Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Get Ready to Buy a Chicago Home in 2013 with These 5 Tips

We hope you had a great Christmas and holiday season with friends and family!  While it can be hard to believe the holidays are behind us, it’s fun to anticipate all that the new year will bring!

For some of you, 2013 is when you decided to begin your Chicago home search, and so we’re glad you’ve taken the time to stop by our blog.  Our goal as Chicago Real Estate agents and advisors here at Shoreline Property Advisors is to provide you with current Chicago Real Estate market news and advice.  Today, we wanted to highlight why now is a great time to buy and what you can do to prepare for the home buying process.

Reports in the past few months have shown the national housing market is continuing its’ road to recovery with home prices expected to remain on the rise for 2013.  Recently the S&P/Case-Schiller Report showed that home prices posted the largest percentage gain in more than two years, with prices up 4.3% in October compared to last year.  

This is great news for those looking to sell this coming year, and gives buyers who were on the fence the encouragement needed to begin their Chicago home search now.  With more buyers flooding the market, the competition will be more heated and buyers will need to act quickly. 

If you have been considering buying a home in 2013; don’t delay.  You’ll want to get ahead of the competition of the spring market and cash in on those still low home prices before they continue to increase.  Here are just a few tips on how to prepare to buy a home in Chicago.

1. Saving & Paying off Debt- 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.  You’ll want to be sure to have as little debt as possible since lenders will take this into consideration as well.

2. Building Good Credit- 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.

3. Creating 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.

4. Researching 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 Chicago 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.

5. Getting 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. 

We’re excited that you’re considering buying a home in Chicago soon and we would love to help you throughout the home buying process.  If you still have questions about buying and the current Chicago Real Estate market, we would be happy to answer your questions so you’re completely comfortable with moving forward.  
Please feel free to contact us anytime to get started!  We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home in Chicago!
Happy New Year!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Enjoy These Holiday Events This Weekend in Harbor Country!

Christmas is less than a week away, and for many this means taking on any last minute shopping or preparing for out of town guests in your Harbor Country home!  It’s an exciting time of year as friends and family gather to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season.

As Harbor Country Real Estate agents and property advisors here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we enjoy providing you with market information and home buying and selling advice.  But, we also know that the community in which you live is just as important as the house you’ve chosen to call “home.”  Because of this, we like to take opportunities to highlight various events and festivities taking place right in Harbor Country!

If you’re looking for something fun to do with loved ones this weekend before Christmas, you’ll want to check out the following events!

Country Christmas- Magical Saturdays
Various Harbor Country Businesses
Saturday, December 22 all day
- This Saturday is the last of the Magical Saturdays with local Harbor Country businesses.  You’ll enjoy special events such as open house, floral and holiday trimmings, Santa visits and breakfasts, holiday parades, gallery walks, ice sculpting, kid's activities and more. Come and experience the many traditions of Harbor Country. It’s a great place for your holiday celebration and shopping!  Learn more on the Harbor Country website.  
Opera at The Acorn: Annual Christmas Show
The Acorn Theater
Saturday, December 22 at 8pm
- Don’t miss the Annual Christmas Show, which has become a local tradition!  Presented by Harbor Arts and Robert Swan.The Saturday before Christmas, founder Robert Swan has brought together four of the finest singers you could wish to hear, including Acorn favorite mezzo-soprano Martha Cares, who just dazzled audiences with her interpretation French classics in the sold-out performance of La vie en Rose-the Songs of Edith Piaf.
You’ll have an opportunity to participate in part of the performance with selections like We Three Kings, Silent Night, and White Christmas.  Also, you’ll be sure to enjoy free hot roasted chestnuts—fresh off of founder Robert Swan’s own tree! This much anticipated even is sponsored by The Pokagon Fund and New Buffalo Savings Bank.  View more information or purchase your tickets on The Acorn Theater website
We hope you’re able to get out in Harbor Country and enjoy these festivities!  They are a great way to celebrate this holiday season!
Happy Holidays!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Give Back to the New Buffalo Community This Holiday Season!

As we find ourselves counting down the days to Christmas, the hustle and bustle of shopping, holiday parties and gatherings with family and friends creates a hurried pace of excitement.  And, while we know this is part of the fun of the holidays, it can leave you feeling as though you missed some of the most important aspects of the season.

Last week, we discussed some ways to slow the pace and soak in the spirit of the holidays.  Whether you live in New Buffalo year round or you’re planning on visiting friends or family in New Buffalo this holiday season, we hope those tips help you enjoy the holidays to the fullest.

Yet, as a team of New Buffalo Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents and property advisors, we feel strongly about being actively involved in the communities in which we serve.  

We would like you to join us in finding ways to not just enjoy the holiday season, but to consider giving back to New Buffalo and those less fortunate this Christmas.  Here are a few ways to get involved!

1. Donate- Now is a great time to go through your closets and donate any clothes or shoes that you no longer need. Toys that have been outgrown, books and games can also be donated to various organizations around New Buffalo and provide those in need with things they need and can use for gifts this season.

2. Volunteer- Many organizations in the New Buffalo area are looking for additional help over the holiday season! Soup kitchens, retirement homes, homeless shelters and many others oftentimes host holiday parties or round up food, clothing and toys for those who are without this holiday season. Gather a few friends or family members to join you!

3. The Gift of Giving- Instead of buying another gift for a family member that they don't need; consider donating a gift on their behalf. Letting them know that one of their gifts went to someone with no Christmas gifts can be a very fulfilling gift!

4. Go Green- Give back to the New Buffalo environment by cutting back on the energy and resources you use this holiday season. Choose LED Christmas lights, wrap presents in recycled brown paper bags tied with festive string, turn down your thermostat and use your fireplace for added warmth and a cozy environment.

5. Feed the Hungry- The next time you go grocery shopping, stock up on canned goods and other non-perishable items that can be donated to a food pantry or homeless shelter. Gather with friends and family and put together Christmas food baskets that include cookies, hot chocolate, and other festive foods then donate to families you know who are in need or to a local shelter.

We hope these spark ideas of even more ways you can give back during this season of giving!  It’s not only a great way to get to know your community even better, but will help you gain a renewed sense of the true meaning of the holidays!

As always, if you have any questions about the New Buffalo Real Estate market; we’re here to help!  We’d love to discuss your needs and answer any questions you may have.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

8 Stress Free Ways to Enjoy the Holidays in Evanston!

We appreciate you taking the time to stop by our blog!  Chances are you’re here because you’re considering buying or selling a home in Evanston or along the Lake Michigan Shoreline.  

As Evanston Real Estate agents and property advisors we know that with the holiday season can be a busy time, especially if you’re looking to enter the Evanston Real Estate market!  Today we thought we’d take a few minutes to highlight some great ideas for soaking in the holidays.  

Once you’ve found a trusted and experienced Evanston Real Estate agent, you can rest assured that they’re taking care of all the details.  While you spend time some time interacting with them and possibly viewing homes currently available in Evanston, or are getting your home ready for a showing; you can relax knowing that your agent will guide you through each step of buying or selling a home.  

As your agent takes care of your real estate needs, here eight ways to slow down and enjoy this festive season. 

1. Candlelight Night- There’s something very calming about candlelight.  Why not get together with friends or family, light a few candles and have your fireplace glowing and take time to share your favorite Christmas memories!
2. Slow Down- Feel that you have a million thoughts running through your head and a long list of things to do before Christmas Eve?  Sit down and just take a minute to relax.  Find a quiet place in your home, enjoy the coziness of a fire in the fireplace in your Evanston home and just block out all the noise.  Being able to take a few minutes to do this will help you to enjoy the holiday more as you feel relaxed and more focused on the true meaning of the holidays.
3. Potluck- Instead of trying to do it all and take on hosting a large Christmas dinner in your home in Evanston; have a potluck!  Whether you’re gathering with your Evanston neighbors or are expecting a large group of family and friends; sharing the cooking will take the pressure off of you!  This also gives others the opportunity to share their favorite holiday recipes!
4. Movie Night- Looking for something to do for a fun holiday event?  Host a movie night with holiday treats and your favorite holiday movies!  This inexpensive gathering will be fun for children and adults alike!
5. Cocktail Party- Try hosting a cocktail party in place of a sit down dinner.  If you want to keep things simple, and don’t have an entire evening free- this can be a way to gather with friends over a little Christmas cheer.  Have an under $10 gift exchange for added fun!
6. Hot Chocolate Tasting- This classic winter drink is loved by many and with all the new flavors out there, a hot chocolate tasting may be just the thing for a fun holiday idea!  The tasting can take place for the children while the adults enjoy their cocktail party, or can become part of your Christmas Eve traditions!

