Whether you’re buying a Single Family Home in Orland Park, a Townhouse in Tinley Park, or a Condo in Mokena there are a lot of decisions to make. You’ll have to choose how many bedrooms you want and which neighborhoods you prefer — and of course, which type of mortgage loan makes the most sense for you. While home loans may seem confusing at first glance, they’re much simpler when broken down by options. Here are the basics!

Conventional Loans The term “conventional loan” just refers to any loan that isn’t guaranteed or insured by a government agency. These loans are very common, and make up the majority of mortgage loans in the United States.

They fall into two categories:

Conforming mortgages are conventional loans that offer a lower rate in exchange for conforming to certain maximum limits and guidelines for a given geographical area set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government agencies that buy and sell mortgage-backed securities.)

Non-conforming mortgages often have a higher interest rate and require a larger down payment, since they’re for amounts above the conforming loan limits for that area (which presents more risk to the lender.)

Government Loans are from private lenders just like conventional loans are — but these loans are guaranteed by a government agency, allowing those lenders to relax some requirements. These types of loans can be helpful to those with moderate credit, or for people who are carrying some debt.

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. These loans are great for first-time home buyers and low-income borrowers. They require that mortgage insurance be paid throughout the life of the loan.

VA loans are government loans too, but these are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. For veterans and service personnel who are eligible, these can be easier to qualify for than other loans. They don’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance.

USDA loans are government loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These loans are specifically for rural properties and while they don’t require a down payment, they do require mortgage insurance.Still not sure which type of loan is best for you? Having trusted advisers to turn to for answers and advice will help the home buying process go more smoothly. For more information, please call or email us and we can introduce you to a mortgage loan professional.  …

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When you’re getting ready to sell your home, you’re probably thinking about things like repairing damage, painting walls, and rearranging furniture to make sure that your home looks its best. But does your home smell its best? After all, scientists have long known that smell can trigger feelings and memories in people. To leave a good impression, you want to make sure that the smell of your home makes buyers feel the right things.

Of course, buying a scented candle isn’t enough to make your house smell like a buyer’s dream home. Here are some simple steps to getting a great-smelling home that will leave a good impression.

Start with a deep cleaning. Trying to mask a bad smell with a good smell can backfire with an even more unpleasant scent! Before you do anything else, make sure you’ve removed all the negative odors. Everything from kitchen appliances to air vents to closets can retain unwanted scents that put homebuyers off.

Choose a scent. It’s important to pick something simple and clean-smelling that will appeal to the broadest group of potential buyers. Some popular, widely-liked scents are citrus or vanilla. Pine and cedar are also popular during fall and winter.

Don’t overdo it. Some people are sensitive to fragrances, and nobody wants to walk into a space and feel overpowered by a smell — even a good one! Whatever scent you introduce should be subtle and shouldn’t distract buyers from the main attraction: Your home!

Bake some cookies! Bake cookies before a showing and leave them out for your potential buyers. They’ll appreciate the treats, and who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked cookies?

It can be easy to get used to the smell of your own home, so consider asking a friend to both diagnose the current odor of your house and pass judgment on the scent you choose before you start showing. A second nose can help you gauge whether or not you’re on the right track.

Need Help Selling? Call me at any time.

Dan Brandner
Century 21 SGR

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How to Nail Your Home Inspection

Whether buying or selling a home, it’s easy to think that the home inspection is out of your hands. After all, you’re not the home inspector! But you have an important role in the inspection process, too. Here are a few tips for making sure that your home inspection goes smoothly.

Choose the Right Inspector
Not all home inspectors are created equal! It’s important to select an inspector who is qualified for the job. Are they certified? How were they trained? How long have they been inspecting homes? You want a home inspector who can not only identify any possible problems with the building, but also communicate those problems to you in a clear, understandable way.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
It can be difficult to get a good inspector scheduled on short notice — instead, you may end up having to settle for a less qualified inspector if you’re in a rush. And sellers, get the home inspected before you put it on the market! That way, you’ll have plenty of time to make any repairs needed, rather than cramming them in at the last minute when buyers uncover issues in a pre-sale inspection.

Be Present
Sellers, you’ll want to be there to greet the inspector, and then get out of their way. (Prep ahead of time to make sure your entire
home is accessible, including attic, crawl space, shed, etc.) Buyers, it’s a good idea to attend the inspection if possible. Touring the
house with the inspector not only gives you a fuller picture than
a report could, but also gives you the opportunity to ask questions.

Read the Report Thoroughly
It might feel like homework, but it’s worth setting aside the time to actually sit down and read through the home inspection report. The report is essentially a breakdown of everything wrong with the house, and what will need to be done to correct it.It’s a buyer’s nightmare to get an inspection done, purchase the home, move in, and then uncover a major, expensive problem a few months later — and it’s a seller’s nightmare for a pre-sale inspection to uncover a major, expensive problem in the final days of the sale process. Everyone benefits from hiring the right inspector early and committing to participating in the process.

Do you or someone you know need help buying or selling a home? We’d love to help! Feel free to call or email any time.

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Budget for These Hidden Home Selling Costs

How much does it cost to sell your home?
When selling your home, your financial investment doesn’t end with the list price!

Here are a few hidden costs that you should be prepared to encounter when you put your house up for sale.

Repairs and updates — Whether it’s a few coats of paint or replacing light fixtures, there will be small improvements and upgrades to be made. Plus, your home inspection may turn up a few things that need to be addressed.

Closing costs — Usually the buyer pays closing costs, but they might also request that you cover that as part of their offer. Keep in mind that closing costs are often 2-5% of the purchase price.

Fees— You’ll need to pay any outstanding sales and transfer tax, as well as property taxes. Make sure to also budget for things like title insurance, HOA fees, and similar fees.Nationwide, the average cost of selling your home is around $15,000. And of course, that number can be higher in more expensive cities.

But don’t worry: I am here here to help! As you get ready to sell your home, you have a trusted expert in your corner to help you budget, prepare your home for sale, list it, and review offers — so these hidden costs don’t sneak up on you.

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Don’t Let Pets Disrupt Your Sale

What do you think of when you see your pets? You probably think of how cute they are, how much you love them, or at worst, you might wonder why they look like they’ve just done something they’re ashamed of! But when a potential home buyer sees your pets, or signs of them, an entirely different set of thoughts may be running through their heads.

Not everyone is a pet person
To the people considering buying your home, pets can mean a lot of negatives: Damage to the house, buildup of unpleasant animal odors, and allergens from fur and dander, among other things. Plus, some people are afraid of animals, so having your dog around during showings (no matter how friendly!) could literally scare off buyers.So how do you make sure you still get top dollar for your home, despite being a pet owner? The best and simplest way is just to stop looking like a pet owner.

How to hide Fido
By removing any indication of pet ownership from your home, you can effectively sell your house for the same price as your pet-free neighbors. There are a few steps to clearing evidence of pets out of your home.

Get a deep cleaning 
It’s easy to get used to animal odors when you live with pets, but for people coming into your home for the first time, the smell of dogs or a cat litter box can be apparent. A deep cleaning should leave your home smelling fresh and pet-free.

Remove your pet’s accessories 
Food and water bowls, leashes, toys, beds, and cages should all be stashed away during showings. It’s best if you remove them from the house entirely — home buyers often open cabinets and closets!

Dust and vacuum daily
After you deep clean, it is important to dust and vacuum daily to minimize the amount of pet hair on surfaces. Brushing and grooming your pet regularly while you are showing your home can help too!

And of course, remember to take your pet with you whenever you have a showing!

To you, your pets are wonderful. But to buyers, they could be a deal breaker. Give yourself the best possible chance of selling (and save your pets the stress of strangers in their space!) by taking them temporarily out of the picture during the home selling process.

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