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Champaign/Urbana Ranked The Healthiest City In Illinois

by Rose Price

Whether you agree or disagree with The Affordable Care Act (ACA), one must acknowledge the fact that it has really placed a focus on the state of the country’s current health.  This refocusing has obviously placed a large spotlight on the healthcare system and as a consequence more people know that the United States ranks behind most developed nations in life expectancy, despite spending more per capita on health care than any other country.

Health outcomes vary greatly around the country, for instance, over 30% of the adult population of Madera, California, reported being in poor health while at the same time only 6.4% of the population in Ames Iowa (the healthiest city as found by 24/7 Wall St.) said the same.  Addressing this vast difference is another goal of the ACA.  

24/7 Wall St. created this index to identify the healthiest city in each state (click here for the Least Healthiest Cities).

Each city was ranked based on overall health outcomes; including length and quality of life. Also The long range of factors that influence these outcomes were also considered. These include healthy behaviors, clinical care, social and economic indicators, and physical environment.

Urban dwelling has in most cases been found to have positive impacts on the health of a population, including access to healthy food, places to exercise, and enough jobs to keep people employed and earning the money they need to afford healthy lifestyles and health care.

Obviously, healthy behaviors correlate with healthier populations…for example, high rates of exercise were common in the healthiest cities compared to national rates of exercise. Also, not surprisingly, Obesity correlates with many of the leading causes of death in this country, so obviously the healthiest cities’ obesity rates were generally lower than the national rate. Smoking was also found to be an important health indicator.  Only seven of the healthiest cities in each state had smoking rates above the national average.

 

It is also worth noting that most of the healthiest cities had very high rates of health insurance coverage.  

 Another important factor in these metro areas is education. Almost every city with healthier populations has above average rates of adults who have completed at least some college. It makes sense that better-educated populations will more likely make better health decisions. But, it has subtler influences as well, for instance, better-educated people often work in better-paying jobs, which allows them easier access to healthy food and exercise options.  More so than lower incomes.  There is a lot to consider, but one thing is certain, and that is that education is at the heart of increasing people’s opportunity to lead better-healthier lives.  

Now for the most important part of this article… Drum Roll please… Champaign/Urbana has been ranked Illinois’ Healthiest City!  Obviously, for all the reasons we just talked about.  Champaign really encourages people to lead healthy lives, providing the resources and means to do so.  

Let's look at our biggest stats at the time of the Survey:

Champaign-Urbana, Illinois 

Pct. without health insurance: 9.1% 

 Pct. food insecure: 3.7% 

 Obesity rate: 27.0% 

Consistently Low Unemployment Rates

These stats contribute to Champaign-Urbana being the healthiest metro area in Illinois and to the low percentage (10.2%, which is smaller than the 15.1% of statewide adults​) reporting fair or poor health.  In Champaign-Urbana, only 16.1% of residents smoked and only 21.6% were physically inactive in their leisure time in the month preceding the survey, lower numbers than both the state and national rates.  

Are you leading a healthy lifestyle? Want to live in the Healthiest City in Illinois? Maybe you want to know more about the benefits of living in Champaign/Urbana...The Rose Price Team can answer all of your questions and help make your    Champaign/Urbana    Dream Home a reality!  

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!.  

Brrrr… Simon & Pharis here… Talking about Winter!

 

Winter is a time when your beloved fur babies need a little extra care. So here is a little list of tips to protect your loved ones from the dangers of winter.

 If your pet spends most of the time in the backyard, you might want to keep them indoors during the freezing months, especially if you live in bitterly cold areas. No one wants an icicle for a pet -- they’re simply not that cuddly. But If you must keep your pet outdoors, consider this, your pet’s fur coat isn’t enough protection during winter. Provide your dog with a warm, dry and draft free shelter outside. The shelter should also comply with any state laws that apply.

