Top 5 Winter Renovations That Pay Off Big-North Shore Real Estate Trends

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There is always something that can be improved upon. Now in 2016…When you spend a little time in your Chicago North Shore home on vacation or on the weekends, you are bound to find a improvement project or two that can keep you busy. And that’s usually what happens during the winter especially right at the start of a new year, people want their houses to look their best, and any indoor project that doesn’t require windows to be open or walls to be taken down are good ones to think about. More importantly it’s vital to think of the projects that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but will also get a big bang for your North Shore real estate investment buck in the long-term.

While doors and floors fit that category, be warned that any door that’s hung in the winter might be a bit of a tight fit in the summer, when humidity can expand the wood. So, be cautious of starting wood projects.

There are plenty of other home improvement projects that can keep you busy during the winter months. Here are the top 5 suggestions for high REO (return on investment) this season:

1. Install a programmable thermostat: It’s always a bit of a shock when you get that first utility bill in the colder months. If you haven’t already taken steps to save energy, an easy project, is installing a thermostat that allows you to automatically set the temperature for different times of the day. By having the heat programmed to go on when you get up in the morning, then off when you leave for the day, then back on when you arrive home, you can keep the temperature of your home constant. This type of project is an easy do-it-yourself project. It’s just a couple of low-voltage wires, so it’s really something anyone can handle, and some of them cost as low as $25. It can pay for itself in a month or two.

2. Insulate your water heater: Another way to save energy is to lower the temperature of your water heater, and insulate it. The ideal temperature is 120 degrees. It doesn’t cost you anything to turn it down, and by wrapping it in insulation, you can ensure that the water stays hot when it is not being used. You can buy insulation kits at your local North Shore-Glencoe hardware store.

3. Paint a room: This is the greatest winter project, it’s a great cure for the midwinter blues. And a $50 investment in paint can dramatically transform a room. When you are spending more time inside, you have more time to look at what needs to be refreshed. This is a quick, do-it-yourself project and a small investment can make a big difference.

4. Refinish the basement: Need a contractor for a project? Find one in the winter, contractors are slower in the winter, and one project that’s especially popular is refinishing the basement — you can often find someone to take this on. Of course, the ever-popular bathroom and kitchen remodels, are seasonless, and sometimes endless, can also be started in winter (as long as a wall doesn’t need to be knocked out).

5. Get organized: So many people resolve to get organized at the New Year and winter is a great time to actually take action on that resolution. There are so many great modular closet-organizing systems, a project like this is a great antidote to North Shore cabin fever. You can clear up the clutter in a room or a closet, and make it look like you have twice the space you did to begin with; a sure-fire way to attract potential buyers, a total sellers edge…MORE IDEAS

With sustained top producing, high ranking, client focused results, Gloria Matlin looks forward to making 2016 even better! Over 25 years of devoted service, and now partnering with son Zack Matlin, this team is sure to make Chicago North Shore real estate dreams come true once again.

 

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Experts Not Worried About Rising Rates – North Shore Real Estate Trends

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Mortgage rates would have to be higher than 6% to discourage prospective fall and even winter home-buyers from

FiveStar-GloriaMatlin-2buying a home. While the jury is still out on what the Federal Reserve is going to do about the Fed Funds rate increase, there is certainty that it will happen at some point in the near future. The lack of consensus stems from mixed signals coming from various components of the economy and the financial situation abroad. The good new is:

How Higher Mortgage Interest Rates Will Impact the Housing Market?

When the Feds decide to raise rates, any increase will be nominal and gradual. The anticipation is that the initial increase will be only 25 basis points (e.g., from 3.75% to 4.00%). This is still about 50 basis points lower than the high reached in the summer of 2013 when the Federal Reserve first announced that it would start fading out of its easy monetary policy.

Nonetheless, Americans are well aware of the anticipated mortgage rate increase that’s coming up: 42% of Americans think mortgage interest rates will increase over the next six months, while 20% believe the rates will stay the same. A third (32%) of Americans, and almost 4 in 10 (38%) Millennials, are still unsure about what will happen to the mortgage rates, with Millennials are not as likely as other generation to think that rates will increase at all over the next 6 months.

Falling houses with percent symbol on sky background

How Do Americans Feel About Rising Mortgage Rates?

Interestingly, for Americans who are looking to purchase a home this year, mortgage rates are not the primary concern. Among Americans who would ever buy a home, most worried about being able to get a mortgage and if they could find a home that they would like. Raising mortgage rate is only the third concern, followed by fears that home prices would increase before they buy a home. But, for millennials aged 18-34 years old, simply being able to get a mortgage is the biggest and marginally larger concern than for all Americans in general. Millennials also worry more about finding a home they like and home prices rising before they worry about raising mortgage rates.

Long story short, an increase in rates would not turn people off from buying a home, but it may slightly lower the price range in which they are looking to buy. Also, the impact is quite dependent on the price range in which the prospective buyer is looking to buy. – See more mortgage rate details HERE

2015-November: For a second year, Gloria Matlin has earned the esteemed Five Star Real Estate award for 2015. This honor is one of many that confirms her standing as Chicago North Shore’s  client driven, top performing, highly trusted real estate professional.  On The Go?…Move with Glo this autumn season.

Top Tips for Fall Upkeep-Curb Appeal Still Rules: Chicago North Shore Real Estate

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No matter the season…If your home’s curb appeal makes a great first impression, everyone — including potential home-buyers — will want to see what’s inside. Your home’s appearance has a psychological effect on anyone that sees it. If the exterior of the house and yard is well-maintained, people enter the home with positive feelings believing the interior will measure up to the standards set outside. If the exterior looks poorly maintained, one may enter the home with a negative mindset, specifically looking for problems.
Check out these simple, low-cost improvements that you can do in a day, a week, or a month.

In a Day: Create perfect symmetry

Symmetry is not only pleasing to the eye, it’s also the simplest to arrange. Symmetrical compositions of light fixtures and front-door accents create welcoming entryways. This door is flanked by two sidelights. The black lantern-style sconces not only safely guide visitors to the door, but also coordinate with the black door and urns.

In a Day: Replace old hardware

House numbers, the entry door lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, and an overhead light fixture are all elements that can add style and interest to your home’s exterior. If they’re out of date or dingy, your home may not be conveying the aesthetic you think it is. These elements add the most appeal when they function collectively, rather than as mix-and-match pieces. Oiled-bronze finishes suit traditional homes, while brushed nickel suits more contemporary ones.

In a Day: Dress up the front door

Your home’s front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal. Make a statement by giving your front door a blast of color with paint or by installing a custom wood door. Clean off any dirty spots around the knob, and use metal polish on the door fixtures. Your entry should also reflect the home’s interior, so choose a swag or a wreath that reflects your personal style.

In a Day: Do a mailbox makeover

Mailboxes should complement the…MORE

With over 25 years of Chicago North Shore real estate expertise, Gloria Matlin gains pride in making dreams come true for fall 2015 and every other season forthcoming. Her award-winning, client focused service is second to none. With top producing, high-ranking, exceptionally performing results, she provides sound guidance with the use of proven experience and expertise. Confidently look to her and partner Zack Matlin for all things North Shore Chicago real estate related.

How To Put Your Best Foot Forward When It Comes Time To Sell Your Home

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A hot Chicago North Shore real estate topic this season; as the market continues to surge. Having a trusted, top producing, high ranking, top performing Realtor professional can be an essential tool in addition to the aspects outlined above. Gloria Matlin has been serving the North Shore communities of Chicago for over 25 years. Let her help you realize your real estate dreams this 2014 spring season. Gloria is based at 640 Vernon Avenue, the downtown district of Glencoe, Illinois, 60022.

Tri-Valley Real Estate Buzz

The traditionally busy spring home buying season is rapidly approaching. Over the past year, we’ve enjoyed a strong housing market – one that featured more buyers than sellers in some communities. In fact, there just aren’t enough good listings to go around and this could be an excellent time to consider selling your property.

But even in a “seller’s market” like this, some properties sell faster than others. Have you ever wondered why one home sells almost immediately and another one down the road sits on the market for months?

There are several key reasons why some homes languish on the market, including price, condition, and other variables. My hope is that this list will help you put your best foot forward when it comes time to sell your home:

  • The price is too high. Setting the appropriate price for a home is always more difficult for a homeowner, who…

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Glencoe-North Shore Market Trends: Update January-February2013

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Outstanding North Shore real estate conditions for a new year. According to recent reports by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, home sales surged 15.2% in December compared to previous-year levels and median prices topped off at 5.6% on average, across the state. See the supporting image below provided by Midwest Real Estate Data LLC and North Shore-Barrington Association of Realtors (click to enlarge):

DecData-1

In addition, the monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 3.32% in December 2012. Last December it averaged 3.94%, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

2012 showed stable signs of North Shore real estate recovery. As a result, an uptick in Chicago North Shore housing market figures was sustained across the board. Specifically ownership versus rental generation supported an increase in North Suburban housing sales that have spilled into 2013; with a decrease in market days before a North Shore property is sold. Confidence was seen in December of 2012, normally a slower period surrounding holiday sales performance. New Listings in the North Shore-Barrington region increased 1.0 percent to 407. Listings under Contract were up 56.1 percent to 451. Inventory levels shrank 39.6%. Low mortgage rates provided ongoing incentives to purchase, refinance and sell. All signs of inventory clearing and projected to produce positive figures well into 2013. Image below provided by Midwest Real Estate Data LLC and North Shore-Barrington Association of Realtors (click to enlarge):

 DecData-2

In the nine-county Chicago-North Shore Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single family and condominiums) in December 2012 totaled 7,372 homes sold, up 19.2 percent from December 2011 sales. Fifty (50) of 102 Illinois counties reporting to IAR showed year-over-year home sales increases in December 2012. Thirty-nine (39) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Chicago North Suburban Cook, up 7.7%.

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 31 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Jan. 7, 2013 for the period Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, 2012, reporting in January 2013. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast atwww.illinoisrealtor.org/marketstats. 

Top 12 Ways to Hold a Successful Garage Sale: North Shore Real Estate

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From the point of view of  many as well as several North Shore realtors, garage sales can be a great way to get rid of clutter, organize your home — and earn a little extra cash all at the same time, before selling a home. Tis’ the season to sell during spring, but make sure the timing is right. Garage sales can become overwhelming and take on a life of their own. It might not be the best use of energy right before putting your home on the market. Follow the guide below to determine what is best:

  1. See if neighbors want to participate. You can turn your garage sale into a block-wide occasion and attract more shoppers if you team up with neighbors. However, a permit may be necessary for each home owner, even if it’s a group event.
  2. Plan the sale. Sales on Saturdays and Sundays will produce the most traffic, especially if the weather cooperates. Start the sale early, 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. is best, and be prepared for early birds.
  3. Don’t Procrastinate. You don’t want to be scrambling to hold a garage sale the week before an open house. Depending on how long you’ve lived in the North Shore home and how much stuff you have to sell, planning a garage sale can demand a lot of time and energy.
  4. Du Diligence-get a permit. Most municipalities will require you to obtain a special permit or license in order to hold a garage sale. The permits are often free or very inexpensive, but still require you to register with the city/village.
  5. Market-Advertise. Place an ad in free classified papers and Web sites, and in your local North Shore newspapers. Include the dates, time, and address. Let the public know if certain types of items will be sold, such as baby clothes, furniture, or weightlifting equipment. On the day of the sale, balloons and signs with prominent arrows will help to grab the attention of passersby.
  6. Label and price items well. Lay out everything that you plan to sell, and attach prices with removable stickers. Remember, garage sales are supposed to be bargains, so try to be objective as you set prices. Assign simple prices to your goods: 50 cents, 3 for $1, $5, $10, etc.
  7. If it’s junk, don’t sell it. Decide what’s worth selling and what’s not. If it’s really garbage, then throw it out. Broken appliances, for example, should be tossed. (Know where a nearby electrical outlet is, in case a customer wants to make sure an item works.)
  8. Check for errors.  Make sure that items you want to keep don’t accidentally end up in the garage sale pile.
  9. Have bags and newspapers ready. People who buy items will appreciate a bag to carry their goods. Newspapers are handy for wrapping fragile items.
  10. Have an organized display. Lay out your items by category, and display neatly so customers don’t have to dig through boxes.
  11. Handle money matters. Make a trip to the bank to get ample change for your cashbox. Throughout the sale, keep a close eye on your cash; never leave the cashbox unattended. It’s smart to have one person who manages the money throughout the day, keeping a tally of what was purchased and for how much. Keep a calculator nearby.
  12. Get ready to sell your home. Donate the remaining stuff or sell it to a resale shop. Now that all of your clutter is cleared out, it’s time to focus on preparing your house for a successful sale!

