BENEFITS OF REDUCED DEBT

Interested in reducing debt? You’re not alone.

According to recent studies, reducing debt is a goal for many Americans, regardless of how much they owe. Paying down debt not only makes good financial sense; it can have a wider impact as well.

The information this month outlines seven reasons to reduce debt. The reasons range from the reduction of your monthly expenses and improving your long-term financial security to minimizing stress and modeling good financial habits for children and others seeking debt-free lives. If you’re already debt-free, the piece will reinforce the tremendous benefits of maintaining your lifestyle. If you’d like to reach zero debt, page two provides several tips to help you on your journey toward your goal.

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HOW DO YOU SECURE YOUR INFORMATION FOLLOWING THEFT?

As more people rely on the internet to shop, bank, file taxes and more, thieves are finding more ways to steal personal information. While many people take the necessary precautions to keep their details safe, thieves may still be able to attain personal information by hacking into the systems of larger businesses. How can you make sure you’re secure and what steps can you take if your information is stolen?

This month, I’m digging deeper into the topic of identity theft, specifically discussing the rise of data breaches. Sometimes, despite your best efforts to protect your identity, you may still be compromised—as the 143 million people impacted by the Equifax data breach learned. Page one outlines what to do if you learn you’re the victim of a data breach, from monitoring your credit reports and accounts to placing fraud alerts and freezes on your credit file to prevent thieves from using what was stolen. Page two outlines the specific steps to take if your banking and credit card information or driver’s license information has been stolen.

Although the thought of a thief having access to your online identity is frightening, this piece is intended to empower you to take control should you ever find yourself in the position where your information has been compromised.

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Our tech gadgets have made paying bills, managing finances and online purchasing easier but increases the chance that a thief may steal our information without our knowledge.

LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Laura and Gene called in September and asked me to sell their bungalow house in Portage Park. They owned the home for 10 years. Laura received a great job offer in Portland that will fulfill their long-awaited dream to move to the west coast where Gene sees many opportunities to build his business. I met with them two months ago to talk about selling. At the time, they expressed concern about a low appraisal value, from a couple years ago, at a value that wouldn’t bring them enough to settle their loan. After walking through their home and researching the current market, I made recommendations that would easily reconfigure the space, such as doing some painting and updating their bathroom, that would likely bring them more value.

They mentioned they were hoping to buy in Portland but weren’t sure how to pull that of long distance. I mapped out a strategy and timeline for selling and buying long distance. I researched and found them a great realtor that I trust who is with Keller Williams in Portland.

We put their home on market and scheduled an open house for the weekend they were planning on a home buying trip. They were delighted when I brought them two offers within a week. Their Portland realtor kept looking for a home for them and found one that they loved. She sent them a video and them made an offer.

I met the appraiser in Chicago, gave him the comparable sales with lost of details on all the improvements they made over the years, and happily the home did appraise out at the sale price. They closed earlier this week and are moving into their new home on Thursday. Life begins when they stepped outside their comfort zone.

Maggie Finegan, Move with Maggie, making your dreams a reality.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE NEARLY HERE…

It’s almost time to celebrate the spirit of the season with parties and get-togethers to reconnect with our families and friends, especially those who live far away.

The information for this month will help you throw the perfect holiday party without breaking the bank. You’ll find several tips to help make the planning process fun, stress-free and budget friendly, from prioritizing where you’d like to spend most of your dollars to ordering food and coordinating entertainment your guests will love. Whether you’ve been planning your holiday party for months or you’ve just decided to throw one, you’ll find this information valuable.

I want to take a minute to thank you for your business. Your business and referrals drive my business and make it successful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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THE BUYING PROCESS

Thinking of buying a home? Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re a first-time buyer or if it’s been a few years since you’ve purchased a home, you may wonder what to expect during the homebuying process.

The information we have this month will give you the scoop on what to expect at every major step of the way, from home search to closing. The piece is intended to help you understand the process, think about what you want in a home, prepare for financing and answer some of the questions you may have. While every transaction is different, the steps outlined are typical in most transactions.

If you or someone you know is ready to buy, give us a call! We’ll be happy to walk you through the process and help you find the right home for your needs.

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HOME SELLING 101

For many people, especially first-time sellers, the selling process may seem intimidating because they’re not sure what to expect. A sure way to ease any anxiety you may feel is to learn more about the process.

This month’s information provides an outline of what to expect during the selling process. From getting your home ready for its market debut to handling offers and the closing process, this piece helps you understand what may happen and offers tips to get your home ready. While the specifics of your sale may be different, the steps listed consistently occur in the majority of transactions.

When you’re ready to list your home, we’ll be there every step of the way to explain the process. Give us a call today to get the scoop on the selling process!

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APPRAISERS AND SELLERS REALLY NEED OUR HELP!

We are happy to be closing this afternoon on the sale of a 2 bedroom condo in West Rogers Park, in spite of inaccurate Zillow estimates and misleading MLS data.  More and more I see how the role of a real estate agent is to advocate for a client’s property and their needs.

When I met with the sellers in June to talk about selling, they told me they really need to move to get their son in a high ranked High School, as he is an honor student. They shared that they weren’t sure they could sell the home, based on what they were seeing as values on Zillow.

I showed them the comparable sales and they could see that Zillow wasn’t accurate.

We priced the home correctly and had an offer within 2 weeks.

The buyer’s agent making the offer tried to justify the low offer, saying it wouldn’t appraise out. I reviewed our comparables with her.  We negotiated and the buyer ended up agreeing on a price that was much higher than she initially offered.

I met with the appraiser 10 days ago and shared my comparables.  He commented that several of mine were superior to the condo, and shared his assumptions, that were based on MLS data. I let him know about the inaccuracies in the MLS listing. One comparable showed it had an owned parking space but in fact there is no parking in the building and is instead rented next door.

Another comp said they had a swimming pool when in reality it was more like a grotto/wading pool.  I had several comps that were higher than the appraiser’s and he wanted to discount them saying they were east of Ridge.  I let him know that the condos are in an area with schools and parks that are inferior to our location.  I made sure he fully understood the value of my client’s condo, its location, its schools, park, and safety.

The appraisal came back at the sale price of the condo, and so we are closing today. Now the sellers are very excited to work with us to start looking for a home in Taft HS district.

Helping our Buyers, Sellers and Investors Make their best real estate Move with Maggie!

THE EASIEST WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME ON A BUDGET

$100 IN THE CAN IS WORTH $1,000 ON YOUR WALL

For less than $100, a can of paint and some basic supplies can totally transform a room in your home—and might even result in a new attitude.

Unfortunately, many do-it-yourselfers find it intimidating to select a new paint color. This month’s resource offers advice for choosing the perfect hue as well as the appropriate finish for your particular project. It also includes a number of helpful tips for getting the job done right.

Better yet, that $100 investment will most likely deliver a generous return if you decide to sell. Please call if you would like a referral to reputable paint contractor or a design consultant who would be happy to help you renew your décor and possibly even your frame of mind!

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THESE 7 FEATURES MAY SELL YOUR HOME FASTER

Are you thinking of listing your home this spring? You may be wondering what you can do to make your home more attractive and allow it to stand out from other similar homes in your market.

This month’s information is about the seven features that may help your home sell faster. From energy-efficient windows and appliances to hardwood floors, these are the most popular features buyers look for when searching for homes. The second page outlines other features that help your home stand out, from updated kitchens and bathrooms to home offices.

If your home has these features, we’ll be sure to highlight them if you decide to list. If not, and you want to renovate to add them, give me a call and I’ll connect you with a great contractor in my network. Also, if you’re thinking of listing your home in the coming months, I’d love to discuss the market with you. Give me a call and I’ll give you a comparative market analysis of your home and answer any questions you may have.

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How to Pay for Your Home Renovation

IRVING PARK SINGLE FAMILY HOMES MARKET REPORT

Irving Park Single Family HomeIRVING PARK MARKET REPORT as of April, 2016

RECENT MARKET CHANGES
The market is shifting in Irving Park. According to Midwest Real Estate Data, the average sales price of 4 bedroom, 4 bath homes in Irving Park is $610,000. There are many more rehabbed homes coming on the market this year, including two new or rehabbed homes just put on the market in the mid to upper $500K ranges.

The overall observations and feedback from recent showings and open houses in the neighborhood.

Competition: Very recently buyers are seeing more new or newly rehabbed homes for sale, and we are seeing price reductions on those homes. While these homes may be slightly smaller or on smaller lots, they do offer the most current features and finishes. This goes beyond paint color, into cabinetry, amenities such a master baths with dual sinks and separate whirlpool tubs in addition to showers. Buyers viewing these homes begin to develop a taste and preference, and it may become their new standard. Here is a recent home for sale in the neighborhood.

A recent article in Illinois Association of Realtors quotes a 2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, stating that Millenials prefer modern or farmhouse styles, while boomers prefer traditional. Both groups prefer white cabinets, grey walls and stainless appliances.

Closed Properties: In studying those homes most recently under contract or closed, the trend is for buyers to choose homes that although slightly smaller than the subject property, rehabbed with new front elevations/porches, and current amenities and features, as well as finishes and color schemes in white, grey and blue. Common elements are expanded master baths as well as stainless appliance kitchens with glass tile or subway tile back splashes, some with high end appliances, and white cabinetry as the new norms.