Seek Professional Advice When Buying a Foreclosed Home

Foreclosure Warning Sign - Stock Image_iStock_000054397588_LargeWhen driving through local neighborhoods, you might notice many “For Sale” signs that have foreclosure banners attached to the top. While this distressed financial situation is unfortunate for the owner, a home in foreclosure could be a great investment for you.

Purchasing a foreclosed property might seem extremely complex. If you’re interested in a great real estate deal, but feel a little overwhelmed, it’s important to cut the confusion and contract with professionals who are experts in distressed properties. They can walk you through the process, eliminate foreclosure frustration and get you the best deal.

Here are a few tips to help you successfully buy a home in foreclosure:

  • Find a good real estate agent. When interviewing real estate agents, you want to make sure you find one who specializes in foreclosures. Then ask for referrals from clients who have been through this process with them — you can gain a lot of insight from people they’ve worked with.
  • Have the house thoroughly inspected. Most banks are selling foreclosed properties “as is.” This means the house could be in bad condition if it’s been stripped and abandoned. Make sure you have a good home inspector go over every inch to ensure there are no major issues.
  • Get quotes on renovations. After the inspector has given you a list of problems and needed updates, find a good contractor or two to take a look and give you an estimate on what they would charge to renovate. You’ll want to determine if the renovations are worth the investment.

Buying a foreclosure can be an amazing deal. And with the right professionals on your side, you’ll minimize your risk and come away with a great investment.

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Spring Clean for a Quick Real Estate Sale

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the first day of spring rapidly approaching, get in the spirit and do a little spring cleaning — especially if you’re putting your home on the market. It’s important for real estate to be clean and clutter-free in order to show better and sell quicker.

Whether you’re still living in the home or have completely moved out, there are many things you can do before the first open house to ensure everything is showing at its best. Below is a list that every real estate agent would love to see when they first evaluate real estate. 

  • Paint walls neutral colors. If your house has a ‘clinically white’ feeling or is on a psychedelic color spree, you’ll need to paint the rooms a neutral beige, tan or gray. Even if your rooms are already neutral, you might consider a new coat of paint to hide marks and give it a fresh feel.
  • Remove clutter and stage your home. You hear this over and over when it comes to preparing a house for sale. Sometimes it goes in one ear and right out the other. Leave just a few of your children’s favorite toys and make sure even the closet floors are bare. Take this one seriously — rent a storage unit if you need to — it’s usually worth the cost.
  • Straighten everything. Take the time to align your bookshelves, organize your closet and clean out your pantry. You can clean and dust nooks and crannies as you go.
  • Wipe down EVERY surface. Sellers often get to the counters and windows, but usually miss the baseboards and window frames. Any amount of dirt reminds buyers of the people who currently live there instead of envisioning themselves in the space. Plus, everything will smell clean, which is very inviting!

While it may be hard to maintain some of these tips if you’re still living in the home, try your best and you won’t be living there long! If you’d like more spring cleaning tips or are getting ready to sell your real estate, please or email me for more information.

The Five-Year Rule for Home Ownership

Property investmentWhen considering whether you should purchase a new home, you want to take into consideration the five-year rule. That’s the minimum number of years many experts believe you need to own a home in order to break even on it when you sell it. Some experts are now suggesting seven years, but in this article I’ll be talking about the five-year rule.

What happens if you own your home for less than five years? Often, you’ll lose money because:

  1. You pay thousands of dollars in closing costs each time you buy property. That money does not build equity or increase the value of your home in any way.
  2. In the first five years of your home loan, a much higher percentage of your monthly mortgage payment goes toward interest than toward paying down the principal of the loan balance.

How do you beat the five-year rule?

  1. Purchase a property you intend to fix up and rent it out at a rate equal to or higher than the mortgage payment.
  2. Buy towards the lower end of what you can afford, and make extra payments to pay down the principal.

Why own for five years minimum?

  1. After five years, due to the structure of amortized mortgages, the cost of owning a home equates to the cost of renting.
  2. The five-year mark is where you typically start to build equity in your home.
  3. Rental prices continue to rise; eventually your mortgage payment could be less than a rent payment.

April Lawn and Garden Do’s and Don’ts for Your Home

Gardening tools and objects on old wooden backgroundApril begins gardening season, the time we get antsy to start working the soil, thinking about fertilizing the lawn and planting flowers in our home.

