Champaign IL Information and Resources


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Discovering What's Important to You

by Tom Cain and Company

15 Things Every Buyer Should Know Before Purchasing

1. Property taxes and qualified home interest are deductible on an individual's federal income tax return.

2. Many times, a home is the largest asset an individual has and is considered one of the safest investments available.

3. A homeowner can exclude up to $500,000 of capital gain if married filing jointly or up to $250,000 if single or married filing separately. The home must have been the taxpayer's principal residence for the previous  two years.

4. A portion of each amortized mortgage payment goes toward the principal, which is an investment.

5. A home is one of the few investments you can enjoy by living in it!

6. The majority of the time, a REALTOR can show you any home, whether it is listed with a company or a builder or is even a For Sale By Owner.

7. Working with a REALTOR to purchase a For Sale By Owner property is very advantageous, because someone will be looking out for your best interests.

8. A real estate professional who can provide you financial information with a computer will give you a distinct advantage in making the right decisions.

9. A pre-approved program will actually approve you for a specific loan amount subject to the property. This will give you confidence and will help when negotiating with the seller.

10. Your real estate professional can provide you with a list of items that you'll need to make a loan application, so yo'll be ready when the time comes.

11. The right to conduct a property inspection, included in your purchase agreement, gives you the ability to negotiate with the seller once you know all the facts about the property's condition

12. A Home Protection Plan can provide coverage for selected items, such as central heat and interior plumbing, built-in appliances, water heaters, etc. If the seller is not providing this coverage, you can purchase it yourself.

13. Ask your real estate professional if he or she is familiar with the neighborhoods you want to live in. Ask how many homes he or she has sold in these areas in the past year.

14. Working with a REALTOR who has an office "team" helps assure the buyer that the transaction will be handled smoothly.

15. In a "seller's market", don't go looking for a deal. Set your sights on the right house for you and then let your REALTOR help you negotiate the best price and terms.

Your Dream Home...BOUGHT!

Why Buy?

by Tom Cain and Company

9 Reasons to Buy Versus Rent your Home!

1. Pride in Owning: Most people buy homes to have control over where they live. Although investment features are important, the psychological reasons for buying--the satisfaction of owning and freedom from paying rent--are at least as important.

In a survey done by the National Association of Realtors of 6,000 homeowners and 2,000 renters--perhaps the largest survey ever of attitudes toward home ownership--it was shown that 76% of owners and 66% of renters considered pride of ownership an important reason for buying.

2. Dislike paying Rent: Close to 7 in 10 of almost equal portions of owners and renters expressed a dislike of paying rent as an important reason to buy. Renting offers a lifestyle that's nearly maintenance-free. That may appeal to you, but consider that renting offers you no equity, no tax benefit, and no protection against regular rent increases. Writing a rent check is just like watching your hard-earned money sail away! 

3. Settling Down: More than 6 in 10 renters said "settling down" was an important reason to by.

4. Good Investment: 76% of owners and 69% of renters said that the investment aspect of ownership was important.

5. Tax Advantage: Property taxes and qualified home interests are deductible on Schedule A, for itemized deductions.

6.Long-Term Appreciation: People consider homeownership a good investment because they view it as a long-term venture. Historically, home prices have risen at relatively steady rates. Existing home prices rose an average of 4% per year between 1980 and 1992.

7. Leverage Investments: People borrow a great deal to buy homes, yet they receive the full benifits of price appreciation. In the long run, investments in homes far out pace inflation rates.

8. Source of Savings: Homeownership always has been and continues to comprise the singel largest source of savings for American households. Howeowners build equity and can borrow against it.

9. Sacrifices Are Worth It: Almost 7 in 10 renters in the National Association of Realtors homeownership survey said that they planned to buy a home in the future. More than three-quarters of these people said they were willing to sacrifice to do that.


Discover what's important to you!

Fix it up...take the time to make those finishing touches!

by Tom Cain and Company

If there are projects around your house that need completed, now is the time to do it! Spending the money and effort will be well worth it when your house shows beautifully and sells quickly! Here are 25 more ideas for changes that can increase your chance of a quick sell!

1.Paint the walls a neutral color. Get rid of stains, scratches, and dents and freshen all of your walls with a nice new coat of paint. Using light, neutral colors can make a room stand out.

2.Secure loose wallpaper, or take it down altogether and paint.

3.Make decor simple and neutral. 

4.Add new, light and airy window treatments.

