Wednesday, September 26, 2012

5 Questions to Ask When Searching for Your Harbor Country Home

We’ve talked in our posts recently about the great fall real estate market and how it can really pick up as people want to be done with the home buying or selling process before the busy holiday season.  Here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we enjoy helping people through those processes in the most stress free and efficient ways possible.  Our years of experience in working along the Lake Michigan shoreline has given us keen insight into what it takes to navigate the real estate market with ease.

If you’re considering buying a home in Harbor Country this fall, you’ll find a wide variety of beautiful homes currently available.  This can be great as you think through the options that you have, but can also seem daunting if you have too many options from which to choose.  Want to have a way to narrow it down to your ideal home?  Below are five questions that will give you more insight into the home and if it’s the right house for you.

1. Have you had any offers on the property? This will let you know what type of competition you’ll have if you decide to put in an offer on the home. You’ll also want to know if the seller has rejected any offers as this will give you insight into what the seller is expecting from the sale.
2. Has this house been in escrow? If the home has been in escrow and didn’t sell, it’s important to find out why. It could be that the funds fell through on the buyers end, but if it’s an issue that came up in the home inspection; you’ll want to know what you’re dealing with if you decide to buy the home.
3. How long has the property been on the market? The longer a home sits on the market, the less activity it gets. If the Harbor Country home has been on the market for some time, it could mean the seller is more willing to be flexible on the price.
4. Why are the owners selling? The agent who is showing the house may not want to answer this question if the seller is anxious to sell quickly. A sellers agent will want to get the best price for the home and offering up this type of information may mean lower offers on the table. However, if you find that the seller is in financial straits or is moving soon, this can play in your favor. Of course you’ll want to be sensitive to the sellers situation and not present an offer that is offensive or much lower than you know the home is worth. Your Harbor Country Real Estate agent will help point you in the right direction when it comes to placing an offer on a home.
5. Are there any other costs of ownership? This is much more common in buying a condo or townhome,  but there are some Harbor Country neighborhoods that have additional Home Owners Association (HOA) fees. Be sure you find out what they are and what they cover so that you’re not surprised by them after buying the home.
We hope these questions will help you as you begin searching for your Harbor Country home!  It’s important to stay objective when you find a home you really like because there could be extensive issues with the home or the seller can walk away if your offer is too low.  Going through these questions with your Harbor Country Real Estate agent with each home you view can allow you to narrow down your search to find the right home for you!
If you have further questions about buying a Harbor Country home or are ready to begin your home search; contact us today!  We would love to work with you to find your dream home in beautiful Harbor Country!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't Miss the World Music Festival in Chicago!

Interested in settling into the thriving metropolis of Chicago?  We don’t blame you!  This bustling city provides all you could ask for right at your fingertips!  Year round events, world class shopping, unbelievable restaurants, a wide variety of cultures, and rich history are what appeal to many to buy in the Windy City.

One of the things we love here at Shoreline Property Advisors, is to work within the Chicago Real Estate market and showcase to those relocating to Chicago all that the city has to offer.  Our Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents know the ins and outs of each pocket of the city and can provide you with the help you need in determining the ideal neighborhood for you! 

If you’re visiting Chicago this weekend to learn more about the city, or if you currently live in Chicago and are looking for something to do; you won’t want to miss out on the World Music Festival taking place September 21- 27 at various locations throughout the city.  Here are a few more details! 

World Music Festival: Chicago 2012
Various Locations around Chicago

Friday, September 21- Thursday, September 27

- Enjoy this week of music presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)!  This city-wide, multi-venue, eight-day World Music Festival features acclaimed musicians from countries around the world. Featuring traditional and contemporary music from diverse cultures.  

Admission to every concert is free and open to the public!  This is a great chance to experience music from cultures from all over the world and celebrates Chicago’s great diversity!   Each day is filled with great music artists, so be sure to check out the entire schedule or visit the World Music Festival website for more information. 

We hope you’re able to take part in this unique eight day event!  You’ll also want to be sure by local eateries nearby to get the full Chicago experience!

If you have questions about what it’s like to live in Chicago, or are ready to begin your Chicago home search; please let us know!  The Chicago Real Estate market tends to pick up in the fall so you'll want to be sure to jump ahead of the competition in order to find a home that fits your needs and lifestyle perfectly. 

We would be happy to help you find your next home and walk through the home buying process with ease!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Get Your Evanston Home Ready for Fall!

If you’ve lived in Evanston, or anywhere along the Lake Michigan Shoreline, for a few years; you know that the warm last days of summer can quickly change to a crisp fall atmosphere in just a few short days.  

Here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we’re looking forward to the beautiful fall weather, Northwestern football season and the sound of leaves crunching underfoot.  It’s a great time of year in Evanston and, if you’re new to the area, you’ll come to love this season as much as we do!

As Evanston Real Estate agents and advisors, we believe that our clients deserve the best information and service during the home buying or selling process and even years after!  Our goal is to help you continue to enjoy your home for years to come.

One way to do this is to keep your home in tip top shape throughout the changing seasons.  While it may still seem early to get out your fall “to do” list; there are a few things that you’ll want to tackle this month.  Going through this quick checklist from will ensure your home is ready and that you can enjoy curling up in your cozy Evanston home once the cold weather arrives.

1.  Add weatherstripping to doors and windows- Weatherstripping can be plastic, foam, felt or metal; its job is to seal small gaps, keeping moisture and cold air outside where they belong.  Newer, energy-efficient windows generally don't require added weatherstripping, but if your windows are older, weatherstripping can keep drafts at bay and energy costs down.

2.  Check storm windows- If you have storm windows that are cracked or dirty, repair and clean them now; prior to autumn installation.

