Champaign IL Information and Resources

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 15

Seller's Seminar

by Tom Cain and Company

Tom Cain of Cain and Company Real Estate will be hosting a Seller's seminar on "How to sell your home in today's market". The seminar will be held at Cain and Company Real Estate in Savoy on Saturday, May 14th, 2011 at 10am. Com join us for some great information on how to get your home sold as quickly as possible. Please call or email to RSVP. Limited seats available.

Join Us for coffee and refreshments and great information!

Cain and Company Real Estate

101 N. Dunlap Ave, Box 95
Savoy, IL 61874

To RSVP respond to laura@cainandcompanyre.com or call 217-359-5646.

 

Dedicated to helping other!

Quality Air for Quality Living!

by Tom Cain and Company

Everyone wants to live in a clean home, but we don't always think about the quality and cleanliness of the air in our homes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people spend 90% of their time indoors, sometimes with indoor air quality two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.

Common Factors of Poor Air Quality

                    -Mold

                    -Humidity

                    -Dangerous Chemicals

                   -Poor Ventilation

                   -Smoking Indoors

                   -Cleaning Products

Mold can grow when the level of moisture in a room exceeds 55%, according to the Toxic Black Mold information center, along with other forms of fungi. Make sure that moisture levels in your home remain between 30-50% in order to control humidity and the growth of mold. you can easily do this by using ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens and opening windows regularly to allow fresh air to flow though your home. Another factor that commonly aids in the deterioration of indoor air is the use of strong chemicals inside the home. These chemicals can be found in common products such as household cleaners and paint. If you must use products that have strong chemicals, always try to ventilate the area by opening windows and turning on fans. One of the easiest ways to avoid indoor air pollution is by investing in non-toxic paint and Eco-Friendly cleaners. An even better and more economical solution might be to make your own cleaning products by using ingredients like baking soda and white distilled vinegar. Of course we all know that smoking can be dangerous to your health in any propensity, but second-hand smoke, especially indoors, creates another extremely hazardous problem. Try to avoid smoking inside, however, if yo must, open windows and use fans accordingly.

Some additional means of improving the quality of air in your home might include:

                    -Put some plants in your home. They can add to the decor as well as remove harmful chemicals from the air. In a recent study done by scientists at Washington State University, plants also removed 20% of the dust collecting an office room, where plants took about 5% of the space available.

                       -Using a de-humidifier can also aid the cleansing of the air in your home by cutting down on humidity which helps control the growth of mold and other fungi.

                       -Installing an Air Filter is another simple way to improve the air quality in your home. Many air filters are on the market today, some are considered whole house filters and are typically installed by a professional, while others are individual or single-room filters and are very portable. Both can provide some relief and improve the quality of your indoor air, just be sure to choose a HEPA air filter for best results.

For more information on how to ensure the air quality in your home is up to par click here: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airclean.html

Spring toward a beautiful lawn for the summer!

by Tom Cain and Company

As the weather warms up, I dare to venture into my backyard to assess the damage left from a long winter. To my great disdain, leaves have collected against my house and around bushes and shrubs in those hard to reach places. I sigh and grab the rake, before long I am working up a sweat and actually enjoying the nice weather and opportunity to get outside and make some headway in my yard. If you find yourself in the same situation and wondering how you will ever keep up with all the care your lawn requires, read below for some simple tips to get your yard in great shape, if not for the love of gardening, perhaps the rise in your home’s value might be motivation enough to pick up a rake and get to work.

Tip #1

Begin by cleaning up a bit after “Old Man Winter”!  Clear away sticks, leaves and any other debris that has blown against your house, shed, fence, and other structures.

Tip #2

Rake away all leaves around your yard. It’s important to rake away thatch that has built up on your lawn to allow new growth to push. Using a de-thatching rake is the best way to do away all of the thatch (excess grass clippings that build-up above the soil).  If you do not own a de-thatching rake you can use a stiff-tined rake.

Tip #3

Feed your lawn. I like to give my lawn a slow-release fertilizer. It works well because it gives the lawn nutrients but doesn’t push the grass to grow sooner that it is ready.

