Archive for February, 2014

Bates Motel or Queen Palace ?

As a Listing agent representing Bank Owned Property.  Many of your listings may look like …




the Bates Motel but the Banks want you to describe it as though it were…


The Palace of the Queen of England                                                           download


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521 Flossmoor Waukegan, IL 60085 List Price:$72,500

front view

Featured Listing for February 18, 2014:

Desirable Douglas Nursery Location! Wonderful 3+ Bedroom Ranch Home with Full Finished Basement with 1 Additional BR and Full Bath. 2 Fireplaces and 1 BBQ Pit for outdoor entertainment.


Large Eat in Kitchen with Fireplace and Vaulted Ceiling.

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May the Force be with You….



I just received the 2014 REO Red Book listing “Top of the Class” agents and brokers. I am happy to say I am in the book (page 188) as one of those agents in Illinois serving Cook, Suburban Cook, and Lake County.

The Five Star Institute has provided me with a great opportunity to meet the best agents throughout the country and I am proud  to be affiliated with this professional organization.


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Illinois Ranks third highest after Florida and Maryland


  • By Tim Landis Business Editor Posted Feb. 17, 2014 @ 10:26 pm Updated at 10:29 PM
  • Local foreclosure rates are well below state levels even as distressed properties continue to flow into the market.

    One of 2,572 housing units was at some stage of foreclosure in January in Sangamon County, according to monthly figures just released by RealtyTrac, a California-based housing data company.

    By comparison, 1 in 603 was in foreclosure statewide. The Illinois rate was third highest in the country after Florida and Maryland. Nevada and Utah were four and five.

    “They’re still having an impact on the overall market,” said Phil Chiles, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors.

    Chiles is with The Real Estate Group in Springfield.

    Foreclosed homes accounted for more than 16 percent of 3,731 homes sold in the Springfield market in 2013, the highest percentage since the local association began tracking the sales in 2010.

    In January, foreclosure sales accounted for 27.6 percent of 188 homes sold.

    Chiles said severe cold slowed sales in January, and that he expects a return to a more normal mix of foreclosures this year.

    “By this time next year, I think we’ll be back to what we would consider a more normal market,” said Chiles.

    It took longer to sell foreclosed homes in Illinois last year, according to RealtyTrac. The average 215 days from bank possession to sale compared with 165 days in 2012.

    RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said the added days could be a sign foreclosures finally are working through the market.

    “The last properties in foreclosure tend to be the least desirable and take longer to get sold,” said Blomquist.

    Blomquist said Illinois foreclosure rates have remained high because of the time it takes for cases to work through the judicial system compared with states that do not require judicial reviews. He said homes that entered foreclosure in 2012 still are coming to market.

    “Illinois has turned a corner and the rates are coming back down,” said Blomquist. “We’re not seeing as many new homes come into the pipeline.”

    Foreclosure sales

    Annual foreclosures in the Springfield market 2010-2013 and percentage of all sales.

    * 2013: 601; 16.1.

    * 2012: 447; 12.7.

    * 2011: 337; 10.5.

    * 2010: 266; 7.7.

    Source: Capital Area Association of Realtors (includes Sangmaon, Christian, Menard and Morgan counties; portion of Macoupin County.

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First Time Home Buyer by Gustan Cho

Gustan Cho

First time home buyers

Buying a new home can be both exciting and stressful, especially if you are a first time home buyer.  If you are a first time home buyer, you should take your time and do the proper due diligence in choosing your new home.   The most important factor in home shopping is whether you can afford it.  I would first consult with a mortgage lender to see what you will qualify for and what your monthly housing payment will be.  See if you will be able to afford your new proposed mortgage payments and housing expenses without you straining yourself.  Remember that your monthly mortgage payment is not your only housing payment.  You will have property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance premium, homeowners association dues (if applicable), utitlity payments such as water, gas, and electric, and other expenses such as cable, and internet connection.  All of these add up and then some.  Remember that you are a homeowner and that you can no longer rely on your landlord for repairs.