3.  Insulation speculation- This is a good time to check the condition of insulation and see if you need more, especially if you live in an older Evanston home. You can purchase un-backed or loose-fill insulation if you are just beefing up what is already there. If your walls lack insulation, consider having a professional install blown-in insulation foam. The energy savings will probably offset the cost of the procedure in a couple of years.

4.  Check gutters- Do a quick visual check to make sure gutters are clear — they'll be performing double duty soon with rainstorms and falling leaves.

5.  Keep mice out- September inspires nesting in mice as well as humans. Mice are looking for a winter home now, and that newly insulated attic would be just the spot. Mice can squeeze through 1/4-inch openings; rats need a half-inch. Make sure all exterior vents are screened, and that there are no gaps underneath garage doors.

6.  Caulk exterior- Think of caulk as weatherstripping in a tube. Any gap on the outside of your home can be a candidate for caulking. Look at transition spots: corners, windows, doors, areas where masonry joins siding, or places where vents and other objects protrude from walls. Carefully read manufacturer's directions to make sure the caulk you buy will work where you plan to use it, and don't forget to purchase a caulking gun. Early fall is a good time for this task because caulk becomes difficult to apply when the temperature falls.

7.  Inspect your roof and chimney- If your roof isn't too steep, and isn't covered with slate or tile, you may be able to carefully walk on it on a dry day. Look for broken or missing shingles, missing or damaged flashing and seals around vent pipes and chimneys, and damage to boards along the eaves. Also peer down your chimney with a flashlight to make sure no animals have set up house in it. If you can't get on your roof, perform this inspection with a ladder around the perimeter.   Some patches and roofing cement now can prevent thousands of dollars of water damage later in the winter.

Getting your Evanston home ready for the colder weather now can save you from problems later in the season.  We hope these tips help make the process a little easier!

If you have questions about the Evanston Real Estate market, or are considering relocating to the area and want to learn more about Evanston and the homes currently available.  Please feel free to contact us today!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

10 Tips to Help Sell Your Chicago Home This Fall!

It’s hard to believe that, with Labor Day behind us, we are quickly approaching fall.  Before we know it, leaves will be changing colors and the crisp air and vivid blue skies will have us thinking about the holiday season.  Here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we always get excited about the fall because the real estate market tends to pick up with activity as buyers and sellers try to get situated in their new homes before the holidays.

Since it’s still early in September and the holidays seem far away, now is a great time to put your home on the market if you’re considering selling your Chicago home this fall.  You’ll be a few steps ahead of the competition and will spark interest with those buyers that are already starting to look for their dream home.  

Interested to know how to make your home appeal to buyers this fall?  Here are ten things you can do to help your home sell!

1. Update your listing photos- If your Chicago home was listed last winter or spring, talk with your Chicago Real Estate agent about updating your home’s marketing with brand new fall shots. Pictures from the previous season make your listing seem dated.

2. Focus on curb appeal- Selling your Chicago home during the fall certainly comes with one advantage: the season's beautiful foliage which can automatically make your home more attractive for showings. However, you still need to do your part to keep your home looking its best. Start by sprucing up your lawn, keep falling leaves at bay with frequent raking and patch up any brown spots in the grass.

3. Appeal to the senses- As the weather cools down in Chicago, make your home a warm, welcoming space where buyers will want to stick around. If you encourage them to stay awhile during showings, you give them more time to admire your home's best features.

4. Flaunt your fireplace- A warm, inviting fireplace is a great selling point as the weather gets cooler. Highlight this fall-friendly feature by arranging your furniture to make your fireplace a focal point. Place a mirror, artwork, vases or other tasteful decor on top of the mantel to make it even more prominent.

5. Think like a buyer- Fall house hunters are looking for great deals on Chicago homes, so be prepared for lowball offers and possible non-serious buyers. Manage your expectations and negotiate accordingly, depending on your motivation.

6. Hire a reliable real estate professional- As if selling your home isn't stressful enough, you're probably thinking ahead for the holidays or helping the kids ease into a new school year. During this hectic season, you definitely want a great Chicago Real Estate agent to take some of the pressure of selling your home off your shoulders. If you are still searching for an agent; our experienced Prudential Rubloff Chicago Real Estate agents would love to help you sell your Chicago home

7. Price it right- If you want to grab the attention of Chicago buyers in this competitive market, you need to price your home correctly from the start - possibly slightly lower than comparable homes in your neighborhood. Setting your listing price just right could lead to a bidding war, resulting in a higher sales price for you. Work with your Chicago Real Estate agent to price your home correctly.

8. Watch your timing- Put your Chicago home on the market well in advance of looking for a new home. And don't place an offer on your next home until you have solid offers on the one you have to sell now. The last thing you want to do is juggle two mortgage payments.

9. Beware of TMI (too much information)- Buyers think most sellers these days are in dire straits, so don't do anything to add to that perceived advantage and lower your potential selling price. For instance, if you are moving from Chicago due to a job transfer, it's best not to offer up that information or at the very least, downplay the urgency. While you are obligated to disclose everything about the property's condition, you aren't obligated to disclose your personal situation.

10. Be flexible- We are currently in a buyers market in Chicago so be willing to work with buyers to help your chances of making a quick sale. Offer to pay for closing costs or repairs, and be adaptable when it comes to showing your home and holding open houses. If you really need to sell your Chicago home, you need to accommodate buyers' busy schedules as well. This might mean opening your home on weeknights and weekends. Be flexible!

We hope these tips are helpful as you prepare to sell your Chicago home this fall!  If you have any questions about selling your home or are looking for a Chicago Real Estate agent to help guide you through the process; please contact us!

We would love to work with you to get your home sold!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff