Pros and Cons of Prepaying Your Mortgage

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Paying off your mortgage early could lead to a sense of financial freedom, but it’s not the right move for everyone. Consider your complete financial picture and check your lender’s policies before deciding whether to prepay your mortgage.

Reasons to Make Extra Loan Payments
Prepaying your mortgage would reduce the total amount you would spend on interest. The amount you pay in interest each month is based on the outstanding principal. Reducing the principal would lower your interest charges and could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Paying more than required could help you pay off your mortgage sooner. If you have a specific goal in mind—such as paying off your home before you retire or before your children start attending college—making extra mortgage payments now could mean greater financial security and flexibility later.

Equity is the difference between a house’s current value and the amount owed on the mortgage. Prepaying your mortgage could help you build equity faster. If necessary, you could access that money through a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. Getting your equity up to 20 percent could also allow you to eliminate private mortgage insurance and save money each month.

Reducing your mortgage balance could improve your credit score, which is based, in large, on your total debt-to-income ratio. If you applied for a credit card, car loan or personal loan, a good credit score could help you get a low interest rate.

When Prepaying Your Mortgage Might Not Be the Best Move
If you started saving for retirement or for your children’s college education late, it might make more sense to put extra money toward those goals than to make extra mortgage payments. Money that you invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds could substantially increase in value and help you meet your more immediate financial goals.

If you have high-interest debt, such as credit card balances, you would probably be better off focusing on those than prepaying your mortgage. Interest rates on credit cards are typically much higher than interest rates for mortgages. Eliminating your credit card debt as quickly as possible would likely save you a lot more in the long run than you would save by making extra mortgage payments.

If you don’t have an emergency fund with enough money to cover at least 3 – 6 months’ worth of expenses, focus on that first. If you lost your job or couldn’t work for medical reasons, it would be easier to withdraw money from a savings account than to borrow against your home equity.

Communicate With Your Lender
Some mortgage lenders charge a prepayment penalty. Before you make extra loan payments, contact your lender to find out if you would be charged a penalty. If you decide to make extra payments, clearly inform the lender that you want the extra funds to be applied to the principal, not to interest or escrow.

Why You Should Say No to Retail Store Credit Cards

🚫🛍️💳

By Maryann Komes of Pilmer Real Estate, Inc.

It’s tempting.  I know.  You’re in the checkout line at your favorite store.  You have $200 in items and the checkout person says “I can save you 25% off your purchase if you apply for our credit card.”  Saving $50?  Heck yeah!  But wait…does it really save you?  Maybe you’re thinking I’ll just open the account, pay off the balance and then close it.  Either way, it’ll cost you more in the long run than the $50 you’ll be saving that day.

Every time you open a credit card, your credit score takes a hit.  Every time you close an account, your credit score takes a hit.  Eventually, this could potentially affect your ability to get a good interest rate on a car loan or a mortgage.  You would be paying far more in interest than the $50 you’d save that day.  On a $200,000 mortgage, the difference of just 1/4% on the interest rate could cost you almost $10,000 in interest over the life of a 30 year mortgage!  TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!

The next time you’re faced with the option of “saving” by opening a credit account in the checkout line of a retailer, think twice.  It may cost you far more in the long run.

🎃 Pumpkin Festival 🎃

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Happy Fall Y’all! Please join us as we celebrate the season. Bring your family and friends!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

10 am – 12 pm

Pilmer Real Estate, Inc.

1002 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506

(Between Spartan House & Luigi’s Pizza and Fun Center)
  • FREE PUMPKIN TO TAKE HOME
  • TREATS
  • REFRESHMENTS
  • PHOTO OPS
  • COSTUME OPTIONAL

*1 pumpkin per person

Improve Your Credit Score Before You Start House Hunting

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If you want to buy a house and you’ll need to take out a mortgage, getting your credit score as high as possible should be a top priority before you begin searching for a home. Your credit score will be used to set your interest rate, so be sure to stay on top of it.

Check Your Credit Reports for Errors
Start by requesting copies of your credit reports from the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Check them for inaccurate information and dispute any errors. It’s important to check all three credit reports since the bureaus may have different information.

Pay Down Debt
Your credit utilization ratio is calculated by dividing the sum of your credit card balances by the sum of your credit limits to arrive at a percentage. A lower utilization ratio will translate into a higher credit score.

If you’re using a lot of your available credit, work on paying down your debt. You can do that by cutting expenses, looking for a second job or side gig, applying gifts or income tax refunds to your credit card bills, selling some of your belongings or consolidating high-interest credit card balances into one loan with a lower interest rate.

Pay Bills on Time
Your payment history is another important piece of your credit score. Late payments, accounts in collection, bankruptcies and other derogatory marks can stay on your credit report and affect your score for different periods of time. Pay your bills on time each month. If you have any past-due bills, pay them off or contact the companies and work out repayment plans.

Keep Old Accounts Open
Credit bureaus consider the length of your credit history when calculating your score. If you have old credit cards that you don’t use often, don’t close the accounts. That would shorten the length of your credit history and would also reduce your available credit and increase your credit utilization ratio. Keep old accounts in good standing by making occasional purchases.

Be Careful With New Credit
Applying for a new credit card could be helpful, especially if it would allow you to transfer high-interest balances to take advantage of a lower rate. Just don’t apply for too many new accounts in a short period of time. That could hurt your credit score since lenders might think you were struggling financially or couldn’t handle credit responsibly.

Give Yourself Time to Work on Your Credit
The length of time it will take to raise your credit score and how much you will be able to increase it will depend on your current score, your payment history, your debt level, your income and how much you can afford to apply toward existing debts each month. Think of boosting your credit score as a medium- to long-term endeavor. Create a plan to address any problems so you can achieve your goal of owning a home.

Did you know!? We can show you any property…not just our listings.

Your Best Strategy for Curb Appeal? Your Yard.

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Obviously, when buyers are searching for a home, the house itself is top priority. But when it comes to choosing among similar houses, your yard can help make your home stand out over others. Here are some tips for creating a yard that boosts curb appeal and lets your home shine.

Take your house into consideration. Create gardens based on the style and architecture of your home. Have a contemporary home? Go with a minimalist landscape or a Japanese garden design. Have a farmhouse? Choose a cottage garden with an informal design, and traditional and dense plantings.

Keep things in proportion. If your home is large, small, dainty flowers won’t showcase it properly. Instead, use plants in a repetitive fashion, such as rows of shrubs. Conversely, if you have a smaller home, make sure it’s not overwhelmed by large shrubs and overgrown plantings. Make sure your garden complements the shape and size of the house.

Pay attention to hardscaping. While your lawn and plantings understandably take center stage in your landscape, your hardscaping can make all the difference. Take the time to clean or update walkways, front steps, gravel paths, slate patios, garden borders, etc. Then consider adding elements like a bird bath, garden bench or stone fire pit. Attention to detail when it comes to your yard’s hard surfaces can make or break your lawn, trees and garden beds.

Make your front door the star. Nothing says curb appeal better than a welcoming, attractive passage to your front door. Make the path natural and intuitive so guests easily know how to get to your front door. Accentuate the door or key points along the path with plantings and lighting.

Don’t forget about the seasons. Your landscaping may look great in summer, but how does it fare in winter? Make sure your yard is adorned with trees, shrubs and evergreen selections that add structural interest and a healthy dose of green even on the dreariest winter day.

How to Make Your Home Look Like a Million Bucks on a Budget

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You want your home to look luxe, but your bank account has other ideas. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it look like you did. With a little ingenuity and these tips, you can transform your home into a posh palace:

Splurge on Focal Pieces. You may not be able to break the bank on every item in your home, but consider splurging on attention-grabbing pieces. For example, a high-quality leather chair and fancy wallpaper on a prominent wall are good ways to spend money strategically. With these elements in place, you can be more budget-conscious with other purchases.

Layer Rugs. Rugs are a cost-effective way to add warmth and style to a room. To create a custom look, layer rugs beneath a furniture grouping. For example, use a large, rectangular sisal rug in a neutral color as the anchor. On top, place an animal print rug or use a series of brightly colored rugs in geometric patterns to create interest.

Employ Wainscoting and Trim. There’s no way around it. Wainscoting, crown moldings and other types of custom trim work make a home look elegant. Fortunately, they’re not terribly expensive to install, especially if you have the tools and know-how to do it yourself.

Use Paint to Your Advantage. Paint is not only affordable, but also transformative. Simply painting walls a sophisticated color will achieve the high-end look you desire. Paint can also transform thrift-store furniture and decor. Use chalk paint to distress a vintage table or a metallic spray paint to refresh picture frames or decorative elements.

Opt for Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. Love the look of hardwood, but can’t afford the price tag? Luxury vinyl plank flooring is an affordable alternative. The best part? You can probably install it yourself, which means you don’t have to pay labor costs.

Copy a Look You Love. During your window shopping trips, you’ve probably discovered furniture, light fixtures or other design elements that are way out of your price range. That’s fine! Snap a photo so you can recreate the look for less. A quick search on social media sites may reveal similar ideas. Or hit the thrift stores and flea markets to find raw materials for your design hack.

Fake It ’til You Make It. Expensive homes often have soaring ceilings. Your home’s ceilings may be decidedly lower, but you can make them look higher. Just hang your curtains closer to the ceiling than the window frame. This creates an optical illusion that makes the room seem taller.

