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Brighten Up Your Fox Valley Garden With These Native Plants!

by The Rullo Team

 

Spring is the perfect time in the FOX RIVER VALLEY to add instant curb appeal to your home with a lovely garden. The changing seasons in Illinois can pose a challenge when deciding what plants to choose for your landscaping. Look to plants that naturally grow in the region. These resilient botanicals will add beauty and interest to your yard for years to come. Here are the top native plants for Midwest gardens!


PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER

Name: Echinacea pallida

Where to plant: Place this coneflower in the full sun with well-drained soil.

Appearance: In mid-summer, this plant will bloom with pink flowers surrounding a dark red cone in the middle.

Other Helpful Information: The pale purple coneflower will spread throughout your garden as it self-seeds.


POPPY MALLOW

Name: Callirhoe involucrata

Where to plant: The poppy mallow is perfect for border areas in the full sun.

Appearance: Throughout the summer months, enjoy wine-red flowers on this groundcover plant.  

Other Helpful Information: This plant is very resilient as it can thrive in dry soil and resists pests.


COLUMBINE

Name: Aquilegia canadensis

Where to plant: This plant can grow in the sun or shade.

Appearance: Enjoy delicate red and yellow flowers.  

Other Helpful Information: The columbine will attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden!


SWAMP MILKWEED

Name: Asclepias incarnata

Where to plant: The swamp milkweed can grow in moist or average soil but needs to be placed in plenty of sunlight.

Appearance: Clusters of pink flowers will appear in mid-summer on the 5 foot tall stems.

Other Helpful Information: Monarch butterflies love this beautiful plant.  


COMPASS PLANT

Name: Silphium laciniatum

Where to plant: This plant needs full sun.

Appearance: A giant of a plant, this flower grows up to 9 feet tall. It blooms with bright yellow, sunflower-like petals.  

Other Helpful Information: The compass plant is so called because it aligns itself from north to south in order to conserve water!  


BUTTERFLY WEED

Name: Asclepias tuberosa

Where to plant: This drought resistant prairie plant needs direct sunlight to grow.  

Appearance: During the summer, the plant blossoms with bright orange petals.   

Other Helpful Information: As its name suggests, butterflies love this plant.   


WILD ANEMONE

Name: Anemone canadensis

Where to plant: This perfect border plant needs organic-rich, moist soil.  

Appearance: Large white flowers will appear in your garden in the summer.   

Other Helpful Information: The wild anemone is perfect for filling up large spaces within your garden as it rapidly spreads on its own.   


SPIDERWORT

Name: Tradescantia sp

Where to plant: This versatile plant can grow in sun or shade but requires moist soil.

Appearance: This beauty will blossom in a variety of colors, depending on the strain of the plant, every spring with three-petaled flowers. 

Other Helpful Information: The spiderwort is a perennial.   


GOLDENROD

Name: Solidago sp

Where to plant: Place the goldenrod in full sun and well-drained soil.

Appearance: Your garden will continue to look lovely into the autumn months when the golden-yellow flowers appear.  




BLOODROOT

Name: Sanguinaria canadensis

Where to plant: This groundcover can grow in the shade.

Appearance: Daisy shaped flowers will cover the lower part of your garden with this delicate plant.

Other Helpful Information: The bloodroot will go dormant during the summer so make sure to plant it near summer blossoming plants to avoid blank spaces in your garden.


JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT

Name: Arisaema triphyllum

Where to plant: This plant is perfect for shady areas of your garden.

Appearance: Produces hooded green petals with red lines throughout the summer months and, in fall, red berries often appear.


CULVER'S ROOT

Name: Veronicastrum virginicum

Where to plant: This plant can thrive whether in sun or part shade but needs plenty of water.

Appearance: Culver’s Root grows up to 6 feet tall and produces white flowers.

Other Helpful Information: This plant is a magnet for butterflies to your garden.


BLUE SAGE  

Name: Salvia pitcheri

Where to plant: This plant needs full sun.

Appearance: Your garden will look beautiful with lovely sky blue flowers that blossom in early fall.

Other Helpful Information: Blue sage is a perennial.


PENSTEMON

Name: Penstemon digitalis 

Where to plant: Make sure to keep the soil around the penstemon moist.

Appearance: During the summer, white flowers will appear amongst the burgundy hued foliage of this plant.

Other Helpful Information: You can rely on this plant to return yearly.


LITTLE BLUESTEM

Name: Schizachyrium scoparium

Where to plant: This grass needs plenty of sun.

Appearance: A great plant throughout the year, the little bluestem adds color to your garden every season. During the fall and winter, the stems are a purple-bronze hue. As it starts to warm up outside, the foliage turns blue-green. 

 

Update your curb appeal with these native plants to Sell your Fox River Valley home for top dollar! Give The Rullo Team  a call at (630) 513-1771 or visit http://www.therulloteam.com/ today!

 

Source: Better Homes & Garden

Officially Winter!

by The Rullo Team

WINTER WONDERLAND?

 

 

 

Now that the temps have become positively frigid, here are a few tips to keep in mind as winter tightens it’s grip:

  1. Protect your pipes: Running a trickle of water will help prevent your pipes from freezing. Also keeping the thermostat at the same temperature day and night but will help keep your pipes becoming frozen and bursting. Your heating bill may be a bit higher, but you will avoid costly plumbing repairs and a huge mess!
  2. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire may be holiday tradition, but you can never be too careful with your fireplace! Always maintain your fireplace properly so that you can enjoy it safely and be sure all embers are extinguished before going to bed.
  3. Salting your sidewalks is a great way to keep them free of ice, but if you have pets try to purchase pet friendly ice melters. Salt gets in your pets tender paws causing irritation, so wiping their paws will also help keep them irritation free.

When the temps are truly dangerous, treat yourself to a day indoors (if you can!) watch a movie, do a jigsaw puzzle or maybe count the days till Spring!!

Happy Holidays from The Rullo Team!!

 

If you are interested in more information about the benefits of home ownership in the Fox Valley Area please contact a real estate professional with the Rullo Team.

 

Speedy Spring Home Sales

by The Rullo Team

Putting your home on the market can be stressful. Showing after showing after showing requires your home to be presentable at all times. You’re forced to vacate at a moments notice, not to mention the kids and the dog.  So, how can you make this process a little less stressful and guarantee your home sells?    

First of all, buyers are always more interested in a home the first few weeks it's on the market, the longer it sits, the lower your chances are of selling quickly and for top dollar.  So, you need to be prepared and come out blazing.

There are three main ingredients in a quick home sale: 

1) It needs to show well 

2) It needs to be marketed well

3) It needs to be priced correctly. 

So, without further ado, here are some of the best tips and tricks to optimize these three ingredients and to ensure a speedy spring sale.  

Rent A Storage Unit

Most people think, “ok, declutter, let’s put everything in the closet.” This is a BAD idea, the closets are part of the home, so anyone viewing the home is certainly going to look at the storage spaces and an unorganized, overstuffed closet doesn’t show well.  Your closets should be as clutter free and beautiful as you’ve mede the rest of the house. Instead of shoving things in the basement and closets, consider renting a storage unit.  It is super convenient and will allow you to keep your home show ready much easier.  As a general rule, you probably don’t need or use a third of your stuff, and it’s actually probably closer to half. Things like holiday decorations, old baby stuff, seasonal clothes, your kids old art projects…put it all in storage. Better yet, you can choose a portable unit, which can be transported on moving day, making your move even more convenient.  

Staging/Photography

A professional home stager sees your home from the most discerning buyer's perspective and a good stager knows exactly how to highlight your home’s best features and minimize it’s flaws.  The first impression a buyer gets is often from listing photos online, so naturally these photos should be the highest quality possible.  Also of note, is that studies show homes with more than six listing photos online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers. 

However, not everyone wants their home staged, and we understand. So, what can you do instead?  Have a friend or two or three take turns walking from the curb through your house as if they were a buyer. Encourage them to look for areas to improve.  Then have your agent do the same thing.  Even the most beautiful homes can benefit from these practices.  

Find The Right Real Estate Agent

Don't hire a real estate agent just because your friend used them or because their son is in your kid’s English class. Hire an agent with a proven track record.  Someone who has proven their ability to sell homes fast.  You want someone who is familiar with the neighborhood.  You want someone who is not afraid to correct your errors.  Face it, they do this for a living and no matter how hard you try, you’re going to miss some things.  Your agent should be able to walk into your home and tell you exactly what buyers will love and hate, and then help you fix those hate points.  

Besides a great track record, look at their reviews.  What is it like to work with this person?  You should also make sure your agent is savvy online, since this is where most Real Estate business starts these days.  Look at the photos on their website (remember tip #2?), make sure they hire professional photographers to take photos of the home. Look at their social media.  Are they utilizing these outlets to sell homes? 

Do Some Work Yourself

If you’re really trying to sell your home, don't leave all the marketing to your agent. Get the word out yourself.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; if you have these use them.  Send e-mails, texts, let people know!  Don’t stop at your friends either.  Make it known in your neighborhood too! You never know who may know someone whose looking for a home in town. Let others help.

Depersonalize

This is Important, and can be hard for some people.  Most homes are covered with family photos and this can make it hard to imagine yourself living their.  At this point it still seems like someone else’s home, but your buyers need to imagine themselves living there. So, no matter how cute those baby pictures are, take them down when you put your home on the market.  Same goes for extravagant art.  You want your home to be interesting, but you don’t want the art distracting from the home itself.  People also have different tastes in art, so if they hate the art, they may find it hard to imagine living there.   

Upgrades

You don't need to go overboard on remodels to make your home more appealing. Honestly, chances are, you probably won’t get this money back in the sale.  So, instead, focus on the little things, especially the kitchen and bathroom.  New sinks and cabinets go a long way! Light fixtures, new shower curtains nice towels; these are all little things that can have a huge impact on potential buyers.  So, instead of spending $35,000 on a full kitchen remodel, get rid of your mismatched appliances and spend $3,500 on new stainless steel appliances. Small investments can make a huge impact, and you’ll have a better chance at optimizing your ROI.  

Lighten Up

Chances are pretty good you are not a vampire, its likely your buyers aren’t either, so brighten up your home.  Dark or poorly lit home can feel a little depressing.  A bright combination of natural and artificial light is the best way to go.  G the highest wattage lightbulb your fixture will allow, which even come in eco friendly styles now and it will instantly make your home brighter and more inviting.  Every time you leave for a showing, turn the lights on and open the blinds.  A fresh coat of paint will also go a long way.  A lighter natural color paint will help make your rooms look larger.  Last finishing touch, a good solid cleaning.  Make those baseboards sparkle!   

Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal is so hugely important, it can’t be overstated.  Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see.  If it doesn’t look great, a buyer won’t even consider it.   So, clean up the yard.  Consider trimming the hedges and the lawn, add fresh mulch, maybe get your lawn edged, a good pressure washing is always good, clean the driveways and walkways, maybe a fresh coat of paint to the trim and shutters as well. Everything matters, even the little things like polishing the brass on the front door.   Go a bit farther, add some Flowers near the entryway, a splash of color helps your home feel alive and inviting. 

Offer incentives

It may seem a little counterintuitive in a seller’s market, however the facts don’t lie. Last year, the best year for U.S. home sales in almost a decade, 37% of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyers.  With the added competition in the market, incentives could be the deciding factor for a buyer.  If you’re a seller and you’re able to offer a little money toward closing costs, you’re making it easier for that buyer, which may in turn make them more willing to give you the full asking price.  So in the end you could end up with a faster sale and a larger profit. 

