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From acquiring, to investing, to repairing, to staging, to appraising, to inspecting, to putting it on the market, to open houses, to listing, to contracts, to actually selling… the process of investing in and selling a home from start to finish can be confusing and a daunting task. We want to make it easy! We are working with a new home that a private lender has invested his money in to yield a great percentage. We are the experts in the field of home acquisition and investments. This particular home has just been acquired and is in the process of getting repairs and getting ready to go on the market… SO we have decided to do a series of blog entries following this home and it’s investors from the beginning to the day it sells.

Welcome to WEEK THREE of our entries: the process of investing in real estate from START to FINISH.



A red door ALWAYS helps a home sell

A red door ALWAYS helps a home sell

We had another VERY productive week with a lot of people working on this house.  We have owned it two weeks now and are very happy with the overall progress! Even though I discussed a lot of the improvements in last week’s post, I’m going to include them in this one, in addition to what we worked on this week, so that someone new coming across this can feel caught up on everything we have done! 🙂

Well, the biggest constraint with the house was that it only had 1.5 baths, and to make matters worse, they both were ONLY accessible from bedrooms.  Every house has a problem to solve, and the bathroom situation was a major problem for this house.  So, we added a full bath downstairs, located just off the kitchen.  We also added a new laundry room, and we opened up the kitchen and gave it a new dining area as well.

So here’s where we are right now:

  • New bathroom downstairs is almost done 
  • All electrical work is done  [we rewired a portion of the house]
  • Plumbing – all updated now
  • 2.5 Ton heat pump installed (new heating and air conditioning )
  • New dishwasher installing in the kitchen
  • New flooring put in kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room
  • All interior walls painted
  • New black shutters on exterior of house AND we painted the front door red since red always sells the house
  • New deck is complete
  • New dimensional roof complete

New windows will be installed on Tuesday and then we will be 100% complete! How awesome is that?!

Other good news, the house has been appraised at $130,000 this week and we will fine tune our marketing strategy on very soon.  We, including our private lender, are very happy that it appraised at $130k with the 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. 

I hope you enjoy the pictures I have included. Check back next week where we outline our marketing strategy using, and where we discuss all the finishing touches on the house!

Exterior work on home
Exterior work on home
Electrical work
Electrical work
New flooring
New flooring






No, you’re not a dummy. I would never say that. But, I DO have to say, this whole “First-Time-Homebuyer-Tax-Credit” thing can be a bit confusing if you aren’t good with numbers, or taxes, or legislation. So, I’ve decided to break it down for you, so that maybe the whole thing will be a bit easier to swallow and/or comprehend. Here are some basic questions about the tax credit, ANSWERED, in a hopefully, clear and concise manner. 

  1. Who is eligible to receive this “tax credit” anyway? The tax credit can go to ANY person who is purchasing/buying a home for the FIRST TIME (in a three-year period) prior to December 1st, 2009. 
  2. What do you mean “three-year period”? Well, say you owned a home, a long time ago. But you have NOT owned a home in the last three years. Well, you’re eligible! But sorry married folks, if you or your spouse has owned a home, you don’t qualify. Only those who have NOT owned a home individually or jointly may qualify to receive the tax credit. 
  3. Wait, so how is the amount of the tax credit determined? Meaning, how much money will you get? The tax credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price/selling price of the home — up to a maximum of $8,000. So, if you purchase your house for $100,000, 10% of that would be $10,000. But that’s too much, so you would get the maximum credit of $8,000. Get it?
  4. How is this NEW first-time-home-buyer tax credit different from the one that Congress passed and enacted in July of 2008? The biggest difference is that THIS NEW tax-credit DOES NOT have to be repaid. I repeat. DOES NOT have to be repaid! Basically, the previous tax credit was like a loan that didn’t have any interest associated with it, basically making it not really an actual tax credit. However, the homebuyer MUST stay in the home for 3 years or else you may have to pay some of it back.
  5. Can you combine this tax credit in conjunction with any other first-time-home-buyer tax credits? Nope, sorry Greedy Gus, you can only choose one. 
  6. How do you make sure you are going to receive this tax credit? Well, you are going to file for this tax credit on your 2009 federal tax return and it will show up then. If you have any doubts, ask an accountant or CPA. I know that I, myself, am not always the best at filling out forms, so it’s always smart to have someone double check your work. Oh, and if you want to receive it early, talk to an accountant. You may be eligible to have less money taken out of your paychecks in 2008. Wouldn’t THAT be sweet? 

So, all in all, this NEW-First-Time-Homebuyer-Tax-Credit is a pretty awesome deal. Essentially making this the PERFECT time to buy a home. The market is TRULY a buyers market and you can only benefit from buying a home right now. 

Need to sell your home? Sell it yourself and save on commission. You can sell your home with our friends, Just List ‘Em

Now is the time to save money and earn the money you deserve. You’ve worked hard. Treat yourself.

-Jim Ingersoll


This blog post is courtesy of Just List ‘Em: a Flat Fee MLS real estate company geared towards helping YOU sell YOUR home.
We love them. You should too.


Although we do business in many parts of the country, one of our featured locations right now is the Windy City: Chicago, Illinois. Right now, the housing market in Chicago is on the upturn and really beginning to boom.

The Chicago market is UP, just like the Spyre.

The Chicago market is UP, just like the Spire.

Do you live in Chicago? Are you looking to move and/or relocate altogether? Are you IN Chicago looking to sell your home, townhouse, loft, or condo? Looking to purchase property in and around the city? Now is the time to really get the ball rolling.

Are you a sports fan? If so, then you probably like stats. Here are some recent Chicago housing market statistics:

  • The Illinois Association of Realtors reported that home sales in Chicago were UP 40.6% in March over February. 
  • There were 840 homes sold in February of 2009. There were 1,181 homes sold in March of 2009.
  • The median price for a home/condo in March of 2009 was $220,000. This is an increase of 0.8% from February 2009 where the median price was $218,125.

Now, let’s crunch numbers. If you sold your home with a realtor at the median price of $220,000, you would pay, on average, $6,600 just in listing commission. If you sold your home through Just List ‘Em, you would pay the $299 flat fee to list your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). That is an average savings of $6,300!

So the truth is, the Chicago market is almost hotter right now than Susan Boyle. Ultimately, why is that? Well, a few reasons.

  1. The $8,000 first-time-home-buyers tax credit. This is quite possibly one of the most important catalysts for the upturn of the housing market right now. This tax credit, included in the final version of the stimulus bill passed in February 2009, goes to ALL first-time-home-buyers. It will not be taxed and it does NOT have to be repaid. It is, in essence, $8,000 handed to you by the government. (It will show up when you file your 2009 tax return). So, because of this awesome financial opportunity, many potential home buyers who were on the fence about purchasing in 2009 have now been persuaded to the other side and are jumping at the chance to buy a home. ESPECIALLY in and around the Chicacgo-metro area.
  2. Short Sales & Foreclosures. A short sale is essentially the stage in which a home is on the verge of foreclosure and the seller REALLY wants to sell the house but no one is buying. A lender would rather list is as a short sale, sell the home at a very low price and lose a little money versus listing it and having it on the books as a foreclosure. Therefore, short sales are extremely attractive to buyers because buyers can save a TON of money on a potentially awesome property. Foreclosures are also attractive in that a buyer can save an estimated 10%-30% on the actual price of the property. In some cases, buyers can buy a great home and pay less than the tax value on it at closing. Now THAT is a deal! Just be wary when purchasing a short sale or foreclosed home, as these homes can come with a serious need for repair. And when in doubt, always speak with a real estate professional and get their advice.
  3. Record low mortgage rates. According to, the average rate for a 30-year-fixes mortgage in Chicago is at 4.93% today, even down .03% just this week! And that percentage is still dropping. These mortgage rates are astonishingly low and make for an incredible money-saving opportunity for buyers. This is below the national average and significantly lower than the mortgage rates in past years. What does this mean, exactly? Well, when you buy a house, just like you would a car, you are going to pay interest on that item. The lower the mortgage rate, the less money you pay. The less money you pay, the more money you save. Awesome. RIGHT?

These three things create a powerful housing market in Chicago and really encourages buyers to buy and sellers to sell. If you want to sell your home, now is the time. Just like a pendulum, the market goes back and forth. It’s almost like playing double dutch. You have to jump in at the right moment or you might miss your opportunity.

Don’t forget though, if you are looking to sell your home in Chicago, don’t go through a traditional realtor or broker. Sell your home with us! Just List ‘Em. We will list your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for a flat fee and we guarantee we will sell you home quickly and efficiently and save you THOUSANDS of dollars on commission. That means more money in your pockets and big smiles on your faces.

-Jim Ingersoll


This blog post is courtesy of Just List ‘Em: a Flat Fee MLS real estate company geared towards helping YOU sell YOUR home.
We love them. You should too.


Last week, I discussed the best ways to stage your home on the inside. And you know, it IS what’s inside that counts. In addition to that, the old saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but the fact is, we do. (I know I’d rather pick up a book with a pretty cover than a not-so-pretty one). Well, a house is the same way. Potential buyers will and are going to judge your home by the way it looks on the outside.

A red door is always a winner!

A red door is always a winner!

Take a minute and step outside your home. Stand directly in front of it and ask yourself these questions:
1. Is my home inviting? Do I want to go inside?
2. Are there any qualities about my home that stand out in a positive way?
3. Are there any qualities about my home that stand out in a negative way?
4. Does my yard look well taken care of, or will a buyer have a lot of work to do?
5. Does the siding, doors, and windows look in good shape, or would a buyer have to replace them?
6. Has any paint faded or chipped?
7. Is my house number clear and readable from the street and/or curb?
8. Does it look as though someone lives here?

How you answer these questions can determine the amount of potential buyers that come to view your home.

  • Make sure your lawn is cut, you have trimmed your bushes, weeds are pulled, and flowers are looking fresh. Try planting yellow or purple flowers — these are calming colors that invoke an inviting feeling.
  • If your door is looking dull, paint it red. A red door is always a bold statement that can feel very welcoming to a buyer.
  • If you have window coverings inside, make sure they don’t block the view of rooms from the outside. Let light in! (Oh, and wash your windows from the outside in… this can make a HUGE difference).
  • Make sure the siding is not chipping or faded. This can be a visually deterring factor for a buyer.
  • If you have sidewalks, make sure they are clear of all weeds, debris, and extraneous items.
  • If you have a curbside mailbox, make sure it looks nice, NOT rusted.

Just as it can be difficult to stage the inside of your home, it can be just as difficult to stage and adequately prepare the outside. Keep in mind that all of these things will benefit you in the long run and greatly increase your chances of selling your home quickly.

And when in doubt, get help. You don’t have to do it alone.


This blog post is courtesy of Just List ‘Em: a Flat Fee MLS real estate company geared towards helping YOU sell YOUR home.
We love them. You should too.


Hi everyone! I just wanted to take a moment to welcome you once again to the blog of Just List ‘Em. You’re probably wondering what we’re all about. Well, the purpose of our blog is to create a forum that allows you to get to know us, our purpose, our mission, our goals, and foster a great, working and collaborative relationship with you, the customers.

photo courtesy of Google images.

photo courtesy of Google images.

As you all are well aware, the real estate market is growing and changing every day. No one wants to sell their home more than the homeowners themselves, and homebuyers want nothing more than to get a good bargain from a trustworthy source. At Just List’ Em, our goal and our mission is to open that line of communication with homeowners, and make their experience selling their home as quick, cost-effective, and easy as possible. Selling a home can be an extremely stressful endeavor, but our goal is to begin the process of making it effortless.

You know, there’s a lot of “real estate jargon” getting thrown around lately. So, I’m going to offer a “quick reference guide” or “cheat sheet,” if you will, to some of the most commonly used terms (i.e. ones that we may or may not use from time to time):

  1. Flat Fee MLS: basically, it’s the practice of putting important information about a home for sale on a listing service for a fixed, or unchanging rate. This is a dollar amount that does not change, no matter how much you are trying to sell your home for. Whereas, with traditional brokers or real estate agents, listings are priced based on commission (for example: 4% of the selling price of the house).
  2. MLS: Wait, so what’s the MLS? The MLS, strictly, stands for Multiple Listing Service. Basically, it’s a public forum where brokers, agents, etc… can list homes for sale and connect those homes with interested buyers. It’s multiple because well, it connects with more than one person, agency, brokerage, etc.
  3. Real Estate Broker: This is the “middle man.” A broker acts as the intermediary between a seller and a buyer of real estate. Brokers are middle-men who like to charge a lot of money. No good!
  4. Real Estate Agent: Very similar to a broker, except agents have a lot to do with the actual marketing of properties for sale. They also like to charge a lot of money.
  5. Just List ‘Em (that’s us!): We eliminate that middle-man. We strictly connect those who want to sell their homes with people who want to buy them. For a flat fee (see above!) we list your home on the MLS (also see above) – in the end, we save you a lot of money. Oh, and we do everything COMPLETELY paperless. Which means, no printing out any papers, no Notary, no stamps, no hassle. We do EVERYTHING online in a safe and secure way.

So this is a lot of information and it can be a lot to swallow in a short amount of time. Here’s a quick example of how Just List ‘Em works: a man in Powhatan, VA was interested in selling his home on his own. He connected with us and we put his listing up on Monday morning, listing the home at a selling price of $145,000. On the following Saturday, the home sold… for full price. We saved him over $4,000 in commission fees.

We look forward to more success stories like this one. We know that we can help you sell your home in a quick and easy manner. Keep checking back to the blog for updates.

Oh, and check us out on Twitter and Facebook!

Just List ‘Em: Where the conversation to sell your home begins.

Jim Ingersoll

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