Category: Cress Creek

Springtime repairs around the house can be pretty big chores, eating up your spare time and cutting into your household budget, but they are an important part of keeping your home in great shape. Taking care of little maintenance issues now can help prevent big problems down the road, which can save you quite a bit of money and a lot of stress. However, the key with DIY projects is to ensure that you are prepared to call a professional if you need help with a big job so that it will be done safely and correctly.

 

It’s also crucial to have the right tools and a plan for the task at hand. Taking care of repairs around the home can include anything from plugging up holes in the drywall to replacing shingles or tiles on the roof, and these jobs vary greatly in cost and the amount of time it will take to complete them. Having a good idea of how you’ll get started will allow you to get the job done right the first time without any issues.

 

Here are a few things to consider when it’s time to do some maintenance around the house.

 

Start with the Right Tools

 

As with any task, it’s imperative to start with the right tools. After all, you wouldn’t start drawing a picture without a sharpened pencil and a good eraser, so it just makes sense that you would have specific tools at the ready when you’re tackling a home repair job. In general, most homeowners will want a hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, a drill, and a sharp utility knife to handle common repair jobs around the house. If you don’t have these, look online for tool buying guides, and read the reviews before making purchases.

 

Find the Right Help

 

No matter what tasks you need to complete, it’s important to make sure they can be done as a DIY job before you get started. Many big projects — such as roofing, plumbing, and electrical work — will require a professional’s touch, if for no other reason than the potential safety issues. Look online for contractors near you to get an idea of your choices and to compare prices, and make sure you read the reviews before making a final decision.

 

Think of the Cost of Winter

 

The thing about spring repairs is that they need to be focused on the things that took the most hit during a hard winter. Cold weather, excess water, and high winds can all do quite a bit of damage to various parts of the home, from the gutters to the pipes, so make a checklist of all the things you want to take a look at. Getting organized will help greatly when it comes to starting any repair project, and it will also help you stay motivated if you have a physical list in front of you.

 

Prioritize

 

If you have a tight budget and there aren’t any repairs that require your immediate attention, you can start with the smaller things first, such as cleaning out the gutters or investing in an insulation cover for the hot water heater. These little tasks won’t cost much, but they will allow you to take care of the small things first and get them out of the way. Just make sure there are no pressing jobs, such as leaky pipes or broken roof shingles.

 

Springtime repairs around the house don’t have to break your budget or your patience. With a little planning and some research online, you can figure out the best ways to tackle projects around the house when the weather warms up a bit and save money throughout the year.

Sun Mountain Elite Jacket

Long known for their well-constructed carry bags and high-tech wheeled carts, Sun Mountain has also made a name for itself as a manufacturer of some of the best golf-specific outerwear on the market. The Elite Rain Jacket provides superior protection from the elements with outstanding stretch to accommodate your swing.

Sun Mountain touts its proprietary 37.5 technology that works with your own body heat to ensure the ideal temperature — you’ll never be too hot or too cool. Typical golf jackets are known to be a little warm, but the Elite Jacket is fully breathable. No detail has been overlooked in making this jacket waterproof: You’ll enjoy a waterproof chest pocket, two waterproof hand warmer pockets and a 2-way YKK Vislon waterproof zipper, all backed by a 2-year guarantee.

So, you’ve decided to sell your house in Naperville. You’ve hired Bill White Homes to help you with the entire process, and Bill White has asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.

There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to Bill White Homes so that they can show your home.

Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:

  1. Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  2. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  3. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showings with just a phone call’s notice.
  4. By Appointment Only (example: 48-Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
  5. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, especially in Naperville, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.

Are you hosting for the holidays?  Not sure where to start? Running out of time? No worries!  If it’s calm you’re seeking let us help you get there. This quick guide to prepare for holiday guests will help relieve the stress of hosting and help you enjoy this special time with family and friends!

 

Guests should feel an expected welcome into your home as soon as they step foot through the front door. Keep overhead lights low inside the foyer and add a warm glow either through candles or a lamp sitting in an entry table or shelf. Find a fun, holiday welcome mat or floor rug to warm up the space. To also set a cozy feel, you can add usable seasonal accents like wool blankets or blanket scarves hanging from hooks or rolled up in baskets.

 

Make sure your house smells good! Clean the kitchen and bathrooms thoroughly using great smelling cleaning supplies. Vacuum the carpet and dust the furniture because dust actually smells. Take out the trash and if you have pets, clean out their cages and litter boxes. Add more candles throughout the house to create a warm, calm, and clean smelling space. Stick to one or two similar holiday scents or just a clean linen fragrance that will make your house smell fresh.

 

Besides the house smelling good, you should layer objects such as books, baskets, old trunks, crates, or foot stools under open tables or benches to give your living/family room a cozier feel. Add soft throw blankets to the couches or roll up into baskets for your guests to grab while they watch TV.

 

Lastly, when it’s time to head to bed, guests should feel comfortable in their space. Keep decor simple, but add a wreath or a touch of holiday decor to the guest bedroom and bathroom. Provide an empty closet and dresser. The bedding should have fresh, clean sheets and a couple of extra blankets and pillows left out to suit individual comfort levels. Stack big fluffy towels on the bed and in the bathroom. Set a basket full of essential toiletries and rolled up washcloths on the bathroom counter. You can also create warmth by adding candles, throw blankets, and even a cozy rug by the bed.

 

Bottom line…you set the tone, so if you want calm, be calm!  Relax, enjoy, and happy holidays.

Historically low mortgage interest rates have been a lifeline for many town first time homebuyers in recent years, keeping home ownership within reach for many who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make the leap. For them, and for all the other than first time area homebuyers, the fact that home values have continued to rise has been an added boon.

But, as just about every mortgage industry expert will tell you, the gig is almost up for those rock bottom rates. Yet the question for many first time homebuyers remains: is it time to buy or not?

It’s a good time to take a hard look a few of the known facts—

According to web giant Zillow, as of Q1 2015, potential home buyers should expect to spend about 15% of their income on a mortgage for an average home in the U.S. When you compare this with the historical averages, it makes today’s rates temptingly low: the typical percentage has been closer to 21%. In terms of dollars spent monthly, that’s a big (and terrific) difference!

At the same time, the historical average has a typical renter shelling out 24% of income. Today, that’s closer to 30%…making first time homeownership that much more inviting.

Taken together, Zillow’s new calculations definitely appear to make finding a home to buy the more affordable option. On the other hand, it’s also true that a number of factors work against first time homebuyers—in Naperville and nationwide. College debt, for one, is far more of an obstacle than it used to be.  And the other side of those all-time high monthly rents in many places are making it that much harder for would-be first time homebuyers to save for a down payment.  But with the widespread phenomenon of growth in rents outpacing growth in home values, the rental affordability problem isn’t likely to improve any time soon. With mortgage rates likely to be on the increase as early as this fall, the long term outlook may not grow rosier as time passes. The implied takeaway: strike now while the iron is hot!

Whether this real estate foray is your first or tenth, if you’ve been considering taking advantage of this summer’s Naperville home buying bargains, contact me today for an introduction to a qualified mortgage broker—and to discuss whether this might not just be the perfect time to start your search!

For years, there was little debate about the need for open houses in town: almost without exception, unless the seller of one of our listings objected, at least one or two open houses were an accepted part of how most real estate agents went about marketing the property.

Today, along with all the other changes that define modern real estate marketing, the potency of open houses is up for serious debate. Virtual online tours are increasingly popular among area real estate sellers and buyers—the ‘use’ statistics that tell agents how often the different parts of their sites are viewed prove that. Since open houses were formerly held in order to display a property to members of the general public—and since virtual tours do the same thing—it’s truly a question that deserves a hard look.

Here are three of the main reasons I see frequently cited for why open houses are still useful—and some both pros and cons for each:

  1. Open Houses Can Bring Higher Prices

Pro: Open houses are most important for high demand properties when there is low inventory for similar homes. It can be possible to stage open houses in combination with delayed offer reviews—in this scenario, the seller hosts several open houses leading up to a final date when he or she will review competing offers.

Con: The same is accomplished with well-produced virtual tours. Interested viewers then contact the agent, who is able to qualify the prospects who will be invited for an actual on-site showing. Competing offers are just as likely to develop.

  1. Open Houses Are More Convenient for Sellers

Pro: People want to sell their Naperville area homes as quickly as possible if for no other reason than they must keep their houses spotless and organized while on the market. Open houses are one way for sellers to have to prepare fewer times for their home to be displayed to buyers.

Con: Virtual tours accomplish the same thing for a far broader cross-section of the public. Professional photographers use their photo session to record the property at its spotless best, which is then on display 24/7/365—not just for one or two days!

  1. Open Houses are More Convenient for Prospective Buyers

Pro: Interested parties can pop in for an on-site tour without the hassle of contacting the agent and scheduling an appointment—basically, of making even a minor level of commitment in advance of knowing much about the property. Open houses thus broaden the property’s exposure.

Con: Serious home shoppers are going online en masse; the effort expended on an open house is better spent preparing for interested, qualified buyers.

Every home we have for sale presents uniquely individual marketing opportunities and challenges. Ruling out open houses (or ruling them in) as a one-size-fits-all solution is not the way I expand the reach and appeal of the properties I represent. To talk about how we can maximize your own area real estate opportunity, just give me a call!    BTW…I just sold a house at my last “Open” on Sunday!

Putting together a listing in Naperville is serious business. It has to be brief, to-the-point, and at the same time, engaging. The photos and language of our listings is the tip of the marketing spear: if it’s dull, and just a repetition of the specifics that are enumerated in the columns of numbers that follow, it’s less likely to get more than a glance from potential buyers.

At the same time, every one of our listings has to be fastidiously accurate. If it exaggerates or mischaracterizes a property’s features, it will waste time and effort by creating traffic from prospects who were never going to be interested in the first place. They’ll be rightly annoyed. A well-crafted listing for a Naperville home will highlight the distinctive features that make it stand out from the crowd. It will attract qualified buyers who will want to investigate further.

As a matter of course, we in the real estate profession check out lots of listings from many other areas. It’s part of the job, keeping abreast of what is new elsewhere—comparing how others in other areas meet the challenges of language and imagery. Of course, after years of experience, you encounter few surprises.

But last week there was news of a listing unlike any other. I’m not sure that the details and language are going to be useful for describing our properties, since this detailed a foreign estate (on the Côte d’Azur) being put on the market by “a talented artist and musician.” The asking price is $33+ million, so it’s also a bit pricey for most buyers. But as an attention-getter, this listing ranks right up there at the top.

First off, the talented artist and musician is Johnny Depp, whose comings and goings generate headlines at all times. The listing language, in fact, is most precisely quoted by the Australian Domain real estate site—rather than a French source. The Australian public has been keeping track of Depp because of his continuing brush with authorities there over alleged dog-smuggling activities (his Yorkies, Pistol and Boo, are now safely out of the country). Domain tells us that the estate consists of “more than a dozen buildings, including a main house, several guest cottages, a chapel, a bar & restaurant, a workshop/garage, a staff house and much more.

Students of listing lingo might decide that this descriptor belongs in the ‘subtly understated’ category, particularly when the “much more” is teased out: the estate, it turns out, is actually a small Provençal village. More than a decade ago, Depp bought an entire early-19th-century village. It may have been a bit run down—but it did include its own church (the actor turned it into a guest cottage, with the confessional becoming a wardrobe). Depp took on the project as a sort of extreme DIY project. The restaurant became his dining room. He brought in a covered wagon for another guesthouse (it’s unclear how that worked out).

Not every local listing rates being quoted in a feature story in The Wall Street Journal, but this one surely did. “A wine cave in the main house has a Pirates of the Caribbean motif,” according to the Journal (as one reader commented, “Go get’m Sparrow!”).

You don’t have to have a French village, though, if you are thinking of adding your own estate to this summer’s local listings. Just give me a call!