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Showing posts from September, 2008

Mortgages Today: What to Know

Through my REMAX website, a monthly email newsletter is published. The article below comes from the Real Estate Advisor: October 2008.


Mortgages Today: What to Know

With so much changing in the real estate and financial markets in recent weeks, many potential buyers are looking for answers. If you're currently shopping around for a mortgage, here is some information to consider.

Rates Remain Low

The federal government's recent backing of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has helped re-assure financial markets about the stability of the mortgage industry, and as a result already-favorable rates have dropped even further.

Interest rates on traditional 30 year fixed rate mortgages dropped by between .3 and .5 percent in the days following the news of the government bailout. Some analysts believe that rates will continue to drop, particularly if the government reduces or eliminates some of the fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac currently charge lenders.

Today's Loans R…

Communication After The Contract

After you have an accepted contract to purchase a home in the Northern Illinois area, there are additional conditions that need to be met within a specific time frame.

The first contingency with a time frame is for the attorney approval and home inspection.

You need to return your attorney's phone calls promptly. There is a five business day time frame for the attorney approval and the request for repairs.

There is the mortgage contingency with a time frame for your mortgage to be formally and fully approved.

You should plan to check in with your loan officer on a weekly basis up until the closing. If your loan officer does not call you, give them a call just to follow up.

A few additional calls you should make will be to an insurance agent for your homeowner's insurance. A call to a moving company to reserve a moving truck.

You can go online or make a phone call to set up utilities in your name for the day of closing and to have your mail forwarded to your new address.

I am availab…

When Do I Sign?

In the Northern Illinois area, our typical real estate contract has a five (5) day attorney review contingency paragraph.

After both parties have signed the real estate contract, each side has five (5) business days from the date of acceptance for their real estate attorney to review and approve of the sales contract.

Occasionally, a buyer or a seller wants their attorney to review the contract prior to their signing it.

This delay could cause the loss of a sale. A buyer could decide to move onto another home, since they do not have a formally accepted offer. Or the seller could receive another offer in the meanwhile.

Time is of the essence with a real estate contract. Without a signed real estate contract, we do not have an accepted offer.
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: 847-548-2…

Pumpkinfest 2008

Occasionally I like to blog about some of the local activities in the Lake County area.

If you are looking for a fun place to take your family to pick out pumpkins, I would suggest The Country Bumpkin in Mundelein, Illinois.

The Country Bumpkin is located at 27691 N Gilmer Road, Mundelein IL 60060, at the corner of Gilmer and Hawley in Mundelein. Their phone number is 847-566-2176.

They hold an annual "Pumpkin Fest" which begins this Saturday: September 20, 2008.

From the Country Bumpkin website:

"Our annual PumpkinFest is back! Beginning Saturday, Sept. 20, we'll have our Fall season in full swing. Bring the kids and enjoy our Moonwalks, panning for gold in the Bumpkin GoldRush, Straw Maze, Earry Corn Walk, Farm Petting Zoo and Barrel Train."

You can get more details on their website including the hours they are open and a coupon for a free barrel train ride. Click here for the Country Bumpkin website.

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my website at ww…

What Happens After the Home Inspection?

You have a signed and accepted contract to buy a home!

You typically have (5) five business days from the acceptance date to do your home inspection and make any request for repairs.

You've done the home inspection and there are a few items you would like fixed. What happens now?

Typically, the home inspector provides you with a full report on the house and the home inspection. There is usually a summary page of any items that need to be repaired or there may be questions that need answers.

With your permission, the home inspector will give me a copy of the summary page. I forward this summary page of the home inspection to your real estate attorney.

Your attorney reviews the home inspection summary and contacts you to discuss the report and how you would like to proceed.

You may wish to ask for certain items to be repaired or you may want to ask for a credit amount to be given at closing.

Your attorney will send a letter to the seller's attorney with your requests.
From there, the …

Fall Maintenance for your Furnace

If you are a new home buyer, I'd like remind you that it's time to call your HVAC professional to have your furnace checked and serviced.

Preventative maintenance can help prolong the life of your furnace.

You should change the furnace filter yourself every 30 days as well.

Before you turn your furnace on for the first time this fall, have a professional company come out to service and clean your furnace. A qualified technician can safely remove the cover of the furnace and check the interior of your furnace.

In the spring, have the same company service and check your central air conditioning unit.

If you need a personal referral to a HVAC company, please send me an email and I would be happy to help you out.

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.c…

Fall Is A Great Time to Buy

People move all year round for a variety of reasons.

You can find great homes right now for sale. There is still a large inventory of homes in good condition, priced to sell.

With the recent government take over of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, home prices may start to stabilize.

If you've been considering a move, but are thinking of waiting until the spring, you may miss your opportunity to get the best deal on a home.

Send me an email or give me call, and I can refer you to an excellent loan officer.

Once you're pre-approved for a loan, we can find you a new home.
You can be moved in before the holidays!

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 Can't Forget Property Taxes

When you are ready to buy a home, it is important to meet with a loan officer.

You need to discuss your credit score and interest rates, the price range you qualify for, what your total monthly payment will be, and various loan programs.

On the Internet there is abundance of mortgage calculators available, to give you an idea of payments.

Zillow recently added Mortgage Marketplace to it's website. Here is the link to Zillow's mortgage calculator

A good feature of Zillow's mortgage calculator is that it includes property taxes, homeowner's insurance and private mortgage insurance costs.

While you're on the Zillow site, you can also check out my Zillow profile for a list of homes for sale.

Just click on the Zillow badge below:





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…

Autumn Apple Picking

Did you know that Illinois ranks as 13th in the United States for apple production and the estimate in 2004 was 1,300,000 bushels?

(*Information received from AllAboutApples.com)

Search online at allaboutapples.com which is a website to:

"Provide education about apples, promote segments of the Apple economy including the many fine orchards and growers, and develop an online community of people passionate about apples."

From their website, you can check out local apple orchards under orchard listings.

Many orchards offer additional activities for the family such as hay rides, petting zoos, snack bars and restaurants.

It's just about that time of year, to enjoy the fall weather and pick some apples!

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

Do You Need to Sell to Buy?

Many families have to sell their current home before they can buy another home.

Some people are moving to a larger home or a new construction home. Some people are downsizing. The reasons for a move are as various as the people who are moving.

As you are selling your current home, try to look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer.

Step outside and go across the street. Try to look at your home with fresh eyesight. Does your home need any paint or the siding power washed? Does the front door need paint or a new storm door to replace the current one? Should the landscaping be trimmed - new flowers planted?

What does your eye focus on - or is there no focal point? Good curb appeal makes a big difference. The main exterior photo of your home is what attracts buyers on the Internet.

Inside your home, start packing! If there is room in the basement, start packing and neatly stacking boxes and extra furniture. If you need to, rent a storage unit or find family and friends that can…