Champaign IL Information and Resources


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Getting Your House Ready to Sell!

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...

Preparando su casa para venta!/Getting your house ready for sale!

by Tom Cain and Company


Ahora que ha elegido a Cain y Compañía para que lo ayude en su aventura de vender su casa y a empezado el proceso de listar su casa en venta. Aquí hay algunas cosas que usted tiene que saber para hacer este proceso los mas simple posible. Miremos estos pasos uno por uno.


El paso mas importante en preparar su casa para la venta es la “Presentación.” Los posibles compradores quieren encontrarse con limpieza y amplitud, adentro y afuera.


¿Que es lo primero  que un posible comprador ve cuando pasa o se detiene en tu casa? “Vista Exterior”


Confirme que el frente se vea bien cuidado y limpio. Junte las hojas y pode los arbustos. Aun cuando no pueda pagarle a un profesional, estos pequeños pasos de mantenimiento pueden hacer un mundo de diferencia. Chequee la entrada y asegúrese que esta limpia y luce atractiva. Limpie las telas de araña y la entrada. Si la puerta del frente tiene daño del sol o esta gastada, píntela para una nueva apariencia.


Con estos simple pasos, los posibles compradores estarán ansiosos por ver el interior de su casa!


Recuerde que la primer impresión puede hacer la diferencia entra un cartel de “Vendido” en el frente y una larga espera.



New Policies from FHA and What it Means for You

by Tom Cain and Company

New FHA Policies

Most people don’t spend their time tracking FHA policy changes, unless of course you’re in the real estate industry like me. I received this information regarding some changes in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) this week, and wanted to share it for the benefit of those in the Chapel Hill and Durham area.

The bottom line is this:  FHA is tightening up its policies and instituting stricter requirements for providing mortgages. Their rationale is simple.  FHA is no longer a cash-flushed organization, quickly handing out loans to all who ask.  After the mortgage crisis, it seemed like nearly everyone wanted an FHA loan. Understandable. But, like any financial institution, the Federal Housing Administration needs to find out how it can serve the underserved while at the same time managing risk, all the while trying to assist the nation’s economic recovery.

Here is a quick snapshot of some of the major changes.


  • Up-front mortgage insurance premiums will increase to 2.25% (formerly it was 1.75%). This will help increase the agency’s reserve fund, which is in dire need of replenishing.
  • Successful loan applicants will have a minimum credit score of 580 to be eligible for the 3.5% down payment. Borrowers who have lower credit scores will need to find a way to provide a heftier down payment (10%).
  • In addition, sellers get a shorter leash, too. Now, sellers are required to cap at 3% the amount they offer for closing costs. They used to be able to pay closing costs up to 6% of the home’s price. This requirement brings FHA loans in line with typical industry standards, while preventing the practice of inflating appraisals.
  • Any lenders offering FHA mortgages much assume liability for the loans.  FHA is serious about this new requirement, and will occasionally publish lender performance reports for the general public.

Why all the changes? As I mentioned above, FHA needs to protect its assets (and thus its mortgages) as best it can. Everyone is adapting to the new economic climate—individuals, big business, and government alike.  As an indicator of their tenuous status, nearly 15% of all FHA loans were delinquent at the time of last year’s third quarter reports.  Don’t worry, FHA will probably not lose its stature as the biggest lending agency.  Almost half of all first time homebuyers use FHA loans, and last year, 30% of all loans came through the FHA.

Understanding You Options for Taking Title!

by Tom Cain and Company

Carefully consider how you intend to take title of your property. This will determine your legal status, rights, and obligations to the property. You may want to discuss your options with an attorney to determine which is best for you. Most of the possible ways to take title to your property are listed here.

Community Property

In a community-property state, there is a statutory presumption that all property acquired by a husband and wife is community property. Some states do not presume community property status unless you acquire title as such. Community property is a co-ownership method for married persons only. Upon the death of a spouse, the deceased spouse's interest in the property will pass by either a will or interstate succession.

Community Property With Right of Survivorship

This is a method of co-ownership that allows a married couple to hold title as husband and wife while providing for succession outside of probate upon the death of  either spouse to convey or encumber. Both halves of the community property are entitled to a "stepped up" tax basis as of the date of death.


Title may be taken in the name of a corporation provided that the corporation is duly formed and in good standing in the state of its incorporation.

General Partnership

Title may be taken in the name of a general partnership provided that the general partnership was duly formed according to the laws of the state. A partnership is defined as a voluntary association of two or more persons as co-owners in a business for profit.

Limited Partnership

Title may be taken in the name of a limited partnership provided that there are one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. A certificate of limited partnership must be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, a certified copy of which must be recorded.

Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship

Joint tenancy is a method of co-ownership that gives title to the real property to the last survivor. Title to real property can be acquired by two or more individuals. If a married couple acquires title as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, they must specifically accept the joint tenancy to avoid the presumption of community property. 

Sole and Separate

Title to real property owned by a spouse before marriage or any acquired after marriage by gift, descent, or specific intent may be taken as sole and sparate. If a married person acquired title as sole-and-separate property, his/her spouse must execute a disclaimer deed if the state is a community-property state.

Tenancy in Common

Tenancy in common is a method of co-ownership in which parties do not have survivorship rights and each owns a specific undivided interest in the entire title.

Caín y Compañía... La única opción para sus necesidades inmobiliarias!

by Tom Cain and Company

Tom Cain la carrera se caracteriza por triunfo personal. Tom fue diagnosticada con una forma de distrofia muscular que debería haberse limitado a una silla; en su lugar, él es normalmente vistos en su segway mantuvieron conversaciones con curiosos. Combinando la movilidad de las personas con identidad corporativa, es difícil decir si Tom es mejor conocido por su segway o su estelar inmuebles succss. RE/MAX asociar desde 1994-2010, Tom ha ganado cada gran premio y filas en el 1 por ciento de RE/MAX agentes en su estado y el 5% superior en la nación. Después de una carrera muy exitosa con RE/MAX Realty Associates Tom lanzó Caín y Compañía en el año 2010 que, recientemente, ha declarado, "será la empresa #1 en el sector inmobiliario en el área dentro de tres años". Debido a su dedicación a cultivar relaciones, un gran porcentaje de su negocio proviene de antiguos clientes y/o las referencias de los clientes. Tom también ha ayudado a muchas personas que han requerido para comprar o vender una casa fuera de nuestra zona de remitirlos a productivo agentes inmobiliarios en todos los Estados Unidos. Ahora, él está dedicado a garantizar el éxito de Caín y Compañía y construir nuevas relaciones, que le llevarán y su equipo en su próxima etapa de éxito! Cuando él no esté ocupado dirigiendo un equipo exitoso, que puede ser encontrado haciendo carismáticos discursos en el Carnegie conferencias o coordinar una causa benéfica. Tom está dedicada a dar vuelta a la comunidad. "Dedicado a ayudar a los demás", está estampada en su tarjeta de negocios y es algo más que un "lema", es una forma de hacer negocios y vida! Por lo tanto, si se preguntan quién podría ser capaz de ayudarle a tomar una de las decisiones más importantes en su vida, ¿por qué no hacer la primera a la derecha elección eligiendo Cain y compañía inmobiliaria a caminar con usted a través del proceso de adquisición de su nueva casa!

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University

by Tom Cain and Company

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Stone Creek Church will be hosting Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University from March 8th to May 10th. Classes will meet each week to watch a video lesson and participate in discussion groups. Dave's style is simple and easy to understand. He will change the way you think about money and you'll actually have fun as you learn!

Classes will run from 6:30pm-8:30pm and will cost $120; which covers materials and childcare.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn from a personal money management expert! For more information on how to register for classes in your area or just learn more about what Financial Peace University is all about click the link below!

Why Title Insurance is SO Important!

by Tom Cain and Company

To understand why a title search is so important, you must understand the nature of real estate. Real estate has always been considered a person's most valuable possession. It is such a basic form of wealth that many special laws have been enacted to protect ownership of land and the buildings that stand on the land. The owner who is selling the property has extremely strong rights, as do his/her family and heirs. Also, there may be others who have "rights" to the property you are going to buy. These may be governmental bodies, contractors, or any other individuals who have perfectly proper unpaid claims against the property. Unscrupulous owners may have taken out a second mortgage on the home prior to closing.

Anyone who has such a claim in the property you are buying is, in a sense, a part-owner. The property may be sold to you without the knowledge of other parties who have claims against the property. Without a title check conducted by the title-insurance company, you know nothing about such claims at the time you buy. All such claims remain attached to the real estate you are purchasing and not to the previous owners. The title company will notify you of all liens, encumbrances, and interests in the property so that these can be resolved by the current owners prior to the sale. Proof of a "good" title--a title free of any liens, encumbrances, or interests--is important because otherwise you are liable for the claims.

Title-insurance policies are standard. Owner's policies usually do not cover one or more of the following matters (often referred to as "Standard Exceptions"), unless an additional premium is paid and/or extra investigative work or a survey is done and the necessary evidence is furnished to the title company. When the evidence is furnished and the insurance coverage is given, this is frequently referred to as "Extended Coverage". The Standard Exceptions are:

> Claims of people who turn out to be living in the house (such as prior owner's tenants or someone living without your knowledge on your property) if their presence isn't a matter of public record.

> Boundary-line disputes.

> Easements or claims of easements not shown by public records.

> Unrecorded mechanic's liens (claims against the property by unpaid home-improvement contractors).

> Taxes or special assessments left off the public record.

Other important exclusions from coverage include zoning, environmental-protection laws, matters arising after the effective date of the policy, and matters created, suffered, or assumed by the insured.

Cain and Company...the Only Choice for your Real Estate needs!!

by Tom Cain and Company

  Tom Cain's career is characterized by personal triumph. Tom was diagnosed with a form of Muscular Dystrophy that should have confined him to a wheelchair; Instead, he is usually spotted on his segway striking up conversations with curious people. Combining personal mobility with corporate identity, it's hard to tell if Tom is better known for his segway or his stellar real estate succss. A RE/MAX associate from 1994-2010, Tom has earned every top award and ranks in the top 1% of RE/MAX agents in his state and the top 5% in the nation.  

After a very successful career with RE/MAX Realty Associates Tom launched Cain and Company in 2010 that, he recently stated, “will be the #1 company in real estate in the area within three years". Because of his dedication to cultivating relationships, a large percentage of his business comes from repeat clients and/or referrals from those clients. Tom has also helped many people who have needed to buy or sell a home outside of our area by referring them to productive real estate agents all over the United States. Now, he is dedicated to the success of Cain and Company and building new relationships that will carry him and his team into their next era of success!  

When he is not busy leading a successful team, he can be found making charismatic speeches at Carnegie conferences or coordinating a charitable cause. Tom is dedicated to giving back to the community. "Dedicated to helping others", is stamped on his business card and it is more than just a "motto", it is a way of doing life and business!  

So, if you're wondering who might be able to help you make one of the most important decisions in your life, why not make the first right choice by choosing Cain and Company Real Estate to walk with you through the process of purchasing your new home!


Understanding Title Insurance

by Tom Cain and Company

What is Title Insurance?

A Title Insurance Policy is a quarantee by a title company that a thorough investigation of the title to the property has been conducted and that you have been notified of any outstanding claims to the property. The title insurance company reports any defects in the title in the form of a Title Commitment so that these matters can be corrected. It is important that you know of all claims on the property and have them resolved and declared removed prior to you taking title to the property.

The Title Commitment will carefully detail what items of encumbrance are not covered by the policy. You can either get these items resolved or bow out of the transaction. Title insurance covers matters that occurred before the policy's effective date but were discovered later. Your policy will detail what is covered, what is not covered, and the effective date.

Title insurance is issued by the title company when they are certain the property is free from all liens, encumbrances, interests, etc., and the insurance guarantees such. This is so the title can be legally transferred to the buyer to be used as security for the lender's funds. This is why title insurance is required by the lender. Your lender has an interest in knowing that you and the lender are the only parties with claims to the property.

The title insurance company thoroughly searches the public records to uncover any unpaid taxes, mortgages, judgments against previous owners, easements, and other court actions or recorded documents that can affect title to the real estate. The insurance also provides protection against any defect in the public record such as forgery, similar names, error in the records, etc., and protest against any undiscovered or unrecorded claims that may arise in the future.

When title insurance is issued, the title insurance company accepts the responsibility for any and all claims on the property prior to your purchase if they do not find the claim or call it to your attention prior to your purchase of the property. That responsibility includes defending your title in order to perfect your title and keep you in possession of your property.

Unlike other forms of insurance, the original premium is your only cost as long as you or your heirs own the property. There are no annual payments required to keep your Owner's Title Policy in force.

Title insurance protects you twice--it notifies you of claims against the property and insures you against any future claims on hidden items.

Important Decisions in Buying - Cain and Company Buyer's Book


For more information on what Title Insurance is and what is does for you check out !


Need some "DON'T buy that house if it has....." advice?

by Tom Cain and Company

You don't have to be a "do-it-yourselfer" to spot some obvious "warning signs" when looking at houses. Here are some simple tips and things to look for when house hunting! Remember that having a certified inspector take a look at the home you choose to put an offer on is vital to saving money down the road. With these tips you can rule out homes that look “nice”, but have costly issues, before you get to that point.

From the curb.

Before you enter the house, take a walk around the outside. Look at the foundation. Is the landscaping angled away from the home to control water run-off? If water is pooling near the foundation this can cause deterioration of the foundation and be a sign of leaking in the basement if the house has one. Also, notice if there are any cracks in the foundation. Large cracks and walls that appear uneven can be a warning sign of bigger problems. Take a step back to the curb and look at the roof. If there is obvious bowing or shingles appear to be coming up, the roof might need to be replaced. Also, large old trees can be nice to look at, but if they are too close to the house there is danger of roots growing into the foundation. They can also be a hazard in bad weather if they are leaning towards the house.

Once inside the house, start on the lowest floor and work your way up.

If the home has a basement or crawl space, take a look. Pooling water or mold on walls is an obvious hazard and sign of leaking. Look for cracks in foundation walls and signs of walls that are leaning. If everything appears to be solid take a look around for the electrical box and furnace. Both of these need to be in good working order and up to standards for the state you live in.  According to the FHA guidelines, electrical should be at least 60-watts, if it appears to be running the appliances that are present sufficiently. For homes with all electric, heating and appliances, 200 watt amperage is recommended. Take a look around the furnace for pipes that are broken or disconnected.

Main living area, kitchen and bathrooms.

While you’re looking around to see if you like the layout of the house, take a look at the walls and ceilings. Are there cracks that appear deeper than just the paint? Do the walls appear even and free of holes or areas that “look” repaired? In kitchen and bathrooms, check under the sinks for leakage and mold.  Look around walls near bathtub and sinks for signs of water damage and mold. Mold can be dangerous as well as pricey to get rid of. Check the pressure of the water if possible and notice if water appears to drain easily. Check for discoloration and mold around window sills and doors. Windows and doors a can both be pricey to replace.

There are a million and one things to consider and worry about when purchasing a “new” home, but with a little sleuthing and a basic idea of the most important and most expensive items to replace/repair, you can save yourself a lot of time and money! Happy hunting!

Finding obvious signs of deterioration might not be as hard as you thought!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 15

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