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Posts from the ‘Family’ Category

Don’t leap into buying a home based on school district alone — dig into these details first

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Danielle Braff Chicago Tribune

When Marisa Dunn was trying to decide where to live, she considered three things: good health care, proximity to family and fantastic schools.

“We could travel for health care, we could travel to family, but we wanted to be in a school district that would provide the services our daughter would need, and would be good for future services,” said Dunn, 32, a labor and delivery nurse.

A year and a half ago, Dunn, her husband, Ed, and their daughter, Eleanor, who is nearly 3 and has Down syndrome, moved from Florida to Illinois. The trio resided with Dunn’s parents in Riverwoods for nearly a year while she delved into research on specific school districts before deciding where to settle.

After an extensive search, she chose Deerfield.

Then, the Dunns made some sacrifices to live in this relatively expensive suburb.

Instead of a four- or five-bedroom home, the family bought a three-bedroom ranch with a tiny kitchen, even though Dunn said she swore to herself that she’d never have a small kitchen again. She and her husband, a mechanical engineer, traded in their cars, too, in pursuit of more affordable auto payments.

“My husband gave up his beloved BMW sports car — that was his baby — for a Subaru,” Dunn said.

The Dunns aren’t unique. They join scores of other homebuyers placing an emphasis on school districts.

In a 2013 survey by Realtor.com of almost 1,000 prospective buyers, 3 out of 5
homebuyers said school boundaries would affect their purchasing decision; nearly 21 percent said they would pay 6 to 10 percent above budget to live within certain school boundaries and about 9 percent would pay 11 to 20 percent above budget.

But when several homebuyers want to purchase properties in the same school district, houses in those coveted areas become difficult to score. Competition can be stiff; even homebuyers without children recognize the value….

continue reading via http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/

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Enjoy the ARTS this Sunday

 

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Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival

We try to make this event every year.  Some of my boys are participating in the Tank Drum workshops.  Come on out to Kaneland High School Sunday and enjoy the arts!

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Source: Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival

2016 is Off to a Great Start!

First business day of the new year.  What could be better than a closing for a home purchase with first-time home buyers!  Congrats Tim and Sheli!!  And the closing only took 45 minutes from start to finish.  I just need to get back into the swing of things as I forgot to take a photo.  Feeling good about 2016!!

Calling All Home Buyers! The 3% Down Payment Makes a Comeback

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New programs available for first-time and lower-income homebuyers.

Socking away enough for a down payment isn’t easy. In fact, recent research found that, with Americans’ current savings rate, it would take the average buyer as long as 12 years to build up a 20% down payment on a median-priced home. Fannie Mae announced an option for qualified first-time homebuyers that will allow for a down payment as low as 3%.

As a result, many first-time, younger and lower-income homebuyers have been largely left out of the housing market in the years since the recession.

Now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hoping to change that. The mortgage giants announced on Monday that they would begin backing mortgages with down payments as low as 3%. Fannie’s program will start this month; Freddie’s will begin March 2015.

The catch? Borrowers would have to meet strict standards to be eligible, such as a credit score of at least 620. The program would also only be available for first-time homebuyers, those who haven’t owned a home in a few years, and people with lower incomes. Further, borrowers would be required to undergo home-buyer counseling and purchase private mortgage insurance before signing on the dotted line. And those eligible for the program would likely have to meet other measures to offset the increased risk, like boasting a low debt-to-income ratio.

“This will be particularly helpful to those who are strapped by wealth rather than credit challenges,” Jim Parrott, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, told The Wall Street Journal. – See more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/calling-home-buyers-3-payment-makes-comeback/?ecampaign=cnews&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Fcalling-home-buyers-3-payment-makes-comeback%2F#sthash.yY8d4i4n.dpuf

Make 2015 the Year You Get Off Your Butt and Buy a House

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Treat your home-seeking experience seriously and make finding your new home a reality.New Year’s resolutions are in full effect. An overwhelming number of us have committed to hit the gym, sweat it out, and shed the extra pounds we managed to pack on over the holidays. Eating, drinking, and then more eating — it’s time to get serious!

Getting in shape is the standard New Year’s resolution, but by February, the new gym membership is languishing and we’re back to eating pasta for dinner. Forget all that sweaty talk, let’s set a goal that we can really work toward: committing to finding and buying a home in 2015. So what can you do to ensure this is the year you score your dream home?

Tell people

“Making yourself accountable to your friends and family is one of the best ways to reach your goals,” says Molly Cain, an experienced life coach and Forbes contributor.

It makes total sense, doesn’t it? Sharing your plans with your friends and family gives you a group of instant cheerleaders and makes you more beholden to the goal. So take the plunge, hop on the interwebs, and start updating your social media profiles.

You can even give yourself a public deadline for extra accountability — let everyone on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter know that this is the year you will be hosting Friendsgiving in your new home.

Seek referrals

Working with solid real estate professionals is a critical component to a smooth homebuying process. Begin asking your network of contacts for a referral for a real estate agent — but only if they had a positive experience. Take the time to interview and learn about the agent’s experience and geographic specialty, as well as discuss his or her communication styles and habits.

Elizabeth Weintraub, a broker-associate with Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, CA, suggests taking it one step further and asking the agent to provide references from previous clients. “Everyone has references; ask for them.”

Get your credit in check

We all know how vital our credit history is when purchasing a home. If your credit is pristine, congratulations! If not, then do yourself a favor and start the cleanup process now. Start by reading these nine steps to boost your credit and heed these words: “If you think you can get your credit spruced up and ready to go in a matter of days, think again.”

Credit agencies are unwieldy bureaucracies and take time to navigate, so planning far in advance is the key.

Apply for a mortgage

Once you have identified the mortgage professional you will be working with, begin the loan application process immediately. Not sure how to choose whom to work with to finance your home purchase? No problem. Follow these tips to select the best loan officer or mortgage broker.

Having an approved loan application and a prequalification letter in hand before searching for a home gives you a serious advantage when making offers. Jump this financial hurdle early in the process and you’re well on your way to achieving your goal in 2015.
See more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/make-2015-year-get-butt-buy-house/?ecampaign=cnews&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Fmake-2015-year-get-butt-buy-house%2F#sthash.zleonLYS.dpuf

The Truth About Buying a Home: You DON’T Need 20% Down

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In a recent survey, How America Views Homeownership, it was revealed that 68% of Americans feel that now is a good time to buy a home and 95% said they want to own a home if they don’t already.

Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo home mortgage production, explains:

“Although the home buying process has changed in many ways in recent years, our survey found Americans still view homeownership as an achievement to be proud of and many believe that now is a good time to buy a home.”

Confusion Creates Paralysis

However, the survey also reported that many are afraid to purchase a home because of uncertainty about “qualifying for a mortgage or navigating the home buying process”. Though 74% said they “know and understand” the financial process involved in buying a home, they also gave answers that suggest otherwise. For example:

•30% of respondents believe that only individuals with high incomes can obtain a mortgage
•64% of respondents believe they must have a “very good” credit score to buy a home
•44% believe that a 20% down payment is required

In actuality many of these beliefs are unfounded. Let’s look at the question of down payment:

Freddie Mac, in a recent blog post addressing the issue, confirmed that there is misinformation regarding the amount necessary when determining the down payment for a home purchase:

“Did you know 40 percent of today’s homebuyers using mortgage financing are making down payments that are less than 10 percent? And how about this: since 2010, the number of people putting down less than 10 percent for conventional loans has grown three fold. So, not only are low down payment options real, they represent a significant portion of today’s purchases.”

In a separate Executive Perspectives, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management explained further:

•A person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets)”.
•Qualified borrowers can further reduce the down payment coming out of their own pockets to 3 percent by lining up gifts from family, grants or loans from non-profits or public agencies.

Education is the Key

Boyle talked about the importance of educating potential buyers:

“Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent.”

Codel agreed:

“It is important for prospective homebuyers to feel empowered to ask lenders and real estate agents questions about available options, such as down payment assistance or FHA loan programs or VA loans for veterans.”

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised.

via http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/09/23/the-truth-about-buying-a-home-you-dont-need-20-down/

Scholarship Fair-September 18th

College-bound?  Considering going back to school?

When: September 18, 2014

Time: 6:00 – 8:30 PM

Where: Sugar Grove Township Community Building

141 S. Main Street, Sugar Grove, IL

Meet with representatives from over 25 organizations and schools to learn about available scholarships and attend workshops to help you successfully apply for financial aid.

6:00-8:00 pm Meet with scholarship providers

6:30-7:00 pm How to fill out a FAFSA Form 

7:00-7:30 pm How to do an internet search for scholarships

7:30-8:00 pm How to complete a scholarship application and essay

8:00-8:30 pm How to fill out a FAFSA Form

Sponsored by the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a House Right Now

 

Buying a house is a highly individual decision—and a local one—but current trends are creating a favorable situation for many would-be homeowners.

Interest rates are low, employment is rising, home prices—in most markets—are still well below their peaks, and rents are through the roof.

Every family and each individual has various factors affecting the ability and the decision to buy a home. If you live in a market where studio apartments are $2,400 per month—while nearby condos sell for $300,000—it might make sense to buy a house instead.

Five Compelling Reasons to Buy a House Right Now

1. Interest Rates Are Still Low

Mortgage interest rates are still low—for now.

A 30-year-fixed-rate loan now averages 4.16%, according to Freddie Mac, but many economists believe we will see 5% rates next year. As interest rates increase, so do your monthly payments.

A $300,000 house at 4.16% with 20% down would have a monthly payment of $1,168. With a 5% interest rate, that payment increases to $1,288.

2. There’s More Inventory

As more houses enter the for sale market, prices stabilize.

Read more via: http://www.realtor.com/news/top-5-reasons-buy-house-right-now/?cid=eml-2014-08-snl-sub1_five_reasons-blogs_news&MID=2014_08_Newsletter_2013&RID=10250946

Sugar Grove Corn Boil July 25-27

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Our family loves the community we live in.  An annual, popular event is coming up… the CORN BOIL!  The event kicks off Friday night.  I am looking forward to my son, Trevor, playing with the Kaneland High School drumline that night.  Saturday morning begins with the always well-attended 5K Run/Walk.  And for Christian music fans, Citizen Way &  MIKESCHAIR will perform on Sunday afternoon.  For a full schedule check out the website.

http://sugargrovecornboil.org/

I will not have a booth there, but feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss refinance scenarios or a future home purchase.  I just heard a statistic that 676,000 are eligible for but have not taken advantage of a HARP loan.  Are you one of them?