Posted by Erin Jones on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at 9:05 AMBy Erin Jones / September 7, 2022Comment
Having a family often means that when you look for a place to settle, there are different criteria for the area. It needs to be more family-friendly to ensure your kids get the most out of their childhood. Some of the things considered for this list include great schools, diverse populations, plenty of recreation options, and other factors that make an area great for families of all sizes and ages. Here are some of the best Chicago suburbs to raise a family in no particular order.
Starting off our list of best suburbs of Chicago for families, Elmhurst has an excellent school system. In fact, statistically, they have some of the best testing scores in the area. Elmhurst schools are the tip of the iceberg for those with inquiring minds, making this a great place to raise a family in the Chicago suburbs. Elmhurst offers museums, a symphony, and a library. Plenty of parks, a community center, pools, a golf course, and other outdoor entertainment round out this area’s family-friendly potential.
Posted by Amy Kite on Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 7:50 PMBy Amy Kite / June 30, 2022Comment
Buyers are starting to get a wave of relief from increased inventory.
Have you been struggling to find a home in this market? If so, here’s some exciting news: We're starting to see an increase in inventory, meaning you’ll have more options to choose from. More inventory will also likely lead to lower prices and more negotiating power. Buyers should have their credit checked to verify that they’re qualified so they can start looking in the neighborhoods they’re interested in.
Interest rates have stabilized for the time being, but we don't know what they'll do in the coming weeks and months. However, with them being stable at the moment, now is a great opportunity to go find the dream home you've been looking for. It’s still a great time to invest in real estate. On average, if you buy a property today, it will be worth 50% more in 10 years.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted by Amy Kite on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 7:00 AMBy Amy Kite / May 31, 2022Comment
Here’s why it’s never really a bad time to buy in real estate.
One of the biggest questions we are asked in today’s market is, “Are we in a real estate bubble?” Back in 2007, home values dropped after the last bubble burst. However, current prices are higher than they were before the last crash.
That’s my key point for you today. If you buy real estate as a long-term investment, your value will increase to a higher level than it is today. It doesn’t matter when you buy; over time, values increase. That’s why real estate is considered such a great investment.
So should you buy right now? Absolutely; rates are slightly higher now, but they will come down eventually and allow you to refinance.
If you have any questions about buying a home or real estate in general, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
If you’re considering buying a home within the next three to 12 months, have you thought about what needs to be done first? Here are my recommendations for what to do when preparing to purchase a property:
1. Talk to a lender. The reason you want to speak to them this early is that you need to confirm the status of your credit, what you can qualify for, and if debts need to be paid off before moving forward. The better your credit score and the less debt you have, the lower your interest rate will be. Your lender will tell you if there’s anything you need to do. For example, they may say that instead of putting so much money down on a house, it would be better if you paid off your car loan.
"Start doing your due diligence early—it can be fun!"
2. Drive around and look at different areas. Find out which areas you’re interested in purchasing in because you don’t want...
FHA financing can be a great way to make an offer on your dream home, but some sellers avoid offers that use it. To understand the issue, it’s helpful to think about it from the seller’s perspective. An FHA-backed offer comes with hurdles they can avoid by accepting a cash or conventional offer. Let’s go over the main problems.
With an FHA loan, an appraiser is required to inspect the property. If they find any issues, the seller is required to fix them before the mortgage lender can approve the loan. In contrast, cash or conventional buyers can accept the home without the fixes. They can even waive the appraisal upfront.
"Perception alone could stop sellers from choosing an FHA offer."
Another issue is the perception that FHA buyers don’t have extra funds in case the home doesn’t appraise at list price. This may not be the case, but the assumption alone could stop sellers from choosing an FHA offer. If you make an FHA offer and you do have extra funds, notify your agent so they can alleviate the seller’s fears.
In this competitive home-buying market, we’re seeing certain issues come up after an offer is accepted. One of the main issues is low appraisals. When an appraised value is lower than the agreed-upon price, a decision needs to be made by both parties.
Buyers are crafting their offers to suit sellers who are nervous about the competition for their homes. We’re also seeing buyers forgo inspections and purchasing homes as is. They’re offering post-closing possession to sellers who are anxious about being able to find a new home quickly. This allows them to stay in their current home for a little longer while searching for their new home.
"Buying a property with structural issues will haunt you."
The one big concern I have with offers like this is if you choose to buy a property without an inspection. Even if you don’t plan on asking for repairs, it’s still important to have someone look at the house before you buy it. If you’re buying a property with structural issues, it's going to haunt you for years to come. There were situations back in 2007 and 2008 where this happened,...
How do you buy a new house if you have to sell your current one and you don’t have anywhere to go in the interim?
I was recently asked this question by a home seller, but they didn’t realize that in this situation we usually close both transactions on the same day. We close on the house the client is selling in the morning, and close on the new home a couple of hours later. This way, no one ends up homeless.
You can sell and buy on the very same day so you don’t have to move twice.
Granted, there’s probably a lot of stuff in the...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / October 15, 2019Comment
You’ve likely heard a ton about Millennials, but what about Gen Z? In the next 5 years, this generation will be between the ages of 23 and 28, and they’re eager to become homeowners faster than you may think.
According to realtor.com, “Nearly 80 percent of Generation Z members say they want to own a home before age 30,” and Concentrix Analytics said, “52% of prospective Gen Z buyers are already saving to buy a home.”
Wikipedia defines Generation Z (Gen Z) as “the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years.”
The report from Concentrix goes a little deeper...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / October 1, 2019Comment
You made an offer and it was accepted. Your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection.
This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.
How to Choose an Inspector
Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:
1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report, the better.
3. References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to discuss...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / September 26, 2019Comment
When people talk about homeownership and the American Dream, much of the conversation revolves around the financial benefits of owning a home. However, two recent studies show that the non-financial benefits might be even more valuable.
In a recent survey, Bank of America asked homeowners: “Does owning a home make you happier than renting?” 93% of the respondents answered yes, while only 7% said no. The survey also revealed:
More than 80% said they wouldn’t go back to renting
88% agreed that buying a home is the “best decision they have ever made”
79% believed owning a home has changed them for the better
Those surveyed talked about the “emotional equity” that is built through homeownership. The study says more than half of current homeowners define a home as a place to make memories, compared to 42% who view a home as a financial investment. Besides building wealth, the survey also showed that homeownership enhances quality of life:
67% of current homeowners believed their relationships with family and loved ones have changed for the better since they bought a home
Posted by Dan Bennett on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / September 19, 2019Comment
One of the benefits of homeownership is that it is a “forced savings plan.” Here’s how it works: You make a mortgage payment each month. Part of that payment is applied to the principal balance of your mortgage. Each month you owe less on the home. The difference between the value of the home and what you owe is called equity.
If your home has appreciated since the time you purchased it, that increase in value also raises your equity. Over time, the equity in your home could be substantial. Recently, CoreLogicrevealed that the average homeowner gained more than $65,000 in equity over the last 5 years.
Unlike last decade, homeowners are no longer foolishly tapping into that equity. In 2006-2008, many owners used their homes like an ATM by pulling equity out to purchase new cars, jet skis, or lavish vacations. They were pulling out cash (equity) from an appreciating asset, and then spending it on rapidly depreciating items. That is not happening anymore.
Over 50% of Homes Have at Least 50% Equity
The number of homeowners that currently have at least 50% equity in their...
“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”
An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),
“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you'll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”
Most buyers today have a specific home in mind when they start their search: a move-in ready property complete with newly installed flooring, an upgraded kitchen, etc. Understand that when such a property comes on the market, buyers will swarm to it like bees to honey.
One way to avoid that kind of competition is to look for a home that matches your desired floor plan, but also one that requires a little work. Rather than finding yourself in a multiple-offer situation where the price of the home you’re bidding on continues to go up and up, you can cash in on a property that’s receiving little to no buyer interest.
And by using a 203k loan, you’ll be able to make the necessary renovations and breath new life into the home without paying anything out of pocket. This is a major benefit to buyers because, after factoring in the costs of purchasing a home (down payment, closing costs, credits, etc.), most don’t have any leftover cash to put toward upgrades. Better still, your upgrade expenses will be built into the mortgage itself, so again, you won’t have to come up with cash.
Posted by Dan Bennett on Monday, September 2, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / September 2, 2019Comment
On Labor Day we celebrate the hard work that helps us achieve the American Dream.
Growing up, many of us thought about our future lives with great ambition. We drew pictures of what jobs we wanted to have and where we would live as a representation of a secure life for ourselves and our families. Today we celebrate the workers that make this country a place where those dreams can become a reality.
According to Wikipedia,
“Labor Day honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country.”
The hard work that happens every day across this country allows so many to achieve the American Dream. The 2019 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says,
Posted by Dan Bennett on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / August 28, 2019Comment
According to the Pew Research Center, around 37% of U.S students will be going back to school soon and the rest have already started the new academic year. With school-aged children in your home, buying or selling a house can take on a whole different approach when it comes to finding the right size, location, school district, and more.
Recently, the 2019 Moving with Kids Report from the National Association of Realtors®(NAR) studied “the different purchasing habits as well as seller preferences during the home buying and selling process.” This is what they found:
When Purchasing a Home
The major difference between the homebuyers who have children and those who do not is the importance of the neighborhood. In fact, 53% said the quality of the school district is an important factor when purchasing a home, and 50% select neighborhoods by the convenience to the schools.
Buyers with children also purchase larger, detached single-family...
In real estate, it’s so vital that you work with a great lender. Not just any lender—a great lender.
Your lender will either help you make the home buying process easy or make you hate the process altogether. If your lender doesn’t communicate with you or can’t get the job done, you’re going to get frustrated. You could even potentially lose a house.
A great lender will do the work on the front end by asking you a lot of questions and requesting certain documents so that everything is smooth and done on the back end. A lender who only asks for basic information over the phone, provides a pre-qualification, and then stops communicating with you will have you chasing them for information.
"Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today and gives us ample reason…to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.”
To give proper recognition, we’re going to look at some senior-related data in the housing industry.
“The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent.”
Posted by Dan Bennett on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / August 14, 2019Comment
Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard quite a bit about rising home prices. Today, expert projections still forecast continued growth, just at a slower pace. One of the often-overlooked benefits of rising home prices is the positive impact they have on home equity. Let’s break down three ways this is a win for homeowners.
1. Move-Up Opportunity
With the rise in prices, homeowners naturally experience an increase in home equity. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic,
“In the first quarter of 2019, the average homeowner gained approximately $6,400 in equity during the past year.”
This increase in profit means if homeowners decide to sell, they’ll be able to put their equity to work for them as they make plans to move up into their next home.