Jane Viola

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How do I know if it’s a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?

Posted On: November 18th, 2018 8:00PM


Many factors can influence the housing market; these include mortgage interest rates, inflation, employment figures, and the economy. If you are planning to purchase or sell a home, it is good to know if it’s a balanced, buyer’s, or seller’s market.

Balanced Market

A balanced market means about equal supply of homes and demand for homes. Home prices increases are typically in line with the average rate of inflation. There is a 3-6 month inventory of homes (meaning it would take 3-6 months to deplete the number of homes for sale at that given time, at the current pace of home sales).  Homes are most likely selling for at, or close to, list price.

Buyer’s Market

This is also known as a ‘soft’ real estate market and it favors those buying homes. This is due to an oversupply of homes, as more people are selling than buying. The advantage is that there is a greater variety of homes to choose from, typically at lower prices. You will notice that there are an abundance of real estate ads trying to attract buyers, and homes prices may be dropping. There is usually more than a six-month inventory of homes available.

Seller’s Market

It is known as a ‘hot’ real estate market favoring those selling properties, as more people are looking to buy properties than those willing to sell. Property prices typically increase, as buyers are prepared to spend more in order to get the home that they have set their heart on. Sellers are at an advantage as their homes sell quickly, and at a higher price than the long-term average inflation rate. You may notice that real estate ads decrease; inventory levels are traditionally less than three months.

What the market like right now?

One way to determine if it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market is to look at inventory (the number of homes for sale). If inventory is low, it is most likely a seller’s market… high, then a buyer’s.

Keep in mind too, that the real estate market can be influenced by the season. Typically, there are more homes for sale in June, July, and August. That means that it could be a seller’s market in the winter but a buyer’s market in the summer.

Market conditions fluctuate as well based on the area. Cities with a lot of available jobs and growing industries will often be a seller’s market, while those with struggling economies most likely favors buyers.

I monitor our local market conditions and have access to timely reports because of my real estate license and REALTOR® designation. I share vital info that helps you make the best home buying or selling decisions. Let’s talk soon about your home and neighborhood if you are on the fence about making a move.

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Remodeling Considerations Before You Sell Your Home

Posted On: October 23rd, 2018 1:28AM

So, you are thinking of selling your home and are curious if home improvements can increase your bottom dollar at the closing table? When considering what projects to undertake (or if you should make improvement at all), the idea is to get a return on any investment and not sell your home at a loss. Keep in mind, the location of your home will be one of the major deciding factors on whether to undertake any remodeling. Homes in certain areas benefit from a facelift, but others may not.

Here are some more key points.

Maintain home and garden as you go

One of the golden rules of home ownership is to maintain your home on an annual basis to avoid larger damage and expensive repairs in the long run. Your landscaping should also be kept tidy during all seasons to ensure that trees and shrubs are always neatly trimmed, lawns are green and mowed and flower bed have a colorful display. This is the first feature of your home prospective buyers see, and first impressions count. 

Kitchen Improvements

A full kitchen replacement can cost more money than you can recoup so aim for a few minor renewals. This could be the upgrading of appliances, replacement of flooring or get a fresh new look by updating the cabinet doors.

Renewed Bathroom

A dated bathroom for most buyers is a significant turn-off. Don’t lose hope though! A bathroom can be upgraded with a few minor changes which can even be undertaken without expert help. A fresh coat of paint and a new light fitting might be all you need. By installing a new basin and toilet you will instantly give the bathroom a facelift as will the changing of the cabinet doors and knobs.


Old carpets can be replaced with a more neutral color and if there is a good wooden floor underneath you could always just skip the carpet and have the wood polished. Wherever possible just do repairs to existing broken tiles or wooden floors.

Doors and Windows

By replacing old looking windows and doors you could make a big difference to your selling price. New windows seal better, offering efficient insulation. Steel front doors also are considered safer, making them an attractive feature to point out to future buyers. A battered and old garage door might also be worth replacing because it will immediately improve how your home looks.

Exterior Walls

After the landscaping, this is the most visible part of your home to potential buyers. If your siding or painted exterior walls are looking dirty or unkempt you might just need to power wash them. If this is not enough then it is best to get a professional to fill in any trim or cracks and to repaint it for you. 

These tips should give you good food for thought. I am experienced, know how to evaluate your remodeling options before you sell, and welcome a face-to-face meeting. Think of me as your Chicago-area REALTOR® with comprehensive know-how and expertise. 

Contact me anytime, I answer my phone right away if possible, or return calls promptly.


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Make the Most of Your Home Sale.

Posted On: September 22nd, 2018 3:17PM

When representing sellers, I have learned from years of experience the key elements that can make, or break, a residential home sale. I serve my clients with due diligence, strong negotiating skills when needed, and constant communication throughout.

Let me share with you a few ways to make the most of your home sale.

Planning and Discussion

Don’t wait till the last second to start planning your sale. When you first think about it, reach out to a pro you can ask questions of. I use this stage for considering financial and lifestyle decisions, as well as setting a timetable with my clients.  You won’t believe what a stress reliever it is to have a solid plan in place before your ‘for sale’ sign is in the yard.

Pricing and Terms

During the planning stage the condition of your home is reviewed, which will determine the asking price. There are many more factors involved, which I will go over with you.

 Along with the price, a talk about the terms (length of time to close, whether you will accept contingencies, the preferred type of loan your buyer will have, and so much more) should be conducted.

Stage to Impress

Important things to do while your home is on the market:

  • Have flexible viewing times to accommodate buyers.
  • Reduce clutter to make your home look spacious. 
  • Put away personal items such as photographs and keep decorative ornaments to a minimum.
  • Make the exterior shine and the front entrance warm and welcoming.
  • Brighten the interior by adding color, open up blinds and curtains. 
  • Keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable level.

These are just highlights. There are many more details that make up a smooth and profitable home sale. My client-care plan and marketing approach are proven, thorough, and lead to success. I look forward to a face-to-face meeting when you are ready to transition out of your home. Contact me in the early stage, when you first think about selling! 



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Owning a Home is a Good Investment

Posted On: August 19th, 2018 10:33PM


Owning a Home is a Good Investment

The debate about homeownership versus renting has continued over many decades and there is always a consistent winner – homeownership. Even with a continual annual rise in the prices of most average US homes, the consensus is that it is still cheaper to buy rather than to rent; with differences ranging from 20% to 50%, depending on the suburb, city or state, making for a nationwide saving of 37.7%.

To get the most benefit from homeownership, you would have to own your home for at least seven years. Of course, the cost of a mortgage would have to be at reasonable levels, like they have been for a number of years. 

Building equity is one of the essential reasons for preferring to purchase over renting, and it is a sure hedge against rising inflation. For most people homeownership is the closest they will ever come to having a savings account. 

Besides saving on rental inflation, owning your own place also allows you to have the upper hand on how you maintain or renovate to suit your family’s needs.

A large portion of the money saved will come from the following tax benefits*:

  • On a loan of $1 million or less, the interest paid on your mortgage may be deductible 
  • Property taxes, except for payments into your escrow account, may be deductible
  • Your insurance premium may be deductible according to your family income
  • Energy- saving improvements come with a 10% tax credit of up to $500
  • Capital gains tax exemption on the first $500,000 for married couples, and $250,000 for singles

*Consult with your tax advisor on the above scenarios.

I am a 30+ year REALTOR® serving home buyers and sellers in the Chicagoland area. Reach out for proven expertise and representation.

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Home Sale Contingency in Illinois? How it works.

Posted On: August 19th, 2018 10:26PM


Home Sale Contingency in Illinois? How it works.

There are variations in the way the home sales process works from one state to another in the US. Not all home sales are straight forward and many questions arise in the event of a Home Sale Contingency. 

What is a Home Sale Contingency and how does a Home Close Contingency Differ?

From the moment a buyer makes an offer to the seller of a home and that offer is accepted, the two enter into a contract known as a purchase and sale agreement. In the agreement all the details of the transaction, including the purchase price, are mentioned. It also includes any other special conditions. These special conditions are called contingencies and they must be met.

In a Home Sale Contingency, the buyer has made an offer to purchase while still trying to sell off his current home because he doesn’t want to risk losing it. 

In a Home Close Contingency, the potential buyer already has a purchase contract for his home, but is waiting to close.

How does a Home Sale Contingency work?

  • The buyer has the opportunity to complete his/her home sale first to avoid owning two properties simultaneously.
  • The seller is protected by the time frame given within the Home Sale Contingency – usually between 30 – 90 days.
  • If the time frame is not met the contingency expires.
  • A request for an extension can be requested by the buyer, but not necessarily granted by the seller, before the expiration date.
  • Depending on the agreement the seller can continue showing the property and accepting other offers OR he/she could withdraw the property until the expiration of the contingency.

There is a lot to consider when a home sale contingency is involved. I will guide you through the often complex home purchase or sale with proven expertise. 

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