SMARTSteps - Answers To Your Questions

When am I able to remove Private Mortgage Insurance from my monthly house payment?

Freddie Mac has some pretty specific guidelines for that and it would require a new appraisal. THEN---if the increase in value is due to improvements made to the property, it needs to be 80% of the new appraisal. If the increase is just due to an improved market, it has to be at 75% of the new appraisal. There are also some time restrictions. Using a new appraised value, to use the 80% level you have to be in the loan for 5 or more years (unless it's due to improvements) and to use the 75% level it has to be at least 2 years. On the other hand, if you reach 80% by paying down the balance, there are no time restrictions.

Is there still 100% financing available?

Yes, the USDA Rural Development Loan Program offer 2 different types of financing for borrowers. You must purchase homes located in Manteno, Grant Park, Momence, St. Anne, Aroma Park, Hopkins Park, Bonfield, Herscher, and Limestone. There are 2 loan programs available, first is a low income loan program. The 2nd program is for moderate income families based on family size.

What are the rules for Kankakee County regarding the stipulations for where I can have a horse on my property?

In Kankakee County, the property must have a minimum of 2 acres for zoning to allow horses. Also then there must be a minimum of 1 acre per horse. The stable must be located in either the side or back yards.

I am looking for a piece of land to move my mobile home on with or without another home on it. I think that with these interest rates I should be able to afford it. I am already paying a mortgage without the benefits of home ownership. Please tell me the

Here is the short version of where someone can put a mobile home in Kankakee County. Never can it be put on a lot that is zoned residential. Then any of the three scenarios can work.

  1. It must be zoned Ag with a minimum of 20 acres . Then it does not have to have a permanent foundation. or
  2. If the property is a legal nonconforming parcel....meaning if the property has between 2-20 acres and was divided out that way before 5/14/1996 then a mobile home can be put on the lot with a permanent foundation. The set back lines would need to apply here as when a home is put on a lot. or
  3. If the property is less than 2 acres and was created before 1967 (for instance there was an old farmstead on the parcel and it has burned down), then a mobile home can be put on the property with a permanent foundation.

I hope this helps you understand where a mobile home is allowed in Kankakee County.

As I understand it, there is some property that is north of Irwin that is 5 acres that has been grandfathered into the zoning laws and a mobile home can be placed there.

I know that you want to have a home soon, I hope I can help you find the right spot.

I am thinking of buying a second home, do you have some information from a tax viewpoint as to the rules and regulations as to what is deductible?

Yes, I have a great flyer from Nykiel, Carlin & Co., LTD dated January, 2003 that specifically gives details about the tax implications and credits in owning a second home. Please call me at 815-932-7448 to receive a copy of this Tax and Business Alert on purchasing a Second Home.

What does OP mean?

OP means Owner Pays, as when there is a fee for a rental.

How can I get my taxes lowered?

In Kankakee County, Illinois, assessed values are published in the newspaper around November of each year. Once the assessed values are published, each property owner has 30 days to protest the value. The owner must fill out a form from the assessor's office (I have copies in my office) giving the reasons for the protest. One of the best reasons is if the owner paid less for the home that the market value on the assessed card. There is also space on the form to show what the values of 3 comparable homes are currently valued at the assessor's office. One of the services that I provide customers, is helping them fill out this form. Customers desiring help with this form need to contact my office (815-937-4370) at least 2 weeks before the assessors deadline for protesting the value.

Lisa, Does the market value for homes around here go up if you have just put in NU SASH windows? We are looking at replacement windows and the NU SASH salesman told us that his particular windows make market value higher. Thanks.

Yes, new windows can help the sales ability especially if your current windows are in bad shape. The brand of windows is not that critical. Just as long as they are thermal pane and of good quality. You can probably get a few thousand more for your home. I don't know the exact recapture rate. It might be about 60%. You would probably sell more quickly with good thermal windows too.

Lisa, I have heard the term 'points' many times in real estate. What are they?

Points are one-time fees that are charged by the lender and paid by the buyer or seller at closing. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount; for example, one point is $1,000 on a $100,000 loan.

Lisa, Is there a certain type of home that seems to be most popular right now?

Although difficult to generalize, there are a number of features buyers look for which can enhance the marketability of your home including:

  • An open floor plan and lots of windows
  • A large kitchen
  • A large family room and master bedroom suite
  • At least 2 bathrooms
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • A porch or patio

We are considering selling our current home and want to get the most we can for our property. Are there any home improvements that we should consider that would add to the value of our home and make it more attractive to buyers?

Although it's difficult to speak in generalities when it comes to home improvements and having not seen your home, here are 5 makeovers that often make sense depending on your situation:

  • Remodeling the Kitchen - Typically recover 80-125%
  • Build a Patio or Deck - Typically recover 40-75%
  • Add a Bathroom - Typically recover 80-125%
  • Build a Garage - Typically recover 80-100%
  • Add on a Room - Typically recover 40-75%

Please understand that this does not guarantee selling your home faster or recovering the above percentages, but it may aid in getting more buyers interested and therefore increase your home's visibility.

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