Closing on Your Home?

Closing on Your Home?

Closing on Your Home? What to Expect

If it’s your first time buying a home — or it’s been a while since you bought one — you might be wondering what to expect when it comes time to close on your purchase. Keep reading so you’ll be prepared when the big day comes.

What Is a Closing?
Sometimes called a settlement, a closing is the final step in the process of buying and financing a home.The parties involved meet at a predetermined location to sign the necessary documents to finish the transaction. This meeting could include buyers, sellers, loan officers, real estate agents, attorneys and representatives from the title insurance and escrow companies.

How to Prepare
Make sure to thoroughly go over the Closing Disclosure you receive. This five-page form lets you know how much your projected mortgage payments will be, what the terms of your loan are and which fees you will be expected to pay. The numbers on this document should be similar to the loan estimate you previously received. Federal law dictates that you receive the Closing Disclosure al least three business days before the closing date so you have time to review it and ask questions.

What to Bring
Closings can vary from purchase to purchase, but you’ll most likely need to bring a current driver’s license or passport, a cashier’s or certified check for the down payment and closing costs, proof of insurance and a copy of the final contract. If you are separated or going through a divorce, be sure to bring a copy of any relevant agreements or court orders as well.

Information brought to you by:  

Matt Isadore, Senior Mortgage Consultant 

Midwest Community Bank 

Contact Linda

Linda Kelleher

Swanson Real Estate

503 E. Church St.

Sandwich, IL 60548

815.742.8161 Direct

815.786.9418 Office 

Areas Served: Big Rock, Hinckley, Marseilles, Naperville, Newark, Oswego, Plano, Sandwich, Sheridan, Somonauk , Sugar Grove, Yorkville

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The Costs of Homeownership Beyond the Sale

Saving up for a down payment and closing costs, determining how much you can afford and qualifying for a loan are key steps in buying a home. But what happens once the dust settles? Plan ahead so you won’t be caught off guard by other costs. Here are a few areas where new homeowners often end up spending after the sale:

New Household Items

Buying new furniture and decorative items can be a fun part of moving into a new home. But there are other less exciting purchases, such as new locks for entry doors or a new water heater, that can put a dent in your wallet. To help limit financial surprises, put some savings aside specifically for this purpose and identify what you’d need to buy or replace in each home you consider.

Maintenance and Repairs

For most homeowners, repairs and maintenance cost 1 to 4 percent of their home’s value annually. Factor these regular needs into your budget so when it’s time to replace the roof or fix the plumbing, it won’t be a shock to your bank account. In addition, you may want to consider a home warranty to help offset repair costs if you are worried about outdated systems.

HOA Fees and Taxes

If your new home is governed by a homeowners association, factor in the monthly or annual dues that maintain the buildings, amenities and common areas. Additionally, keep property taxes in mind when making your monthly or yearly budget.

By planning for all of the responsibilities that come along with homeownership, you can enjoy your new place without financial stress.

Brought to you and shared by Mattew Isadore, at Midwest Community Bank our preferred loan provider

Senior Mortgage Consultant
NMLS: 497896
3755 E. Main St. Suite #140 St. Charles, IL 60174 USA
Phone: (630) 696-4636 Mobile: (630) 688-4308

Tips When Moving With Pets

With a long to-do list to complete before moving, it is important to remember preparation for your pets

Gather Vet Records:  If you are moving a considerable distance away from your current home, it is important to ask your current veterinarian for records that will be requested by the new vet office. These can usually be easily printed out of faxed over to the new medical-care provider, but the source says to always keep the former vet’s contact information on file, just in case of an emergency.

Update Tags With New Address:  It is also crucial to update your pet’s tags with proper identification including up-to-date contact information and your new home’s address. This will be helpful if something were to happen during the moving process. Including a cell phone number is best, as your new home phone may not be set up yet.

Manage Their Stress Exposure:  Studies show that pets can easily be stressed out during moves, so The Pet Realty Network suggests keeping them secluded from chaos that can ensue on moving day. This means keeping them in a separate and familiar room or even asking a friend or family member to watch over them while multiple people are in the house and items are being moved around. If you’re keeping your pet in the house while movers are present, make sure they are in a room that has already been cleared out and post a do-not-disturb sign to keep those helping out.

Remember Pet Meds and Pets First Aid Kit:  When preparing a first aid kit be sure to  leave medications and food outside of moving boxes, as they could be needed in case of an emergency. If your pet is on medications, be sure to get them filled before relocating. When preparing your first aid kit, be sure to include bandages, towels and hydrogen peroxide.

When Traveling – Protect Your Pets:  If you are transporting your pet to your new home by car, be sure to keep them in a crate, as allowing them to roam freely around your vehicle can be dangerous and unsafe for both of you. Pets can be a major distraction when behind the wheel and giving them their own space can also keep them calm. When flying, be sure that you and your pet meet all necessary airline requirements and purchase a proper crate for their travels. The source notes you should also consult your veterinarian before making flying arrangements, as not all pets are fit to do so.

Ask Your Current Vet For a Referral:  Pet owners should ask their former veterinary clinic for a referral for their new location, while talking to other pet owners in your new community can be helpful. Selecting a new vet is important, so be sure they are convenient and that facilities are kept up. Asking for a tour and meeting the doctors, technicians and assistants can help you make the best decision possible.

Source:  realtor magazine

What to Fix If You’re Selling

It’s always a task to set a budget for a renovation—or at the very least an ever-moving target—but if you’re planning to put your home on the market, you’ll have a way different set of calculations than a starry-eyed new homeowner.

Before you embark on a gut of your circa-1990 kitchen, consult with a Realtor® and a general contractor about which renovations will yield the biggest return on investment. How much work you’ll need depends on your home’s value, your market, and the comps in your neighborhood.  Your house needs to measure up to the other listings on the market.

Committed to doing some work? Start by thinking small. Minor cosmetic upgrades go a long way in getting more buyers through the door for a quicker sale—and time on market is key to determining what you’ll net at closing.

Where to start? Here are some suggested upgrades (and some to avoid):

Walls and floors

Replacing or refinishing your flooring and painting the walls are the quickest and least expensive ways to give a house new life.  With these enhancements, you can expect roughly a 15% uptick in asking price.

Paint colors matter.  Shades of gray are in with buyers right now; stay away from tan and beige hues.  While you can certainly go the DIY route with paint, hiring a pro will get the best results. Expect to spend $2,000 to $3,000 for whole-house interior painting

The same goes for new carpet. A sturdy, builder-grade fiber in a neutral color that doesn’t compete with your wall color is the way to go. While most buyers prefer hardwood floors, they’re pricey to install. If you have existing hardwood floors, refinishing them will bring back the luster.

Doors

According to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, replacing your existing front door with a new steel door will net you a 101.8% return on resale for a minimal replacement cost of about $1,230. Who knew? But think about it: It’s the first and last thing you’ll touch on your home visit. It makes an impression.

Installing a new garage door has an impact on buyers, too. Even better: It offers an 88% return at resale and costs an average of about $1,600 to replace, according to the Remodeling report.

Roof and siding

Adding a new roof and replacing your home’s unsightly vinyl siding will also yield a high return on investment.  Homeowners may recoup 72% and 80% of the cost, respectively, for those upgrades. Another benefit: When it comes time for inspection and appraisal, having those repairs done will not only increase the value of your home but also reduce the likelihood of being forced to make fixes or adjust pricing later in the process.

Kitchens

A modern kitchen is a top draw for buyers—but don’t try to overhaul a dated one, which could cost mucho dinero. Buying new cabinet drawer pulls, painting or refacing old cabinets (white is in right now), and installing sleek light fixtures are all low-cost upgrades that will make your kitchen sparkle.

New appliances, which can run about $10,000 for a whole-kitchen replacement, are an easy way to add value. While the upfront cost might be hard to swallow, new stainless appliances make your kitchen more attractive to a wider range of buyers.

Granite or quartz counter tops are also hot, but they can be pricey, depending on your kitchen layout.

“You need bids from professional remodeler to figure out how much new counter tops will cost—and if it fits your budget and timetable.  A less pricey alternative is simply adding a clean, white ceramic tile back splash to create visual appeal.

Upgrades to skip

Thinking about finishing an attic or basement? Adding a deck? Well, don’t. Those upgrades tend to be pricey, and buyers will likely prefer to remodel those areas to their own tastes.

Other areas to avoid doing a major renovation: bathrooms, bedrooms, and home offices, according the Remodeling report.

In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t renovate it!

Article resource

 

 

Contact Linda

Linda Kelleher

Swanson Real Estate

503 E. Church St.

Sandwich, IL 60548

815.742.8161 Direct

815.786.9418 Office 

Areas Served: Big Rock, Hinckley, Marseilles, Naperville, Newark, Oswego, Plano, Sandwich, Sheridan, Somonauk , Sugar Grove, Yorkville

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How to Declutter Before Moving

How to declutter before moving

If you’re about to move to a new home, there is one thing you absolutely must do: Declutter before moving. Really, this is your big chance! There is no better excuse than an upcoming move to unload dead weight. It’s high time you started chipping away at your possessions.

Step No. 1: Start throwing things out early

Try to start purging at least a month before you move. The reason: This gives you time to, say, sell items online or drive them to a consignment shop. Plus, advance decluttering “spreads out the (task) to make it feel like it’s less work.
Try to tackle one room, or one closet (or one drawer) a day—it’s less overwhelming—and never handle an item twice. Designate “toss,” “donate,” and “sell” boxes, and when you decide an item’s fate, toss it into the correct box.

Step No. 2: Gather the right packing materials

Gather organizational tools like packing tape, black markers, and labels in a tote; that way, you don’t have to rummage through drawers whenever the de-cluttering bug bites. After all, you’re going to need to get this stuff for moving day anyway, so there’s no harm in kicking things off early.

Another huge help? Clear plastic bins are your friends—and great homes for small items like batteries or office supplies. You can see what’s inside, and they’re easily stackable to save space.

Step No. 3: Consider the size of your new home

Here are some common items you can almost certainly do without. Be merciless, and get them out of your life.

  • Still boxed: These items never made it out of the boxes: gifts, Groupon deals that seemed like a good idea at the time, bulk purchases of all those giant jars of capers you won’t live long enough to eat. Surely, someone will appreciate these goods that fell by the wayside. You might even be able to raise some cash by selling this clutter online. But get rid of it.
  • Not used: Tastes and waistlines change. (Especially waistlines.) If you haven’t worn or used something in a year, you probably never will again. If it’s in good shape, donate it charity. If it’s stained or hopelessly out of date, toss it.
  • Expired: Food way past its sell-by date and expired or unwanted medication shouldn’t live with you in your new place. Some pharmacies will take back unused medication, and cleaned plastic pill bottles are recyclable. Bag up your pills and take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal. Don’t pour or flush medicine down the drain, which can contaminate drinking water with chemicals, according to Earth911.
  • Past paperwork: We all have boxes of documents, clippings, and recipes that we never read—they don’t need to be schlepped to a new house. If you file your tax returns online and report everything you should, the IRS says to keep returns and documentation for three years after you file. You can toss ATM and bank deposit receipts after a year. Keep “forever” documents (e.g., your birth and marriage certificates) in a separate box so you don’t mistakenly pitch them.
  • Books and magazines are heavy and bulky to move. If you’ve read them, and don’t think you’ll ever read them again, donate them to a local library. Many senior residences maintain libraries and would love a fresh supply of reading material.
  • Extras: extra towels, extra teacups, extra anything. If it hasn’t come in handy in the past year, it won’t come in handy in the future.

 

Source:  Realtor.com

Contact Linda

Linda Kelleher

Swanson Real Estate

503 E. Church St.

Sandwich, IL 60548

815.742.8161 Direct

815.786.9418 Office 

Areas Served: Big Rock, Hinckley, Marseilles, Naperville, Newark, Oswego, Plano, Sandwich, Sheridan, Somonauk , Sugar Grove, Yorkville

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6 Reasons You Should NEVER Buy or Sell a Home Without an Agent

Oh, dear home buyer (or seller!)—we know you can do it on your own. But you really, really shouldn’t. This is likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you need a Realtor® if you want to do it right.

Here’s why.

They have loads of expertise:

Want to check the MLS for a 4B/2B with an EIK and a W/D? Real estate has its own language, full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon, and your Realtor is trained to speak that language fluently.

Plus, buying or selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. Realtors have the expertise to help you prepare a killer deal—while avoiding delays or costly mistakes that can seriously mess you up.

They have turbocharged searching power

The Internet is awesome. You can find almost anything—anything! And with online real estate listing sites such as yours truly, you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? Realtors have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A Realtor can help you find those hidden gems.

Plus, a good local Realtor is going to know the search area way better than you ever could. Have your eye on a particular neighborhood, but it’s just out of your price range? Your Realtor is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood, so she can direct you toward a home in your price range that you may have overlooked.

They have bullish negotiating chops

Any time you buy or sell a home, you’re going to encounter negotiations—and as today’s housing market heats up, those negotiations are more likely than ever to get a little heated.

You can expect lots of competition, cutthroat tactics, all-cash offers, and bidding wars. Don’t you want a savvy and professional negotiator on your side to seal the best deal for you?

And it’s not just about how much money you end up spending or netting. A Realtor will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that’s crucial to your particular needs.

They’re connected to everyone

Realtors might not know everything, but they make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers—the list goes on—and they’re all in your Realtor’s network. Use them.

They adhere to a strict code of ethics

Not every real estate agent is a Realtor, who is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country.

What difference does it make? Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.

They’re your sage parent/data analyst/therapist—all rolled into one

The thing about Realtors: They wear a lot of different hats. Sure, they’re salespeople, but they actually do a whole heck of a lot to earn their commission. They’re constantly driving around, checking out listings for you. They spend their own money on marketing your home (if you’re selling). They’re researching comps to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

And, of course, they’re working for you at nearly all hours of the day and night—whether you need more info on a home or just someone to talk to in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in. This is the biggest financial (and possibly emotional) decision of your life, and guiding you through it isn’t a responsibility Realtors take lightly.

Information brought to you by Realtor.com 

 

 

 

Contact Linda

Linda Kelleher

Swanson Real Estate

503 E. Church St.

Sandwich, IL 60548

815.742.8161 Direct

815.786.9418 Office 

Areas Served: Big Rock, Hinckley, Marseilles, Naperville, Newark, Oswego, Plano, Sandwich, Sheridan, Somonauk , Sugar Grove, Yorkville

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4 Must Know Tips for Buyers

What do buyers and sellers need to know to be smart about the housing market in 2016?

“The 2016 housing market is forecasted to be mainly a seller’s market, filled with increasing home prices, relatively low inventory and fierce competition between buyers,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. “Buyers looking to close this year need to keep an open mind and be prepared to move quickly when they find a home that meets their needs. For sellers, it’s about understanding the ins and outs of their local market so they can optimize the price of their home and close quickly.”

Realtor.com® just released “Top Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in 2016” to help guide house-hunters and home sellers on what’s most important for buying and selling a home this year. Here’s what they had to say.

 

Top Tips for Buyers in 2016

1. Don’t wait. More than 85 percent of buyers who say they plan to buy a home in the next year say they will wait until the spring or summer, shows a recent realtor.com® survey. But buyers who start their hunt early will likely face less competition and have just as many homes for-sale to consider.

2. Shop around for a mortgage. Buyers shouldn’t take the first rate-quote they receive and should talk to more than one lender. A lower interest rate could equate to thousands in savings over the life of the loan. Mortgage rates are largely expected to rise over this year. Realtor.com® is predicting mortgage rates to reach 4.65 percent by the end of this year (they’re currently just under 4 percent).

3. Don’t discount buying new. New-home construction is expected to surge this year, with an expected 16 percent increase in new home sales year-over-year. Buying new most likely means less competition and a wider selection of homes. But a caveat: New-homes typically cost more.

4. Buy in the Midwest or South. The Midwest and South will likely offer the most affordable options for home purchasers in 2016. Realtor.com® singles out the following markets as offering buyers high affordability, rising inventory, and some of the most favorable lending standards.

See Source

Home Pricing Gain October 2016

Illinois home prices show solid gains in October; Sales decline

home-values-image-11-29-16SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A drop in the number of homes on the market and a typical seasonal slowdown helped drive Illinois home sales lower in October even as median home prices continued to post solid annual gains, according to Illinois REALTORS®. 

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in October 2016 totaled 12,469 homes sold, down 5.4 percent from 13,186 in October 2015.

