Spring Home Buying Frenzy? North Shore Real Estate

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North Shore Spring-time home buying is fast approaching. The normal spring home buying season is typically March, April, May and June. The main reason for this time-frame is because many take vacations during July and August. Spring 2017 on Chicago’s North Shore is forecasted to be one of the best home sale seasons on record; and with mortgage interest rates at relative lows, many are paying close attention to Chicago North Shore real estate outcomes.

Be ready to jump on the North Shore home you want. Don’t be too indecisive. Don’t try to sleep on it. When you find it, make an offer. Here are other tips to help you navigate The North Shore home buying spring season:

  • Get preapproved by a local North Shore lender. It could be a local bank or a local mortgage broker, but don’t try to compete with an online lender approval letter or an out-of-area mortgage lender letter. Offers that contain a local lender’s preapproval letter will probably get top billing.
  • Focus on the house, not the owner. Don’t get overwhelmed on whether the home is a foreclosure, a short sale or owned by a traditional North Shore seller. Concentrate on location, location, location, and look for homes that meet your basic requirements. If a market is dominated by foreclosures and short sales, those prices will be the norm among traditional sellers.
  • Hire a North Shore neighborhood specialist. All real estate is local. A real estate agent who specializes in the area where you want to buy will be a wealth of information for you. Not to mention, that agent will probably be well-known and respected among the area specialist listing realtors. Working with an agent other agents like is a plus for you.
  • Be prepared to pay list. Some buyers focus on how much the seller is asking instead of on how much the home is worth. Ask your agent to show you a CMA of comparable sales to determine actual value. You can’t compare values by other homes on the market because sellers can ask whatever they want. If you are getting the home you want at a price you can afford, whether you pay $1,000 more or less makes no difference in the overall outcome.
  • Give the seller something other buyers won’t. There are many terms contained in a purchase offer. Negotiation is not always all about price. You can give the seller a benefit to take your offer without actually waiving your rights. Ask your agent to make suggestions for you. It could be something as small as giving the sellers an extra day to move out.

If you are new to town, you might want to spend a few weekends before the home buying season starts and get to know the Chicago-North Shore area. Talk to people in the street and at restaurants. Visit several real estate offices and interview a few North Shore real estate agents. Use the Internet to do some research. Drive or better walk the neighborhoods you like the best at different times of the day and, if you can, on different days of the week, see if they would fit your lifestyle. If you have children, review the North Shore school districts, or research upcoming things to do or activities like North Shore summer camps and spring/summer classes for 2017.

You can also stop by our Coldwell Banker office for help, guidance and questions on buying a home, selling a home or overall North Shore market conditions.  We are located in Glencoe, Illinois 60022- 640 Vernon Ave. We look forward to assisting you. More info HERE

Thinking of Selling? Top 5 Musts Before Listing: North Shore Real Estate

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North Shore real estate is well within the 2016 spring buying and selling season.  North Shore realtors may often advise clients of five basic principles to get your home in top “list ready” condition. Buyers and sellers alike are out rightspring now (on-line and in-person) perusing real estate options on places like Zillow and Trulia. Using these tips can promote a competitive standing in the market and make buyers appreciate the thoughtful preparation.

1. Go crazy on the curb appeal. Spring and summer mean getting out and enjoying the weather. It also means every detail of the outside of your home is far more noticeable.  Just put yourself in a potential buyers shoes and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly displayed? Is the address clearly visible from where you are? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrances? Is the walkway free from debris and impediments?

2. Clean and Organize. Eliminate any clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large pictures or photos, out-of-season clothes, non-used kitchen items, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or even the basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, flooring, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house sparkle.

3. Collect needed replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn out, out dated, or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace those things, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be a helpful guide for both parties when negotiations begin.

4. Know where to find your warranties. Collect the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other appliances or equipment that will remain with the house after it’s sold.

 5. A pre-sale home inspection is Key. Be ahead of the game by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good outline of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make needed repairs before an open house begins. The inspection may also be an additional guide for contact negotiation.

The top producing, high ranking  Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office located at 640 Vernon Ave in Glencoe, Illinois-60022; is home base for Gloria Matlin . The office has been a sound performing real estate resource for the North Shore community for well over 4 decades.  Stop by today to discover how we can assist with home buying, home selling, home rentals, reports, or just to get info on Chicago’s North Shore area things to do/ places to go or eat!

Top 6 Home Tax Deduction Mistakes: North Shore Real Estate

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Here on the North Shore of Chicago that time is upon us….tax season!  For North Shore real estate homeowners, home sellers, or prospective first time North Shore home buyers, having a basic understanding of tax guidelines can potentially shield you from Taxbreaksfinancial heartache and can help to ensure you’ll benefit from many of the exceptional tax benefits of property ownership. Below are the top 6 tax deduction misconceptions.

Note: Due to the various restrictions and conditions regarding real estate tax benefits, it is important to consult with one’s financial advisors or accountants to fully understand the benefits and opportunities of tax benefits to those who own North Shore real estate. The tips provided give general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction or location.

See a list of available North Shore tax preparers and financial advisors HERE . Or, let us know who you recommend for tax preperation on Chicago’s North Shore!

Schedule A is the part of Form 1040 commonly used to list myriad deductions, and the more details, the more prone someone may be to misinterpretation with their taxes. To save time and money, four tax experts weigh in on the following 6 most common Schedule A concept mistakes homeowners may make.

Concept #1: Line 6 – real estate taxes

Your monthly mortgage payment often includes money for a tax escrow, from which the lender pays your local real estate taxes.
The money you send the bank may be more than what the bank pays for your taxes, says Julian Block, a tax attorney and author of Julian Block’s Home Seller’s Guide to Tax Savings. That will lead you to putting the wrong number on Schedule A.
Example:

  • Your monthly payment to the lender: $2,000 for mortgage + $500 escrow for taxes
  • Your annual property tax bill: $5,500

Now do the figures:

  • Your bank received $6,000 for real estate taxes, but only paid $5,500. It may keep the extra $500 to apply to the next tax bill or refund it to you at some point, but meanwhile, you’re making a mistake if you enter $6,000 on Schedule A.
  • Instead, take the number from Form 1098—which your bank sends you each year—that shows the actual taxes paid.

Concept #2: Line 6 – tax calculations for recent North Shore buyers and sellers

If you bought or sold a North Shore home in the middle of 2013, figuring out what to put on line 6 of your Schedule A Form is tricky.
Don’t simply enter the number from your property tax bill on line 6 as you would if you owned the house the whole year. If you bought or sold a house in midyear, you should instead use the property tax amount listed on your HUD-1 closing statement, says Phil Marti, a retired IRS official.
Here’s why: Generally, depending on the local tax cycle, either the seller gives the buyer money to pay the taxes when they come due or, if the seller has already paid taxes, the buyer reimburses the seller at closing. Those taxes are deductible that year, but won’t be reflected on your property tax bill.

Concept #3: Line 10 – properly deducting your points

You can deduct points paid on a refinance, but not all at once, says David Sands, a CPA with Buchbinder Tunick & Co LLP. Rather, you deduct them over the life of your loan. So if you paid $1,000 in points for a 10-year refinance, you’re entitled to deduct only $100 per year on your Schedule A Form.

Concept #4: Line 10 – HELOC limits breakdown

If you took out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you can generally deduct the interest on it only up to $100,000 of debt each year, says Matthew Lender, a CPA with EisnerLubin LLP.
For example, if you have a HELOC for $200,000, the bank will send you Form 1098 for interest paid on $200,000. But you can deduct only the interest paid on $100,000. If you just pull the number off Form 1098, you’ll deduct more than you’re entitled to.

Concept #5: line 13 – Private mortgage insurance

You can deduct PMI on your Schedule A Form, as long as you started paying the insurance after Dec. 31, 2006. Unless Congress acts to extend the PMI deduction, however, 2011 is the last year for which you can take this deduction. (Also, this is also a good time to review your PMI: You might be able to cancel your PMI altogether because you’ve had a change in loan-to-value status.)

Concept #6: line 20 – casualty and theft losses

You can deduct part or all of losses caused by theft, vandalism, fire, or similar causes, as well as corrosive drywall, but the process isn’t always obvious or simple:

  • Only deduct losses that are greater than 10% of your adjusted gross income (line 38 of Form 1040).
  • Fill out Form 4684, which involves complex calculations for the cost basis and fair market value.  This form gives you the number you need for line 20.

Bottom line on line 20: If you’ve got extensive losses, it’s best to consult a tax pro. “I wouldn’t do it myself, and I’ve been dealing with taxes for 40 years,” says former IRS official Marti.

Get more tax tips HERE

Housing Recovery….7 Reasons to Invest Now: North Shore Real Estate

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The tell-tale North Shore signs are all there. Real estate sales on Chicago’s North Shore have picked up considerably and recent housing reports support that. Low interest rates, enticing price points, and buyers prepared and enthusiastically ready to invest in North Shore real estate are well under way; maintaining the path to full housing recovery. But for the leery, I’ve outlined seven reasons why right now may be one of the best times to buy in history:

Predictability. Unlike paying rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer.

Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.

Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

Equity. Money paid as a renter is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments allow you to build equity ownership interest in your home, that builds over time.

Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate, remodel, or add-on any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community events, lets you and your family establish roots, lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational consistency.

Supporting articles and reports:

http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2012/04/19/prices-up-inventories-down/

http://northshorepropertysearch.com/2012/04/23/everybody-calm-down-the-market-is-recovering/

Use our Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office located in Glencoe, Illinois-60022 as your guide.  Our experienced North Shore realtors can provide additional detail on buying or selling a home. Let our 45+ years of legendary service, top volume, and award-winning results speak for themselves.

5 Tips for Buying and Selling at the Same Time: North Shore Real Estate

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A common North Shore occurrence….clients who buy a home and sell at the same time; it can be done, stress free! The all too important element that makes the North Shore real estate process seamless is using an experienced agent that can guide you through a well thought out plan.

There are hundreds of variables and the possibilities, depending on your local market and your personal and financial status.  The main thing is to do as much of the buying and selling due diligence as you can up front. An experienced realtor can help with this.. Your agent can further ensure multi-transaction success by discussing these 5 tips:

1. Finances should be reviewed inside and out. You need to know not only what you can afford to buy, but also, what your house is worth before you even get started. Talk to your North Shore real estate agent and consult a mortgage banker or broker for loan pre-approval.

2. Ready? List it! Depending upon your situation, you might want to list your property toward the higher end of its value range, once you’re actively in the market. This can buy you time while you shop for your next home. And who knows? You may get the home sold at a higher price point.

3. Do the fixes needed to do to sell your property. Is your kitchen right out of the 1970s era? Do you have a faucet that constantly runs? If so, get busy fixing the things that could cause your home to sit on the market longer than necessary or worse, affect your home’s value.

4. Start now– learning the market, begin house shopping.  Use your North Shore realtor as your guide. Start going to open houses and seeing what’s out there. Begin the process of elimination and take note of what you want: the must-haves and the deal killers.

5. Start packing. Start boxing up stuff you don’t need easy access to. Get rid of all the things you won’t need until you’ve moved into your new home. This will help make your home show better and starting the packing process now will make it that much easier to move later. You may need to rent a storage unit temporarily for your stuff.

Our North Shore Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office located in Glencoe’s downtown area (640 Vernon Ave, 60022), can assist with buying and selling real estate questions. We also provide mortgage service resources and options.  Visit us online 24/7 or stop by our office to speak with Gloria Matlin or any of our top ranked North Shore realtors.

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.

Is Your Home High Tech Ready?-North Shore Real Estate Trends

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According to a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders, many home seekers including North Shore real estate buyers are looking for high-tech and low maintenance homes. Homes that provide convenient  living with technology built-in. In fact, many builders are incorporating this theme not only in their homes but into community planning efforts as well.

Is your Chicago-North Shore property high-tech ready? Below is a list of recent “must have” technology or entertainment options, which are often requested by buyers:

  1. Is the home pre-wired for home theater or multiroom audio/video conditions/setup?  Are there in-wall speakers?
  2. Does the North Shore home have multizoning heating and cooling controls with programmable thermostats?
  3. Does the North Shore home have multiroom lighting controls, window-covering controls, or other home automation features?
  4. Are there enough jacks in each room for cable TV and high-speed Internet hookups?
  5. Are their ample telephone extensions or jacks?
  6. Does the Chicago-North Shore property have a local area network (LAN) for linking computers?
  7. Does the  North Shore home already have wiring for DSL or another high-speed Internet connection?
  8. Is the home wired with multipurpose in-wall wiring that allows for reconfigurations to update services as technology changes?

To further rate your north shore home on its technological sophistication, see the link for the Consumer Electronics Association’s Tech-Home checklist: http://www.ce.org/AboutCEA/CEAInitiatives/esc-rating-system.asp

Feel free to stop by Coldwell Banker, North Shore residential real estate office in Glencoe, IL 60022-640 Vernon Ave. We can help determine your homes worth, provide community reports, market conditions, or answer any questions regarding north shore real estate for sale/rent. Our customer service is legendary.  With over 4o years of experience, our North Shore real estate agents/brokers look forward to assisting you.

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