 

It takes more energy to stay warm when it's cold so outdoor animals will eat more during the winter. Likewise, fresh, running water is vital for maintaining your pet's health. Keep an eye on the water bowls and make sure they haven’t turned into little skating rinks for fleas (boo, fleas!). While ice pops might be a fun treat, your pet really doesn’t want to have to lick a frozen lump of ice to get his water.Meanwhile, Indoor animals have different dietary needs. They conserve energy by sleeping more in the winter. Dogs and cats also exercise much less when they do go outside, so you may need to adjust their amount of food accordingly. After all, no one wants an overweight pet!

 

Frostbite is a serious problem during winter, especially for paws, tips of tails and ears. This makes it even more important in keeping your pet warm, especially if they’re an outdoor pet. Get special booties, coats, and maybe a hat for your pet during their walks. Look for early warning signs of frostbite such as firm, waxy skin and blisters.


 

The worst of all the wintertime chemical spills is antifreeze, which often leaks from a car's radiator. It may taste delicious to your cats or dogs, but it is extremely deadly - even the smallest sip can be fatal! If your pet starts acting "drunk" or begins to convulse, take him to the vet immediately. Better yet, keep your pets away from the garage and clean up any accidental spillage. You should also not let your dog wander too far during his walks. Who knows what dangers lie in your neighbors' driveways?

 

If you live in an area with cold and icy winters then you are probably accustomed to salt on the sidewalks and roads. However, the types of salt (typically calcium or sodium chloride) used to melt ice and snow and keep it from refreezing are somewhat harsh on delicate paws -- not to mention they corrode concrete and damage the beautiful vegetation. Protect your pet's paws, and keep him warm during walks, by outfitting him with booties.

 

Cars are particularly attractive to animals in the winter-time, especially frigid cats that love to climb up under the hood and curl up on the warm motor. This, as you can imagine, has led to many mishaps when motorists start their car… ouch! Avoid such accidents by tapping your car's hood before starting the vehicle. Sure, you may wake Kitty from her deep slumber, but she'll thank you in the long run.

 

Wintering with your pet is mostly common sense. If you’re cold, your beloved pet will most likely be cold too. So snuggle up, keep your pet warm and safe and sooner than you can say "Spanish Terrier" we’ll all be hitting the beaches for some summertime fun.

 

Investing in the Wealth of Diversity in our Community

“But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The purpose of the event is to celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to recognize and honor individuals/organizations that have made many contributions to their community in the areas of civil rights, human rights and humanitarian efforts.​ 

Along with celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Rose Price Team would like to recognize and congratulate the following individuals:

Barbara Kessel, recipient of the James R. Burgess, Jr. – Susan Freiburg Humanitarian Award

For over a decade, Barbara Kessel has been in and out of the Champaign County jail, volunteering.  She works with an organization that puts books in the hands of inmates. 

Her Books to Prisoners and other efforts on behalf of incarcerated men and women and their families, especially the Three Rs (Reading Reduces Recidivism), a men's movie club, CU Citizens for Peace and Justice and its Courtwatch program, Barbara has been named the recipient of this year's James R. Burgess Jr.-Susan Freiburg Humanitarian Award.  Thank you Barbara for all of your hard work.  

Rohn Koester, recipient of the Doris Hoskins Prestigious Community Service Award

This award honors individuals/organizations that engage in outstanding volunteerism and in so doing, contribute to the well-being of the Champaign County Community.

Melany Jackson, recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Outstanding Achievement Award

This award honors individuals/organizations that work for social justice in the spirit of Dr. King. The principles of justice that Dr. King espoused include promoting equal rights for all persons regardless of race, religion, economic status, or physical or mental disability.

HOSTED BY:

  • Champaign County
  • City of Champaign
  • City of Urbana
  • Parkland College
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

​​

Winter Home Tips For Your Champaign Home: Ice Dam Prevention

by Rose Price

 

Icicles hanging off your house look beautiful, but they're usually a sign of trouble. 

The same conditions that allow icicles to form; snow-covered roofs and freezing weather, also lead to ice dams (thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves). 

These dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. Obviously when this happens, the results aren’t pretty.  Paint peels, floors warp, ceilings get stained and worse sag, and the insulation in your attic becomes soggy, which is magnet for harmful mold.  

How it happens:

First, heat collects in the attic and warms the roof...but doesn't warm the eaves.

The snow on the warm roof melts, causing the water to rush down to the eaves…which are still cold.  So, the water freezes again. 

This ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam, preventing the water from running into the gutters and away from the house. So the Melt water from the warm roof backs up behind this ice, forcing it to flow beneath the shingles, and finally into the house.

Find out how to get rid of them OR better yet, prevent them below:  

 

Quick Fixes: 

Hacking away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel is bad for your roofing—obviously…and is also quite dangerous for you. Throwing salt on them will do a lot more damage than the ice.  So, what do you do?

 Freeze It

Bring a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is actively leaking in. This targeted dose of cold air should freeze the water in its tracks.  This method can stop water from flowing in in just a few minuets.  

Rake It

Pounding is bad.  Raking, you can get away with.  Simply use a long handled aluminum roof rake to rake the snow and ice.  You want to make sure it is a dedicated roof rake, so you don’t damage your shingles. 

Steal Your Wife’s Pantyhose

Ok, so maybe you should ask first.  But you can lessen the damage after a dam has formed with a simple trick.  Fill the leg of an old pair of pantyhose with Calcium Chloride Ice Melter.  Then simply lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and hangs over the gutter.  The calcium chloride will melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof, thus eliminating the backed up water.  

 

Permanent Fixes 

Preventing ice dams for good is simple: Just keep the roof the same temperature as the eaves. Do that by increasing ventilation, adding insulation, and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof.

Taking care of these trouble spots (listed in order of priority) will give you a dam-free winter and will also lower your energy bill!

How to prevent it?

Two words: Heated Cables.  Attach with clips along the roof's edge in a zigzag pattern. Heated cables combat ice dams that lift shingles and cause leaks. This method allows you to equalize your roof's temperature by heating it from the outside.  Keeping your roof one consistent temperature will prevent ice dams from flowing beneath your shingles.  You’ll want to be sure to install the cables well before bad weather hits.

 More Prevention Tips:

1. Ventilate Eaves And Ridge. A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents will circulate cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and provide at least 1 square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.

 

2. Seal Your Attic. Attics are full of air leaks.  Fill these! This will help keep everything the same temperature in your attic, which will in turn help to keep the roof one consistent temperature. You may want to add some more insulation as well.  Follow the video below for instructions on how to seal attic air leaks.  

 

3. Always Exhaust to the Outside. Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls, but never through the soffit.

 

5. Install Sealed Can Lights. Old-style recessed lights give off great plumes of heat and cannot be insulated without creating a fire hazard. Replace these with sealed "IC" fixtures, which can be covered with insulation. Keeping the heat from escaping into your attic.

 

6. Flash Around Chimneys. Bridge the gap between your chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing.  * NOTE * Using canned spray foam or insulation isn't fire safe.

 

7. Seal and Insulate Ducts. Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. Cover them entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.

 

8. Caulk Cracks, Gaps and Air Leaks. Seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. Also, look for any spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from passing air.

Looking to sell your home this winter?  Want more tips like these to keep your home in tip-top shape this selling season?  Contact the Rose Price Team for more Champaign Home Tips.  
 

New Year's Resolutions For Your Champaign IL Home

by Rose Price

New Year’s Resolutions for your home!  We all know that sticking to our resolutions is harder than we expect, but don’t let your home suffer.  Here are the most popular Home related resolutions and how to get them done!  Make this year the year you stick to and achieve all of your home resolutions. Best of all, these improvements will add great value to your Home.    

1. Rebuild the Deck

Are your decks looking old and grey?  Even more so than looking bad, old decks can be unsafe.  Even FEMA has warned about these dangers; especially poorly flashed decks, which can fall off of homes and cause bodily injury to you, your family or guests. Make needed repairs now.  

We recommend an annual 6-point deck check to identify problems you should address so that accidents don't occur. 