Top 5 Contract Negotiation Tips-North Shore Real Estate

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Spring on the North Shore seems to make it all the more profound, buying your first home is an exciting event, even for a seasoned North Shore buyer, it can be a challenging process. Some of the details can be intimidating for a first time real estate purchaser or experienced buyers may have forgotten a few key points. No need to panic, with a little preparation you’ll feel like an expert and you’ll be ready for anything!

The natural focal point of a real estate purchase contract is the selling price of the home, but the price isn’t the only factor that determines the net bottom line for both the buyer and the seller, especially in our current real estate market. Is a bargain for the buyer really a bargain if he or she is paying all the transaction costs? Is a top price for the seller really a top price if the buyer wants all the furniture to be included in the purchase price? Or what if the buyer can’t come up with the down payment or qualify for a mortgage?

Best Tip: Ask your experienced North Shore-Glencoe real estate agent to go over the standard contract with you before you receive or make a purchase offer. That way, you’ll know what to expect and be prepared to negotiate the best deal.

Before you decide to move forward, here are five other bottom-line points to consider:

1. What are the estimated transaction costs and who will pay for what? Typical costs include the brokers’ commission, a home inspection, a termite inspection, escrow or attorney’s fees, a title search, an owner’s title insurance policy, transfer taxes and recording fees. The price tags on these items can vary around the North Shore area. Who pays for what is a matter of both local custom and negotiation.

2. How much money is the buyer putting into escrow and when? A big deposit — called “earnest money” — and a substantial down payment are generally seen as a sign that the buyer is dead serious about completing the transaction. From the seller’s point of view, the more money the buyer places in escrow and the sooner the money is transferred, the better.

3. Is there a mortgage contingency and how specific is it? The mortgage escape clause is a must for buyers, unless they’re paying all cash for the home. Without this contingency, buyers could be legally obligated to purchase the home even if they can’t obtain financing. Further, an open-ended statement that says the buyer will obtain a loan “at the prevailing rate of interest” leaves the buyer completely exposed to interest rate fluctuations. A statement that says the loan must be at an interest rate “not to exceed xx percent” and on specified terms is ideal.

4. Exactly what furniture, fixtures and appliances, if any, are being sold with the property? Technically, anything that’s permanently affixed to or installed in the North Shore home is real property. Everything else is the seller’s personal property. This distinction is a narrow one and it naturally leads to a fair amount of confusion. Are built-in appliances real property or personal property? What about a shelving system? A chandelier? Window coverings? Potted plants in the yard? Sellers who intend to remove anything that’s attached to the home should have that specifically noted  in the contract. And the same goes for buyers who expect to acquire any of the furniture or other movables.

5. What happens if either side breaches the contract? Unless an unmet contingency triggers the abandonment of the contract, it’s a binding legal document. Buyers who fail to perform can lose their deposit or earnest money. Sellers who try to back out could be sued for “specific performance,” which forces the sale of the home to the buyer.

Our top performing Chicago’s north shore realtors provide legendary service and experience. Feel free to stop in our Coldwell Banker Office located at 640 Vernon Ave, Glencoe 60022. Our Glencoe realtor office has been providing outstanding real estate  knowledge for over 45 years. We look forward to assisting you.

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