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By Chrisha Mitchell | Broker in Homewood, IL
  • Divorce - what to do with the house?

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  December 18, 2011 7:59 PM  |  383 views  |  No comments

    Chicago IL - Divorce is rarely easy and often means a lot of difficult decisions. One of the most important decisions is what to do about the house.

    In the midst of the heavy emotional and financial turmoil, what you need most is some non-emotional, straightforward, specific information and answers. Once you know how a divorce affects your home, your mortgage and taxes, critical decisions are easier. Neutral, third party information can help you make logical, rather than emotional, decisions.

    Probably the first decision is whether you want to continue living in the house. Will the familiar surroundings bring you comfort and emotional security, or unpleasant memories? Do you want to minimize change by staying where you are, or sell your home and move to a new place that offers a new start? Only you can answer those questions, but there will almost certainly be some financial repercussions to your decision process. What can you afford? Can you manage the old house on your new budget? Is refinancing possible? Or is it better to sell and buy? How much house can buy on your new budget?

    To help you know what questions you should ask and how to arrive at the right answer for your specific situation, a FREE special report has been prepared by industry experts entitled "Divorce: What You Need to Know About Your House, Your Mortgage and Taxes".

    If you are interested in selling your Illinois home contact me to request your free report.

    Contact me at (708) 966-9282

  • Valuable Tips!

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  December 9, 2011 2:18 PM  |  385 views  |  No comments

    1. Understand Why You Are Selling Your Home.  -  Your motivation to sell is the determining factor as to how you will approach the process. It affects everything from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you’re willing 10 invest in order to prepare your home for sale. Fur example, if your goal is for a quick sale, this would deter­mine one approach. II you want to maximize your profit, the sales process might take longer thus determining a different approach.

    2. Keep the Reason(s) You are Selling to Yourself.  -  The reason(s) you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By keeping this to yourself you don’t provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. For example, should they learn that you must move quickly, you could be placed at a disadvantage in the negotiation process. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the rea­son(s) you are selling is only for you to know. 

    3. Before Setting a Price - Do Your Homework.  -  When you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and pricing too low can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.

    If You Live in An Older Neighborhood -  As neighborhoods change over time each home maybe different in minor or substantial ways. Because of this you will probably find that there aren’t many homes truly comparable to your own. In this case you may want to consider seeking a Realtor to help you with the pricing process.

    If You Decide to Sell On Your Own.- A good way to establish a value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6 months, including those now on the market. This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home. Also a trip to City Hall can provide you with home sale information in its public records, for most communities. 

    4. Do Some “Home Shopping” Yourself.  -  The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers oil is to check out other open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, size of lot, location and other features. Particularly note, not only the asking prices, but what they are actually selling for. Remember, if you’re serious about getting your home sold fast, don’t price it higher than your neighbor’s.

    5. When Getting an Appraisal is a Benefit.  -  Sometimes a good appraisal can be a benefit in marketing your home. Getting an appraisal is a good way to let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. However, an appraisal does cost money, has a limited life, and there’s no guarantee you’ll like the figure you hear. 

    6. Tax Assessments - What They Really Mean.  -  Some people think that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home. The difficulty hem is that assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to property values, so they may not necessarily reflect your home’s true value. 

    7. Deciding Upon a Realtor  -  According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed who sell their own homes say they wouldn’t dolt again themselves. Primary reasons includ­ed setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints. When deciding upon a Realtor, consider two or three. Be as wary of quotes that are too low as those that arc too high.

    All Realtors are not the same! A professional Realtor knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a marketing plan, and will provide their background and references. Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis of his or her experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do a good job on your behalf.

    If you choose to sell on your own, you can still talk to a Realtor. Many are more than willing to help do-it-yourselfers with paperwork, contracts, etc. and should problems arise, you now have someone you can readily call upon. 

    8. Ensure You Have Room to Negotiate  -  Before settling on your asking price make sure you leave yourself enough room in which to bargain. For example, set your lowest and highest selling price. Then check your priorities to know if you’ll price high to maximize your profit or price closer to market value if you want sell quickly. 