Whether you’re preparing your home to put it up for sale or just doing general maintenance and upkeep, here is your to-do list:

Annuals and Containers:

  • Deadhead flowers to promote more blooms.
  • Clean and sanitize summer containers, and plan your design for the summer.
  • Plant summer annuals after the last frost. Bring them indoors or cover with a cloth during a late cold snap.
  • Start seeds indoors for annual herbs.
  • Plant annual herbs such as basil and cilantro after the last frost.

Lawn:

  • Raking should be your first task of spring lawn care. This removes dead grass, leaves and thatch.
  • Lightly fertilize cool season lawn grasses such as fescue and bluegrass.
  • Top-dress lawns and patch bare spots. Use compost or an organic mix.
  • Aerate and de-thatch only if necessary, otherwise do this in the fall.
  • Fertilize and plant warm season grasses such as St. Augustine and Bermuda.
  • Re-seed grassy areas that winter may have killed off.

Cleanup and Maintenance

  • Clean water features and lawn ornaments.
  • Clean out, inspect, and repair bird houses for spring nesting season.
  • Put out plenty of fresh food for migrating birds.
  • Take care of any drainage problems.
  • Inspect irrigation systems once freezing weather has passed.
  • Test soil to determine what nutrients are needed.
  • Remove debris from drainage ditches, gutters, and planting beds. Use a rake and lawn bags.
  • Get all your lawn tools ready to use. Oil, sharpen and tune-up your lawn tools. Don’t forget to tune-up your lawnmower and sharpen the blades for mowing season.
  • Repot houseplants if needed.

Perennials and Bulbs

  • Cut back dead foliage on perennials and ornamental grasses.
  • Plant perennials. Color always brightens up the grounds of your home.
  • Gradually remove winter mulch when plants begin to grow.
  • Fertilize spring-blooming bulbs after blooming.
  • Plant perennial herbs such as rosemary, thyme and lavender.

Importance of a Good Credit Score

Credit report - Stock Image_iStock_000021963828_Large

If you’re contemplating purchasing a home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, you need to do everything you can to boost your credit score. This will make it more likely that you’ll qualify for a loan and will help you secure a lower interest rate. Below are a few steps to get you started:

  • Get a free credit report. There are many free credit report websites available that will give you all of the information that you will need to get you headed in the right direction.
  • Check your credit score. A score of 780 is excellent; however, you should be able to secure a loan with a score of around 720. If your score is low, you might want to consider renting for another year while you work to improve it.
  • Ensure there are no errors. If a credit card company has you defaulting on bills for a card you never opened, you could be a victim of identity theft. Start working to have any errors removed immediately — they’ll be more difficult to fix the longer you wait.
  • Pay down debt quickly and on time. Paying off your debt as quickly as possible and on time will help to steadily increase your credit score.

Working to maintain and improve your credit score will make purchasing a new home, or refinancing your existing one, much easier on your pocketbook and your sanity. Also, shop around and check with multiple loan agencies, such as a national bank, a local bank and a credit union because they might yield very different interest rates based on your credit score.

Six Home Staging Tips

Modern bathroom corner decoratedIf you are about to put your home on the market, it’s worth investing some time and a small amount of money in staging. It not only helps your home sell faster, but it can also help you get a higher price for your home.

Here are six staging tips:

  1. Banish clutter – Removing excess clutter is the single most important thing you can do when staging your home. Clean, open space will sell your home. Non-descript, non-threatening décor allows people to envision living in your home and putting their individual stamp on the place. Ogling your collection of troll dolls, no matter how much they may be worth, will interfere with this process. Consider putting excess possessions in storage and keeping out only what is absolutely necessary.
  2. Clean living – It should go without saying; scrub every inch of your home. Nothing kills a sale faster than roaches scurrying across the floor.
  3. Mirror, mirror on the wall – Mirrors add light and space to small dark rooms and literally allow buyers to see themselves living in the home.
  4. Repaint in neutral colors – When you move into your new home, feel free to paint every room chartreuse and fuchsia if you’d like, but for staging purposes, stick with muted, light colors. White in bathrooms is particularly recommended, as it suggests cleanliness.
  5. Don’t forget the yard – Twenty dollars’ worth of mulch and a few fresh plants can give a clean look to shabby flower beds and save you weeding time. And don’t forget to declutter the yard as well – that battered old swing set the kids used 20 years ago isn’t adding to the curb appeal of your home.
  6. Disguise detracting elements – Some elements you can’t fix – your neighbor’s dreadful rusting car collection, for instance. But you can put up fences or blinds that block less appealing views and make your home a peaceful oasis that buyers are anxious to purchase.

If you’re looking for more information on selling your home, I can help. Give me a call or email today.

Six Home Staging Tips

Modern bathroom corner decoratedIf you are about to put your home on the market, it’s worth investing some time and a small amount of money in staging. It not only helps your home sell faster, but it can also help you get a higher price for your home.

Here are six staging tips:

  1. Banish clutter – Removing excess clutter is the single most important thing you can do when staging your home. Clean, open space will sell your home. Non-descript, non-threatening décor allows people to envision living in your home and putting their individual stamp on the place. Ogling your collection of troll dolls, no matter how much they may be worth, will interfere with this process. Consider putting excess possessions in storage and keeping out only what is absolutely necessary.
  2. Clean living – It should go without saying; scrub every inch of your home. Nothing kills a sale faster than roaches scurrying across the floor.
  3. Mirror, mirror on the wall – Mirrors add light and space to small dark rooms and literally allow buyers to see themselves living in the home.
  4. Repaint in neutral colors – When you move into your new home, feel free to paint every room chartreuse and fuchsia if you’d like, but for staging purposes, stick with muted, light colors. White in bathrooms is particularly recommended, as it suggests cleanliness.
  5. Don’t forget the yard – Twenty dollars’ worth of mulch and a few fresh plants can give a clean look to shabby flower beds and save you weeding time. And don’t forget to declutter the yard as well – that battered old swing set the kids used 20 years ago isn’t adding to the curb appeal of your home.
  6. Disguise detracting elements – Some elements you can’t fix – your neighbor’s dreadful rusting car collection, for instance. But you can put up fences or blinds that block less appealing views and make your home a peaceful oasis that buyers are anxious to purchase.

If you’re looking for more information on selling your home, I can help. Give me a call or email today.

Where Are Home Prices And Interest Rates Headed

Is it a good time to buy or sell a home? In this video, I will discuss my opinion on this topic as well as some statistics that will help you make an educated decision.

Real Estate Agent Acronyms

Group Of Businesspeople Holding Model HouseWhether you’re looking to buy or sell a home, finding the perfect real estate agent can be tough. The process is often overwhelming and you want to ensure that you have the right person by your side — someone who’s trustworthy, hard-working and knows what they’re doing!

That is why it’s extremely important to do your research thoroughly when it comes to real estate agents. You need to interview several agents, follow through on referrals and ensure they have the proper credentials.

All the acronyms after agents’ names can be confusing, so here are a few that describe specializations you might need:

  • SRES – This stands for Senior Real Estate Specialist. The SRES designation is for agents who work with buyers and sellers over the age of 55. If you’re over the age of 55 or are helping your parents who are over the age of 55 buy or sell, you may want to find an agent with an SRES designation.
  • NAR’s Green Designation – This designation means the agent has had training in green building qualifications and sustainable business practices. Look for an agent with these acronyms if green living is on your home checklist.
  • SFR – This acronym stands for Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource – As the certification indicates, these are agents who specialize in short sales and foreclosures. With the economy forcing many homeowners into one of these categories, it could be valuable to have an expert with this designation to help you successfully navigate the tricky processes.
  • CDPE – This acronym stands for Certified Distressed Property Expert. These agents specialize in short sale and bank owned properties.

Just because agents have an acronym or two or three after their names doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit for you. However, the designations can give you some clues as to their level of knowledge and areas in which they specialize.

If you have more questions about real estate acronyms and designations or are looking for a qualified, professional real estate agent, please call or email me today.

For Sale: 23W706 TURNER AVE ROSELLE, IL. 60172

This home is offered for sale by Sharon Falco of RE/MAX Central in Roselle, Illinois.

AMAZING ONE OF A KIND CUSTOM HOME WITH FULL SEPARATE 1600 SQ.FT. IN-LAW ARRANGEMENT ON MAIN LEVEL. OVER 8500 SQ.FT. 5/6 BEDROOMS, 4 FULL & 2 1/2 BATHS, FULL FINISHED BASEMENT. 20FT CEILING IN GREAT ROOM FULL WALL WBFP. BRIZILLIAN CHERRY HDWD FLOORS, 42″ KITCHEN CABNETS, GRANITE COUNTERS, SOLID OAK 2 PANEL DOORS THROUGHOUT. SEPARATE SUN ROOM WITH 20FT. CEILING. MARBLE & PORCELAIN FLOOR UPGRADES THROUGHOUT MUST SEE TO BELIEVE. MINUTES TO TOP RATED SCHOOLS!!!

Sharon Falco
RE/MAX Central
455 N. Roselle Rd.
Roselle, IL. 60172
(630) 307-2760
Visit my website at http://www.sharonfalco.com
Follow me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thesharonfalcogroup

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(847) 670-1060
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