First time home buyers:  Reserves

Many mortgage lenders do not require cash reserves for first time home buyers but I strongly recommend that first time home buyers have at least a 3 month reserves of your housing expenses in the event of unexpected events.  For example, we recently had a major deep freeze in the midwest where temperatures tanked to 30 plus below zero.  Many homeowners had their furnances break down and plumbing problems.  These type of problems are high ticket cost  repairs and most of these repair vendors do not take monthly payments or offer a payment plan.  Appliances break down all the time.  As a homeowner, you will get unexpected problems that might cost you a lot of money.  I strongly advise that as a first time home buyer, that you have several months of reserves even though your mortgage lender does not require it.

Realtors:  Recommend first time home buyers to consult with realtor

If you are a first time home buyer, please hire a licensed professional realtor to assist you in your home purchase.  A realtor will assist you in searching the right home and neighborhood as well as refer you to reputable mortgage lenders and attorneys to represent you.  I work with realtors all the time and if you are a home buyer in Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, California, or Indiana, I can refer you to some of the top realtors in the country who will assist you from day one to closing.  A realtor will assist you and protect your best interests.  A realtor can get you a sellers concession towards your closing costs so you do not have to come up with any closing costs and all you have to worry about is your down payment.

Special mortgage programs for first time home buyers in Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, California, and Indiana

If you are a first time home buyer in Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, California, or Indiana and have had prior bad credit or a bankuptcy, I can help you.  To qualify for a 3.5% down payment mortgage loan in Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, California, or Indiana, all you need is a 580 FICO score.  Credit as low as 530 FICO can also be done but the minimum down payment is 10% down payment.  Please contact me at 262-716-8151 or visit me at  I also specialize in the Back to Work Extenuating Circumstances due to an economic event mortgage program in Illinois, Florida, California, Wisconsin, and Indiana where home buyers with a prior bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or short sale can qualify for a mortgage loan with a one year waiting period after the bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or short sale.

– See more at:

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Thinking of Selling or Buying in 2014?


” The past is like using a rear-view mirror in the car. It’s good to glance back and see how far you’ve come, but if you stare too long you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.”

As the quote above illustrates let’s not look too long at all the statistics and predictions from the past year steer us away from what is in front of us.


IF YOU PLAN ON SELLING in 2014 then look ahead and make sure you:

Understand Your Market:

Sellers should know how many homes are on the market in your neighborhood and whether this inventory is trending upward or downward.

Understand Market Time:

Sellers should know how many months it takes to sell a home in your neighborhood.

Is Market a Seller or Buyer Market:

3-6 months is considered a Sellers Market

7 months or longer is considered a Buyers Market

Cost vs  Value:

It is important to create a budget for selling and determine if you need to do some repairs or replace some fixtures, paint or re-carpet before selling your home. This budget should be based on whether the repairs will increase the sale price from a buyer.


IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON BUYING in 2014 then you should:

Get Pre-Qualified: 

I think the first thing a buyer should do is understand how much it cost to own a home and create a budget for this purchase. For example make sure you have a down payment, good credit, no outstanding debts, bank statements, tax returns, that support your ability to get a mortgage.  I advise people to use an old formula which says do not spend more than 28 % of your monthly gross income on a mortgage and do not spend more than 36% of your gross monthly income on all your debt including a mortgage.

Create a Needs and Wants List:

Make a list of things you cannot live without and things that are not as important before your start looking. When you look you will be amazed how many things you can actually find on this list are in the home you want to buy.

Select Area where you want to live:

When selecting an area where you want to live think in terms of living there for 5 to 7 years and visualize what your life will be like in the future while living in the neighborhood where you want to live.  For some neighborhoods are out of the question because of Price range and then you have to expand your search area based on this issue. I recommend starting out in one area then expanding as you look.

Start Looking

It is always a good idea to make sure you find the time to look at homes and keep it a priority until you find something to buy.


IL Real Estate Specialists is a boutique real estate office and is happy to assist you with all your real estate needs in 2014. If you are looking to sell or buy in 2014 then I hope you would not hesitate calling us for a free consultation.











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