Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chicagoans. Good news. Carpe Diem. Great time to buy!

Case-Shiller Index Posts Second Straight Increase

For the second month since recording an official double-dip in home prices, the S&P/Case-Shiller index has posted an uptick.

Data released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s shows that 16 of the 20 metros included in the study and both composites reported positive monthly increases.
The 10- and 20-city composites were up 1.1 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, in May over April.
Detroit, Las Vegas, and Tampa were down over the month and Phoenix was unchanged.
On an annual basis, Washington D.C. was the only metro with a positive rate of change, up 1.3 percent.
The remaining 19 metros were down in May 2011 versus the same month last year. Minneapolis fared the worst posting a double-digit decline of 11.7 percent.
The 10-city and 20-city composites recorded annual declines of 3.6 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, when compared to May 2010. (Last year’s spring season had the benefit of federal homebuyer tax credits which served to boost activity.)
Still, David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for S&P, says he’s seeing some seasonal improvements in May’s data.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Feng Shui your home with Plant Energy!

B Uplifted with Plant Energy

Plants have an uplifting affect, raising the energy in stagnant spots and corners.  The best plants to use are upward-growing with rounded leaves.  Cacti and plants with spiky stiff leaves are less positive.  Dead plants, dried flowers, and potpourri have dead energy and should be thrown away.
To increase Energy flow, place plants in the following areas:
  • On your desk or next to your computer
  • In a bathroom to increase healthy energy
  • Staggering plants down a hallway can slow down energy
  • Soften corners with floor plants
Here are some examples of house plants that require low light:
Peace Lily, Camille Dieffenbachia, Ficus, and Rubber tree
Peace lily plant Camille dieffenbachia

 Pothos Rubber plant
These plants require medium light: Jade, Croton, Fiddle leaf fig, Philodendron
Jade plant Croton Fiddle leaf fig Philodendron
High light plants: Weeping Fig, Zebra plant, Orchids
 Weeping fig Zebra plant Orchid

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Choosing the Best Offer

Choosing the Best Offer

You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.
1. Understand the process
All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

2. Set baselines
Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a prequalified or cash buyer.

3. Create an offer review process
If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

4. Don’t take offers personally
Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

5. Review every term
Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures—such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments—to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?
Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the downpayment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.
Have the buyers attached a prequalification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?
Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?
With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

6. Be creative
If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.