#GivingTuesday – Homes For Our Troops

 

Now entering its seventh year, #GivingTuesday is a legitimate phenomenon, a global day of giving fueled by collaboration and celebrated through the power of social media. A movement that champions and supports all types of philanthropy, it offers a sharp contrast to the long lines and frantic sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In a sometimes crowded holiday season, it offers people around the world the opportunity to share our capacity to care for and empower one another.

By way of our#daprilecares program, d’aprile properties has been proud to partner with Homes For Our Troops for our 2018 campaign. HFOT has been widely recognized as one of America’s Top-Rated Veterans and Military Charities for seven consecutive years. A privately funded nonprofit organization, they build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide to post-9/11 veterans with significant injuries. Their mission is simple: by providing our bravest with these amazing homes, they might help restore the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed while defending our country. It isn’t simply about putting a roof over their heads – it’s about enabling them to focus on their family, and on their recovery. It’s about giving them their life back.

 

Since 2004, Homes For Our Troops has built over 270 specially adapted homes nationwide. They construct four-bedroom, two-bath, specially adapted energy efficient homes that are approximately 2,650 square feet, providing what they believe is the right size home for a Veteran to comfortably raise a family while limiting expenses for utilities. Their goal is to build a home for every single Veteran who qualifies for one of their specially adapted homes.

 

To date, the agents and staff of d’aprile properties, along with their partners at Midwest Lending, have participated in over a dozen individual fundraising events, and are utilizing our official HFOT Donation Page to raise further funds. We would be honored if, in the spirit of the season and in recognition of #GivingTuesday, you would consider helping our cause.

 

By standing together, we can be agents of real change.

PLEASE VISIT OUR TEAM DONATION PAGE HERE

 

 


Tips to Get Your Property Sold Quickly

Please welcome our newest guest-blogger, Suzie Wilson! As the creator of happierhome.net, Suzie has a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes, a talent she has crafted over 20 years as an interior designer!

When your home is on the market, it’s like it’s going on a date. It has to look its best. That’s because buyers can be extremely picky, often looking at 10 or more properties before settling on the right one. Who can blame them? After all, this is likely the biggest investment of their lives, one for which they’ve probably saved up for years.

So, just what do you need to do to get an offer? Before you throw your hands up in despair, here are some suggestions that have worked wonders for other sellers, and could do the same for you.

Stage It

According to a realtor writing for the Balance, it’s all about illusions that generate the mood you want buyers to feel when they walk around the house, involving a wide variety of props such as mirrors, plants, lamps, throw rugs, fruit baskets, and cookbooks. The idea is to make each room tell its own story, and you may want to hire a professional to do it right, which Angie’s List notes usually costs $150 to $500.

Upgrade the Landscape

One expert says it could increase the value of your property by a whopping 150 percent. That’s quite a return on investment if you keep costs down, and there are ways of doing that while creating the perfect yard. Just the basics will make a huge difference, and that means trimming and watering the grass, mulching the periphery, and adding color through flowering plants.

Give It a Paint Job

You may not have to if your house already has a fresh coat in the right color. That would be blue, at least according to a survey cited by a contributor to Forbes. Rooms that evoke the sky and sea can help a home fetch almost $5,500 more than similar properties on the market. Dark or style-specific shades have the opposite effect, actually shaving money off the expected sale price.

Redo the Trim

This can also add significant value to your home and get it off the market quicker, but only if done correctly in a style that matches the overall decor. Some popular options include crown molding, which lends a touch of elegance, especially in rooms with high ceilings. Ditto for the right window and door casings.

Tackle Minor Repairs

Take a walk around the house from room to room and spot anything that doesn’t look right, including scratches on the hardwood floor, poorly-attached fixtures, and dripping faucets. Make a list of everything you see and take care of each item one by one, calling in the professionals if the job is too big for you to handle. Shoddy DIY can actually undo your efforts.