 

2. Seal Drafts

Homes get cold in the winter, especially if you have an older home, but newer ones have drafty area's as well.  However, there are simple ways to reduce these chilly home temps.  Cold air is very likely leaking in from several recognizable areas around your house (windows, walls, outlets).

Give yourself an energy audit. It’ll cost around $400 to have a professional come in, or you can do it yourself (see the video below).  The pros will provide you with a report detailing your home's draft problems, but will also include a cost-effective solution.

If your windows are in rough shape, but the frames are sound, then you can replace your windows (install high-efficiency replacement windows) for around $500-$600/piece. You’ll most likely want a professional to install these.

 

Lastly, consider Blown-in Insulation for your walls, which fills the stud bays of exterior walls with heat-retaining cellulose material.

3. Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Tired, outdated kitchen cabinets?  Kitchen renovations are the most expensive home-improvement projects. But you can add value to your home with these simple budget kitchen-cabinet upgrades. Instead of spending a minimal $5,000 on new cabinets, you can save big and reface the ones you have for under $1,000. Other money-saving options include painting your cabinets and, swapping out your cabinet pulls and hinges for new ones.

 

4. Add Curb Appeal

Curb appeal can add 10%-30% more value to your home!! Bet you weren't counting on that!  Here are some of the projects to look at to add curb appeal: 

Install Storm Windows

Paint Your Exterior

Privacy in the yard

Motions Detecting Lighting

Lamp Posts

 

5. Upgrade the Walkway

If you are thinking of re-routing your walkway, there are several options.  Brick & Gravel can be done in a single weekend, whereas concrete is a little more involved but offers a longer lifespan. You can also add special features like a pond at the end of a walk-way or small flower garden. 

6. Go Green On Top

Green Roofs aren't that prevalent here in the Fox Valley, but many area's have gone more to the eco-friendliness of them. Here are the reason some people are trending toward the "Green Roof" Movement:   

They reduce storm runoff

Absorb pollutants, 

give plants more room to grow, 

Best of all… They lower heating and cooling bills by providing insulation. 

If your dream green roof is too complex to install, check out development kits.  Green roofing is getting easier every day

7. Basement Makeover

Just do it!  Whatever your dream basement is, do it!  This is the year.  Whether you want to make it into a chic Mom's relaxing area, man cave for Dad & the guys, a game room for the kids, or an Exercise Room to accomplish your New Year's Resolutions....This is the year to Finish your Basement and Add Value to your Home!  

8. Paint Your Interior

This is one of the easiest on the list.  Start with one room and build momentum until every room is freshly painted.  It will do wonders for your home. 

1. First, select the proper hues with the help of a color wheel. 

2. Then, get the right equipment for the job.

3. Brush up on the best painting techniques from the pros…hem hem, YouTube!

4. Finally, paint the rooms!

 

9. Get The Little Things Done

There are always a handful of small repairs and the list grows throughout the year, becoming more and more frustrating.  Just fix this stuff.  Now, do these first.  They are simple things and you will feel a lot better when you check these things off your list.  Then, let this momentum continue through the rest of your changes. 

1. Fixing your outlets, or changing over to new ones.

2. Patching holes in walls where pictures, shelves or other wall hangings used to be.

 3. Recaulking Bathroom & Kitchen Sinks and Showers.

Good luck to you and all of your New Year’s projects.  If you are fixing up your home to put it on the market, give Champaignrose a call!  

New Year's Resolutions: Tips For Champaign

by Rose Price

HAPPY NEW YEAR CHAMPAIGN

 

Ok Champaignlet me guess: You want to lose weight this year…or maybe you chose a simpler goal…say, eating healthy.  Maybe you want to spend less money on material things or spend more time with loved ones.  I certainly do. Self-improvement, or at least the desire for self-improvement, is a shared hobby amongst Americans, and most humans.  It’s why so many of us (an estimated 45% of Americans) make New Year’s resolutions.

