Buyers hope for extension of tax credit

A lot of the buyers that were guaranteed the Federal tax credit by being under contract on a house and closing by June 30th are getting very nervous.  As the deadline is approaching, many feel they won’t be able to close on their home in time to be eligible for the credit all for circumstances out of their control.

They’re hoping Congress extends the deadline for closing through the end of September, giving them at least 3 more months to maintain their eligibility.  This week the Senate approved a 3 month extension, but they’re still waiting on word from the House to have it passed.

What’s taking so long?  Those buyers who went under contract on houses that were short sales are waiting for responses from the bank, which can take months and months to hear back.  On top of that, once they hear, they need to move forward with the process, which generally includes a home inspection and other contingencies that have to be met.

The National Association of Realtors is saying that up to 180,000 buyers who were hoping to close by June 30 and get the tax credit are likely to miss the deadline.  But even 3 months might not be enough time for many buyers, especially those dealing with a short sale.  A short sale deal can take months and in some cases, even a year or more.  Realtors are worried that if the extension doesn’t get approved or isn’t long enough, buyers will cancel contracts because they were counting on that money to help with a down payment or even to do some repairs or cosmetic updates in the houses they’re buying.  Not getting the tax credit will have a negative impact causing a lot of canceled contracts. 

If the extension is passed, it is only for those who were already under contract by the previous April 30th deadline.  No new buyers are eligible.

Do you know someone who is affected by this?  Please leave me a comment below or visit me online .


Evanston tops foreclosure list on North Shore

A new study done by the Woodstock Institute puts Evanston at the top of its list for the most foreclosures on the North Shore for the first quarter of 2010.  Evanston has had 85 foreclosure filings since the beginning of 2010, up two from 83 filings in the same period of 2009.  The total 2009 count was 336.  I’m not surprised at the number of foreclosures.  Obviously, many homeowners these days are struggling to make their mortgage payments.  What I’m surprised by is that Evanston beat out other affluent suburbs on the North Shore like Wilmette, Highland Park, and Lake Forest.  Maybe it’s just that there’s many more homes in Evanston than those towns, which would push their numbers up.

For the first quarter of 2010, Highland Park had 37 foreclosure filings.  Lake Forest posted 15 and Wilmette posted 19.  Highland Park and Wilmette’s numbers have decreased since 2009.  Just Lake Forest and Evanston have an increase in their numbers. 

The suburb in the Chicagoland area with the highest number for the first quarter was Aurora with 572.  Naperville was extremely low compared to that number with 123.  Joliet had 414.  High numbers in Lake County included Waukegan with 265, Round Lake Beach with 154, Vernon Hills with 53, and Gurnee and Grayslake tied for 50 each.

When you compare numbers by county, Cook easily blows the rest away.  Cook County had 10,449, Suburban Cook County had 5,454, and Lake County had 1,715.  McHenry came in at the lowest with 842.  All of those numbers increased since the same time period in 2009 except for Cook, which was down 4.7% overall.

When you look at completed real estate auctions for the first quarter, Evanston already has 54.  Wilmette had 6, Highland Park had 16, and Lake Forest had 5.

So what do you think is the reason Evanston’s numbers are so high?  Do you think it’s because there’s so many more housing units and because the city is larger than the others?  Are residents from Evanston having more unemployment issues than those in other areas?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave me a comment or visit me online.

Tips for keeping your basement dry

It’s been a while since I did a blog about some real estate tips.  And I figured now couldn’t be a better time, especially for those of you living in the Chicago area.  With the amount of rain we’ve been having, I’m sure many readers are wondering how to keep their basements dry without the expense of some of the more permanent sealants.  I have a neighbor who gets water in his basement every time it storms. 

Aside from having to get water out of your basement and having it ruin floors, walls, and possessions, having water down there can lead to permanent mold and fungal growth which can make you sick.  Most people are probably familiar with interior and exterior sealants.  Interior sealants are often found in an aerosol can and can be sprayed right on the floor and walls.  You should know that those are just a temporary fix and are better used to prevent humidity that’s already in the house from seeping into basement walls.

An exterior sealant actually keeps ground water out.  A sealant with a polymer base will last the lifetime of the home.  If you get this done professionally by a company like Perma-Seal or U.S. Waterproofing, make sure it’s covered for the life of the home and that you receive paperwork which will guarantee a lifetime warranty that can be passed on to a future buyer.

Here are a few more tips that can help keep water out.

1. Make sure appliances vent outside.  Many people have their laundry rooms in the basement.  Make sure the dryer vents outdoors.  On that same note, do not hang wet clothes to dry in the basement.  It keeps the humidity and moisture in.  Make sure you run the dryer until the clothes are completely dry or air dry them either outdoors or ground level or above.

2. A cheap method is to place rocks and gravel around the perimeter of the basement outdoors.  They are especially good at collecting moisture and dry a lot faster than just grass.  They can act as an extra barrier from ground water getting in.

3. Use a dehumidifer.  These are also relatively inexpensive (you can get them for under $50) and act as a great way to absorb extra moisture.  You just plug them in and turn them on.  Make sure to collect the water out of there often to avoid using up extra electricity to be doing more work.

4.  Just do a random check to make sure that water is flowing away from the house.  You want to make sure your downspouts have the water leaving the roof in the direction away from the house.  If your yard slopes down toward the house, make sure there’s a place for the water to run off so it doesn’t pool around the foundation.

I’d love to hear more tips (especially those that don’t cost a lot of money) for my readers.  Please leave comments below.  You can also visit me online.