The statewide median price in October was $179,000, up 6.9 percent from October 2015 when the median price was $167,500. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“While sales were softer in October on an annual basis, much of this can be attributed to a typical seasonal slowdown and the chronically low number of homes on the market.” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills. “Given the relatively short time it is taking on average to sell a home, strong market demand might work to a seller’s advantage as we start to close out the year.”

The time it took to sell a home in October averaged 60 days, down from 69 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 61,837 homes for sale, a 14.7 percent decline from October 2015 when there were 72,495 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.47 percent in October 2016, an increase from 3.46 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In October 2015 it averaged 3.78 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in October 2016 totaled 8,762 homes sold, down 6.3 percent from October 2015 sales of 9,350 homes. The median price in October 2016 was $216,250 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 8.1 percent from $200,000 in October 2015.

“No doubt that the election contributed to a decline in sales, but prices continue to grow,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “For the next three months, price growth is anticipated to be a little stronger.  Declining supply contributes some uncertainty to sales growth.”

According to the data, thirty-two (32) Illinois counties reported sales gains for October 2016 over previous-year numbers, including Champaign County, up 17.9 percent with 184 units sold; Kane County, up 6.8 percent with 593 units sold; and Sangamon County, up 1.5 percent with 263 units sold. Fifty (50) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including St. Clair County, up 20.9 percent to $133,000; Will County, up 10.3 percent to $199,900; and Cook  County, up 10 percent to $220,000.

The city of Chicago saw an 8.8 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in October 2016 with 1,981 sales, down from 2,173 in October 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in October 2016 was $262,000, up 9.2 percent compared to October 2015 when it was $240,000.

“Although the autumn market’s pace is reduced compared to the summer months, great opportunities to buy and sell property remain,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “As long as the low inventory continues, strategically priced properties will continue to fly off the market at higher prices.”

Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Nov. 7, 2016 for the period October 1 through October 31, 2016. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Illinois REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 44,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, Illinois REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Source:  www.illinoisrealtor.org/

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.

 

Contact Linda

Linda Kelleher

Swanson Real Estate

503 E. Church St.

Sandwich, IL 60548

815.742.8161 Direct

815.786.9418 Office 

Areas Served: Big Rock, Hinckley, Marseilles, Naperville, Newark, Oswego, Plano, Sandwich, Sheridan, Somonauk , Sugar Grove, Yorkville

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Common Holiday Hazards to Avoid

christmas-tree-x500-adobeThe holidays can feel like a period of perpetual motion. And while that’s much of what makes the season such a joy, it’s also why it’s important to guard against mishaps that commonly crop up during the hustle. Here are a few key holiday safety tips to keep in mind:

Don’t fall while decorating. Do you go all out, like Clark Griswold, when stringing lights? Each season, nearly 6,000 people visit emergency rooms after falling while hanging holiday decor. (More than half of those falls occurred outdoors from roofs or ladders.) Unwieldy extension cords can also trip up individuals and lead to injuries.

Keep clear of flames. Home fires spike around the holiday season, with candles, Christmas trees and cooking fires being common culprits. Keep decorations away from heat sources, don’t leave burning candles unattended, check that electrical cords are in good condition and stay in the kitchen while cooking.

Identify and remove toxins. Plants can add a festive touch to your home, but some seasonal favorites can also pose a threat to children and pets. The leaves and berries of mistletoe, for instance, are toxic if eaten, and poinsettias can irritate skin. If you choose to decorate with these plants, keep them safely out of reach and promptly clean up fallen berries and leaves.

Travel safely. During the holiday season, vehicles riddle the roadways, so safety is a big concern. Take your car in for winter maintenance, check the weather forecast before road trips, stash a well-stocked emergency kit in the trunk, and keep shopping bags out of sight to avoid break-ins.

Use these and other safety tips to keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy through the holiday season.

Shared from Matthew Isadore / Midwest Community Bank 

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Linda Kelleher

Swanson Real Estate

503 E. Church St.

Sandwich, IL 60548

815.742.8161 Direct

815.786.9418 Office 

Areas Served: Big Rock, Hinckley, Marseilles, Naperville, Newark, Oswego, Plano, Sandwich, Sheridan, Somonauk , Sugar Grove, Yorkville

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Uncovering Home Problems

8 Dangerous Home Problems You Can Uncover Before You Buy

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The home inspection is that pivotal event you hold your breath for when you’re buying a house. It’s an opportunity for a licensed expert to scrutinize every inch of your potential new place for problems—both minor ones and the deal-killing kind.

But when so much is on the line, why wait until the inspection to start investigating? Open houses and private showings are the perfect time to get a little nosy. Let us be clear: We’re certainly not suggesting you should forgo the expertise of a home inspector. But you can get a jump-start so that you can turn your inspector’s attention to some potential problem areas.

These eight crucial problems can be easily uncovered—even without a home inspector’s license. So go ahead and take a peek.

Source

 

1. Cracking caulking

Get on your knees and examine the caulking around the sinks and tubs. While cracking could just be a sign of age, it also might indicate mold inside the wall (a no-go, unless you’re up for a major challenge).

“Any cracks or holes must be taken care of before you go further,” says Bill Horne, a former landlord and commercial real estate owner. Keep an eye out for dark stains, too, which also might indicate something nasty growing underneath.

2. Insulated recessed lighting

You may not get a chance to peek in the attic during a showing, but do your best to scamper up there. Access to the attic means you can check on insulation issues, storage space, and safety problems—like poorly installed recessed lighting.

Once you’re up there, find out where the recessed lights are installed. Is there insulation resting on the cans?

3. Insulation with foil side up

While you’re poking around the attic, take a peek between your feet. If the home’s insulation has been installed between the joists, you’d better not see your reflection.

“If the insulation’s foil side is up, it will probably have been ruined by moisture coming up.  Also called the “vapor barrier,” the foil-lined side should face the warm side of the house—i.e., your main rooms—not the cold attic.

4. Slouching walls

Crooked or leaning walls, or floors that aren’t level, can indicate serious foundation issues.  

No need to bring a level to every open house. A careful eye is good enough (until the inspection, that is). And here are a couple of fun hacks: Set a coin on its edge. If it rolls, you’ve got a crooked floor. Or press your cheek against the wall and look for any strange slopes or irregularities.

You don’t need to dismiss a home simply because it’s a bit crooked. Remember: Old structures settle in curious ways. But if what you see seems peculiar, make sure to add it to the must-inspect list.

5. Rusty basement columns

If you get to poke around an unfinished basement, Horne recommends examining the lally columns—the skinny steel tubes that hold up the main beams.

Look for peeling or rust, which “is a sign that there might be dampness in the cellar,” he says. Even if moisture tests don’t indicate a problem, rust could compromise the support that column offers.

6. Multiple pipe styles

A mingling of multiple pipe styles doesn’t necessarily mean something nefarious is afoot. Perhaps the homeowner was replacing the system piecemeal and ran out of cash (hence the sale?). But if you see a mix of several styles—maybe some are cast iron and some PVC—you’ll want to alert your inspector to find out why. Frozen water pipes might have forced a partial replacement.

Poor winterization, and the resulting burst pipes, don’t necessarily mean anything is bad.

But it’s a danger sign, because it means that there was a lot of water in the cellar at some point

7. Slow drainage

During a walk-through, make sure to let the water flow—everywhere the Realtor® will let you, at least. Turn on the faucets for every sink, toilet, or tub, and watch carefully as the water drains.

“Slow drainage indicates clogged drains or substandard installation,” Horne says. It gets worse: You could even have a sewer line disaster waiting to happen—and that’s an expensive fix.

8. Too few vent pipes

While you’re checking out the backyard, take a peek at the roof and count the vent pipes. One vent pipe should line up with the kitchen, and there should be an additional vent pipe for each bathroom.

Like most issues, a shortage of vents doesn’t make the home uninhabitable. Sure, if the bathrooms aren’t vented, it might mean an additional expense down the line, but it’s not the end of the world.

But don’t assume you’re in the clear, even if the kitchen and all bathrooms are vented. If the vent ends in the attic, it could send dangerous amounts of moisture into your home.

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Linda Kelleher

Swanson Real Estate

503 E. Church St.

Sandwich, IL 60548

815.742.8161 Direct

815.786.9418 Office 

Areas Served: Big Rock, Hinckley, Marseilles, Naperville, Newark, Oswego, Plano, Sandwich, Sheridan, Somonauk , Sugar Grove, Yorkville

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