Laurie Christofano, Chicagoland Realtor

Dishing up local info, buyer & seller tips, and more on instagram - check it out by clicking one of the pics below!

Feb. 18, 2022

Simple Home Design Tips for 2022

Love what you see in everyone else’s home but feel stuck when it comes to yours?

I get it. Home design can be overwhelming — especially if you don’t have a knack for it.

To help, here are a few foolproof design tips to pull you out of your decorating paralysis and get your home headed on the right track:⁣

  • Invest in the classics. Go trendy on the cheap. Things like the sofa, your bed, an area rug, and the coffee table should be quality, neutral pieces that will last for years to come. Then add trendy patterns and color on the cheap with throw pillows, accessories, and lamps.⁣

 

  • Coordinate but don’t match. While buying a furniture set is convenient, it can make your home look like a run-of-the-mill furniture showroom. Instead, choose pieces that complement but aren’t matchy-matchy.⁣

 

  • Hang photos and art at the right height. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is hanging wall art too high. Above furniture, like a sofa or console table, art should be no more than six to nine inches above the top of the furniture.⁣

 

  • There’s a mirror for that. Unsure what to place on that empty wall? Go with a mirror. It’ll add light and make the space instantly feel larger.⁣

 

  • Hang those curtains high. Not doing so makes your room and windows look squatty and cramped. Hang the curtain rod high; you can even go as high as a few inches below the ceiling.⁣

 

  • Think in threes. When putting the finishing touches on a bookshelf, mantle, or console table – go for groups of three. Odd numbers look best, as does changing up the height of each piece.⁣

If you need an expert eye beyond these tips, send me a message. I’d love to connect you with a few incredibly talented designers in our area!

 

…Not living your best life in your dream home yet? You are not alone, but I’m here to help you make it happen! Get my FREE home buyers manual and 12 weeks of guidance to get you into the home or condo of your dreams - check it out here.

 

Find out more about selling your home here.

 

Start your home search here.

 

Jan. 27, 2022

How to sell & buy at the same time in Chicagoland

The writing is on the wall: You’re going to buy— and sell — at the same time. 😳

The first thing to know is you’re not alone: 71% of buyers are also, simultaneously, sellers. The key to success on both ends of the deal is having an experienced Realtor (me 😉) to guide you through:⁣

 Prepping & pricing your current home⁣

 

 Market assessment for your current and prospective home⁣

 

 Offers and contingency clauses

 Financing options and lender referrals

 Securing short-term housing if needed⁣

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain, the best thing to do is to talk to a pro who can ease your worries (me 😉)

 

Send me a DM and let’s set up a time to connect this week 🦸‍♀️🏡

 

New year, new you… New home 🧐⁉️ What’s on your wish list? 

 Bigger yard⁉️

 Another bathroom 🚽⁉️

 Closer to family⁉️

Whatever the reason, whatever the wish list  let’s make it happen 🦸‍♀️🏡😍


Start your 🏡 search here 🤩

 

 

Have you been thinking about buying a home? Grab your free 90 Days to Homeownership Guide

Jan. 27, 2022

What to look for when buying a Chicagoland investment property

What to look for when buying an investment property

Got your heart set on buying an investment property this year or even this month ❤️? Here's what to look for: ⁣

🎯 An attractive location. You hear everyone going on about "location, location, location" because it really is that important: schools, neighborhood amenities, shopping, businesses, and public transit are all features that'll boost your property's appeal.

 

🎯 Numbers that work. Don't forget you're covering more than just the mortgage. Make sure to factor operating costs and property taxes into your equation, and account for times when your property will be vacant.⁣

 

🎯 Low maintenance and easy to access. If you're going to manage the property yourself, make sure it's reasonably close to your own home. Time is money.

 

🎯 Appreciation potential. Look at the immediate appreciation potential you can get from a few cosmetic updates on the place. Then, consider long-term value when you and if you sell down the road. An agent can help run accurate numbers.⁣

 

🎯 Steady, stable, and normal to a fault. Normal means that you want something practical, in decent shape, in a location where people want to live. Think a 3/2 with a predictable floor plan near schools and major employment centers.⁣

🎯 My top rec for beginner investors? A single-family home, a condo (make sure the HOA is investor-friendly — many are not!!), or a 2-4 flat. Single-family = long-term renters. Condos = low-to-no maintenance with HOAs. 

 

Would you like to discuss at length? DM me! 🤙📲

 

And start your search for the perfect investment property here!

