Wednesday, July 27, 2011

6 Tips for Buying a Vacation Home Along Lake Michigan's Shoreline

Buying a vacation home along Lake Michigan’s shores is a dream for many who enjoy the beautiful scenery, peaceful lake setting and variety of charming cities that dot the Lake Michigan coastline.  And, while it may seem that buying a second home is slightly out of reach given the nation’s economic status; it’s actually more of a possibility than you might think!

The current national housing market, as well as the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market is currently leaning in favor of buyers.  Many who are considering buying a home in Evanston, North Shore Chicago, the Indiana coastline or Harbor Michigan are finding the historic low interest rates and home prices create an ideal climate for making such a large purchase.

Not only is this a savvy financial decision, but also allows you to have the Lake Michigan Shoreline vacation home you’ve been dreaming about!  If you are one who is hoping to cash in on some of the great deals on homes along Lake Michigan’s Shoreline, below are six tips that will help you in making your decision and will guide you throughout the process.
1. Be Patient- When searching for a Lake Michigan Shoreline home, take your time. Be patient and take time to discover the pros and cons of each shoreline home or condo you visit.
2. Weigh the Pros and Cons- If you like something, don’t make any rash decisions. While it can be tempting to make a quick decision if you’re only visiting for a weekend, taking a few days to really consider the purchase will help ensure you’ve made the best decision.
3. Ask Yourself the Right Questions:
. How often will you visit and how much time will you spend there?
. Is it worth the money?
. What will the price appreciation be, realistically?
. How much will you have to pay every year for landscaping, association fees and taxes?
4. Don’t Try to Play the Market-  Home prices across the nation are some of the lowest that we’ve seen in a long time, so you’re bound to find a great deal.  As the market continues to improve, home prices will only increase.  Don’t wait!
5. Know the Difference of Lakefront Living- Make sure you can get the insurance you need, particularly if you want to buy a lakefront property. Lakefront living is great, but there are a few additional things to consider that you wouldn’t need to think about when living inland.
6. Compare Mortgage Products- While the loan standards and rates are nearly the same for first and second homes, there can be unexpected changes if the lender considers your purchase an investment property.  Your interest rate could be pushed up 1.5 to 2 percentage points, so be aware and plan accordingly.  Oftentimes buyers will use the equity on their first home to make a down payment for their second home.  You’ll want to think through the best option for you, or talk with one of our Shoreline Property Advisor team members about any other options.
As you consider buying a vacation home along Lake Michigan’s Shoreline; please feel free to contact any of us on the Shoreline Property Advisors team with any questions you may have!  We’re here to help you navigate through the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market and to be your trusted resource for all things real estate related!
We’d love to hear from you and help you buy the Lake Michigan Shoreline vacation home that fits your needs, budget and lifestyle!
Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Enjoy the Lake Michigan Shoreline City of Evanston This Weekend!

As Lake Michigan Shoreline Property Advisors, we want to give you a holistic approach to life on the shores on Lake Michigan.  We understand the importance of giving you current Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate information, home buying and selling tips and national housing market news.  However, we also know that jumping into the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market is so much more than the property; it involves the entire Shoreline lifestyle!
In working with the real estate markets of North Shore Chicago, Chicago, Evanston, the Indiana Shoreline and Harbor County Michigan, we see the unique things that make each of these areas great places to call home.  Today we wanted to take a minute to focus on the vibrant city of Evanston, Illinois and some of the fun activities that are taking place this weekend!
Established in 1863, Evanston is a charming town with vintage homes on tree lined streets, renovated downtown condos, a strong sense of community and is conveniently located just north of Chicago’s downtown metropolis. Northwestern University has its home in Evanston which creates a college town environment that attracts scholars and young professionals.  However, families and those seeking a quiet life also feel right at home in Evanston’s established neighborhoods. It’s this mix of lifestyles and the cities committment to providing the best for its residents that make this a great choice for those desiring to live along Lake Michigan’s Shoreline.  
In fact, if you’re currently living in Evanston or are planning on visiting to get a feel for life in Evanston, you won’t want to miss out on the fun events taking place this weekend!  Take a look!
Evanston Super Sidewalk Sale
Downtown Evanston

July 22-24
- Nearly 200 vendors take part in this yearly Evanston event!  Residents and visitors alike enjoy perusing local shops, bakeries and restaurants all weekend long for great bargains.  This is a great opportunity to venture to downtown Evanston and meet neighbors and local shop owners.  You’ll find the wide variety of vendors participating offers something for everyone and will be an interactive way to experience summer in Evanston.
Evanston Recycling Fair
Morton Civic Center Parking Lot
2100 Ridge Ave, Evanston

July 23 from 9am to Noon

- Evanston has a strong sense of taking care of its environment and has various eco-friendly programs that take place throughout the year.  This weekend features the Recycling Fair which provides a way for Evanston residents to recycle paper, electronics, ink cartridges, light bulbs and much more!  Not only will you be able to take part in recycling at the Evanston Recycling Fair, but you’ll also have the chance to meet representatives from various City Departments and learn about ways in which Evanston will continue to reach for a for environmentally conscious future.  Take advantage of this opportunity to reduce, reuse and recycle!
Of course these are just a few examples of what the city of Evanston has to offer and we’re excited to highlight various local events that take place along the Lake Michigan Shoreline.  Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions about living in Evanston or any of the other Lake Michigan Shoreline cities!  We’re here to help guide you through the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market and be a well-rounded resource for all of your needs!
We looking forward to hearing from you!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7 Tips that Will Help Sell Your Lake Michigan Shoreline Home

Selling your Lake Michigan Shoreline home may feel overwhelming as you hear reports of the current buyers market.  Yet, given the nation’s less than attractive real estate market the past few years; many markets are seeing signs of improvement with more people who are willing to jump into the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market.  
As a team of experts who are daily offering advice to buyers and sellers, getting the most up to date market information and constantly coming up with innovative ways to move through the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market; we understand what you’re going through as you consider selling your home along Lake Michigan’s shores.  Questions of “Will my home will sell quickly?”, “Will I be able to sell at my asking price?” and “Do I have to put alot of money into my home in order to sell?” are probably racing through your mind.
Well, as promised, we’re here to help and thought we’d give you seven tips for selling your Lake Michigan Shoreline home!  We know that giving into a buyers’ market is not an option for many of you who are looking for a way to push your home to the forefront of the real estate market and get the most out of your home sale.  Here are a few ways to help get your home sold.
1.  Give your house a makeover that adds value and keeps it up with the Joneses'- That doesn't mean you should run out and install Italian marble. But if hardwood floors are the norm in your neighborhood, replace the carpet.

2. Use the secrets of staging experts, or hire one
- Staging your Lake Michigan Shoreline home can be as easy as a fresh coat of paint, new cabinet hardware and strategically-placed lighting. Think of it as a creative, inexpensive facelift for your home.

3.  Find out what's wrong with the house and get it fixed- This may seem obvious, but many homeowners put this off.  Don't wait until that serious buyer finds faulty wiring or a termite problem and then pulls the plug on the deal. Be proactive. Get an inspection on your Lake Michigan Shoreline home before hitting the market.

4.  Hire an aggressive, well-connected real estate agent- Find an experienced Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate agent with a proven track record who knows how to pound the pavement. In this market, name recognition is important, so find the go-to person for buyers and their agents in your community. If you’ve been hunting for a Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate agent; we’d love the opportunity to talk with you!  Take a look at the homes along the Lake Michigan Shoreline that we’ve sold or what other buyers and sellers are saying about the Shoreline Property Advisors Team.  We can get your home sold in a timely and efficient manner!

5. Help a buyer buy it- Offer incentives that put money in the buyer's pocket, such as buying down the interest rate, absorbing more of the closing costs or offering seller financing.  Talk with your Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate agent about other options for incentives as their experience in Evanston, North Chicago suburbs, the Indiana Shoreline or Harbor County, Michigan can give you an insider’s guide to what buyers are looking for.

6. Consider renting or offering a lease option- Minimize the impact of two mortgages by renting your house out until you find a buyer. Or offer a lease option to a motivated buyer who doesn't have enough cash to buy a home outright.  It may not be ideal, but if you’re feeling the stress of an immediate move; this can be a solid option until you find the right buyer.

7. Make the house move-in ready- Throw in the furniture, flat-screen TV, washer/dryer, appliances and the kitchen sink! The less money a buyer will have to shell out to furnish the house, the higher the perceived value of your Lake Michigan Shoreline home
While selling your home along Lake Michigan’s shores in a buyers market is a little more challenging, it’s not impossible.  We hope these tips will help you determine the things you can do to help sell your Lake Michigan Shoreline home.  As always, we’re here to help in any way we can to ensure your home selling process runs smoothly and efficiently.  
You can contact us anytime with questions or to get started with selling your home!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 Signs You're Ready to Buy a Lake Michigan Shoreline Home!

Buying a home along Lake Michigan’s Shoreline is a large decision and one that you’re probably taking very seriously.  You’ve heard the reports of the national housing market leaning more in the favor of buyers; which can be very encouraging!  However, you may still be a little leery of taking the plunge into the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market.
Here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we want to provide you with all of the tools and information you need to make an informed decision about buying, selling or investing along Lake Michigan’s shores.  While it’s good to pay attention to real estate news and the current market trends; the choice of buying a home whether in Evanston, Chicago’s suburbs, Indiana’s shoreline, or Harbor County Michigan is ultimately up to you.  
We’ve pulled together 10 signs that we think will help you determine if you’re ready to buy a Lake Michigan Shoreline home.  Take a look!
1. You’ve made the decision to buy on your own terms- Evaluating why you want to buy a home is crucial.  Are you the one who wants to buy a home and take on that responsibility or do you have outside pressures that make you feel that you need to buy?  Only you know how your finances, personal goals and lifestyle will fit into the home buying process and if you’re not sold on buying; don’t.  If you know that you do want to buy a Lake Michigan Shoreline home this year; make sure you determine what you’re comfortable with and stick to it.

2. You’ve been watching home prices in your area- You will need to know what home prices are like along Lake Michigan’s shores before embarking on your house hunt.  Of course your Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate agent will give great insight into the current home price trends.  Having an idea of where the market has been and where it’s going will help you determine if now is the time for you to buy a home.

3. Home prices are stabilizing in your area- Playing off of the previous point, you want to determine what the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market looks like.  It seems that some of the area markets will continue to stabilize themselves, which is great news!  Ask yourself how long you plan to stay in your new home.  If you only plan on living in the home for a few years; the stabilization of the real estate market will play a larger role. However, if you’re planning on living in your shoreline home long term; you can rest assured that the market will only continue to climb upward and that if you ever plan on selling, the market will be healthy for a home sale.

4. You’re putting money aside- This seems like a very basic point, but a very essential one.  The days of “no money down mortgages” are gone and most lenders require at 5% down.  You will also make sure that you have additional money for things like closing costs, as well as money in the bank when all is said and done.  Lenders are becoming more strict and want to know you can back up the purchase of a home.

5. You have a FICO credit score north of 600- Credit scores are moving to the forefront of being approved for a home loan.  Most lenders are expecting a credit score of 600+ even for FHA loans.  A good credit score will not only help you qualify for a home loan, but can lower your interest rate, which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

6. You’ve established a home-buying budget- If you’ve taken the time to create a home-buying budget chances are you’re serious about buying a home and want to go about it in the best way possible. It’s imperative to establish your budget prior to talking with lenders.  Just because you are approved for a certain amount on the loan, does not mean that’s what you can actually afford.  Lenders don’t take your extended finances into consideration, but will look at your income.  Be sure to stick within your budget to avoid foreclosure and heartache in the future.

7. You’ve researched your mortgage options- It’s important to research which type of mortgage is best for your financial situation.  Getting a fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage will depend a lot of your long term goals.  Your Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate agent will also be able to help you determine which option is better for you and can walk you through the pros and cons of both.

8. You’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage- Getting pre-approved before you meet with a lender can save you time and will be a good indicator of any financial issues that need to be addressed.  Things such as credit or income problems are items you want to take care of before trying to get approved for a home loan. Sellers will also take you more seriously if you have your financials in order. 

9. Your debt doesn’t eat up too much of your income
- Another way to test if you’re ready to buy a home is if you’ve paid down your debts.  Lenders will look at your DTI, your debt to income ratio, and if your combined debts (mortgage and other debts) are more than 36% of your yearly income; chances are you will have a hard time qualifying.  Each lender varies on this amount, but making the serious decision to buy a home can’t be taken lightly as it may have been in years past.  The housing market is really attempting to wipe its slate clean to help lay the ground work for a healthy future.

10. You’re considering a variety of homes- Keeping your options open is key in buying in today’s market.  Whether a short sale, foreclosure, or regular home; there are many options that can prove to be great deals.  Your Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate agent can help you determine which type of home is right for you.
We hope these points are helpful for you as you determine if you’re ready to jump into the Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate market.  Again, we understand that buying a home is a huge financial and life decision and we’re here to help in any way we can!  Please feel free to contact us today if you have questions or are ready to get started.
We look forward to hearing from you and helping you find the Lake Michigan shoreline home that fits your needs, budget and lifestyle!
Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff