Mortgage Minute: Buying a New Home While Selling Your Current

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.

Do you remember what it was like to buy your first home? If it has been several years, you might be pleasantly surprised just how much easier it is today! The days of signing piles of paper while waiting weeks for a decision are over thanks to today’s online mortgage technology.

That’s not likely the only thing that will be different this time around, however. For this purchase, you’re also juggling the sale of your current property, while you shop for your next home. So how exactly does that work?

You may end up feeling like a juggler, with too many balls in the air. And while it will be a little more tricky than last time, rest assured that your Midwest Lending mortgage professional will do the heavy lifting for you.

Timing Matters

Ideally, you’d want to use the equity from your first home as a downpayment for your new home, right? Passing those funds from one place to another would make this whole process a cinch.

Unfortunately, rarely will a transaction happen so seamlessly, and that’s partly due to market conditions. If you are in the market to buy your forever home, research your local real estate market first. Look at both the area where you are selling, and the areas you are considering your next purchase.

When considering the selling side, talk to your real estate agent about how long comparable properties have been sitting on the market. This information is useful for determining how to price your home competitively, while still making a reasonable profit. It is an easy trap to fall into, listing your home too high, only to drop it several times before you get an offer.

Considering the purchase of your new home, you’ll also want to research the market. Decide which areas you might want to purchase in — that way, when your current home is under contract, you’ll know precisely where to make your own bid. Of course, you’ll also want to have talked to your Midwest Lending mortgage professional ahead of time, so that you can be sure you are properly pre-approved for this new offer.

Regarding Contingency Offers

A sale and settlement contingency offer is when you use the proceeds from your current home to fund the purchase of your new home. Of course, this means that your offer is dependent on the sale of selling your existing home.

While ideal for you as the buyer, it’s not a very attractive deal for the seller of the home you hope to purchase. If another offer comes in from a buyer with a proper pre-approval letter and no contingency, they will often win the bidding war.

Sellers can even entertain other offers after they’ve accepted a contingent offer. In order to facilitate a “non-contingent” offer, you may want to consider a bridge loan. 

Bridge Loans

A bridge loan is a short-term loan used until a person secures permanent financing, or removes an existing obligation. It allows the user to meet current obligations by providing immediate cash flow. Essentially, you agree to “rent” your current home. That way you can sell your home and still live in it for 2-3 months while you shop for your next home. While the option is not always available, it’s definitely worth looking into.

There are many moving pieces when it comes to buying a home. Luckily, you have a team available to take care of all the details. Your dedicated Midwest Lending loan mortgage pro will work with you and your realtor to make your next purchase quick and hassle-free. Contact us today to learn more!


ARRR You Ready for a Move?

Sometimes you just need to have a little fun.

Actually, the need for the healing power of random, silly fun was the driving force behind the creation of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Which is today, September 19. Enjoy.

What? You’ve never heard of it? For shame! Where ‘ave you been, ye landlubber?

Actually, you probably aren’t alone. There is a long and lush tale about how the day actually came to be, but we’ll try and summarize: back in 1995, two self-proclaimed non-athletes, John Baur (aka Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (aka Cap’n Slappy) were playing racquetball. Quite poorly, they would add.

And when an errant shot caused one of them to crash into the wall with a resounding, “ARRR!” the idea for Talk Like a Pirate Day was born. Well, actually, it would actually take almost seven years, and the improbable assistance of renowned author, nationally syndicated columnist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Dave Barry — but the day would be made official in 2002.

With so much doom and gloom hovering over the news these days, sometimes a little random silliness can be just what the doctor ordered. And while we are all about providing the highest level of real estate service here at d’aprile properties, we also can’t pass up on the chance at some good-hearted fun. So in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we’d like to tell you why now is a great time to buy a home:

AHOY! At d’aprile properties, our agents be fully committed to providin’ each an’ every matey (client) with a singularrr full-service real estate experience. An’ there be no better time to be lookin’ fer a new ‘ome than in fall! Our ship is chock full o’ Seadogs, experienced capn’s who will steer your ship toward the horizon, straight ta home ownership! All ye ‘ave to do be give us a call. We’ll be both yer trusted mate, an’ yer guide to wherever yer real estate dreams take ye.


Buying a Home in Your 20’s

Navigate your way to any online lending or real estate source, and you’ll no doubt be inundated with articles about how young people are completely stressed out about buying a home. Heck, we wrote one back in June.

The problem with simply throwing out statistics regarding today’s youth — and their hesitancy toward jumping into the market — is that it does very little to actually help or guide this group of extremely capable buyers. So let’s take a look at what is truly important to consider when purchasing property in your 20’s.

Look past the negativity surrounding the current state of the housing market and today’s student debt levels. The truth is, according to a recent study, four out of five members of Generations Y (born between 1984 and 1995) and Z (1995 – 2015) are certain they want to be homeowners. Additionally, members of Gen Z are twice as likely to be saving or plan on saving for a home by age 25.

Generations Y and Z often come out of the gate with more earning power than their societal predecessors, along with a more evolved sense of financial savvy. They know they need to build credit and save for a down payment. But what else must they consider to ensure that their dreams of homeownership become reality before they turn 30?

Consider Your Career: How established are you in your current job — is it your career, or a stepping stone toward something greater? Is your role likely to change in the near future, through advancement, relocation, or otherwise? You want to make certain that if you do buy, you will be able to stay in the home long enough to recoup your transaction costs, and build some equity before selling.

Consider Your Lifestyle: Do you currently live in the city, state, and country where you want to live? Do you have access to all of the amenities you need to enrich your personal life? Do you want a white picket fence in the suburbs, or a condo just blocks from a bustling downtown? Remember, you’re not just buying four walls and a roof — you’re securing a community of your own. Make certain it’s the right one for your way of life.

Consider Your Future: Looking to tie the knot within the next 3-5 years? Hear the pitter patter of little feet coming around the corner? Maybe you just need space for the three puppies you’ve been waiting to adopt. The point is, right now this decision may seem all about you, but life changes pretty quickly. Take all possibilities into consideration, and make sure that whatever you buy, wherever you buy, the property remains suitable for everyone in your life.

Every individual, no matter their age, faces the prospect of homeownership with different backgrounds and personal circumstances. They key is to surround yourself with the right people, who can help you make the best decision for YOU. First, find yourself a home financing expert. Then, align yourself with a real estate agent who truly cares about you and your future. Only then can you feel fully comfortable taking this very big, but very manageable step toward stability and security.


Carving Out Some Fun

Can you believe it? Fall is almost here, and Halloween looms on the horizon. It’s time to start thinking about costumes and decorations. And no fall season would be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch.

Keep the following in mind when searching for the perfect pumpkin or the most gorgeous gourd:

CHECK THE STEM: The texture and color of your pumpkin’s stem will tell its story. A soft or loose stem is a clue that the pumpkin could be prone to rotting. A green stem means the pumpkin has been freshly picked, but a tan or brown stems mean the pumpkin was harvested at least a few days ago.

SPOTS ARE BAD, M’KAY?: Soft spots on your pumpkin? Not good news. This may be a result of excess moisture or insects getting into the pumpkin, causing rot or mold. The more moisture and rot, the less time that pumpkin will look fresh on your front stoop.

ROLL WITH IT: We all know that pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes. So how do you check to see if yours will stand up throughout the season? Lay it gently on a flat surface, and check for the roll. A good, flat-bottomed pumpkin will stay in place, both in the patch and on your porch.

Happy Hunting! Check the list below for some of the best public pumpkin patches in the area!

Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm & Apple Orchard —  Pingree Grove

Sonny Acres Farm — West Chicago

Didier Farms — Lincolnshire

Konow’s Corn Maze — Homer Glen

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm — Lockport



The Real Estate Market is Going Back to School

If you’re like us, you made the mistake of blinking — in that instant, summer came and went. Labor Day? Done. Vacation season? Merely a memory. Now the kids have gone back to school, causing some parents to shed tears, and others to quietly sigh in relief.

Now fall beckons, with promises of pumpkin spice and sweater weather. What to do with all this peace and quiet? While most consider spring and summer as the premier real estate seasons, there is still plenty of life left in the market as autumn approaches. So whether the house seems a little too quiet — or you are secretly reveling in the silence — now may be the perfect time to learn your most important home buying lessons.

A is for Availability: Many parents have more time on their hands in fall, as they’re not balancing babysitters and summer sports tournaments. That means more time for online home searches and open house visits. Plus, now that everyone is back from vacation, there tends to be an uptick in market listing activity after Labor Day. As a fall buyer, you will likely face less competition for desired properties, and will draw even more attention from your dedicated real estate agent as the season begins to slow.

B is for Benefits: Tax benefits, to be exact. If you can close on a new home before year’s end, you will be eligible for a few attractive tax deductions come April. Deductible items include closing costs, property taxes, and mortgage interest. Even if you close on your new home in December, you can deduct property taxes and mortgage interest from your entire year’s earnings.

C is for Crunch Time: Most homes go on the market in spring or summer, and some will inevitably still be there come fall, much to the chagrin of their owners. That means that the seller likely has a little extra motivation to get the deal done. As the holidays approach, sellers are eager to close so they can move on to planning parties and events. They also may be looking to take a gain or loss for the current tax year. Just remember: when a seller is motivated to close, the buyer often can seize the upper hand when it comes to negotiations.

Call d’aprile properties today. We’ll help you get pre-approved, and make sure that you are ready to become a homeowner this fall!


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Every single day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.

The average age of a child diagnosed is six years old.

12% of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive.

The statistics are grim. The images that accompany them are often difficult to look at or comprehend. And for those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid cancer’s terrible grasp, it may be difficult to relate to those who must fight their own personal battle, each and every day.

The easy path is to turn our heads away. But nothing can change until more of us become involved. Creating awareness is the first and most important step toward defeating an epidemic that is quickly growing out of control.

Because the fact is, cancer doesn’t care about age. It ignores gender, ethnicity, and socio-economics. Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just 50 years ago to nearly 90 percent today — the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, an annual national health campaign by major childhood cancer organizations to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. In 2019, d’aprile properties has dedicated our collective philanthropic efforts toward the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and their incredible efforts toward eliminating all forms of pediatric cancer.

A black doctor sits on the floor in front of large windows with her patient. The patient is a caucasian girl with cancer. The girl is wearing a scarf on her head. The doctor is talking and holding the girl’s hands. The child is smiling up at the doctor and listening intently. There is a large teddy bear on the floor next to them.

Pediatric forms of cancer are completely different than the types of cancer that affect adults. It remains the number one cause of death by disease in children — 1 in 8 will not survive. Out of those who do, 60% will suffer long-term side effects.

Yet despite these terrifying numbers, less than 4% of all cancer research dollars are allocated to children. What’s worse, only 4 cancer treatments have been specifically developed and approved for children in the last 20 years.

It is hard to imagine that a few dollars here or there could make a difference. But this isn’t just about money. It’s about fostering hope. It’s about reminding these amazing children that they still have a childhood, and that we will always stand by them and their families, no matter the odds.

If you would like to join our efforts, please visit our fundraising page and donate. Or contact your dedicated d’aprile properties real estate agent, and ask how you can join or support the #daprilecares Team in October’s A Walk for the Bear.

Follow Bear Necessities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about childhood cancer and their fight. By sharing their posts, you are creating awareness, and helping to spread the word about childhood cancer.

Meet Kaylee, our 2019 #daprilecares Ambassador, and read her story HERE.

Read more about our annual campaign for Bear Necessities, HERE.


Finding Real Value

Looking to sell your home in the near future? How do you gauge its worth? There are several factors that determine how much value a given home has on the market, such its location, and the popularity of the neighborhood surrounding it. Unfortunately, those factors are mostly out of your control.

What is under your control is the condition of the property. If — like 70% of American homeowners — you believe your house is your biggest asset, it makes sense to take into account the sales value that any additions or renovations will add to your home, even if you aren’t in the market to sell right away.

Certain home projects will always add value to a home, such as a newly renovated kitchen or bathroom, or the addition of a room or story. But many homeowners sink large amounts of money into projects that are merely trendy at the moment, and may find it more difficult to get a return on their investment.

Let’s look at a few home additions that are very popular today, and see what impact they may have on your home’s market value.

Hardwood Floors – Valued for their stylish look and charm, wood floors are a popular alternative to the carpeted floors of old. Their true value lies in their durability, and the relatively easy manner in which they can be cleaned. However, your best bet is to use soft, neutral colors, as more vivid hues and patterns may be a turn off for potential buyers.

Verdict: Definitely adds value.

Outdoor Kitchens – A classy add-on that benefits both resident and guest, outdoor kitchens have exploded in popularity in recent years. They allow homeowners to entertain friends and family, or simply eat family dinners outdoors without making too many trips in and out of the house. The right amount of outdoor space is key, and homes in warmer climates will definitely benefit even more from an alfresco alcove. The most important factor in regards to value is to make sure that you don’t fall prey to adding too many bells and whistles that cause the construction cost to outweigh the added market value.

Verdict: Likely to provide value (if not overdone).

Wine Rooms and Cellars – This one may completely depend on the size/style of the home. Many potential buyers will see a wine room or cellar as a ‘wow’ factor, adding a touch of class and luxury to an upscale residence. But for homes with less square footage, or who reside in more modest neighborhoods, it may be difficult to justify such an expenditure. According to realtor.com, wine cellars rank highly among home buyers who have incomes greater than $150,000. Others may simply see it as wasted space.

Verdict: Maybe. It all depends on the home, and the right kind of buyer.

When it comes to determining the true value of your home, your best bet is to call your dedicated d’aprile properties agent, who will run a free comparative market analysis for you. Only then will you know how your home stacks up against others in your neighborhood.


The Rivalry of a Lifetime

Photo Courtesy of SportsInteraction.com

d’aprile properties proudly serves clients in both Illinois and Wisconsin — so we’ll TRY to stay unbiased here. But some serious interstate calamity is about to go down.

Historically, your typical NFL season kicks off with a contest featuring the defending Super Bowl champion, which would be the Patriots. Again. However, 2019 begins a season-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the NFL. So the league passed legislation in order to allow for a one-year exemption to do something new and exciting for this unique season.

The Chicago Bears will play host to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7:20 p.m. CT, at Soldier Field. That means that the oldest — and arguably most intense — rivalry in all of sports will once again rock the football world. Bruising will ensue. Tears (of at least one fan base) will be shed. And another chapter of this 100-year saga will be written, adding to a story that has taken some thrilling and often odd twists and turns throughout the last century.

Photo Courtesy of acmepackingcompany.com

Things Are Pretty Even Steven: This will be the 199th game that these two pigskin powerhouses have played since their inaugural faceoff in 1921. The Packers have won 97 games, the Bears have won 95 games, and there have been 6 ties. Yet, despite almost 200 battles across a literal century, there have only been two playoff contests. And yes, as you can imagine, that record stands at 1-1.

Same Journey, Different Paths: Despite the fact that the two teams have been playing for 100 seasons, the Bears and Pack have only reached the playoffs in the same season on four separate occasions. In both instances where the two clubs didn’t end up playing each other in the postseason, they were eliminated in the same round in 1994 and 2001.

The Packers Rule the Air: When it comes to high-flying football, Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers is nothing short of a Bear Killer. In fact, he’s won 16 of the 21 games he’s started against Chicago, throwing for 5,156 yards, 45 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions.

But the Bears Own the Ground: The Bears lead the series in rushing yards by a significant margin, but no one did it like Sweetness. Walter Payton rushed for 2,484 yards and 19 touchdowns against the Packers in 24 career games, with the Bears going 17-7 in those contests.

With these two teams so evenly matched over the years, it’s impossible to say who will come out on top. No matter the final outcome, it is safe to say that the 2019 season will get off to a wild start!


Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?

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.

You’ve found the perfect home, and are looking to settle in what looks like the quaintest community this side of Mayberry. Your future neighbors wave as you pull in the driveway. The house is mere blocks from a great school that the kids can walk to. And the property taxes! So low you can afford to take an extra weekend vacation this year!

Thus represents the average amount of research that most new homeowners put into their potential new ‘hood. You think about the kids, you think about your wallet. But there is so much more to your community than good schools and friendly neighbors. The area you live in needs to be as perfect a fit for your family as the four walls that surround them while they sleep at night. After all, your home more than just the property you live in; it’s a collection of the people and the personalities that make up your entire neck of the woods.

So what else should you be looking at? How do you find the facts you need to settle on the right area for you and your family? Think of it like playing a game of Monopoly: you’ve chosen the Thimble piece, got your cash in order, and picked up the dice. It’s time to take a look at the rest of the board. And you can do it without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go: No matter how nice a given area looks, crime can be lurking just around the corner. A fairly quick search on sites like crimereports.com or spotcrime.com can give you all you need to know about violent crime statistics in the area, and offer access to police blotter aggregators. Heck, a “Google Street View” sneak peek can give you a quick glance at the feel of the block. But if you really want to feel safe about your future neighborhood, reach out to the local police department and ask them for a crime report — they’ll be happy to oblige.

