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.


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.


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.

 

 

 


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.

 


June is National Safety Awareness Month

“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment.” –Nelson Mandela

 

Observed every year throughout June, National Safety Month is focused on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities. With the proper education, and a general awareness of the space and people around us, we can help protect not only ourselves, but ensure the well-being of those who matter most.

We are constantly reminded of the importance of adequate safety measures at work. But how many of us can honestly say that we have done all that we can to prevent accidents in the home? After all, home is where you go to feel safe, where you can exhale after a long day, and get away from the hustle and bustle that life often brings with it. But it is also where you likely spend the majority of your time, and the familiarity you have with it can cause you to let your guard down, and miss potential hazards that are right in front of your eyes. 

According to The National Safety Council, 169,936 Americans died in preventable, injury-related accidents in 2017 — and more than half of those occurred in the home. Perhaps even more troubling is that the number of nonfatal, preventable injuries in the home — those that required medical attention — grew to 47.2 million in 2017. That is roughly one out of every seven individuals who live in these United States.

At d’aprile properties, we know a thing or two about the sense of security that comes with home ownership. So in the spirit of National Safety Month, we offer some simple tips, in order to create awareness about potential risks that may exist within your household. For more information, head over to the NSC’s Home Safety page. You can also find an abundance of eye-opening information over at rospa.com, maintained by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

  1. Fire Safety: Keep portable heaters and candles away from furniture and curtains. Position them in a safe spot where they cannot be knocked over.
  2. Electrical Safety: Never overload an electric socket, and have your wiring installation checked at least once every five years by an approved contractor.
  3. Heating Safety: Be sure to keep your fireplace and chimney properly cleaned and inspected, and routinely check the pilot on gas cookers and water heaters to make sure it has not gone out.
  4. Safety with Medicines and Cleaners: Keep medicines in their original containers, clearly labelled, and consider keeping all in a lockable cabinet.
  5. Garden Safety: Wear appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes, and protective eye cover when mowing or gardening, and always stay on the lookout for plants and berries that may be poisonous or can cause an allergic reaction.
  6. DIY Safety: Be realistic and don’t tackle a job unless you really have the ability. A competent, qualified person should always carry out gas and electrical renewal or repair work.

This June, make sure that your home will always remain a source of safety and contentment for you and your family.


May 18 is Armed Forces Day

 

Memorial Day is fast approaching. A national holiday that results in a three-day weekend, we are easily and readily reminded each year to honor and remember those who have fallen in the line of duty while protecting their country. 

But the third Saturday in May often comes and goes without much fanfare, despite the significant effect on our personal freedom that this day on the calendar represents. Saturday, May 18 is Armed Forces Day, dedicated to the men and women currently serving in all branches of our military. In 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced that Armed Forces Day would take the place of other individual branch celebrations, so that our country might unite in support and recognition of our military members and their families.

Each year, Armed Forces Day centers on a unique theme designed to highlight the hard work and dedication of our service members. The theme for 2019 is “For the Nation. For the People.”

Many choose to show their respect through small acts of kindness, such as a thank you card or a bouquet of flowers sent to someone they know who has dedicated their lives to protecting our independence. Others choose to volunteer by spending time with veterans in retirement communities. Yet some choose simply to adorn their front porch with an American flag, or plant red, white, and blue flowers in planters on their front steps. No matter how you choose to show your respect and admiration, the smallest act could have an enormous impact on the men and women serving our country.

At d’aprile properties, we proudly support our military, and wish to say thank you to all our military personnel for the sacrifices you make every day for our freedom!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The Time to Buy is Now

 

Looks like it’s becoming harder and harder to be a renter in the US.

The latest rent report from RENTCafe is in, and while the news is not so good for those who currently rent their home, it is very positive for those looking to own in 2019. The national average rent in March was $1,430, which is up 3.2 percent over the same period last year. That is an increase of $44 dollars a month on average, all across the country!

Rents are also up in 92 percent of the nation’s biggest 253 cities. That includes Chicago, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee. Only 2 percent of these cities saw rents decrease over the year! In case you don’t like doing math (which we totally get, by the way), that comes out to…five cities. Yikes.

At d’aprile properties, we look to educate our clients, ensuring that they understand not only the home buying process, but all of the benefits of home ownership as well. Because the truth is, saving money is just the beginning.

 

PRIDE – A renter simply cannot experience the sense of pride and freedom that comes with home ownership. The homeowner has no landlord, no rent payments, and no one to answer to. A homeowner gets to decorate and maintain their home however they may choose, experience the joy of owning a pet, and relax in their own yard with a feeling of accomplishment.

PRIVACY – It’s hard to put a price on peace and quiet. As any renter will likely tell you, sharing walls with other tenants can be awkward at best, and downright annoying at worst. Plus, a landlord can at times have unfettered access to your living space. Owning a home provides safety and security, as well as peace of mind.

POTENTIAL – Perhaps the most significant benefit of homeownership is the opportunity to build equity. Keep this in mind: even if you’re currently renting, you’re still paying a mortgage. It simply belongs to someone else. Owning your home means that each month you’ll be putting money toward your own valuable investment, instead of in your landlord’s pocket.

We would love to be a part of your home ownership dream. Get started by clicking on our logo below. We’re here for you every step of the way.

 


Let Spring Into Your Home!

Photo by Mark McCammon from Pexels

Is winter over yet? Officially, spring began on March 20th. While the weather is a little slow to catch up, it’s the perfect time to embrace the season and give our living spaces a little refresh.

Here are some things to consider when getting your home ready for spring:

Clean Things Up

You either love spring cleaning, or you dread it. Either way, it’s a great time of year to refresh your space by washing away the signs of winter hibernation. It doesn’t have to be all ammonia and baseboard-scrubbing; start with small projects like cleaning out the fridge or freezer, then move up to larger tasks like floors and windows. Breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces can help avoid feeling overwhelmed. Open a window for some fresh air and to vent out the smell of cleaning chemicals while you’re hard at work.

Decluttering is just as important as cleaning, and you’ll be amazed at how different a room can feel after getting rid of the things that don’t bring you joy. Similar to cleaning, break organizing down into smaller bits at a time. You don’t want to be done for the day, only to realize your bed is still covered with all the boxes of clothes you’re going to donate.

 

Long Days, Warm Nights

You’ve made it past daylight saving time – are you prepared for all the extra daylight that spring brings with it? Sunlight affects our circadian rhythm and is a factor that tells us when it’s time for bed. Darker mornings make it easier to stay in bed in the morning, and a little bit harder to fall asleep at night. Winter’s darkness gave us time inside to relax and decompress before bed, but the late sunset of spring can make it difficult to feel tired on time. If you find yourself staying up later with the extra sunlight, make sure you are still taking the time to unwind after a long day. A nighttime routine centered on relaxation can help give structure to the end of your day so you don’t find yourself lying awake at night.

With the temperatures beginning to rise, turning the thermostat down a few degrees before bed can actually help prepare you for a deeper sleep. If you are a hot sleeper, don’t forget to change out warmer sheets for a set that breathe well and keep you comfortable. If you still find yourself warm, a mattress that sleeps cool is worth the investment and will keep you enjoying sleep for seasons to come.

 

Bring the Outside In

Outside your home, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming. But how do you bring the feeling of spring into your home? The simplest way to bring the outdoors in is to include some plants in your home decor. Easy-to-maintain options that will bloom this spring include violets, lilies, and hard-to-kill succulents. Plants are a great way to embrace the season and let some refreshing color into the home while on a budget. You can also use spring colors, such as pastel greens, sky blues, or sunshine yellows in your decor to really brighten up a room and give it a spring feel. The ultimate way to refresh your space and bring some color in, however, is to repaint. An accent wall is a simple way to change the entire feel of a room and use bold colors in your living space. If you choose a bold spring color such as yellow, make sure you will be able to tie your room’s decor to the accent wall for the rest of the year.

There’s no doubt that we welcome spring with open arms. Taking a little extra time to prepare your home for spring, however, can make a big difference in enjoying the season.