Maggie Coakley

DRE: 475.133661

(847) 778-4425

My Blog

Early Spring Landscaping Tips for Chicagoland

Posted On: March 17th, 2018 6:52PM


The first signs of spring bring with them a great deal of activity from the birds and insects in our garden. Those first blossoms and slight shoots of green on our lawns make most of us also go into a frenzied start of preparing our gardens for the new growing season. This is not always a good idea and if we start too early our hard work can be ruined by a turn in the weather. 

What do we need to know?

  1. In the Midwest spring does not start in March, but in early April and the danger of frost only disappears by mid-May.
  2. Crops that can cope with cooler weather can go in earlier. These include cabbage, broccoli and flowers such as pansies and snapdragons. Trees and shrubs can be planted earlier too. All else must wait for warmer weather and if in doubt consult the experts at your nursery.
  3. Do not start planting if the soil is too wet and muddy as it will harden as it dries and smother the roots of any new plants. It mustn’t be too dry either. Aim for moist and crumbly.
  4. Certain pests are very difficult to control once they appear so be prepared and spray from before. Remember that certain plants act as deterrents to some pests so try and incorporate them into your garden.
  5. Remember to include plants that will attract good insects and pollinators such as bees and birds to your garden.
  6. Cut back trees and shrubs to enhance growth and divide perennials.
  7. Collect leaves and cuttings and make your own compost.
  8. Prepare damaged lawn areas so as to begin seeding.
  9. If establishing a garden from scratch take some time to plan focal points, create interesting landscapes and focal points. Make sure that you know which areas get more or less sunlight so as to avoid expensive mistakes.

10.Clean paths and paving, repair and paint fences and sheds .

I offer comprehensive and caring support to home buyers and sellers in the Chicagoland area. Let’s talk soon if you are thinking of buying or selling this Spring.

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Real Estate and Housing in 2018: Expectations

Posted On: February 15th, 2018 9:51PM


Here’s a compilation of the expected changes in the housing market for 2018. As your trusted REALTOR® serving the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, I look forward to visiting about your specific needs.

  • There is a low inventory of homes for sale and more than 50% of these are not affordable to first time buyers.

  • This will lead to new construction but due to ever rising prices of land and building costs most expansion will be in the suburbs and outlying areas of cities.

  • There are many people who are about to become first time homebuyers, including millennials, immigrants and foreign investors.

  • Many previous homeowners had declared bankruptcies in the previous crisis and are now eligible to buy after seven years.

  • Homeowners looking to downgrade or upgrade as family needs change push up demand on some properties.

  • As the cost of living rises in the bigger cities many look for job opportunities and homes in cheaper cities.

  • The rising cost of building pushes up the price of existing homes and most homeowners will prefer to stay put and to remodel existing homes.

  • Developers will concentrate their efforts on building homes for lower to middle income buyers and will have to provide to their future needs such as wider passages.

  • Most millennials prefer to live in urban areas but will most likely buy in the suburbs where homes are more affordable.

  • The new tax bill might discourage some buyers. Some homeowners might look to sell and buy in states with lower taxes.

If any of these expectations look like they may affect your housing situation, and you would like to have a meaningful conversation about your options… let’s talk.

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How the 2018 Tax Law Will Affect Homeowners

Posted On: January 17th, 2018 6:57PM

The signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act towards the end of December 2017 is not going to affect homeowners and the way they will taxed for the 2017 financial year. The changes will come into effect from the 1st of January 2018 and this will impact the decisions that will be made by existing and especially future homeowners.

The changes in the law* which will impact homeowners are:

Limited Mortgage Interest Deductions

The maximum amount of mortgage debt interest that can be deducted is $750,000 from the previous amount of $1 million. This will affect loans that are taken from mid December 2017 onwards. If you are paying off a mortgage for a second home the interest will also be deductible up to the same amount of $750,000. Home equity loan interest will only be deductible if the money has been used for home improvements.

Tax deductions

Up until the passing of the new law all property taxes whether state or localized were claimed as deductions. The new law allows for a total of up to a $10,000 deduction only. The amount is the same for both individuals and married couples.

Standard Deductions

These are doubled under the new law at $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for joint filers. Many taxpayers will most likely prefer standard deduction to itemizing their filing so as not to reduce the tax related benefits of owning a home.

Capital Gains Tax

The exclusion of capital gains tax for the sale of a primary home is to be maintained. This means that a seller may exclude $250,000 of gain from taxation as an individual and $500,000 if married. The required years of ownership are for two of five instead of the five of eight that was initially sought.

As part of my REALTOR® services, I do my best to stay abreast of important legislative, market, and tax issues influencing housing.

*I do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Get in touch if you are considering a move, or have any real estate related questions; I am happy to chat!

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Finances and Buying a Home

Posted On: December 14th, 2017 11:06PM

Whether it’s your first, second, an investment, or vacation… buying a home is thrilling!  A big part of the thrill comes from imagining what you’ll do once you own it. Seeing the smiles on my clients faces at the closing table is a big reason I do what I do.

Let’s take a step back and think about the path to the closing table. Making sure your finances are in order before you purchase ensures the long-term benefits owning a home can offer.

Be realistic

Jot down a list of the things you desire (vs need) in your next home. You may be able to have both, and that’s great. Most importantly though, address your primary needs. Take a candid look at your income and expenses; don’t forget about the big costs that could come up in the future (college, family vacations, cars, etc.). Take time to education yourself about the mortgage process. You for sure want to avoid the temptation to max yourself once see ‘how much home’ you can afford.

Lean on your REALTOR®

Your REALTOR® is likely to know a lot about mortgages. Reach out early and allow them to be there for you when you first start contemplating your home purchase. You’ll be amazed at the reliable guidance you can get from a great agent. An experience agent will have more than one referral for reputable mortgage lenders as well.

Find a GREAT mortgage lender

It’s OK that you don’t know all the ins-and-outs of mortgage lending. A reputable mortgage lender will be aware of all your loan options, will educate you, and make proactive suggestions based on your situation.  Be patient and find the perfect fit in a loan officer. You’ll feel supported and confident in your decisions when you do.

Make equity-building a must

From start to finish, don’t lose sight of the benefits that equity growth in your home provides. With every decision you face throughout your home buying journey, ask yourself “Will this contribute or take away from the equity I plan on building in my home?”

Reach out anytime if you are thinking of buying and have questions. Text, call or email! As your Chicagoland northwest suburbs REALTOR®, I am here to listen, help you make a plan, and work for your best interests.

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Home Sale Contingency in Illinois

Posted On: November 15th, 2017 12:08PM


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, they enter into a contract known as a purchase and sales agreement. In the agreement all the details of the transaction, including the purchase price, are mentioned. The contract also includes any other special conditions. These conditions are called contingencies and they must be met, otherwise the agreement will be cancelled.

In a Home Sale Contingency, the buyer has made an offer to purchase while still trying to sell their current home.

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

How does a Home Sale Contingency work?

  • The buyer has the opportunity to complete their home sale first to prevent from owning two properties simultaneously.
  • The seller is protected by the time frame given within the home sale contingency, usually between 30 – 45 days.
  • If the time frame is not met the contingency expires.
  • A request for an extension can be requested, but not necessarily granted, before the expiration date.
  • Depending on the agreement, the seller can continue showing the property and accepting other offers or not show the property until the expiration of the contingency.

The ins and out of a home contingency sale in Illinois can vary. That’s why an experienced REALTOR® can be an invaluable asset. Think of me when you are ready for a smooth and satisfactory home sale.

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