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Showing posts from August, 2008

The Benefits of a Home Warranty

Home Warranty of America has a new 9 minute video to explain the basics of understanding Home Warranty of America's home warranties and using them effectively.

The video link will take you through everything from fundamental coverage and your contract to plumbing, electrical, air conditioning/heating system, water heaters, kitchen appliances and more.

As your buyer's agent will ask for a home warranty to be included in the sale of the home and paid for by the seller. But even if the seller declines this warranty, as the buyer you can purchase a home warranty for the home also.

Simply click on www.hwaHomeWarranty.com/owners/video/
and educate yourself about the benefits of a home warranty.

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

A Home Warranty is NOT a Home Inspection

A negotiation point in the purchase contract is a home warranty.

Some sellers offer a home warranty as part of the sale. As your buyer's agent, we are going to ask to have a home warranty included in the purchase contract of the home.

A home warranty does NOT mean that you should skip doing a home inspection. Many home warranties will not cover any items considered to be a "pre-existing" condition.

You need to have a home inspection done and request any necessary repairs.

If after you have moved in, any items break down - check your home warranty and call the customer service number provided for the company.

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

Home Sweet Home

When can I move in?

From state to state the real estate details in a sale differ. Even within the same state, from one region to the next it can be different.

In the northern Illinois area, the buyer typically gets possession of the home at closing. After the money has been exchanged from buyer to seller - or once the mortgage has funded, the buyer is now considered the home owner.

As the new home owner, you get the house keys and it's your home now!

Occasionally a seller will ask for a "rent back" situation. This would be where the buyer allows the seller to stay in the home after closing for a specified time period. A rent back price is agreed upon and is put in writing. Most buyers prefer not to do this. They want possession and to move in right away.

Sometimes a buyer will ask for early possession of the home, to move their things in. This is usually declined by the seller. If for some reason the closing does not happen, your things are now in their house - and problems …

School Report Cards

Many buyers ask about the schools when looking for a home.

As your agent, I can direct you to the Illinois Board of Education website, that should be able to answer your questions.

I would also suggest if you have school age children, to call and make an appointment for a personal tour of any school you are considering.

Here are a few excellent resources to look over:

Interactive Illinois Report Card Web Site

Illinois State Board of Education

2007 School Report Cards


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

New Homebuyer Tax Credit

Do you still have questions about the new $7500 tax credit available for qualified home purchases between April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009?

This homebuyer tax credit is actually a loan repayable over 15 years.

The National Association of Realtors has provided a list of:

"Frequently asked questions about the first-time homebuyer tax credit"

Plus an easy to use:

"First-time homebuyer tax credit chart"

Both of these references should explain the new homebuyer tax credit and answer any of your questions.

If you would like to discuss the possible use of this credit, please give me a call or send me an email.

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

What Are Your Plans for the Future?

When you're buying a home, you need to consider how long you plan on living there.

My advice is to plan on staying in your new home for at least several years. The longer you can stay in your new home, the more appreciation and equity you should have when you decide to move.

Obviously, certain life experiences happen that can cause an unexpected move. But ideally, you should plan on a five year minimum stay for your new home.

Purchasing a home is a long term investment. When you're ready to move again and call me to help you, I want to be able to help you sell your home at a profit.

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

How Low Can You Go?

In our current real estate market in the Northern Illinois area, there are a lot of homes to choose from.

I still see the occasional multiple offer situation. But today's home buyer typically has more time now, to negotiate an offer on a home of interest.

As your buyer's agent, we will look over recent sales in the neighborhood, compare that to what is available for sale, try to find out what the seller paid for the house, how much was mortgaged etc.

After reviewing this information, we can come up with a strategy for an initial offer on the house. Some buyers feel compelled to start with a really low offer, just to see what will happen.

I'm fine with that. I'm representing you as your buyer's agent. When I'm on the other side of the deal, working as the seller's agent, I always advise my selling clients not to be offended by a low offer - it's an offer. We come up with a counter offer and work to negotiate back and forth until we can settle on a price tha…

Grayslake Summer Days August 15-17, 2008

The Grayslake Summer Days festival will be held August 15-17, 2008.

The festival includes carnival rides, food booths, games and a business fair. Live bands perform Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Summer Days parade is on Sunday, August 17th at 12 noon.

The festival is held at Center Street and Seymour Avenue in downtown Grayslake, Illinois.

Please click on the link below for a complete schedule of events for Grayslake Summer Days from the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce:

Summer Days 2008 Schedule of Events

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

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

On July 30th, President Bush signed a major housing bill (H.R. 3221) into law. As part of the housing bill, Congress has created a new, temporary tax credit to provide an incentive for first-time homebuyers. The $7,500 credit will be available for the purchase of a principal residence on or after April 9th, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.

Caveat: This information is accurate based on information available as of July 30, 2008. As with any tax law change, check with a tax advisor if there are questions about using this provision.

For additional details on this first time home buyer credit, please click on this link for Frequenly Asked Questions

This information is provided by The National Association of Realtors.

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.co…

Do You Have The Time?

There is a lot of interest from buyers for foreclosures homes or "short sale" homes.

One of the biggest obstacles in buying one of these homes, is the amount of time it takes for a reply from the bank.

Typically, we present a written contract offer along with your pre-approval letter ... and then we wait.

The banks are not held to a deadline for a response time. Even if we wanted to write into the contract that a response must be received within a certain time frame, the banks are not controlled by that. We must be patient and accept that buying a short sale home is a process, that will not be rushed just because we would like it to be.

If we want to withdraw our offer and pursue other homes, we are free to do that if the bank has not accepted our written offer.

The ideal buyer for a foreclosure or short sale home is an investor or a buyer that has a month-to-month lease or some type of flexible living arrangements.

As your buyer's agent, I follow up on the status of the offe…