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Posts Tagged ‘Realtors’

What Does Escrow Mean When Buying Real Estate?

escrowAre you familiar with the term “escrow”? It has several meanings in real estate, but the most simplistic definition is that an escrow account is set up for you by your lender to pay for homeowner’s insurance and property taxes when home ownership costs are due during the course of any given year.

Basically, escrow is when an impartial third party holds on to something of value during a transaction, and in the case of real estate, buyers write an earnest money check when making an offer that is then placed in escrow. The impartial third party holds on to the check until the buyer and the seller negotiates a contract to hopefully close the deal. When in escrow, the buyer and the seller can’t touch the money. It’s in a sort of “real estate limbo”.

The reason the check is handled by a third party is to protect both parties involved. If you put down earnest money and that money goes directly to the seller, what if the seller decides to hold the earnest money as a way to negotiate? When the money is in escrow, you know that everyone involved in the transaction is treated fairly and gets what is due at the same time.

When talking with your mortgage lender, the term escrow will come up again. Terms like escrow, impound or reserves may come up. All terms mean the same thing: they are funds held by the lender to make payments for your homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Another term, prepaids, is money collected in advance for bills to make sure there’s enough money on hand to pay when due.

What’s escrow and closing mean?

When the agreement has been made and the purchase is complete, the term “closing of escrow” will be used. Closing officers or escrow officers will sit with you and oversee the final paperwork and make sure the transfer of funds happens smoothly. During the closing, the officer wants to make sure the recording of deeds, money disbursement and all paperwork has been properly signed and recorded. The closing process does take a little bit of time, but it’s important that all conditions are met to make sure the transaction is accurate and complete.

When does a hold-back of funds happen?

Sales can still be completed with a transfer of ownership when funds are still in escrow. One example of this is if you’ve made an agreement with the seller to stay in the house for an agreed upon amount of time while their new home is completed. When participating in this “rent back” agreement, a real estate agent will advise you to have the escrow agent hold back some of the seller’s proceeds until vacating the premises entirely. The reasoning? Your new home should be left in the condition specified in your real estate contract with no damage, etc.

Sometimes during a final walk-through of the new home buyers find something wrong. Also in some cases, work cannot be done prior to the move-out date. If this happens, it’s a good idea to keep money in escrow to help with the expense. Hold-back of funds is also used in new construction, keeping money in escrow until work is completed and the paperwork is signed.

What’s next?

After escrow is closed and all funds have been distributed, the buyer and seller will receive a final closing statement and completed documents in the mail. Make sure the statement is reviewed carefully and if you see anything incorrect or have a question, contact the closing agent as soon as possible. Next, file the statement with all of your other important papers. When tax time comes, you’ll need to have the documents easily accessible for income tax return season.

Let me help you with your next home adventure! As a licensed Realtor® it’s my goal to help make your real estate dreams come true, sharing my knowledge of our local market as well as offering recommendations during the home buying or selling process. Looking for a new home in 2018? Contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com.

Outdoor Living at its Best

outdoor livingDepending on your lifestyle and your desire for outdoor living, you may have different reasons for purchasing a home for its outdoor spaces. Some of us would prefer to have limited weekend warrior duties, preferring a small backyard or simplified living neighborhood. Others, with growing families and a love of the outdoors, may seek a home with a large yard that backs up to a wooded tree line. If beautiful outdoor living spaces make your heart skip a beat, there are wonderful home features and add-ons to enhance your outdoor living for years to come.

Outdoor rooms, a trend that has been emerging for years, is one of the best ways to fulfill your love of the outdoors. Outdoor rooms can be created by the use of architectural devices such as columns, walls, and ceilings, offering transitional spaces that extend your living spaces out into the crisp, fresh air.

Years ago, patio furniture was quite simple; functional, with not a lot of style and comfort. Outdoor furniture had a distinctive look and it definitely didn’t look like furniture that you would want to spend hours upon hours sitting on. But today’s outdoor furniture has mimicked the furniture in our living rooms, with colorful cushions, pillows, end tables and rugs, all made to withstand the elements of the outdoors (within reason) and bringing your guests outdoors, too.

Privacy is important when homeowners are looking for an outdoor room. Usually this can be accomplished with a tree line, fence or decorative wall. By creating some seclusion for your outdoor living space, not only does it offer the privacy we all crave but adds to the intimacy of your space. Not every dinner party should be interrupted by the curiosity of your next-door neighbor!

Outdoor kitchens, once deemed home features of only the rich and famous, are now achievable options for the aspiring homeowner. Outdoor kitchens can include structurally integrated fire-pits and fireplaces, TVs and custom counters built around the “grill-masters” favorite Weber grill. With comfortable seating and even a beverage refrigerator, this extension will rival many indoor kitchens. The addition of an outdoor space, like a kitchen, supports multiple functions for the homeowner. It will likely also deter guests from always entering the home if you own a pool and instead offer a defined living space for the whole family when entertaining outdoors.

Porches and decks are wonderful outdoor living spaces that have also been modernized. Porches are now being built out of composite materials, extending their life and requiring little maintenance. Screens and enclosed patio walls have turned standard decks off the great room into spaces that can even be used year-round. Offering you shelter from the sun and the elements, even when it’s raining you can still enjoy those 360° views of your backyard’s garden that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. By adding a ceiling fan, furniture and other comfort items, your outdoor living space will be your favorite gathering spot.

Another option for shade is the Pergola. Pergolas can be added to outdoor spaces that may not have existing ceilings or overhangs, offering a way to cool off in the midday summer heat. In a variety of sizes or custom made, pergolas are also a nice decorative touch to your deck or porch. It’s a lighter, more permeable way to enhance outdoor living, but yet very effective. Adding just a little shade to an otherwise sunny spot will also mean you can decorate your patio with flowers and furniture that might not be able to tolerate the heat otherwise.

There are several outdoor living features homeowners may look for in a new home, depending on personal style preferences and interests. With my assistance, I can help you find that perfect home with incredible outdoor living spaces that suit you and your family. I know the local real estate market and have first hand experience about neighborhoods with the best green space available. If you are looking for a new place to call home, it’s time to give me a call at 618-978-2384 or contact me here so that I can help turn your dreams into reality. Happy summer!

Restaurants, Festivals and Fun Events in the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Area

1_Best_Cities_WebIf you are thinking about moving to the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area, there are many things to make you fall in love with it. Edwardsville/Glen Carbon has many restaurants, festivals, and fun things for you to enjoy.

Restaurants

Cleveland Heath, located on Main Street in downtown Edwardsville, was voted Readers’ Choice by Sauce Magazine. From the pork chop, to the chicken wings, to the BLT, you will be sure to find something that will keep you coming back for more.

Global Brew Tap House on North Buchanan is the place for craft beer lovers. They have 50 beers on tap and around 200 bottled brands from all over the world. They also have a hand-selected wine list for you to choose from.

Peel Wood Fired Pizza in Edwardsville is the place to enjoy gourmet wood fired pizza baked in a real wood burning oven. Everything is made fresh from scratch for an amazing taste experience. Your pizza can be pared with their large selection of craft beers or fine wines.

Stur Restaurant serves great seasonal and regional dishes with their own creative twist. It is a nice quiet place for a family dinner or to take your out- of -town guest for a treat.

1818 Chophouse is a comfortable and inviting place that will make you feel like you are a VIP. They focus on the finest steaks, chops, and seafood and highlight seasonal produce to create a unique dining experience.

Festivals and Events

The Edwardsville Route 66 Festival is fun for the entire family. Usually held in mid June, the festival is where you will find great food from several vendors and also local artists displaying their work. You don’t want to miss the Classic Car show where you can walk through the lot for a close-up look at the classic cars being displayed by the local residents. Edwardsville is one of the oldest communities along Route 66. You can visit the history tent and learn more from local historians. You can also enjoy a trolley ride to see the historic buildings in town.

The Glen Carbon Homecoming is usually held on Father’s Day weekend each year. There are games, food, rides, fireworks, a parade, and fun for the entire family during this two-day event.

Bonifest, which is put on by the St. Boniface Catholic Church, is fun for the entire family. It is a great weekend full of music, food, carnival rides and raffles. It is usually held in May each year on Memorial Day weekend.

Parks and Recreation

Yoga in the Park is held on Thursdays 7pm-8pm at Joe Glik Park on East Lake Drive. Another Session is held on Saturdays from 9am-10am at Leclaire Park on Hale Avenue. There is no fee and all you need to do is bring your yoga mat and water bottle.

Movies in the Park is a summer event where you can watch a movie outside under the stars. The family-friendly movies are shown after dusk at the bandstand in City Park. All movies are free. Just bring a lawn chair and enjoy the show.

The Annual Fishing Derby is held every June at Leclaire Park. Prizes are given or the biggest fish and the most fish caught. Kids must be 15 and younger to participate.

Entertainment

The Wildey Theatre is a historical landmark. It was opened in 1909 as an opera house. It later became a movie theater. The last movie shown was attended by over 400 people on March 8, 1994. The city has since acquired possession of the theater and extensive renovations have been made. It is now a venue for live performances and showing classic films.

Edison’s Entertainment Complex is fun for the whole family. They offer unlimited bowling, laser tag, and arcade games. They also have a great food menu. It’s a fun place to host a birthday party or a corporate event.

The Edwardsville Municipal Band has been a tradition since 1843. Along with its weekly summer concert series in City Park, Thursday nights at 8pm, they perform for civic events and march in our holiday parades.

This just scratches the surface too! There is a lot to see and do in Edwardsville/Glen Carbon. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!