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Easter Extravaganza in Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Friday, March 25

Nite Lite Egg Pursuit XXIII

@ 7:15 pm - 9:00 pm | $10

Ages 18+
What's better than starting your weekend with an Easter Egg hunt?  Starting your weekend with an Easter Egg Hunt...at night! Yup, this Easter Egg hunt takes place at night! So, bring your basket, grab a flashlight and find your inner child.
Join Lite Rock 97.5 WHMS for the opportunity to hunt for eggs filled with prizes. Be on the lookout for the Bronze, Silver and Gold eggs for a chance to win some really great prize packages!

Register on-site: 7:15-8p, $10
Hunt starts promptly at 8:10p
Hessel Park

*Eggs disappear quickly. Don’t be late!

Saturday, March 26

Eggs-ploration-FREE

Douglas Park 512 E. Grove St

Join the community at Douglass Park for a good, old-fashioned Easter Egg Hunt. There will be face-painting before the hunt and inflatables to jump away! The hunt begins at Noon, so be prompt…eggs go fast! Remember to bring your basket so you don’t have to fill your pockets.   Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.com

26th Annual Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza- FREE 

West Side Park 400 W University

Thousands of eggs will be hidden around West Side Park. Free hayrack rides will be offered from 10-10:45am before the hunt begins. There will be a special guest attending for the little ones to meet. Bring your basket and get ready to hunt some eggs.  The hunt starts at 11 am Sharp! 

CGA 4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Champion Gymnastic Acedemy, 219 S. Matis Ave

 

It’s time for CGA’s  4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt. FREE and open to children ages 10 and under, the hunt will begin at 10 am. Participants do not need to be members of the gym. Children will be divided into 4 age groups to search throughout the gym for candy-filled eggs. Don’t forget your basket!

 

10:00 AM – 3 years old and under (accompanied by a parent)

10:25 AM – 4-5 years old

10:50 AM – 6-7 years old

11:15 AM – 8-10 years old

Please arrive before your child’s time to avoid congestion in the lobby.

Monticello Parks and Recreation Department Easter Egg Hunt

Forest Preserve Park - 1600 North State Street - Monticello

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Ready for some serious egg hunting?  Kids 10 years will have a chance to fill their baskets with eggs and goodies.  Hosted at Forest Preserve Park, the hunt will begin at 10 am.  The park will be divided into 2 age groups.  4 and under/5-10 year olds.  There is a participation fee of 1$.  Registration is not required.

Leaders of Life Easter Egg Hunt

Leaders of Life Martial Arts 2413 Village Green Place

1-2pm

Join Leaders of Light for an indoor Easter Egg Hunt! Why indoor?  Well, then no matter what the weather is, we can still hunt for eggs! 

Sunday, March 27

Illini Men's Tennis and Easter Egg Hunt

12-2pm

Free sundae to first 100 fans
Easter Egg Hunt with visit from the Easter Bunny
Poster making station for kids

More Information

Friday, April 1

Fetch! Pet Care Hoppin' Hound Egg Hunt

Champaign Bark District Dog Park Windsor Road, east of Staley Road

Is your pooch feeling a bit left out this Easter season...well bring your WHOLE family to the only Easter Egg Hunt for dogs.  Your pup will have just as much fun as you hunting for treats and refreshments, both for pets and humans!  can enjoy as much as you do. Enjoy treats and refreshments for dogs and humans, activities for the kids, pet photography, and prizes. The hunt starts right at noon! Event images will post to the Fetch! Pet Care and the Champaign Park District Facebook pages for you to download, share, and enjoy!

 

15 Things You May Not Know About Saint Patrick's Day!

by Rose Price

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Why A Leap Year?

by Rose Price


So, you’re most likely working an extra day this year and not getting paid for it!  It’s a leap year.  The strange worldwide calendrical event, where old folks finally celebrate their sweet sixteen, women propose to men and depending where you live, it can bring good or bad luck.  February will have 29 days this Month, but why? Why do we do it?  Why all this confusion of an extra day?  

