Archive | September, 2012

Best and Worst Remodeling Projects For Saint Clair County IL Homes

26 Sep

According to many experts in the building business, homeowners are ready to make 2012 a banner year for remodeling, and the latest cost-for-value research suggests that getting the most bang for every buck is more important than ever.  Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report for 2011-2012 found that the trend right now is replacement over remodeling—swapping out the old for the new rather than doing a total gut job, which can be much more costly. Exterior replacement projects—such as new garage doors or a new entry door—offer some of the best returns at resale, allowing owners of Saint Clair County IL homes to recoup close to 70 percent or more of the costs of the project at times of resale. Based on what home owners stand to recoup at time of resale, RISMediarecommends these mid-range projects:

hard hat1. Replacing the entry door to steel Estimated cost: $1,238 Cost recouped at resale: 73 percent

2. Attic bedroom Estimated cost: $50,148 Cost recouped at resale: 72.5 percent

3. Minor kitchen remodel (including new cabinets and drawers, countertops, hardware, and appliances) Estimated cost: $19,588 Cost recouped at resale: 72.1 percent

4. Garage door replacement Estimated cost: $1,512 Cost recouped at resale: 71.9 percent

5. Deck addition (wood) Estimated cost: $10,350 Cost recouped at resale: 70.1 percent

6. Siding replacement (vinyl) Estimated cost: $11,729 Cost recouped at resale: 69.5 percent

What projects should you avoid?  According to Bankrate and US News these six projects are not cost-effective:

1. Home office remodel: Property owners who remodel a home office recoup on average less than half of the project’s cost when they sell.

2. Sunroom addition: Brings in only about 51 percent of the project’s cost

3. Bathroom addition: Only about 60 percent of the project’s cost is recouped when Saint Clair County IL home owners sell their residence.

4. Backup power generator: Will bring on average a return of only 59 percent of the project’s cost.

5. Garage addition: Saint Clair County IL home owners who build a garage addition get back approximately 62 percent of the project’s cost when they sell their home.

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Holly Norton offers unparalleled service in the Saint Clair County IL real estate market. Holly assists buyers looking for Saint Clair County IL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Saint Clair homes for sale. Holly serves the entire Saint Clair County Illinois real estate market including the surrounding communities such as Fairview Heights, Belleville, Swansea, Shiloh, O’Fallon, Freeburg, Smithton, Mascoutah and Millstdat area.

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How Large Should The Down Payment Be On Your Saint Clair County IL Real Estate?

18 Sep

In spite on the current economic problems in the U.S, Saint Clair County IL real estate is more affordable than ever, thanks to low interest rates and lower home values. Many buyers who manage to have a 20% (or more) down payment believe this will get them the lowest monthly mortgage payment. However, simply because buyers can afford to put down this amount does not necessarily mean they should.

Those buyers who have saved enough to put 20%—or more—down on the purchase of a home may want to consider another approach—preserving some of their cash for savings, investing, or other purposes. It may sound coin housecounterintuitive, but with today’s interest rates and the competitive pricing of private mortgage insurance (MI or PMI), borrowers can retain some of their money by putting less money down on a home—say only 10%—and still get a low monthly payment.  Generally, more is better than less when buying Saint Clair County IL real estate.  But purchasers shouldn’t wipe out their savings account to do it.

Too often buyers, especially first-timers, underestimate the costs of all the “extras” that accompany a house purchase and overlook the possibility of a prolonged illness, job loss, or immediate need for a major home repair.  In addition to planning for closing and moving costs, buyers should also strive to maintain an emergency fund to cover 6 months of living expenses.  They need to also keep in mind property taxes and higher utility bills, not to mention the purchase of mundane items such as ladders, hoses, garbage cans, filters, lawn mowers and the like.  Basically, buyers will still need to have funds set aside for a rainy day and for things to buy after buying a home.