    9. Appearances Do Matter - Make them Count!  -  Appearance is so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and feel of your borne will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell.

    10. Invite the Honest Opinions of Others  -  The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don’t be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your home’s good points as well as bad. Fortunately, your Realtor will be unabashed about discussing what should be done to make your home more marketable.

    11. Keep Home in Clean Condition and Fix Everything, Even If It Seems Insignificant.  -  Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter~ declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn’t work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you’ll never know what turns buyers off. Remember you’re not just competing with other resale homes, but brand-new ones as well.

    12. Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize Themselves in Your Home.  -  The last thing you want prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they may be intruding into someone’s life. Avoid clutter such as too many knick-knacks, etc. Decorate in neutral colors, like white or beige and place a few carefully cho­sen items to add warmth and character. You can enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines are great for tips. 

    13. Deal Killer Odors Must Go!  -  You may not realize but odd smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odors can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know you have a dog, or that you smoke, they’ll start being aware of odors and seeing stains that may not even exist. Don’t leave any clues.

    14. Be a Smart Seller - Disclose Everything.  -  Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent lawsuits later on. 

    15. It’s Better With More Prospects.  -  When you maximize your home’s marketability, you will most likely attract more than one prospective buyer. It is much better to have several buyers because they will compete with each other; a single buyer will end up competing with you.

    16. Keep Emotions in Check During Negotiations.  -  Let go of the emotion you’ve invested in your home. Be detached, using a business-like manner in your negotiations. You’ll definitely have an advantage over those who get caught up emotionally in the situation. 

    17. Learn Why Your Buyer is Motivated.  -  The better you know your buyers the better you can use the negotiation process to your advantage. This allows you to control the pace and duration of the process.

    As a rule, buyers are looking to purchase the best affordable property for the least amount of money. Knowing what moti­vates them enables you to negotiate more effectively. For example does your buyer need to move quickly. Armed with this information you are in a better position to bargain. 

    18. What the Buyer Can Really Pay.  -  As soon as possible, try to learn the amount of mortgage the buyer is qualified to carry and how much his/her down payment ~S. If their offer is low, ask their Realtor about the buyer’s ability to pay what your home is worth. 

    19. When the Buyer Would Like to Close.  -  Quite often, when buyers would ‘like” to close is when they need to close. Knowledge of their deadlines for completing negotiations again creates a negotiating advantage for you. 

    20. Never Sign a Deal on Your Next Home Until You Sell Your Current Home  -  Beware of closing on your new home while you’re still making mortgage payments on the old one or you might end up becoming a seller who is eager (even desperate) for the first deal that comes along.

    21. Moving Out Before You Sell Can Put You at a Disadvantage.  -  It has been proven that it’s more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it becomes forlorn looking, forgotten, no longer an appealing sight. Buyers start getting the message that you have another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.

    22. Deadlines Create A Serious Disadvantage.  -  Don’t try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in negotiations. 

    23. A Low Offer - Don’t Take It Personally.  -  Invariably the initial offer is below what both you and the buyer know he’ll pay for your property. Don’t be upset. Evaluate the offer objectively. Ensure it spells out the offering price, sufficient deposit, amount of down payment, mortgage amount, a closing date and any special requests. This can sim­ply provide a starting point from which you can negotiate. 

    24. Turn That Low Offer Around.  -  You can counter a low offer or even an offer that’s just under your asking price. This lets the buyer know that the first offer isn’t seen as being a serious one. Now you’ll be negotiating only with buyers with serious offers.

    25. Maybe the Buyer’s Not Qualified.  -  If you feel an offer is inadequate, now is the time to make sure the buyer is qualified to carry the size of mortgage the deal requires. Inquire how they arrived at their figure, and suggest they compare your price to the prices of homes for sale in your neighborhood. 

    26. Ensure the Contract is Complete.  -  To avoid problems, ensure that all terms, costs and responsi­bilities are spelled out in time contract of sale. It should include such items as the date it was made, names of parties involved, address of property being sold, purchase price, where deposit monies will beheld, date for loan approval, date and place of closing, type of deed, including any contingencies that remain to be settled and what personal property is included (or not) in the sale. 

    27. Resist Deviating From the Contract.  -  For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no. That you’ve been advised against it. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling through.

    For Additional Information Contact me at 708-966-9282 or visit www.chrishamitchell.com 

  • Pass Your Inspection

    Posted Under: General Area in Orland Park, Home Buying in Orland Park, Home Insurance in Orland Park  |  November 28, 2011 8:03 PM  |  910 views  |  2 comments

    Homebuyers Want to Know Your Home Inside And Out 

    “According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection when your home is for sale. Here are 11 you should know about if you’re planning to put your home up for sale.” 

    While homebuyers are as individual as the homes they plan on purchasing, one thing they share is a desire to ensure that the home they will call their own is as good beneath the surface as it appears to be.  -  Will the roof end up leaking? Is the wiring safe? What about the plumbing? -  These, and others, are the ques­tions that the buyers looking at your home will seek professional help to answer. According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspec­tion. We’ve identified the 11 most common of these and, if not iden­tified and dealt with, any of these 11 items could cost you dearly in terms of repair. In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection your­self if you know what you’re looking for. And knowing what you’re looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unman­ageable ones.

    11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection

    1. Defective Plumbing.  -  Defective plumbing can manifest itself in two different ways: leaking, and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking, and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bath­room and then flushing the toilet. If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first turned on at the faucet, this is a good indication that the pipes are rusting, which can result in severe water quality problems.

    2. Damp or Wet Basement.  -  An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white mineral deposit a few inches off the floor, and will look to see if you feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor. A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector will certainly be conscious of it. It could cost you $200-$1,000 to seal a crack in or around your basement foundation depending on severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit could run you around $750 - $1,000, and complete waterproofing (of an average 3 bedroom home) could amount to $5,000-$15,000. You will have to weigh these figures into the calculation of what price you want to net on your home.

    3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical.  -  Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps service, and this should be clearly marked. Wire should be copper or aluminum. Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of inadequate circuits and a potential fire hazard.

    4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems.  -  Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating. While an adequately clean furnace, without rust on the heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will be asking and checking to see if your furnace is over its typical life span of 15-25 yrs. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny since one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These heat exchangers must be replaced if damaged -they cannot be repaired. 

    5. Roofing Problems.  -  Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons such as physical deteriora­tion of the asphalt shingles (e.g. curling or splitting), or mechanical damage from a wind storm. When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and through the exte­rior walls, this external problem becomes a major internal one. 

    6. Damp Attic Spaces.  -  Aside from basement dampness, problems with ventilation, insulation and vapor barriers can cause water, moisture, mold and mildew to form in the attic. This can lead to prema­ture wear of the roof, structure and building materials. The cost to fix this damage could easily run over $2,500.

    7. Rotting Wood.  -  This can occur in many places (door or win­dow frames, trim, siding, decks and fences). The building inspector will sometimes probe the wood to see if this is present - especially when wood has been freshly painted. 

    8. Masonry Work.  -  Rebricking can be costly, but, left unattended, these repairs can cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home, which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged by fallen bricks or even a chimney, which falls onto the roof. It can be costly to rebuild a chimney or to have it repointed. 

    9. Unsafe or Overfused Electrical Circuit.  -  A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appli­ances such as stoves and dryers. It can cost several hundred dollars to replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel. 

    10. Adequate Security Features.  -  More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for the basic safety fea­tures that will protect your home such as proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the doors, smoke and even car­bon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level. Even though pricing will vary, these components will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you should check with your local experts.

    11. Structural/Foundation Problems.  -  An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to your home.

    When you put your home on the market, you don’t want any unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your home. By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas as you walk through your home, you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment.

    For additional information contact "The Realty Team" at (708) 966-9282

  • Before You Buy...

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Orland Park, Financing in Orland Park, Credit Score in Orland Park  |  November 27, 2011 9:46 AM  |  860 views  |  No comments
    Mortgage Regulations Have Changed…

    “Subtle changes in the way you approach mortgage shopping, and even small differ­ences in the way you structure your mortgage, can cost or save you literally thousands of dollars and years of expense.” 

    Mortgage regulations have changed significantly over the last few years, making your options wider than ever.

    Get the right Information

    Whether you are about to buy your first home, or are planning to make a move to your next home, it is critical that you inform yourself about the factors involved.

    Industry research has revealed that there are 6 common mistakes that most homebuyers make in mortgage shopping that can have a significant impact on the outcome of this critical negotiation. If handled correctly, these issues could result in a mortgage that will cost you less over a shorter period of time.


    6 Things You Must Know Before Obtaining a Mortgage

    Before you commit your hard earned dollars to monthly mortgage payments, consider these 6 issues. Effective consideration of these important areas can make your pay­ments work much harder for you.

    1. You can, and should, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you go looking for a home.  -  Pre-approval is easy, and can give you com­plete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Your local lending institution can pro­vide you with written pre-approval for you at no cost and no obligation, and it can all be done quite easily over-the-phone. More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written pre-approval is as good as money in the bank. It entails a completed credit application, and a certificate, which guarantees you a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re look­ing for. 

    2. Know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to.  -  When you discuss mortgage pre-approval with your lending institution, find out what level you qualify for, but also pre-assess for yourself what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Your situation may give you a pre-approval amount that is higher (or lower) than the amount of money you would want to pay out each month. By work­ing back and forth with your lending institu­tion to determine what this monthly amount is, and what value of home this translates into at today’s rates, you won’t waste time looking at homes that are not in your price range.

    3. You should be thinking about your longterm goals, and expected situation, to determine the type of mortgage that will best suit your needs.  -  There are a number of questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to a cer­tain type of mortgage. How long do you think you will own this home? What direction are interest rates going in. and how quickly? Is your income expected to change (up or down) in the near term, impacting how much money you can afford to pay to your mortgage? The answers to these and other questions will help you determine the most appropriate mortgage you should be seeking 

    4. Make sure you understand what prepayment privileges and payment frequency options are available to you.  -  More frequent payments (for example weekly or biweekly) can literally shave years off your mortgage. Simply by structuring your pay­ments so that they come out more frequently, will significantly lessen the amount of interest that you will be charged over the term. For the same reason, authorized prepayment of a certain percentage of your mortgage, or an increase in the amount you pay monthly, will have a major impact on the number of years you will have to pay and could shorten your payment term considerably. These two payment options can cut years off your mortgage, and save you thousands of dollars in interest. However, not every mortgage has these prepayment privileges built in, so make sure you ask the proper questions.

    5. Ask if your mortgage is both portable and/or assumable.  -  A portable mortgage, where available, is one that you can carry with you when you buy your next home and avoid paying any dis­charge penalties. This means that you will not have to go through the entire mortgage process again unless you are making a move up to a much more expensive home. An assumable mortgage is one that the buyer for your home can take over when you move to your next home. This can be a very pow­erful tool at the negotiating table making it much easier and more desirable for a buyer to buy your home, and again saves you any dis­charge penalties.

    6. You should seriously consider dealing with a Mortgage Expert.-- --Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages. Enlisting their services can make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of the mortgage you obtain. For example they can make the process faster thereby avoiding costly delays. Typically there is no cost or obligation to enquire.

    For additional information contact "The Realty Team" 708-966-9282.

  • For Sale By Owners

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Oak Park  |  November 19, 2011 8:25 PM  |  729 views  |  No comments

    If you ask anyone who has ever tried to sell their home themselves they’ll tell you that from the moment the “For Sale by Owner” sign goes up, the phone begins to ring. Unfortunately, many of those calls will not he from prospective buyers, but rather from real estate agents looking to obtain your listing. Obviously the idea of not having to pay a commis­sion to a real estate agent is attractive to any home seller. But because of all the issues involved in the process, selling a home on one’s own can be challenging, as many home sellers will attest to.

    The key is to be properly prepared. If you are not, your home could remain on the market longer than you expect because you are not attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. This can be a point where many homeowners become frustrated and consider giving up their dream of selling their home themselves. However, there are sellers who accom­plish selling their own homes, very well. You can be one of them.