Pennsylvania Railroad: The kids might have a short walk to school, but did you think about your work commute? What about your proximity to the freeway, or your nearest hospital? Quiet, peaceful neighborhoods tend to be located in slightly more isolated areas, which often reduces the amount of public transportation options. Make sure that you have ease of access to all of the activities that make up your life, from your office to Home Depot. A little time spent on sites like walkscore.com could go a long way towards making every day life accessible to you and your family.

Community Chest: Last but not least, what about the culture that makes up your new ‘burb? Does the neighborhood value diversity and take pride in its local businesses? Are you going to be overrun by baby strollers, or kept up at night by singles looking to party till dawn? Research income, racial diversity, age, and relationship status stats on sites like city-data.com. Your lifestyle is an important part of the place you call home; make sure that you and your family FEEL like a part of the community.

Of course, your d’aprile properties local area expert can help you find the perfect place to settle. But by taking the time to do a little homework upfront, you’ll know ahead of time exactly what you’re looking for in a community.  

It’ll be better than winning 2nd Prize in a Beauty Contest…



Busy Parents’ Guide to Selling a Home

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

We’d like to introduce you our latest guest blogger, Kris Louis of Parentingwithkris.com! Kris combines her first-hand experience as a home seller with her everyday experience as a mother, in order to bring a fresh perspective to the real estate process.

Selling a home can be stressful for anyone. Selling your home when you have kids can often seem downright impossible. However, with a little planning, you can keep your home clean and have it ready for showings, even with very little notice.

Store Half Your Stuff

According to real estate experts, decluttering your home is a must. When a buyer walks through your home, they want to imagine their own belongings there, and they can’t do that if they can’t see through all the clutter. So, box up at least half of your stuff and put it in storage, removing all the outdated decor, family photos, kids’ artwork, knick-knacks, sports gear, and bulky furniture. Ideally, you want your house to look like a minimalist model home.

Also, keep your kids’ favorite toys in the house, but store all the rest. Assure your children that you’re not throwing their toys away — you are just putting them aside until you get into your new house. For the toys remaining, have a simple storage solution (like an ottoman or bench with storage inside), so you can get toys out of sight in a flash before a showing.

Deep Clean from Top to Bottom

Get crayon marks off the walls, sticky stuff off the baseboards, and handprints off the doorknobs and windows. Scrub the kitchen and bathrooms until they sparkle. If you don’t want to deep clean yourself, hire someone. According to Kiplinger.com, most buyers do not want wall-to-wall carpeting. If you have the money, replace your carpets with vinyl planks, wood flooring, or tile. Used carpets never look quite new, even if you steam clean them. Another bonus of replacing carpet is that other types of flooring are easier to clean in a jiffy.

Stage Your Home and Take Photos

To stage your home, make sure there are no toys, baby gear, or pet items in the living room, kitchen, bathrooms, or other common areas of the home. You want as little personal items in the home as possible. In your kids’ rooms, paint over any kiddie-themed murals and remove bean bags, dollhouses, play tables, and so on. Decorate with simple, gender-neutral decor. Once your house is clean and everything is staged, you should have professional photos or video taken to create a virtual tour of your home. Your real estate agent can recommend someone experienced to use the right angles and lighting to make your home look larger.

Prepare for Showings

Ideally, you’ll be able to give your realtor set hours to do showings every week. If he shows the home during these blocks of time, you’ll know the schedule and be able to clean ahead of time. In between showings, you’ll still have to live in your home without getting it messy, which seems impossible with kids. So, get in the habit of cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry every night. If possible, grill and eat outside as much as possible, using paper plates. Your kids will think you’re having a fun picnic, and your kitchen will remain tidy.

Although scheduled showings are ideal, undoubtedly there will be times when last-minute showings are necessary. Practice a 15-minute clean routine so you can get your home clean quickly when you get a call about an unexpected showing. In 15 minutes, you can:

  • Remove toiletries from the bathroom, put down the toilet seat, and wipe off the counter.
  • Empty every garbage can and diaper pail, and spray air freshener nearby each.
  • Put dishes in the dishwasher, quickly sweep the kitchen floor, and wipe off the counter.
  • Make the beds, fluff the pillows, and close the closets. Turn on all the lights in the house, and open blinds and curtains to let in the light.
  • Pick up any remaining clutter and check for any off-putting smells.
  • Grab a few toys and some snacks and head to the park or another outing with the kids.

Staging your home right and keeping it as tidy as possible will make it more attractive to potential buyers. With a little effort and a good routine, you will always be prepared for showings, and you’ll have offers rolling in before you know it.