Add Some Space

Not literally, of course, but through decluttering and centering your furniture so there’s ample room to move around. Begin by removing items that don’t really belong where they are and putting them in storage – particularly anything personal – as visitors want to envision themselves in the house, not the previous occupants. Some experts recommend taking photos of each room so you can examine them more objectively.

Clean Thoroughly

A dirty home tells the buyer it’s not well maintained at all, and that could put the kibosh on a sale when you’re so close to sealing a deal. Besides, getting it spick and span isn’t all that hard once you’ve finished the decluttering, as long as you follow the right tactics. Do it room by room and clean from the top down, with special attention paid to the kitchen and bathrooms.

Once all this is finished, it shouldn’t be long before you have an eager buyer ready to sign, and for more money than you thought you would get.

That cash will come in handy at the new place.

** Suzie Wilson is proud to announce that her debut book, The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House, is COMING SOON to online retailers and bookstores near you! Filled with tips, tricks, and other advice based on her 20 years of experience in interior home design, the book will set you and your home up for success.

All images courtesy of Pixabay.


State of the Housing Market

“How is the market looking these days?”

As real estate professionals, we’re asked this question daily. We hear it from clients, we hear it from friends. We hear it from strangers at parties, and from family at the holiday dinner table. As industry experts, it is an important question for us to approach, but not an easy one to definitively answer.  

The ebb and flow of the housing market in the United States affects every aspect of the real estate industry. It causes interest rates to rise and fall, and consumer confidence to swell and fade. Making things even harder to predict is the fact that the market is cyclical – never resting for long on one end of the spectrum or the other.

Without question, the housing market in the United States has shifted in the last year, resulting in a loss of momentum from its peak in 2016. Several key factors contributed:

  • Rising Home Prices
  • Rising Mortgage Rates
  • New tax laws that reduce incentives for homeownership

But while it is true that each of the above conditions has had a tangible impact on our current market, looking at the recent past only tells half the story.

Moving forward into a new year, it isn’t hard to find hope. After all, the economy is humming; workers’ wages are on the rise, and unemployment has fallen to a level not seen in decades. There are strong indications that both homebuyer demand and home inventory are increasing, and could begin to bridge the gap between a stalled housing market, and a national economy on the rise.

So why does the current slump continue? It comes down to one simple factor – uncertainty. The decision to buy or sell a home is packed with pressure, and most individuals get their information from television and online news. At best, the opinions of these various outlets can differ dramatically. At worst, they cause panic and stress by only offering up worst-case scenarios.

So our best answer to the question, “What is the state of the market?” Put simply, it’s fluid. It changes from one day to the next, often in ways that are impossible to predict. And if you only look at it from a national perspective, you may never find the right time to dip your toe in its waters.

It is imperative instead that you look at the opportunity to buy or sell a home from one perspective and one only: your own. With a results-oriented real estate agent serving as your guide, expertise and an established process will be the catalyst for a swift and successful transaction – not the influence of the market at large.

As we head ever closer to a new year, you owe it to yourself to experience what full-service real estate truly means. It’s time to find out how d’aprile properties has distinguished itself as the premiere real estate brokerage in the Midwest.

It’s time to discover what makes d’aprile different.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Never Too Late for the American Dream

When you meet the unassuming and uniquely awesome Ms. Diane Mowrer, you can’t help but be pulled in by her enthusiastic spirit. An avid cook, decorator, and self-proclaimed ‘neat freak’, her personality and sense of humor crackle with energy. She constantly wears a broad, genuine smile and is quick with a joke – even if it’s directed at herself.

A former executive assistant with Chase Bank, this mother of five is a DIY-kind of girl. Spontaneous and creative, she prefers tackling remodeling projects head-on, and getting her own hands dirty. Having recently become a homeowner for the very first time on her own, she now has the opportunity to begin a new chapter in her life, on her terms.

All at the tender young age of 79. (Don’t worry, she gave us permission to tell!)

For 25 years, Diane had been renting an apartment in the Western Suburbs. She labored up and down flights of stairs daily, and had no choice but to constantly clear snow from her uncovered car come winter. But perhaps the biggest burden to bear was the lack of opportunity to turn her living space into a real home, forced to stare at drab paint colors and dated fixtures chosen by someone other than herself. Creativity needs a canvas, after all.

Diane hadn’t been actively looking to move, but like so many others she often passed time looking at properties online with a curious eye and an open mind. One day she realized a condo that had previously caught her attention had come back on the market in Lombard. As luck would have it, her granddaughter Sara Press just happened to be a highly-skilled d’aprile properties real estate agent, so after breakfast one morning in the area, Diane asked if Sara could show her the property. Before they left, she was ready to make an offer on what would soon become her new home.

Sara guided her through every step of the home buying process, and even brought in a little help from Erin Stojakovic – a mortgage professional with our good friends over at Midwest Lending. That’s how on August 8th – just a couple of months shy of her 79th birthday – Diane found herself sitting at the closing table, being handed the keys to her very own home.

After almost eight decades, you would think she took some time to relax, and savor the moment. But no, not when there was so much she could do, without anyone’s permission but her own! Walls and cabinets were soon painted, countertops and carpeting were replaced. And a stand-alone cupboard will be custom built for the kitchen, after she drops the ceiling and installs canned lighting. But reluctantly, she admits that these can wait until after the holidays. She has cookies to bake, after all. And she already knows where she’s putting her tree.

Diane once lived paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet. But with patience and some strategic saving, she realized that homeownership was well within her reach. When asked if she had any advice for other seniors looking to start over, she simply said, “Never give up. With the right people beside you, it’s easier than you think.”

If only all of use could be so positive, so young at heart. Thank you Diane, for letting d’aprile properties be part of your story. It has many more chapters to come.


What It Means to Serve – Military Family Appreciation Month

Today, more than two million courageous men and women proudly serve their country, representing the United States military and its reserve components. These individuals, serving both domestically and abroad, wake up each and every morning with one purpose: to defend the principles on which this nation was founded, so that its citizens can live free. 

They are Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers. They selflessly sacrifice their lives for a cause greater than themselves, and they deserve all the support and respect that we as their fellow countrymen can offer. But we must never forget those who stand beside our servicemen and women every day, even as they are forced to stay behind.

They are the heroes on the homefront: the spouses, children, and parents of our military members, who answer the call with dignity and grace. While they may not wear a uniform, they know precisely what it means to serve their country. Bearing the heavy burden of long deployments and difficult moves, these steadfast patriots often put their own careers on hold, in order to support their family and protect their household.

They’re your neighbors. They go to school with your children, and you see them at the grocery store. And while their struggle takes place daily, they bear their burden in silence, so those they advocate see nothing but strength and stability.

November is Military Family Month, and it is our duty to honor and support the families of our troops and veterans for their unwavering devotion and contribution to our freedom.

In 2018, d’aprile properties continues to partner with Homes For Our Troops, widely recognized as one of America’s Top-Rated Veterans and Military Charities for seven consecutive years. A privately funded nonprofit organization, they build and donate specifically adapted custom homes nationwide to post-9/11 veterans and their families. To join us in this cause, visit our fundraising page HERE.

These people are the backbone of our military, the fuel that keeps the home fire burning. If you’re looking for a way to personally salute the heroic families who stand by our armed forces, remember that even the smallest act of kindness can bring welcome relief to those who simply long to see their loved ones come home safe.

  • Say “Thank you”
  • Write them a note
  • Leave a care package at their door
  • Offer to babysit
  • Volunteer your time by shoveling their walkway, or carrying their groceries
  • Donate to a veterans’ charity on their behalf

Or when in doubt, simply ASK them what they need. Because each and every one of us, no matter how strong, can benefit from the charity of others. We rise by lifting each other.