Frankfort, IL Real Estate News

By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
  Property taxes can be a major expense for investors, but understanding how this tax works could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. The first thing to learn about property tax is that property is divided into two categories: real and personal. Real property includes land, buildings and permanent property attached to land— such as a well. Personal property is everything else, including clothes, books, electronics, furniture and financial holdings. Personal property is further divided into either tangible property or intangible property. Tangible property is anything you can touch, such as a sofa or a blender and intangible property includes abstract possessions like stocks, bonds and patents. Methods for calculating property tax vary from city to city. Smaller cities send a...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
“The 5″ First Time Home Buyer Mistakes…Ouch! 4 Comments   Listen up my first timers!  Now that I have informed you of these “5″ mistakes, let’s try to avoid them shall we .  According to our beloved National Association of Realtors, you first timers made up almost 40% of all purchases in 2010!  This is why I have gone to such lengths to educate and advocate for my buyer clients…because so many of you are at your first rodeo.  Due to your general inexperience and lack of knowledge of, not just the process, but the HOW and WHY to buy, I work hard to ensure that you don’t get burned.  Without further adieu then: Whoa, It Costs How Much To Own a Home?The time and costs associated with the upkeep of a home you own is not comparable, at all, to what you were used to when you rented.  You must...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
Here are some firewood tips to consider as you begin stockpiling wood for your fireplace or stove this heating season: To help avoid insect or pests, never store firewood on the ground or touching your house. Burn only dry, seasoned and clean natural wood. Wood should be cut, split and stacked in a covered area for about six months before burning. Well-seasoned logs will seem lighter in weight and have dark cut ends with cracks or splits. Some of the wood with the most heat value includes American beech, apple, ironwood, red oak, shagbark hickory, sugar maple, white ash, white oak, and yellow birch. Wood is often sold by the cord or 1/2 cord. A cord of wood is a pile of logs 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long and weighs about 2 tons. Don’t buy more than you can store and use for ...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
FALL MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST   Regularly checking your home for maintenance needs throughout the year is the best way to keep your home safe and prevent the need for costly emergency repairs. But fall is one time of year when a thorough systematic inspection is really needed to make sure your home is weathertight and ready to withstand the cold and storms through the winter months. Here is a brief checklist to guide you through some basic tasks before it is too late to properly and effectively perform repairs: GROUNDS Check window wells, dry wells and storm drains for debris or blockage. Repair any driveway cracks and/or heaved or settled walkways. Trim all trees and shrubs, particularly any too close to the house. Check (ideally during a rainstorm) that all rainwater drains away from th...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
(ARA) - Maintaining a healthy home is critical for your family's welfare - especially now as the weather cools and you begin to spend more time indoors. Applying a few simple solutions now will ensure your indoor living environment is safe and healthy for seasons to come. Reduce toxins Less desirable weather may make fall and winter seem like an ideal time to tackle your indoor painting projects. However, you need to be mindful of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in many interior paints and finishes. VOCs are one of the biggest threats to indoor air quality; they include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have both short- and long-term health effects. For indoor jobs, select paint with low or no VOCs to keep your air fresher. Additionally, some houseplants such as ivy ...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
  September 2011 | By Melissa Dittmann Tracey   Buyers want it all. They want a home warranty, closing costs covered, and maybe even the big-screen TV and some of the furniture. Oh, and they also want $20,000 — probably more — shaved off the asking price. And sellers are mad, feeling trapped and wondering how much more they have to give up to seal a deal. Sound familiar? Negotiations nowadays can be tense. And trying to reach a deal that can keep both sides happy is getting tougher. One of every six real estate professionals reported in June having signed contracts canceled before closing, according to the National Associa...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
The Internal Revenue Service has some important information to share with individuals who have sold or are about to sell their home. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may qualify to exclude all or part of that gain from your income. Here are ten tips from the IRS to keep in mind when selling your home. In general, you are eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases). You are not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period ...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
For what the typical family wastes every year on air leaks--about $350--you can plug energy-robbing gaps, start saving money, and enjoy a more comfortable home. 1. Insulate around recessed lights Most recessed lights have vents that open into the attic, a direct route for heated or cooled air to escape. When you consider that many homes have 30 or 40 of these fixtures, it's easy to see why researchers at the Pennsylvania Housing Research/Resource Center pinpointed them as a leading cause of household air leaks. Lights labeled ICAT, for "insulation contact and air tight," are already sealed; look for the label next to the bulb. If you don't see it, assume yours leaks. An airtight baffle ($8-$30 at the home center) is a quick fix. Remove the bulb, push the baffle up into the housing, then...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
Even though it costs about one-third to one-fourth less to save a kilowatt hour through conservation than it does to build, fuel, and operate a new power plant, utilities resisted conservation programs for years, says Martin Kushler, senior fellow with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Instead, they opted to finance new plants over the long term and pass along the costs to all of us as higher rates—until regulators stepped in. What energy rebates are available through your utility? Some are small—say, a $20 rebate after you purchase a programmable thermostat. Others range into the thousands of dollars, especially for expensive items such as solar panels. A few examples of home improvements that can qualify for energy rebates from utilities: Installing Energy ...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
Put lamps in the corners: Did you know you can switch to a lower wattage bulb in a lamp or lower its dimmer switch and not lose a noticeable amount of light? It’s all about placement. When a lamp is placed in a corner, the light reflects off the adjoining walls, which makes the room lighter and brighter. Switch to a laptop: If you’re reading this article on a laptop, you’re using 1/3 less energy than if you’re reading this on a desktop. Choose an LCD TV: If you’re among those considering a flat-screen upgrade from your conventional, CRT TV, choose an LCD screen for the biggest energy save. Give your water heater a blanket: Just like you pile on extra layers in the winter, your hot water heater can use some extra insulation too. A fiberglass insulation blanket is a simple addition that c...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
Owning a home is a part of the American dream, but how do you know when that dream is attainable? Although there are many important steps towards purchasing a house, there are a few necessary ones that should be taken before the house hunting even begins, to help the process go smoothly. Here are a few tips to preparing yourself for a home purchase. 1. Get Your Finances in OrderWithout the proper financial standing, your dream home could remain imaginary. Get to know your credit score and make sure it’s in good shape. If it’s not, repair any damage that you can. The better your credit score, the easier it is to get a loan for a home. Also, make sure you have enough money set aside, for not only a down payment, but for any fees or other unexpected expenses that will come along before clo...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
We, most of us, live in our homes a lot differently than we would show our home. Sure, I’d like to have my home in show condition all the time, however, reality steps in. I have a busy schedule, a hubby, three children, three hair shedding furry children I don’t want to live without, and a full time (plus) career I love. I get it. It’s hard work keeping a home in show condition 24/7. Here are 3 things to remember that may ease the stress:1.     It’s only temporary. Good condition (or better) reduces days on the market.2.     More money in your pocket. Good condition makes your negotiating stronger. If the house doesn’t need paint, the offer should not reflect the cost of paint and even a professional painter.3.     Increases your potential come time for an appraisal. Appraisal is a big ...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
Add a little payment to principal. Use mortgage calculators to see how adding a little extra payment to your principal--even $100--can shorten the length of your loan and reduce the amount of interest you'll pay on it. Tracy Piercy, CEO of MoneyMinding.com, says home owners can just round their monthly payments up (e.g. $644 to $650) to find savings too--just an extra $6 per month on a $200,000, 30-year loan can save you four payments at the end of your mortgage loan. Refinance. Interest rates are low and you can often can get an even better rate if you refinance into a shorter loan term. For example, 15-year loans are a popular refinancing choice. You'll have higher payments, but you'll be paying less overall interest. Or if you don't want to commit to the higher payments, take out a 3...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
If you moved due to a change in your job or business location, or because you started a new job or business, you may be able to deduct your reasonable moving expenses but not any expenses for meals. To qualify for the moving expense deduction, you must satisfy two tests. Under the first test, the "distance test", your new workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job location was from your old home. If you had no previous workplace, your new job location must be at least 50 miles from your old home. The second test is the "time test". If you are an employee, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months immediately following your arrival in the general area of your new job location. If you are self-employed, you must work ful...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
A good public school system can be an important consideration for home buyers, even if you don't have school-aged children. That's because good schools can enhance the resale value of your home and make it more attractive to a broader pool of buyers and tenants. To conduct your own comparisons, go to School Match, which offers school research and data consulting services. Here you'll find test scores, student-teacher ratios, spending and education levels for residents, and more.School Match provides verified school data, as opposed to self-reported data, which can lead to various misinterpretations. Data that has been independently verified allows you to make better school district comparisons before you move. 
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
1. Use a family plan. You may want to find some "family" to add to your smartphone plan to start trimming your bill. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, as well as other carriers offer family plans that aren't just limited to those in your family. You can essentially add anyone to your "family" and still take advantage of the savings. Here's the potential savings by bulking your plan: AT&T smartphone individual plans (which include voice, unlimited messaging and data) start at about $75 per month. A family plan that covers three users for similar features costs $145 a month--about $48 per person. A family of five? The monthly cost is $40 per person. 2. Trade in old phones. Don't just dump your old cell phone in a drawer. Web sites such as GreenPhone.com and CellTradeUSA will let you trade y...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
The recession had sparked home owners to be more modest with designs of kitchens and bathrooms, but the improving economy is making home owners want more out of their house. Residential architects are reporting that home owners' preferences are tilting toward larger kitchens and bathrooms, and in some cases, home owners are saying they want even more than one kitchen and more bathrooms, according to the latest American Institute of Architects' Home Design Trends Survey, which mostly focused on kitchens and bathrooms. "We are not seeing the same level of demand for larger and additional kitchens and bathrooms as we saw during the peak of the housing market, but there has been a shift away from downsizing those rooms that has taken place over the last two years," says AIA Chief Economist ...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
Police Tase Lawn-Mowing Neighbor A Lakeland, Fla., man tried to fight the neighborhood eyesore but ended up in a fight with police. Joseph Florence, 57, was fed up with his neighbor's overgrown lawn so he decided to mow and water the lawn himself. But Florence's neighbor didn't appreciate his goodwill gesture and called police to complain that Florence regularly came over to mow his lawn. That's when things got even more bizarre. When officers questioned Florence, who they say had been drinking heavily, they say he became increasingly agitated and aggressive in talking about his neighbor's ugly lawn. So when police went to arrest Florence, they say he tried to hit the officers in the face and choke one of them. Florence was tased by police, and ultimately both officers ended up in the h...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
More investors are taking on the risk of flipping homes, despite falling home prices and sluggish real estate markets across the country. But investors say there are still profits to be made in the house flipping business. Nearly 1 million homes were bought as investment properties in 2010, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, and a record number of buyers purchasing properties with cash currently are flooding the market. Flipping homes for profit is easier in rising markets, but not many markets are reporting increases in home prices, analysts say. In Washington, D.C., Justin Konz of RestorationCapital says his clients are going through four of five properties a month and are making gross profit margins of 35 percent or higher.Where to Find the Deals Flippers mostly are ...
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By Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
(Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois)
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, costing retailers about $4 billion a year. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil are required to make that many plastic bags. The greatest shallow-water offshore wind energy potential in the U.S. - which is 1,000 gigawatts of electricity, or one quarter of national demand - lies off the Atlantic Coast, reports the Interior Department. According to a McKinsey & Company report, through energy efficiency measures, the U.S. has the potential to reduce annual non-transportation energy consumption by roughly 23% by 2020 - the equivalent of taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the roads. More Facts: Earth tilts 23.5 degrees on its axis, causing our season...
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