5.Put slipcovers over furniture that has been overused or store it and replace with something simple and fresh.

6.Group furniture. Create open spaces that are easy to navigate.

7. Establish a focal point. If you have a fireplace or a nice armoire  center furniture around tha areas in order to create a cozy feel.

8.Bring on the light. Add higher watt light bulbs to make every room feel bright and airy.

9. Tone down hard to change elements by arranging furniture in a way that takes the focus to another spot. Adding a simple mirror or neutral picture frame can also draw focus without taking away from the room.

10.Make traffic flow smoothly. If more than one person is looking at your house you don't want them to be tripping over each other. Arrange furniture in a way that aids in the movement of multiple people without hassle.

11.There is no room for pets when showing your house. Remove litter pans, food bowls and bedding. If possible, arrange for your pet to stay with a friend or relative while your house is being shown.

12.Put away kids toys and clean and organize closets. Buyers like to touch and see every area of the home they are looking at. 

13.Splurge on new bed linens. You can do this for a reasonable price and it will make the bedrooms seem much newer and fresher.

14.Polish your dining room table and use a centerpiece to add some color.

15.Remove stains from sinks and appliances.

16.Repair cabinet hardware.

17.Fix leaky faucets.

18.Wax the floors and clean carpets.

19.Clean up tile or grout in bathrooms/utility rooms.

20.Recaulk faulty joints around bathtubs and sinks.

21.Buy a neutral shower curtain for your bathroom. It will make the entire bathroom feel newer and cleaner.

22.Remove oil stains from driveway and garage floor.

23.Clean furnace and area around it.

24. Make sure basement is clean and free of clutter.

25.Clean doors and paint. Make sure hardware on front door and doorbell, if applicable, are in working order.

Remember, not everyone is going to like every feature of your home. Make needed repairs and feel confident that you are presenting a great home that will be perfect for someone!

The Fire Drill—and other tips for showing your home successfully!

by Tom Cain and Company

So, you might be a bit overwhelmed by the plethora of information available out there about selling a house; tips, tricks, and every piece of advice under the sun.  To make it simpler, Cain and Company has put together a list of “Seller Reminder Points” that are extremely simple, to the point, and helpful. They aren’t intended to be every bit of information you’ll need during the selling process, rather, they are meant to be an aid in the “showing” process.


Seller Reminder Points

1. Don’t “sell” your home. Let the agent do his/her job. The agent will show the benefits based on

the Buyer’s needs, wants and perceptions.

2. “Fire Drill” time is: Opening blinds, turning on lights, turning the television off, put soft music on.

3. Agent drive bys/drop ins. Say “I’ll be happy to allow you to show the home. Can you give me 3

minutes?” Then it’s Fire Drill time!

4. Greet your Buyer and agents at the door (if you are at home) and direct them to listing information

book about your home. Then please leave the home to allow the buyers to look in leisure.

5. Say “If you have any questions, I’ll be in the back/front yard” and leave the house at this time.

6. Keep track of how long the buyers are in the house. If any buyers are in the home more than 25

minutes, they may be very interested.

7. If asked an uncomfortable question, i.e. lower price, modifications the buyers may want, types of

people that live in the neighborhood, etc., simply say “I think it is something my agent would be

happy to talk with you about.”

8. Remember “real” buyers want to touch, smell and explore. Have your kitchen drawers, closets and

garage organized.

9. Never apologize for the present condition of the home. If it is unclean, or toys are out, don’t

mention why.

10. Most agents may not arrive on time when showing property. Many will be ahead of or behind

schedule, or may not even show up at all.

 “The Fire Drill”, along with these other reminders, is a great plan to have in place in order to be ready to open your door to prospective buyers with only a few minute’s notice and still Wow them from their first step inside!

Things are finally looking up !!!

by Tom Cain and Company

Home prices are falling across most of America’s largest cities, and average prices in eight major markets have hit their lowest point since the housing bust.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index fell 1.6 percent in November from October. All but one city, San Diego, recorded monthly price declines.

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“Everything in this report is still sliding — it’s still pointing downward,” David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, told CNBC Tuesday. “We still seem to be, at best, scraping along the bottom.”

In other economic news Tuesday, the Conference Board said its closely-followed Consumer Confidence Index rose in January to its highest level in eight months with Americans growing a little more confident about the job market and business conditions.

Separately, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate rose in 20 states last month as employers in most states shed jobs, but it was unchanged in another 15 states. That’s nearly the same as in November, when the rate rose in 21 states, fell in 15 and was the same in 14.

Story: U.S. consumer confidence jumped in January

Prices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Tampa have set new lows since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007.

Over the past year, prices have risen in four major cities. Prices rose 3.5 percent in Washington, the largest gain. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco also posted gains.

Some of the worst declines came in cities hard hit by foreclosures.

Prices have fallen 1.6 percent in the past year, sharper than the 1.4 percent predicted by economists polled by Reuters.

Anonymize Your House!

by Tom Cain and Company


Leaving personal objects lying around, even if they are expensive pieces or pieces that mean a lot to you, can take the buyer's focus off of your house. When a prospective buyer walks into your home, you want them to feel as though they could be walking into their own home.  As difficult as it might be to strip your home of personal objects it is vitally important that buyers be able to picture themselves in the space.

Take the time to declutter the entire house and if possible arrange furniture in a way that maximizes the space available and draws focus to special features in the house. Make sure that bookcases have been freed of excess clutter and closets have been cleaned out and organized, but leave a few things so that the house feels homey. 

Clean, open spaces are the most appealing!

Remember, selling your house is the next step towards creating more wonderful memories in a new home!

Wow them from their first step inside!

by Tom Cain and Company

Wow them from their first step inside!

Think about the five senses when you are preparing your home to be seen by a prospective buyer; smell, taste, sight, sound, touch. All of these, used correctly, can create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere that will make each buyer that walks through your front door feel at home. What better feeling can you create when trying to sell your house?

First off, we will touch on the sense of smell. Have you ever walked into someone’s home or a store and smelled something acrid? Immediately you cover your nose and if possible, duck for the door.  That is why it is so important to focus on fresh, clean scents or natural smelling aromas that are not too strong. Not everyone loves the smell of flowers or the banana mango air freshener you found on sale last week at the grocery store!

So how do you ensure that the aromas in your home will be inviting? Start by cleaning every square inch.  Even if you’re a clean person, giving cabinets and dusty shelves a good scrub can aid in making an entire room feel and smell fresher.

Especially focus on the bathrooms and kitchen. Inspect each room to make sure it is clean and smells fresh; however, avoid using strong smelling deodorizers and sprays.  Some can put off very offending strong odors and even cause allergies to flare up.

Once your home is sparkling clean, try turning on a burner and drop just a touch of vanilla on it before a showing, this will emit a very nice and natural smell.  Another trick that is always a winner is having a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies, or whatever type of cookie you prefer, in the oven before a prospective buyer sees the house. It creates a very homey smell and also provides a nice treat; which touches on another of the senses, taste!

With these simple tips, you'll be well on your way to posting a sold sign in your well-manicured yard!


Getting your house ready for sale!

by Tom Cain and Company

So, you’ve chosen Cain and Co. to assist you in your quest to sell your home and begun the process of listing your home for sale. There are a few things you need to know in order to make this as smooth a process as possible.  Let’s take a look at these important steps one at a time.

The most important step in preparing your home for sale is "Presentation". Prospective buyers want to be greeted by cleanliness and spaciousness, inside and out.

What is the first thing a prospective buyer sees as they drive by/stop in to look at your home? 

“Curb Appeal”

Be sure to keep your yard well manicured and clean. Rake away leaves and trim hedges. Even if you can’t afford a professional these minor maintenance steps can make a world of difference. Check the front entryway and make sure it is free of clutter and inviting. Clear away cobwebs and sweep the walkway. If the front door has sun damage or scuffs, throw a coat of paint on it for a fresh new look.

With these simple steps, prospective buyers will be dying to get a look at the inside of your home!

Remember, first impressions can make the difference between a “Sold” sign in the front yard and a long haul.

Not so well-manicured...

Empty Tomb

by Tom Cain and Company

A few weeks ago I was able to drop off some clothing and Christmas presents to the Empty Tomb. One of Empty Tomb's biggest needs is furniture. Anytime you have couches, chairs, and especially beds in good condition please consider donating them to Empty Tomb. Our moving truck is available free of charge to help you get your donated furniture to Empty Tomb located at 301 N. Fourth St. Champaign.


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Contact Information

Photo of Tom Cain and Company Real Estate
Tom Cain and Company
RE/MAX Choice
2919 Crossing Ct.
Champaign IL 61822
Fax: 217-359-2334

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce