 1941 at Chanute Air Field, Rantoul, IL for the Black Fighter Pilots. 

Later that fall, these fighter pilots were transferred to Tuskegee, AL but Chanute Air Field was kept as an integrated base for weatherman, armorers, fire fighters and mechanics.

On March 24, 1945, three Tuskegee Airmen shot down 3 German jets, marking the very first time American pilots shot down enemy jet fighters. 

While only 14 of the original Tuskegee Airmen are still alive today, there are many pilots who helped integrate the Army Air Corps. 

Our Illinois National Guard Armory will host a kick-off celebration on Thursday, March 24, designating Champaign County as the Birthplace of the Tuskegee Airmen March 1941.” The program will begin at 11:00 a.m. and last one hour. Following the event, the Champaign County Engineers will install the “Birthplace of the Tuskegee Airmen March 1941” signs on all US and IL highways entering Champaign County.

Various Veteran organizations throughout Champaign and Douglas counties will be on hand to commemorate the designation. The public is also encouraged to attend to celebrate the role of Chanute Air Field in this monumental time in our country’s history.

Photo Credit- VisitChampaign.org

Daylight Savings in Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Daylight Saving Time gives us the opportunity to get a little more out of sunny summer evenings.  Yet, the implementation of Daylight Saving Time has been pretty controversial ever since Benjamin Franklin conceived of the idea. Even today, there are regions and countries continually changing their approaches to Daylight Saving Time.

Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.

Clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time commences at 2:00 a.m. to minimize disruption. However, many states restrict bars from serving alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. But 2:00 a.m. in the fall presents a little trouble or opportunity depending who you ask.  The time switches back one hour. So, some bars serve alcohol for that additional hour. Though some states battle this, claiming that bars actually stop serving liquor at 1:59 a.m., so they have already stopped serving when the time reverts to Standard Time anyway. Other states solve the problem by saying that liquor can be served until "two hours after midnight." In practice, however, many establishments stay open an extra hour in the fall.

2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time for practical reasons.  Most people were at home and this was the time, few trains were running, it is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and it prevents the day from switching to yesterday, which would be confusing, and it’s early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, changing over before most early shift workers are affected.

In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. 

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to simply make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. 

INTERESTING DAYLIGHT SAVINGS CONTROVERSIES

Draft Status, Vietnam War

A man, born just after 12:00 a.m. DST, avoided the Vietnam War draft by using a daylight saving time loophole. When he was drafted, he argued that standard time, not DST, was the official time for recording births in his state of Delaware in the year of his birth. Thus, under official standard time he was actually born on the previous day--and that day had a much higher draft lottery number, which allowed him to avoid the war.

Daylight Saving Time Saved Lives

In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank terrorists prepared time bombs and smuggled them to their Israeli counterparts, who misunderstood the time on the bombs. As the bombs were being planted, they exploded--one hour too early--killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims--two busloads of people.

Halloween Treats

Through 2006, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. ended a few days before Halloween. Children’s pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween than on any other night of the year. A new law to extend DST to the first Sunday in November took effect in 2007, with the purpose of providing trick-or-treaters more light and therefore more safety from traffic accidents. This was good news for candy manufacturers, who lobbied for a Daylight Saving Time extension Halloween for decades, as many of the young trick-or-treaters gathering candy are not allowed out after dark, and thus an added hour of light means a big holiday treat for the candy industry. 

Daylight Saving Time Chaos 

Widespread confusion was created during the 1950s and 1960s when each U.S. locality could start and end Daylight Saving Time as it desired. One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone. For exactly five weeks each year, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were not on the same time as Washington D.C., Cleveland, or Baltimore--but Chicago was. And, on one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles! The situation led to millions of dollars in costs to several industries, especially those involving transportation and communications. Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today's equivalent of over $12 million per year.

Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Minnesota cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul once didn't have twin perspectives with regard to the clock. These two large cities are adjacent at some points and separated only by the Mississippi River at others, and are considered a single metropolitan area. In 1965, St. Paul decided to begin its Daylight Saving Time period early to conform to most of the nation, Minneapolis felt it should follow Minnesota's state law, which stipulated a later start date. After intense inter-city negotiations and quarreling, the cities still couldn’t agree, so the one-hour time difference remained, bringing great time turmoil to the cities and surrounding areas.

Daylight Saving Riots

Patrons of bars that stay open past 2:00 a.m. lose one hour of drinking time on the day when Daylight Saving Time springs forward one hour. This has led to problems in numerous locations, and sometimes even to riots. For example, at a "time disturbance" in Athens, Ohio, site of Ohio University, over 1,000 students and other late night partiers chanted "Freedom," as they threw liquor bottles at the police attempting to control the riot.

Amtrak

To keep to their published timetables, trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So, when the clocks fall back one hour in October, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2:00 a.m. and wait one hour before resuming. Overnight passengers are often surprised to find their train at a dead stop and their travel time an hour longer than expected. At the spring Daylight Saving Time change, trains instantaneously become an hour behind schedule at 2:00 a.m., but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time.

Operas

Among the first institutions affected by Daylight Saving Time was the Berlin Opera, on April 30, 1916--the evening when the clocks in Germany were to be set forward for the first time. At 11:00 p.m., all German clocks were to be set to midnight. The Berlin Opera, with wonderful forethought, changed its schedule and began its performance of Die Meistersinger an hour earlier than usual. This allowed grateful audience members to be able to catch their customary trains home at the end of the performance. (All trains scheduled to depart between 11:00 p.m. and midnight were immediately behind schedule when 11:00 p.m. changed to midnight, and so left as soon as possible. And trains scheduled to depart after midnight left the equivalent of one hour early.

Violent Crime

A study by the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration found that crime was consistently less during periods of Daylight Saving Time than during comparable standard time periods. Data showed violent crime down 10 to 13 percent. It is clear that for most crimes where darkness is a factor, such as muggings, there are many more incidents after dusk than before dawn, so light in the evening is most welcome.

Antarctica

In Antarctica, there is no daylight in the winter and months of 24-hour daylight in the summer. But many of the research stations there still observe Daylight Saving Time anyway, to synchronize with their supply stations in Chile or New Zealand.

Manslaughter

In California, a Chevrolet Blazer packed with teenagers struck the median of a street and flipped over, tragically killing one teen and injuring several others. The teen driver, fighting charges of felony vehicular manslaughter, claimed that the street was dangerously wet and unsafe due a lawn sprinkler system. The landscaper responsible for the computerized sprinklers testified that the sprinklers were set to come on more than fifteen minutes after the fatal accident. The outcome hinged on whether the sprinklers' timer had been adjusted for a recent Daylight Saving Time change, for without the DST adjustment, the sprinklers had around 45 minutes to make the road slick.

Indiana

Indiana has long been a hotbed of Daylight Saving Time controversy. Historically, the state's two western corners, which fall in the Central Time Zone, observed DST, while the remainder of the state, in the Eastern Time zone, followed year-round Standard Time. An additional complication was that five southeastern counties near Cincinnati and Louisville unofficially observed DST to keep in sync with those cities. Because of the longstanding feuds over DST, Indiana politicians often treated the subject gingerly. In 1996, gubernatorial candidate Rex Early firmly declared, "Some of my friends are for putting all of Indiana on Daylight Saving Time. Some are against it. And I always try to support my friends."

In April 2005, Indiana legislators passed a law that implemented Daylight Saving Time statewide. 

Oil Conservation

Following the 1973 oil embargo, the U.S. Congress extended Daylight Saving Time to 8 months, rather than the normal six months. During that time, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that observing Daylight Saving Time in March and April saved the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day - a total of 600,000 barrels in each of those two years.

In 1986, Daylight Saving Time moved from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April. No change was made to the ending date of the last Sunday in October. Adding the entire month of April to Daylight Saving Time is estimated to save the U.S. about 300,000 barrels of oil each year.

Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time commenced on the second Sunday in March and ended on the first Sunday in November, thereby saving even more oil.

Births and Birthdays

Twins born at 11:55 p.m. and 12:05 a.m. may have different birthdays, and more impressive, Daylight Saving Time can change birth order -- on paper, anyway. During the time change in the fall, one baby could be born at 1:55 a.m. and the sibling born ten minutes later, at 1:05 a.m. In the spring, there is a gap when no babies are born at all: from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

In November 2007, Laura Cirioli of North Carolina gave birth to Peter at 1:32 a.m. and, 34 minutes later, to Allison. However, because Daylight Saving Time reverted to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m., Allison was born at 1:06 a.m.

Amish Observance

Amish communities in the United States and Canada are divided about whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. Although the Amish are generally known for leading simple lives without modern conveniences, practices vary from community to community. Likewise, some Amish communities observe DST, while others do not. In one county in Ohio, approximately 10 of the 90 Amish church districts opt out of DST (known as “fast time” or “English time,” preferring to observe what they term “slow time.”

Stealing Time

As with the U.S., Great Britain has had a colorful past with Daylight Saving Time (or Summer Time, as it is known there). In the early part of the 20th century, citizens protested at the change, using the slogan, “Give us back our stolen hour.”

Arizona Is Divided

In the U.S., Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, but the Navajo Nation (parts of which are in three states) does. However, the Hopi Reservation, which is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, doesn’t observe DST. In effect, there is a donut-shaped area of Arizona that does observe DST, but the “hole” in the center does not.

Thanks to IDEA for sharing some interesting Daylight Saving Facts.

Exciting Events Coming Up In Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Tuesday, March 8

Pogo Studio: Capturing the Sounds of the Champaign-Urbana Music Scene 1985-2014

Sousa Archives & Center for American Music

1103 S. Sixth St. 236 Harding Band Building, Champaign 

The Sousa Archives and Center of Music is known for exceptional exhibits and the preservations of American Music.  This is only one of several special events.  Also of note is the Transient Journeys: The Life and Music of Harry Partch Exhibit that is approaching it's end.  It will be on display until April 29th.  If you haven't seen it yet, get yourself to the center, you won't be disappointed.  Visit their Exhibits Page for information on more upcoming events and exhibits. 

Thursday, March 10

Local Women as Change Agents: Traditions of Philanthropy and Political Action

Student Life and Culture Archives

1707 South Orchard St. Urbana, IL 61801

7:00pm to 8:30pm

Sponsored by the Student Life and Culture Archives of the University of Illinois and the Champaign Country Historical Archives, the Town & Gown Speaker Series highlights local stories through exhibits and events. Join them throughout the year for exciting speakers and stories about Champaign.

Full Schedule

Sunday, March 13

The Illinois Park & Recreation Association’s Teen Committee offers a lot of incredibly opportunities but on March 13 there is a unique opportunity for teen bands throughout Illinois, to play for a crowd and duke it out to see who is truly the best band in Illinois. The event features the talents of young musicians, giving them a chance to play in-front of a new audience, meet other bands and gain great experience on stage. Judges will give feedback at each level of the competition and the top bands win additional chances to play as well as other prizes. The winners move on to regional competitions, and finally advance to the state finals, which takes place each August at the Illinois State Fair.

A great chance to perform at the Fluid Events Center, competing for prizes, local performance opportunities, and a studio recording session. All musical styles are welcome and al

l band members must be between the ages of 12-21 with at least half of the members 19 or under on the date of the
state finals.

PRIZES! 

  • Win a chance for gigs at the Blues Brews and BBQ event for both Friday and Saturday, and at the Taste of Champaign!
  • We also have a two hour recording session from Perennial Sound Studio, owned and operated by Ryan Groff of the band Elsinore
  • Gift cards and other items from local music shops!​​​​​

Thursday, April 7-10 

BONEYARD ARTS FESTIVAL

The Boneyard Arts Festival is presented annually every spring by 40 North | 88 West.  It's a 4-day event showcasing a broad range of the creative activity flourishing in our community.  It's more than your average arts walk, the Boneyard is a unique countywide celebration that takes place in over 90 Venues -- and features the work of hundreds of artists. Sculptors, weavers, painters, photographers and other visual artists come together with musicians, actors, dancers, poets and performers of all kinds for one reason; To share their creativity and celebrate their craft.   The event takes place throughout Champaign, Urbana, U of I Campus, Rantoul, Homer, Mahomet, St. Joseph and Sidney.

 

BUYERS

LAST MINUTE IS OK

If you get a call that a buyer wants to see your house in 15 minutes, then for God’s sake, no, for your sake, let them see the house!…yes, even if it’s a bit messy. 

Last-minute types are known to make impulsive decisions, and as such might decide to buy a house that day.  As a general rule, if someone wants to see your house, let them! Whenever it is. 

 

 NO PLUG IN AIR FRESHENERS 

You know those Plug-in air fresheners, well, not too many people like those.  They are actually a turnoff to a lot of people. 

So if you want your house to smell good, bake cookies right before a showing. This will hit em twice, because you can then offer them a delicious treat while they look at your house.  Now, we don’t want to get too psychological on this one, BUT the pleasure of eating a tasty treat is now associated with your home, which is now a more pleasurable memory than say, if they saw a house without cookies!  Pretty sly eh? 

DON'T SKIP THE FINAL WALK THROUGH

It's absolutely imperative!!! Don’t skip the final walk-through.

DO NOT SKIP THE FINAL WALK THROUGH!!!

It’s your very last chance to confirm all repairs were done properly, that the owner’s personal items have been removed, and that the items you agreed should stay are still there. It’s not uncommon for these things to mysteriously grow legs!  So, do the final walk through!  

NEIGHBORHOOD KNOWLEDGE

Your agent should be familiar with the neighborhood. One of the number one complaints from buyers is that their real-estate agent didn’t know, or didn’t warn them about, key issues in a new neighborhood.  While your agent can’t share the economic standing or predominant ethnic background of the people in the area or the local crime rate (as it violates fair housing laws, they can provide you with resources where you can find out this kind of info for yourself.  They should also be able to tell you if there is a bus stop or train near-by, that goes past every 20 minutes.  Your agent should take you around the neighborhood in the morning, afternoon and night, in order to get a real sense of what the area is like.  

BIDDING WARS

Multiple offers, which are common in hot real-estate markets, are a sellers dream, however many qualified buyers are left in the dust. BUT someone has to win the war.  How do you ensure it’s you?  

Well, again, it comes down to your agent. An agent who is well acquainted with other agents in the area and is a skilled negotiator is are two important traits.  Someone whose read Sun Tzu’s “Art Of War” is an even better bet.   You just want your agent ready to go into battle, fully prepared for the fight ahead.  Someone whose been around the block a few times.  Tell your agent what your absolute highest bid would be, this will ensure there is no confusion once the bullets start flying.  This information will give your agent a powerful advantage when working with the seller’s agent, especially when other Agent’s don’t know this information for their clients. 

Now, this requires something from you too, buyers.  You need to be honest with yourselves.  There is a notorious saying in the Real Estate Industry: “Buyers are Liars.”  Buyers will often say things like: “This is as high as I’m willing to go”…then weeks later, change their mind.  This is especially true when losing a bid.  Buyers will say “Oh, I would have gone up  more!”.  This hurts you.  You need to know your absolute highest bid and let your agent know from the start.  The Real Estate Market today moves way too fast, and those who aren’t prepared, lose.  So, be honest from the get go.  

How it works to your advantage:  Once you as a buyer have set a ceiling, your agent can start strategizing.  They can settle on a price and then throw in extras like, covering closing costs, and title insurance, or waiving appraisal fees and other contingencies, all while staying under your ceiling.  It’s not just the home price that matters, it’s often these extra little bits that seal the deal.  

SELLERS

CHOOSE YOUR AGENT WISELY

Beware of Agents who overestimate your home’s selling price. 

Every agent is hoping you’ll choose them over other agents, so, some Agents will say whatever makes you happy in order to secure you as a client, and since homeowners love hearing that their house is worth a lot of money, some agents will price too high, setting unreal expectations for their Sellers.  They in other words “buy your listing”.  AVOID THIS.  It will hurt you in the long run and only guarantees your home will sit on the market for a very long time, and after that long time, Sellers will have no choice but to lower the asking price….which presents a whole bunch of unwanted perceptions of the home.   

On the flip side:

Some Agent’s undercut the price in-order to generate a quick sale and a commission for themselves, even though it may not be the best price for the seller.  

So, it’s extremely important to choose an experienced Agent with a proven track record.  Someone who knows the market, prices your home right, and sells quickly, without sacrificing any money in your pocket.  How do you secure one of these unicorn Agents? Start by googling them, see if they pop-up, then check the listing agent’s references, request a detailed marketing plan, and then meet personally to discuss what the agent can and cannot do for you, during this meeting ask how many transactions they’ve completed this year.  This will tell you right away if it’s someone you want to work with.    

A savvy agent can also put more money in your pocket in non-conventional ways, ways only an experienced agent can do, like:Subtracting furniture, appliances and other personal property from the total price, then having the buyer write a personal check for those items.  This revised home value means a lower transfer tax for the Seller, and a lower property tax for the Buyer.  Not too shabby. 

Simple Things Go A Long Way:

CLEAR COUNTERS

We’re Americans, and for whatever reason we absolutely love vast, wide-open counter space.  So, just clear your counters!   It's that simple. 

STAGE YOUR HOME!  BUT DON'T BE TACKY!

Yes, staging your home by getting rid of clutter and bringing in furniture or accessories can help it sell. 

...But music, champagne glasses next to the bed and fake pies on the countertop? That's a little much, and it will turn some buyers off.

HELP YOURSELF! YOUR NEIGHBORS WON'T.

If your house is for sale and the lawn next door is starting to look overgrown, just go cut the grass for your neighbors. Especially if you have an open house coming up!  It’s a small thing, but it can make a huge difference.

YOUNG BUYERS DON'T WANT OLD HOUSES.

Surveys of home buyers show that many people have a preference for environmentally friendly, technologically up-to-date dwellings that require no more than superficial repairs.

This is especially true of Millennials, now in their 20s and early 30s. According to a study by market researcher GfK Roper Reports, Millennials will bail on a house immediately, if the house is old, tacky and well, uncool.  Millennials want a fun house!  They want the Whirlpool bath, a game room, large walk in closets, a swimming pool; these are all dream home amenities for Millennials. After all, what do you expect from a generation who grew up watching MTV Cribs.  The survey showed High-tech entertainment centers and a sauna/steam room also make their fantasy list, while State-of-the-art kitchens,were less of a priority.

A Better Homes and Garden Real Estate​ Survey of 18-35 year olds, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that 64% of respondents said they would not consider living in a home that lacks the latest technology. Even more, 84% of Millennials surveyed said technology is an “absolute essential” for their homes.

More than Millennials, more and more people are looking for Move-In ready homes.  It's just the world we live in today.  People have the money, just not the time to make repairs or upgrades.  

However, if your home isn't techy-fresh! Don't feel glum.  There are simple things like a fresh coat of paint, window treatments, refinished hardwood floors and new carpeting, that can make all the difference. These things will breathe new life into old homes and are relatively affordable.  If it is beautiful and you price it well, it will sell! 

If you want more expert Home Buying OR Selling Tips, give the Rose Price Team a Call!  We love what we do and can make it work for you! If you're not quite ready to chat, use our Buyers and Sellers resources on the website.  They're Completely FREE!

Spring House Hunting Tips For Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Forget the groundhog, you can tell it’s almost spring by all the “For Sale” signs in the yards.  

It’s shaping up to be a competitive home buying season, inventory is low and demand is high!  So, if you snooze, you lose!  Literally.  

Lack of preparation is the number one reason people lose their dream home, so here are some tips to keep you ahead of the competition.  

Close your laptop!  Get out of the house and look the old fashioned way

Using Real Estate sites to search for your home is the norm.  90% of people search for listings online during their home-buying process.

Starting your search online is a good idea, but don’t get so caught up that you forget there is a world outside too.  Inventory, in most markets is expected to be tight, so you want to get out and look as soon as possible.  Remember when demand outpaces the inventory of homes, buyers need to be ready to move quickly.  So get pre-approved, know what you are looking for and when you find it, pounce!  

Another thing to remember is that photos online are taken to make the home look it’s absolute best, so it may not accurately represent what you see when you pull up, rather just what the Seller wants you to see.  So, use the internet as a tool, not your whole strategy.  

Some sites let you select certain neighborhoods and then receive alerts when new homes become available, this is the perfect use of the internet, you become alerted and then can go see the home for yourself.

Educate Yourself .  Know the Market Values and Market Trends

Rely on your Realtor for this.  The best source of information is a well connected Real Estate Agent.  They’re the expert and have a wealth of information to share with you.  Ask questions and be sure you really understand the bigger picture.  You can also check out sites like Curbed.com for trends in particular areas and to see where new inventory is popping up.  

Everything isn’t always exactly as it appears.  There could be “micro trends” which are little trends unique to a certain area in your region that could affect prices.  Things like, maybe new homes are selling at a premium to older ones or the demand for condos outpaces the demand for single family homes.  These things will affect your price.  Be aware, too, that there could be micro-trends in your region that 

BUY NOW.  Snag A Low Mortgage Rate—Now

Mortgage rates are going up.  So, now is definitely the time to buy.  Take advantage of the low interest while you can.  

Mortgage rates are still historically low, so buyers are getting a lot more bang for their buck and at payment levels that will be affordable for decades.  Mortgage rates are so low right now that monthly payments are lower than rent in a lot of markets.  

It’s predicted that these low interest rates will stay through the spring.  Home Buyers received another gift recently, when The Federal Housing Authority, which backs loans for borrowers who make low down payments, lowered the annual insurance premium required from 1.35% to just .85%.  It’s estimated that this will save more than 2 million FHA homeowners about $900 a year.  

What this means: It’s a prime time to jump on a home loan. Mortgage rates can be unpredictable—and a decision by the Fed to raise interest rates mid-year, as many economists predict, could cause them to spike.

Build A Home Buying Dream Team…Then Make A Bid

To be a serious contender in the Home Buying game, you need to be organized and ready, especially if a bidding war begins.

You will need a savvy real estate agent obviously, but you’ll also want your lender, inspector and attorney to be ready so you can move fast.  

Complete your mortgage application and get your loan amount determined in advance.  Things move faster today and if you are not 100% pre-approved, you probably won’t get the house.  Some people, the most successful buyers are even going one step further and getting fully approved before purchasing.  Not all lenders offer this, but some do, and if they do, it’s a way to ensure you are the top contender.  And the better known your lender is locally, the more likely you’ll win the confidence of the seller.  Lenders from the Internet can seem sketchy in the eyes of Sellers and their agents.  It’s always best to use someone who is known locally.  

Don't Be Afraid To Sweeten The Deal

So, what if you are stuck in a bidding war with an equally qualified buyer?  How do you win?  

One way is to include an escalation clause, which is an amount that you are willing to pay above a competing bid.  

For example, if you included an escalation clause of $3,000 to your bid of $200,000 and the second offer came in at $205,000, then your bid would get bumped to $208,000. 

You can also consider removing contingency clauses.  Contingencies are terms of a contract that must be met or the buyer or seller can walk away from the deal; home inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies are among the most common.  All of these presents a certain level of risk, so consult with your Realtor and team before removing any.  These can often be removed just by doing due diligence.  For instance, you can remove the financing clause if you get fully approved.  Also, be sure to conduct a pre-inspection prior to making your offer, this way, you won’t have to include an inspection contingency.  

There are also smaller but nice gifts you can use to entice a Seller.  Find out what date the Seller prefers to close, then use that date in your contract.  You can also offer to close as quickly as possible, and offer to accept rent payments from the Seller until their planned move date. Adding these little perks can mean a lot more than you think.  There have been times my seller ultimately went with a lower bid, simply because it had NO CONTINGENCIES. Many Sellers prefer NO RISK as opposed to a few extra bucks.  

Most of this has to do with preparation and knowledge.  Don’t get caught off guard and lose your dream home because you weren’t properly prepared.  This starts with your Realtor.  Find a trusted expert and then work hard with them!

If you're looking for more information or tips on the buying process in Champaign IL, call The Rose Price Team, experts in relocation and led by Rose Price, a trusted Real Estate Agent since 1989.     

 

 

 

SATURDAY IN CHAMPAIGN IL!

by Rose Price

Plant Mode is a local plant shop, tucked away in the back of the Furniture Lounge in Downtown Champaign.  All you can usually find there are plants, naturally.  However, on Saturday you’ll be able buy some great records.  Green Thumbs grab your Audiophiles and head on over to Plant Mode.  You’ll both leave happy!  …and someone once told me that playing music for your pants helps them stay healthy. Who knows, give it a try.  

For the past month there’s been an amazing installation of 3D String art at the IMC Gallery. Saturday night it’s coming down, and you’ll never be able to see it again.  So, go show Artist Peggy Flavin some love and see this amazing exhibit before it goes away forever. 

 

Expressions is an exciting event that will showcase local multimedia artists.  The theme is experimental and psychedelic expression, featuring live video projections and manipulation, live painting and live electronic music.  This event will showcase local multimedia art with a shared theme of experimental and phsychedelic expression. There will be live video projection and manipulation on all walls as well as live painting, and live electronic music from artists Vibraspore, TwoLeggedZoo, JORTS, and Snayl.  

January is Radon Home Testing Month!

by Rose Price

Has your Champaign/Urbana home been tested for Radon? If not, now is the perfect time to get it done! January is National Radon Action Month. As your Champaign/Urbana Real Estate Professional, I feel it’s my duty to inform you of the proper precautions and actions to take in order to protect yourself and your family from any possible radon exposure.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon (also known as a radioactive gas) is found at some level in almost every home and takes the lives of 21,000 Americans each year.  Did you know that the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General have urged all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and places of business for radon? Because exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure and health issues! If a high radon level is detected in your home you can take steps to fix the problem and protect yourself and your family.

Here's what you need to do to Test your Home for Radon:

  • Get a Radon test kit & Test your Existing Home: Test kits are available for purchase online, however we would recommend completing the Home Radon Testing Checklist at the following website to ensure you do  a complete and accurate job of testing your home: RADON TESTING CHECKLIST. The Public Health District of Champaign County offers Free test kits at the following link: FREE RADON TEST KITS If you live outside the state of IL, check with your state government office for Free Radon testing kits. Some home goods and hardware stores also sell radon testing kits. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully for proper placement and information on where to send it afterwards to get your reading.
  •  
  • Call a Professional- If you'd rather not do the testing yourself, you can call a IL Radon Mitigation Professional and they'll come into your home and do all the testing for you.
  •  
  • If You Are Buying a Home…and the home has already been tested for radon, ask the
  • seller for the test results of the most recent radon test. You may also want to request that a new test be conducted by a professional radon tester. If a radon test has not yet been conducted, request it as soon as possible with your own specific preferences. You have the right to decide who will do the test, what type of test will be done and when the test will be done.
  •  
  • If You Are Selling a Home…and your home has already been tested for radon, review the facts and verify it was done correctly. If so, make sure the test results are available to your potential buyers. If your home has not been tested for radon, get the test done as soon as possible; preferably before your home goes on the market.

The presence of radon in your Champaign/Urbana Home can be dangerous and life threatening. While smoking causes cancer in an estimated 160,000 people a year, radon can cause lung cancer in both smokers and non-smokers alike. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched an international radon project to help countries around the world increase awareness, collect data and promote action to reduce radon risks. Radon in our homes is the main source of exposure and up until now has not received widespread attention. Get the facts about radon and make sure your family is safe from its dangers. If you are buying or selling a home, take the proper precautions to radon-proof your home before it’s on the market or before you move in.

For more Home Buying and Selling Tips visit my Blog and Facebook Page  frequently. 

Top 9 Universities In Illinois. One Is In Champaign IL!

by Rose Price

Nine universities in Illinois have been ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, and two of them have been ranked in the top 12.  

Even more exciting...Guess who comes in at #3 in Illinois?... That's right! The University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign.  

It doesn't surprise me, after all, it is the #11 Ranked Public University in the country. The Students and Faculty here are pioneers of innovative research, tackling global problems and expanding the human experience ever single day! Alumni of the University Of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana continue to make a significant and positive impact on our human society and with 18 Pulitzer prize winners, their track record is pretty remarkable. So it is to them we say, 

Congratulations!!!  

We are proud to have you in our communities.

The following criteria was used to rank the schools: Undergraduate Academic Reputation, Freshmen Retention Rates, Six-Year Graduation Rates, ACT/SAT Test Scores, Class Sizes and Faculty Resources, Admissions Selectivity, Financial Resources and Alumni Giving.  The analysis was based on the class that began in the fall of 2014. 

According to the report, its two “pillars” upon which the rankings were based:

"First, regionally accredited schools are categorized by their mission, which is derived from the breakdown of types of higher education institutions as refined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2010. The Carnegie classification, which is used extensively by higher education researchers, has been the basis of the Best Colleges ranking category system since our first rankings were published in 1983…"

"Once schools have been divided by category, we gather data from each college on up to 16 indicators of academic excellence. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects our judgment about how much that measure matters. Finally, the colleges and universities in each category are ranked against their peers, based on their composite weighted score."

As the report on the rankings points out, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of “intangibles,” or other factors that go into college choice decisions by students and their families. On top of the metrics measured by U.S. News & World Report, finances, location, student life, areas of specialty, sports, student activities and many other factors must be considered before enrollment. There is no real way to account for all of these intangible variables, but this list helps quantify a small portion of the variables facing future college students.

*The test scores are displayed as a range of scores of whichever test (SAT/ACT) taken by the most students

1. University of Chicago

National rank: 4

Acceptance rate: 8.8 percent

6-year graduation rate: 93 percent

Test score range: SAT math and verbal: 1430-1590

2. Northwestern University

National rank: 12

Acceptance rate: 13.1 percent

6-year graduation rate: 94 percent

Test score range: SAT math and verbal: 1390-1560

3. University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign

National rank: 41

Acceptance rate: 59 percent

6-year graduation rate: 84 percent

Test score range: ACT composite: 26-32

4. Loyola University Chicago

National rank: 99

Acceptance rate: 63.3 percent

6-year graduation rate: 73 percent

Test score range: ACT composite: 25-29

5. Illinois Institute of Technology

National rank: 108

Acceptance rate: 50.6 percent

6-year graduation rate: 65 percent

Test score range: ACT composite: 25-31

6. DePaul University

National rank: 123

Acceptance rate: 69.9 percent

6-year graduation rate: 71 percent

Test score range: ACT composite: 23-28

7. University of Illinois–Chicago

National rank: 129

Acceptance rate: 72.7 percent

6-year graduation rate: 60 percent

Test score range: ACT composite: 22-27

8. Illinois State University

National rank: 149

Acceptance rate: 73.9 percent

6-year graduation rate: 72 percent

Test score range: ACT composite: 22-26

9. Southern Illinois University–Carbondale

National rank: 153

Acceptance rate: 81.7 percent

6-year graduation rate: 44 percent

Test score range: ACT composite: 19-26

The report also listed these Universities in Illinois that were scored but unranked. These schools didn’t fit into the parameters used by U.S. News to rank the schools (they might not use the SAT or ACT tests to admit students, for example), or they might not have been ranked by enough peer schools for the report authors to gather an accurate picture of the schools.

The Illinois schools on the unranked list are:

Benedictine University

National Louis University

Northern Illinois University

Trinity International University

Interested in more of what makes living in Champaign/Urbana so great?  Give Rose Price  a call. She'll be happy to make your dream of owning a home in Champaign/Urbana a reality!.  

Top 100 School Districts in Illinois!

by Rose Price

Once again the Champaign/Urbana IL area has 3 area school districts that have earned spots on the highly coveted list of the TOP 100 SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN ILLINOIS for 2016! With 863 School Districts in Illinois, earning a spot on this list isn't an easy task, you have to be truly outstanding in virtually every category. For the 3 School Districts that have found their way to this list, I feel they exemplify this type of achievement in their school programs on a daily basis. These districts are:

URBANA SCHOOL DISTRICT #116

 

 

TUSCOLA COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #301

 

MOUNT ZION COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #3

 

 

 

 

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