Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year, New Season for Lake Michigan Shoreline Home Sales!

Have a home to sell in 2012? You may be surprised to hear that the spring selling season begins in January! There are advantages to putting your home on the market right now – and seasonal strategies you can use. At Shoreline Property Advisors, real estate is a year-around business. Here are some reasons why winter selling could work for you:
Real estate inventories are at their lowest this time of year. Your home has less competition on the market. Less completion means not only more attention, but potentially firmer pricing.
Serious buyers may not be able to wait until spring to buy a home. Relocating professionals are often completing a move before the end of the 1st quarter.
Buyers who have pre-approvals in hand need to act on them before they expire. Also, mortgage interest rates today are excellent, but procrastinating buyers face a risk of future rate changes.
Buyers who are watching the market may be waiting for a home just like yours!
And while we can’t bank on weather conditions, mild winters tend to encourage early activity in the real estate market. In some areas there’s still green grass on the lawn! This means the exterior photos of your home will look like early spring – no need to wait for snow melt. Procrastinating sellers “waiting for spring” could find themselves shoveling snow in March or April.
Regardless of the season, economic conditions, rather than weather conditions, influence buyers. Inclement weather may affect open houses and drive-bys, but no storm lasts forever.
There are few details to keep in mind when selling in winter. During winter months, you’ll need to keep sidewalks and driveways cleared, and salted if necessary. You’ll also want to have your home feeling warm and cozy – which could mean turning up the heat prior to showings. On dreary days, opening blinds and curtains, and turning on the lights will chase away gloom.
If you have a home to sell in the Chicago North Shore area, Evanston, the Indiana shoreline or Harbor Country, let us prepare a customized marketing strategy for you. Our team of dedicated professionals understand home buyers and know what they look for at different price levels. Contact us  today for an evaluation of your home, or for any real estate questions you may have.
Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year,
Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2012 Outlook for Chicago & Lake Michigan Shoreline Real Estate

What direction will the market take in 2012? It’s a question on the minds of buyers and sellers in the Chicago  Real Estate market.  Trying to figure out the real estate forecast is like watching the weather report; you want to make plans, and you don’t want to be caught in a storm.

Knowing when to buy or sell a home in the Chicago North Shore area, Evanston, the Indiana shoreline or Harbor Country comes down to your personal needs and abilities, more than any market trend. And while we won’t be predicting the future, we’ll share some real estate news that you may find insightful:

Real estate economists are expecting 2012 home prices to increase an average of 2%. Home sales activity is expected to increase by about 4%. This is a generalized, nationwide estimate and does not take local market factors into account.

The National Home Builders Association is reporting an improvement in builder confidence for the third straight month. Housing starts are up by 9.3% in November, with the lion’s share going to multi-family construction.

Chicago is the most-searched real estate market on the internet.

Strict mortgage lending has caused some home buyers to remain on the sidelines. Mortgage trends gaining traction among buyers include FHA financing, and using allowable cash gifts towards down payments.

Nationwide, there is a large inventory of distressed properties that have yet to flow through the market. Any impact to home values will vary by locale and the degree of saturation.

At Shoreline Property Advisors, we understand that results are what matter. Market conditions can change directions on short notice; news headlines can influence buyers; monetary policies can affect interest rates. In this market, it’s essential to have experienced, dedicated professionals on your side when buying or selling a home.

We always welcome your real estate questions. Contact us today!
Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Financing Your Lake Michigan Shoreline Vacation Home!

At Shoreline Property Advisors, we understand that Lake Michigan lakefront living is one of the top wishes among second home buyers. A vacation home is more than a second house - it's a family legacy, able to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Starting that legacy may seem daunting today, given restrictive mortgage underwriting. Fortunately, financing your Lake Michigan shoreline vacation home can be done! It takes patience and a good understanding of the process.

Mortgage underwriting will vary by lender, but there are common guidelines that apply. Understanding these tips will put you closer to owning your Lake Michigan lakefront home!

Your second home must be a reasonable distance from your primary residence, usually meaning one hour away or more. However, if your second home is located on a lakefront or has lake rights, this is an adequate substitute for the "reasonable distance" clause. 

