Month: September 2016

Time To Sell

Outstanding Agents

Are you ready to sell or just want more information about what your home is worth? You may be surprised at the equity in your home due to the improving housing market!  Call the Dawn Dause Group today! (815) 954-5050

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Why Autumn Is Prime Home Selling Season


  • Buyers are still around: A serious home buyer is looking online at homes around the clock and when they find the right one, they take action no matter what time of year it is. Contrary to popular belief, buyers looking at homes in fall/winter may be even more motivated than those looking in the spring or summer because there is less going on and they are more focused on the home search.
  • Less competition: Many people still think that real estate is too slow to list their home during these months so they wait until spring-which is great news for anyone listing their home now. There may be less inventory which means less competition for you!
The bottom line is, there will be plenty of motivated buyers looking for the right home. This makes even this fall and winter a great time to sell!
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Top 10 Features For New Homes

Realtor Mag

Popular Features For New Homes

  • Walk-in closet in master bedroom
  • Laundry room
  • Low-e windows
  • Guest room
  • Energy-star rated appliances
  • 9-foot ceiling or more on the first floor
  • Energy-star rated windows
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Two-car garage
  • Granite countertops in the kitchen
Least Likely Features For New Homes
  • Outdoor kitchen (cooking, refrigeration, sink)
  • Laminate countertops in kitchen
  • Outdoor fireplace
  • Sunroom
  • Two-story family room
  • Media room
  • Two-story foyer
  • Walking/jogging trails in community
  • Whirlpool in master bathroom
  • Carpeting on main level
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Getting A Mortgage After A Divorce

  • You may want to take your name or your ex’s name off the mortgage: If you’d like to buy a home and your ex is living in the home you co-own, then your ex should try to refinance in his or her name. Doing this will decrease the debt in your name and increase your chances of getting a mortgage. What happens if your ex can’t refinance in their name? If you want to see your ex and the kids stay in the home for awhile, then continue to stay on the mortgage and co-own the home with your ex. If you are going to continue to co-own, attempt to work out the details about how the profits are split once the home is sold. The split may not be 50/50 either, depending on if one spouse is making the majority of the mortgage payments and/or putting money into the home.
  • Don’t purchase a home during the divorce proceedings: It can be a challenge for a person paying alimony to buy a home. Lenders look at alimony like debt; for example, if a person makes $10,000 a month and gives $3,000 a month to their ex, lenders don’t consider the person to be making $7,000 a month-instead they view it like a $3,000 car payment that is made every month.
  • Where should you live during the divorce proceedings?: If you aren’t selling the home right away and you are both looking for a place to rent, then there are two common situations. One option is to stay in the home with your soon to be ex; more and more couples are choosing this option since it saves both partners money. Another benefit besides saving money while living together is that if the relationship remains civil it greatly benefits the kids. Another option is to rent an apartment near the home while the divorce is being worked out.
  • Don’t rush into anything: It can be tempting, but don’t rush into buying another home after the divorce. Divorce is extremely stressful and can turn your world upside down, making it difficult to make a good decision.
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Creating A Spa Bathroom At Home



  • Apothecary jars: Placing different sized apothecary jars filled with various bathroom supplies such as bath salts, cotton balls, etc, not only creates a spa look but it also helps to organize the space.
  • Nice towels: Choosing neutral, white towels made of Egyptian cotton or micro-cotton not only looks clean and plush but those materials are extremely soft and luxurious.
  • Mirrors: Hanging mirrors from ribbon looks beautiful and creates a light and airy look by allowing the light to reflect around the room.
  • Subway tiles: These are a classic look and can be used for a backsplash or on the shower walls for a gorgeous and timeless look.
  • Soothing color: Painting bathroom walls a soft blue or gray gives the space a relaxing feel. Try Benjamin Moore Nantucket Fog.
  • Fresh flowers: Many people put flowers in living rooms or kitchens but the bathroom can often be an overlooked space. Adding a small vase of fresh blooms can instantly create a beautiful and refreshing look.
  • Quality hand soap: Try placing a wonderfully smelling hand soap on a pretty dish so that both you and guests can feel pampered.
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Why Sell Now?

Re/Max Balloon

  • Home values are up
  • Increased buyers with millennials entering the housing market
  • Rates are down
  • Inventory is low making it a seller’s market!

For a FREE market analysis, call the Dawn Dause Group today! (815) 954-5050

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What Are The Most Germ Ridden Spots In Your Home?


Germ Ridden Spots in Home


  • Kitchen sponge or dishcloth: Bacteria love to grow on these items and the worst part is that when kitchen surfaces are wiped down, the bacteria is able to spread all over. To avoid this germ infestation, replace your sponges regularly and either run them through the dishwasher on the top rack or microwave them for 1-2 minutes in between replacements.
  • Kitchen sink: Germs love to multiply in the kitchen sink so be sure to clean the sink and drain plug daily with a solution of bleach and water (one part bleach to 10 parts water).
  • Salt and pepper shakers: Cold viruses love to congregate on these so wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe regularly.
  • Coffee tables: Many of us come home after a long day and put our feet up on the coffee table while relaxing. This spreads many germs and bacteria from outside so leave your shoes at the door and disinfect coffee tables and other table surfaces.
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Budgeting For A Remodel

  • Luxury Kitchen RemodelDetermine how much you have to spend: Once you figure out what project you want to do, you need to determine if you have the funds for it. If you are paying cash that’s one thing, but if you are going to require a loan you need to find out what a bank will loan you and how that will affect your monthly budget. There are three basic types of loans; cash-out refinance, home equity loan, and a home equity line of credit (HELOC). For the majority of homeowners, the best way to borrow money for a home improvement project is a home equity line of credit. A HELOC is a good choice because it’s a loan that is secured by your home equity which makes it qualify for a lower interest rate and you can deduct the interest on your taxes as well. The catch to a HELOC is that the monthly payment only covers that month’s interest; this can make it easy to fall into a large amount of debt. To avoid this, you can use your own repayment schedule, paying 1/60th of the principal plus the interest every month over 5 years or 1/120th for 10 years. If you can’t afford to do that, you may want to reconsider the project.
  • Estimate the costs: To begin, it’s important to understand the realistic cost of your remodel job. In general, major upgrades, such as a bathroom overhaul or family room addition, cost about $100-$200 a square foot.
  • Get quotes from contractors: Before talking with contractors, decide the details of the project including finishes and materials. This way, you are more likely to get a quote that is more accurate. Get quotes from at least 3 contractors and ask to see their recent work, check their references, and look at online sites that provide peer reviews of contractors. Once you find a contractor that you like, add a 15%-20% contingency for unexpected problems. If you can still afford this, get started! If not, it may be a good idea to rethink your plans.
  • Tailor the project to fit your budget: If your dream project is not aligning with your budget, it might be time to revamp your plan. Start by asking your contractor for ways to lower costs such as using laminate counters instead of quartz or granite. Consider keeping older items that are in good shape such as appliances or lighting fixtures. Try making the project smaller; changing a 100 square foot project to an 80 square foot project can save a lot of money.
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What’s Better-An Open Or Closed Kitchen?

House Logic
Luxury Open KitchenOpen kitchen pros
Brings the family together by integrating meal prep with other activities such as watching T.V. in the family room

  • Allows guests into the center of the home and makes conversation between guests and the home cook easier
  • Gets rid of walls that reduce natural light
  • Adds the feeling of more space, especially in smaller homes
Closed kitchen pros
  • Keeps messes in the kitchen hidden
  • Having more walls means more space for cabinets, counters, and appliance storage
  • Guests can’t easily get into the kitchen to disturb the cook
  • Cooking odors are more confined to the kitchen area
  • The dining space is more formal
Both kitchen types have advantages; an ideal kitchen may have the best of both worlds. Some ways to achieve this are:
  • A pass-through window: This can connect the kitchen to a living space without tearing down walls. Another option may be to take out a non-bearing wall (much cheaper and easier than removing a bearing wall) and replacing it with a half wall or peninsula. This is somewhat expensive but it will open up a closed off kitchen.
  • Folding or pocket doors can be opened when you want a flow into the kitchen and closed when you don’t. Use doors with glass to allow light in.
  • Put in a raised bar/eating counter in your island: Facing the raised portion towards your living area will allow the space to be open while blocking the view of the food prep area.
  • Putting in a half wall (40-50 inches tall) between the kitchen and living area offers both a physical and visual boundary for your kitchen yet the space is not completely closed off.
  • Investing in quality, sound reducing appliances will be more of an investment than regular appliances but they won’t disturb nearby conversations as much.
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5 Smart Homebuyer Strategies


  1. Be specific: Let your Realtor know exactly what is most important to you  in a home so that you don’t waste your time seeing homes that don’t fit your criteria. Once you find the home that you love, submit a letter along with the offer letting the seller know what you love about the home and why it’s a good fit for you and your family.
  2. Get preapproved by a lender: Getting preapproved lets you know how much you can afford and also allows you to put in an offer more quickly. Your Realtor can also let the seller know you are preapproved which will help your case.
  3. Shop within your range: It’s a good idea to shop either within your price range or just under so that you are more prepared to make a full price offer or one slightly above asking price in the event that you enter a bidding war.
  4. Be flexible: No home is totally perfect. In order to get more home for your money, consider purchasing an older home that may need some work in exchange for more square footage versus a home in a newer neighborhood that is more expensive for the same square footage.
  5. Be ready: Be ready to go and see a new listing with little notice. Be prepared to make an offer when you think you have found the home that is perfect for your family. Once a seller accepts your offer, decide on a closing date that not only accommodates your family, but the seller as well.
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Please contact me with any questions or to request a Free Home Market Analysis