Jan. 7, 2022

Just listed near Elmwood Park High School: 4 bedroom brick home

2425 N 78th Ave Elmwood Park IL 60707 4 bedroom house for sale

See all the pics & details

Charming brick English style home in central Elmwood Park, close to Metra station 🚉 , high school 📓, and Grand Ave, just a few blocks west & south of the 🛤 tracks from the Circle ⭕️ (day care 👶, pool 🏊‍♀️ , library 📚, shops 🏬 , dining 🍳🍔🍻, and more) 🙌

Solid & well maintained with many improvements over the years including windows 🪟, roof, gutters, sump pump, and a large rear addition in 2004 ⚒️– which could be a formal dining room 🍽 or even used as the 1st floor family room 📺🛋

Don’t need all 4 bedrooms 🤔? Open up the rear 1st floor bedroom to create the kitchen / great room of your dreams 👩‍🍳🤩

The 2nd floor bedrooms have good ceiling height, and there’s space between them to dormer & create another full bathroom, too 🛁🚽🚰. 

But wait, there’s more! The finished basement has the perfect layout with a large family room / rec room area complete with a retro dry bar 🍻🍷🍸🍹🥂🍾, a large laundry room / summer kitchen with gas range and portable dishwasher 🧺🥘🧼, the ½ bath 🚽🚰, a workroom / mechanical room 🛠🪚- with space for your Peloton 🚴‍♂️, and the pièce de resistance: a 6x14 foot pantry / wine cellar 🍷🍶 - complete with wine-making equipment, if you'd like it! 

Parties will undoubtedly spill outside into the maintenance-free back “yard” that is entirely a patio with a covered grilling area – bring your tools, but the grill stays 🍽🏓👨‍🍳😉

The 2 car garage with alley access is begging to have a party door installed 🎉🥳

Welcome home to Elmwood Park 🏡

See all the pics & details

90 Days To Homeownership Guide

Are you ready to get on the right path to becoming a homeowner⁉️

Sign up below👇 to receive your free copy of the 90 Days To Homeowner Challenge Guide. At the beginning of each month over the next 3 months, I will send you a 4-week breakdown of tools and information to help you better understand the home buying process, followed by weekly in-depth emails to help you along.

I look forward to assisting you on your journey to homeownership! 🌆

Download your FREE guide here

Dec. 23, 2021

Top 3 Mortgage FAQs: Answered

Answered: Top Mortgage Frequently Asked Questions

Give yourself the gift 🎁 of knowledge this holiday season by getting your mortgage questions answered one by one. Here are three to help get you started:⁣

Q: How far in advance should I apply for a mortgage?⁣

A: Ideally, you want to start the process when you are shopping around for a new home. Doing so will tell you exactly how much you can afford, what your monthly payments will be, and what your total monthly obligations are.⁣

Q: Do I need 20% down to purchase a house?⁣

A: While putting 20% down can improve your chances of getting approved and locking in a lower rate (and monthly payment), lenders and mortgage programs will accept less than 20% so long as you buy mortgage insurance.⁣ FHA allows for as little as 3.5%, conventional 3%, and VA & USDA -0- down payment.

Q: I just got a new job. Will this impact getting a mortgage?⁣

A: Most lenders like to see a two-year job history in the same field though changing jobs for a better position could be seen as favorable. If you’re a soon-to-be college grad, you may be able to get a home loan even without a two-year work history.⁣

Have more questions about buying a home? There’s nothing I love more than sitting down with buyers and walking them through the process step-by-step. Interested? Send me a message, and we’ll set up a time that’s convenient for you.⁣ Or I can always be reached at 630-248-1976.

Oct. 7, 2021

Buy a home in less than a week: A Case Study

There’s still time to find 🏡 before the holidays… 

Case Study

A couple weeks ago Sunday, some new buyers contacted me about wanting to buy a home ASAP so they could get moved out of their rental apartment and into their own home. 

A few days of exploring neighborhoods + showings • one 2nd showing at their favorite (the first time around, one of them had only seen it via FaceTime!) • review comps (recent sales), make strategic offer, negotiate • signed contract on the eve of the 5th day of our relationship • closing + possession just in time to decorate for Halloween 🎃👻 

How we did it:

  • Buyers were on the ball with submitting lender-required documents for fast pre-approval, which also gave them confidence in their budget / price range 

  • They had been looking online for a while (who doesn’t these days 👀, right?) so they were familiar with preferred neighborhoods and areas, and knew what to expect from homes in their price range 

  • They completed my detailed Buyer Intake Survey so I could set up customized listing alerts for them quickly 

  • Luckily their employers gave them some flexibility (just for a few days, mind!) so we could run out to see homes as soon as they hit the market (or drastically reduced their price, as the case was in this instance) 

  • The Chicagoland market has tipped a bit in favor of buyers, which is long awaited news for many of you, I’m sure. It remains to be seen whether this is our typical seasonal slow down (I suspect that it is), or whether more sideline sellers are hearing how much prices are up and list for the “shoot for the moon” prices that some were able to get earlier this year and last… As inventory levels and interest rates creep up, I believe that we should be headed back toward a healthier, more balanced market. 

Have you been thinking about making a move before the snow hits for the winter, too? Visit my website to get started (lauriechristofano.com), or call / text me at 630-248-1976. It’d be my pleasure to help. 

- Laurie

May 3, 2021

Should you buy and sell at the same time?

Both buying and selling a home are equally stressful, but what about when you are trying to coordinate both at the same time? There are a lot of moving parts, and the agents involved work together to insure the smoothest possible transactions for our clients.

If you are selling your home and want to close on a new home purchase at the same time, here are some things to think about to make your move as smooth as possible.

Selling & buying at the same time

Truly simultaneous closings are rare these days, especially when financing is involved. Regulations put in place to protect consumers have made simultaneous, or double, closings very difficult to pull off.

Concurrent closings occur when a party is selling and buying properties at about the same time, usually within a couple of days of each other.

If you wish to close on the sale of your home and the purchase of a new home back-to-back, the best scenario is to work with the same title company and escrow company for both transactions. Usually the sale of your home is closed first, your mortgage is paid off, then the purchase of your new home is closed.

Selling & then buying (the double move)

Selling your home ahead of buying is the most risk-free alternative, as neither transaction is contingent on the other. However, this requires your family to make an extra move and have a place to live while you wait to close on a new home, so in terms of convenience and expense, it’s not always the best scenario.

If you have the ability to secure a short-term rental, or to put your belongings in storage and stay with family, then you can enjoy the luxury of taking your time to look for and close on your new home.

One option that sometimes works out is to rent your home back from your buyers while you wait to close on your purchase. This works well when the buyers are not in a hurry to move in themselves and you can agree on a timeframe for you to remain in the home.

Buy, then sell:

Buying ahead of selling is a dream in terms of convenience. You can take your time moving, and maybe do some renovations or decorating before you move in.

But will you qualify for a new mortgage without a contingency on selling your existing home? If you can swing the mortgage, or are paying cash, it may be a great option for you. Remember to realistically consider how long you can afford to maintain two properties– with maintenance costs– in case it should take you longer than expected to find a buyer for your present home.

In this scenario, you may want to rent your new purchase back to the sellers, or list it as a short-term rental, while you wait to close on the sale of your existing home.

In summary...

Consider your buyers and sellers carefully when trying to coordinate a sale and purchase within a short amount of time. The last thing you need is a seller or buyer who is displaying signs of being uncommitted to the deal.

While no deal is guaranteed until all the closing documents have been signed, when you need a purchase or sale to coincide with your schedule, you should carefully evaluate who you sign a contract with.

A contract with contingencies on other deals going through, a lender expressing doubt about final financing approval, a low good faith deposit, buyers asking for unreasonable repairs or allowances, or sellers whose moving plans are questionable are red flags that your deal could fall apart.

Posted in News
April 27, 2021

Sold their condo, bought their dream home in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic

🥂🎉🐣 congrats to my long-time clients as they closed on their forever house within weeks of their due date 🤗

We were lucky enough to find this one on the private listing network before it went live on the MLS — and avoided a likely bidding war in the process!

From a cramped condo with a scenic pond view 👉 a spacious tri-level with a fenced yard for their furry crew 🐶🐈, this growing family took the leap of faith with me and we made their dreams come true. ✨

If you’ve been wishing for a patch of grass of your own, too, let’s make it happen!

Become a VIP Buyer: https://rem.ax/LCbuyer

Posted in News
April 26, 2021

The best calls I get to make...

“For $X, would you like this house to be yours?” I excitedly asked my buyers this weekend... (Equally as excitedly) “omg yes! It’s right in line with what we were hoping to get it for, and our monthly payments will be $50 less than we were budgeting for!!”

We had just beaten out FOURTEEN other offers 🦸 and secured my clients’ dream home 🏡 

Thru managing the multiple offer / bidding war process on the listing side over the years, I’ve learned lots of tips and tricks to help my buyers’ offers stand out and rise to the top of the pile — which is vital in today’s crazy market!

🙋‍♀️ who can I help next? ☎️ Call me 630.248.1976 for all your Chicagoland real estate needs!

Sept. 3, 2020

Full steam ahead into fall real estate market

Dear friends,

We are continuing to experience a strong sellers' market in many areas right now, with lower inventory than usual coupled with higher than normal buyer demand - fueled by crazy low interest rates and the pandemic exposing for many the ways in which their current homes were no longer functioning for them. It's a fantastic time to sell your house, so if you've been sitting on the sidelines, now is your chance to make your move a reality!

And buyers -- there's a glimmer of hope for you too -- I've successfully helped several clients close on great properties this year, many involving the dreaded bidding war. Don't miss out on your dream house because you're afraid to go after what you want. It's prime time to find your forever house and lock in that low interest rate for life!

Since heading into lockdown in March, I've personally closed on 17 homes with buyers & sellers, with an additional 10 under contract. I'm dedicated to my goal of helping at least 40 clients this year. Want service like this? Contact me!