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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STAY ORGANIZED AND CLUTTER-FREE

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Decluttering is not just something to do when you’re ready to move; it’s a process that will help you create more space and get organized. In short, you’ll simplify your life.

This month’s information intends to help you take control of your stuff, eliminate what you don’t need or use and appreciate the items you use and enjoy. While page one outlines the five‐ bin approach to clearing the clutter, page two offers useful tips to help you organize each room of your home. It also offers suggestions to help you sort through items that carry sentimental value.

When you reclaim your spaces from clutter, you may find you have more room than before. However, if you’re thinking of upgrading to a larger home, give me a call. I’m happy to help you find a home that meets your needs.

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THINKING OF RENOVATING?

Although many homeowners take on small renovation projects themselves, they often hire contractors to work on larger projects, including kitchen or bathroom overhauls and home additions. Regardless of the project, finding the right person for the job can be a challenge.

This month’s includes tips to help you hire the right contractor for your next home renovation project. In addition to offering tips intended to help you narrow down your list of contractors, the piece also provides several questions to ask the contractors you’re considering as well as the crucial details that should be included on the agreement with your selected contractor. Although the piece focuses on hiring a contractor, the tips provide a basic outline of things to consider if you’re hiring any type of building professional or tradesperson for a home project.

If you’re considering a home renovation, give me a call. I can refer you to reputable contractors and tradespeople in our local area or advise you on renovations that may increase your home’s value.

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BOOST YOUR CREDIT THIS YEAR

Good credit pays off. Even if you’re not planning to borrow money to make a large purchase, good credit may qualify you for better insurance rates, help you avoid paying security deposits when you sign up for new cell phone service or even help you negotiate a better rate on a vacation rental.

This month’s information not only outlines some of the benefits of great credit, it also provides ways to improve it. Page one delves into eight benefits of having good credit, from qualifying for lower interest rates on loans and credit cards to improving your chances of getting a great job. Page two provides five tips to help you improve your credit score. If your credit is already great, the tips will help you ensure it remains high.

If your credit is already stellar, feel free to pass this information along to someone else who may benefit. This information is intended to help make financial goals more achievable.

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TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF TAX TIME THIS YEAR

Albert Einstein once said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.” Luckily, tax preparers and DIY tax software take much of the mystery out of the process. Whether you prepare your taxes yourself or send them to a professional, it’s still important to collect and sort your information, including any changes in status or economics that occurred during the year.

The information for this month is intended to prepare you for tax time. Page one provides a list of financial details you may need to gather ahead of time to make the process easier,  as well as some tips to help you get your refund faster. Page two outlines steps to take to help you protect your identity from thieves who wish to gain access to your information.

Tax season doesn’t have to be stressful. With a bit of preparation, the process becomes a breeze.

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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.

MARKET INSIGHTS 2018

What’s in store for the Housing Market in 2018?

What will the year hold for the real estate market? Will the market favor buyers or sellers? Will home prices continue to rise?

While it’s impossible to predict the future, experts rely on current market trends to forecast what may happen this year, if present trends continue. Let’s start the year with information that outlines several predictions experts have made about the national housing market in 2018, as well as a few predictions about mortgages. How do these trends stack up to trends we’ve seen in our local housing market? Give us a call and we’ll give you the scoop! The information also delves into three reasons why learning about the market is important, even if you don’t plan to buy or sell this year.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, or you just want to know more information about our local market, give us a call!

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TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF HOLIDAY TRAVEL/TRAVELERS

The holidays are a special time of year to spend with friends and loved ones. Holidays are also the busiest travel times, which can make getting to your destination stressful. However, there are things you can do to make it easier.

The information for this month is intended to take the stress out of traveling during this season. Whether your trip is already planned or you’re searching for last-minute deals, this piece offers tips to help you reduce the stress of flying or driving. Additionally, I share important advice on how to stay healthy and how to ease traveling with small children or pets.

Don’t let the stress of traveling, or hosting travelers, dim your holiday spirit; follow these tips and you’ll arrive at your destination happy, healthy and ready to celebrate with your loved ones.

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Hosting holiday guests can be as stressful as traveling…

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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