Spring Cleaning in Champaign County

Spring has sprung in Champaign County.  Home owners’ are working out in their yards and the flowers are blooming and beautiful.  Buyers are anxious to get their home search underway and are out and about in full force.  The real estate market has taken off and is off to a strong start, and our office is abuzz as the start of spring also means we are getting closer to RED Day. 

Our 4th annual RED Day will be on Thursday, May 10, 2012, and we will be working with Developmental Services Center (DSC) to make improvements on their building at 3102 Clark Road in Champaign.  Projects will include landscaping, clean-up, painting, new signage and redecorating.  We are inviting the community to help. 

How can you help?

*Donate your time to help us with the projects for DCS

*Donate Materials

*Donate to KW CHAMPAIGN CARES for DSC and become a RED DAY IN- KIND SPONSOR

Please contact Gallivan & Associates for more information about how you and your family or business can join in at info@barbgallivan.com or 217-239-7210.

We believe in giving back to organizations that do so much in Champaign-Urbana. The Developmental Services Center’s mission is to “…enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing services and supports which enable them to live, work, learn and participate in their communities”.  For more information about DSC, please click on the following link – http://www.dsc-illinois.org.

 

RED Day (Renew, Energize and Donate) is a celebration of Keller Williams Realty’s year-round commitment to improving our local communities. Each year on the second Thursday in May, tens of thousands of associates, staff and their families from across the U.S. and Canada participate in a wide range of projects, devoting time to renewing and energizing aspects of the neighborhoods in which we serve.  Recognizing her leadership in guiding the culture of our company, RED Day is held in honor of Mo Anderson, vice chairman of the board, at Keller Williams Realty.

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Why You Should Use a Realtor When Buying a FSBO

You’ve decided to buy a home in Champaign County and you just started working with a realtor. You’ve seen a few homes and you aren’t finding exactly what you want. You decided to drive around town on a Sunday afternoon to see if you can find some homes you might have missed, and you come across a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) property that looks perfect. Now what?
Can I still have a realtor involved in the transaction? Absolutely! Contact your realtor and ask them to initiate the conversation and set up the appointment to see the home. Why? There is so much more to the home buying process than finding the home. By utilizing a realtor, you have the representation, the resources and expertise you need to get the home you really want.
By hiring a realtor, you are hiring someone to represent you in the transaction and advocate for YOUR best interests. They can help you figure out what all of your options are, and they can guide you every step of the way through each step of the home buying process.
Many of the folks who bought FSBOs a few years ago are the ones who have been hurt the most in this market. Many paid too much and didn’t have a home inspection at the time, and they are in a bad position now while trying to sell their home. A realtor has access to market information that is not readily available or accessible to the general public. When it comes time to make an offer, we have market history and sold comparables to review to develop a strong pricing and negotiating strategy. Did you know that there are over 17 people involved in a real estate transaction? Realtors also have access to a network of resources and professionals such as lenders, attorneys, home inspectors, radon mitigators, etc… who have consistently done a great job for our clients.
A realtor has the know-how and expertise to get the job done. Can a person buy a home without a realtor? Sure, but why would you? How do you handle an inspection negotiation? What do you do if a home doesn’t appraise? Who do you call if you need estimates or to do repair work in a tight timeframe? What happens if termites are found?
Just as you are an expert in the work you do every day, guiding people in buying and selling homes is what WE do day in and day out. Let us help you not only find a great house, but coordinate all of the behind the scenes efforts so you end up closing and getting the keys for the home of your dreams for a great price, in the time frame you desire and with the least amount of hassles

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Why You Should Use a Realtor With FSBO’s

You’ve decided to buy a home in Champaign County and you just started working with a realtor. You’ve seen a few homes and you aren’t finding exactly what you want. You decided to drive around town on a Sunday afternoon to see if you can find some homes you might have missed, and you come across a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) property that looks perfect. Now what?
Can I still have a realtor involved in the transaction? Absolutely! Contact your realtor and ask them to initiate the conversation and set up the appointment to see the home. Why? There is so much more to the home buying process than finding the home. By utilizing a realtor, you have the representation, the resources and expertise you need to get the home you really want.
By hiring a realtor, you are hiring someone to represent you in the transaction and advocate for YOUR best interests. They can help you figure out what all of your options are, and they can guide you every step of the way through each step of the home buying process.
Many of the folks who bought FSBOs a few years ago are the ones who have been hurt the most in this market. Many paid too much and didn’t have a home inspection at the time, and they are in a bad position now while trying to sell their home. A realtor has access to market information that is not readily available or accessible to the general public. When it comes time to make an offer, we have market history and sold comparables to review to develop a strong pricing and negotiating strategy. Did you know that there are over 17 people involved in a real estate transaction? Realtors also have access to a network of resources and professionals such as lenders, attorneys, home inspectors, radon mitigators, etc… who have consistently done a great job for our clients.
A realtor has the know-how and expertise to get the job done. Can a person buy a home without a realtor? Sure, but why would you? How do you handle an inspection negotiation? What do you do if a home doesn’t appraise? Who do you call if you need estimates or to do repair work in a tight timeframe? What happens if termites are found?
Just as you are an expert in the work you do every day, guiding people in buying and selling homes is what WE do day in and day out. Let us help you not only find a great house, but coordinate all of the behind the scenes efforts so you end up closing and getting the keys for the home of your dreams for a great price, in the time frame you desire and with the least amount of hassles

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Two Main Reasons Why Your Home Didn’t Sell

You may have had your home on the market before, and it didn’t sell. Below are two main reasons why and a few tips to help you sell your home.

Your Home Was Not Accurately Priced. It’s true that some properties are harder to price than others. However, getting the price right from the beginning is critical, because You don’t want to chase the market, you want to be in the market. Well priced homes sell sooner, and the sooner your home sells, the more money in your pocket.
The National Association of Realtors state that:

If you are not getting any showings, you are probably 10%-12% off on your price.
If you are getting a low number of showings, the price is probably off by 6% to 12% .
If you are getting showings but no offers, you are 4% to 6% off.

In today’s market, you need to be priced BELOW fair market value in order to generate interest. There are so many homes you are competing with right now, that you need your home to stand out from the crowd. Price competitively, create excitement, generate multiple offers and sell over list price!! That’s creating a sellers market within a buyer’s market!! The end result is what you are looking for, you get your home sold.

Lack of Staging. Staging and decorating are two completely different things. Your goals in staging are to outshine the competition, appeal to the masses and allow the buyers to envision themselves living in the space. Decorating your home is personal to you and your taste.
Here are a few simple tips for staging:

De-cluttering is the first step. Most people are emotionally attached to their homes because of all the fond memories and are usually unable to make an objective decision about which items should remain and which items will need to be boxed up and stored.
Furniture placement is critical as well. It is important to make sure larger pieces aren’t impeding the view into a room and that furniture is placed in a way that makes it easy to get around.
Personal pictures should be removed so that the buyer can imagine their family living in the house. It also helps keep buyers on task while they are in your home, instead of trying to figure out if they know any people in the pictures.
Organize closets and the pantry. Buyers feel that a well organized home equates to a well maintained home.
So how does your house measure up? To sum it up, our current market is a pricing war and a beauty contest. Remember, you only have one chance to make that first impression.

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Mortgage Lending in Champaign County 2012

re you wondering what’s new and exciting in the world of Mortgage lending?  Well, I never expected to STILL be in the refinance frenzy – but we are.  I remember the exact day that rates first plummeted – at least this round.  Believe it or not, it was late 2008.  We were thrilled with rates below 5.0%, now we are ecstatic, enjoying rates below 4.0%!  I’m asked daily (sometimes hourly) what is my rate prediction?  My standard answer, “rates are likely to change”.

 

As far as the Purchase side of lending (certainly my favorite), there has NEVER been a better time to buy.  I know you’ve heard that time and time again, it’s really not a marketing ploy – it’s the truth.  Why you ask?  Well certainly rates are the biggest factor.  It increases your buying power, allowing you to buy more house for your money.  Another factor is the number of houses currently on the market.  It’s a Buyer’s smorgasbord!  Lastly, loan programs to help with the downpayment.  Most of these are reserved for first-time homebuyers, but certainly not all of them.  Have you heard about the IHDA Home for Heroes? A $10,000 (yes $10,000) Grant for Veterans, Reservist, and Illinois National Guard.  How about Illinois League?  ANOTHER $6000.  How about IHDA?  3% of the purchase price.  I could go on and on.  I love to layer them, taking advantage of as many as you qualify for.  In some cases, enough Grant money to have a 20% downpayment.

