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.


The Freedom of Home Ownership

 

When was the last time you gave thought to the concept of the American Dream?

For generations, the idea was built around one simple concept: opportunity. Every man and woman born in this country — or who managed to find their way to it — was given a promise. Work hard, never quit, and you can secure wealth and build a life of your own, regardless of your station. Owning land and/or property represented freedom at its most pure, and the pursuit of happiness would often end at a white picket fence, surrounding the perfect home in the middle of a quaint, suburban paradise.

We all hoped, with absolute sincerity, to someday be kings and queens of our own little castle. 

But times, inevitably, have changed. Today, a quick online search of the term “American Dream” brings up headlines filled with sarcasm, pessimism, and outright negativity.

“Fool’s Dream.”

“Outdated Concept.”

“Dead and Gone.”

At some point along the way, the bright-eyed optimism behind our collective drive to succeed, and to create quality and comfort for those we love, has become a concept often frowned upon. Many now see the American Dream as a pursuit of the material, a selfish and outdated attempt at social mobility.

We at d’aprile properties must — respectfully — disagree. We believe that the American Dream is alive and well. As a society we have seen our motivations change and adapt over time, but as individuals we all still want the same thing: the freedom to choose how we live. We strive not only to improve our own lot in life, but to make sure that those that follow us can begin their own journey, with hope and optimism for the future.

 

As a real estate company, we will never apologize for promoting the benefits of home ownership, and the many freedoms that come with it. Be it an apartment in the city, a two-story Cape Cod in the suburbs, or a vacation getaway along the coast — coming home means safety and security. It offers peace of mind in a place that you humbly call your own, but proudly welcome others into. It means being wealthy in spirit. It’s about being part of a community. 

We wish you a safe, and spectacular Fourth of July holiday. Celebrate your independence, in whatever form it may take.

 

 

 


Hey Gen Y — Why So Serious??

Welcome to our Mortgage Minute series, where our partners over at Midwest Lending break down the particulars of home financing, and bring a personal touch to the lending industry, as only they can.

Did you know that the Millennial generation represents the largest group of homebuyers in America? It’s true: Gen Y makes for 37% of recent home buyers in this country. Gen X is next, albeit significantly behind at 24%. In fact, according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, 2019 will be the sixth consecutive year that millennials led the U.S. home buying charge.

So why are millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) often criticized for living too long with their parents, or only being interested in renting, when the statistics clearly paint a different picture?

The source of this unfair reputation may be answered through the results of another report, this one by Clever Real Estate. It seems that millennials are twice as likely to be stressed about homeownership than Baby Boomers, and are also much more likely to experience buyer’s remorse than older generations. This uncertainty toward ownership is sending adult children back to their parents’ homes, either out of necessity or an attempt to save money.

So what is causing this panic and confusion? The NAR stats mentioned earlier point to the following as some of the most serious millennial concerns:

  • Mortgage payments are too high (41%)
  • Additional maintenance after moving in (33%)
  • Their property has depreciated in value since purchase (21%)
  • High interest rates (17%)
  • Location isn’t ideal or poor quality of school districts (14%)

Other outside factors, from student loans to financial instability, only add to the anxiety. For some, the responsibilities of homeownership are simply a bit more than they bargained for. But for this particular generation — and those that will follow — it is important to keep things in proper perspective. Yes, the stress that comes with buying a home is very real, and millennials should not overextend themselves to make a home purchase. But they should not fear the possibility, if properly educated on the process.

Many buyers today never speak with a real person when it comes to home financing, preferring to handle everything online. This can only result in a less educated home buyer, and an even less confident home owner. They need to speak with someone who has the expertise and the integrity to show them the reality that comes after being handed a set of keys. That is why speaking with an expert such as your Midwest Lending mortgage pro is so essential.

Millennials shouldn’t fear home buying — for those who are stable in their careers and ready to set down roots, homeownership can be the key to emotional and financial security later in life. They simply need to take the time to know what they are getting into, with a devoted professional by their side.

Midwest Lending is a residential mortgage broker, committed to providing their clients with the highest quality home loans, combined with some of the lowest mortgage rates available. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Proud Partners: Barrister Title

We’d like to take the time to thank Barrister Title, our partner, and 2019 Summit Event Sponsor.

It’s all about the closing. As real estate agents, we know that with Barrister Title, we are guaranteed to experience a professional closing that enhances our productivity, while allowing us to properly leverage our client relationships. Barrister ensures only the highest level of personal services, saving time with their team-oriented approach, the latest technology, and seamless document preparation.

Barrister’s national department provides services in all 50 states, expediting closings for both commercial and residential real estate transactions. At each stage of the process, highly skilled, experienced experts will assist you. Their proven track record for building and maintaining strong relationships with underwriters provides unlimited resources for serving their customers’ needs. They believe in the value of long lasting relationships based on trust and mutual understanding.

 


What To Do In Wisconsin This Summer

Photo by Emre Kuzu from Pexels

While there’s fun to be had in Wisconsin year-round, spring and summer are particularly action-packed. Whether you’re in town for beautiful beaches, family fun in the Dells, or you’re a full-time resident looking for something new to try, check out our curated guide to summertime festivals and special events, all coming soon to Wisconsin.

June 22-23
Cedarburg Strawberry Festival
This 34th annual festival celebrates the strawberry, with live music, arts and crafts vendors, wine and beer tents, live music, and strawberry-centric food. The Cedar Quacker Race pits 500 rubber ducks against one another and is held at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Washington Avenue in Cedarburg, WI.

June 22
Midsummer Fest
A festival honoring the earliest immigrants to Southwestern Wisconsin, this event includes demonstrations of blacksmithing, rope making and others, plus traditional Norwegian food, horse and wagon rides, scavenger hunts, and hiking. Norskedalen Nature Heritage Center in Coon Valley, WI.

June 28
Comedian Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan is a three-time Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, two-time New York Times best-selling author, Emmy-winning top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling father of five. He is known around the world for his unique brand of humor, which largely revolves around his observations on life. Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

June 27-29
Wisconsin State Button Show
Whether you’re looking for arts and crafts ideas, costuming or sewing materials, or you’re a serious button collector, this three day event at the Sheraton Madison Hotel offers vendors, educational displays, and even a juried button competition. Madison, WI.

June 28-30
Wisconsin Comic Convention
Featured exhibitors will display collectibles, magazines, anime, cosplay, apparel, and of course comic books at the Wisconsin Center. Stars like Sean Astin (Sam) from The Lord of the Rings, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) from Star Trek, and Ray Park (Darth Maul) from Star Wars are the featured guests. Milwaukee, WI.

July 4
Fontana Fireworks
The Village of Fontana ignites their annual fireworks display over Geneva Lake. Spread out a blanket and find a perfect spot to watch at The Abbey Harbor lawn. Fontana-on-Geneva Lake, WI.

July 11-14
Elkhorn Ribfest
This national rib competition includes four days of rib sampling, an artisan vendor area, carnival rides, live music, and an opportunity for you to weigh, too, via the People’s Choice Award ballots, available in the t-shirt booth. Elkhorn, WI.

July 18-21
Country Thunder
This year, Chris Stapleton headlines Wisconsin’s premier country music festival. Other big names include Jake Owen, Tim McGraw, and Lonestar. Twin Lakes, WI.

July 20
Jimmy Buffett
Are you a Parrothead? If not, here’s your chance to get a taste of “vitamin sea” when Jimmy Buffet sets sail at the Alpine Valley Music Theater. Lawn and VIP seating available. Elkhorn, WI.

July 20-21
Maxwell Street Days Flea Market
More than 650 vendors display their crafts, produce, plants, tools, and more. Mukwonago, WI.

July 26-28
Shake the Lake
This three day music festival at Lake Lawn Resort also features a bags competition, food trucks, activities for kids, and headlining bands Who’s Bad (a Michael Jackson tribute band) and Journey Recaptured, a Journey-inspired band. Delavan, WI.

August 1-4
U.S. Open Chainsaw Sculpture Competition
Top competitors from Tennessee, Minnesota, Alabama, Japan, and Germany will show off their chainsaw skills. Beyond the matches, there will be demonstrations, social hours, bounce castles, and family-friendly fun at the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum. Eau Claire, WI.