Chicago Real Estate News & Community Happenings

Understanding 203k Home LoansNot all homes are ready for move in as soon as they are purchased. In fact, there are some homes that still require a lot of work. Whether a home requires a little bit of work or a whole remodel, there are some ways that purchasers can accomplish both. One of the common ways today is with a FHA 203k home loan.

What Are the Basics of the FHA 203k Loan?

An FHA 203k loan is a loan that allows purchasers to get one loan for both the purchase of a property as well as the home improvement component of the home. Additionally, the loans can be adjusted for home improvements. The loan is guaranteed by the FHA which is a reason why lenders like this loan. This also means that it is easier for a purchaser to get an approval because it is an FHA loan and

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Save Money with Smart Energy Efficient Home Upgrades with Solid ROIHomeowners looking to cut back on electricity expenses with a few smart upgrades might be wondering which projects will give them the most bang for their buck—especially if selling their home soon is in the plans. The first step to determining which energy efficient upgrades are worth the investment is to find out just how much energy the home uses. Homeowners can use Energy Star's Home Energy Yardstick and get a basic energy audit for free. Another option is to pay for a professional assessor to evaluate the home's efficiency. They will provide an energy rating number and offer upgrade suggestions. However, here are four home energy friendly home updates to consider that are solid investments, either to reduce utility expenses or to make a home

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How Does the VA Loan Program Work?For veterans, Veterans Affairs mortgages—more commonly known as VA loans—offer an easy path to home ownership. Since these loans require no down payment, they are very attractive mortgage options to service members who want to buy their first home. Learn how the VA program works before you apply, so you know what to expect.

Who is Eligible for a VA Loan?

Both current and former military members are eligible for Veterans Affairs mortgages. Current members need at least 90 days of active service, unless they were discharged for a disability with less than 90 days of service.

You don't need to make a down payment (although you can if you'd like to reduce your mortgage). You must have sufficient credit.

While you can buy many types of

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How FHA Financing Can Help You Buy a HomeIf you are considering your first home purchase but are uncertain if your credit is up to snuff for a mortgage, FHA financing is one of several popular mortgage options and may be right for you.

What Is FHA Financing?

In order to encourage home ownership, the Federal Housing Administration offers guarantees on mortgages for properties and borrowers who meet their criteria. While the FHA does not offer direct loans to consumers, the administration will guarantee loans from approved lending institutions. This guarantee means that lending institutions are ensured payment, even if the mortgagee defaults on the loan. Because of this guarantee, these lending institutions are willing to work with applicants who may otherwise be considered risky

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Single Family Homes and Condos: Pros and ConsFor years, a single family home with a white picket fence has been the quintessential American dream, but that isn’t the only option anymore. Now, condominiums are a popular alternative to single family homes, but which one is better? The answer will be different for everyone, but here are some things to keep in mind when deciding where to live.

Condo Advantages

When considering a condo, there are multiple things that buyers should consider with regards to their needs.

In many condominiums, large repairs such as roofing, furnaces, siding, and lawn care are all covered by the Homeowners Association (HOA), allowing homeowners to save money. Because the HOA takes care of lawn care, exterior painting, and other chores, condos typically need

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What to Know About Capital Gains When Selling a HomeSelling a home can mean the chance to move to a new location. It can also mean a reduction in how much money is going out every month. Both can be very valuable, but it is important for every seller to know that there can also be costs and fees associated with selling a home. Being aware of these from the very beginning of the process makes it easier to sell a home and can reduce anxiety and help the seller prepare for any expenses that come along with the process. One of those expenses may be capital gains tax, although many sellers will be exempt from all or part of that tax. Here is what sellers should know.

Marital Status Matters for Capital Gains

People who are single can exclude the first $250,000 of the selling price of their home from

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How to Increase a Home's Value With Home ImprovementWhen planning to put a home up for sale, the price is one of the most important things, and homeowners want to get the maximum amount possible out of it. Here are six different home improvement projects any homeowner can do to boost that bottom line.

Try a New Coat of Paint

Painting is a staple of home improvement projects, and that’s because it works. A fresh coat of paint can make rooms look clean and new, and that in turn can earn favor from buyers. The color of the paint is just as important, if not more so. Neutral colors appeal to the most people because they’re easy to both work with or paint over, should the new owner have other colors in mind. The average gallon of paint only costs around $25–30, so painting doesn’t require any large

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How to Stage a Home to Sell as Quickly as PossibleBefore you list your home for sale, it's important to stage your property. Staging is often done in phases, starting with getting organized and finishing with one final deep cleaning. Knowing the basics of home staging can help you get ready to sell your house.

Get Organized

Getting organized is an involved process that may involve purging, purchasing organizational systems and removing clutter from your home. This is usually done in stages and can take months to complete, so many home sellers will start this process months in advance of selling their New Eastside home.

To start, get rid of unnecessary clutter including old bills, unwanted clothes, unused holiday decorations, duplicate books, VHS tapes, toys your children have outgrown and

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How to Appeal to the Five Senses When Showing Your HomeWhen buyers come into a home, they will use their senses to get a feel for whether or not the house is right for them. These showing tips help home sellers create a delightful experience for all of the senses during a home showing.


Putting everything into the right appearance within the home is the major goal of staging design. It requires a certain balance that can direct the eye to the best spots without overwhelming anyone. The goal is to promote pleasure and moderate attraction. Lighting should be soft but sufficient, not harsh. Colors should be carefully selected, with bold hues in limited quantity. Designs may be made in a broader layout to avoid seeming cluttered. Everything in each room should appear comfortable, well-placed and

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What to Know About a Home Down PaymentAre you a first time home buyer? You should know that there are ways to put less down on the purchase of a home, leaving more money in your bank account. However, what are a few things you need to know about a down payment before ever looking at available properties?

Homeowners can get a head start on the home buying process by calculating how much house they can reasonably afford and home much money they will need to put down as a down payment. Understand more about the down payment, traditional expectations from lenders, special programs and more in this home buyer's guide.

What to Know About the Down Payment

Lenders want to make sure you are invested in the property. Therefore, they desire a significant down payment on the purchase of a

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