7. Winter Walk
- Evanston is beautiful this time of year!  Even though the leaves on the trees are gone, the Pine trees offer that touch of green and holiday spirit.  The fresh air will be invigorating and discovering your favorite shops and restaurants around Evanston is always a great idea!
8. Give Back- Whether it’s your time, money, or donations… give back this season!  There are many who aren’t able to experience the holidays to the fullest due to illness, loneliness or lack of resources to buy gifts for loved ones.  Why not take the time to give back in some way?  Gather your Evanston neighbors or family and come up with creative ways to give back to the community surrounding Evanston!  You’ll enjoy seeing the smiles on others faces!
By trying out even a few of these ideas, you’ll find yourself soaking in the spirit of the season even more!  
If you are considering buying or selling an Evanston home and haven’t yet found an Evanston Real Estate agent; please let us know!  We would love to meet with you to discuss how we can help you meet your goals!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Appeal to Buyers this Holiday Season in Your Harbor Country Home!

We hope you enjoyed a great Thanksgiving this past week with friends and family in your Harbor Country home!  Now that the holidays are in full swing, the spirit of the season makes the colder days feel warm and bright and we’re sure you’re feeling the bustle and joy of the season.

If you’ve stopped by our blog, it could be that you have more on your mind than just the holidays.  You may be hoping to sell your Harbor Country home during this festive season and may be seeking advice on the best way to do so.  It can seem daunting, but selling your home during the holidays is not impossible.  In fact, you can use the holidays to your advantage by playing up the season to enhance the appeal of your home.  Here are a few tips on how to make the holidays work for the sale of your Harbor Country home!

1. Give Warmth- Just before a showing, be sure to turn up your thermostat a few degrees to make it extra toasty inside.  Prospective buyers will be thankful for the change from Michigan’s cold winters.  Put a fire in the fireplace to add an extra sense of warmth and highlight the cozy atmosphere that this feature of your home can bring.

2. Mind the Tree- While a tall Christmas tree can showcase a two story living room, be sure to be careful of the tree’s width.  The last thing you want is to have your Harbor Country home appear smaller than it really is.  Also, you’ll want to stick with a cohesive theme for your ornaments.  The family homemade ornaments may be meaningful to you, but can quickly make your tree look gaudy to outsiders. Keep it simple this year and remember, there’s always next year when you can display those keepsakes in your new home!

3. Complement Your Décor- You’ll want to make sure that your Christmas decoration palette matches or complements your current décor.  If the colors clash or seem to be fighting for attention, this can be very distracting to buyers and can take away from the great features of your home you’re trying to highlight.

4. Highlight the Highlights- Draw attention to a beautiful fireplace mantle with a few tasteful ornaments or enhance an arched doorway with hanging mistletoe.

5. Go Light on the Lights- An abundance of outdoor lights can leave Harbor Country buyers wondering what the front of your home looks like.  And, while you may love your giant inflatable lawn ornaments; it may be best to leave those in storage this year.  Everyone has different tastes and you don’t want buyers to be met at your home with a sense of “tacky.”

6. Add Holiday Adornments- Again, you don’t want to go overboard, but a simple evergreen wreath, a poinsettia center piece or hot cider simmering on the stove can create a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.  Of course it’s best to avoid overly religious flourishes as this can be off-putting to some.
7. Offer Tasty Treats- While you don’t want to come across as trying to bribe buyers, everyone loves holiday treats and having a plate full of cookies and candy can make the home showing a little sweeter.  Hot chocolate and apple cider are always welcome and buyers will feel that you have their best interest in mind.

We hope these tips give you just a few ideas on enhancing your Harbor Country home this holiday season to appeal to buyers!  

As always, we would love to talk with you about your Harbor Country Real Estate needs.  Our team of trusted advisors and Prudential Rubloff Harbor Country Real Estate agents here at Shoreline Property Advisors will answer your questions and guide you through the home selling process.

Feel free to contact us today to get started!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff