Jane Viola

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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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5 Important Benefits of Homeownership

Posted On: August 4th, 2018 1:40PM

For many of us homeownership is an essential part of adulthood; like earning our own money, investing it and putting down roots.  Just like our parents and grandparents did before us. As a REALTOR®, I have been asked on occasion what the benefits of owning a home are.

If you are currently renting, know that while you might not have maintenance or mortgage repayments, the money you pay monthly toward rent has no ROI (Return of Investment). What you are paying in rent could be going toward owning a home and accruing equity.

As buying a home is one of the biggest financial commitments most of us will ever make, let’s consider these five benefits of homeownership:

1.        Investing in our future. Most other large purchases, a car for example, will devaluate over time and even though the property market has had a few lows over the years; the national median prices of homes has gone up. Monthly payment against a mortgage reduces part of the capital of the loan so that the debt decreases as the price of the property continues to rise, allowing you to collect equity for further investment.

2.        Tax benefits. The interest paid into a mortgage is tax deductible, especially in the first years when a larger amount of the monthly repayment is toward interest. Private mortgage insurance and purchases related to the home are also tax deductible.

3.        No increases. With a fixed-rate mortgage you will be paying the same amount for its duration. This will never be the case when renting because of likely yearly escalations. The extra money in your budget allows for other investments.

4.        Home improvements.  Changes can be made to your own home according to your needs and additions and improvements increase its value. Due to equity collected over the years the financing for these alterations will be easier. When renting, most people have to move as family needs change which can be financially and emotionally draining.

5.        Benefit Socially. Studies have shown that people who don’t move around a lot have less emotional stress and are more involved with their communities, establish lifelong friendships and don’t need to disrupt the schooling of the children.

Yes, I am biased as a REALTOR®, but I always counsel my clients based on their particular needs. Let’s talk soon if you are thinking about a purchase, especially if it’s your first time buying.

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Moving Checklist for Home Buyers and Sellers

Posted On: July 20th, 2018 1:32PM

Moving Checklist for Home Buyers and Sellers

Moving from a home you’ve lived for any length of time can be exciting, but also stressful. Give yourself a break and minimize moving day hiccups by preparing in advance.

Two months out:

  • Decide if you are going to get the help of professional movers. If so, contact a few for written quotes. Ensure the company you choose is registered with the U.S. Department of Transport if required.
  • Start going through your possessions; sort out what needs extra care and which things need to be purged. Remember to recycle, donate or sell them.
  • Create a space in your home where packing materials can be kept and where you can start packing items that will not be in use.
  • Get organized with a file in which all papers for the move will be kept and include an inventory of your possessions.
  • If you have children, start organizing school transfers and get their records.
  • Consider insuring your move, especially if you have expensive items and start the process of transferring medical, auto and other policies.
  • Notify banks, organizations and any magazine or newspapers that you subscribe to.
  • Collect medical and dental records and ask for referrals and don’t forget to do the same for your pets.
  • If your move entails travel start making the arrangements early and make sure that you get flexible options for flights and hotels.
  • If moving to another country, make sure that everyone has their passports in order.

30 days out:

  • Hire your selected mover and get confirmations for dates, price etc.
  • Clearly label all boxes with contents and which room they will be placed in.
  • All precious items and paperwork of importance should be in a safe box that will travel only with you. Remember to include the papers from your mover in case a query comes up.
  • Do a change of address at the post office and ask for any mail to be forwarded to your future address.

Two weeks out:

  • Arrange for time off during the move.
  • Make sure your car is tuned up and ready.
  • Collect safety deposit box from bank if changing branches or institution.

One week to a few days out:

  • Stock up on prescription medicines for the next few weeks until you can find a new pharmacy.
  • Most packing should be finished off by now except for the clothes necessary for the next few days.
  • Defrost and clean refrigerator.
  • Reconfirm arrival time of movers and ensure that everyone has a contact number and the new address.
  • Remember to have the money on hand for the movers if paying cash, any tips you might want to give and refreshments for the day.

Moving day:

  • Clear all passageways, garden paths of clutter.
  • Ensure that you are not been scammed by checking the company name on the truck and that the correct USDOT number is painted on the truck.
  • Be available in case the movers need to ask anything.
  • Sign the bill of landing/inventory before the movers leave and keep a copy.
  • Work through each room and set aside valuables and fragile items that will need special handling or extra insurance for the move and get rid of any unwanted things.
  • Make sure that each box is labeled and numbered.
  • If you have a safe-deposit box then remember to collect the items on moving day. These items should not go with the movers.
  • Have refreshments for the movers, and a tip is always welcome.
  • When everything is packed into the truck sign the paperwork and keep a copy. If there is anything that you don’t understand ask for explanations before signing.
  • Hand over the keys to the real estate agent or new home owner.
  • Lastly, before the truck drives away, take a last look around the house, garden and garage in case anything has been forgotten.
  • One more important item, put your beds and bedding on the moving truck last.  SET YOUR BEDS UP FIRST AT YOUR NEW HOME AND MAKE THEM. This way when you are exhausted at the end of the day, your bed is ready for your tired body.

My buyer and seller services are attentive, from our first conversation, to moving day, and beyond. Please reach out to me for trusted real estate representation in the Chicagoland area.





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Summer Home Maintenance in Chicagoland

Posted On: June 28th, 2018 12:14AM


Year-round maintenance of your home is essential to keeping it neat and problem free. The correct maintenance ensures you avoid costly repairs and prevents its value from dropping. Essential maintenance tasks can most easily be done when the weather is warm. 

Here are some outdoor/exterior items to address:

  • Your lawns and flower beds will now be at their thirstiest. Check that your irrigation system is working properly and adjust the timer ensuring each section gets enough water.
  • Blocked gutters can cause problems to your home. Remove debris and repair any leaks before the rains come.
  • Mulch all your flower beds to lock in moisture and reduce weed growth.
  • Check that there is good water drainage in all areas of your garden, especially near your home. Stagnating water near the home can seep into the foundations causing damp spots and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Clean windows and screens, giving your home a brighter and fresh feel.
  • Make your porch habitable again. Refresh the pot plants. Bring out the outdoor furniture and decorate the space with summer colors. Make sure that the barbeque is cleaned up and ready for use.
  • Check your deck for any damage and re-seal.
  • Ensure that there are no leaking faucets or hoses.

Even though you will be spending more time outdoors, do not neglect the interior of your home:

  • Your air conditioners will be working at their hardest during the hottest months of the year. These should be professionally serviced once in a while, but always wash the filters at the beginning of summer. 
  • Ceiling fans should be dusted and the blades turned to provide cool air.
  • Check the smoke carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check your home, attic and basement for water leakage, pests and damp spots and repairs needed.
  • If the interior or exterior need a coat of paint, Spring/Summer are the best times of the year to tackle it. 

Thinking of making a move this summer? Let me be there every step of the way, and beyond. Let’s chat soon.




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