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Beware of Scams

There are several real estate scams that are starting to pop up again that you should be aware of. There are two different scams that have been resurfacing in larger metro areas but could also show up locally. One has to do with rental property and the other one is homes listed for sale. Both of these have happened in our area in the past so you should know how to spot them and what you should do if you become a victim. The first scam having to do with property for rent uses a listing on the internet which looks legitimate. Online sites such as Craig’s List or Facebook are used to post these fake listings for rental property. Often times the pictures and property information have been scraped from a legitimate listing and re-posted with the scammers contact information. Many of these properties are already rented so the “owner” won’t allow the perspective renter to see the property in person claiming that upgrades are being done or the property is being painted inside. The person claiming to be the property owner will use pressure tactics saying there are many people wanting this unit so you have to send me a deposit or several month’s rent right now if you want it. They will almost always ask for the money to be sent through a wire transfer, credit card or some other electronic form of payment to a random location which usually can’t be traced. The second scam is similar but this time the scammer will find legitimate real estate listings for homes for sale and post them...

Local Market Update by Anne Sadler

The real estate market in Freeport is changing. For quite a long time, Freeport has primarily been a buyer’s market and that is no longer the case. The local market has been busy and we are experiencing a low inventory of homes for sale. I’m sure you have all heard on the news about how hot the Rockford market has become, but generally Freeport does not enjoy the same level of activity. This summer has been one of the busiest I can remember in my almost 30 years in this market! If you are thinking of selling I’m sure you are happy to hear that news! There is definitely a shortage of certain types of homes on the market right now, especially mid –price ranches and condos. If you are an owner of one of those, now might be the time to take the plunge and get your home on the market. It is already August and before you know it Labor Day has come and gone and fall is here. Usually our market tends to slow around Thanksgiving and drops off pretty significantly during the winter months. This has been a very unusual year so it’s hard to predict what will happen in a few months. Covid19 has thrown all of us into uncharted territory so our “normal” market pattern is now completely unpredictable. If you are selling your home now, inventory is low and there is a large pool of buyers out there looking for the best home they can find in their price range. If you are priced properly and your home is in good condition...

How to Set Up a Home Office

If you are among the many people that have been trying to work from home, you may have had the challenge of trying to create a home office. Since many of us were used to working outside the home, you may not have needed a dedicated office in your home. More and more people have had to transition to working from home and that can present a new set of challenges. The first issue is generally finding a workspace in your home. If you already have a dedicated home office space you are lucky! Not everyone has an unused room available for a home office so here are some things to consider before you pick a location. Pick a spot with minimal distractions. You might have some extra space in the laundry room but staring at piles of dirty laundry might make you anxious. Setting up at the kitchen table might be an option but there is a lot of traffic in and out of the kitchen in most homes and the refrigerator is just a little too handy for snacks! You might be tempted to try and work on your bed but that doesn’t help you feel relaxed when you are trying to go to sleep and your unfinished work reports are sitting on your nightstand. If you are having video conferences or zoom meetings frequently you will need to find a spot that is quiet and has a professional looking background. It is difficult to concentrate on a computer screen meeting with dogs barking, kids crying and phones ringing in the background. If the only quiet place...

What Is My Home Really Worth?

What is the most important thing you can do when selling your home? Price it correctly! Pricing a home correctly is the key to getting it sold quickly. Sounds like an easy answer but it isn’t always an easy thing to do. One of the best reasons to hire a local Realtor to sell your home is that they have the knowledge to price your home correctly. You want to make sure you are using a Realtor that is familiar with your local market and has access to the MLS data in that market. Don’t be afraid to ask what MLS or MLS’s the Realtor belongs to when interviewing them. All real estate markets are different and so are the home values. You want to make sure your Realtor is familiar with the local market and can value your property correctly. How does a Realtor come up with a price? We do a Comparative Market Analysis, or CMA, to determine a value for your house compared to similar properties that have recently sold. We do a search of the MLS records and find comparable properties in the same area that are currently on the market as well as homes that have closed. This is why it is important that your Realtor have access to your local MLS. You want to make sure that the comparable properties, or comps, are in the same area otherwise the pricing can be off. A home in Freeport of similar size, age and condition will not be worth the same as a home in Rockford or Chicago, so the data from those MLS’s will...

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...

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