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Getting Settled In Your Saint Clair County IL Home

2 Oct

Congratulations!  You’ve survived the process of leaving one home and finding another and the onus of packing everything up and then unpacking the same boxes.  Your child is enrolled in a new school; you’ve found a new bank and a new doctor; you’ve investigated trash pick-up times, licensing requirements, and registering your car; and your mail is being forwarded to you on a regular basis.  So now what?

Now that things have calmed down, and you’re somewhat settled in your Saint Clair County IL home, you may feel a bit lonely in an unfamiliar place.  The following tips are designed to help you become acquainted with and feel a part of your new community—the first steps in recreating the sense of belonging you had in your previous location.

  • Go on-line to learn about your new area and what it has to offer.  Look at the city, chamber of commerce, or convention and visitors’ bureau websites and request maps and free visitors’ guides.  Research religious facilities, cultural opportunities, parks and outdoor activities, and so much more.
  • Acquire a regional map and drive around.  Explore shortcuts and pinpoint the location of shopping malls, medical facilities, the post office, libraries, city offices, etc.
  • Talk to neighbors.  Request advice about home maintenance companies, babysitters, doctors and ask about the civic league or HOA associated with your Saint Clair County IL home.
  • Take a walking tour of your neighborhood.  Introduce to and initiate conversations with residents who are outside.  Compliment their yard or ask for directions, for starters.
  • Attend garage/yard sales nearby.  Shoppers at these events are usually friendly and gregarious, so talk to them.
  • Read the local newspaper to discover places of interest and happenings in the area.  Look for clubs or group meetings that focus on your interests—art, gardening, sports, books, crafts, etc.
  • Seek out neighborhood coffee shops and restaurants and get acquainted with the “regulars.”
  • Join a service club such as the Lions or Kiwanis or get involved with a political group.
  • Join a recreation center or gym.  Attend classes there or work with a group who will share your interests.
  • Visit a library or bookstore to pick up books, maps, and visitors guides for your new town.
  • Volunteer.  Check with a local church or synagogue, a hospital, library, or school near your Saint Clair County IL home.  Volunteering is a terrific way to meet people and to make you feel an integral part of the community.
  • Give a housewarming party and invite all your neighbors.  Such an occasion is a good impetus to finish unpacking and finalizing the decorating of your Saint Clair County IL home.  It is also a wonderful way to make friends.

Before long you will become familiar with your new environment and be comfortable there.  Best of all, you’ll “belong” once again!

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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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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.

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.

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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.

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!

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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.

Saint Clair County Real Estate For Sale:920 Peony Drive Belleville, IL 62220

23 Aug

Saint Clair County Real Estate For Sale:

920 Peony Drive Belleville, IL 62220

MLS#4110703

Spacious living areas and numerous upgrades make this exceptional family home ready for move-in. A sun-drenched living room with gleaming hardwood floors and picture window views is the ideal place to greet family and friends. Wonderful kitchen space features cabinet and counter space galore, new wall oven, gas cook-top, dishwasher and refrigerator. The sunny breakfast nook with patio access is a great place to start your day. Step downstairs into the huge family room offering all the space you need for relaxing and enjoying good times. Three generously sized bedrooms with hardwood floors and large windows are perfect for a good night’s rest. Awesome backyard with mature trees and a covered patio for grilling and chilling will certainly make your next BBQ a hit. Pack your bags and come on over. We are sure you will want to stay.

Holly Norton has distinguished herself as a leader 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 County homes for sale.

Holly brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a Saint Clair County, IL home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future – Holly will help make the most of your Saint Clair County, IL real estate experience. Give her a call today, 618-779-9966, and discover the difference she can make during your family’s move.

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A Garden For All Senses At Your Saint Clair County IL Home

20 Aug

Many of us select plants for the garden at our Saint Clair County IL home based on their visual effect—color, height, size of blooms, etc.  And so we should, as the sight of our plantings should be pleasing to our sense of sight.  As we plan our garden, however, we should also be aware of the other four senses—and include plants which appeal to each of them.

saint clair county il homeSMELL:  Aromatherapy is a powerful practice. With nothing more than a simple scent, the brain can be triggered to remember long forgotten memories, emotions, and feelings. With that being said, it is important to carefully select the flowers you want in the garden of your Saint Clair County IL home. With a few simple choices, you can create your own “memory lane’ or relaxing oasis.  In terms of fragrance, it’s hard to beat roses or lavender.  Wisteria and jasmine are scented climbers which can really enhance the sensory pleasure of a garden, and amaryllis belladonna and spirea both add pleasant scents.

SOUND:  Few of us associate the sense of sound with our garden, but the rustling of long grasses and the chirping of birds add a much-appreciated dimension.  To attract songbirds, use fruit-bearing understory trees like dogwoods and service berries and shrubs such as viburnums and hollies and introduce low growing perennials and dwarf shrubs like creeping juniper and cottoneaster. You can also plant vines, ground covers, and sunflowers to increase chirping and tweeting.

TOUCH:  Texture in garden design refers to the surface quality of the plant. Plant textures range from delicate and fine to coarse and bold. The feel of the foliage in your Saint Clair County IL home’s garden is not the only element of texture, however, as the texture can change with the play of light and shadow and even with viewing distance. Plants with thread-like leaves call out to be touched, so consider adding cosmos, baby’s breath, asters, and grasses.  In addition, iris and lamb’s ear will each provide softer tactile experiences.

TASTE:  The world of herbs is nearly without limits. Think about basil, chives, rosemary, chamomile, cilantro, mint, and parsley, to name just a few tasty garden additions.  Consider, too lowbush blueberries or ligonberries.  Lesser known, but equally valuable as salad additions are the flowers of the hibiscus shrub, columbine, and daylilies.

Some of the plants you have selected for your garden will serve more than one purpose and will appeal to more than one sense, so be sure to sniff, feel, taste, listen to, and view each of them!

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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.