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Showing posts from July, 2008

Inspect the Inspector

You have an accepted contract to purchase a home!

You have five business days in the Northern Illinois area to get a home inspection done and ask for any needed repairs.

How do you decide which home inspector to use?

My advice is to look for a personal referral. I can refer you to several home inspectors that I have worked with many times.

Or you can ask your family and friends for a recommendation of a home inspector they worked with and were happy with the service provided.

In Illinois, a home inspector is required to be licensed by the American Society of Home Inspectors. You can check out their website at www.ASHI.org.

Make sure the person you choose to inspect your future home has the right credentials.

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at www.StarHomeFinders.com and search the Multiple Listing Service from over 150,000 homes for sale. Registering is quick and easy! Jim Starwalt, Broker Associate RE/MAX Center, Phone: 847-548-2625 Jim@StarHomeFinders.com

The ARM's Race of 2008

This August, some homeowners will be feeling a little more than the usual heat. By the end of this summer, over 300,000 subprime adjustable rate mortgages will "reset" from lower introductory rates to current market rates. The change in rate can equate to a tough-to-stomach bump in monthly payments, especially for loans that feature extra-low "teaser" rates.

The Refinancing Option

Choosing to refinance has two main benefits:

Lock into a Fixed Rate - Why worry about periodic rate resets and rising mortgage rates if you don't have to? Refinancing gives owners the chance to lock into a fixed rate for the long term.

Lower Rates - While current rates are higher than they were a few years ago, from a historical perspective they are still considered low. Most economists believe that national averages of long-term rates will hover within a point or two of 6 percent through the end of the year.

Who Qualifies for Refinancing:

Tightening requirements for new home loans ha…

Why Don't You Give Me A Call?

How do you pick your real estate agent?

An important factor, that you may not have considered, is a very simple question:

Can you get ahold of your agent on the phone?

I am surprised by the number of real estate agents that do not answer their phone.

Certainly, there are times when it is not reasonable to expect someone to answer their phone for business such as early in the morning or late at night.

But if you are considering several agents, try this simple test: pick up the phone and call. Does anyone answer their phone? If you have to leave a message, do you get a return phone call within a relatively short time?

Buying or selling a home is one the biggest financial investments you will make. You want an agent that is available. Give me a call on my cell phone at 224-627-7581.

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at www.StarHomeFinders.com and search the Multiple Listing Service from over 150,000 homes for sale. Registering is quick and easy! Jim Starwalt, Broker Ass…

Locate The Cheapest Gas In Your Area

Did you know that you can shop around for the best gas prices online?

Here are two different websites to check out for current gas prices:

GasBuddy.com

www.gasprices.mapquest.com

Use these sites to locate the cheapest gas in your area.

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at www.StarHomeFinders.com and search the Multiple Listing Service from over 150,000 homes for sale. Registering is quick and easy! Jim Starwalt, Broker Associate RE/MAX Center, Phone: 847-548-2625 Jim@StarHomeFinders.com

Your Credit Score: 5 Key Factors

You're looking for a home and you need a mortgage. You want the best interest rate for your mortgage that is available. What determines the interest rate you qualify for? Your credit score does.

Credit scores range between 200 and 800, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

1. Your payment history.
Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.

2. How much you owe.
If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.

3. The length of your credit history.
In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer's oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Cor…

Lake County Fair Schedule

Lake County Fair Schedule July 22 - 27, 2008

Tuesday, July 22

AM

9:00 Dairy Junior Livestock Show
9:00 Poultry, Game Birds Judging (open class)
11:00 Opening Ceremony Flag Raising (Center Stage)

PM

12:30 Bucket Boys (Center Stage)
2:30 Muttin' Bustin'
2:30 Popeye & Swee' Pea (Center Stage)
4:30 Muttin' Bustin'
4:30 Bucket Boys
6:30 Muttin' Bustin'
7:00 Dairy Goat Milking
7:00 Miss Lake County Fair Pageant (Main Stage)
7:00 Monster Truck Demo
7:00 Motocross
7:00 Band On The Run - Center Stage

Wednesday, July 23

AM


7:00 Dairy Goat Milking Final
8:00 4-H Pony and English Horse Show
9:00 Judging of all 4-H Club Project

PM


12:30 Bucket Boys (Center Stage)
1:00 Judging of Special Youth Livestock Show
2:30 Popeye & Swee' Pea (Center Stage)
2:30 Muttin' Bustin'
4:30 Muttin' Bustin'
3:00 Youth Show - Dairy Goats
4:00 Judging of Rabbits
4:30 Bucket Boys - Center Stage
6:30 Muttin' Bustin'
7:00 Pro Motocross Races
7:00 Jr. Miss Lake County Fair Pageant (Main S…

Lake County Fair 2008 General Information

2008 Lake County Fair General Information:

Lake County, Illinois: 80th Anniversary Fair from July 22nd - July 27th, 2008

The 2008 Lake County Fair will be held at the Fairgrounds on Hwy. 120 and Route 45 in Grayslake.


ADMISSION INFORMATION:

General Admission: $8.00 - adults, Children 12 & under- FREE, Seniors 65 & over- $4.00

Uniformed Military Personnel- FREE

Season Pass- $25.00

Parking- FREE

Special Events: FREE (Motocross, Rodeo, Truck & Tractor, Monster Trucks, Demo Derby, Concerts)

NO REFUNDS - NO EXCEPTIONS

Membership Ticket- $30.00
Exhibitor Ticket- $25.00

Gates Open: 8:00 a.m. everyday

Commercial Building Hours:

Mon - Sat 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sun 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Exhibit Building Hours:
Tue - Sat 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sun 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Midway:
Tue - Sat - Noon - 11:30 p.m.
Sun - Noon - 10:00 p.m.

REGULAR RIDE TICKET PROGRAM

22 tickets for $20.00 or $1.00 Each
Kiddie Rides - 2 Tickets
Major Rides - 3 Tickets
Spectacular Rides - 4 Tickets

Tuesd…

Get Prequalified or Get Preapproved?

If you're considering the purchase of a new home, you may be concerned with the issue of finance. Attaining the right mortgage is a key step in the home buying process, but it doesn't have to be a stress-inducing one.

Most lenders offer prequalification, pre-approval or both to help you know where you stand.

Let me explain the difference between prequalification and preapproval:

Prequalification: Prequalification is a preliminary estimate of how much you can afford to pay for a home based on information you provide. Because credit and employment information aren't validated for prequalification, it can only be considered a rough idea of a monthly mortgage payment and loan size. This can be a useful guide as you begin the home buying process, however.

Preapproval: Preapproval is a written commitment from a lender to finance your home purchase up to a set amount. This indicates that the lender has taken a close look into your financial history and has agreed to lend you a spe…

Assess Your Flood Risks

The United States government has a website which allows you to input an address to determine the flood risk factor. You can also receive information on how much flood insurance would cost and where to go to find an insurance agent for flood insurance.

The website also provides information on how to file a claim, if you are the victim of flooding and are insured. The site also offers interactive tools to show you the cost of flooding, if it were to occur in your home.

It's a helpful site - and hopefully you'll never experience the stress of flooding.

Check out the website www.FloodSmart.gov soon!

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at www.StarHomeFinders.com and search the Multiple Listing Service from over 150,000 homes for sale. Registering is quick and easy! Jim Starwalt, Broker Associate RE/MAX Center, Phone: 847-548-2625 Jim@StarHomeFinders.com

You and Your Home: Green Choices

Many of you, myself included, have concern about protecting the environment and doing what we can for future generations.

There is a trend towards more green homes. The U.S. Green Building Council defines a green home as: "A home that incorporates smart design, technology, construction and maintenance elements to significantly lessen the negative impact of the home on the environment and improve the health of the people who live inside. A green home uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste and is healthier for the people inside compared to a standard home."

Sounds good, doesn't it?

Here are some additional websites that provide information on green homes and how you can help the environment:

Building Green www.buildinggreen.com

Energy Star www.energystar.gov

Green Building Resource Guide www.greenguide.com

Green Home Guide www.greenhomeguide.com

U.S. Green Building Council www.usgbc.com

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at www.Sta…

The Illinois Housing Market

The Illinois Association of Realtors recently offered the following facts on the Illinois Housing Market:

1. There is no such thing as a national real estate market. Just like there is no national weather forecast, local housing market conditions are oftentimes different from what’s happening nationally, so it’s best to work with an Illinois real estate professional to determine timing, pricing and the best value.

2. Illinois home values are stable. From 2004 to 2007 the median price of a home increased 10.3 percent from $184,900 to $204,000. In the Chicagoland area, the median price increased 13.9 percent from $223,000 to $254,000. Most Illinois homeowners are experiencing very healthy long-term gains in the value of their homes, and real estate remains the single best investment over the long term providing wealth accumulation especially for those who keep the home for a typical holding period of six to 10 years.

3. Owning a home is a good investment. According to the Federal Reserve…

Beyond the "Wow"

Beyond the "Wow" - are there any negatives about a home that you are overlooking because of the decorating?

You may see a home that is decorated so well, it all feels "right" - but are you making sure that the house meets your needs?

Sometimes you may overlook some serious considerations, such as room size, when you come across a home that shows well.

You want a home in the best condition possible. But you cannot focus on the furniture and decorations, they are not usually staying with home.

Make sure that the room sizes, number of bedrooms and baths, and location all fit into your required needs.

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at www.StarHomeFinders.com and search the Multiple Listing Service from over 150,000 homes for sale. Registering is quick and easy! Jim Starwalt, Broker Associate RE/MAX Center, Phone: 847-548-2625 Jim@StarHomeFinders.com