Know The Facts

Spring and summer are the best times to sell your home.  If you can wait until then, you probably should.  However, selling during the peak season also means there is more competition and buyers can be pickier.  So, if you are selling in the Spring and Summer, these tips are especially important. Another important fact, is that homes that aren’t priced right just don’t sell, and the longer your home sits on the market, the less desirable it is.  Buyers often expect something to be wrong with these homes.  You absolutely have to price your home right, it’s that simple.  Do some research on local comps, get a few suggestions from other agents, and then ultimately listen to your agent, which should be the expert we discussed in the beginning of the article.  It can be hard hearing your home isn’t worth what you thought, but it’s not worth wasting the summer on.  Let your Agent take the lead on pricing and negotiating.

Looking for more information on how to Sell your home quickly this Spring, give the Rullo Team a call 630.513.1771.  Not ready to chat yet? Then visit some of our FREE Seller's Resources.  We also have numerous FREE resources for Buyers.    

Check out TruliaFor great Real Estate information. 

BUYERS

LAST MINUTE IS OK

If you get a call that a buyer wants to see your house in 15 minutes, then for God’s sake, NO for your sake, let them see the house!…yes, even if it’s a bit messy. 

Last-minute types are known to make impulsive decisions, and as such might decide to buy a house that day.  As a general rule, if someone wants to see your house, let them! Whenever it is. 

 NO PLUG IN AIR FRESHENERS 

You know those Plug-in air fresheners, well, not too many people like those.  They are actually a turnoff to a lot of people. 

So if you want your house to smell good, bake cookies right before a showing. This will hit em twice, because you can then offer them a delicious treat while they look at your house.  Now, we don’t want to get too psychological on this one, BUT the pleasure of eating a tasty treat is now associated with your home, which is now a more pleasurable memory than say, if they saw a house without cookies!  Pretty sly eh? 

DON'T SKIP THE FINAL WALK THROUGH

It's absolutely imperative!!! Don’t skip the final walk-through.

DO NOT SKIP THE FINAL WALK THROUGH!!!

It’s your very last chance to confirm all repairs were done properly, that the owner’s personal items have been removed, and that the items you agreed should stay are still there. It’s not uncommon for these things to mysteriously grow legs!  So, do the final walk through!  

 

 

NEIGHBORHOOD KNOWLEDGE

Your agent should be familiar with the neighborhood. One of the number one complaints from
buyers is that their real-estate agent didn’t know, or didn’t warn them about, key issues in a new neighborhood.  While your agent can’t share the economic standing or predominant ethnic background of the people in the area or the local crime rate (as it violates fair housing laws, they can provide you with resources where you can find out this kind of info for yourself.  They should also be able to tell you if there is a bus stop or train near-by, that goes past every 20 minutes.  Your agent should take you around the neighborhood in the morning, afternoon and night, in order to get a real sense of what the area is like.  


BIDDING WARS

Multiple offers, which are common in hot real-estate markets, are a sellers dream, however many qualified buyers are left in the dust. BUT someone has to win the war.  How do you ensure it’s you?  

Well, again, it comes down to your agent. An agent who is well acquainted with other agents in the area and is a skilled negotiator is are two important traits.  Someone whose read Sun Tzu’s “Art Of War” is an even better bet.   You just want your agent ready to go into battle, fully prepared for the fight ahead.  Someone whose been around the block a few times.  Tell your agent what your absolute highest bid would be, this will ensure there is no confusion once the bullets start flying.  This information will give your agent a powerful advantage when working with the seller’s agent, especially when other Agent’s don’t know this information for their clients. 

Now, this requires something from you too, buyers.  You need to be honest with yourselves.  There is a notorious saying in the Real Estate Industry: “Buyers are Liars.”  Buyers will often say things like: “This is as high as I’m willing to go”…then weeks later, change their mind.  This is especially true when losing a bid.  Buyers will say “Oh, I would have gone up  more!”.  This hurts you.  You need to know your absolute highest bid and let your agent know from the start.  The Real Estate Market today moves way too fast, and those who aren’t prepared, lose.  So, be honest from the get go.  

How it works to your advantage:  Once you as a buyer have set a ceiling, your agent can start strategizing.  They can settle on a price and then throw in extras like, covering closing costs, and title insurance, or waiving appraisal fees and other contingencies, all while staying under your ceiling.  It’s not just the home price that matters, it’s often these extra little bits that seal the deal.  

SELLERS

CHOOSE YOUR AGENT WISELY

Beware of Agents who overestimate your home’s selling price. 

Every agent is hoping you’ll choose them over other agents, so, some Agents will say whatever makes you happy in order to secure you as a client, and since homeowners love hearing that their house is worth a lot of money, some agents will price too high, setting unreal expectations for their Sellers.  They in other words “buy your listing”.  AVOID THIS.  It will hurt you in the long run and only guarantees your home will sit on the market for a very long time, and after that long time, Sellers will have no choice but to lower the asking price….which presents a whole bunch of unwanted perceptions of the home.   

On the flip side:

Some Agent’s undercut the price in-order to generate a quick sale and a commission for themselves, even though it may not be the best price for the seller.  

So, it’s extremely important to choose an experienced Agent with a proven track record.  Someone who knows the market, prices your home right, and sells quickly, without sacrificing any money in your pocket.  How do you secure one of these unicorn Agents? Start by googling them, see if they pop-up, then check the listing agent’s references, request a detailed marketing plan, and then meet personally to discuss what the agent can and cannot do for you, during this meeting ask how many transactions they’ve completed this year.  This will tell you right away if it’s someone you want to work with.    

A savvy agent can also put more money in your pocket in non-conventional ways, ways only an experienced agent can do, like:Subtracting furniture, appliances and other personal property from the total price, then having the buyer write a personal check for those items.  This revised home value means a lower transfer tax for the Seller, and a lower property tax for the Buyer.  Not too shabby. 

Simple Things Go A Long Way:

CLEAR COUNTERS

We’re Americans, and for whatever reason we absolutely love vast, wide-open counter space.  So, just clear your counters!   It's that simple. 

STAGE YOUR HOME!  BUT DON'T BE TACKY!

Yes, staging your home by getting rid of clutter and bringing in furniture or accessories can help it sell. 

...But music, champagne glasses next to the bed and fake pies on the countertop? That's a little much, and it will turn some buyers off.

HELP YOURSELF! YOUR NEIGHBORS WON'T.

If your house is for sale and the lawn next door is starting to look overgrown, just go cut the grass for your neighbors. Especially if you have an open house coming up!  It’s a small thing, but it can make a huge difference.

YOUNG BUYERS DON'T WANT OLD HOUSES.

Surveys of home buyers show that many people have a preference for environmentally friendly, technologically up-to-date dwellings that require no more than superficial repairs.

This is especially true of Millennials, now in their 20s and early 30s. According to a study by market researcher GfK Roper Reports, Millennials will bail on a house immediately, if the house is old, tacky and well, uncool.  Millennials want a fun house!  They want the Whirlpool bath, a game room, large walk in closets, a swimming pool; these are all dream home amenities for Millennials. After all, what do you expect from a generation who grew up watching MTV Cribs.  The survey showed High-tech entertainment centers and a sauna/steam room also make their fantasy list, while State-of-the-art kitchens,were less of a priority.

Better Homes and Garden Real Estate‚Äč Survey of 18-35 year olds, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that 64% of respondents said they would not consider living in a home that lacks the latest technology. Even more, 84% of Millennials surveyed said technology is an “absolute essential” for their homes.

More than Millennials, more and more people are looking for Move-In ready homes.  It's just the world we live in today.  People have the money, just not the time to make repairs or upgrades.  

However, if your home isn't techy-fresh! Don't feel glum.  There are simple things like a fresh coat of paint, window treatments, refinished hardwood floors and new carpeting, that can make all the difference. These things will breathe new life into old homes and are relatively affordable.  If it is beautiful and you price it well, it will sell! 

If you want more expert Home Buying OR Selling Tips for the Fox Valley, give The Rullo Team a Call!  We love what we do and can make it work for you! If you're not quite ready to chat, use our Buyers and Sellers resources on the website.  They're Completely FREE!

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