Potential purchasers should analyze their cash flow, debt situation, and future financial obligations before meeting with their Realtor and lender to discuss mortgage options for their Saint Clair County IL real estate purchase.  Possibilities might include VA loans which are available to past and present military personnel and require no down payment at all; FHA loans for as little as 3.5% down; and conventional loans, generally preferring 20% down, but where, with a high enough FICO score, 5% may be acceptable. In all three cases, MI would be required.

For those potential buyers who have stayed out of the market over worries of declining property values, they can still purchase a home without funneling all of their available cash into the down payment. By utilizing this strategy, home buyers are able to leverage their current assets, while still keeping a sufficient cash reserve.

Search all Saint Clair County IL Real Estate And Homes For Sale.

Holly Norton offers unparalleled service in the Saint Clair County IL real estate market. Holly assists buyers looking for Saint Clair County IL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Saint Clair homes for sale. Holly serves the entire Saint Clair County Illinois real estate market including the surrounding communities such as Fairview Heights, Belleville, Swansea, Shiloh, O’Fallon, Freeburg, Smithton, Mascoutah and Millstdat area.

Saint Clair County IL Foreclosure Trends – July 2012

18 Sep

There were 2,011 Saint Clair County, IL homes in July 2012, according to RealtyTrac.com. The average sales price of a Saint Clair County, IL home was $131,263 in July, while the average sales price of a Saint Clair County, IL  foreclosure home was $48,000, a $82,263 savings.

Saint Clair County, IL Foreclosure Activity and 30 Year Interest Rate

The interest rate on a 30 year mortgage was 3.55% in July and there were 285 new foreclosures.

saint clair county il

Foreclosure activity is based on the total number of properties that receive foreclosure filings – default notice, foreclosure auction notice or bank repossession – each month. Interest rate is based on the average 30-year fixed rate from Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Saint Clair County, IL Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Saint Clair County, IL foreclosures were 0.09% above national statistics and 0.1% below Illinois figures in July.

saint clair county il foreclosure

Saint Clair County, IL Foreclosure Activity by Month

Saint Clair County, IL  foreclosure activity is falling. The number of Bank-owned properties increased from 48 properties in June to 105 in July, while the number of Auctions increased from 11 to 19. Pre-foreclosure activity climbed from 102 homes to 161 homes.

saint clair county il foreclosure

Are you or someone you know behind on mortgage payments and facing a Saint Clair County, IL foreclosure? You do have options. A short sale may be the answer to saving you, your family and your home. Give me a call for a private consultation.

Search all Saint Clair County IL Real Estate And Homes For Sale.

Holly Norton offers unparalleled service in the Saint Clair County IL real estate market. Holly assists buyers looking for Saint Clair County IL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Saint Clair homes for sale. Holly serves the entire Saint Clair County Illinois real estate market including the surrounding communities such as Fairview Heights, Belleville, Swansea, Shiloh, O’Fallon, Freeburg, Smithton, Mascoutah and Millstdat area.

Are You Overvaluing Your Saint Clair County IL Home?

11 Sep

Despite survey after survey showing that consumers expect home prices to continue to decline next year, most owners of Saint Clair County IL homesstill believe their houses are worth more than what their agents recommend.

saint clair county ilNearly three out of four home owners, 76 percent, believe their homes are worth more than the recommended agent listing price. By contrast, 68 percent of home buyers believe homes are overpriced, according to HomeGain’s latest survey, which involved over 400 real estate agents and brokers and more than 2,000 home owners nationwide. The gap between what sellers expect and what agents recommend has actually grown slightly over the past year even though national median prices have declined about 4-7 percent this year. A year ago 73 percent of owners thought their homes were worth more than their agent’s recommended listing price.

A new study by the Research Institute for Housing America, the think tank affiliate of the Mortgage Bankers Assn., documents a profound market fissure caused by owners’ fears and hesitation — what researchers call “negative selling sentiment.  “Nearly 80% of consumers in the study’s survey think this is a great time to buy a house, but more than 92% of homeowners think it’s not a great time to sell.