    This industry report has been especially prepared to assist home sellers, such as yourself, understand the elements involved so you, on your own, can sell your home quickly and for the most amount of profit. To help you prepare, here are 10 inside tips that you should be aware of before you make the decision as to whether or not this is the right approach for you.

    10 Inside Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself

    1. Price it Right...Correctly setting your asking price is critical. Setting your price too high can he as costly as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace not by your emo­tional attachment or by what you feel your home is worth. In order to establish a real­istic price for your home, objectively com­pare the price, features and condition of all similar homes in both your neighborhood and other similar ones which have sold in recent months. In addition, check comparable listings currently for sale. if you are asking more then your competitors, you most likely help them sell first.  It is also important for you to be familiar with the terms of each poten­tial sale. Terms are often as important as price in today’s market. Carefully budget your selling costs and prepare a net proceeds sheet to calculate your best estimate of what you will take away from your home sale. Prospective buyers may also request this kind of analysis of buying costs.

    2. Prepare Your Home for Sale...First impression is crucial. Make sure your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it through the objective eyes of a buyer. Don’t gloss over needed repairs and fix-ups, as your prospective buyers won’t. Your job is to ensure that your home stands out favorably from the competition.

    3. Prepare Yourself With All Necessary Legal Documentation...Not surprisingly, there are many important legal contracts and documents, which you must assemble, complete and understand. A partial checklist of forms that you will require for prospective buyers and for legal documentation is as follows: Seller Disclosure, Purchase Contract, Mortgage Payoff, Loan Application, Earnest Money Receipt, Deposit Receipt, Property Profile Fact Sheet, Buyer’s Cost Sheet, Closing & Settlement, Personal Property, Exclusion List, Property Survey/Plot Plan, Sellers Statement of Representation, Lead Base Paint Disclosure and Mold Disclosure Form.

    4 Market Your Home Effectively... Beyond the sign you will put on your lawn, you should find effective ways to spread the word about your home. Local buyers can be reached through the newspaper, but this is only a small part of the market you are after. Actually less then 4% of all homes sell through the newspaper.  Be sure you include the many buyers who could already be working with a Realtor®. To locate them, target as many top agents as pos­sible in your market to see if the criteria of their buyers match that of your homes. Because out-of town and international buyers are also an important target and have a major impact in Florida, you should create a strategy to reach these people as well. Above all, you should be very service minded and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. Ensure there is always someone avail­able to answer the phone, pick up messages promptly, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as soon as possible.

     5. Remain Objective During a Showing of Your Home...Keep emotion out of the sale of your home, and the best way to do this during a showing is to remain physi­cally in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, it is better to counter-balance this point of view by illustrating the positives rather than becoming defensive.

    6. Pre-Qualify Your Prospects...Don’t waste your Time entertaining buyers who could never afford your home. Research their finan­cial steadiness with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing before you show your house. A financialy stable buyer will not mind answering these questions. A time-waster will.

    7. Negotiate Effectively & Knowledgeably... There will he many details to resolve before a sale can be considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, buyer concerns and objections. Make sure you fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can in turn explain details and ramifications to the buyer and make any amendments to the sale that are necessary. The contract you use should he thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, manage the buyer’s interest in your home so that it doesn’t wane during negotiations.

    8. Know Your Buyer...Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the dura­tion. Try to determine what your buyer’s motivation is. Does he or she need to move quickly? Do they have enough money to pay your asking price? Knowing this information will give you the advantage in the negotiation because you will know up front, what you will need to do in order to get what you want.

    9. Don’t Move Out Before You Sell...Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant. It looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you money. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are motivated to sell fast which can, of course, give them an advantage at the nego­tiating table.

     10. Know Why You’re Selling and Keep it to Yourself...The flip side of “understanding your buyer” is to “understand yourself”. Your reasons for selling will affect everything from your list price to how much time and money you will invest in getting your home ready for sale. Your motivation will help you determine what is more important to you: the money you walk away with, the length of time your property is on the market, or both. Different goals will dictate different strategies. As someone who wants to sell without a real estate agent in an effort to save the commission it is likely that money is one of your primary considerations. Whatever your reasons, however, it is very important to keep them to yourself so as not to place yourself at a disadvantage at the negotiation table. When asked, simply say your housing needs have changed.