 It’s all about Astrology:  

 One solar year is 365 and a quarter day long (around 365.242 days). It takes roughly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds for the Earth to Orbit the sun. It’s that extra five-or-so hours that are to blame for Leap days. Every four years, an extra day is added to the calendar to compensate for those missing quarters of a day. Since a solar year is 0.242 days longer than the calendar year, and not exactly 0.25, the Julian calendar drifted off by one day every 128 years. The Gregorian calendar fixed this problem by establishing a model which considered every fourth year a leap year. Also, according to Gregorian calculations any year which is divisible by 100 and not by 400 will not be considered a leap year (eg. the year 1900). Experts, however, say there are still tiny discrepancies with this method and our Gregorian system will have to be revisited...in about 10,000 years.  Now that we got the Science stuff out of the way, there are actually a lot of really fascinating facts surrounding leap days/years.  

First let’s look at some folks who took complete advantage of this extra day:

The Month of February originally had 30 days, during the reign of Julius Caesar, but when Caesar Augustus came to power, he wanted August (the month named after him) which had 29 days then, to have 31 days, just like the month of July (named after his predecessor Julius). So, he stole a couple days from February to make the number of days in August similar to that of July. Since then, February has had 28 days with Feb. 29 as the leap day. 

During his final trip to the West Indies, explorer Christopher Columbus used a lunar eclipse on Feb. 29, 1504 to his advantage. After being stranded in Jamaica for months and the indigenous people refusing any more help to him and his crew.  Knowing that a lunar eclipse was due, Columbus gathered the native chiefs on Feb. 29 and told them God will punish them by painting the Moon red and the only way God would withdraw the punishment is if they would co-operate again. Soon, the panicked chiefs agreed and heaved a sigh of relief when the Moon emerged from its shadow. Pretty sly there Chris!

Now, one of the more fun traditions is the tradition of women proposing to men.  This happens on a leap day.  There are many historical explanations; one goes all the way back to the 5th Century, when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick that women and to wait too long for their men to propose, so St. Patrick announced that a single day in a leap year, the last day of the shortest month would be the day women can propose to men!

In Denmark, the day when a woman can propose to her man is Feb. 24, a tradition that goes back to the time of Caesar. However, if a man refuses a woman’s proposal on that day, Danish men have to give 12 pairs of gloves to the lady and in Finland, if men refuse, they have to give fabric for a skirt.

In a few European countries such as Greece, leap years are considered bad luck and people are advised to avoid certain ceremonies and activities like weddings or buying a house. In Russia, leap years are believed to bring abrupt weather patterns and increased risk of deaths.

The town of Anthony in Texas, USA is known as the ‘Leap Year Capital of the World’ and holds a festival that includes a guided trip to an Aztec Cave, a party at the horse farm and square dancing. In 2016, the festival will run from Feb. 25-29.

Famous records associated with leap days:

St. Petersburg, Florida, became a city on a leap day in 1892 

 Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her performance in “Gone with the Wind” on a leap day in 1940.

Other Fun Leap Year Facts:

The first ever Playboy Club was opened by Hugh Hefner in Chicago, Illinois on Feb. 29, 1960, a leap day.

 A baby born on a leap day is called a ‘leapling,’ or a ‘leaper.’ The probability of being born on a leap day is one in 1,461, as four years have 1,460 days with one extra day added in the leap year, bringing the total to 1,461. 

According to leap year folklore, beans and peas planted in this year 'grow the wrong way.

 Sir James Wilson (1812-1880), Premier of Tasmania is the only notable person known to have been born and died on Feb. 29.

 The civil code in China, since Oct. 10, 1929, suggests that the legal birthday of a leapling is on Feb. 28. In Hong Kong, March 1 is considered the legal birthday of someone born on a leap day.

 Feb. 29 is also marked as Rare Disease Day. 

In Champaign, we believe it's GREAT LUCK to Buy a Home during Leap Year...especially when Mortgage Rates are at Historic Lows! If you'd like to learn more about the Housing Market here in Champaign, give us a call at 217.202.8843 or visit our website

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.     