According to Syracuse University economist Gary Engelhardt, compared with earlier post-recession periods, today’s owners have been more deeply shocked by the extent and severe side effects of foreclosures, short sales, and unemployment. In the aftermath of earlier recessions, such as in the early 1990s, 40% to 60% of homeowners remained relatively positive about their prospects if they chose to sell — far higher than the very few who see it that way today.

Many owners of Saint Clair County IL homes “have not adjusted their price expectations downward” to keep pace with local declines in property values which occurred after the mortgage bust, Engelhardt says, thereby contributing to the sharp divergence in their real estate visions compared with those of buyers.

This is consistent with the results of a study conducted in mid-2011 by Zillow, the online real estate and mortgage information company. Zillow found that sellers nationwide were having trouble coming to grips with what market forces had done to their property values. They knew prices had declined, but they didn’t necessarily think those devaluations applied to their Saint Clair County IL homes.

Click here for an approximate value of your Saint Clair County IL home.

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Holly Norton offers unparalleled service in the Saint Clair County IL real estate market. Holly assists buyers looking for Saint Clair County IL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Saint Clair homes for sale. Holly serves the entire Saint Clair County Illinois real estate market including the surrounding communities such as Fairview Heights, Belleville, Swansea, Shiloh, O’Fallon, Freeburg, Smithton, Mascoutah and Millstdat area.

 

Small Space Vegetable Gardening for Your Saint Clair County IL Home

4 Sep

Are you feeling the urge to get your hands dirty or have a yen for home-grown fresh veggies but are frustrated because you just don’t have the space at your Saint Clair County IL home to plant a real garden?  Just as the “grow your own produce” movement has taken hold, so has small space and/or container vegetable gardening.

Not sure how to get started?  Visit Vegetable Gardening Online for a free planning grid and planting advice—for a space as small as 1’ x 5’. Or click here for instructions on site selection, soil preparation, and space-saving techniques for your Saint Clair County IL home garden.  Efficiency gardening strategies include companion planting, crop rotation, succession planting, spacing, and vertical growing.  Who knew?

What will you need?  General requirements include soil, plenty of sunshine, and a water source.   Keep in mind, however, that while most vegetables do best in at least 6 hours of sunlight, there a few (spinach, lettuce, broccoli, e.g.) that can tolerate some shade, so don’t discount any potential garden spot.

What to plant in a small space?  Think tomatoes, lettuce, peas and beans, beets, carrots, and peppers.  Each of these vegetables will grow well in a small area, will not require extra care, and will contribute to delicious meals at your Saint Clair County IL home.

Remember, though, that you don’t need a plot of land to garden.  Many vegetables lend themselves well to container gardening. With some thought to selecting bush or dwarf varieties, almost any vegetable can be adapted to growing in a pot. Vegetables that take up little space, such as carrots, radishes and lettuce, or crops that bear fruits over a long period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers, are perfect for container vegetable gardens.  Containers for your vegetable gardens can be almost anything: flower pots, pails, buckets, wire baskets, bushel baskets, wooden boxes, nursery flats, window planters, washtubs, plastic bags, large food cans, or any number of other things.  However, no matter what kind of container you choose, it should have holes at the base or in the bottom to permit drainage of excess water. Another tip:  be careful when using dark colored containers because they absorb heat which could possibly damage the plant roots. If you must use them, try painting them a lighter color.Happy eating!

Search all Saint Clair County IL Real Estate And Homes For Sale.

Holly Norton offers unparalleled service in the Saint Clair County IL real estate market. Holly assists buyers looking for Saint Clair County IL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Saint Clair homes for sale. Holly serves the entire Saint Clair County Illinois real estate market including the surrounding communities such as Fairview Heights, Belleville, Swansea, Shiloh, O’Fallon, Freeburg, Smithton, Mascoutah and Millstdat area.