Just Add Chlorine?

As the season for family trips and summer vacations nears its end, many homeowners ask themselves the same question — would it be easier to simply put in a pool? After all, there’s nothing like taking a dip in your very own crystal-clear swimming pool on a hot summer day. Many homeowners and home buyers see a pool as a high-end amenity that will enhance their family’s life and make their home more desirable on the resale market. But the idea of peacefully floating in the privacy of your own backyard may distract you from the reality that comes with pool ownership.

Before making a decision, you need to determine the total value that a swimming pool will bring to you and your family — not only as part of your biggest financial investment, but also to your quality of life. Let’s look at each.

Will an in-ground pool add market value to my home?

To answer that question, your best bet is to speak with your d’aprile properties real estate agent. They will look at comparable homes that have a swimming pool in your neighborhood, and provide you with a fair market estimate based on those findings. If you live in a higher-end neighborhood, and most of your neighbors have pools, it may make sense to add one. Let’s say that your home is currently valued at $250,000, but a similar home in your neighborhood with an in-ground pool is on the market for $285,000. A market value increase of $35,000 sure sounds like a smart investment, right?

But the number crunching doesn’t stop there. Remember that installing a pool comes with significant cost. According to HouseLogic, the average amount in the U.S. to install, equip, and fill a 600-sq.-ft. concrete pool starts at $30,000. That $285,000 estimated price tag for your home may no longer sound as exciting, seeing as how after you spend the money for installation, you are now left with a net increase in value of only $5,000. And let’s not forget, maintaining a pool also costs money — heating, filtration, and cleaning can easily run you thousands of dollars per year. In the end, HouseLogic states that by installing a pool, on average, owners might increase their home’s value 7% when it comes time to sell.

Will an in-ground pool add quality of life?

As with most decisions in life, money is not the only factor involved. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you live in a warm-weather climate, where you could maximize the use you get out of your very own pool?
  • Is your property large enough to accommodate a pool, and still leave room for gathering and entertaining? 
  • Do you have young children who will benefit from the added physical activity that comes from having a pool?
  • Will a pool simply make those hot summer months more bearable?

In the end, no one but you can truly determine the value that a swimming pool will bring to your home. It is best to add up the personal benefits that will come from spending summers in the sun, and then speak with your d’aprile properties agent to make sure that the financial value will benefit your family’s future.


d’aprile West Town Walks the 606!

Photo Courtesy of choosechicago.com

On Friday, July 19, our West Town Chicago and Lakeview offices teamed up for our first annual Walk the 606 Event — a fundraiser to benefit the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

The 606 is a Chicago landmark — a linear park and trail network that combines art and history with event spaces and alternative transportation avenues. Over a decade in the making, the 606 was the signature project of Mayor Emanuel, and provides both residents and visitors alike with acres of breathtaking green space.

Our agents bravely endured the extreme temperatures (at one point reaching 107 on the heat index value), and raised over $1,000 for the cause, before coming together to cool off at Jack & Ginger’s pub.

We want to thank each and every team member for participating, and for raising awareness of this great Chicago foundation. d’aprile properties is committed to supporting Bear Necessities in their mission to eliminate pediatric cancer. If you would like to join us in our mission, please visit our fundraising page HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Proud Partners – United Wholesale Mortgage

We’d like to take the time to thank United Wholesale Mortgage, our partner, and 2019 Summit Event Sponsor.

What does it take to be #1? For United Wholesale Mortgage, it’s simple: consistency. Consistency through constant and thorough communication. A continuous dedication to providing the best mortgage products the industry has to offer, on the most advanced technological platforms available. Most importantly, an unwavering dedication to providing the highest level of customer service, each and every day, to each and every client.

UWM’s desire to place relationships before transactions has made it one of the fastest-growing wholesale lenders in the United States. For more than 30 years, they have set the standard for client support, cutting-edge technology, and the fastest turn times in the industry. It’s easy to see why they are the #1 wholesale lender in the nation*.

 

*Statistic provided by prnewswire.com

 

 


Saving for Your First Home as a Millennial

It’s finally here, the first time you get to choose a new place to call home. The big question is: are you prepared for it? Many Millennials are quite ready; in fact, they represent the largest group of homebuyers in America. In other words, if you’re in your 20s, you are part of the generation that is taking over the house-buying arena. So how will you know if you are prepared, and have saved enough money for a first home purchase? There are a few things to consider:

Budget Is Everything

If your budget isn’t set up properly, you may be in danger of future financial problems. Make sure you have reviewed your budget before you begin looking for your home, just so you know how much home you can afford. A term to keep in mind that is often used in the financial industry is the Debt-to-Income ratio (DTI). Put simply, your DTI is a comparison of how much debt you have (and will have) to your income stream. This comparison is very important to include in your budget when you’re creating or reviewing it.

Remember, when buying a home for the first time, you will be taking on more debt — often more than $100,000. So, if you already have a lot of debt and a low income, loan agencies may think twice about offering a large mortgage to you. Being able to pay off your debt is key in building your financial present and future.

A Savings Account Creates Opportunities

During the home-buying process, make sure you’re saving as much money as possible. A savings account is important because most loan agencies will require a down payment on the home, which would require a large amount of money in your account before you buy. It’s best to compare banks to find the best offerings that match your lifestyle and financial goals. As you search for a new bank, remember that online banking can offer special accounts that incentivize you to save money.  One of which is the absence of fees — which normal banks would charge — including start-up fees, monthly fees, and more. Other perks could include the ability to set up transfers when you get paid.

There are plenty of other ways to grow your savings account on your own. One could be to pay yourself before anyone else. To do this, you can set up automatic transfers from checking to savings on your pay day. Another suggestion would be to spend money at the grocery store, instead of eating out. There are plenty of ways to save, just find what works for you.

Secondary Income May Be Necessary

Finally, if you find homes are out of your price range, you may want to consider a “side hustle”. There are many opportunities that won’t overwhelm your schedule, and are easy to pick up. any jobs allow you to work from home, such as Survey Junkie, or Swagbucks. Both companies will pay you to take surveys; the length of a survey will determine how much you receive. Another at-home job is Inbox Dollars; they ask you to watch videos and give feedback on them — simple, quick, and easy.

Other excellent side hustles include ridesharing, homestay, and food delivery services. Though each may be simple, they will require more work than taking surveys or watching videos. As you make your choice on a secondary form of income, keep in mind that you are working to increase your savings, which will allow you to buy the home that you want.

Fun Should Be a Part of the Process

No matter where you are in the process, buying your first home is one of the most exciting times of your life. Though it takes preparation and planning, make sure you have fun while finding the home you’re happy with – after all, it will be yours soon!


The Down Payment Dilemma

Photo courtesy of rawpixel.com from Pexels

It’s a phrase you’ll hear often coming from today’s home renters: “I would love to own my own home, but I just can’t afford the down payment!” It doesn’t matter how high your credit score is, or how much money you bring home in your paycheck — saving up a large enough sum of money to put down on a piece of real estate is no small feat. It takes patience, careful planning, and more than a little discipline with your personal finances. When you factor in today’s rising home prices, many feel that coming up with a down payment on a new home is at best a long-term goal, if attainable at all.

But the truth is, home ownership may be more within reach than you think. Let’s start by dispelling some myths surrounding the dreaded down payment:

MYTH #1: It Starts at 20%.

Flat-out FALSE. It is a long-standing misconception that you need to put no less than 20% of the home sale price down, in order to receive financing. The notion has been around for so long that, according to a 2019 study by NerdWallet, more than 6 in 10 Americans (62%) believe this to be true. 

While an upfront payment of 20% will allow you to secure a loan without mortgage insurance, you can actually get home financing today with as little as 1% down, depending on the loan program. In fact, if you are in the military, or live in certain designated rural areas, you may even be able to get a loan with no money down at all, if you meet certain criteria. Talk to your d’aprile properties agent, and allow them to refer you to a mortgage professional who can steer you toward the right loan product for your personal financial situation.

MYTH #2: Cash Will Win Out Every Time

Half truth. We live in a competitive housing market, and oftentimes a solid home in a sought-after neighborhood will often receive multiple offers. The belief out there is that a cash buyer will always win a bidding war over a first-time home buyer, because they are guaranteed to close on time, with no potential hurdles to their home financing situation. This is not always true; in fact, it is not uncommon for a first-time home buyer to win a bid over a cash bidder, depending on the seller’s individual situation. 

Sometimes, the seller may not be in a hurry to sell, and a first-time home buyer may be able to persuade them with a higher bid. Also, consider the fact that many sellers go through a rather emotional experience when saying goodbye to their home — a sincere, hand-written letter from the buyer may resonate with the seller, giving them a leg up on an all-cash offer.

MYTH #3: Lenders Frown Upon Gifted Down Payment Funds

False. The truth is, it is perfectly legal to be gifted the money for a down payment by a family member. If your parents or grandparents have the means, almost any lender will allow them to provide you with payment assistance. It just has to be done the right way — and there will be extra paperwork involved. First, it has to truly be a gift, with the donor providing a signed letter stating that the funds do not have to be paid back. Second, the donor must of course prove that they have the necessary funds to provide such a gift, so they should be prepared to have their finances inspected. Finally, gifted funds have no effect on the underwriting process. You’ll still need to have good credit, and be able to prove that you have the financial means necessary to pay your mortgage once you close.

In the end, while they may take a few extra steps on your part, there are many ways for someone short on cash reserves to make a solid down payment on a home. The key is to determine your home buying power BEFORE you begin your home search. After all, no amount of expertise on the part of your real estate agent will help if you aren’t financially prepared to make an offer. Be sure to talk to your d’aprile properties agent, and let them introduce you to their trusted mortgage pro, who will let you know in confidence if the time is right for you to buy.


Celebrate National Ice Cream Month at Julie Ann’s in Crystal Lake!

Summer’s heat can be brutal — thank goodness July is National Ice Cream Month! We have former president President Ronald Reagan to thank for it; in his 1984 proclamation, The Gipper called for all citizens of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” He also declared the third Sunday (Sundae?) of the month as National Ice Cream Day.

The world’s coolest and most consumed confectionery (your average American eats 23 lbs. of ice cream a year) can be traced back as far as 2nd century BC. It is said that Alexander the Great — King of Macedonia and one of history’s greatest military minds — was frequently known to scarf down a snack of snow and ice laced with honey and nectar. Can someone get this man some sprinkles?

No matter how you choose to celebrate this month-long dedication to dairy’s finest form — by cone, cookie, or cake — we at d’aprile properties know there’s only one place to go: Julie Ann’s in Crystal Lake! Located conveniently downtown, Julie Ann’s has been a staple in Crystal Lake since 1985. If you want to get technical about it, Julie Ann’s actually specializes in frozen custard. Owner Peter Wisniewski credits his particular recipe’s popularity to its slow production process, and a rich blend of 10 percent butterfat, egg yolks, cream, and sugar.

While the old staples such as vanilla, chocolate, and butter pecan are always on hand, the menu takes pride in offering new, creative combinations daily — a flavor calendar is available for each month’s concoctions! Treat your tastebuds to Dough Crazy Concrete, Dark Chocolate Avocado, or Oreo PB Blob Due Basi. Beyond the cone, Julie Ann’s also offers a custom cake and pie menu, as well as frozen custard cookie sandwiches.

Ice cream is the cure for what ails ya! So as your busy summer hits its peak, take a break and relax your spirits with a tasty treat from Julie Ann’s! After all, if you reverse the word ‘stressed’, you get ‘desserts’!

 

Julie Ann’s
Fresh From Cow to Cone
6500 NW HWY Crystal Lake, 60014
(815) 459-9117

 


d’aprile properties Named to Real Trends 500 List

“Potential is not an endpoint but a capacity to grow and learn.” — Eileen Kennedy Moore

d’aprile properties is honored to have been included on the Real Trends Five Hundred, recognizing the largest independent, largest real estate brokerages in the United States by sales volume. Real Trends, based on Colorado, is the undisputed leader and trusted source of news, analysis, and information on the residential brokerage industry since 1987.

The REAL Trends 500, now in its 32nd year, remains the undisputed leader in ranking the performance of residential real estate services firms. Due to their requirement of
independent verification, the REAL Trends 500 is the trusted source for information about the performance of real estate firms across the country.

For 2019, d’aprile properties has successfully earned the following accolades:

  • 436 Largest Brokerage in the United States ranked by closed sales volume in 2018
  • 126 Largest Independent Brokerage in the Country by number of transactions
  • A spot on the Real Trends “Up-and-Comers” List

d’aprile properties is a full-service real estate company, serving clients throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our clients, as well as advancing the individual careers of our team members. For four years running, INC.com has included d’aprile properties on their annual list of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. Our growth and impact on the industry have also been publicly recognized by RISMedia, who included d’aprile properties on their Power Broker report, a list of the nation’s 500 Top-Producing Brokerage Firms.

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


d’aprile properties: 2019 Top 500 Power Broker

We are proud to announce that RISMedia —the residential real estate industry’s definitive source for news and information — has ranked d’aprile properties among the Top 500 Power Brokers in the United States for 2019. RISMedia’s annual Power Broker Report & Survey is the industry’s most comprehensive report, ranking the top real estate brokerages in the country, according to sales volume.

Now in its 31st year, the Power Broker Report has long celebrated the exceptional business feats of remarkable real estate leaders, whose innovation and integrity continue to shape the real estate industry. We are excited and honored to be included on this prestigious list.

d’aprile properties is committed to providing an inventive and action-oriented environment for our team of agents, one that allows individuals with true focus and ambition to thrive and succeed from their very first day. Our agents routinely rank among the top producers in each of our individual markets, and consistently outpace industry income.

With access to state-of-the-art technology and a proven customer service methodology, our agents stand a head above the competition. We know that our clients appreciate the value of local market expertise, and every d’aprile properties agent combines empathy and experience in order to exceed the expectations of our customers.

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