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Showing posts from December, 2008

Winter Home Buying

Through my REMAX website, a monthly newsletter is published. This article is from the January Real Estate Advisor.

Home buying advantages in the "slow" season.

Winter is often considered a slower season for real estate. The demands of the holidays and less-than-perfect weather conditions typically lead to fewer listings and fewer buyers searching the market. The relatively quiet winter real estate market can actually be a great opportunity for motivated buyers for 3 main reasons:

Sellers who list their homes during this period are usually highly motivated. They may be relocating for work or may be in the process of purchasing a new home themselves. Whatever the reason, it's likely that they are looking to sell the home more quickly than the average seller. This means they are more prone to accept lower offers or conditions more favorable to the buyer.

Fewer buyers means less competition. Though there may be a lower number of homes on the market, there are also fewer buyers …

Efficient Heating

Through my REMAX website, a monthly newsletter is published. This article is from the January Real Estate Advisor.

Heating Your Home Efficiently.

Regardless of what the weather brings this winter, heating your home efficiently is probably something on your mind. Keeping your home a comfortable temperature when the weather turns bad doesn't have to be a financial drain. With a little bit of work, you can actually save a great deal on your heating bills:

Stopping Air Leaks
The first step to making your home more heat efficient is to identify air leaks. Common air leak sources such as recessed lights, door frames, window frames, and electrical outlets can be a big drain of heat and money. You can check for air leaks yourself by walking through your home with a lit incense stick (horizontal smoke indicates a leak), or you can hire a technician for a more thorough inspection. Simple fixes like sealing around outlets and switches, caulking gaps in the framing, and plugging gaps surrounding …

Selling your Home in Winter

Through my REMAX website, a monthly newsletter is published. This article is from the January Real Estate Advisor.

Make your home a hot winter commodity.

Selling a home can be trickier during the colder winter months. If one of your New Year's Resolutions was to finally get your house sold, consider these tips for post-holiday curb appeal:

Take down your holiday decorations in a reasonably short amount of time. While most people appreciate festive displays of spirit, Christmas lights in February can give the impression that your home isn't always well maintained. It's now the season to box up all of those holiday touches!

Check the gutters and downspouts around your house. This is an important chore throughout fall and winter, as accumulating leaves and small branches can clog gutters and create quite a mess. By checking the gutters every so often, you will avoid having to clean up a much bigger problem later. Messy gutters are also a needless detraction from your home's …

A New Home in 2009

Are you thinking about a new home in 2009?

If a move is in your future, the first step in home buying is to get pre-approved for a home mortgage. With the recent changes in the economy, the lending requirements have changed as well. The good news is that interest rates are currently at a historically low rate.

If you need a referral for a loan officer, you can give me a call or send me an email, and I can refer you to an experienced loan officer. You need to know what kind of mortgage you qualify for and which loan programs are available to you.

You may find that you need a little time to save more money for a down payment or to resolve some outstanding credit issues.

If you are hoping to buy a home in 2009, I can also discuss the home buying process with you. This may be your first home or you may be relocating from out of state. Real estate sales vary from state to state, and even from region to region within the same state.

2009 should still provide buyers with many great opportunities …

Cut Costs: Energy Saving Tips for Winter

Winter is here and it's cold in Illinois.

The Alliance to Save Energy - "Creating an Energy-Efficient World" has a 2008 – 2009 Winter State Fact Sheet.

The site provides energy cost estimates and savings measures for each state for the winter of 2008 – 2009.

Click here for Illinois Energy and Money Saving Tips for Consumers.
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

Helping Our Heroes Benefit Concert January 3, 2009

The Realtor Association of NorthWest Chicagoland (RANWC) is hosting a Benefit Concert with proceeds benefiting "Helping Our Heroes."

From their website ... "Helping Our Heroes is a program sponsored by the RANWC Charitable Foundation dedicated to raising money to help active duty Illinois Military Personnel, Veterans, Firemen/Women, and Policemen/Women with residential-related expenses due to their financial distress."

Benefit Concert Information:

Location: The Fuel Room in Austin's Saloon in Libertyville, IL 60048.

Austin's Saloon, 481 Peterson Road, Libertyville IL 60048.
Phone: 847-549-1972.

Date: January 3, 2009

Time: Doors open at 9:00 pm

Featuring: DOTDOTDOT

Ticket Price: $12.00, payable at the door

Click here for a link to the concert flyer.

The benefit is also collecting clothing donations:
"Clean Out Your Closet! Bring any gently used clothes to the concert and donate them to Helping Our Heroes!"

Jim Starwalt Thinking of making a move? Log onto my webs…

Brand New: HWA Green Home Warranty Option

I always encourage my clients, whether buying or selling to include a home warranty as part of the sales contract.

HWA, Home Warranty of America, has a new GreenPlus - Green Home Warranty Option.
From the HWA website:

"GREENPLUS, the first green home warranty option in the Nation, is new for 2008. It covers replacements with ENERGY STAR qualified products for your dishwasher, water heater (to a tankless), kitchen refrigerator, clothes washer and furnace (to 90% efficiency).

Add GreenPlus to an HWA Home Warranty for just $6.25/month and you could save on energy and help the environment."

Click on the lick below for additional Green Facts and Energy Saving Ideas from the HWA website: Green Facts and Energy Savings Ideas

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@StarHo…

Researching Your Historic Home

You may have bought an older home for it's unique qualities, but do you know if the house has historical value?

Start your research with some of these helpful websites:

From OldHouseWeb.com - Ideas & Advice for Old House Enthusiasts:

Finding the history in your home ... "Researchers offers tips and techniques on researching old houses."

From the National Register of Historic Places:

Researching a historic property ... "Sources and techniques."

And if you live in the Chicago area, from The Chicago Department of Planning & Development:

Your House Has a History ... "Step-by-Step guide to tracing a home's history."

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

Best of Both Worlds? Rent-to-Own

Through my REMAX website, a monthly newsletter is published. This article is from the December Real Estate Advisor

Best of Both Worlds? Rent-to-Own

Some sellers uneasy with fluctuating home values and buyers facing financing issues are looking to a solution more frequently reserved for the automotive industry: rent-to-own agreements. While not a perfect option for every buyer or seller, a lease-purchase or lease-option agreement can be a viable real estate solution for many individuals.

It's important to note that while potentially advantageous for some buyers and sellers, these types of arrangements are very complicated. Anyone considering heading down the rent-to-own path should enlist the aid of an experienced and trusted real estate attorney.

How does a rent-to-own agreement work?

Essentially, these arrangements allow the buyer to act as renter for a set period of time, with the owner serving as landlord. The buyer pays the seller option money for the right to later purchase the p…

Holiday Tips

Through my REMAX website, a monthly newsletter is published. This article is from the December Real Estate Advisor.

Holiday Tips

Winter is a time for gatherings, from formal office parties to traditional dinners to small, casual get-togethers of old friends.

But spreading all that holiday cheer can be a lot of work, particularly for those hosting an event. Above all else, planning and hosting winter a party can be a huge financial commitment. Footing a large party bill can be a daunting prospect, especially with consumer prices up and presents left to buy.

Below are some ways to host a holiday party on a lighter budget:

Ditch the paper invitations: Elaborate invitations with all the trimmings may be fun, but overall they are a waste of time and resources. In our digital age, an emailed invitation (such as those provided by evite.com) can be just as effective. If you just can't resist that hands-on touch, design your invitation graphic and email it out to your guests.

Use real dis…