    How to Assess Your Net Gain  To analyze whether or not you will end up ahead by choosing to sell on your own, consider the fact that most buyers do use a real estate agent because it doesn’t cost them anything for this ser­vice (i.e. the seller pays the agent’s fee). Be cautious, as buyers, investors and speculators who seek out For Sale by Owners are typically those in search of a bargain. The low-ball offers from these types of buyers will often net you much lower in the long run. Actually, statistically homes sold through a professional Realtor had higher nets to their sellers then sold by the owners. What you will have to judge for yourself is the following:

    1. Be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings and all legalities.

    2. Consider what it will cost you to effec­tively market your home and assemble all necessary materials from the “for sale” sign to any contracts?

    3. What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner minus the costs identified in point 2 above. Is this net price higher than the once an experi­enced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?

    For additional Information contact The Realty Team toll free at 1.800.654.4904.

  • How To Save Thousands of Dollars When You Buy a Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Oak Park, Property Q&A in Oak Park, Home Insurance in Oak Park  |  November 10, 2011 2:27 PM  |  745 views  |  No comments

    “When you analyze those successful homebuyers who have the experience to purchase the home they want for thousands of dollars below a seller’s asking

    price, some common denominators emerge.”


    If you’re like most homebuyers, you have two primary considerations in mind when you start looking for a home. First, you want to find a home that perfectly meets your needs and desires, and secondly, you want to pur­chase this home for the lowest possible price. When you analyze those successful homebuyers who have been able to pur­chase the home they want for thousands of dollars below a seller’s asking price, some common denominators emerge. Negotiating skills are important, but there are three additional key factors that must come into play long before you ever submit an offer.


    These Steps Will Help You Save Thousands When You Buy a Home


    Make sure you know what you want...As simple as this sounds, many homebuyers don’t have a firm idea in their heads before they go out searching for a home. In fact, when you go shopping for a place to live, there are actually two homes competing for your attention: the one that meets your needs, and the one that fulfills your desires. Obviously, your goal is to find one home that does both. But in the real world, this situation doesn’t always occur. When you’re looking at homes, you’ll find that you fall in love with one or another home for entirely dif­ferent reasons. Is it better to buy the 4-bedroom home with room for your family to grow, or the one with the big eat-in kitchen that romances you with thoughts of big weekend family brunches? What’s more important: a big backyard, or proximity to your child’s school? Far too often people buy a home for the wrong reasons, and then regret their decision when the home doesn’t meet their needs.

    Don’t shop with stars in your eyes: satisfy your needs first. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a home that does this and also fulfills your desires. The important thing is to understand the difference before you get caught up in the excitement of looking.

    Find out if your agent offers a “Buyer Profile System” or “House­hunting Service,” which takes the guesswork out of finding just the right home that matches your needs. This type of program will cross-match your criteria with ALL available homes on the market and supply you with printed information on an on-going basis. A program like this helps home­owners take off their rose-colored glasses and, affordably, move into the home of their dreams.

    To help you develop your home buying strategy, use this form:


    What do I absolutely NEED in my next home:

    1. __________________

    2. __________________

    3. __________________

    4. __________________

    5. ________________


    What would I absolutely LOVE in my next home:

    1. __________________

    2. __________________

    3. __________________

    4. __________________

    5. ________________



    How Sellers Set Their Asking Price  -  For you to understand how much to offer for a home you’re interested in, it’s important for you to know how sellers price their homes. Here are 4 common strategies you’ll start to recog­nize when you begin to view homes:


    1. Clearly Overpriced:  Every seller wants to realize the most amount of money they can for their home, and real estate agents know this. If more than one agent is competing for your listing, an easy way to win the battle is to over inflate the value of your home. This is done far too often, with many homes that are priced 10-20% over their true market value. This is not in your best interest, because in most cases the market won’t be fooled. As a result, your home could languish on the market for months, leaving you with a couple of important drawbacks: your home is likely to be labeled as a “troubled” house by other agents, leading to a lower than fair market price when an offer is finally made, you have been greatly inconve­nienced with having to constantly have your home in “showing” condition for nothing: These homes often expire off the market, forcing you to go through the listing process all over again.


    2. Somewhat Overpriced:  About 3/4 of the homes on the market are 5-10% overpriced. These homes will also sit on the market longer than they should. There is usually one of two factors at play here: either you believe in your heart that your home is really worth this much despite what the market has indicated (after all, there’s a lot of emotion caught up in this issue), OR you’ve left some room for negotiating. Either way, this strategy will cost you both in terms of time on the market and ultimate price received


    3. Priced Correctly at Market Value:  Some sellers understand that real estate is part of the capitalistic system of supply and demand and will careful­ly and realistically price their homes based on a thorough analysis of other homes on the market. These competi­tively priced homes usually sell within a reasonable timeframe and very close to the asking price.


    4. Priced Below the Fair Market Value:  Some sellers are motivated by a quick sale. These homes attract multi­ple offers and sell fast - usually in a few days - at, or above, the asking price. Be cautious that the agent sug­gesting this method is doing so with your best interest in mind.

    For more information on buying a home, contact 708-966-9282.


  • Best Financing

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago  |  November 9, 2011 1:22 PM  |  511 views  |  No comments

    “…shopping for the best financing should start long before you start shopping for a home.”

    When you’re looking to buy a home, the first thing most homebuyers do is start the process of house hunting. However, experience proves that this is one of the last steps you should be taking if you want to get the most home for the least amount of money. In fact, shopping for the best financing should start long before you start shopping for a home.

    This report outlines 3 important steps you should take to obtain the best financing rates when you buy a home. Read on to find out where you can enquire, what questions you should ask, and how to manage the process to your personal advantage.

    3 Point Plan – 3 Critical Questions to Ask When you’re looking for an agent to assist you in finding a home, make sure you find out the answers to these important questions:

    1. Can you get me quick, easy and FREE mortgage preapproval?
    2. Can I get preferred access to special low down payments, monthly pay­ments and interest rates?
    3. Can I get special advance notice of listings that computer-match my homebuying criteria?
    You owe it to yourself to benefit from these cost saving benefits.

    1. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage …Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a number of important benefits including emotional security in the house-hunting process, and insurance against rising interest rates in the market place. Preapproval is easy, and can give you complete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Mortgage brokers can obtain written pre-approval for you at no cost and no obligation. More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written pre-approval is as good as money in the bank. It entails a completed credit application, and a certificate, which guarantees you a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re looking for. Pre-approval means no last minute shopping around for money and rates. With a pre-approved mortgage, if rates go up, you still get the pre-approved rate, but if rates go down, you receive the lower rate.

    2. Receive Preferred Access to Special Low Financing…Agents that conduct hundreds of real estate transac­tions every year may be able to offer you certain negotiating advantages with lending institutions. These lenders are often anxious to do business with such agents and their clients, and may be willing to extend better than average rates. This can make purchasing a home much easier and more affordable for many buyers to qualify for a minimum down payment, and low monthly pay­ments. Therefore many more buyers can own the home of their dreams much sooner than they ever thought possible.

    3. House hunting Service…Most agents offer a house-hunting service to make it easier for you to find the home you want. Through these programs you can find out in advance which homes on the market match your home buying criteria. To do this you simply provide your agent with a brief description of the type of home you’re looking for, for example, number of bedrooms, price range, neighborhood and so on. Then you should receive advance notice (including pictures) of all the homes for sale that match your requirements. This will give you the competitive edge to find out before other buyers which homes that are likely to be of interest to you. Because you are there before most other buyers, perhaps you can even negotiate a better price. You can then drive by these homes, without the assis­tance of an agent. to see which ones you want to view. Then it’s simply a matter of you advising your agent about which homes you like and want to see.

    If you would like more information on buying a home, please contact me 708-966-9282 or email me now.

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