***(Note that only one-third of Americans watch the Super Bowl)***

The intentions are there, but a small fraction of us actually achieve our intended resolution.  The University of Scranton research suggests that a small 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.  So, why do so many people fail? What are the secrets behind those who succeed? 

 

There are no shortage of studies on how the brain works, so many experts are attempting explain the science behind why we make resolutions and more importantly, why we can never seem to keep them.   

 

 

One word: Simplicity 

Many people use the New Year to attempt extreme makeovers, both personally and/or professionally.

It’s a nice aspiration, but most of us have so many competing priorities that approach is destined to fail. 

 

Shooting for the moon can be daunting, so much in fact, most people fail to even launch! 

 

So “this year, try a different approach.  Simplify your resolutions.  Make your goals smaller.  Keep your list shorter.  When you accomplish one of these goals, you will feel satisfies, and proud, which will only give you fuel to accomplish the others; and you can always make new goals throughout the year! 

Set simple attainable goals throughout the year.  This is a much better approach than setting one hugely overwhelming goal. 

 

It’s not even the extent of the change that matters, but the courageous act of recognizing change is important and then working toward making it happen.  

 

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

 

A: One bite at a time!

 

Make it Tangible

Setting huge-ambitious goals is fun and can be really exciting…but they are much more difficult to attain, and when you see yourself coming up short, you will most likely become discouraged…and then frustrated…and then…you give up.  So, Keep your goals simple, rational, and most importantly achievable.  Be honest with yourself…be kind with yourself…and make this the year you finally achieve a New Years resolution.  

The way in which we state our goals is important too.  Many people have a resolution to lose weight…which is actually pretty broad and not as easy as it sounds.  Instead, make goals that will inevitably lead to weight loss; things like No potato chips, No fried, No ice cream…you can make this goal even more attainable…set a short time goal.  No fries for 6 weeks.  Once you find you can accomplish this… set another: No fries for 8 weeks.  Simple attainable goals is the key.  Heck, you can even start with no fries for 2 weeks.  Then when you achieve this goal, use that feeling to fuel the next few weeks.  This sort of specificity helps too.  You are less likely to fall off the wagon if you are specific.   

Instead of saying “I’m going to start going to the gym” in 2016” set a clearer ambition, like “ I’m going to attend a weekly spin class on Monday and a weight training class Wednesday and Friday.  Now you have a clear schedule. 

Set goals you can really measure.  Vague goals ensure vague results.  

Hope your New Years celebrations are fantastic and safe!  Good luck with the resolutions!  If your resolution is to find your dream home in Champaign, or if you're looking to sell, please give the Rose Price Team a call at 217.202.8843.  We'd be happy to put our expertise to work and help make your New Year's resolution come true!

THE TEN MOST COSTLY HOME SELLING MISTAKES & HOW TO AVOID THEM

by Rose Price

The Ten Most Costly Home Selling Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Want to get the most money for your home?

Then avoid these costly mistakes.  

The past few years the American Real Estate Market has been marked with bad news, but it seems like most markets are have turned that around; Prices are increasing, there are historically low interest rates for buyers, and the past selling season was one of the best in recent years.  

BUT

Before you list…do a little research or list with an experienced LOCAL Real Estate Agent!  Knowledge is power!  To help you here is a list of the 10 most common sellers mistakes—avoiding these, can save you thousands of dollars!

1. Selling your Home on your own

Attempting to sell your home on your own is a brave move. Before you take that step, consider everything that you're going to need to know & do in order put your home on the market, market your home, get buyers into see your home, make sure you abide by all the regulations and state codes, negotiate possibly many things along the way, then set-up all the appropriate people who need to be involved in the sales process just to close.  You really do need the expertise of a professional. Don’t believe me?… Check the numbers, those won’t lie.  For instance, homes without representation remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those with a professional at the helm. A professional agent is also their to protect you every step of the way.  

