Diana Eckstrom

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Priority Tasks for Your Move-In

Posted On: February 7th, 2018 3:47AM

 

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

 

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

 

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

 

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Ideas for Accent Walls

Posted On: February 7th, 2018 2:37AM

 

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall

You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

Interesting textures

Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

Patterns, murals, and more

Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.

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Five Money-Saving Green Upgrades

Posted On: January 21st, 2018 1:43AM

 

 

Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.

  1.  Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
  2. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
  3. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
  4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.

Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.

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Which Down Payment is Right for You?

Posted On: January 21st, 2018 1:15AM

 

 

You have most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.  But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as 3.5 % —rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

 

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

 

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

 

THE HAPPY MEDIUM


Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.

 

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Baby Boomers and Housing in 2016

Posted On: June 1st, 2016 7:55PM




An active group, and major contributors to our economy, baby boomers were born in the two-decade period from 1946 to 1964. The leading edge of the boomers are approaching 70; the youngest are just beyond 50. This group has made, and continues to make, a huge impact on the U.S. economy, an impact that is not limited to real estate. 
 
When it does come to housing and the decisions boomers make, economists constantly try and predict what their decisions will be. The second largest group of homebuyers after millennials, they are historically used to the larger home with room to spread out and raise a family. Many are now ready to down-size, but they don’t want to give up the urban lifestyle, mobility and amenities they have become accustomed to in their homes.
 
Single-story construction, high-ceilings, an outdoor space and low-maintenance are amenities on their short-list of requirements, as well as wide doorways and a layout that accommodates an aging lifestyle. A discerning, active and savvy group of buyers, developers are scrambling to design and construct homes to meet these needs.
 
A boomer myself, I am particularly tuned-in to the needs of this large portion of our populous. My friends and I visit often about our plan for housing in the years to come. I make an extra effort to know the trends, what’s available locally and where new developments are popping up so I can pass this info along and be the best real estate advisor possible for my clients.
 
Speaking of new developments, there is a townhome development slated to break ground soon right here in nearby Palatine. It’s called Newberry Lane and will offer 16 spacious units. I’d love to share more about this exciting opportunity with you, as well as answer any questions you may have about down-sizing or making a housing change.
 
Reach out anytime! I look forward to connecting with you.

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