lake county real estate. and then some…

selling homes…a family tradition


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The only problem I see with this list…

TripAdvisor has put together a list of the World’s Top 25 beaches.  Talk about spectacular and breath-taking!  Never have I seen waters so blue and turquoise flush up against such white sand.  The colors are mesmerizing, and the waters so inviting.  I am not sure which one to visit first!

The only problem that I see with this list, is that I haven’t been to any of these beaches! And after this year’s winter, I am ready to hit them all. Especially Turks & Caicos. If you have been to any of these, please share your thoughts. http://ow.ly/veGHU

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5 reasons buyer do not like homes…

Trulia has put together a list of 5 things that buyers hate about a home.  Sometimes, a buyer’s complaint can be overcome.  Sometimes, that is not so easy.  Sometimes, it is completely out of a seller, and their agent’s, control.  Fortunately, a skilled real estate agent can help minimize the negative impact of the several of the problem items that Trulia suggests are the biggest obstacles.   Interestingly, some of these items are created by a seller’s doing.  While I am always an advocate of loving your home, and living it in so that YOU are happy, there is credence to re-sale.  A dramatic design that varies significantly from current trends and the norm, may be a big turn-off.  Even if you are not thinking of selling your home in the near future, it is probably a good idea to take a minute to read through this quick article. 

5 reasons buyer do not like homes and what your agent can do… http://ow.ly/uJbxO


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ARM – let’s hope they get it right this time…

The mortgage industry is constantly changing, evolving, adapting and adjusting.  Not only the interest rates, but the programs and opportunities as well.  One of the more difficult decisions some buyers face, is whether to take the traditional financing route of a lower risk fixed loan – or to head down the path of a less conservative adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).  How do you determine which program is the best option for you?  The best first step to take is to educate yourself – research the various loan programs that are available to you.  Find out what your credit score is, and how that can impact your financing options.  Ask yourself what your future plan is, with regards to housing – how long do you plan to live in the residence that you are financing?  And speak with a loan officer.  Someone who can interpret the programs, and explain them so that you have no doubt, misunderstanding, or confusion about which is the best loan for you to secure.

ARM – let’s hope they get it right this time… http://ow.ly/uIY6t


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2013-14 Cost vs. Value: Remodeling Pays Off Big Time

Considering some home improvements projects this year?  Do you know which ones may yield a better return?  And which may be more of a financial lemon?  Check out this NAR article from REALTOR Mag.  It’s pretty sound advice.

Maybe I can get some good ideas for my mudroom, now that my lab has chewed up the built-in cabinet bench beyond repair…

2013-14 Cost vs. Value: Remodeling Pays Off Big Time


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Is buying cheaper than renting where you are? Check this list to find out…

In many parts of the country, the rental market has steadily picked up over the past few years.  There are a number of reasons people are renting instead of purchasing.  The burst of the housing bubble caused a significant loss of equity in a home – which translates to a lack of downpayment for many potential buyers.  Other sellers were underwater on their mortgages when they sold, and in addition to losing equity, also had to dig into savings to pay the difference in order to close the sale of the home.  Distress sales have left potential buyers with marred credit, in addition to the lack of funds to use to purchase.  That marred credit has caused mortgage investors and lenders to tighten their strings and be a bit more cautious with loaning money out to prospective homeowners.  And then there are those potential buyers who are “waiting in the wings” for the housing market to stabilize.  Renting, until they feel that the time is right to reinvest in the real estate market.

All of these factors have helped create a rental market with high demand in many areas.  As the law of economics has it – the higher the demand, the higher the price.  Most markets have experienced increased in monthly rents.  Without a checks and balance system, like appraisals in the buying segment, tenants are more apt to pay more for, if a property is in an area that they want to live in, or if the landlord is willing to accept the risks of a tenant’s damaged credit.  With that being said – is it time for you to now consider buying a home?  Instead of signing another lease?

Is buying cheaper than renting where you are? Check this list to find out out… http://ow.ly/uvQ5G


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Thinking about selling your home? Here are 30 quick weekend projects…

It’s snowing again in Chicago.  Again.  Several inches of the white fluffy stuff had fallen by morning rush hour.  It is March 5th.  After a brutally cold and snow-filled winter, even us hardy Chicagoans are ready for spring.  However, there is a ton of snow left to melt, which means it will be awhile until we can start enjoying the outdoors.  And while I am not planning on selling my home until my 8th grader has finished college – there are some projects around my home that need to be done.  Interestingly, several of my “spruce-ups” are on the list in this article.  Seeing that I can knock some out in a weekend, is just the incentive I need to get started.

Take a quick look and see which tasks you would like to undertake.  Especially if you are preparing your home to sell.  These are quick projects, most are fairly inexpensive, and they will all yield nice returns.

Thinking about selling your home? Here are 30 quick… http://ow.ly/ugwA9


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Tax time is just around the corner. Looking for some deductions?

Tax time is just around the corner.  Most homeowners know that they can write-off their mortgage interest (currently!).  But what about property taxes?  PMI?  Energy improvements?  Do you know the proper guidelines for capital gains?  Did you take advantage of the first-time buyer discount offered in 2008?  Are you paying it back correctly?

Where do you turn for advice, guidelines and explanations?  HouseLogic has put together a series of easy-read articles that address the questions above and many more.  Simple explanations will help direct you as you prepare your 2013 tax return. Make sure you take a look!

Here is a great link to a ton of resources to help you identify deductions & credits. http://ow.ly/ueR5N