Looking for tips and advice when it comes to all aspects of buying or selling your home?
Want to learn more about the Starved Rock Area?
Our Blog Provides You With Some Helpful Information To Get Started.


Preparing to Sell Your Home

We’re all familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare, but just in case you aren’t, here’s a quick summary. A speedy and confident rabbit decides to race a slow-moving yet motivated turtle. The hare decides to make plenty of stops along the way, confident that he will come out the victor in the end. But the tortoise never gives up, going as fast as he can for the entirety of the race, and eventually ends up the deserving winner. 

Fables are a great way to teach young kids important values, but the lesson from this famous tale can also be applied to the world of real estate; specifically, the process of selling your home. When you make this crucial and life-changing decision, it’s easy to think that you have to act fast in order to sell your home fast. That’s what the hare would do in this situation! But taking a moment to pause, evaluate the state of your current house, and taking the necessary steps to make it as appealing as possible to buyers will ensure that your home is off the market at a remarkably speedy rate. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to preparing to sell your home.

Depersonalize the Space

When a buyer tours your home through an open house or through a scheduled appointment, they want to envision themselves in the space. Having family pictures covering every inch of every wall makes it hard for them to imagine anyone but YOU living there! Consider removing family photos and excess clutter to ensure your house looks appealing to buyers.

Give the House a Good Scrubbing

While you’re hiding family pictures (and storing them neatly, of course) you might as well get out the vacuum, mop, and Windex, because it’s time to give every room a thorough scrubbing. Cleaning a home is a simple yet effective way to make every square inch of your house memorable. According to Forbes, that means washing appliances, dusting every room, polishing faucets, and cleaning every window. Cleaning also includes removing any unwanted odors from the home, such as the scent of pets, which can be off-putting. 

Focus on Landscaping

Sure, you need to impress prospective buyers with what is inside the home, but if they find the outside of the house unappealing, there is a chance they may not even go in! That’s why putting a focus on landscaping is crucial to selling your home fast. The importance of curb appeal and how it can make or break a home sale cannot be underestimated—even houses have first impressions!

When you decide to sell your home, it’s natural for impatience to kick in. But like the tortoise, if you take your time and do it the right way, your home will sell quickly to a worthy buyer. Starved Rock Realty prides itself on providing exemplary customer service and impeccable knowledge about the area. We take every measure to ensure you are satisfied with all your real estate needs and will do whatever it takes to be worthy of your business.  To learn how Starved Rock Realty can help you buying or selling a home, visit our website or call us today at 815-667-9990.

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What Are the Top Questions I Should Ask My Realtor?

When you are ready to make one of the biggest investments in your lifetime: the purchase of a house, you deserve to know whether your real estate agent is an experienced, top-notch pro that will help you land the home of your dreams at a price you can afford. Of course, not all agents are created equal, which is why Starved Rock Realty recommends you interview your agent before hiring them to help you with this important purchase. Below are some questions to ask a realtor you may want to consider. 

How long have you been in realty?

Realty professionals learn the business only through experience, so working with someone who’s been a realtor for at least a few years is essential.

Which neighborhoods do you cover?

Assuming you have an idea of the neighborhoods you’re interested in, you’ll want to find a realtor who is not only familiar with those areas, but can quickly tell you things about the area, like home prices, schools, cultural amenities, and more.

How do you determine what your buyers are looking for in a home?

Good agents provide clients with a list of questions that help narrow down the scope of their home buying search. They should also have a grasp on home prices  to let you know whether you are being realistic about the affordability of various home features or neighborhoods

Tell me about your schedule and availability.

Some agents work part-time or may not be available at certain times of the year, like holidays. Since homes can go so quickly, you want to assure your agent is available when you need them. Some agents work as part of a team rather than independently, so they should introduce you to the other team members and assure you feel comfortable with all involved. They should also inform you how they plan to keep in touch (phone, email, text, text), and how often. 

How many homes have you sold to home buyers this year?

Most real estate agents work both with home buyers and sellers. They often specialize in one or the other. In addition, there’s also an immense difference between working with home buyers and actually selling homes. Be sure to find out how many homes they in fact sold to home buyers as this is a clear measure of their success. 

With 20 years of experience, Starved Rock Realty has the knowledge and experience you’re looking for when you’re buying or selling a home in the area. Don’t just change your address—Change your lifestyle. Learn how Starved Rock Realty can help you find what you’re looking for by exploring our website or calling us today at 815-667-9990.


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Year-Over-Year Rental Prices on the Rise

Looking ahead, 2020 is projected to be a strong year for homeownership. According to the Freddie Mac Forecast,

“We expect rates to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.”

If you’re currently renting, 2020 may be a great time to think about making a jump into homeownership while mortgage rates are low. As noted in the National Rent Report,

“the national rent index increased by 1.4 percent year-over-year.”

With average rents on the rise, this year-over-year increase may not sound like much, but it can add up – fast. The math on how much extra it will cost you over time surely doesn’t lie.

Here’s an example: On a $1,500 rental payment, an increase of 1.4% adds an additional $21 dollars per month to your payment. When multiplied by the twelve months in a year, it’s a $252 overall annual increase. The price continues to multiply when you rent year after year, as rental prices rise.

History shows how average rental prices have been increasing each year, and there doesn’t seem to be much end in sight. Here’s a look at how rents have grown since 2012 alone:

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters

Why not
 lock down your monthly housing expense, and at the same time build additional net worth for you and your family? If you’re thinking about buying a home, consider the financial benefits of what homeownership can do for you, especially while the market conditions are strong and current mortgage rates are low.

Bottom Line

With average rents continuing to rise, now may be a great time to stabilize your monthly payment by becoming a homeowner and locking into a low mortgage rate. Reach out to a local real estate professional to learn how taking advantage of the current market conditions might work for you.

This blog was originally posted by Keeping Current Matters:
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5 Reasons You Should Sell Your Home in Autumn

When it comes to selling your home, there’s a common belief that the Spring and Summer seasons are the best time to sell. After all, it’s considered a time for renewal and an “Open House” can actually include open windows. But the belief that home buyers are only looking early in the year is exactly why listing your home later can be better for you. Let’s take a look at five reasons you should sell your home in Autumn and Winter. 

Different Kinds of Buyers

Families tend to look early in the year for a number of reasons, namely closing during the Summer. It helps with changing school districts and as well as taking summer vacation to make the move. But what that means is Fall is the time for younger buyers looking for their first home, or older or older adults moving for work, both of which are just as serious about buying.

Less Competition

For all the reasons previously mentioned, you’ll begin to see new listings flooding the market in Spring with sellers hoping to pick up those prospective family buyers. It’s this very reason why it can be hard to make your home stand out when there are so many options. With a plethora of options, you may find yourself in a weaker position when it comes to asking price.

Market Demands

Alternatively, being a fresh house on the market among the listings that didn’t sell that summer is a great way to stand out. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has found that buyers don’t cool with the season, and they’re just as ready to buy as they would be earlier. You might even find that less options on the market mean a higher demand and a stronger place to negotiate. 

Faster Process

Make no mistake, selling a home can be a process—one that’s not always speedy. An added benefit for Autumn home buyers is the availability to mortgage officers and movers. Homeowners looking to sell have the same luxury when it comes to scheduling home inspectors and renovators in case the house needs some updates before hitting the market. 

Embrace the Season

Imagine a chill that seeps through coats and scarves as they approach the next house on the list, and they’re greeted by a warm home and even a pie or two in the oven. Fall and Winter are unique in embracing first impressions and giving the sellers an edge to make their home feel welcoming. Why not decorate for the holidays, light some candles, and bring that cozy home feeling to life.

Regardless of what season it is, you will find buyers looking for their new home. Don’t wait and don’t do it alone. With 25+ years of experience buying and selling homes, Starved Rock Realtors are the experts you can trust to provide you the advantage you need in the market. Don’t just change your address, change your lifestyle. Give us a call at 815-667-9990 or view our listings today to get started.


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The Question of Renting or Buying

To rent or to buy a house? At some point, almost every adult asks themselves that question. The American Dream is often synonymous with owning a home.  However, the ever-changing housing market often makes buying a house challenging. Before deciding to rent or to buy, here are some things to consider:  

House Rental.  With HGTV and other home shows on television, our culture pressures Americans to automatically consider buying a house. That is not always a case, though, renting can be an ideal choice in certain circumstances, here are just a few:

  • You have student or consumer debt.  Debt is an ongoing burden. Clean your buying slate by eliminating the debt first. Continue to rent in the meantime. 
  • Your job requires transferring. Many large companies have rotational programs or advancement opportunities that may require you to move around. To make it worth your investment, most regions require living in that area for at least two to three years.
  • You need planning time.  Like any relationship, the commitment of buying a house should be carefully considered. This is not the time to act impulsively, even if you have the down payment handy.  Relatives and friends may pressure you to buy, but do not feel guilty about renting until you have a plan in place. 

Buying a House.  While there is nothing like owning your own house and the pride that comes with it, there are many things to consider when deciding if you are ready to buy.  If you think you are ready to buy a house, consider the following:

  • Are you debt-free? It is difficult for a bank to authorize a mortgage if you are carrying huge student debt or consumer credit card debt.  You do not want additional debt with the burden of a mortgage. 
  • Do you have an emergency fund?  If you lost your job today, you need to pay your mortgage and your bills for at least three months while you look for a new job.
  • Do you have a 10-20% down payment? If you have the ideal 20% down, that means you will not have to pay the PMI, the private mortgage insurance.  A PMI protects your lender from going bankrupt if your circumstances stop you from paying the mortgage.  Consider these handy finance tools.
  • Your mortgage payment will be 25% or less of your monthly take-home income.  You know you can make the mortgage payment now, but what if the unexpected comes up and you are forced to spend more per month on something else. You will need plenty of wiggle room in your budget to achieve other goals, such as saving for retirement and saving for your children’s college funds. 

If you’re looking for expert advice on whether you should buy or rent a home, Starved Rock Realty has over 25+ years of real estate experience and can provide you the support you’re looking for. To learn how Starved Rock Realty can help you buying or selling a home, contact one of our agents today or call us at 815-667-9990.


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Confused About Buying a House?

APR                PMI        LTV       Interest         Principal

GRANTS      USDA         FHA             VA 


 We have helped clients understand all of the above so they could make an intelligent decision about what is right for them.


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Could you qualify for a free appraisal? 

Do you qualify for grants or low-interest loans for purchase or for repairs?

What questions should you ask if you are considering a grant?

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How to qualify for a loan when you are very low income.

When is it better to rent?

We can also make sure you get info on all rentals and properties

for sale that meet your criteria as soon as they come on the


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