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Finally Get Organized in 2021

2020 is finally over and we have a fresh start! Most of us have spent more time at home over the last year than ever before and that might have put a spotlight on the need to get organized. If you need some help getting started here are a few ideas to get you on your way. By now most of the holiday decorations have come down and maybe your rooms are looking a little tired. Before you start deciding what to toss and what to keep, take inventory of your rooms. What pieces do you love, what do you hate and what falls right in the middle? Start with the things you know you can live without. Go room to room with a donate box and a trash bag. Anything that is still good but that you no longer want should go in the donate box. Anything that is not in good enough condition to donate should go in the trash bag. Starting the “surface” purge can make you feel like you are making progress quickly and can spur you on to the more time consuming “deep purge”. Once you have completed the surface removal of the things you know you don’t want, the stakes get a little higher. The room by room de-clutter of the hidden surfaces like closets, drawers and cabinets. This is usually where we get a little overwhelmed at the prospect of all that stuff needed to be sorted through. If the big picture seems like too much, break it down into smaller tasks. Do one drawer a day or one closet a week....

What You Should Know Before You Sign By Anne Sadler

If you plan on buying or selling real estate you will most likely be presented with a contract to sign. The contract is the basis for your transaction and contains all the information that is needed for the purchase or sale. The contract is the blueprint for the timeline of activity and spells out the responsibilities and expectations of both parties. Buying and selling property is serious business and most often involves a large financial transaction. Both parties need to know what they are signing before they sign on the dotted line. The first thing you need to know is that you are signing a contract. It is a legal, binding document and not just a piece of paper. You are agreeing to perform according to the language in the contract and there are legal consequences if you don’t. A contract is a legal promise to perform and you should never sign a contract until you know what you are signing. As Realtors, we use standard contracts that have been approved by our local Association and we fill in the blanks on these pre-printed forms. We are not allowed to interpret the language of the contracts since that would be practicing law. You should always have your attorney review any contract before you sign it or make it contingent on your attorney reviewing it. Any questions or concerns you have can be addressed by your attorney to your satisfaction before you become obligated. You should also read the contract thoroughly before you sign anything. Our purchase contracts are multi page contracts and there can also be several pages of...

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...

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