Are You Ready To Downsize?

This house is  downsize ready

To downsize can be a big decision. There is a lot to consider, such as cost, future plans, family, etc. We have a few tips to help you make an informed decision.

  • Do you have enough equity in your current home to make a good profit? If you have stayed in your home for awhile chances are you have built enough equity to make a down payment on your next home. If you have a significant amount of debt to pay off, you may want to consider waiting before selling your home in order to downsize.
  • What will your budget look like?  If your retirement is coming soon or you have already retired, you may be on a fixed income.  Downsizing may be a good choice, especially if the new home is less expensive to live in and maintain. Consider insurance costs, travel plans, etc. and keep in mind that ideally, less than 30% of your monthly income should go towards housing.
  • What lifestyle do you want to live? After you downsize, do you want a very low maintenance home to make room for traveling, etc? Maybe you want a luxurious home that you can entertain family and friends in frequently. Decide how you want to live before taking the plunge and downsizing.
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Must Do Home Repairs

Home repairs on a budget

When a home is on the market, there are a few home repairs that should be done. Buyers are looking for a beautiful, well maintained home. Sellers are usually trying to stick to a budget in order to get into their new home; for this reason the right repairs need to be made. Some repairs are easy and inexpensive. Some repairs have a big influence on how potential buyers view a home.

  1. Take care of safety hazards:  Loose steps, shaky rails, etc. should all be fixed before a home goes on the market. Although some of these repairs may be minor and not seem like a big deal, they will show potential buyers that the home is well cared for.
  2. Roof:  A damaged roof should be another area of the home that a seller focuses on. It’s a good idea to have a roofing professional inspect the roof before the home hits the market in order to catch any potential issues early and make necessary repairs. This doesn’t have to be expensive. A repair can be as minor as replacing a missing shingle.
  3. Non-working light bulbs:  Even though a burnt out bulb may not seem important, it’s something a seller should replace. Not only will a home show better with proper lighting, buyers won’t be concerned about possible electrical issues due to non-working bulbs.
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Showing Your Cabinets Some Love


  • Paint:

    Painting cabinets a new light hue can really brighten up a dark and drab kitchen.

  • Install a plate rack:

Putting in a plate rack either above or underneath cabinets adds some interest and is a great way to display any pretty and colorful plates.

  • Put in task lighting:

Installing under-cabinet lighting really highlights the room while being very functional at the same time. Many kitchens do not have enough lighting so utilizing the space underneath the cabinets is perfect for making the kitchen more beautiful and user friendly.

  • Install a pull-out cabinet shelf:

Make the most of the cabinet storage space you have and put in pull-out cabinet shelves.

  • Reface:

Instead of investing in brand new cabinets and spending $5,000 and up, reface existing cabinets for under $1,000 to give them a brand new look.


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Fall is still a great time to sell! For more information or a FREE market analysis, call the Dawn Dause Group at 815-954-5050!

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Working With An Interior Designer


  • What is the project? Do you want one room decorated, is it a downsizing project, do you need help choosing furniture for a room(s), etc? Pinpoint the project you need accomplished and work with your designer to come up with specific goals.
  • Gather inspirational material: Pictures are worth 1,000 words, so try to find different inspirational images from magazines, websites such as Houzz or Pinterest, TV shows, etc. This will help you to communicate the style you desire.
  • Communicate limitations: Do you desire to live green? Do you need to work within a specific budget? Does the design need to be children or pet friendly? A good designer will respect your limitations and work within your lifestyle and budget.
  • Be open: Before hiring an interior designer, interview them and get to know them. After establishing a foundation, put your trust in them and allow them to use their expertise to lead you in new directions and towards new ideas, materials, etc.
  • Say no: If you don’t really love a design element, say so. Remember, you will be the one living in the newly designed space so if you don’t absolutely love something, don’t allow it in your home.
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3 Common Homebuying Myths


  1. You need to have perfect credit to purchase a home: Your credit score does influence your ability to get a home loan, especially what interest rate you get, but perfect credit is not necessary to secure a home loan. The higher your credit score, the better chance you have of getting a loan with a favorable interest rate.
  2. Lenders have the freedom to share your personal credit information: In order for a lender to share your information with an affiliate, they usually need to get your permission first. Both state and federal privacy laws exist to protect your personal information.
  3. Lenders only use one credit model to evaluate your credit: There are a variety of credit scoring models used to evaluate credit risk. Although scoring models can vary, factors that affect your credit score include payment history, length of credit, and the amount of debt you have.
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4 Things To Stop Doing As Soon As You’re Preapproved

Pile of credit cards not to use once preapproved

Once you are preapproved you can still lose your loan. The buying of your home is something you do not want to jeopardize. Your lender is looking closely at certain numbers, check out these 4 tips to make sure your loan goes through!

  1. Don’t use your credit cards past 30% of your available balance: Doing this can affect your credit score in a negative way. Depending on how long it takes to find a home, your credit may need to be pulled up again.
  2. Don’t make large deposits in your bank account that can’t be easily sourced: Large deposits (other than salary) are red flags and they need to be sourced. Your lender will want to know where any large deposits came from.
  3. Don’t switch jobs: Avoid switching jobs if possible; consistent income is important when getting approved for a loan.
  4. Stop making large purchases: When a lender pulls up your credit, they are looking at the ratio between your liabilities and your income. If your liabilities increase, there is a chance that the amount you are preapproved for will decrease.
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Should You Refinance?


Benefits of refinancing

  • Paying off your mortgage early: For example, if you go from a 30 year loan to a 15 year loan without a big increase in your monthly payment, you could save thousands of dollars in interest while quickly increasing the equity in your home.
  • Increase cash flow: Obtaining a lower interest rate on your mortgage may lower your monthly payment and allow you to have more cash to decrease your debt or expand your budget.
  • Utilize home equity: With a cash-out refinance, you are able to borrow more money than you currently owe on your loan. You can then use that money to pay down debt, make home improvements, or to get out from under financial burden.
Consider these factors before refinancing
  • Credit score: The higher a credit score, the better interest rate you will get.
  • Closing costs: Although it may be an option to add the closing costs into the refinanced loan amount, it’s better to pay those costs in cash.
  • Your mortgage in relation to your family’s financial situation: What is your household budget? Are there college expenses on the horizon? What are your financial goals?
  • If you end up with a lower monthly payment, how will you handle the extra cash? In a perfect world, the cash you save on your mortgage payment should be used to pay down debt or to increase the size of your savings account.
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Ready to sell?

Dawn Dause Group logo

Are you thinking of putting your home on the market this fall? Call Dawn today for a free home estimate and market analysis!

Dawn Dause Group 815-954-5050

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Navigating Choices of Countertops

Granite surface used for countertops                                             Consumer Reports

Countertops can be made of many different materials. Finding the one to fit our decor, taste, and budget can be frustrating! Breaking down the specifics and price of each can help consumers make a well informed decision on which countertop is best.

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Please contact me with any questions or to request a Free Home Market Analysis