Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It's amazing how a little thing like checking a box can feel so good. Today is the day that we can choose those politcians that will screw up our lives even more. Wait, did I say that out loud? I mean...it's the day we can choose who will represent us. And if we don't like them - we can vote them out in the next election! Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the media hype - but I can't help but feel excited about voting today. I was so excited, as a matter of fact - that I decided to walk to my polling place. Okay, i'ts less than a mile away - but it's the symbolism of taking charge of my rights as an american. Whether your a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Greenie (is that what they're called?).... MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Looking for a deal? Check out Boulder Hill in Montgomery!

In today's real estate market - everyone is looking for a deal. So yesterday I decided to check out some of the lower priced homes on the market in Boulder Hill, Montgomery. I was pleasantly surprised. Currently, there are 65 homes on the market in Boulder Hill - and at least a dozen or more are bank owned foreclosures or pre-foreclosure short sales. Boulder hill has a wide variety of homes - smaller 2 bedrooms, 3 bedroom ranches, 2 story homes, split levels. There's a good variety - with current list prices ranging from $115k to $250k. If you're looking for a deal - here are a few homes you should check out (links will take you to the property listing page on my website).

34 Longbeach, Montgomery - this is my listing. If you're a guy looking for space for those cars, this is it. Extra large 2 car garage is nearly 500 square feet - and it's heated. Also has a parking pad on the side. HUGE family room addition on the back - great price for the space!

33 S. Bereman, Montgomery - very large bank owned property. 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Cheapest 4 bedroom home you can buy in the Oswego School district right now! Although it needs some minor work - it's not in bad shape overall.

67 Circle Drive East, Montgomery - at $130k I believe this represents the best value in Boulder Hill right now. It needs work - so don't bother if you want to move in tomorrow. But it's got a large kitchen and a great backyard. We should go see this one ;)

These are just a few of the good values I see out there. If you're looking to buy your first home or invest in rental property - give me a call with questions. We can setup a time to view the homes, I can take pictures and email them to you or just give you my opinion. Call me or text me at 630-846-4663.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I heard the builder was going bankrupt - is it true?

It's the ultimate American Dream. Build a house from the ground up and create a home that is uniquely yours. Pick out the model, the trim, the paint colors, the carpet. As if there weren't enough to think about - now there's another wrench in the works. Builders are going bankrupt.

Big or Small - no builder is immune from the crunch of our current economic crisis. But not all builders are created equal. Just like homeowners -some are fine and some have overextended themselves. They have too many homes built, too much money out on materials, too many loans. Last year one of Illinois Biggest Builders "Newuman Homes" went bankrupt. Reading the headlines is like watching a soap opera. What happens to the earnest money? What about the the warranty? The Parks? The Roads? Yes - who will finish building the roads.
So what can you do protect yourself as a prospective home buyer? Now more than ever - it's time to do your homework - or let your REALTOR do it for you ;) - here are a few tips:
  1. Cruise the public notice section in the local paper and see if any foreclosure listings or liens are listed against any local builders.
  2. Ask the builder if he will put your deposit in an escrow. One prospective buyer I spoke to asked for this - and the builder said no. Check out this blog from Phil Hutson in Austin Texas who gives some great tips on what you can expect when you put down that deposit.
  3. Work with a Realtor who knows the area. Sure, sounds like a blatant REALTOR plug - but that's part of what we do. We tour new homes, read the real estate section - and gossip! So we know what's happening - and what might be happening.
  4. Read the blogs. Whether it's fact-or-fiction you can bet someone is writing about it on the web. Search the builders name and see what comes up.
  5. Check Builder-implode.com and BuilderOnline.com which have been regularly reporting on the financial status of builders.
  6. Read the contract before signing it. THE ENTIRE CONTRACT! That's right - no skipping over the fine print. Read every detail and know what you're getting yourself into.
  7. Get legal advice. Many homeowners never think to use an attorney for a new construction purchase. Now more than ever it makes sense to talk to an attorney and discuss the "what ifs" before you take the leap.
  8. Last, but not least - check out this builder punch list from Trey Langford in Boise, Idaho. After finding this blog on the web - I decided I couldn't say it any better than he did!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Short Sale Haiku - Play-By-Play Illinois Short Sale

Real Estate Short Sale
Up And Down And All Around
End Becomes The Means.


Real estate agents - we either hate them, love them - or don't understand them. Short Sales are a necessary evil in todays market - another way to generate leads and close sales. But unlike a traditional sale - we often find ourselves deeply involved in someone elses financial matters. It means gathering very detailed info about how much homeowners make, what they owe and to whom. It means working with people at one of the toughest points in their lives. No matter what you think - there is no "One Size Fits All".

Homeowners - the short sale is seen as as a life raft.....a last ditch effort to stop the bleeding. Again - it's a necessary evil. It is usually just one domino in the financial picture - with other problems lurking beneath the surface. It seems the more of these I do - the more questions I get asked. The answer is always the same "It Depends". Depends on the lender, the homeowner, the loan, whether Pluto is rising...the list goes on.
If you've got the stomach for a roller coaster - perhaps you can survive a short sale. Whether you're a homeowner or a real estate agent - it won't be easy. Perhaps one of the most common questions I get asked is "How long will it take". Well.....it depends. Here's a timeline of a short sale I closed last week.


Feb 20th, 2008 - received a short sale lead, started contacting homeowner.
March 3, 2008 - Foreclosure Proceedings started at county.
March 17, 2008 - Preliminary Title Search done.
March 27, 2008 - Listed the home for sale at $149,900, Completed Short Sale Documents
March 28, 2008 - Short Sale package sent to negotiator.
March 31, 2008 - Additional Short Sale Docs. Sent to negotiator.
April 9, 2008 - Authorization to release info sent to lender
April 10, 2008 - Price reduced to $139,900
May 07, 2008 - Price reduced to $129,900
May 31, 2008 - Price reduced to $119,900
June 6, 2008 - Court date - lender receives foreclosure judgement for $168k .
June 09, 2008 - Price reduced to $99,900
June 13, 2008 - Multiple Offers Received
June 17, 2008 - Cash Offer Contract Accepted, contingent upon 3rd party approval (lender)
June 18, 2008 - Signed contract sent to negotiator.
June 19, 2008 - Negotiator prepares HUD with all closing cost figures
June 25, 2008 - Short sale Package sent to lender, waiting game begins.
July 7, 2008 - Loan Rep. Assigned by lender
July 7, 2008 - Approval postponed due to previous Loan Modification started.
July 15, 2008 - Appraisal Ordered by Lender.
July 19, 2008 - Appraiser visits property.
Aug 18, 2008 - Property Appraises at $99,900
Aug 18, 2008 - Conditional Approval of Short Sale Received from Lender
Sept 5, 2008 - Property closes & funds same day.


For both homeowner and Realtor - closing is the goal. For the lender - it's all about numbers. As a general rule - it seems like lenders are looking for 80-85% of current market value. Again, it depends on the lender. In this scenario - after closing costs, commissions, etc. the lender ended up receiving a little over $83k - that's about 83% of market value (according to the appraisal). But compared to the judgement - the lender received only about 50% of the judgement they received/amount owed. From the very beginning - I thought that $99k might be a good motivating price. But there were no comps for this house. It was a 1 bedroom home, backing to the railroad tracks in a small town. If I had put the property on the market at $99k and sold it in a week - I'm not sure the lender would have accepted the deal. In this scenario I was at least able to show that we tried to sell it at a higher price.

