Real Estate Advisor: April

Re-Painting? Know the Essentials

Painting interior walls is relatively easy and cheap way to transform the rooms of your home while protecting overall resale value. Aside from adding personality and drama, re-painting protects the surface from moisture and fading. Here are a few things to know before you start planning your DIY masterpiece.

Sheen/Luster – A paint’s “sheen” classifies its degree of shine. Flat paint is the dullest of the sheens and is best uses in low activity areas such as hallways and dining rooms, or on ceilings. Eggshell (sometimes “low-luster”) has more shine that flat and is easier to wash. Eggshell finishes are appropriate for bedrooms and living rooms. Semigloss and glossy sheens reflect light for a brighter look. Both are durable and easy to wash, although glossy sheens will highlight any imperfections on a wall or surface. Semigloss sheens finishes are good choices for bathrooms and kitchens, while glossy finishes are often reserved for trim, railings, cabinetry and doors.

Quality – While it may be tempting to save money by buying cheaper paint, you will likely end up paying for it in the long run. High quality paint has higher pigment levels and a higher percentage of titanium dioxide, which increases coverage ability and improves durability. Their heavier bodies will go on smoother with less splattering and fewer applications, and will resist fading over time.

Color – Darker hues are known to add interest or warmth to a room, while lighter colors can open up a room and make it seem more spacious. Painting one wall with a rich color can add new drama to the space. In terms of durability, colors such as white, brown tend to fade less than brighter greens, yellows and blues.

Testing – Paint chips and samples can help you whittle down color options, but the best test of a paint color is to see the hue on the intended surface during different lighting conditions. Purchase quart or sample sizes of your top paint choices to get the best feel for the paint’s affect on its surroundings.

Amount – 1 gallon of paint will typically cover 350 square feet of surface. Multiply the width of your walls by the height of the room to determine the total square footage you need to cover. Some manufacturers provide coverage calculators that will help you determine how many gallons of paint you will need.

Preparation – Paint adheres best to clean, uniform walls. Scrape clear any flaking paint and spackle in holes and cracks. Wash walls with a trisodium phosphate solution. Use plenty of painter’s tape on baseboards, moldings and windowpanes. Applying a primer will conceal stains and ensure uniform color and absorption.

Equipment – Latex paints are best used with nylon brushes (or rollers), while natural brushes 9or rollers) work best for oil-based paint. 3-4 inch wall brushes work well on large, flat surfaces. Angled sash brushes are ideal for detailed areas, and trim brushes are perfect for doors and window frames. Paint rollers work well on rough or textured surfaces. The rougher the surface, the longer the roller nap should be.

Prepping For a Last-Minute Showing

It’s nearly impossible to keep your home in a “show-ready” state day in and day out. In many cases you may find that your home will be shown to a prospective buyer with very little advance notice.

Even if you’re keeping things as clutter-free as possible, a little preparation for the actual showing is probably in order. Here are some short-term ways to get your home looking and feeling its best.

Step 1: Cleaning Frenzy

  • Scrub tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Thoroughly clean hardwood floors.
  • Vacuum carpets. If time permits, rent a steam cleaner to shampoo carpets, particularly in high traffic areas.
  • Dust all wood furniture, TV screens and computer monitors.
  • Clear counters of all clutter. If time permits, move unnecessary appliances and decorating touches into storage areas.
  • Clear the kitchen sink and counters of all dirty dishes.
  • Pick up all dirty laundry. Avoid over-filling any open air hampers – laundry is better kept out of sight inside your washer or dryer.
  • Remove stains from bathtubs, toilets and sinks.

Step 2: Critical Eye Test

  • After doing the first round of cleaning, take a walk through the house with the perspective of a buyer. Look for clutter, excess furniture or highly personal touches that might turn off prospective buyers.
  • Try taking pictures of main rooms with a digital camera for an “instant review”.

Step 3: Curb Appeal Checkup

  • Sweep the entryway, porch and walkways.
  • Mow and water the lawn.
  • Store any toys or garden equipment.
  • Clean up pet droppings.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Add potted plants to the porch or deck.

Step 4: Closing Touches

  • Turn on all lights.
  • Open drapes and blinds.
  • Open windows to let in fresh air.
  • Burn scented candles or open jars of lightly scented potpourri. If you don’t have either on hand, you can always bake cookies (the oldest trick in the book) or simmer a few drops of vanilla extract on the stove.
  • Turn off all TV’s, stereos and computers.
  • If possible, relocate pets to a friend or neighbor’s home during the showing.
  • Clean the litter box thoroughly to rid your home of smells. If pets can be temporarily relocated, remove the litter box entirely.
  • Hang fresh towels in every bathroom.
  • Put fresh liquid soap or bar soap in each bathroom.
  • Remove rugs to showcase hardwood floors.
  • Put out fresh flowers and fill candy dishes.

Eric P. Egeland, SFR, CDPE, e-PRO
Broker Associate
RE/MAX SUBURBAN
ChicagolandHomeSeller.com

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March Newsletter

March 2, 2010

Real Estate Advisor: March

Real Estate Terminology for First Timers

First time buyers face a learning curve that can feel overwhelming if the right level of support and education is not available. It’s not enough to merely educate one’s self on buying strategies, mortgage application, and closing process. Buyers must also navigate through a sea of unfamiliar legalese, home building lingo and real estate specific jargon.

The glossary below is by no means complete and is no substitute for the careful guidance of an experienced real estate agent, but it can serve as a good primer for consumers getting their feet wet in real estate for the first time.

Agency – The relationship of trust that exists between buyers or sellers and their agents. The agency is formed via a written contract.

Amortization – The process of paying the principal and the interest on a mortgage through regularly scheduled payments.

Appraised Value – A licensed appraiser’s opinion of the current market value of a property.

Assessed Value – A tax assessor’s determination of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base.

Breezeway – A roofed passage way with open sides.

Capital improvement – Any improvement that extends the life or increases the value of a piece of property.

Comparable sales – Recent sales of similar properties in nearby areas and used to help determine the market value of a property. Also referred to as “comps.”

Contingency – A provision of an agreement that keeps the agreement from being fully legally binding until a certain condition is met. One example is a buyer’s contractual right to obtain a professional home inspection before purchasing the home.

Dry Rot – Decay of seasoned wood caused by fungus.

Earnest Money Deposit – A deposit made by the potential home buyer as evidence of good faith that he or she is serious about buying the house.

Easement – A right or interest in the use of the land of another which entitles the holder to some use, privilege or benefit, such as to place power lines, pipe lines or roads.

Abbreviations in Listing Advertisements

The agent shorthand found in listing ads can baffle the average consumer. Below are some of the most common acronyms and abbreviations found on listings.

AGP – Above Ground Pool
ATT – Attached
CA, CAC –Central Air Conditioning
CH/BW – Chain Link/Barbed Wire
EIK – Eat-in-kitchen
FDR – Formal dining room
FP – Fireplace
FSBO – For Sale By Owner
Gar – Garage
HDW/HWF/Hdwd – Hardwood Floors
HVAC – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
IGP – In-ground pool
MLS – Multiple Listing Service
NC – New construction
PSF – Per Square Foot
SFD – Single Family Detached
Upr – Upper floor
w/d – washer/dryer
wic – walk-in-closet

Egress – The exit point from a property.

Escrow – An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the earnest money deposit is put into escrow until delivered to the seller when the transaction is closed.

Energy Star – A joint program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that sets energy efficiency guidelines for products, homes and businesses.

Equity – A homeowner’s financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage and other liens.

Fixtures – Those parts of a property affixed to structures or land, usually in such a manner that they cannot be independently moved without damage to themselves or the property housing supporting or pertinent to them. Fixtures are usually included in a sale and commonly include but are not limited to items such as carpets and awnings.

Full Disclosure – In real estate, revealing all the known facts which may affect the decision of a buyer or tenant. A broker must disclose identified defects in the property for sale or lease.

Green building – Also known as sustainable building or environmental building, this definition varies depending on the agency or group. Generally it means to construct a building to the highest environmental standards by minimizing the use of energy, water and materials. A green building, for example, might have skylights, recycled building materials and solar panels.

Ingress – The entry point to a property.

Lien – A legal claim against a property that must be paid off when the property is sold. A mortgage or first trust deed is considered a lien.

MLS (Multiple Listing Service) – An MLS is an organization that collects, compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sale by its members, who are real estate brokers. MLS’s are local or regional.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) – Mortgage insurance that is provided by a private mortgage insurance company to protect lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. Most lenders generally require PMI when the amount borrowed exceeds 80% of the purchase price or home’s value.

Plat – A plan, map or chart of a tract or town site dividing a parcel of land into lots.

Subdivision – An area of land laid out and separated into lots, blocks, and building sites, and in which public facilities such as streets, alleys, parks, and easements for public utilities are also planned.

Sweat equity – used to describe the contribution made to a project by people who contribute their time and effort.

Title – A legal document evidencing a person’s right to or ownership of a property.

Title company – A company that specializes in examining and insuring titles to real estate.

Eric P. Egeland, SFR, CDPE, e-PRO
Broker Associate
RE/MAX SUBURBAN
ChicagolandHomeSeller.com

What is foreclosure?

March 1, 2010

Foreclosure is a process that allows a lender to recover the amount owed on a defaulted loan by selling or taking ownership (repossession) of the property securing the loan. The foreclosure process begins when a borrower/owner defaults on loan payments and the lender files a public default notice or a lis pendens (Latin for “lawsuit pending”) – depending on the state. The default notice is a public record, and for buyers it’s the first step in locating a property in foreclosure.

The foreclosure process can end one of four ways:
1. The borrower/owner pays off the default amount to reinstate the loan during a grace period known as pre-foreclosure.
2. The borrower/owner sells the property to a third party during pre-foreclosure, allowing the borrower/owner to pay off the loan and avoid having a foreclosure on his or her credit history.
3. A third party buys the property at a public auction at the end of the pre-foreclosure period.
4. The lender takes ownership of the property, usually with the intent to re-sell. The lender can take ownership through an agreement with the borrower/owner during pre-foreclosure or by buying back the property at the public auction.

Eric P. Egeland, SFR, CDPE, e-PRO
Broker Associate
RE/MAX SUBURBAN
NorthShoreREO.com