 

Lastly, I want to touch on something I hear regularly, and that is that mortgage lending guidelines have tightened up so much it’s impossible to get a loan.  Couldn’t be further from the truth.  After 23 years of mortgage lending experience, I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum.  In the early days (late 80’s early 90’s) I’ll admit the mortgage loan process was quite cumbersome.  Somewhere around 1994, it seemed if you could hold a pencil, SOMEONE/SOMEWHERE would give you money to buy a house.  By the way, I am thankful I never participated in those “liar loans”, that has devastated the housing market.  So, where are we at today?  Back to common sense Underwriting, that’s where.  EXACTLY where we should be (in my opinion).  It’s back to the basics.  You need a job to buy a house.  You need to make enough money to support your payments.  You need to demonstrate your ability and willingness to pay your bills.  It’s really THAT simple.  And quite frankly it should be.

 

So really, what ARE you waiting for?  A pre-qualification is free and non-obligating.  Why not see what you can do?  My one piece of advice is to work with a local lender that offers a variety of loan programs, and has access to the Grant programs, and a Loan Officer who has experience.  This is probably your biggest purchase yet, it’s comforting to have a good Lender hold your hand through the process!

Teena Taylor, Busey Bank

teena.taylor@busey.com

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STRADDLING THE FENCE ABOUT BUYING A HOME IN CHAMPAIGN COUNTY?

Many potential buyers have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the housing market to bottom.  It’s impossible to time the market and know when bottom has hit until the market starts going back up.  If you’ve been waiting it out, why not start putting the pieces in place to take advantage of the most affordable housing market in history.  Where to start?  How about meeting with two no-obligation resources – a local lender and real estate agent?

How can a lender help?  Meeting with a lender can help you figure out a price range that is comfortable for you.  They can look at your credit score and determine what your interest rate would be, and they can introduce you to various loan and if applicable, grant assistance programs and run numbers on the multiple programs to see what the best financing options would be for you.   

How can a realtor help?  A realtor can explain how the home buying process works in the Champaign County area.  They can also analyze your wants and needs in a home and show you properties that meet your criteria so you can see what your housing options are based on what is financially comfortable for you. 

When you meet a lender and a realtor, you are under no obligation to buy anything.  What you are doing is gathering essential information and putting yourself in the best possible position to take advantage of what our current housing market has to offer.

For more information or for a list of lenders who have done a great job for our clients, please contact Gallivan & Associates at info@barbgallivan.com or call 217-239-7210.

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Having Fun and Giving Back in Champaign County

Keller Williams Realty is set to host Cash Bash 2011 to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization dedicated to helping injured soldiers and veterans adjust and prepare themselves for life after the service. The event will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2011, from 6-10:00 p.m. at the VFW Champaign (609 Edgebrook – off Bloomington Road), and the goal is to raise more than $10,000 for the organization. Sgt. Garrett Anderson will be in attendance to talk about his first-hand experience with the Wounded Warrior Project after he sustained numerous injuries in a roadside bomb explosion while serving in Iraq.

Tickets are $100 each (one ticket admits 2 people) and includes dinner and drinks for the evening. You must be 21 year old to enter, and ticket holders do not need to be present to win. There will be a lot of chances to win:

· 50/50 Drawings

· Every 10 tickets drawn will win $100

· Every 50 tickets drawn will win $500

· Grand Prize is $4,000

To get your tickets, contact Gallivan and Associates, at info@barbgallivan.com or call 239-7210.

For more information about the event and the Wounded Warrior Project, please check out the following links:

News Gazette Article – http://www.news-gazette.com/news/politics-and-government/2011-10-14/anderson-speak-wounded-warriors-fundraiser.html

WCIA Channel 3 Interview – http://illinoishomepage.net/fulltext/?nxd_id=298427

Wounded Warrior Project Website – http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

We look forward to seeing you at Cash Bash 2011! It will be a great night for a great organization!

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