Your Homes’ Honey-Do List for July 2018

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This summer-2018, let top producing, high ranking, optimally performing real estate professionals, guide you through the sought after North Shore area of Chicago. Gloria Matlin and partner Zack Matlin have been assisting with North Shore real estate dreams for over 25 years. They pride themselves on being consummate professionals with a stellar reputation for thorough, sincere, friendly, and tenacious service. Located in the award-winning Coldwell Banker residential real estate office of Glencoe Illinois – 640 Vernon Avenue, 60022. more information HERE and HERE

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We proudly serve Chicago, Chicago’s north suburban area including Glencoe, HighlandPark, Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northbrook, Deerfield, Northfield, Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove, Skokie, Evanston, and Glenview.

 

Tri-Valley Real Estate Buzz

With summer around the corner, the days are getting longer…and so is the honey-do list. To help you out, we’ll be featuring a “Honey-Do List” at the beginning of each month to make sure you stay ahead of those around-the-house projects.

Here is your to-do list for the month of June:

1.  Prep your guest room for summer visitors.  

Summertime means vacation time, which sometimes means you run a bed & breakfast from your spare bedroom. When creating a serene retreat for out-of-town guests, it’s all about the little touches. Stock a bookshelf with great reads, leave a water pitcher and glasses on the nightstand, and add fresh flowers to brighten up the space. An extra blanket and a set of hotel-size toiletries make any visitor feel at home. Want to make sure your house guests don’t extend their stay? Start enlisting their help on the chores on your…

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Preparing Your Home to Sell This Summer 2018-North Shore Chicago Real Estate

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While several Chicago North Shore homes may be sold each week, the process may not be as easy for sellers as it was five or 10 years ago. Surviving in today’s real estate world requires experience and training in such fields as online real estate marketing, relocation savvy, financing options, negotiating and closing, the very expertise available from local North Shore-Chicago real estate professionals. Millions of existing homes are sold each year and, while each transaction is different, every owner wants the same thing: the best possible deal with the least amount of hassle and aggravation.

Are You Ready?Sold

The home-selling process typically starts several months before a property is made available for sale. It’s necessary to look at a home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out.
Ask yourself: If you were buying this home, what would you want to see? The goal is to show a home that looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers as possible.

When Should You Sell?

As with several locations across the country, the North Shore Chicago marketplace tends to be active in the summer because parents and/or young adults want to enroll in classes at the beginning of the school year (usually in August). Summer is also typically when most homes are likely to be available.
Generally speaking, markets tend to have some balance between buyers and sellers year-round. For example, a given North Shore community may have fewer buyers in late December, but it’s also likely to have fewer homes available for purchase. As a result, home prices tend to rise or fall due to general patterns of supply and demand, rather than the time of year. Look to a skilled, North Shore Real Estate professional can be a sound decision to assess local real estate market activity and trends.

From providing an in-depth view of luxury North Shore-Chicago real estate markets in 2018, to examining and providing an accurate seasonal gauge on North Shore’s rental trends; Gloria Matlin along with partner Zack Matlin continues to be North Suburban real estate experts with an unparalleled record of top producing, high-ranking accomplishments that span 25+ years. Her keen awareness of the Northern Shore communities and his extensive marketing, as well as mortgage consulting knowledge, are what makes Gloria and Zack Matlin an elite high performing team with a sincere and personalized style they offer each and every client. Gloria Matlin and Zack Matlin educate, tenaciously perform and make Chicago North Shore real estate dreams a pleasant reality! More info HERE

Spring 2018-May Means Mother’s Day Month – Chicago North Shore

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Spring 2018 well wishes, and happy Mother’s Day Month from Gloria Matlin and Zack Matlin. With over 25 years of dedicated Chicago North Shore real estate experience, personable, driven, top producing, high ranking real estate professionals with a client centered focus for making real estate dreams come true; look to this dynamic team for an elite level of North Shore real estate service on the North Shore of Chicago:

The Mash Team Blog

Home is where Mom is, so why not give Mom a piece of home this Mother’s Day?

Don’t forget Mother’s Day is May 10th this year! As we discovered last year, Home is Where Mom is.  So, why not give Mom a little piece of home this Mother’s Day? These 5 unique homemade Mother’s Day Gifts are guaranteed to show her how much you care.

Lemon-Sugar-Scrub-DIY-CraftLemon Sugar Scrub via Living Locurto – Mom deserves a little R&R. Give her a spa day at home with a DIY lemon sugar bath scrub and then leave her alone long enough to take a nice relaxing bath.

CoastersTile Photo Coasters – Give mom a gift that’s worth a thousand words and serves a practical purpose. These tile photo coasters are an easy do-it-at-home Mother’s Day Gift that will make Mom smile every day over her morning coffee.

Chalkboard Flower PotsChalkboard Flower Pots via Learning, Creating, Living –…

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Top 6 Home Tax Deduction Mistakes: North Shore Real Estate

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Across the nation and of course here on the North Shore of Chicago that time is upon us….tax season-2018!  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

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 2018…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 2018 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.

 

Holiday Home Prep-Less is More: Chicago North Shore Real Estate

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The time is almost here! Relatives, friends, neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, all potentially gathering in your Chicago North Shore home for the 2017-18 holidays. Commonly, the appropriate gesture may be to get or give a gift. For those planning to list their North ShoreHolidayCurbAppeal home in the months of November, December, even January, your house becomes the gift! As silly as it may seem, you’re presenting a rather large gift to potential buyers. One of the first things to attract attention is the overall packaging. The goal: First impressions mean everything. You want buyers to take in the scene and say “this is it, this is the house!” The plan: 6 Curb appeal tips that get you ready for your North Shore holiday festivities, which will make all of your guests (including potential buyers), say “WOW”:

1. A Tidy Lawn Whether there is snow covering your lawn or not; be sure to keep your lawn free from any leaves, twigs, etc… that may have blown through with the harsher winds. Just because your North Shore lawn is not expected to be as lush as the summer months, doesn’t mean to ignore the state of its appearance. Keeping it cleaned up will show thorough care.

2. Winter Weather Greenery Hearty plants and Evergreen trees, appropriate for season can withstand the winter months while adding  huge visual appeal to the outside of your North Shore home. Evergreen Holly will add a splash of color with its red berries and can stand up to the cold weather.

3. Refined Decorations and Lighting While you can have fun with the season’s bright lights and characters of the holidays, it can be easy for some to get carried away. Try small white lights around your North Shore homes’ bushes or front porch post, a simple wreath and garland to enhance your home’s appearance without being overly distracting. The use of lights can really make your home stand out with the shorter winter days. Since there is more time without the suns rays, using a variety of lighting can give your home a warm and inviting glow. Indoor window lights in each room provides a comforting appeal, while lights along the pathway up to your home, a bright porch light and tasteful holiday lights are all huge but not too fussy ways in which to enhance your North Shore homes’ curb appeal.

4. Remember Safety You may have friends and family planning to visit soon, so you’ll want to put safety at the top of the list! Be sure your driveway, sidewalk and front porch are cleared of debris, ice or any snow. It’s always better to be on the cautious side and put down salt, as even rain can freeze and make walking up to your home dangerous.

5. Touch Up Paint Your North Shore home is more visible in the winter months as trees are free from their leaves and your home’s condition is more exposed. Touching up chipped or faded paint is a great way to help your Chicago Northern Shore home look refreshed.

6. Clear Gutters It’s not too late to make sure your gutters are free from leaves and other debris. You’ll want these cleared so that melting snow or rain that can easily run through the gutters will not cause damage. More information HERE

Have a happy, safe, and prosperous pre-holiday season. This time of year is beautiful on Chicago’s North Shore.  The sparkling lights and presence of well-manicured North Suburban homes bring a warmth and charm to this already distinct area. Feel free to stop into the top performing Glencoe Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office for information on upcoming holiday events, things to do, places to go or community/real estate market performance reports for the North Shore communities.  640 Vernon Avenue, Glencoe, Illinois, 60022; in the heart of the downtown village district.

Creating a Life Plan to Secure Your Children’s Future – North Shore Chicago Real Estate

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Image credite:Pixabay:jairojehuel

Image credite:Pixabay:jairojehuel

It’s never too early to start thinking about your children’s future. You’ve already made big decisions about the house or area your children will live in or even what school they will attend, and creating a life plan can make it much easier to think of any contingencies that may arise down the road. You owe it to your children to map out your future goals for yourself and in ways which will affect their lives also, so start thinking about it now, even if your children are still very young.

Draw Up a Will

Everyone wants to live to a good old age, but you cannot guarantee this will happen. You never know what’s round the corner, so it’s best to plan your estate now rather than later. Here are some reasons you should make a will now:

  • A will gives you the opportunity to state who will care for your children in your absence.
  • You can use your will to name an executor for your estate.
  • A will allows you to select a trustworthy guardian for your children’s finances.
  • Your will can be a vehicle to enable you to name someone to take care of property for your children.

You can also state clearly who gets what in your will, and provide for any children that may have special needs.

Get Life Insurance

You already probably have life insurance for yourself, and if you’re in a stable financial position, it’s a good idea to invest in life insurance for your children. The main reason you should do this now, is in case your child develops an illness later in life, which could make her ineligible for life insurance. Heaven forbid you should outlive your children, but if this does happen, a life insurance policy will enable you to pay for their funeral expenses.

Save For Your Children’s College Education

College education is not cheap. For the 2016-2017 school year, the average cost of public college was $9,650, it was $33,480 at private colleges. There are several ways you can save wisely for your kid’s college fund.

Evaluate Your Real Estate

Perhaps your 1,300 square foot townhouse works perfectly well for you, your spouse, and toddler, but adding another child or even a pet into the mix could necessitate purchasing a larger home, or at least finding a home with a more flexible layout. Regardless of whether you are adding children and pets, got a job promotion, or suddenly came into some extra money, it may be time to re-evaluate your living situation if your quality of life is suffering.

A 529 Plan

A 529 plan is a savings plan with tax advantages, which is operated by a state or educational institution.  Such a plan can be used to pay for the cost of college education nationwide. In general, the state which your savings plan is from, does not affect your choice of school. This means you can live in Georgia, invest in a plan in California and send your child to school in Michigan. You can check here to see if your college is eligible.

Coverdell Education Savings Account

This is a type of trust account designed specifically for your child’s college education. The advantage of a Coverdell account is that it’s not just for college, you can use your savings to pay for K-12 education tax-free. The main disadvantage of this type of account is that you cannot deposit more than $2,000 per year.

UTMA and UGMA Accounts

These are custodial trust accounts. This means that if you have annuities, bonds or stocks, or cash that you wish to reserve for your children, you can put them into one of these accounts. This is the best option if your child will not need to apply for financial aid.

Creating a life plan is an essential part of securing your children’s future. Don’t let the prospect overwhelm you. Break it down, and build on it gradually. You will also need to review it from time to time and make any necessary changes or updates as your children grow older. When your children are getting ready to leave home and move on to the next stage of their lives, you will be glad that you had everything planned in advance.

Gloria Matlin along with partner Zack Matlin continue to be North Suburban real estate experts with an unparalleled record of top producing, high-ranking accomplishments that span 25+ years. Her keen awareness of the Northern Shore communities and his extensive marketing as well as mortgage consulting knowledge are what make Gloria and Zack Matlin an elite high performing team with a sincere and personalized style they offer each and every client. Gloria Matlin and Zack Matlin educate, tenaciously perform and make Chicago North Shore real estate dreams a pleasant reality! Look to them for guidance on real estate and related matters this summer season 2017!

 

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