2. Not Pricing Your Home Properly

Overpricing isn't good for you! Under-pricing isn't good either! Finding the sweet spot is what it's all about.  These can be costly errors on both ends.  It is absolutely critical to understand the local housing market. This is why you NEED the experience, knowledge and expertise of a LOCAL Real Estate Professional. And I'm distinguishing between a professional and a part-time, dabbling in real estate. A Professional, like myself, that has been working & living in the Champaign/Urbana market for 20+ years, continually works on updating their own knowledge of the Real Estate market on a whole...and more importantly, what's going on in the Champaign area. They can guide you to a successful sale and protect you & your asset along the way.

3. Neglecting Repairs

This is fairly black and white, you will lose money if you don’t remedy repairs before you list your house. It’s less costly to fix things ahead of time.  You don’t want potential buyers to see these problems during a tour of your home.  When they do, the negotiation process will begin and the price you're asking will come down. If they find something larger after the sale...they will come back to you.  

4. To Clutter or Not?

Clutter can kill a deal. So declutter...it's that simple.  Everywhere!  It will help your home feel more spacious. declutter the kitchen countertops,  declutter overstuffed closets,  declutter ALL of your shelves, declutter EVERYTHING! It wont’ cost a thing other than your time and a little elbow grease and it will have BIG benefits when it comes time to sell.  


5. Listing a Vacant House

Home Buyers generally like to see a home with furniture in it, it makes the home feel warm & lived in. If it's absolutely necessary that you list your home vacant, you may want to list the services of a Home Stager or make a small investment in a few pieces of rental furniture to make the house look "homey". Sources show that vacant homes do take longer to sell and usually sell for a lower selling price. So your small investment will most likely pay for itself when your house sells.  

6. Letting your personal feelings get in the way

Don’t take negotiating personally.  This is a business transaction, probably one of the biggest of your life.  Take your personal feelings and put them aside, or let your Real Estate agent handle the negotiations while you take a break from the room. 

7. Failing to complete a full set of disclosures

There are sellers who lose money simply because they were afraid to disclose their home’s imperfections. Always Be upfront and forthcoming about all of your home’s issues. It will save you money and time, especially if the buyers end up uncovering problems themselves, AND THEY WILL.  Don’t hide anything!

8. Timing the Sale of your Home

Even a sale that misses its schedule by one day can cost you tens of thousands in extra taxes. Don’t let this happen. Talk to your accountant in advance to determine if any long-term capital gains tax breaks apply, and then time your sale accordingly.

9. Overlooking extra Expenses at Closing

Home sellers burn thousands of dollars by not requesting and confirming a list of fees and expenses prior to closing. Review the Estimated Closing Cost statements with your real estate agent before it’s time to hand over the keys. Then, request these fees in advance of closing day.

10. Using Lousy Listing Photos

This is a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t expect to sell your home for top dollar if you’re using amateur photos in your listings.   More than 90% of all buyers start their home search online, so make sure your Listing Photos are excellent…This means A LOT OF GREAT PICTURES! First impressions are important, especially when selling a home.  You won’t get a second chance to make a GREAT IMPRESSION, so don’t skimp on your photos.  

Considering selling your home in the Champaign/Urbana Area?  If you'd like more tips on Selling Your Home give Rose Price  a call at 217.202.8843.  

Selling homes is my passion and I'd be happy to assist you with this exciting time in your life. 

The 12 Credit Tips Of Christmas in Champaign IL

by Rose Price

So, the only thing you really want for Christmas is a new Home!  Homes can’t really fit down your chimney, so you can't really ask Santa, but I'm here instead!  Here's a list of tips to help you whip your credit score into shape by Christmas, so you don’t have to rely on the big guy to make your Christmas dreams come true!  

You’ve been saving and scraped together a down payment, you’ve got a line on the areas top realtor Rose Price, of course, but… have you checked your credit score lately?  If your score isn’t 620 or higher you may not even land the mortgage pre-approval, a crucial step in the home buying process.  So, before you go touring homes with your significant other, consider these small gifts, which will no doubt have your credit score in tip top shape by Christmas. 

Credit Tip #1…

Check my credit score for FREE.  Here's a link to my annual credit report. 

Ok, first, check your three credit reports.  You can do this free once a year.  This will help you spot and correct any problems you are currently unaware of.  

Credit Tip #2

Pay early!

Early payments cut down on the amount of interest on your debt.  They also reduce the chances you’ll overspend while Christmas shopping.  The last thing you want is to hurt your credit score by over shopping.  

Credit Tip #3

Freeze your credit reports.

Experian, TransUnion, and Equinox all offer consumers the option to prevent the release of your credit report without your consent.  This gives you control over who accesses your personal and financial information…BUT know that this may also interfere with or delay timely approval of mortgage applications.  

Credit Tip #4

Work with a credit counselor.

Even the best budgeters need some help sometimes,  especially if your credit reports hold a little less than satisfactory information.  A credit counselor can get you on the path to correcting these things… ensuring you don’t lose your dream home!

Credit Tip #5

Know the 5 golden factors that determine credit scores.

Kind of like a humble Kanye West, the perfect 850 credit score is extremely rare.  However, understanding these five factors and the way they are measured to determine your score can help you score better in your financial future.  

The 5 golden factors:

Payment History (35%)

Debt and Credit utilization (30%)

Length of credit history (15%)

New accounts and Inquiries (10%)

Diversification (10%)

Credit Tip #6...

Keep an emergency fund...of 6 months (or more)!

Savings equals security…living without an emergency fund is risky business.  Before taking on the responsibility of a mortgage, you should really have at least 6 months of income saved, which will shelter you from credit burning events like unemployment, increased cost of living, medical emergencies, and home or auto damage.  

Credit Tip #7

Review your budget weekly.

Google calendar, iPhone apps, or just an old fashioned calendar will help you keep track of bills, ensuring timely payment.  Remember, bills paid late, even just one, can lower your score several meaningful points. 

Credit Tip #8

Use technology...here are apps to help track your spending and budgeting.

Even better than a system to help pay your bills on time, is one that gives you the bigger picture of all your income and expenditures.  This will help fine tune your budget.  A few we are quite fond of: Spendbook, MvelopesWally, YNAB, Dollarbird, BillGuard, and Mint.

Credit Tip #9

Sell the stuff you don't need or use anymore...Hello Ebay!

A great way to get extra cash!  Sell the stuff that clutters your home and you no longer use.  This is a good way to pay off debt and/or start an emergency savings account.  

Credit Tip #10

Clip, Clip, Clip your coupons.  It's a start.  

Sure, it sounds old school and it is!  I remember my grandmother sitting at the kitchen table clipping away…but there is something to it.  You can save some serious dollars on simple things like toilet paper, soap and other life essentials.  Free money?!  Why not?  If you are buying these products anyway, who not spend a little less for it.  All of the nickels and dimes will add up, just try it.

Credit Tip #11

Use calculators to help get out of debt… here is a link to 11 of the best!

It’s a good idea to know exactly how long it will take to pay off credit cards and get out of debt.  Debt calculators can provide essential information and perspective to help you understand if you’re on track or need to tweak your plans again.  

Credit Tip #12

Protect yourself from identity theft.

When someone steals your identity, they can open accounts and amass debt in your name, which obviously hurts your credit score.  

These service alert you instantly, when a new account is opened in your name…or if there is suspicious activity.  In some cases, it will even alert users to positive or negative changes in their score.  

CreditKarma.com offers FREE monitoring, however, the pay services offer a lot more preventative features and more assistance if you identity is actually stolen.  

Hopefully these tips will help bring your Christmas Wish to life!  What better gift is there than moving into your dream home?! 

 If you are interested in any homes in the Champaign/Urbana area please give the Rose Price Team a call at 217-202-8843 We'd be happy to help make these Holidays special and help you through the process of finding and moving into the perfect home.  

 

*A special thank you to Gina Roberts-Grey of Realtor.com for the great advice!

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Rose Price
Landmark Real Estate
One East Main Street, Suite 200
Champaign IL 61820
217-202-8843
217-352-1933
Fax: 217-378-1281