Tip #4

Make sure to take care of any lawn mower maintenance that might be necessary. Getting your lawn equipment ready to for use now will move things along more efficiently when you look out the window and realize spring is here and your grass needs mowed—now! First, inspect the lawn mower to make sure all the nuts and bolts are secure. Check the spark plugs if they are showing wear they will need to be changed. While the spark plugs are out it is also a good time to remove the lawnmower blade. (With the spark plugs removed you can be sure the lawn mower will not start). Use a file to sharpen the blade. Make sure to run the file along the same angle as the blade. Inspect the oil, if it is low, old, or dirty, properly dispose of it and replace it with new oil.

Remember, taking baby steps with your lawn works the best in early springtime. Especially, because this time of the year you can never be quite sure what the weather has in store for us.

Good luck and Happy Gardening!

After Finding Your Home

by Tom Cain and Company

It's easy to make sure that the home you've chosen is a smart buy. by having a home inspection, the home's vital systmes are checked. A home inspection allows you to purchase your home with confidence. We willhelpyou schedule an inspection after you have chosen the home  you like. 

Minimum standards when looking for an inspectorl should include:

1. Membership in ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and adherence to its Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

2. Written report at the time of inspection.

Your Inspection Report should inclulde the following:

1. Foundations, basements, and syructures.

2. Basement floor and walls, proper drainage and ventilation, evidence of water seepage.

3.Exterior siding, windows, and doors.

4. Exterior walls, windows, and doors; porches, decks, and balconies; garage.

5. Roof.

6. Roof type and material, and condition of gutters and downspouts.

7. Interior plumbing system.

8. Hot-and-cold water system, the waste system and sewage disposal, water pressure and flow, and hot-water equipment.

9. Electrical system.

10. Type of service, the number of circuits, type of protection, outlet grounding, and the load balance.

11. Central heating system.

12. Energy source, type of cooling equipment, capacity, and distribution.

13. Interior walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and doors.

14. Stairways, cabinets, and countertops.

15. Attic.

16. Structural, insulation, and ventilation information.

17. Fireplace.

18. Notes about the chimney, damper, and masonry.

19. Garage.

20. Doors, walls, floor.

21. Appliances.

22. Includes a wide range of built-in and other home appliances, smoke detectors, and television/cable hookups.

23. Lot and landscaping.

24. Ground slope away from foundation, condition of walks, steps, and driveway.

10 Tips to Conserve in Your Home and Your Pocket

by Tom Cain and Company

Home Life Perks - Newsletter

Conservation starts at home, whether it is being mindful of your waste or teaching awareness to children, follow these helpful hints to keep your carbon footprint low and costs even lower.

image

  1. Set Your Thermostats: In the summer months, the air conditioners thermostat should not be set any lower than 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, the settings should not be any higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Also, try keeping your curtains/blinds closed on hot, sunny days to cool your home and reduce the need for fans or air conditioning. Consumers can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills by lowering the thermostat 10-15 percent for eight hours. Install a programmable thermostat and do this automatically, without sacrificing comfort. 
  2. Washing: Never turn on the clothes washer or dishwasher unless you have a full load. This reduces the amount of water used and lowers your long-term costs. While you’re at it, wash your clothes in cold water, it will save on heating costs and give your clothes a longer shelf life. It is also less expensive to run on off peak hours, typically these times are 9pm – 7am.
  3. Go with the Flow: Federal regulations mandate new showerhead flow rates can't exceed more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. Buying quality, low-flow fixtures ($10 to $20 each), can provide a water savings of 25-60 percent. 
  4. Lights Out: Though it's a simple energy-saving step, the concept of turning off lights when leaving a room seems to elude many people who subsequently complain about their utility bills. The fact is, if a light is off, it uses no electricity. So only turn on lights that are necessary for use. It's that easy to save energy. Add motion sensors to your lights, for as little as $15, and less energy is wasted because the light turns off after a short period of time. This also means bulbs will burn out less frequently than in a traditional fixture.
  5. Don’t Waste Your Waste: Composting reduces the amount of waste we send to landfills by about 30 percent and the release of methane emission from landfills. It also returns important nutrients to the soil plus locks in moisture. Check out Composting 101 for more information. Plus composting saves money by reducing the amount of pesticides used, fertilizers purchased and the amount of garbage produced and hauled away by your household.
  6. Get What You Need: Opening the refrigerator door repeatedly causes it to draw on cool air from within to maintain the temperature. Continually activating the compressor means a drain on your pocket by the electric company. Get everything you need at one time and remember to cool leftovers to room temp before placing it in the fridge, no need to cool them down electrically.
  7. Time for Hanging: Bypass the dryer and the heating costs associated with it, if you can. Clotheslines are inexpensive, and it takes only a few minutes to hang a load of wash. The sun sanitizes the clothing and everything smells fresh. Hanging laundry saves households about $156 per year.
  8. Dial It Down: Setting your water heater's temperature in the 130-degree range instead of a higher one requires less energy to heat and to hold the water. Every 10 degrees you dial down the thermostat can knock three to five percent off your water-heating bill. In addition, a lower hot water temperature reduces the chance of scalding. Insulate the first five to 10 feet of your water pipes and increase water temps by two to four degrees without spending extra cash. Also, try insulating your storage water heater tank, it’s fairly simple and inexpensive, and it will pay for itself in about a year. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $10–$20. Choose one with an insulating value of at least R-8.
  9. Strip It Off: Use power strips for electrical appliances. When you’re not using them, turn off the entire strip rather than letting them sit in “Sleep” mode where they continue to draw power. These aptly named “vampire” appliances can account for up to five percent of your monthly energy bill.
  10. Flush It Down: Save up to 16,000 gallons of water per year by switching to low flush toilets. These 1.6 gallon per flush (gpf) toilets not only use less water, pricing begins at lesser than $100 and they save households more money - up to $90 per year.
To read more articles from Home Life Perks visit: http://new.homelifeperks.com/consumer/register?invite_code=tc000302

Helpful tips on finding your home...

by Tom Cain and Company

Of the many things on your to-do list when house shopping, "stress" should not top the list.

Granted, buying your first home, or simply a "new" home, is a major event and brings about many issues to deal with and decisions to make, but why not make it fun?

The key to being able to enjoy this exciting time in your life is to be organized. Don't allow all the options to overwhelm you. Lay out your list of things to-do, then work the list.

At the top of that list should be to find a GREAT realtor! There are many "good" realtors out there, but why settle for "good" when GREAT is an option?

Allow your realtor to do their job and take the stress off of you! They want to help in any way possible and have the tools necessary to make the process of house hunting an enjoyable one! Using the MLS makes finding your dream  home a breeze with the criteria you provide!

Next, getting pre-approved really helps with the entire process. It allows you to have a very accurate idea of what you can afford to pay for your future home. It also tells the bank, your realtor and potential sellers that you are serious about buying and organized in your approach!

Now that you've found the "perfect" realtor and are pre-approved, you need to provide your realtor with a top ten list. This list should include the top ten priorities or desires you have for your future home. Location, size and price are usually at the top of the list somewhere and then you can begin to think about the details that are important to you! It's exciting, right? Think about the things that are comforting to you; that will send a home over the top. A nice den with a fireplace or a great back yard? The sky is the limit!

Finally, believe that the “Perfect” home for you is out there! Don’t stress over looking at several homes, look at it as an opportunity to fine tune your criteria! Embrace the blessing of being able to choose where you will continue the next phase in your journey through life!

For help finding homes click here: www.cainandcompany.com

 

Finding Your Dream Home!

by Tom Cain and Company

 

After your initial counseling session (either via e-mail, phone, or a face-to-face interview), We will have a good idea of your wants, needs, price range and desired location and will enter all of this information into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). From the many listings in its inventory, the MLS will provide a list of homes tailored to your criteria and we will arrange to show you those homes at your convenience.

 

As you walk through the homes, feel free to open cabinets and closets. Most often, the sellers will be absent, but should they be present, they will understand your need to examine the home carefully. When a home appeals to you, makes notes. It is easy to forget the details of what you liked about a particular home. There will be information at the home and, whenever possible, we will provide you with a copy of the MLS sheet for the home you are viewing.

Don’t be surprised if the first home you see is the perfect one for you and don’t be discouraged if none of the homes you visit the first day are the home you want. We are committed to finding the house that you will call home and we will work diligently until you find it. Usually, we will be able to find the HOME OF YOUR DREAMS rather quickly from a selection of three to five homes that best fit the desires you expressed.

 

During your HOME SEARCH…

We will:

1. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each home in relation to your specific needs.

2. Keep you informed on a regular basis.

3. Check the MLS database and with other brokers daily for new listings that meet your criteria.

4. Keep you up to date on changing financial conditions that might affect the housing market.

5. Be available to answer your questions or to offer assistance regarding your home purchase.

6. Discuss market trands and values relative to proerties that might be of interest to you.

7. Show you new homes as well as pre-owned homes if you desire.

8. Assist you with homes offered by the sellers’ themselves as For sale By Owner (FSBO) listings. A homeowner who is trying to sell his home himself is usually doing so in hopes of saving the commission. Coincidentally, this is the reason a buyer wants to deal directly with a homeowner. Many times a homeowner will work with an aghent, even though his home is not listed, if the agent introduces the buyer to the property. If you should see an FSBO and want the advantages of our services, please let us contact the owner and set the appointment.

As members of the MLS, we can show you any property. If you should see an ad in the newspaper or a sign in a yard, call us to find out the information you are looking for. If you want to view the home, we’d be happy to show it to you!

To search for homes in your area click here:http://search.cainandcompany.com/idx/5025/basicSearch.php

For questions or to contact a member of the Cain & Company Team click here: http://www.cainandcompany.com/Buyer-Resources/Questions

 

Is a 1031 Exchange Right for You?

by Tom Cain and Company

by Jodi Bakst

You may have heard of people "exchanging" their investment property to avoid huge tax bites out of their sale proceeds. An exchange of real property can be a valuable tool to defer or avoid capital gains tax on real estate transactions. 

Section 1031 of the IRS Code offers real estate investors a great investment opportunity to build wealth and save taxes. By completing a 1031 exchange, you can dispose of investment property, use all of the equity to acquire replacement investment property, defer the capital gains tax that would ordinarily be paid, and leverage all of you equity into a replacement property.

Replacement property acquired in an exchange must be of "like-kind" or similar to the property being sold. The following are examples of properties that could be eligible for a 1031 exchange:

* Single Family Rental
* Multi-Family Rentals
* Farms/Ranches
* Raw Land
* Retail Offices
* Motels/Hotels
* Golf Course
* Industrial
* Le! ases of 30 years or more

Properties NOT eligible under 1031 include foreign property and primary residences.

1031 exchanges are primarily designed for people interested in investment properties, not for typical home sellers and buyers looking to purchase a residence.

 

Seller Tip: Exchanges usually involve slightly greater costs than sales, so not every transaction should be an exchange.

 

 Seller Tip:  Your personal tax advisor can offer information specific to your situation and help you determine if a 1031 is right for you.

How to Get Your Home Sold in Today's Market!

by Tom Cain and Company

Seller's Seminar

Join Tom Cain & Company for an informational seminar on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 10am. You will gain valuable knowledge of how to market your home in order to sell quickly and for the price that you want!

 

Points covered will include:

-Things you can do to sell quickly.

-Why pricing is SO important.

-How to become the #1 home in your price range.

-How to take care of problems before they occur.

 

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get Your Home Sold!

 

Coffee and refreshments will be provided.

Tax advocate: State may have to raise other taxes

by Tom Cain and Company

CHAMPAIGN -- There's an answer to the state pension crisis, Ralph Martire says, but you might not like the answer.

Martire is executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago. He'll speak at a Campus Faculty Association forum on state pensions at 4 p.m. Thursday at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., C. More information is at http://www.cfaillinois.org.

Martire has called Illinois' tax policy "shortsighted, irresponsible and counterproductive," especially in its deficits to the state's General Fund.

The fiscal year started almost $14 billion in the hole, more than half of the initial appropriation for the general fund, and 90 percent of that fund is spent on core services such as education.

Martire argues that state revenue growth has been insufficient to cover the growth in the cost of providing public services, so lawmakers have been using pension funds as a borrowing source.

"Pensions have a significant problem as an unfunded liability, because the state hasn't made its normal contributions at the same time that the markets have suffered," he said.

Illinois pensions are not high compared with other states', and, far from "Cadillac benefits," Martire said, state workers' pensions are actually in line with Social Security and other nonpension benefits.

He said the issue is not partisan. "There have been irresponsible financial practices by leaders of both parties," Martire said.

He said the solutions would be "distasteful" to many: After a large income tax increase, which Martire says is not large enough, other tax measures are still necessary.

He points to expanding the sales tax base to include services and taxing a small amount of retirement income. Once it made sense to tax only tangible sales, but now that services are in the range of 60 percent of spending, they could provide a revenue stream, he said.

The retirement-tax model he mentioned would apply only to benefits of more than $50,000. Someone who received $52,000 would pay tax on only $2,000 of it, he said.

Illinois is one of only three states not to tax some part of retirement benefits, he said.

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
217-359-3131
Fax: 217-359-2334

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce