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4 Tips for Raising Your Credit Score

by Karen Breen Elia

We have all been there before, getting ready to buy a house and then suddenly something of a negative nature pops up on our credit score that poses to keep us out of our dream home forever.  There are ways to make sure you DO raise credit scoreNOT end up in this sort of predicament however. Hopefully, the following tips for raising your credit score  will be beneficial to you so that you can find your new home and move in before the holidays!

  • Pay credit card bills before the statement date.  Many times folks wait until the due date to pay a bill but if you are willing and able to pay them before the statement date, your credit score is likely to improve.
     
  • If you can afford to make multiple payments on your credit balance throughout the month, this will also show favorably on your credit score.  Check with your credit card company to make sure you are allowed to do this before beginning because some do not allow it. 
     
  • If you only have a couple bad marks on your credit, you can ask for a "good will deletion" .  Of course if you are late over and over again you will not be able to reap this reward but if you can show that you otherwise have paid your bills on time you may be able to get those couple nasty marks off your credit and therefore raise your score!
     
  • If one of your accounts has recently gone into collections you may be able to pay it off and have it removed from your credit report as a result.  Be sure to get any type of promise to delete in writing so that you can be sure it will be taken off once you pay. 

Credit issues can be hard to deal with especially if you are looking to purchase a new home in the near future, but take it from someone who knows…it CAN be done and you CAN have the house of your dreams maybe sooner than you had imagined!  Keep working at it and you will succeed and come out the other side ready to move forward into your future!

Information provided by Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago's North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467 
Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Chicago Home For Sale: 5323 N Kenmore Ave #1

by Karen Breen Elia

Chicago Home For Sale:

5323 N Kenmore Ave #1, Chicago IL 60640
MLS# 08752317

Exceptional Space In An Exceptional Location!

5323 n kenmore ave chicago il

Exceptional space and storage in an exceptional Edgewater/East Andersonville location!  Rare duplex up in Kenton Court on a charming, leafy street steps from the lake, the park, Bryn Mawr Historic District, Mariano’s, and the red line el. 

The condo features 1,588 square feet with 2-3 bedrooms, two full newly redone baths, two private outside spaces and assigned secured parking.  The floor plan is tailored for today’s multi-functioning spaces, and provides privacy as well as outstanding storage.  

Enter the living room, with gas fireplace, which opens to the private, south facing patio.  An adjoining office/study expands the living area on the first floor.  The open kitchen and dining room creates ease for entertaining and family time.  There is a full bath and two huge walk in closets on the first level.

Upstairs are three bedrooms (one is tandem) and a shared master bath. The master bedroom has two separate closets, and the second bedroom has another huge walk in closet.  There is a full laundry/storage room, as well as a private deck.  Additional closet space in the third bedroom, as well as a coat closet and utility closet and separate storage locker accommodate all storage needs.

Marketed by Karen Breen Elia, Chicago IL Realtor.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago's North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467 
Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Why You Want To Own Your Own Home

by Karen Breen Elia

The majority of articles advocating home ownership center around financial benefits—fixed monthly expenses, tax benefits, accruing equity, etc.—and indeed these incentives do propel many people to purchase a home.  According home buyersto two recent polls (Gallop and the Allstate / National Journal survey), however, other more intangible factors also motivate the purchase of a piece of real estate.

  • Sense of community:  As a homeowner, you’ll be centered in a strong community of like-minded people, which can be a valuable asset for you and your family.  Homeownership brings a sense of pride in both your home and your community.  Various studies suggest that a higher homeownership rate brings lower crime rates, higher property values, better educated children, and ultimately closer communities.  Investing in a home may also mean investing in your family and your community by getting involved.  Once you own a home, you feel more attached to the area in which you live. You're more interested in what happens in your neighborhood, to the roads, schools, and shopping areas.
     
  • Renewed belief in the American Dream:  Although confidence in that dream has faltered in recent years, the desire to own a home is rebounding, especially among younger buyers and members of diverse ethnic groups.  Pride and family stability are important factors in today’s dream. Your house is the physical manifestation of your years of hard work and financial responsibility. And nothing says “success story” like owning your very own piece of the American dream.
     
  • Higher academic achievement of childrenConsistent findings show that homeownership does have a significant positive impact on educational achievement.  Some studies find that homeownership brings residential stability, and it is this stability that raises educational attainment.  Another asserts that while homeownership raises educational outcomes for children, neighborhood stability further enhances the positive outcome.  Additional research has shown that there is an increased chance of success in many areas for the children of homeowners.
     
  • Freedom to “do your own thing.”  If you own your house, the home improvement store is your oyster! You can paint, remodel, remove, or restyle just about anything in your home to meet your individual needs and/or reflect your tastes and personality.

Owning a home is certainly a wise investment—in so many ways!

Information courtesy of Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago's North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467 
Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

 

Chicago IL Foreclosure Trends for August 2014

by Karen Breen Elia

In August, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Chicago, IL was 2% lower than the previous month and 14% lower than the same time last year, according to RealtyTrac.com.

Chicago IL Foreclosure Activity

In August, the number of Auctions increased 3.3% from the previous month and decreased 6.0% from the previous year. Bank-owned properties decreased 0.8% from the previous month and 18.3% from the previous year. Pre-foreclosures decreased 7.3% from the previous month and 20.6% from the previous year.

chicago il foreclosure


Chicago IL Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Chicago IL foreclosures were 0.04% higher than national statistics,0.01% higher than Illinois figures, and 0.02% lower than Cook County numbers in August.

chicago il foreclosure

Chicago IL Foreclosure Status

The current distribution of foreclosures based on the number of active foreclosure homes in Cook County, IL.

In August, Pre-foreclosures accounted for 33.6% of the foreclosures activity, Auctions accounted for 41.4%, and Bank-owned properties 24.9%.

miami fl foreclosure

 

Are you or someone you know behind on mortgage payments? There are options to Chicago IL foreclosures. A short sale may be the answer to saving you, your family and your credit. Contact us for a private consultation. We can help!

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago's North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467 
Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Home Warranty vs Homeowners Insurance

by Karen Breen Elia

Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, which covers the structure and contents of your home, a warranty service contract is designed to cover systems and appliances that stop working due to normal usage.  Basic coverage generally includes the repair and replacement of major appliances such as heating/cooling system, water insuranceheater, refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, etc.  Plumbing and electrical systems are also usually covered, and some companies include washer, drier, microwave, and roof maintenance in the basic tier.

Gaining in popularity with both buyers and sellers, warranty service contracts serve to reassure owners that they won’t face major repair/replacement costs.  Sellers use them to protect the home while it’s on the market and as an incentive to attract buyers.  Buyers rely on them to protect them from unexpected and expensive repairs.  Even Freddie Mac will offer a $500 home warranty credit to home buyers who purchase a qualified, foreclosed single-family home, townhouse, or condominium through their HomeSteps® division.

A warranty plan is fairly inexpensive, typically ranging from $250 to $400, depending on coverage. The policy is prepaid for a year in advance, at which time it expires or can be renewed.  The usual procedure for service needs is as follows:

  • If a home system or appliance breaks or stops working, the home owner calls the home warranty company.
  • The home warranty company calls a provider with which it has a business arrangement.
  • The specific provider calls the home owner to make an appointment.
  • The provider fixes the problem. If an appliance is malfunctioning and cannot be repaired, depending on contract coverage, the home warranty company will pay to replace and install the appliance.
  • The home owner pays a small trade service fee (less than $100) for each service call.

Most home warranty companies offer a variety of plans, each providing different levels of coverage, so be sure to read the details of any contract before buying. If you choose to renew the contract from year-to-year, double-check the details of your plan each time since coverage can change annually.

According to the Service Contract Industry Council, 32 states require home warranty companies to register or obtain a license with that state's department of insurance and comply with applicable laws and financial standards. Membership lists are available at their website.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago's North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467 
Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Chicago Real Estate Market Trends for August 2014

by Karen Breen Elia

While the number of for sale by owner transactions is on the decline, approximately 9 percent of sellers decide to go it alone and forego outside help from a Realtor®. Typically those that go this route have extenuating circumstances, such as already having a relationship with the buyer (which happened in 40 percent of recent FSBO sales, according to National Association of Realtors® data). However, NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that most sellers benefit from the outside help of a knowledgeable advocate when selling their home. Aside from being experts in the field, Realtors® have the time, know the market and needs of the potential buyers, bring an objective and fresh perspective to the seller, understand the complexity of all of the processes involved, and have the ability to attract qualified buyers.  It’s because of these reasons that sellers using a Realtor® tend to get more for their homes, according to NAR’s report.

Let’s look at how many sellers sold their homes with a Realtor in August.

August 2014 Real Estate Market Update

Chicago Real Estate Sales – Detached Single Homes

The number of Chicago detached single homes selling in August 2014 decreased 6% for the month compared to August 2013. The average selling price increased by 19% to $840,922 and the average market time increased by 11 days. Homes sold for 96% of the listed price.

Neighborhoods included in these statistics are: Avondale, Albany Park, Edgewater, Irving Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Loop, Near North Side, Near South Side, Near West Side, North Park, North Center, Rogers Park, Uptown, West Ridge, West Town.
 

Date

Sold Listings

Average Sold Price

SP:LP

Average Market Time

August 2014

228

$840,922

96%

71

August 2013

243

$700,891

97%

60

 
Chicago Real Estate Sales – Attached Single Homes

The number of Chicago attached single homes selling in August 2014 decreased by 14% for the month when compared to August 2013. The average selling price increased 12% to $419,408 and the average market time increased by 2 days. Homes sold for 98% of the listed price.
 

Date

Sold Listings

Average Sold Price

SP:LP

Average Market Time

August 2014

1,300

$419,408

98%

63

August 2013

1,514

$374,283

98%

61


Chicago Real Estate Sales – 2-4 Flats

The number of Chicago multi-family properties selling in August 2014 decreased by less than 21% from August 2013. The average selling price increased 26% from August 2013 prices, and the average market time decreased by 45 days. Homes sold for 98% of the listed price.
 

Date

Sold Listings

Average Sold Price

SP:LP

Average Market Time

August 2014

103

$520,050

98%

53

August 2013

132

$411,729

99%

98


Curious about the value of your home? Get your home's value here!

How Divorce Impacts Your Real Estate

by Karen Breen Elia

If you are considering a divorce or are currently going though one, it is important that you learn as much as you can about divorce laws and how they can impact your real estate holdings.  To learn about those laws in your state, click here.

divorce and real estateAlthough a divorce eventually involves the distribution of all of a couple’s assets, generally the most pressing issue (other than child custody) is the division of your real estate. To make this potentially complicated and emotion-laden process work as smoothly and civilly as possible,  consider the following suggestions to help combat volatile issues and strong feelings:

  • Consult with your divorce attorney.  A well-crafted settlement agreement can help to avoid many types of disputes. The agreement should be quite detailed, including all potential issues that could arise during the sales process.  The agreement should ensure that the interests of both parties are aligned towards selling your real estate so that you both can move on with your lives.  Have the property sold or refinanced into one name, while all of the other details of the divorce are being negotiated.  Even if your divorce decree assigns possession of those assets to one party, or if one of you voluntarily transfers title to the other, the liability for the loan will remain for both if you do not sell or refinance the asset.
     
  • Find a real estate agent who specializes in selling property for divorcing couples.  With divorce rates continuing to rise, many Realtors are beginning to market themselves as specialists in selling homes for couples who are divorcing.  These agents understand the complexities of a pending divorce case and will work with you on an individual basis.

Before you can decide how your real estate is to be divided, you must first determine its value.  If both parties are unable to agree on the current market value, there are several valuation methods that can be used, including current tax assessed value, request for a new appraisal, or an evaluation by a Realtor.  Determining equity in order to equitably divide assets is a complex process which can become quite complicated.  For more information about this topic, click here.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago's North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467 
Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Chicago IL Foreclosure Trends for July 2014

by Karen Breen Elia

In July, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Chicago, IL was 13% lower than the previous month and 10% lower than the same time last year, according to RealtyTrac.com.

Chicago IL Foreclosure Activity

In July, the number of Auctions decreased 21.6% from the previous month and increased 49.3% from the previous year. Bank-owned properties decreased 6.4% from the previous month and 4.3% from the previous year. Pre-foreclosures decreased 5.0% from the previous month and 39.7 from the previous year.

chicago il foreclosure


Chicago IL Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Cook County IL foreclosures were 0.05% higher than national statistics, the same as Illinois figures, and 0.04% lower than Cook County numbers in July.

chicago il foreclosure

Chicago IL Foreclosure Status

The current distribution of foreclosures based on the number of active foreclosure homes in Cook County, IL.

In July, Pre-foreclosures accounted for 35.8% of the foreclosures activity, Auctions accounted for 39.5%, and Bank-owned properties 24.8%.

chicago il foreclosure

 

Are you or someone you know behind on mortgage payments? There are options to Chicago IL foreclosures. A short sale may be the answer to saving you, your family and your credit. Contact us for a private consultation. We can help!

Welcome Home Illinois Loan Program for First-Time Homebuyers

by Karen Breen Elia

The mortgage approval process continues to face more scrutiny than in the past, with lenders often requiring higher credit scores and larger down payments. The 20-percent down payment required by many lenders is difficult for many would-be first-time buyers Chicago, Illinois and across the nation. Illinois Housing Development Authority's Welcome Home Illinois Loan can help qualified Chicago first-time buyers by providing the down payment assistance they need to get into their first home, while helping to ensure it’s a great fit financially as well.

  • Welcome Home Illinois includes:
    • $7,500 cash assistance to cover down payment
    • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a below-market interest rate
    • Variety of loan options to choose from, including FHA, Conventional, VA, and USDA
       
  • Eligibility:
    • Buyers must be first-time homebuyers or anyone who has not owned a home in the last three years
       
  • Requirements:
    • Contribute one percent or $1,000 of the purchase price, whichever is greater
    • Purchase a one- or two- unit property within Illinois
    • Live in property as primary residence

welcome home illinois

Ready to get started? Contact me for a list of lenders offering the Welcome Home loan.

Information courtesy of Karen Breen Elia, ChicagoCityHomes.com.

Stop.Think.Connect. Cyber Tips

by Karen Breen Elia

stop think connectStop.Think.Connect. is a campaign which challenges the American public to be more vigilant about practicing safe online habits and persuades Americans to view Internet safety as a shared responsibility home, in the workplace, and in our communities.

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness among Americans about cybersecurity, empower them to be safe online, and educate and raise the next generation of the cyber workforce.

Quick Tips

The majority of cybercriminals do not discriminate; they target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether they are part of a government agency, Fortune 500 company, small business, or belong to a home user. However, there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of an incident:

  • Set strong passwords, change them regularly, and don’t share them with anyone.
    • Do not include your name, your kids' or pets' names, or other well-known information about yourself in your password;
    • Avoid using common words in your passwords or passphrases. Instead, break up words with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols. For example, @ can replace the letter "A" and an exclamation point (!) can replace the letters "I" and "L"; and
    • Use a combination of upper and lower case letters.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your friends, family, colleagues and community about Internet safety.
  • Use privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information you post online.
  • Be cautious about offers online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Resources Available to Your and Your Family

OnguardOnline.gov

This website, run by the Federal Trade Commission, is a one-stop shop for online safety resources available to parents, educators, and kids .

Cybertipline.com

The Congressionally-mandated CyberTipline, which is part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), receives online child solicitation reports 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Submit an online report or call 1-800-843-5678.

Staysafeonline.org

The National Cyber Security Alliance offers security updates, free antivirus software, malware software removal, and other services.

Information courtesy of Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago's North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467 
Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 131

Contact Information

Photo of ChicagoCityHomes Real Estate
ChicagoCityHomes
RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60657
Cell: 773-230-4294
Toll Free: 866-404-3585
Fax: 773-938-1467