Don’t Overdo It. Adding too many elements to a room will cheapen the look. If a room appears too cluttered, remove some knick-knacks, pillows or books. Remember, less is usually more when it comes to interior design. You’ll end up with a more sophisticated space that feels light and airy instead of cramped and busy.

Making your home look like a million bucks doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can achieve a high-end look for less using some creativity and these tips.

Source: Alexanian

8 Reasons Why Now is a Good Time to Sell a Home

With limited inventory and low interest rates,

→ 8 reasons why now is a good time to sell a home.

 

7 Costly Mistakes You’re Making in Your Home

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Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are seven of the most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home:

1. Using Traditional Light Bulbs. If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use almost $200 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use about $40 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses around $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home’s bottom line!

2. Letting Faucets Leak. A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some people live in areas where water is plentiful, but for others in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet, and save a ton on your water bill.

3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size. We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty one can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won’t regret it.

4. Not Customizing the Temperature. Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you’re away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you’re gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.

5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly. Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.

6. Overwatering the Lawn. Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you’re never around to see what you’re actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they’re performing when you’re not around.

7. Ignoring Leaky Windows and Doors. Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold winds or hot air to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters or AC. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to maintain your indoor climate.

Use these tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.

WHEN MULTIPLE OFFERS EXIST

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When multiple offers exist…and you are the buyer:

  • The seller’s Realtor is required by law to present any and all offers to the seller until closing.
  • The seller’s Realtor is not required to notify you or your Realtor that the seller has received multiple offers.
  • The seller’s Realtor is not allowed to notify you or your Realtor that the seller has multiple offers if they do not have multiple offers.
  • Time is of the essence with all offers.
  • It is the seller who grants their Realtor permission to let your Realtor know that there are multiple offers. The seller does not have to inform you or any other interested parties if there is more than one offer.
  • It is important to work closely with your Realtor if you are participating in multiple offers. Real Estate is not litigious nor argumentative; this is a time when you and your Realtor wish to be most accommodating to the ones that are ‘calling the shots’, and that is the seller thru their Realtor!
  • Price is not always the final determining factor in the seller’s choosing of how to move forward with a prospective purchaser. Many terms of an offer have the ability to influence a seller’s decision, and those terms may include, financing, possession, personal property, timing of the offer, home sale contingency, etc.
  • At Pilmer Real Estate, we will work very closely with you in order to assist you in obtaining the home you really want and desire. Even then, we cannot always ensure that we are able to get you what you want. We encourage you to give your best offer the ‘best shot’ so that if you are not able to purchase the house you want you feel in your heart and mind that you offered your best. Many times, you’ll only get ‘one shot’ at making an offer.
  • At Pilmer Real Estate, we will work very closely with you to negotiate the best terms for a win-win situation for both you and the seller. Negotiating is not a ‘one size fits all’ nor a ‘one size fits most’ scenario. But we do have the expertise to assist you in making a decision and choosing what option is the best for you to purse.
  • Negotiations is an area that sets Pilmer Real Estate’s professionalism and expertise above our competitors. If you are seeking to purchase a property, we are pleased to meet with you to discuss the ever-changing market conditions, and assist you in evaluating your housing needs. Click here to contact us.

When multiple offers exist…and you are the seller:

  • Your Realtor is required by law to present and and all offers to you until closing.
  • Your Realtor is not required to notify the buyer or their Realtor that you have received multiple offers.
  • Your Realtor is not allowed to notify the buyer or their Realtor that you have multiple offers if you do not have multiple offers.
  • Time is of the essence with all offers.
  • It is you who grants your Realtor permission to let the buyer’s Realtor know that there are multiple offers. Your Realtor does not have ‘open authority’ (unless in writing from you) to inform interested parties there are multiple offers.
  • At Pilmer Real Estate, we will present all offers to you and discuss the options with each one. Many scenarios may happen when multiple offers are presented.
  • Price is not always the final determining factor in you choosing how to move forward with a prospective buyer. Many terms of the buyer’s offer have the ability to influence your decision, and those terms may include, financing, possession, personal property, timing of the offer, etc.
  • At Pilmer Real Estate, we will work very closely with you to negotiate the best terms for a win-win situation for both buyer and you. Negotiating is not a ‘one size fits all’ nor a ‘one size fits most’ scenario. But we do have the expertise to assist you in making a decision and choosing what option is best for you to purse.
  • Negotiations is an area that sets Pilmer Real Estate’s professionalism and expertise above our competitors. If you are seeking a personalized market analysis of your real estate, we are pleased to meet with you to maximize your real estate investment. If we do not have the answers, we certainly know where to find them. Click here to request your free personalized market analysis.