Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2008

Home Warranty of America

As your buyer's agent, we will ask for a home warranty to be included in the sales contract, to be paid for by the seller. This is a negotiating point, which the seller may or may not be agreeable to.

Some sellers have already included a home warranty in the sale of their home. Other sellers have not included a home warranty and this additional item is negotiable.

From the HWA Home Warranty of America website, here are a few of the benefits of having a home warranty:

"An HWA™ home warranty allows you to never worry about the high cost of repairing or replacing your home's appliances or mechanical systems. You will not have to search any directories for contractors or repair technicians or wonder whether you can trust an unfamiliar service vendor.

When a covered item breaks down due to normal use, simply dial our toll-free number 24/7/365 and an authorized service technician will be dispatched by our knowledgeable customer service representatives to handle your needs."


Location, Location, Location

When you are looking for a home to purchase, you must take it upon yourself to do some research on the towns you are considering.

You might think that as your buyer's agent, that would be my job. But as a licensed real estate agent, I cannot label one town over another as "good" or "bad" - besides the fact this would merely be an opinion anyway.

You need to "Google" any of the towns you are considering and do some research.

In addition to the extensive amount of information that is available on the Internet, you also need to physically get into your car and drive around the areas you are considering. You need to drive around during the day and at night. On the weekdays and the weekends as well.

You will be more confident in your decision to purchase a home, when you are sure about your feelings for the area.

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at and search the Multiple Listing Service from over 150,000 homes…

Let Me Check My Book

How do you keep track of the homes you're seeing?

We can all agree that everyone is different. Some people are super organized and can recall all the specifics of each and every house they've seen. Others have a hard time remembering what town we are in.

When we meet for the first time, as your buyer's agent, I will bring you a home buyer's notebook with various information including checklists for buying a home and my contact information on the front. Inside the notebook is a spot to keep the homes we've seen. I will three hole punch a listing sheet for each home we go into, for you to keep inside this notebook.

This way, you have one place to look over and review the homes you've seen. You can take notes on the listing sheets, to help you recall certain things you did or did not like about that particular home.

Sometimes, we will see 5 homes - and you've found the home that's right for you. Other times, a person will see 50 homes before making a decisio…

Tested and Approved

Private Well and Septic - How do you know if it's okay?

Chances are good, if you are searching for a home in a more rural or unincorporated area, the home could have a private well and septic system.

In the Northern Illinois area, the real estate contract used provides for such:


Seller shall obtain at Seller’s expense a well water test stating that the well delivers not less than five (5) gallons of water per minute and including a bacteria and nitrate test (and lead test for FHA loans) and/or a septic report from the applicable County Health Department, a Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner, or a licensed well and septic inspector, each dated not more than ninety (90) days prior to Closing, stating that the well and water supply and the private sanitary system are in proper operating condition with no defects noted. Seller shall remedy any defect or deficiency disclosed by said report(s) prior to Closing; provided that if the cost of re…

Lay of the Land

Who pays for the land survey and what does it tell me?

In the Northern Illinois area, the survey is paid for by the seller. The survey provided must be current, within six (6) months of the contract date. The survey must also be done by a professional Illinois land surveyor.

The survey is typically staked out at the four lot corners. There is also a survey on paper, that is given to you at the closing.

At the closing, your real estate attorney will look over the survey with you, to see if there are any issues with a neighbor's driveway or fence (for a few examples) encroaching onto your new yard. If there are any issues, they will be resolved at the closing.

The survey and the cost are written into our Northern Illinois real estate sales contract:

"PLAT OF SURVEY: Not less than one (1) Business Day prior to Closing, except where the Real Estate is a condominium (see Paragraph 14) Seller shall, at Seller’s expense, furnish to Buyer or Buyer’s attorney a Plat of Survey dated not m…

Explaining a "Short Sale"

With so much information in the media about foreclosures, I thought I would take the time to offer some helpful information on the subject.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors, the IAR Legal Hotline:

What is a short sale?

A short sale is a situation in which the real estate seller owes more money on the loan(s) secured by the real estate than the sale of the property will likely produce on the market. The seller is in a distressed situation, but the bank/lender has not yet taken title from the seller through the foreclosure process. At this point, there might be a window of opportunity for the seller to put the real estate on the market and try to sell it in order to at least partially satisfy the lender who holds the mortgage.

Who is the right buyer for a short sale transaction?

The right buyer in a short sale transaction must be patient and have money ready to proceed once the seller’s lender does review the transaction. Many times, obtaining lender approval will take quite a bit…

Green moving tips from Mayflower

Moving tips that keep the planet in mind for people who will move this year.

Be Kind to Mother Earth - Make it a "Green" Move

Mayflower Transit Offeres Eco-Friendly Moving Tips

Have you noticed how much “stuff” you’ve accumulated over the years? There’s no doubt about it – our lifestyles create a lot of waste. Those facts are never more evident than when you’re packing and unpacking for a move. This year, more than 39 million Americans will pack up their households and move. If you’re among them, keep our planet in mind during the process by considering these environment-friendly moving tips:

Earth-Loving Packing
Boxes and packing supplies such as foam peanuts create a lot of extra trash. Using old blankets and towels as padding in your boxes serve the dual purpose of protecting your breakables and packing your linens. Newspaper, which is recyclable, can serve as outer packing wrap or for cushioning. But remember, no matter how old the newspaper, the ink can rub off and can bec…

Damaged Goods

What happens when the house is damaged during the move?

First, it depends on the severity of the damage. Occasionally, a wall, door or window might get damaged while moving furniture. Sometimes during a move, a floor may be scratched.

If the seller is moving several days ahead of the closing, there is time to make any necessary repairs, arrange for an estimate of repair work - or offer a fair credit amount (at closing) that is acceptable to both parties.

As the seller, it is always best to be upfront and honest about any damage that occurs while moving. When the buyer does their final walk through and discovers the damage, they may wonder if there is other damage in the house, still to be found.

If the seller is moving out the same day as closing, and the property is damaged at the last minute, a repair or replacement credit amount needs to be worked out at the closing table. Several phone estimates may be needed, to agree on a credit amount.

If there is severe damage to the home prior to…