Because I was using a third party negotiator in this transaction -these are the dates as best as I can reconstruct them from faxes, emails, contracts, etc. So many speedbumps appear in the process that you can't pin the blame on one person. It took over a month for the homeowner to agree to list the home for sale. It took nearly 3 months just to get an offer on the table - and that took multiple price reductions. It took just under 2 months to get an acceptance of a CASH DEAL from the lender.

Bottom Line - we got it done. Bring on the next one ;)

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors 58 Chicago Rd, Oswego IL. 60543 (630) 846-4663

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Model Closeout at "The Townes"

This weekend I had the opportunity to tour "The Townes at Creekside" in Romeoville. This is a new construction community just off Weber Rd. that is in the final stages of completion. The Townnes is a Pasquinelli community of nearly 200 townhomes arranged around a central circular drive.

As with most builders, Pasquinelli is offering some great incentives if you use their preferred lender Washington Mutual. In some cases - the discount is over $30,000!!!

One of the great deals they have their is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom townhome with a basement.

There aren't a lot of upgrades in this unit but it's one of the few in the community with a basement. The regular price is $239,514 - but if you use their lender you can purchase it for $207,000. That's a savings of over $32,000 dollars!

If you'd like more information including floor plans and pricelists give me a call at 630-846-4663 or just drop me an email.

Friday, August 29, 2008

WebHomeOfTheWeek.com - Oswego Beauty!

If you're looking for a family friendlly neighborhood within walking distance to an awesome downtown area with great bike trails and amazing amenties - you've found it! Located in Hometown Oswego just blocks from downtown Oswego - this home has everything you're looking for!

Hometown is different than the neighborhoods you're used to seeing - it's a throwback to yesterday with white picket fences, large front porches and tree lined boulevards!

From the minute you step onto this open, inviting porch - you'll feel welcomed not into a house - but a home. With three bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a full finished basement - there's room for everyone to find a space of their own. The kitchen has an island, separate breakfast room - and a separate dining room.

For more pictures of this beautiful home, the neighborhood and downtown Oswego - read some of the other posts and visit http://www.217Presidential.com

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

104 Cedar, Sandwich- WebHomeOfTheWeek.com

The web home of the week this week is......104 Cedar St, Sandwich IL. Listed for just $70,000 - an unheard of price in Sandwich! Here's the catch - it's a wreck! That's right - this house is not for the timid....not for those purchasing with FHA. The roof is leaking, the property is overgrown, the garage is full of garbage - and it all needs work!

This property is only for the experienced rehabber or flipper. It is a bank owned property and the bank is looking for a quick sale. So - take a look, wear a mask (there is water and mold) - and bring us an offer! MLS#06978000 - email me for more photos!

Monday, July 21, 2008

5643 Schmidt, Yorkville- Web Home of the Week!

It's here, after a short hiatus - we have a new web home of the week! 5643 Schmidt is one of my new listings in the community of Farm Colony in Yorkville.

I'm not just blowing smoke when I say this house is AMAZING! The owners built this home themselves....and I'm not just talking about hiring a builder. They had the plans drawn up, did the general contracting themselves, put in the floors, picked out all the fixtures and much more. The owner is a contractor himself so you can rest assured the work is quality!

I could rant and rave about the quality, the detail and the sheer luxury - but I'll just give you the web address http://www.5643schmidt.com/. You can see tons of photos, a floor plan (coming soon) and a virtual tour. Listed at $829,900 - this house will blow you away!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Short Sales Make The Chicago Tribune Front Page

I've been blogging a lot about short sales lately. It seems everywhere I turn I am meeting people who have lost a job, fell ill or just can't afford their home anymore. Everyone has an opinion about why we are in this situation. It's the lenders fault. It's the homeowners fault. It's the Feds fault. Regardless of how we got here - there is work to be done to fix it.

I processed my first short sale over 2 years ago. Like many agents, I stumbled through the process. Anyone who knows me will tell you I don't give up easily. Once I set my mind to doing something - it gets done. While it was probably one of the harder sales I ever completed - it didn't scare me that much. Truth is - I liked the challenge. And I was good at it. So over the years, I have continued to look for homeowners in a short sale situation.

So why do banks do short sales? Banks are looking to minimize their losses. Foreclosure costs the bank a lot of time and money. Court costs, attorney fees, etc. Then - once they have the property they have utility costs, liens to pay off, repairs, sales commissions, etc. And with a downard trending market - the property may be worth less by the time they foreclose.

If you are in a situation where you owe more than your home is worth - there is hope. Banks will let you sell your house for less than you owe. And in many situations - they will forgive the difference or "deficiency" between what you sell it for and what you owe on your mortgage. But you need to make sure you partner with someone familar with the process. Banks want everything in a tidy package -according to their needs, not yours. Think of it as an obstacle course. Lenders are overwhelmed with the huge number of potential short sales hitting their desks. It can often take weeks, even months to get a short sale approved by a lender.

My goal is to make things easy for the bank. That's right. I'm going to make everything easy for the bank that is trying to foreclose on your home! I'm going to make sure all those forms they want are completed. I'm going to make sure I send them everything before we even have a deal on the table. And I'm going to bring them a deal that will close. Why? Because It's the best way to make sure we sell your home and you avoid foreclosure.

For buyers, short sales offer a tremendous opportunity to purchase real estate at a discounted rate. But it can mean waiting long periods of time not knowing if the deal will go through. These homes are also usually in better shape than bank owned foreclosures. Homeowners are still living there and taking care of their house. Working with someone who knows how the process works will help you find a good home at a great deal.

Earlier this week, a reporter from the Chicago Tribune found my blog on the Internet and interviewed me for a story on short sales. Read the Chicago Tribune story - Break For Sellers: Banks Settle for Less

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

MLS Now Tracks Short Sales

As of March 27th of this year, the MRED LLC, formerly the MLS of Northern Illinois, added a tag to allow REALTORS to identify closed transactions as short sales. The small (S) you see next to the sale price denotes it was a short sale. This is important information for REALTORS, Buyers and Sellers.
Recent sales will determine the future listing price of other homes in the area - as well as offers made on currently listed property. Short Sale properties are often sold at deep discounts - so having this data can help balance the value picture when comparing it to other homes.

According to MRED LLC data - 1184 Short Sales of single family attached & detached homes have occured since implementing this new tag on March 27th. While this number is not exact - it can offer a quick snapshot of one aspect of the market. REALTORS must add this tag when closing out a property in the MLS. Properties included would be those that are "Short Sale/Foreclosure/Court-Lender Approval Required,etc.". If the REALTOR doesn't add the short sale tag - the sale is not included in the data.

Here's a look at the numbers by county:

Short Sales/Foreclosures Since 3/27/08*

*includes Single family attached &detached sales

 as marked (S) voluntarily in the MLS by REALTORS

County# of Homes Sold

# of Sales Marked Short Sale/Foreclosure

% of Sales
Boone County6657.57 %
Bureau County300%
Cook County76535196.78%
DeKalb County13396.76%
DuPage County14281067.42%
Grundy County8045%
JoDavies County000%
Kane County73511615.78%
Kankakee County1501711.33%
Kendall County2302310%
Lake County1076938.64%
Lasalle County13764.37%
Lee County1100%
Livingston County8112.5%
Marshall County000%
McHenry County5006913.8%
Putnam County000%
Stephenson County6116.66%
Will County109812211.11%
Winnebago County20283.96%
Other Counties16842.38%

Friday, May 23, 2008

Video Tour of Churchill Club, Oswego

Join me for my first neighborhood video tour of the Churchill Club subdivision in Oswego, Illinois. Churchill Club is located just South of Route 34 and East of Douglas Road in Oswego, Illinois. Churchill Club is a 438 acre community built by Town & Country Homes. Three different communities make up Churchill Club - the townhomes of Churchill Club, the single family homes of churchill club, and "Steeplechase" the 55+ community. The community will consist of 775 houses, 224 townhomes and 212 active adult homes (126 single family ranches and 86 duplexes).

Bo Buchanan Kettley Realtors Signature Oswego

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors 58 Chicago Rd, Oswego IL. 60543 (630) 846-4663


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Behind in your Mortgage Payments? FHASecure Might Help!

Did the rate on your mortgage adjust recently? Did you fall behind on your payments after the rate went up? Then you might be eligible for the FHA Secure program. FHA Secure is a program signed into law by President Bush in 2007. If you are on an adjustable rate mortage and your rate has adjusted - FHA Secure could help you get back on track!

To qualify for FHASecure, eligible homeowners must meet the following five criteria:

  1. A history of on-time mortgage payments before the borrower's teaser rates expired and loans reset;

  2. Interest rates must have or will reset between June 2005 and December 2009;

  3. Three percent cash or equity in the home;

  4. A sustained history of employment; and

  5. Sufficient income to make the mortgage payment.

Essentially, FHASecure gives you a way to refinance out of your current adjustable rate mortgage into a long term fixed rate mortgage. Often times this is hard to do if you have fallen behind in your mortgage paymets. This is treated just like any other time you would refinance your home mortgage. There will be closing costs and fees - and other guidelines and rules need to be followed. Any lender who does FHA loans will be able to tell you more about FHA Secure - or call me and I will connect you with someone I work with.

Remember - the worst thing you can do is nothing!

Bo Buchanan Kettley Realtors Signature Oswego

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors 58 Chicago Rd, Oswego IL. 60543 (630) 846-4663


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Staging Your House From The Curb

I was out mowing the lawn today and couldn't help but pause to look at my house. I realized that I don't usually stand on the sidewalk and just look at my house. Do you? So I walked up and down the sidewalk looking at my house from different angles - like a buyer driving by would.

It's important to remember - the first tme a buyer sees your house, they will probably be driving by. In two or three minutes they will form a lasting first impression. Will they turn around and drive by again? Will they call an agent to schedule a showing? Will they write down that phone number and call for more information? As a seller - you want the answer to all those questions to be YES. Here are a few tips on how you can stage your home from the curb:

  • Edge the lawn along your driveway, sidewalks and curbs.

  • Make sure those lightbulbs work in your outside lights.

  • Is your address easily seen from the street?

  • Do have downspouts on all the gutters?

  • Are the windows clean?

  • Put fresh mulch down in plant beds, around trees, etc.

  • Pull those weeds!

  • Trim tree branches that block a clean view of your home from the street.

  • Powerwash the siding, the driveway, the sidewalk and anything else you can think of!

  • Buy a new doormat.

  • Secure anything that is loose - siding, gutters, trim.

Bo Buchanan Kettley Realtors Signature Oswego

Tracking the Real Estate Market in Oswego, Montgomery, Yorville & Aurora.

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors 58 Chicago Rd, Oswego IL. 60543 (630) 846-4663


Monday, May 19, 2008

Loan Modification - Your Lender might help you create a better Loan!

>What is a Loan Modification?

In Loan Modification - your lender might forgive late fees, give you a better interest rate, switch you from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate, recapitalize missed payments & more! It's hard to believe any lender would be so cooperative - I know. But in light of the current mortgage & foreclosure crisis - lenders are looking for ways to work with borrowers. Essentially, Loan Modification is a way to wipe the slate clean of all missed payments, late fees, etc. and start fresh with the same lender.

>How does Loan Modification work?

As a Home Retention Consultant, I regularly approach homeowners who are behind in their mortgage to see if there is a way to get them back on track. Many times - I actually have a proposed loan modification from the lender. Before doing a loan modification, lenders might ask you to fill out a financial information form. It asks for all kinds of information you probably don't want to provide - current income & expenses, outstanding debts, etc. They want to get a full view of your current financial situation. Here's an example of a recent Loan Modification I delivered:

  • Loan would be brought current with lender

  • Credit reporting would start reflecting current loan payments

  • Interest rate was reduced by 1.25%

  • Loan term was changed from an adjustable rate to a 30 year fixed

  • Loan balance was increased to reflect missed payments.

  • Monthly payment was reduced by 5% - even though the loan amount went up significantly (this property was in the higher end custom market)

  • An upfront payment of the new mortgage amount was required as an initial contribution.

  • Next payment wasn't due for 1 1/2 months.

The lender will often require one mortgage payment at the time you sign the loan modification agreement. This is a sign of good faith that you can make the payments and will cover some of the late fees, back interest, etc. For most people - this is a good solution. But if you are unemployed, this really doesn't help.

>Will my lender work with me?

A loan modification isn't as common as a forebearance plan, but it's worth asking your lender about. Loan Modifications are regulated by HUD (Housing & Urban Development) - check out the Loan Modification FAQ at HUD. Look on the back of your most recent mortage statement. Yeah, all that tiny print. Each lender usually lists several different phone numbers or departments. Look for something that says loss mitigation or loan workout or home retention. Lenders always have a dedicated department that works with borrowers behind in payments. If all else fails, call the 800# and ask for the loss mitigation department.

>Ask Questions & Do Your Homework

There are many companies out there that will approach you offering to help negotiate with the lender on your behalf. Be careful - some are legitimate and others could be a scam. Most will charge you a months mortgage payment to create a workout - this will be in addition to any upfront money your lender might require. Truth is - you can call the lender yourself and see if they will offer a modification.

>Be Persistent!

You are dealing with large banks with many different departments sometimes spread across different states. People answering the phones have more work than they can handle. It isn't personal. No one is going to have as much incentive to get you a good deal as you are.

If you want more information - keep checking my blog for other Foreclosure Prevention Strategies. If you're uncomfortable doing a loan modification on your own, call me and I'll be happy to help in any way I can. For Free. Why would I do this? If I can help you prevent foreclosure now, I hope you will recommend my services to other people who might need help preventing foreclosure, selling a home or buying a home. It's a win-win situation.

Remember - the worst thing you can do is nothing. Persistence Pays.

Bo Buchanan Kettley Realtors Signature Oswego

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors 58 Chicago Rd, Oswego IL. 60543 (630) 846-4663


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Loan Forebearance - Lender Phone Operators Are Clueless!

Yesterday I sat down with a pre-foreclosure client interested in keeping her home. The lender/Loan servicer was Ocwen Bank. As I sat and talked with her about options - we discussed a forebearance program. She thought this sounded like a good option so she pulled out her most recent mortage statement and called the lender. Of course - the back of their statement says something like - if you're behind in your payments call our collections department and talk to one of our payment counselors. Yeah, right. Nevermind the 20 minutes it took to get to the right person. 3 or for transfers later - we think she got the right department. Problem was - the person on the other end of the phone said there was no forebearance program. That's right. When asked three times "Do you have a forebearance program"...the anser kept coming back "NO".

After a quick search on the web - I found several references on Ocwens website to their success in customer forebearance. Ocwen even boasts a 70% success rate for people put on forebearance over the last 2 years. When dealing with these large banks - you have to remember that the person answering the phone probably doesn't know much more about the company than you do. They sit in an office, charged witha particular task. If you don't fit the mold - they often don't know what to do with you. YOU MUST BE PERSISTENT. And it's going to take time. If you aren't getting anywhere - ask to talk to a supervisor.

Lenders always have a dedicated department that works with borrowers behind in payments. Don't bother with collections - they will just try to get a payment out of you. And forget that generic 800#. Even if, by some miracle - you actually get through to a live person, they will have no idea what you are talking about. They will just transfer you somewhere else - anywhere else!

Document who you talk to. Ask for a name each time you call. note the time you talked to them. Ask what department they are in. Ask where the call center is. In one call - you could be transferred to different departments in different states.

If you're having a problem communicating with your lender, put it in writing. Most people aren't aware of a RESPA rule that requires a lender to respond to your written inquiry. RESPA stands for Real Estate Settlement & Procedures Act. RESPA spells out particular rules for how real estate deals and loans must be handled. For exmaple, RESPA states that if you write to your lender regarding an innacuracy on your account or to dispute charges - they must acknowledge receipt of your letter in 20 days and respond with an answer within 60days. The best way to ensure this kind of communication is to send a certified letter to your lender. That way you have proof.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; The world is full of educated derilicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.......Calvin Coolidge, US President 1923-1929

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Forebearance - A Payment Plan To Catch Up On Missed Mortgage Payments

>What is Forebearance?

If you're behind in your mortgage payments - you may be looking for an alternative to selling your home. I sit down with a lot of homeowners looking for any option other than selling. If you had a temporary hiccup in your income but now you're back on track - forebearance may be an option. Essentially, Forebearance is a payment plan that allows you to catch up on money you owe your lender. You must be able to make your normal mortgage payment in addition to the extra amount that you and your lender agree upon.

>How Does Forebearance Work?

In a typical forebearance plan - your lender will ask you to fill out an application. This application will ask for income and expense information to determine if you can actually afford a program. Not everyone gets approved. If you are approved -your lender creates a payment plan that allows you to make additional payments every month in order to catch up on what you owe. If you are behind 2 or 3 payments, you've also racked up some late fees and interest owed to the lender. If you're mortage payment is $1,200 dollars - that means 3 months of back payments would amount to nearly $4,000 with late fees and interest. That's a hefty chunk of change.

>Will My Lender Work With Me?

If you're wondering if your lender offers a forebearance program - they probably do. Look on the back of your most recent mortage statement. Yeah, all that tiny print. Each lender usually lists several different phone numbers or departments. Look for something that says loss mitigation or loan workout or home retention. Lenders always have a dedicated department that works with borrowers behind in payments.

>Think twice & do your homework!

If you really want to pursue this program - be careful and make sure you can afford the extra payments. IF YOU ARE JUST TRYING TO PUSH OFF THOSE PAYMENTS AND HOPE THINGS WILL GET BETTER, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. All you will accomplish is owing more money and ending up in the same situation a few weeks or months down the road. If you miss one of these forebearance payments - your lender will just continue down the foreclosure path. Starting a forebearance program will temporarily halt any progress towards a foreclosure - but they don't have to start over when you miss a payment.

>Be Persistent!

You are dealing with large banks with many different departments sometimes spread across different states. People answering the phones have more work than they can handle. It isn't personal. No one is going to have as much incentive to get you a good deal as you are.

If you want more information - keep checking my blog for other Foreclosure Prevention Strategies. If you're uncomfortable doing a loan modification on your own, call me and I'll be happy to help in any way I can. For Free. Why would I do this? If I can help you prevent foreclosure now, I hope you will recommend my services to other people who might need help preventing foreclosure, selling a home or buying a home. It's a win-win situation.

Remember - the worst thing you can do is nothing. Persistence Pays.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Victoria Meadows, Oswego - Market Report 1st Quarter of 2008

Victoria Meadows in Oswego is located just north of Rt. 34 and West of Orchard Rd. So far this year, only 1 home has sold in the first quarter. That isn't much data to go on when comparing quarters- but if the trend continues, we are in for much longer market times.

Average market time for the first quarter of 2007 was 72 days (only two homes sold) - while average market time this year (only 1 listing sold) is approching 200 days. It's hard to make comparisons when so few homes have sold - but if you compare the price of 4 bedroom homes - you can see that the sales price is down almost 8% this year. This value seems inline with the 8.8% drop in Oswego home values being reported by Zillow.

Click here to view a copy of the market report

WebHomeOfTheWeek.com - Downtown Westmont Condo

This weeks web home of the week is an amazing condo located in downtown Westmont. These condos are really setup more like townhomes. The first floor of the building contains shops - while the second floor (above the parking garage) has entrances to the units. This unit was previously a builders model and has hardwood floors, corian countertops, stainless steel appliances and a long list of upgrades. The price was recently reduced from $369,900 to $359,900.

There is an excellent opportunity to get a great property for a great value here. You can walk to the train station and all the shops in downtown westmont. Although the property is listed at $359,900 - based on my own research into comparable sales, I see the value between $300,000 to $325,000. The property is a potential short sale - so you may be able to offer even less. But that all depends on what the bank will approve!

If you'd like more information on this property feel free to call me at 630-846-4663.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Oswego Village Hall - Take a Tour!

As of last week, the new Oswego Village Hall is open! It's a beautiful brick structure at the corner of Rt. 31 & Washington in Downtown Oswego. This Saturday from 8:00am - 11:00am you ca have breakfast with the Village President and Village Board. Coffee, Pastries and a tour will be a great way to start out your Saturday morning. The street address of the new village hall is 100 Parkers Mill, Oswego IL. 60543.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mowing your lawn for mothers day - it could bring you buyers!

Mothers Day means a lot of people will be driving to see their mother.

Maybe along the way they plan on driving by a couple houses for sale or checking out a new neighborhood. If you mowed your lawn on Tuesday - it may be getting pretty long by Sunday. High profile holidays offer a great opportunity to showcase your home.

I often hear sellers say "No one will be out looking at houses on Mothers Day or Christmas or Thanksgiving". Truth is - the buyers are out. Anyone seriously looking for a home will drive neighborhoods any chance they get. Having a well-manicured lawn could help your home stand out and get some curious buyers walking through next week. So even if you mowed the lawn a few days ago - another quick cut could help.

But don't stop there. During the fall - raking up those leaves could help you rake in buyers. Without even knowing it - buyers associate a well-manicured lawn with a well-kept house. Attention to detail on the outside - usually spells attention to detail on the inside. During the winter, having clean sidewalks and a plowed driveway is a great way to attract buyers. It says - these people care about their house. It also means they don't have to trudge through the snow.

Here's a list of upcoming high profile celebrations in 2008 that give you a chance to help attract buyers. But remember - there are always big events happening locally that make a difference too. Does your town hold any annual festivals? Also - don't forget things like Superbowl Sunday, Oktoberfest, or Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year.

  • Memorial Day - Monday, May 26th
  • Fathers Day - Sunday, June 15th
  • Fourth of July - Friday, July 4th
  • Labor Day - Monday, September 1st
  • Columbus Day - Monday, October 13th
  • Halloween - Friday, October 31st
  • Election Day - Tuesday, November 4th
  • Veterans Day - Tuesday, November 11th
  • Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, November 27th
  • Black Friday - Friday, November 28th
  • Hanukkah - Sunday, December 21st
  • Christmas Day - Thursday, December 25th

By the way - Happy Mothers Day Mom!

Bo Buchanan Kettley Realtors Signature Oswego

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors 58 Chicago Rd, Oswego IL. 60543 (630) 846-4663

IllinoisHouseHunter.com OswegoHouseHunter.com MontgomeryHouseHunter.com YorkvilleHouseHunter.com

Photo provided courtesty of FreeFoto.com

Price Reduced - Amazing Elburn Opportunity

I listed a cute little house in elburn a couple weeks ago and we reduced the price this week from $139,900 to $129,900.

From the street you might think it's a little small but once you walk in- you'll be amazed at what you get for the money. The front door leads into the kitchen which has plenty of room for a table & chairs

I'm not just promoting my own listing when I say this is the best value in elburn! Everything inside is in immaculate condition - new carpet in the great room - cathedral ceiling, custom built in bookcases, pergo style flooring in the bedroom and bathroom!

If you're a first time homeowner - this is a great opportunity to get a very nice house at a great price!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sandwich, Illinois - Market Report Jan-April 2008

Sandwich, Illinois is located off Rt. 34 about 15 minutes west of Yorkville, 25 minutes south and west of Aurora. Sandiwch is a great town - small enough to feel like the hometown's of yesteryear but big enough to have all the modern conveniences you need. Someone recently asked me about foreclosures in Sandwich - after looking through the MLS I saw four bank owned properties and 5 or 6 pre-foreclosures.


Detached Single
Bedrooms# Sold% SoldAvg LP (Sold)Avg SPSP:LP RatioAvg MT (Sold)Avg LP (Unsold)% Expd
Attached Single
Bedrooms# Sold% SoldAvg LP (Sold)Avg SPSP:LP RatioAvg MT (Sold)Avg LP (Unsold)% Expd

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors

58 Chicago Rd, Oswego IL. 60543 (630) 846-4663

IllinoisHouseHunter.com OswegoHouseHunter.com

MontgomeryHouseHunter.com YorkvilleHouseHunter.com

Monday, May 5, 2008

Downtown Oswego War Memorial

This weekend I had some time to walk around in Dowtown, Oswego and I stopped by the war memorial just outside the Oswego Public Library. Although I had passed by the memorial many times, I had never stoped to read the plaques and discover this unique Oswego Landmark.

The War meorial has a granite pillar memorializing each branch of the service and and an eternal flame burning above them. To the side there is a brick pathway "Veterans Memorial Walkway" that leads across the railroad tracks and down to the river.

As you walk down the pathway, there is a plaque commemorating each war the United States has fought and how many soldiers died in each war. From the Spanish-American War to the war in Iraq - every conflict is included. I found it a very educational experience. When you start adding up how many soldiers have died to protect the freedoms we take for granted in this country - it is a humbling experience.
Wondering how close you are to the conveniences of downtown Oswego? Check out your WalkScore

Bo Buchanan, Kettley Realtors

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Boulder Hill, Montgomery IL. April 2008 Market Report

April was not a very active month for Boulder Hill. Only 5 homes closed with an average market time of 110 days. That means if you're thinking about selling your home - don't plan on a sale completing until sometime in August. That's if you list now. With an average market time over 100 days - you'll need to list your home soon to make sure it closes before the holidays!

Detached Single
Bedrooms# Sold% SoldAvg LP (Sold)Avg SPSP:LP RatioAvg MT (Sold)Avg LP (Unsold)% Expd
33100%$176,200$172,13398%100 0%
42100%$174,900$165,15094%124 0%

Although 5 homes sold in Boulder Hill, there are currently 65 homes for sale - 8 of those currently under contract. The average List price is just over $181,000 with the average sold price just over $177,00. Compared to the same time last year - 13 homes sold with an average sales price just over $200,000. That's an average price drop of $23,000!

Hometown, Oswego -April, 2008 Market Report

Hometown, Oswego is located just west of the river in Downtown Oswego and next to the new Oswego Village Hall. For the second month in a row there were no sales recorded in Hometown. Since the beginning of 2008 - 4 homes have sold. This same time last year - 6 homes were sold between Jan & Feb, 2007 with 2 of those sales closing in April, 2007.

Currently, there are 8 homes for sale in Hometown, Oswego.


Detached Single
Bedrooms# ActiveAvg. LPAvg. MT
2 or Less2$173,75056

Market Time is significantly longer this year than it was last year with prices significantly lower.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oswego Market Report, April 2008

Oswego, Illinois SOLD April 2008

Real Estate Market statistics for Oswego, Illinois April, 2008. 2 separate categories are included - Single Family homes (Detached Single), Condos & Townhomes (Attached Single).
If you would like a more detailed report of your specific neighborhood please don't hesitate to contact me.

Montgomery Market Statistics, April 2008

Montgomery, Illinois SOLD April 2008

Real Estate Market statistics for Montgomery, Illinois April, 2008. 2 separate categories are included - Single Family homes (Detached Single), Condos & Townhomes (Attached Single).


If you would like a more detailed report of your specific neighborhood please don't hesitate to contact me.

Oswego Comm. Garage Sale May 16th & 17th

Friday, May 16th
Saturday, May 17th

Oswego will be having it's annual community garage sale in a few weeks - Friday May 16th and Saturday May 17th. The garage sale is sponsored by the the Environmentally Conscious Oswego Commission. You can sign up for the garage sale at the Oswego Village Hall. In order to be included in the advertising in the Oswego Ledger Sentinel and the Prairie Times, you must sign up by May 9th and pay the $10.00 advertising fee. Once you sign up - you will receive a garage sale sign that needs to be returned when the sale is over. For more information, call Lisa Dicke at 630-554-3622

Monday, April 28, 2008

For Sale By Owner Top 10

For Sale By Owner. Everyone wants to try to save a commission. Here's an answer you wouldn't expect from a Realtor. Give it a shot. Yes, you heard me. Put a sign in the yard and see what happens. If you're lucky, you'll sell your home for more than you hoped and have no problems. Congratulations. You're among only 16% of for sale by owner sellers who successfully sell their home without a REALTOR. The other 84% of For Sale By Owner Sellers end up using a REALTOR. I like to compare selling with a REALTOR to building your own home. Can you use a hammer and a saw? Sure, most people can. Maybe you even have some skill. I'm not bad when it comes to electric -but I can't seem to do a single plumbing job with screwing it up. If I spent the time and took the training - I am confident I could be a plumber too. But plumbing, electric, carpentry, concrete work, roof work, etc. I don't have the time or desire to learn all those things. I'd rather pay someone I KNOW would do a good job. The same thing goes for real estate. Yes, you CAN do all the things a REALTOR does. With enough time and training - you might even be good at a few of them. But all of them?
If you're determined to sell your home by owner - nothing I or any REALTOR says will change your mind. Hey, I don't blame anyone for trying to save a few dollars. But the problem often occurs when By Owner sellers keep walking down the same path-when nothing is working. Perhaps the biggest decision you'll need to make isn't whether you should sell by owner or not - the decision will be when do I give up on selling by owner and start using the services of a REALTOR. Even my own sister tried selling by owner. They put out the word to all their friends and family, put the sign in the yard and waited for an offer. They had lookers -but no offers. 3 weeks later - I listed their home for sale. For her, it was an easy decision because she knows what I do for my clients. But you may think - what is a REALTOR going to offer me that I can't do for myself? In honor of David Lettermans top 10 list - here are the top ten things to consider when selling by owner:

  1. BRANDING YOURSELF AS A SERIOUS SELLER- When buyers look at homes for sale by owner, they often get the sense the seller isn't serious. Maybe the house hasn't been prepared for the market or maybe the sellers don't respond quick enough to buyers questions. Also, By Owner sellers will often tell buyers "I Don't need to sell". While this is often an attempt by the seller to position themselves for negotiation, buyers take it as a sign the seller isn't serious about selling. When a REALTOR lists a home for sale-buyers know that the home is ready to go.
  2. MARKET PREPARATION- I'm not just talking about preparing the home for sale. I'm talking about preparing you, the seller, for the sale. Yes, preparing the home is very important. Those who have sold by owner often list "Preparing the Home for the Sale" as one of the hardest aspects of selling by owner. You want to improve your home enough that is attractive and ready for buyers - but not over improve for the neighborhood and risk having an overpriced home. You want to consider little things like leaving the lights on for showings or bringing buyers into the neighborhood from a particular route. A REALTOR looks at your home like a buyer would and helps you do the same. Walk in the front door - what do you see? No, it's not your beautiful collection that took you 10 years to assemble. It's clutter to the buyer. Preparing the seller for the sale includes what to expect for showings, offers and "give backs" a buyer might request to close the transaction.
  3. TRANSACTIONAL EXPERIENCE - The average years of experience for a REALTOR are 13. During this time - we have been involved in the purchase and or sale of over hundreds or thousands of homes, townhomes, condos or apartment buildings. Each transaction has it's own unique set of circumstances. As a professional, we can draw on those experiences and share them with our clients as we walk through the home sale or purchase process. Yes, sometimes a home sale goes through without a hitch. If you are doing it on your own - you have a lot of learning to do in a very short time period. If you're lucky - you will have no problems. But what if you do have problems? Who pays for the inspection? Should you hold a mortgage? How much extra value does that remodeled bathroom add? Are these buyers serious enough that you should take your home off the market and sign a contract? Waiting until these questions come up in a negotiation may be too late.
  4. PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS - Each time I help homeowners buy and sell a home I always refer them to people I know and trust - loan officers, appraisers, attorney's. Maybe you've had an experience when a Realtor just pushed you too hard to use one of their "friends" and you didn't like it. As Realtors, we see many home sales fall apart for a variety of different reasons - someone missed a deadline, there was mis-communication to the buyer, seller or lender. Sometimes a buyer or seller gets upset after the closing because of an un-noticed defect in the home or cost at the closing table. The Reason so many Realtors try to get home buyers & sellers to use people we recommend is because these are people we trust. We have closed many transactions with them in the past, we probably even use them ourselves when we buy or sell real estate. In short - we know the professionals that will protect our clients in an honest and professional manner. If you know someone like this, wouldn't you recommend them?
  5. PRICING EXPERIENCE- pricing a home is a very important part of the home sales process. Yes, I'm going to quote statistics from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). I've often heard these numbers discounted because they are "self-serving". But let me ask you this - who tracks the sales of homes on a nationwide basis more than any other group in the united states? Who does the government quote when they are preparing statistics on the state of the economy? The NAR - That's who. When I list a house -I spend a lot of time going over recent sales in the area - comparing neighborhoods and features, taking things like time of year or market cycles into consideration to make sure I can price a home properly so it will sell quickly. Homes that are overpriced stay on the market too long and the inevitable question from buyers is "Why has that house been on the market so long, what's wrong with it?".
  6. GET MORE $$$$ - plain and simple. In 2006, homes sold with a REALTOR sold on average for 32% more than those sold by owner. Buyers know the game too. They know that you aren't paying a commission - so they are likely to bring you discounted offers because they think you are saving money. When a REALTOR is showing your home - they will pull up comparable sales in the neighborhood to show the buyer realistic values. Your listing agent will already have done this when you listed your home - so these comparable sales will often overlap. This works to your benefit.
  7. EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE - Realtors are in the business of selling properties. That's what we do. That means we have established marketing procedures to get the word out about your house. We have certain websites we know produce traffic. We talk about the houses to our colleagues and potential buyers. We hold open houses and do agent tours. We are out there every day trying to think of creative ways to get those listings sold.
  8. THE REALTOR TOOLBOX- just like a carpenter or a plumber, REALTORS have tools to get the job done. I create single property websites for my listings, I have fliers designed to give enough information to make my phone ring, I have strategies to renew interest in a property when things are slow. I even blog about the homes I have listed. Hey, it's a full time job ;)
  9. KNOWING THE COMPETITION - this is related to pricing. REALTOR's are touring neighborhoods and houses on a daily basis. We know when a house 2 streets over goes on the market - we know how it compares to your house. We are even prepared to answer those questions when someone makes an offer compared to that "Other House". Is it in the same school district? Same neighborhood? Same Homeowners Association? All these things affect value -knowing how to answer these kinds of objections or questions helps you get the most money for your home.
  10. PROFESSIONAL REPRESENTATION- All of the above are good examples of how a REALTOR will professionally represent a seller. But another thing to consider is that extra layer of "distance" you get from the transaction. Selling by owner means you are walking around the home with potential buyers. They are constantly reminded that this is "your" house, not theirs. When a REALTOR takes a buyer through the property, it immediately helps the buyers start seeing it as "their next home". There are also buyers out there who count on finding an uneducated seller. Maybe they are slipping something into the contract that benefits them in an unfair capacity. Maybe they are being less than honest when painting their own financial picture in order to negotiate a better deal. As REALTOR's, we have seen all the tricks and know how to prepare for them. We also help keep everyone level headed in the transaction. It's often hard not to get offended or angry when someone low balls your home or talks about the defects. REALTOR's can help lay out these problems in a matter of fact way and respond rationally so as to keep the transaction on track to a close.

I hope all these tips help you when it comes time to list your home. It's a buyers market today and now, more than every - it pays to have someone in your corner who knows how to make things happen!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Want a website for your house?

A new feature I'm offering home sellers is a website just for your home! Everyone I list a house for always asks me "When are the photos going to be online, can you send me a link?". Well, wouldn't it be easier if I could just tell you to look up your address on the web? Now you can. I'm creating a website just for every house I list. Each home I list will have the following features available on the web:
  • Custom web addresss
  • Aerial View
  • School Info
  • Community Info
  • Photo Gallery
  • Home Description
  • Demographic Info

Here are some of the websites I've created for my current listings:

Call me today and get a website for your home!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Foreclosures

Two new properties coming up for sale. These are foreclosures being offered by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. They are not yet listed but I get notified before they come on the market. Contact me for more details:

Harbor Drive, Oswego Illinos. 4 Bedroom, 4 bathroom. Not yet priced.
Cascade Ridge Drive, Plainfield Illinois 3 Bedroom, 2.5 bathroom. Not yet priced

For a property that is not yet priced, I would help you pull comparable property sales and determine what the value is.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

WebHomeOfTheWeek.com - Lisle Ranch

Okay, I have to shamelessly plug this house as both a new listing and the WebHomeOfTheWeek - it's my sisters house! 502 61st street, Lisle IL. is now on the market. This property is located in an unincorporated area of Lisle and sits on over 3/4 of an acre. What makes it the web home of the week is the fact that it is an excellent value! Most of the homes in this area are selling in the $400-$500k range or are much smaller. Similar properties on much smaller lots in the area are going for $320-$360k. With over 2000sf and a full basement - priced at $389,900 it represents an excellent value for the neighborhood.

This property needs updating - including the kitchens and bathrooms. But it's certainly not a handyman special. The outside has been painted, new shutters were added and the owner is constantly spending time improving the landscaping.

This property has a lot of space and is one of those foolers from the road. For an older home, it has amazingly wide open spaces between all the rooms.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So what is a real lease option?

I was out showing rental houses today to a client who is moving to the area from Pennsylvania. Last week he had the whole family out and I showed them around different areas and tried to give them a feel of neighborhoods. They are truly a great group of people and I really want to do whatever I can to help them.
As we were viewing rental properties tonight - it seemed like almost every one was listed For Sale, For Rent, Lease Option or Rent with Option to Buy/Rent to Own. Because of the market slowdown - many sellers are willing to do whatever they can to work out a deal with someone who is interested in their house. That's good news for buyers - it is now a Buyers Market. But just because the owner says they are giving you an opportunity to own- doesn't mean it is a good opportunity.
People often tell me they are interested in a Rent to Own situation but the term has been thrown around so much that the original context has been lost. Many landlords will say "Rent to Own" or "Rent with an Option to buy". When all they mean is - you can rent the house - and if you decide to buy it, you are more than welcome to. This is not a true Lease Option/Rent to Own situation.

RENT TO OWN - in a typical rent to own situation, the landlord is going to give you a credit each month for part of your rent payment. Say $200.00. Over the course of a year, you will accrue a credit of $2,400. This credit can then be used as a down payment or to pay for closing costs. This will depend a great deal on what the lender will allow. The lender usually wants to see that you are paying above market rent - thus making it a legitamate pre-payment of funds towards the purchase of the home. You may be able to just have the seller pay your closing costs - but then, in todays market - you will probably need some sort of downpayment.

LEASE OPTION - in a lease option you are purchasing an "Option" to buy a property at a future date. Typically, a buyer will give the seller a down payment, say $5,000. This payment is made to purchase the option to buy the home. Usually, you would determine and fix the purchase price at the time you purchase the option. Sometimes you will agree to pay market price at the time of the sale. In todays market, this makes no sense. Values are not going up - they are going down. And "Market Value" is a highly debatable issue. Who determines what the market value is? The seller? That doesn't work. In todays market It makes more sense to wait and see where the value is in a year or two.

A Dog Park in Boulder Hill?

Spring is here....and it's time to take the dogs out! I have two yellow labs, Baily (female) and Cody(Male). Wouldn't it be nice if there were a dog park in Boulder Hill? Maybe it's a dream - but I keep trying to think of a good location for one. What about in that area by the utility poles? I'm sure that wouldn't be a very popular with people who back up to the area.

Tomorrow I am taking my dogs to renew their Rabies shots - and then we're heading to the dog park! The question is coming up more often when I work with buyers - where is the closest dog park? Last year I spent a lot of time visiting dog parks in Aurora & Naperville. Lincoln Park in Aurora is the park I visited most last year. It's off Prairie avenue just west of Rt. 31. Take Prairie over the tracks and hang a right on Haywood. You'll see the dog park there.

Last year I met a great group of people who went to the park at the same time everyday. You need to get a license from the Park District but it's not expensive. There are also a couple very good dog parks in Naperville off 75th street - one near book and the other near Rt. 53. For more information on Dog Parks in Illinois - visit the Illinois Dog Park list at DogGeek.com

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Listing - Wooded lots in Dixon.

If you're looking for an opportunity to get far away from the hustle and bustle of the suburbs - how does Dixon sound? Unincorporated Southern Dixon. These 2 lots are side by side in The New Landing section of Lost Lake near the border of Ogle & Lee Counties.

I wont kid you - if you're driving from the Naperville/Aurora Area - it's a haul. Probably 45 minutes to get there. If you like a quiet country drive - you'll really enjoy the long stretch down Flagg Road from Rt. 251 in Rochelle. On my first trip out there - I thought I was lost! The picture above will tell you that you've arrived. But remember - it's the western entrance. If you're coming from Rochelle off Rt. 251 - it's the second Lost Lake Entrance.

The lots are a little over a quarter acre with the lot line on the road frontage being wider than it is in the back (St. Francis Drive Curves).

Both lots are priced at $7,500 dollars each - $15,000 total. There are some guidelines for building - typical covenants, rules & regs for a community that lay out minimum square footage, set back, etc. For information on the community visit NewLanding.org To see a full listing sheet on 506 St. Francis Drive or 508 St. Francis Drive, visit IllinoisHouseHunter.com

Here are the new Boulder Hill Condos!

I finally got a chance to tour the new Boulder Hill Condos off Boulder Hill Pass - down behind the shopping Center at the Rt. 25 Entrance. These apartment buildings are being converted to condos as they are sold. Prices start at $75,900 for a one bedroom unit and go up to $120,900 for a 3 bedroom townhome.

There are two units you can view as models - both have been furnished by IKEA and look really nice!

These units are similar in size (but more updated) as the Deer Run Condos off Rt. 31 in Oswego. All units will have association dues but heat will be billed separately. Some of the standard home features will include:
  • New Windows
  • Wall to Wall Carpeting (laminate wood upgrades offered)
  • Custom Window Treatments
  • 6 Panel Colonist Doors & Trim
  • Designer Lighting pacakge
  • Appliances
  • Central Air
  • and more!!

For more information, floor plans or to tour the models call me at 630-846-4663.....Bo

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rainy Day Real Estate

It's a rainy day today in chicagoland and I often hear sellers say to me "It's lousy weather outside today, no one is going to look at the house". Well, the exact opposite is usually true. When the weather is bad people often have nothing else to do. They will be sitting at home looking at houses online or driving around neighborhoods. Good weather means buyers have lots of choices - do something outside, work on the house, visit any number of outdoor attractions. But you can bet if someone is looking at your house in lousy weather -they are a serious buyer. Some sellers are worried about people tracking mud and water through their house. Most agents will have the common sense to remove their shoes and ask clients to do the same. If yo'ure really concerned, put a sign up in the foyer or the door buyers will enter in and ask them to remove their shoes. Or, ask your agent to provide booties. Personally, I find that booties don't work. Water soaks through them and mud can still fall off the exposed parts of shoes. Asking someone to remove their shoes isn't a big deal. For buyers - here's a tip. Where slip on shoes the day you view homes.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Vacant Houses-what to do about them.

