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Easy Landscaping Ideas to Spruce up Your Yard

Since many of us are still staying home and the weather is finally feeling like spring you might want to spend some time outside on your landscaping. Garden centers are allowed to be open so you can pick up some supplies to help you with the transformation and help out some local businesses too! If you are thinking of selling your home, curb appeal is very important in getting a buyer interested in viewing the inside. If you aren’t planning on selling, a fresh new look for your yard might be just the project you need right now. Either way, here a few simple, DIY ideas to get you started. Window boxes are a good project to start with because they deliver a punch of color and can really transform the front of your house. You can build your own or buy them pre made. Make sure you leave a space between the box and the house for drainage. You can buy plastic liners to set inside the boxes to make planting easier and to make the removal of the plants at the end of the season simpler. Choose flowers that do well in either sun or shade depending on the way your house faces and pick colors that will pop against your paint color for the biggest impact. Installing edging around your bushes and flower beds also can make your landscape look much more attractive and well kept. Lay out the pattern with a hose or some rope so you have a guide for installation and you can determine how much you will need. Look for the rigid...

How the Stay At Home Mandate is Affecting Real Estate

As you all know, Illinois is under a “Stay At Home” mandate ordered by Governor Pritzker requiring all “non-essential services” to shut down and asking all residents to stay home. While this has had a huge impact on all businesses, it is also having an impact on the real estate market. I will explain the steps our local Realtor Association is taking to try and keep our members and clients safe and some of the implications we can expect to see as this situation progresses. Real Estate is one of the “essential services” that is still allowed according to the Governor. Most of the local real estate offices have chosen to close and allow their Realtors to work from home in order to minimize contact and try to keep everyone safe. Our Association has implemented a policy which allows sellers with homes currently on the market to suspend all showings until it is deemed safe in our area. If the home is vacant or the seller chooses to allow showings, the property can continue to be shown. If clients are out looking at properties, we are following social distancing rules as well as using hand sanitizer, masks and disinfectant wipes where appropriate. If your house is currently on the market and you are still allowing showings, I would encourage you to disinfect doorknobs and frequently touched surfaces after any showings. At this time we are actively trying to limit showing activity to “essential” showings only. This is not the time to decide to go out and look at houses because you are bored or have cabin fever. There are...

The Home Buying Timeline

If buying a home is on this year’s To-Do List you may be wondering exactly how long it will take. There is no magic number of days that I can give you, because there are a lot of variables that go in to purchasing a home. On the average it takes about 60 days from offer to closing, but that too can vary depending on your specific situation. To give you an idea of the process involved I will try to summarize the steps you need to go through and the timeline that you should follow. The first step is critical to the success of the process and should be your first stop. Get pre-approved with a local lender. Everyone gets excited at the prospect of finding a new home and your first instinct is to run out and start looking at properties. Resist the urge and visit your lender first! This is the only way you will know how much of a house you can afford and what kind of mortgage you qualify for. Both of these things are crucial to the process. Looking in the wrong price range can set you up for disappointment, wastes valuable time and isn’t fair to the sellers that think you are a potential buyer if you can’t afford the home. There are also specific things that the property must have to qualify for certain types of financing. For example, if you are pre- approved for a USDA rural development loan, that foreclosure property that you have your heart set on probably won’t qualify for this type of loan. Knowing the price...

Should You Take Your Home Off the Market for the Winter?

Every year after we change the clocks and we get the first blast of winter weather I get the same question: Should we take our home off the market for the winter? Home sellers think that if their home hasn’t sold by now they are better off taking it off the market and trying again in the spring. That is also why most people don’t list their home during the winter and why spring is most often the choice when listing your home. My answer to this question is always no! I think winter is the most overlooked season for home sellers and buyers. There are several reasons why I think winter is a good time to buy or sell property. If you are selling your home, inventory is traditionally at it’s lowest during the winter therefore you have much less competition. Since sellers typically try to avoid listing their home in the winter months there are fewer properties on the market and therefore fewer choices for buyers. If you wait until spring, like every other seller, inventory levels are much higher and buyers have many more options making it less likely that you will get an offer. Winter is not the obvious choice for buyers either but people have to move at all times of the year. Death, divorce and job changes happen in the winter months too and buyers sometimes must find a home during the winter. Those buyers are serious buyers, not just tire kickers, so you may not have a lot of showings but typically the ones you have are from people who really need...

Fall Home Maintenance and Clean Up Tips

There is a chill in the air and the leaves are changing color signaling that soon winter will be upon us. If the Farmer’s Almanac is correct, and I hope it isn’t, we are in for another nasty winter! If you are a homeowner, there are things you should be doing now to prepare for whatever winter has in store for us. Right now you are probably mowing your yard for one of the last times this year and getting ready to rake all those leaves, but that shouldn’t be the end of your yardwork. Fall is a good time to lay down new grass seed and once it starts to come up you can add fertilizer. If your lawn is healthy before winter you will have less weeds in the spring. You should also add a fresh layer of mulch, but not more than 3 inches, to your planting beds to help protect the roots of your plants. Fall is also the time to plant those spring bulbs so you can enjoy those early blooms next year. Now is also the time to cover or put away your patio furniture and grill before the snow flies. Make sure to give both a good final cleaning so they will be fresh and ready for use in the spring. This is also the time to make sure your gutters have a final clean out before they get filled up with ice and cause damage. Drain and store your outdoor hoses and shut off the water to the spigot to prevent the pipes from freezing. When all the yard work is...

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