 

 

 

Weekend Of Theatre In Champaign IL

by Rose Price

As You Like It
Parkland Theatre’s Second Stage

February 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30pm
February 28 at 3pm

A clever adaptation of As You Like It, secondly titled “Being the record of one company’s attempt to perform the play by William Shakespeare”. Many key scenes from the original are performed while the seven desperate players attempt, often hilariously, to cover all the parts and make some theater magic. Touching and very funny, it is a true tribute to the core theme of As You Like It … All the world’s a stage.
Seating in Parkland's Second Stage goes quickly.  So Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Ticket prices: Adult- $15 Student and Senior (65+)- $13 Youth- (12 and under) $9 Groups of 15 or more- $11 each

Open seating except for groups and those with medical needs.

Reservations

The Little Mermaid at the Virginia Theatre

February 18, 19, 20 

7pm (2pm matinee* on Sat)

Champaign Central and Centennial High School Drama Departments have teamed up in the first ever joint production at the Virginia Theatre in Downtown Champaign.  This inaugural event will feature the full length Broadway Musical.  

Tickets: $15 Adult/$10 Student and Senior/$8 Children 10 and under

The production is being supported by Champaign Unit 4 School District, Central & Centennial drama departments, Champaign Park District, the Virginia Theatre, as well as private donations.

Support The Project!

A Mid Summer Night's Dream Lyric Theatre at Krannert Performing Arts Center

February 19 and 20 7:30 PM

February 21 at 3:30 PM

Benjamin Britten’s music creates enchanting, otherworldly landscapes which are the perfect compliment for the retelling of this romantic comedy. As rustic characters, royalty, and fairies entwine in the mystical woods at evening, love potions and mistaken identities create mischief and disorder which will only be dispelled as dawn arrives. Lavishly imaginative in story and in musical score, this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will surely beguile you!

Buy Tickets

More About the Lyric Series

 

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!.  

Our community is filled with Arts & Cultural experiences of all types! Come and explore what makes the Champaign/Urbana area such an exceptional place to live!

THE DOWN PAYMENT: CHAMPAIGN IL

by Rose Price

With a booming economy and comfortably plump market in Champaign IL, there are many more first time homebuyers flooding the market. So I thought it fitting to start a few blogs for those less familiar with how buying a home works, I mean, lets face it, even if you’ve been buying homes for 20 years, the process doesn't get less confusing.  So, lets start at the beginning; naturally, the Down Payment.

Let’s discuss what a Down Payment IS and IS NOT.

Definition of Down Payment

For a home buyer, the Down Payment, from here on out referred to as the DP, IS the sale price minus the mortgage loan amount. It IS NOT the same as the buyer’s cash outlay (the two are often confused). They are different by the amount of settlement costs charged to the buyer. 

For example, if the price is $100,000, the settlement costs $5,000 and the buyer has cash of $30,000, the amount available for down payment is only $25,000. 

Thus why many home buyers pay a higher interest rate in exchange for a lender rebate that will cover some or all of the settlement costs.

The DP IS NOT the same as the owner’s equity, except on the day of the purchase. Owner equity is what the owner could potentially net from selling the property. Where as the down payment is a one-time measure as of the purchase date, owner equity changes month by month. It will rise above the down payment as the mortgage loan balance is paid down and as the market value of the house rises, due either to property improvements or to market changes. AND obviously the owner equity could also decline if house prices fall…remember 2008? 

Why are down payments necessary?  

Basically to protect the lender.  You risk losing your down payment if your home ends up in foreclosure, so it's a way to make sure you make your monthly payment obligations.  

Minimum down payments

Most mortgage lenders require a down payment of at least 3 percent. FHA loans (mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration) require a down payment of at least 3.5 percent. Depending on your credit history, the type of dwelling and your reason for buying, the minimum down payment could be 5 percent, 10 percent, 20 percent or more.  This is why it makes sense to shop around for a mortgage.  Use your Real Estate Agent as a resource.  They will be able to help you find a few different mortgage options.  

Mortgage Insurance

When you make a down payment of less than 20 percent, your only option is to also buy mortgage insurance. There are two main types:

Private Mortgage Insurance (often called PMI), is paid to an insurance company. You will pay what are called annual premiums, which you will most likely pay monthly and most insurers also offer the option of an "upfront premium", in which you make a big payment at the beginning of the loan.

FHA insurance is paid to the federal government. When you get an FHA-insured mortgage, you will pay an upfront premium AND monthly premium payments.

Additional Fees

In many cases, lenders charge fees for down payments of less than 20 percent. Those fees will be on top of mortgage insurance premiums. Usually, the smaller the down payment, the higher the fee.  These fees will be paid at closing, FYI.  Sometimes the lender will charge a higher interest rate instead of fees.  

Options For Down Payments:

Appraised Value VS Sale Price

A big questions I get, is whether in the case where the appraised value is higher than the sale price, the difference can be counted as part of the down payment? From the lender’s perspective, the answer is “no”.  The property value used in determining the down payment is the sale price or appraised value, whichever is lower. The one and only exception to this is when the seller provides a gift of equity to the buyer (usually a family member). In these cases, the lender acknowledges that the house is being priced below market and will accept the appraisal as the value. In most of these cases, Lenders will require two appraisals and then they will take the lower of the two. 

Land as the Down Payment

Another big question is if land purchased as part of a plan to construct a new home can be used as down payment? The answer is “yes” actually. However, the land is then valued based on how long it has been held. If the owner has held the land for a long time, the lender will appraise the completed house on the lot and the difference between the appraisal and the cost of construction will then be viewed as the down payment.

So, if a builder charges $160,000 for the house and the appraisal comes in at $200,000, the land is assumed to be worth $40,000. A loan of $160,000 in this case would have a down payment of 20%.

However, if the land was purchased recently, the lender will NOT value it for more than its purchase price. If the price was only $30,000, for example, the lender will value it at $30,000, and the down payment will only be 15.8%.

Down Payment and Mortgage Insurance

From the borrower’s perspective, a larger down payment means a lower mortgage insurance premium. For example, a home purchaser with a good credit score who puts 3% down on a conventional loan will pay a monthly mortgage insurance premium about twice as large as the premium on an otherwise identical loan with 5% down, and 4 times as large as the premium on an otherwise identical 15% loan with 20% down.

I know, still a bit confusing, but that’s why we’re here, this is what we do!  If you need help navigating the murky waters of first time home buying, give the Rose Price Team a Call, we'd be happy to help you get into your first Champaign IL home.  The best way to buy a home will always be to find a good Realtor you trust and then let them do all the hard work and remember don’t be afraid to ask questions if you need things clarified.  If your Agent doesn’t encourage you to ask questions…find another Agent.  

Not ready to talk to an agent yet?  Then check out some of the FREE Home Buyer Tools we offer.

Yes, Niche is at it again, and with more praise for Champaign IL.  This time the praise is for the professors.  

Anyone who went to College knows that a big part of the College experience relies on the Professors who teach the courses.  There are those that INSPIRE and then those that just PERSPIRE.  There are even websites dedicated to helping students pick the Best Professors before registering for classes. Well Champaign clearly has enough inspiration to go around, coming in at #3 on Niche's Top 10 Illinois Colleges With The Best Professors.

Niche analyzed more than 1,700 four-year public and private universities across the U.S., in order to put together a list of the schools with the top professors based on factors like the professor salary index (average salary normalized against the local median salary), how much is spent on research, student surveys, faculty awards, student to faculty ratio and faculty diversity.

Below are the Top 10 Illinois Colleges with the Best Professors, and note the three highest ranked Illinois colleges (Champaign Included) are also ranked nationally. 

10) Illinois Wesleyan University

9) University of Illinois at Chicago

8) DePaul University

7) Columbia College Chicago

6) Loyola University Chicago

5) Illinois Institute of Technology

4) Western Illinois University

3) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2) Northwestern University

1) University of Chicago

Want to find out more of what makes living in Champaign/Urbana so great?  Contact Champaignrose , she'd be happy to share her passion for Champaign IL and help get you into your Champaign IL Dream Home.  

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