I just finished viewing a vacant home that I will be listing for the bank in Sandwich. While I was there the neighbor approached me to learn more about the house. I showed her around the property and we talked about the neighborhood and the real estate market. As a listing Realtor for a vacant property - it's always nice to get to know the neighbors. They can keep an eye on things and let me know if anything weird happens. For the neighbors, I think it gives them peace of mind knowing they can call someone local if there is a problem.
Neighbors often face a lot of challenges when the house next door is vacant. Sometimes the property can become a magnet for vandalism, vagrants or just kids looking for trouble. If the property is owned by a bank - it is always managed by a property management company or Realtor. Most banks or property manangement companies will post a sign in the window stating who is manging the property and leave phone number to call. Some communities even require that a sign be posted if the property is a rental property (Chicago for example).
Most propert management companies will take care of things like major repairs & lawn maintenance. They probably aren't going to shovel the driveway in the winter. But in the summer months - someone should be cutting the grass on a weekly basis. Most villages have an ordinance in place that regulates how long the grass can grow. If it gets too long - the village will send a notice and/or fine the homeowner.
If you're interested in buying a vacant house - the property management company or bank can also help. I can tell you from experience that this is hard to do. It's out of the norm. No one wants to deal with you. Banks are not setup to sell properties. They sell through Realtors. That doesn't mean you can't get it done - but be prepared for an uphill battle. A vacant bank owned property is in between the time that foreclosure took place and the property officially being offered for sale through a Realtor. Banks will sell properties like this - but my experience has been that the people on the other phone just don't want to deal with you.
Finally, if you expect that the vacant property is being used by kids to party or by homeless people to sleep in - call the police. Immediately. This kind of situation can quickly get out of hand (especially in bigger cities)...and the house can become a real nuisance. The important thing to do is create a paper trail. Keep track of how you talked to and when. What you reported. Get copies of police reports whenever possible. Then, when you call next time - you can refer to these notes. It's much harder for someone else to dismiss you when you are well prepared!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Who's house is it?

As I was showing houses this week, we arrived at one of our appointments to find the homeowners still home. This made my clients uncomfortable so we skipped that particular home. Some buyers wouldn't care and would actually welcome the chance to ask questions directly to the homeowner. This can then, in turn - make the homeowner uncomfortable. I have had sellers tell me "This is my house, i'll do what I want". And that's true. It's your house. But aren't you trying to get someone else to buy it? Buyers will sometimes remark "that guy was rude".
The reason Realtors tell their clients to leave the house and take down things like pictures and collections is an important one. From the moment those buyers pull up in front - they are thinking of this as their next potential home. As soon as they see the homeowner - it becomes someone elses home. Sometimes the response I get from sellers is "They aren't going to not buy my house just because I was home". True. But most times the decision to buy a house is an emotional one. We fall in love with our house, we can see ourselves living here, I can see the kids riding the bike up and down the block. Many suddle things can influence a buyers decision - so it's important to given them every advantage. Put away the pictures, go next door to the neighbors during a showing or take a drive. Yes, it is your house. But do you want to keep it that way ;)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Stop Foreclosure with Program 3648

If you bought your home a year or two ago - you might be in the situation many homeowners are. You owe more than your house is worth. Because of the market slowdown, homeowners are seeing houses in their neighborhood sell for less than they did a couple years ago. This can become a scary prospect when you are forced to sell your home due to relocation, a lost job or death in the family. That's why the president and congress passed House Bill 3648 - the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. More commonly known as Program 3648.
Prior to program 3648, here is what happened. Lets say you fell behind in your mortgage payments, lost your job or just couldn't keep up with the bills. You decided to sell your house and get out from under the mortgage. You bought the house for $200,000 but could only sell it for $150,000. The bank would then issue a 1099 to you at the end of the year for $50,000. That meant that you would have to report $50,000 on your tax return and pay taxes on it. Can you imagine? What a tax bill.
Thankfully, congress and the president reacted to the market and created program 3648. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness act means you are no longer liable for taxes on that difference you didn't pay the mortgage company. Now, there are some rules that apply to this program. It has to be your primary residence for instance. And you also need to make sure the mortgage company isn't going to come after you for the difference. If you have questions - you should always ask your accountant or the person who prepares your taxes.
As I talked about earlier this year, when you sell your house for less than you owe the bank it's called a short sale. Nationwide, only about 10-15% of short sales are actually approved. In order to make this kind of sale work it's important to know what you're doing. Recently, I partnered with a processing company that works with most of the banks in getting these kinds of sales approved. There are other options you can persue and I would be happy to discuss those with you anytime.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

You know...the house with the purple bathroom

It was a beautiful weekend for showing houses this past saturday and sunday and I had the pleasure of working with a family from Pennsylvania that is moving to the area. Because they are from out of state - just remembering what town we were in was a challenge. They are moving here for a job in naperville, so we were looking at houses in the surrounding area - Oswego, Montgomery, Naperville, Plainfield, Aurora & Bolingbrook. On Saturday we viewed 10 or 12 houses in a matter of a few hours. It can be hard enough for someone locally raised to remember what house was in what town and which subdivision. An even more daunting task for someone not familiar with the area.
One of the tricks I use to help buyers remember each house is what I call the TripleR . That stands for Rating, Room & Remember. First off- after viewing the house I like to ask the buyers to rate the house on a scale of 1 to 10. This rating might change after viewing another house - but it really helps both buyers and the realtor to remember just how interested they were in that house. The second R stands for Room. In every house one room usually stands out. Was it a small master bedroom? A luxurious master bath? Or an amazing finished basement. By keying in on one room it will help remind you of something that really stood out in that house. Finally, the third R is Remember. Pick one thing overall that stood out about the house. Maybe it was the purple bathroom. Maybe the house with 2 rabbits in the basement (seriously, that's one of the houses we looked at), or maybe just the house that said "WOW". Later when you are talking about the house you can say "you know...the house with the purple bathroom" and everyone will know what you are talking about!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring is here-again! Time to make a decision.

Yes, spring is here again! It seems like we got a teaser back in february with a few warm days and we all though spring was here! Well, with the warm weather the last few days I have seen a definite increase in phone calls and home viewings. Warm weather signals a time of change - and that brings home ownership to the forefront. People thinking of buying or selling usually get off the fence in the spring and start getting serious. For buyers, the decision is a little easier. They decide it's time to buy - and they start looking. But for sellers - there is a process involved. That's why it's important to get off the fence now and get your home listed. Lets say you are thinking of listing your house next week - mid April. You list the house and wait for an offer. At the very least - you can expect your home to be on the market a month. If you are priced aggresively, it will sell quicker. After a month on the market - if you get an offer, then you are typically another 30 days from closing. That is if nothing goes wrong. If the buyer doesn't ask for an extension for financing. If there is nothing to repair. If all goes well and you can close 60 days from next week - great. But as someone once said "I believe in hoping for the best but preparing for the worst".
What if you don't get an offer in the first 30 days? And then you reduce the price and sell for 60 days? And then you get a buyer in June - but they want to wait until the end of July because they are taking a family vacation. Or, heaven forbid - they have to sell their house first. You can see how quickly time can spiral out of control. Yes, you get to decide whether you take that offer. But sometimes these things don't come up until after the deal is signed. We have 4 months of summer and then fall will be here. In many areas - 90 days is the typicl market time. Add another 30 days to close - and you are 4 months out. Think of it this way - every month you wait to put your home on the market brings you a month close to Christmas. And you don't want your home to still be on the market this christmas do you ;)