Roxann and Your Home Team News


When is a Good Time to Sell Your Home?

November 9th, 2017

I am often asked by sellers, is the Fall a good time to sell as we head into the holidays?

Big Q: Should we put and/or keep our house on the market during the holidays?

Big A: Absolutely! Please keep in mind should you decide to market your home, don’t do everything you USUALLY do; just one tree, not multiples — keep the decorations to a minimum. So often that special holiday welcome can give an emotional pull to potential buyers!

Happy Holidays!

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How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

September 6th, 2017

Are looking to purchase your first home? Or are you looking to upgrade from your current “Home Sweet Home”? Even if you are a pro at buying and selling real estate, it can be an overwhelming process with considerable investment upfront! Between earnest money, home inspections, down payment and closing costs, it can have a drain on your savings!

Once you close on your home, the mortgage payments begin! So for the next 30 years, you chisel away at your principal with a considerable investment going toward interest! What can you do to save money and payoff your mortgage sooner?

1) Add a little to each monthly payment. You may have been able to obtain a lower payment in order to manage your monthly budget and provide you ease of mind should any unexpected expenses occur. However,if you receive a tax return, gift from loved ones, bonus, etc. try to apply to your monthly mortgage to save you considerably by paying off your mortgage early! As with any additional payments, be sure to ask your loan officer if there are any penalties and confirm the extra payment applies to principal!

2) Try to make one extra payment a year. Most mortgage companies now allow earlier payoffs without penalty. Be sure to confirm this when shopping for your home loan. If you make this extra payment, you can potentially payoff your loan four years earlier!

3) Keep an eye on lower interest rates. If you purchased your home when rates were higher, by refinancing your mortgage at a lower rate, you may be able to obtain a manageable monthly payment for a 10- or 15-year mortgage versus a 30 year mortgage. You will generally need at least 20% equity in your home based on current market value for the better rates. If you do not, the lender may require you to pay an additional fee for private mortgage insurance. Be sure to ask your lender for a “good faith estimate” which will break down your costs and confirm your monthly payment.

4) Create your own payment schedule. An “amortization” or “payment” schedule is a more formal means of determining what will be required to pay monthly in order to pay off your loan by a desired date. Work with your lender for a more aggressive payment plan rather than adding to your current monthly payments. This can potentially eliminate additional fees associated with refinancing.

As you approach the many phases of life, being without debt can be very enticing! Review your goals and desires of what you wish to achieve financially. Some things to consider when setting those financial goals:

a) Does your job provide you the stability to make higher payments?
b) Do you have a child’s education to pay for or are you saving for your retirement?
c) Have you been able to pay your monthly credit card balances?
d) Do you have funds set aside for easy access should there be a financial emergency?
e) What is your credit score?
f) How long do you plan to own your current home?

If you have your other financial positions in line, you may be in a great spot to pay off your mortgage faster. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly — 618-604-5585 — if you need recommendations for a loan officer or if you are looking to make an investment with your home purchase. I work with some great lenders in the Belleville, O’Fallon, Scott AFB, and Swansea area. My clients have found them to be very competitive on rates without the added “Junk” fees.

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What to Do this Labor Day Weekend?

August 28th, 2017

Are you looking for something fun to do this Labor Day weekend? I know I am looking forward to some outdoor fun and the area offers lots of options for you and your family!

September 1 & 2 in Fairview Heights at St. Claire Square, they are holding the Annual Midwest Wingfest! Stop by to taste the dozen of varieties of wings. Many organizations throughout O’Fallon, Belleville, Swansea and individuals are putting together their sample for your tasting pleasure. Also included in a wing eating contest on Saturday afternoon plus other food such as pulled pork, chili dogs plus cold beverages. Music, games and a children’s play area is also available — something for everyone!

September 2 & 3 in Belleville at the Bell-Clair County Fairgrounds you can find the Anuual St. Louis Antique Festival. They have fine antiques and collectibles of investment quality for display and purchase. If it is too hot outdoors for you, come on into the air conditioned display halls.

September 2 you can find in historic Lebanon, Illinois the Brick Street Classic Car Show! Enjoy the brick paved streets of this architectural area and view over 100 classic cars and trucks while listening to great 50s and 60s music.

Now through September 4, travel a bit further from the St. Clair County area to enjoy the DuQuoin State Fair. Checkout the livestock, carnival rides and grandstand entertainment for a terrific day out!

All of September — Eckerts will be featuring the Apple Fest throughout the month of September. Wagon rides, petting zoo, apple picking and live entertainment available for the whole families enjoyment. Visit their Belleville location – an easy commute from O’Fallon, Swansea, Fairview Heights and Scott AFB.

Living in the Scott AFB area communities of O’Fallon, Belleville, Shiloh, Swansea and Fairview Heights provides such a wonderful small town community environment with its many carnivals, festivals and fairs. Be sure to get out and enjoy your Labor Day weekend with family, friends and neighbors!

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How Does Illinois Compare to Missouri in Real Estate Taxes

December 9th, 2016

The popular perception in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area is that consumers will pay more in taxes in Illinois.  However, the overall tax burden for the average family of four is nearly identical.  The average percentage difference in taxes paid is less than 1% higher or lower of the total income for families of four living in Illinois and Missouri.  If you combine a competitive tax rate with a lower cost of living and increased purchasing power, it makes Illinois the perfect place to buy your home.

The table shows a breakdown of difference within various income levels.  To read the full results of a study by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Department of Public Administration and Policy Analysis: “Tax Burdens in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area: A Comparative Study” as www.gatewayrealtors.com and www.618realtor.com.

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5 Easy Ways to Save $1,000 by the Holidays

November 17th, 2015

Can you believe it is Thanksgiving next week?  Where has the year gone!  With Thanksgiving comes Black Friday which means holiday shopping.  The season of giving can take a whole lot out of your wallet. Beyond the gift giving, it is easy to pile on top of that all of the food, decorations, clothing and other presents most people splurge on for the holidays, and your budget can sure take a hit.

Ideally, you’d have saved throughout the year in preparation for the pricey festivities. But even if holiday costs didn’t creep into your budget until now, you still have time to tally up plenty of extra cash before Black Friday.  Below are some cost saving’s measures that might help you out!  With these suggested strategies, you can potentially cobble together more than $1,000 in extra savings, based on average costs and listed retail prices. Of course, how much you can actually save depends on your specific situation and which moves you make. Still, these examples go to show that you can save a grand in just two months with a few simple budget adjustments—whether you need the money for holiday spending or other financial goals.

1. Reshop your auto insurance.
The cost of car insurance can vary greatly for each driver, and you’re likely paying more than necessary. Make sure you’re getting the best deal possible by comparing plans from different insurers using tools from Insurance.com, InsWeb or Nerdwallet. You might also be able to save if you can prove you’re a good driver. Or if you have a “Good Student” on your policy, by providing their past semester transcript you may save.  Another option is to increase your deductible or by paying your premium yearly instead of bi-annual or monthly.

2. Eat at home.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers spent an average of about $2,800 on dining out last year—or $233 each month. Brown-bag your lunch and trade restaurant dinner dates for romantic nights this fall to cut those meal costs by two-thirds or more.  Planning and preparing your meals for the week ahead of time will help you resist the costly ease of eating out or ordering in.

3. Drive less.
Leave your car in the garage on workdays throughout the fall to cut daily costs on parking, gas, tolls and even the occasional ticket. If your daily commute is 10 miles round-trip and you spend $20 for daily parking, it is estimated that you can save $24.75 a day by biking instead of driving to work. Even if your savings are, say, a more modest $20 per day and if you only opt to cycle into work every other day, the savings can really add up. Carpooling and public transportation are other options, albeit with their own costs.

4. Cut the cable cord.
You don’t need to pay for cable to enjoy watching television. Most of your favorite shows are likely available online or through streaming services for little to no cost. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the average price for expanded basic cable TV service is $66 a month. But many network sites share top shows for free the day after they air. Or you can subscribe to a streaming service.

5. Trim your cell phone bill.
Leaving your mainstream wireless carrier can save you a bundle. Check into some of the alternative wireless services which you can get a plan that includes unlimited talk, texts and data at a much lower rate.

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Fall has Arrived in the Midwest!

October 28th, 2015

Can you believe it is already Fall?  Where has the year gone with Thanksgiving just one short month away!  Be sure to take some time to drive through the area to see the beautiful colors — the parks in Fairview, O’Fallon and Belleville are just gorgeous this time of year.  Or take a drive to the country — some of the shaded back roads of our neighboring communities of Aviston, Highland, Freeburg and Smithton are picture perfect!

With Autumn comes maintenance!  Here’s a checklist as a homeowner:

  1. You will want to check your interior to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck by making sure your windows and doors are properly sealed.  Swap screens for storm shutters and weatherstripping around doors.  Also make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly. With fall comes the time change, which is an excellent time to change batteries for all detectors.  Also be sure to arrange to have your furnace service and filter changed to ensure safety and efficiency!
  2. The exterior of your home can be a challenge — especially if you have mature trees in your yard.  Although during the summer months they are terrific in providing shade and saving on that utility bill.  However, the price is paid this time of year with all those leaves that come tumbling down!  You will want to keep up on raking those leaves and be sure to clean out those gutters!  If you keep up with it weekly, it will avoid an exhausting job!  Be sure to remove hoses and shut off the water to exterior pipes to protect against freezing.  Again with the time change and winter months comes shorter daylight hours.  Make sure to replace those exterior lights to ensure a safe walk way.

Enjoy the season and remember, this is a terrific time to sell your home if you are considering a move!  If you would like to get additional information on your specific market, please contact me for your private appointment.

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Steps to Take Getting Settled Into Your New Home

September 22nd, 2015

We at Your Home Team enjoy finding buyers the home of their dreams in the Metro East area, including O’Fallon, Scott AFB, Belleville, Shiloh, Swansea and Fairview Heights.  The excitement of looking and the stress of going through all the details to purchase and close on your home can often result in small details being overlooked.  That is where the Real Estate Team of Roxann Bohstedt and Vickie Dressel can help you!

When you move into a home you are looking forward to the exciting things such as decorating and remodeling.  But don’t forget about the safety and maintenance items as well which are much more important in the long run!  Here are eight items you will want to take care of right after you take possession to help your transition go smoothly!

1.  Change the Locks

Before moving your personal belongings into the home, change or rekey the locks.  Over the years, any number of individuals/contractors may have been given a key and copied for some unsavory purpose.

2. Change the Alarm Batteries

Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries.  Better to deal with it now, when the home is empty nd you can make a quick sweep of the house without lugging a ladder around furniture.

3. Review Your Home Inspector’s Report

A good home inspector will provide helpful maintenance hints as well as outline the most important issues of your home.  Having this report handy as well as the information on a home warranty (if there was one provided) can be very helpful should anything come up as you get to  know your home!

4.  Find the Circuit Breaker

Most buyers attend their home inspection and should k now where the breaker panel is located, but if you were unable to be there, be sure to find it!  During a move, when you are plugging in all sorts of electrical items into the wall, you don’t want to be lost in the dark hunting for that elusive metal box.  Get familiar (and mark if necessary) what switches belong to which rooms.

5.  Deal with Any Water Problems

If there were any water issues that were not already addressed (dripping faucet, etc.), now is the time to take care of it.  A leaking toilet or steady drip may seem minor, can cause long term rise in water bills or internal structural issues.  Check your roof too — if rubber vent boots are leaking, you might not know it for a while and by the time you see it in the ceiling, there is a fair amount of water.

6.  Caulk Everything

Caulking is an easy maintenance item, but can be accomplished much easier when you can see all the nooks and crannies that might need a little sealing — and don’t forget the exterior.

7. Plan Your Emergency Exits

We have all heard it before, but this is a great time to implement your emergency escape before bringing in furniture.  This can help you spot problem areas or rooms that need some adjustments — egress windows in a basement, windows located high in children’s bedrooms,etc.

8. Clean Your Gutters

BO-RING, right?  You can wait until Day 2 of your move, but don’t let procrastination take over!  If the gutters were not cleaned previously, plan to do ASAP!

ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!

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FREE Shredding Event

September 14th, 2015

It’s that time of year again where we host our bi-annual FREE shredding event! Start cleaning out those files!  This bi-annual event we will be Saturday September 26, 9:00am to Noon! Location will be at our office; 813 W Hwy 50, O’Fallon, IL 62269.

A few notes about the event:

  • Paper ONLY!
  • No drop offs; you must be here while your items are being shredded
  • Limit 5 boxes per household
  • Accepting donations of can goods or cash for local food pantry

If you have any questions regarding this event/details, please feel free to contact our office directly at 624-1985

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FREE: Shredding Event!

April 15th, 2015

It’s that time of year again where we host our bi-annual free shredding event! Start cleaning out those files from tax season and other important documents!

This year we will be hosting the event on Saturday April 25th from 9:00am to Noon! Location will be at our office; 813 W Hwy 50, O’Fallon, IL 62269.

 

A few notes about the event:

  • Paper ONLY!
  • No drop offs- you must be there
  • Limit 5 boxes per household
  • Please donate 2 can goods or cash donation to our local food pantry

If you have any questions regarding this event/details, please feel free to contact our office directly at 624-1985

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2015’s Anticipated Housing Trends: Part 6

March 16th, 2015

Here we are folks! The final piece to our blog series regarding housing trends we are most looking forward to in 2015!

Once again to review everything that we have covered so far click here. Hope you all enjoyed reading these throughout the past couple months!

  1. Human Scale- Everyone wanted things super-sized it seemed like for quite some time in the kitchen department. We can look forward to kitchens going back to a smaller size where we have just enough acquired space for appliances and small islands.
  2. Sleep is important- People are making quality sleep a priority! Investing in good bedding, mattresses, and pillows is a step we should be taking in 2015!
  3. What color should I go with?- Kitchen color seems to be the target in that people prefer the shades of white kitchens. From counter-tops to back-splash, and cabinetry. This color scheme also allows to you go with a bolder hardware choice.
  4. Outdoors- Last but not least, people are making outdoor living a priority for comfort and convenience. These features include bigger decks, privately fenced yards, hot tubs, and even outdoor sinks!

Hope you enjoyed and maybe even find that some of these trends are something you would like to move forward with!

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