Lenders evaluate the distance and location of your second home carefully, as they must be confident that you are truly seeking a vacation home for your own use, and not an income property. Underwriting rules are strict in this respect.

The second home must be occupied by you for a portion of the year, be it seasonal use or weekend occupancy. The second home must be suitable for year-around occupancy, even if you only visit it in the summer. Three-season homes would not qualify.

Your second home cannot be used as a rental property, nor be part of a time-share.

Second homes must be single-family units. No duplexes or multi-family homes would qualify, even if you occupied a section of the property on a seasonal basis.

Each lender may have unique guidelines beyond these general rules of thumb. If you have a good relationship with a financial institution, and you've been browsing vacation homes on the Lake Michigan shoreline, why not pop the question? Knowing the requirements up front puts you closer to owning your dream home.

Whether you are looking for homes in the Chicago North Shore area, Evanston, the Indiana shoreline or Harbor Country, we're here to help you! Our Shoreline Property Advisors Team and our Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents are dedicated professionals with a commitment to excellence. Contact us today for the best in real estate service!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter Curb Appeal Tips for Your Chicago Home

With the holiday season now in full swing, many of us are bracing ourselves for yet another infamous Chicago winter.  And, while the dipping temperatures and piles of snow may not be ideal for everyone, many of us do enjoy the beauty that this season brings.  The powdery white blanket that seems to embrace the city, endless twinkling lights, local shops adorned in festive decorations and a wide variety of seasonal events keep many of us in the holiday spirit throughout the colder months.
As Chicago Real Estate agents, we feel that your home should always act as your welcome respite, and even more so during the busy holiday season.  Whether you’re planning on hosting gatherings or your Chicago home is currently for sale, creating a welcoming environment for guests or potential buyers begins the minute they view your home.  
So, how can you create beautiful curb appeal for your home in the midst of a Chicago winter?  Here are seven ways that can generate the warmth and appeal you desire!
1. Safety- You may have friends and family planning to visit soon, or may even be showing your Chicago home this winter, so you’ll want to put safety first! Be sure your driveway, sidewalk and front porch are cleared of debris or any snow. It’s always better to be on the cautious side and put down salt, as even rain can freeze and make walking up to your home dangerous.
2. Tasteful Decorations- While you can have fun with the season’s bright lights and characters of Christmas, it can be easy for some to get carried away. Try small white lights around your homes’ bushes or front porch post, a simple wreath and garland to enhance your home’s appearance without being too distracting.
3. Fresh Paint- Your Chicago home is more visible in the winter months as trees are free from their leaves and your home’s condition is more exposed. Touching up chipped or faded paint is a great way to help your Chicago home look refreshed.
4. A Neat Lawn- Whether there is snow covering your lawn or not; be sure to keep your lawn free from any leaves, twigs, etc… that may have blown through with the harsher winds. Just because your lawn is not expected to be as lush as the summer months, doesn’t mean to ignore the state of your lawn. Keeping it cleaned up will show that you care.
5. Clean Gutters- It’s not too late to make sure your gutters are free from leaves and other debris. You’ll want these cleared so that melting snow or rain can easily run through the gutters and not cause damage.
6. Lighting- The use of lights can really make your home stand out with the shorter winter days. Since there is more time without the suns light, using a variety of lighting can give your home a warm glow. Indoor window lights in each room provides a nice appeal, while lights along the pathway up to your home, a bright porch light and tasteful Christmas lights are all ways in which to enhance your Chicago homes’ curb appeal.
7. Cold Weather Plants- Hearty plants and Evergreen trees can withstand the winter months while adding visual appeal to the outside of your home. Evergreen Holly will add a splash of color with its red berries and can stand up to the cold weather.
We hope these ideas are helpful as you gear up for the winter season!  Whether you are preparing for family and friends or Chicago buyers; we know you’ll enjoy creating a welcoming atmosphere for your home.
If you are considering putting your home up for sale on the Chicago Real Estate market this winter and are looking for a Chicago Real Estate agent, please contact us!  Our Shoreline Property Advisors team and Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents will be more than happy to put our experience to work for you!  
We look forward to hearing from you!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff