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Southern Illinois' 2017 Housing Forecast

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Southern Illinois Housing Market Forecasts for 2017

 

2016 was a good year for real estate, and the trends tracked in that year are giving housing market and financial forecasters a lot of good information regarding the trends that will come with this new year.

 

By looking at the trends that were happening in 2016, we can get a better idea of what will happen in 2017.

 

 

Buyers in Illinois were extremely motivated in November, and because of that, sellers benefitted.  To start out 2017, the trend seems to be indicating an increase in Illinois home sales.  Home sales in Illinois during November 2016 gained momentum, as indicated by double-digit increases in annual home sales.  Statewide home sales are up 14.8% in November 2016 in comparison to November 2015.  Also rising are the gains in median home prices, meaning that there aren’t just more homes selling as of lately, but that the price at which those homes are selling is increasing, as well.  Statewide, median home sale prices are up 7.9% from November 2015 to November 2016.

 

Also trending in an exciting way is the time that a home spends on the market.  In November of 2015,  the average amount of time that a home spent on the market before selling was 68 days in Illinois.  In November of 2016, however, homes only spent an average of 62 days on the market before selling. 

 

From 2015 to 2016, available housing decreased 14.7% in Southern Illinois.  While at a glance, this number may seem like a bad thing for the housing industry, all that it means is that the market is great for sellers.  There are a number of reasons for this, from the demand increasing due to an increased amount of Millennials purchasing homes, an increased number of Baby Boomers buying smaller homes, the largest wage increase going to people ages 35-34, and an infinite number of other reasons.  This trend, in particular, is a driving force of the other trends happening in the market.  Where there is a discrepancy in supply and demand, there is always a group benefitting from that difference. 

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by Illinois Realtor® (http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/node/4142) and Realtor.com® (http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-real-estate-trends-2017/)

 

On an extremely local level, it’s worth noting that St. Clair and Randolph counties are reporting record numbers of year-to-date home sales in November.  In fact, these two counties have seen more homes sold in November 2016 than the total of the previous five Novembers

 

As far as the amount of time that a home is on the market before it sells, St. Clair County saw a 26% decrease during November 2016 from November 2015.  As for Monroe County, there was an incredible 53.8% decrease in the days on market!

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by the Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois (http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

Although this information may seem frightening for those looking to Buy a home this year, this information should be taken with consideration.  The market may be benefitting the sellers a bit more than the buyers, but that doesn’t mean that buyers are seeing negative consequences of the market.  It simply means that currently, there’s a seller’s market in local real estate.  As the President of the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois, Mike Gross puts it, “Now is a great time to take advantage of the unique opportunities of the Metro-East Housing Market… Interest rates are anticipated to inch higher, median home prices are stable, and homes are selling at a faster pace than years past, and sellers are seeing the benefits.  At the same time, buyers are still able to purchase homes at affordable and stable prices.  The Metro-East offers so many great opportunities to build a future.” (Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois, “Metro East Housing Stats” http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

According to Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, the median price of homes sold in Illinois is expected to increase any level from 2.1 to 6.9 percent this year.  The National Association of Realtors® expects home sales in the US to grow modestly in 2017, which would be indicative of the market stabilizing, a great sign for the housing industry.  Although local market trends are so much more important than national ones in regards to what home buyers or sellers should be worried about, there is often a slight correlation, if not with all trends, then with some.  From the way sales nationally and locally went in the real estate industry for 2016, 2017 seems like it’s on the right track.

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by the Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois (http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

2017 really does seem like the right time to Buy or sell in Southern Illinois!

Contact The Linda Frierdich Group of Century 21 Advantage today to discuss your real estate needs!

618.719.3134 IL | 314.649.0221 MO

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Car Winter Safety Kit

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Car Winter Safety Kit 

 

As the winter season settles in, so does the deep cold weather.  The frigid chill that comes along with winter is more than just uncomfortable to endure; it can be deadly.  Every year, tragic stories of stranded motorists facing the challenges of frostbite and exposure to the cold, or sometimes, even death, because they found themselves stranded in a ditch or snow bank with no way out of their vehicle and no cold weather provisions with them. 

 

Maintaining a “Cold Weather Emergency Kit” in your vehicle is not only a good idea, it can be a life-saver.  Winter weather brings foul weather that can lead to slick roads, which can lead to your car finding its way into a ditch or embankment.  In the unfortunate event that this happens, you will be extremely thankful that you’re equipped with survival provisions.  Here is a list of some items that you should include in your car safety kit, should you decide to assemble one.

 


Water in small bottles

 


Water is essential for survival, and even in the dead of winter, no one would like to find themselves stranded with no water available.  To account for the colder temperatures, you should be storing water in small bottles, because the smaller the bottle, the quicker the water will thaw.

 

Spare cell phone charger

 


Most people carry spare cell phone chargers in their car normally, but during the winter, it is imperative that you don’t remove that charger from your car.  In the event that you do get stranded in your vehicle, a dead phone will give no assistance in alerting emergency crews that you are there.

 

Jumper cables or a portable battery charger

 


To ensure that you don’t have to endure the cold, no matter if you’re stranded in a ditch or stranded in a parking lot, it’s important that you prepare for a dead car battery by keeping a spare set of jumper cables in your car, or, better yet, a portable battery charger.  A portable battery charger eliminates the need to have another vehicle with a charged battery present for you to jump your car’s battery.

 

Energy-boosting snacks

 


Keep a handful of nutritious snacks in your car, such as energy or protein bars.  Should you find yourself in a scary winter predicament, you will be fighting hunger as well as exhaustion in the cold weather.  Prepare for that with non-perishable healthy snacks.

 

Tire pressure gauge and sealant

 


Changes in temperature lead to changes in pressure, whether that is in regards to the weather system moving across the country or the air in your vehicle’s tires.  Should you develop a flat, you will want to have a tire pressure gauge to fill your tire up to the proper pressure again.  Should you find yourself with a hole in your tire, you will want to be equipped with a sealant that will enable you to hold enough air in your tire until you can make it somewhere safe.

 

Tire jack and lug wrench

 


Everyone should know how to change a tire, because you never can tell what situation you will find yourself in.  Keep a tire jack and lug wrench in your vehicle, because if you should need to change your tire, you will need both of those tools.  Even if someone else pulls over to help you, they, still, will need those tools to do so.

 

Hand warmers

 


Hand warmers are cheap and sold in large packages.  It is an excellent idea to purchase a large package of these items to keep in your vehicle to help you maintain temperature and blood flow to your extremities, especially your fingers and toes, which become very vulnerable in extreme cold.

 

First-aid kit

 


In the event of a car accident, one would hardly think that a first-aid kit would suffice for caring for any injuries incurred.  However, if someone was injured in a car accident and was stranded from immediate help, they likely would be happy to have the first aid kit in comparison to no medical items. 

 

Tow strap

 


If you find your vehicle stuck in the snow or ice, you may call someone to help you, or you find that a nice citizen has stopped to help you.  Sometimes, to get a car out of the snow, all it takes is a little push.  However, sometimes, it can take a bit more.  Buy tow straps and keep them in your trunk, because that’s the only fool-proof way to be sure that you will be getting your vehicle un-stuck.

 

Head lamp or hand crank flashlight

 


A flashlight should be kept in your vehicle during all months of the year, because car accidents and/or malfunctions do not only happen during the daylight hours.  A hand-crank flashlight is a great vehicle accessory, due to the fact that it will never run out of power, as long as the operator can crank it.

 

Snow shovel and ice scraper

 


A snow shovel can be extremely helpful, should your vehicle become stuck in the snow.  An ice scraper is important to keep in your vehicle at all times, simply because winter weather can happen at any time.

 

Multi-tool

 


A multi-tool pocket knife is also extremely helpful to keep in your car.  Not only can it help you escape your seatbelt, should you not be able to unbuckle, it can also help you with virtually any need you may have in an emergency situation.

 

Warm blanket or sleeping bag

 


A heavy blanket should remain in your vehicle all winter long, but if you want to be especially prepared for a disaster, you should consider purchasing a cold weather sleeping bag.  A sleeping bag built for cold weather can help prevent frostbite and will be more waterproof than a blanket, making it a great survival tool.

 

Winter garb

 


Keep a winter coat, a warm hat, and gloves in your vehicle.  Sometimes we run out of the house iwhtout a coat on.  However, if you found yourself in a car in the bitter cold, with no heater, you would be longing for a winter coat in little time, at all.

 

Road flares/Hazard triangles

 


This may seem excessive, but when discussing the bitter cold weather, it is certainly better to be prepared than to find yourself in an unfortunate situation without the emergency tools needed.  A road flare can help you be seen, even when your vehicle isn’t easily spotted from the road.  Road hazard triangles can help alert other drivers that your vehicle is ahead, especially helpful on a curvy road.

 

 

While this list, like all of ours, is not comprehensive, it certainly is a great tool to begin compiling a winter safety kit for your vehicle.


How to Avoid Frozen Pipes in Your Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

 

Every Winter, it happens.  The temperature outside drops, and an unfortunate person wakes up to a flooded basement, kitchen, or bathroom.  A burst pipe in one’s home can cause thousands of dollars in damage, in addition to a huge mess and loss of important documents, memorabilia, and keepsakes. 

 


 

If you are planning a trip over the colder winter months, it is so important that you remember to turn off your home’s main water valve while you’re gone.  Frozen pipes can happen at any time, and they can prove extremely costly to a homeowner, even when found and noticed very quickly.  Standing water in one’s home for a number of days during an absence is something to avoid at all costs, and that’s why it’s suggested that you simply turn off your home’s water valve any time you will be leaving for more than a day.

 

Although it may seem like there is little that can be done to prevent frozen pipes when the weather turns bitter cold, there are some signs you can look out for that may alert you that your pipes are at risk of freezing or are in the process of freezing.  The most important and most effective way of predicting a frozen pipe is a change in water pressure.  If a faucet or toilet is flowing at a lower pressure than normal, it’s likely a sign that your pipes are freezing or have already frozen.  If you notice this happening in your home, it’s important to try to thaw the pipe at risk with some of the tips offered below. 

 

You should know the risk level for frozen pipes within your own home.  For instance, older homes are often poorly insulated, leading to a much higher risk of burst water pipes.  This risk becomes even higher if the old home is situated over an uninsulated crawl space.  It is important to know what steps you can take to prevent frozen pipes, as well as what to do in the event of a frozen pipe within your home.

 


Wrap the Pipe

 

You can wrap any non-insulated pipes in insulation foam or heating tape to give them extra protection from the cold temperatures.  Both products are relatively inexpensive, especially when weighed against the potential costs of a burst pipe in your home.

 

If you find yourself in a situation where your pipes are already at risk of freezing, or if you notice a change in your water pressure, you will want to act quickly, and a trip to the hardware store to purchase insulation foam or heat tape is not in your best interest due to the time-sensitive nature of the situation.  In a case such as this, there are some quick actions you can take to prevent the pipe from freezing completely.  The goal is to cease any further freezing as quickly as possible, and then work on thawing any freezing that may have already occurred. 

 

Newspaper as Insulation

 

If you have no heat tape or insulation foam on hand, but have noticed a pipe in your home is freezing, wrapping your pipe in newspaper can be an adequate insulator in a pinch.  It can create a nice barrier between the cold temperatures and the pipe. 

 

Foam Board Insulation

 

Another adequate insulator when you are in a pinch is foam poster board for large areas that need extra insulation.  Placing the foam board around a section of pipes that are at-risk of freezing can be the difference between a frozen pipe and a thawed pipe.  While this is certainly not the recommended way to insulate your pipes, it is certainly worth a shot in a pinch.

 

Use a Hair Dryer

 

If you see a pipe freezing, grab a hair dryer and an extension cord and begin blowing hot air on the pipe of concern. 

 

Never, never, use a torch or open flame to thaw your pipes.  Even the smallest ember can ignite and smolder for days.  Many homes have burned to the ground as a result of this method of thawing frozen pipes; don’t let yours be the next statistic.  A hairdryer will get the job done just fine.

 

Use a Space Heater

 

If you notice that your pipes are freezing, plug in a space heater to begin raising the temperature in the area where the at-risk pipes are.  Remember, your goal is not to make the space comfortable and cozy, your goal is to raise the temperature above freezing.  As with the use of a space heater at any time, follow the recommended safety guidelines for your particular model, and keep the heater and cord away from anything that could ignite.

 

Open Cabinet Doors

 

If you find that the temperature is drastically colder under your sink than in your home, it’s not a bad idea to open the cabinet doors to allow the temperature around the pipes to rise, especially on those particularly cold nights.  This simple act can prevent a flooded kitchen or bathroom.

 

Turn Up the Heat

 

If you are at-risk for frozen pipes, especially if you live in an older home with poor insulation, it’s a good idea to turn up your thermostat during the bitter cold.  A higher utility bill is certainly cheaper than the cost of a frozen pipe.

 

Keep Your Garage Door Closed

 

By keeping your garage door closed, you are allowing the temperature inside it to rise more than the outside temperature, which can prevent any pipes around that area from freezing.  Pipes don’t need to be toasty warm to prevent freezing; they only need to maintain a temperature above freezing.

 

Check Your Heat Tape Annually

 

If you have insulated your pipes with heat tape or foam installation, it is imperative that you check your insulation once a year.  Make sure that the insulation you have installed isn’t peeling, falling off, or showing signs of damage in any way.  If you notice that there are some trouble spots with the insulation you have around your pipes, be sure to replace and repair them.

 

Take Necessary Precautions on Vulnerable Outdoor Faucets


The biggest risk every home has for a frozen pipe is within the outdoor faucets.  Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you have already disconnected your hoses from your outdoor faucet.  However, there is a bit more that you can do to protect those pipes in addition to disconnecting your hose.  Here’s a guide for safeguarding your outdoor faucets:


  1.  
    1. If your home’s outdoor faucet is equipped with an indoor shut-off valve, shut it.
    2. Place a bucket under the drain cap and open the cap to begin draining the water.
    3. Go outside and turn on the faucet until it runs dry.
    4. Once the faucet is cleared, turn off the exterior faucet and close the drain cap inside the house.


Following these steps will ensure that your exterior faucet has no water in the sillcock or hose bibb.  If there is water in those places, it is likely to freeze, which will cause the change in water pressure that leads to busted pipes.

 

If your home is not equipped with an indoor shut-off valve, the best thing you can do to safeguard the faucet from freezing is to make sure that the faucet does not drip.  Even a slow drip can freeze, causing a blockage in the hose bib.

 

A frozen pipe can lead to thousands of dollars in damage to a home.  Knowing your home's risk level, as well as knowing what to do in the event that a pipe freezes in your home, can be invaluable information to have.  The more prepared you are, the better your chances are of preventing damage to your home's pipes at all.


Century 21 Advantage Gives Back for the Holidays

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Giving Is Better Than Receiving

 

Century 21 Advantage Office Adopts Local Family for the Holidays 

 


This holiday season, the office of Century 21 Advantage donated time, money, and gifts to a needy family for Christmas.  This time of year tends to make us all feel grateful for the people, things, and circumstances in our lives, but it’s often easy to get caught up in that and forget that there are many others out there who aren’t having the same holiday experience.  When a mother struggles to pay her bills to keep a roof over her children’s heads, it’s difficult for her to give them the Christmas she feels they deserve. 

 

Partnering with a variety of local organizations and the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the United Way compiles a list every year that details the “Neediest Cases” around the St. Louis metro area, on both sides of the river.  It was through this program that the office of Century 21 Advantage learned about a local single mother who was struggling to financially provide for her family of five children, despite working three jobs.  The office decided to adopt this large case, because Century 21 is a fairly large office, and it resonated with all involved that the kids were facing the prospect of having no gifts on Christmas morning.  So, the office got into contact with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois, the organization that was handling the family’s case, and began collecting donations.  The office is proud to announce that they were able to raise enough money to get all the kids a variety of gifts, a stocking filled with goodies and toys, a TV, a laptop (so the kids could do homework), and one of our office mates even donated their WII and a variety of games.  There was even enough left over to give the family in hopes that it could put a dent in their debt and perhaps stop the eviction in progress. 

 

These events that encourage us at the office to give back are so important, because it is so easy to get caught up in our own busy lives and forget about all the people in our own community that are struggling.  It is not only humbling and inspiring to participate in programs like these, it’s also so important that we support our neighbors, because that’s what being a member of a community is all about.  The office of Century 21 Advantage is so happy to get the privilege of helping others, especially during the holiday season, to keep us grounded and involved.  We all feel very lucky to be able to give back to others, because that means that we have a lot to be thankful for in our own lives.

 

We’d like to thank all of the agents in our office who participated in this program, as well as the family and friends that also donated money and goods to help this family have a wonderful Christmas.  Also, we’d like to thank The United Way, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois (in particular, Nancy Rivera, who was our contact through the adoption process and was beyond helpful), and the Century 21 Advantage office that allows us to put working hours into events and programs like this.

 

If you would like to learn more about the 100 Neediest Cases program, click here

If you would like to learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters & what you can do to help, click here.

 

17 Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

17 of Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  Sure, there are some great things that come along with a move.  The excitement of getting a new home, new neighbors, and new opportunities can be amazing to experience.  The prospect of packing up and subsequently unpacking your entire life, however, is a daunting task.  There are some things that you can do to make the whole process easier on yourself, and we have compiled a list of our best ideas.

 

 

 


Make a List


Make a list of everything that needs to get done in the weeks ahead of the move.  Make this checklist 2 months before the move, so that you feel more confident and organized as moving day approaches.  It’s easy to think that you will be able to keep all the tasks straight in your mind, but the fact of the matter is that you will forget some of the things you need to do.  Furthermore, making the list often helps you remember things that you forgot to put on the list as moving day approaches.

 

 


Packing Made Easier

 

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but failure to do this one tip can cause a lot more frustration, time lost, and feelings that you are going into a move unorganized.  Keep all your packing supplies in a laundry basket, so that you can easily carry it from room to room when the desire to pack strikes you.  This basket should contain:  zippered plastic baggies, sharpies, labels, colored markers (if you are color coordinating your boxes), plastic shopping bags and newspapers for cushioning, boxes of a variety of sizes, and any other supplies you have found to be helpful in packing.

 

 

 

Pack and Label the Essentials

 

It can be tough to pack up your entire home and feel like you are doing so in any manner that is remotely organized or planned.  Most often, homeowners get to their new house and become overwhelmed with a feeling that can be summed up with the phrase, “Where do I begin?”  (The same can often be said for those homeowners who are preparing for a move).  To see a list that we have compiled of all the things you should be thinking about having easily accessible on your first day in the new house, click here.

 


 

Mark Boxes Well

 

Obviously, you should be writing the contents on the outside of every box you seal.  You should also be labeling boxes with what room the contents will belong in, so that you can get a handle on some organization even when you are carrying boxes into your new home and stacking them where there’s space.  Also consider these possible labels:  Fragile, First-Night, Do Not Load, and Load Last.  These specific labels help minimize the risk of things getting broken, misplaced, or crammed in the back of the truck when you really need the box’s contents right when you get to the new house.

 

 

Moving Electronics

 

Take a picture of the back of your electronics before you begin unplugging all those cords.  This will make setting it back up so much easier when you get to your new place!

 

Keep cords and hardware for electronics all together.  For cords and cables, toilet paper tubes standing up in a shoebox often work great to keep your cords organized and untangled.  The box then simply gets labeled with the name of the electronic equipment it belongs to.  For other kinds of hardware, consider using plastic baggies with zippers.  They help keep everything together, and can be clearly labeled so they don’t get confused with other objects.

 

 


Heavy Items

 

For your heavy items, such as books, consider using your rolling luggage to move these items.  For one thing, using the bags you already have can save work, space, and money, since they have to be moved anyways.  Utilize their space and ability to be transferred by rolling rather than carrying.  Your back will thank you for this trick.

 

 

General Tips for Moving that we have found to be SUPER helpful…

 

Be sure that you drain any lawn or home equipment that holds oil or gas before you attempt to move those pieces.

Thaw your refrigerator two days before the move if you are taking it with you when you go. 

 

Use Styrofoam plates in between your nice set of plates to keep them from breaking

 

Brown paper bags can work just as well as newspaper for glassware and other fragile items

 

Wine boxes work extremely well for moving glassware in a safe and organized way

 

Connect necklaces and bracelets through toilet paper or paper towel rolls to keep them from tangling during the move.

 

Use labeled zippered plastic baggies for any hardware that has to come out of furniture or other objects for the items to make it through the move.   This will keep them from getting lost or mixed up with other objects’ hardware.

 

Cover toiletries in plastic wrap and then screw their lids on.  Do this regardless of how tightly they seem like they are on.  It hardly takes any time, and the hassle it could save from an accident is totally worth the extra time and effort.

 

Use a slow cooker to store spices in to keep them safe and to utilize the space.  Double win!

 

Cover drawers in plastic wrap (tightly) so that you don’t have to unload and pack up every drawers contents.  You just have to remove the plastic wrap and put the drawers back in the furniture in their new location!

 

Keep any hanging clothes on their hangers, just fold them into a trash bag, cinch it at the hanger tops, and carry them by the hangers.  This will make unpacking the bedroom and closets so much easier.

 

This list may not contain every great moving hack, but these are the ones we found most effective... And we hope you will, too!

The Sellers' Guide to Hosting an Open House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Open House: The Sellers’ Guide

 

Open houses increase both foot traffic inside a home and online activity on that home (assuming your real estate agent is marketing properly and effectively).  There are many who would argue that open houses are less than effective for selling a home, but they, at the very least, spread the word that your home is for sale.  There are a few things you can do to make sure that, after your open house, attendees are talking about it.

 

 

 

 

Curb Appeal: Impress Immediately



You want to be sure that the first impression that those coming to your Open House have is a solid and positive one.  The best way to do that is to make sure that your home has great curb appeal.  “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is a cliché that certainly rings true here.  Clean siding, tidy and trim lawn and landscaping, no clutter, simple decorations, upkeep, and some accents of chic style and color can do a world of good.  In the warmer months, focus on healthy, neat, and bright landscaping to draw eyes to your home; during the colder months, ensure that your home’s exterior is lit extremely well, keep your pathways clear, and clean the outside of your home and landscaping before the treacherous weather of winter hits.  To see a more definitive list of ways to boost your home’s curb appeal, click here.

 

 

Lock Your Valuables

 

We’d all like to expect the best of people, but that doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen.  Be sure that any valuables you have are safely locked away before your open house.  Any money, important documents, banking information, jewelry, guns, and anything else dangerous or of value should be in a secure location before you vacate the home for an open house.  This is the most important thing you should do for a successful open house, because finding an interested Buyer won’t seem quite as important if some of your valuables have come up missing since that day.

 

 

Light it Right

 

 

This is something that sellers should be doing every time there is a showing at their home, as well as when their marketing photographs are taken.  Turn on all the lights in the house.  Well-lit homes appear bigger and leave a more positive, lasting impression on visitors.  No one enjoys picturing themselves living in a dark or poorly-lit home.  This is important to be done at all times of the year, but becomes especially true in the colder months of the year when the days are shorter and there is less natural light flowing into the home than during the summer months.  Be sure that the exterior of your home is well-lit as well, as that will impact the first impression visitors get from your home.

 

Installing brighter lightbulbs can go quite a long way in how well your home is lit.  This is a fairly cheap project to take on prior to an open house, and it could prove to be incredibly effective in how people feel walking through your home.

 

Clean all windows and change dark window treatments, because you should be trying to let in every bit of natural light that you possibly can.  Sheers are fine, because they filter out very little of the natural light, but any heavier curtains should be taken down and replaced with sheers.  If you can’t replace them with sheers, the best thing to do is take them down all together, rather than let them block the light from entering your home.

  


De-Clutter

 


 

If you are planning on living in your home at the same time that your home will be listed for sale, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider consolidating some of your belongings, and possibly even renting a storage unit.  Too much furniture or clutter in a home doesn’t just make your rooms appear smaller, it also distracts the potential buyers, and they will end up focusing more on the stuff than the home itself.  That is something that should be avoided at all costs.  Here are some specific things you can do to help simplify your home before listing it or hosting an open house:

 

Take everything off your refrigerator:  Take all pictures and magnets off of your refrigerator and give the outside (and inside- some buyers DO look!) a good cleaning!

 

Simplify your decorations:  Opt for decorating that is simple and chic, despite whether that fits into your style or not.  Too many decorations are distracting to potential buyers, but a simplified decorating style can help suggest the decorating potential of the home to buyers who may lack the vision to see the home has to offer.

 

Remove any unnecessary furniture from your home:  Consider putting your excess furniture in a storage unit so that your rooms appear larger.

 

Tuck away garbage cans:  Garbage containers can clutter a room since they often sit in the middle of a room.  If their presence in the room during the open house is unnecessary, consider tucking them away under a cabinet or in a pantry.

 

Clean and organize all closets:  Closet space is incredibly important to many buyers, and you can help yours look more spacious by cleaning them out and organizing them.  Consider packing away unnecessary clothes, purchasing closet organizers, and purging closet contents prior to your open house.  Space utilization can make a small space a lot more appealing to buyers.

 

Consider storing area rugs:  While area rugs can be so beautiful, they can actually make a room look smaller.  Furthermore, if they are laid over wood flooring, you’d be much better off letting the hardwood show instead.  This is an important talking point for almost all buyers, so showing off your hardwood can be a really great idea!

 

 

Air It Out

 


 

This may seem like a silly thing to suggest, especially during the winter months, but it is, nevertheless, an effective suggestion.  Homeowners tend to get used to the smells in their homes, but visitors can immediately smell them.  Even if you don’t own pets, you should open the windows in your home for at least thirty minutes the morning of your Open House, but make sure that you leave enough time for your home to warm back up.  And, while on the topic of the temperature in your home, there is an ideal temperature for showings and open houses.  During the winter, 70-72 are the proper temperatures, and during the summer, 70 is appropriate.

 

 

Remove Personal Items from Your Home

 


 

Before your open house, remove the pictures and portraits of your family and friends, and other personal items that may be distracting or speak more to your personality than others.  For instance, sports teams decorations, family portraits, and anything that could be considered offensive or inappropriate to others.  This also goes along with the idea of simplifying your decorations, and as a suggested replacement for some of those decorations that you take down, consider installing mirrors instead.  Mirrors give the illusion of expansion, making your room feel bigger than it is, and they also reflect light, making your rooms brighter.

 


Kitchen and Bathrooms Should Shine!

 

 

The two rooms that, above all others, should be sparkling clean and fresh are the kitchen and bathrooms.  Other rooms in your home get messy and dusty, but the kitchen and bathrooms get dirty.  They need the most attention from you, for two main reasons.  For one, a Buyer wants to feel like they are buying a home with a kitchen or bathroom that has never been used.  There should be no trace of past residents left over in ether room, because that means that there is germy evidence of your stay in that home.  For another, these rooms get more dirty than other rooms in the house, and that is in the back of every buyer’s mind who comes to your open house.  Counter that notion with a sparkling clean space that will make them feel like, if they Buy your home, they will be coming into a seemingly brand new place.  Be sure that all countertops are clear in the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Put everything in a drawer, cabinet, or tuck them away in a storage basket out of sight.  Remember to close the toilet lids before your open house, as well!

 

 

Set the Table

 


 

For the dining area in your home, consider setting the table with simple and chic place settings.  This helps buyers see themselves entertaining or even sitting down to dinner by themselves.  A fork and knife, linen napkin, and even one dinner plate per place would suffice.  Top off your staged dining room with a bundle of fresh flowers in a vase on the table for a really beautiful setting.

 

 

Deep Clean

 

 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it still needs to be mentioned: Clean your home very well before your open house.  Dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, de-clutter, wash windows and mirrors, and attend to anything that needs attention.  Steam cleaning your carpets is never a bad idea, but it is especially suggested if you have kids or pets.

 

If you find stains or marks on any of your walls as you are cleaning, a great tool to help remedy them is the Magic Eraser.  A little bit of water and a magic eraser can work wonders on stained walls!  Don’t underestimate the effect small messes, like wall stains, can have on the impression buyers get from your home.

 

 

Make Yourself Scarce

 


 

Having the homeowners present at an open house (or any showing, for that matter) can make buyers feel awkward and pressured.  It’s important that you vacate your home during an open house, so that buyers can walk through without feeling like there is something to be expected of them, allowing them to get a clear and precise impression of your home.

 

 

Remove Pet Supplies

 

 

Just as the owners should vacate the home for the open house, so should their pets.  Not everyone likes pets, and no matter how often you wash your pets, there is still a strong chance that someone who is not used to the smell of pets in their home will be able to smell pet odor.  This is even more likely if your pets are still in the home!  Be sure that you tuck away any pet toys, beds, and accessories before your open house as well.

 

 

Finish Any Projects You’ve Begun

 


 

If you have started any projects around your house and left them unfinished, be sure that they are finished before your open house.  Seeing half-finished work at an open house is a red flag to some buyers that your home will have repairs that were done with shoddy workmanship.  This will also be a talking point of your home after they leave, and wouldn’t you rather them be talking about some of the good things about your home?

 

 

Do Your Share of Marketing

 


 

Your real estate agent, if you’ve picked a good one, will be advertising your open house on social media before the event takes place.  If you aren’t already doing so, follow their page, so that you may see the posts they make pertaining to your listing.  When you come across their open house advertisement for your home, share it to your own page, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to share it, as well.  This can get the advertisement out to hundreds or thousands more people, increasing the probability that you will have a good turn-out for your open house.  You never know, one of those family members or friends may just know someone who is looking for a house, and it could be a match!

 


There are many things to consider before hosting an open house in your home.  The most important thing to consider is what you would want to see if you were looking for a home.  If you keep that in mind, everything should fall into place.  If you’d like to see further references for selling or showing your home, check out The Linda Frierdich Group’s Pinterest page, Go Team Linda, and be sure to follow the board “Help for Sellers.”

 

We Volunteered at Rosati Center

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

The Linda Frierdich Group Gives Back

Painting Units at Rosati Apartments for Semi-Independent Adults

 


 

Last week, members of The Linda Frierdich Group of Century 21 Advantage, out of Columbia, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri volunteered time and labor at an apartment complex for semi-independent adults.  Referred to this organization through St. Patrick Center, one of Missouri’s largest providers of housing, employment, and health opportunities for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, the Group found time to donate for a few hours.  St. Patrick Center, through all their work, assist more than 5,700 people each year.  Their work is admirable to say the least, and that’s what inspired The Linda Frierdich Group to volunteer through that organization.  Thanksgiving was the perfect holiday to donate; while spending a significant amount of time being thankful for what we have, we also should be realizing that not everyone is quite as lucky. 


So, the Monday before Thanksgiving, our Group headed down to the Rosati Apartments, where semi-independent adults are given the means to have their own apartments with all the amenities they desire, while still maintaining supervision and assistance that’s just a few steps away.  The mission of the program is to provide a therapeutic environment and stability to homeless adults with severe and persistent mental illness.  The organization provides techniques such as counseling, education, training, and medication compliance as the vehicles to rehabilitation.  Our project for the day was to completely paint two apartments in the complex, so that the residents there might have a freshened space to live in.   We arrived and split into two groups, so that we could get both rooms done in the amount of time we had available.  Contributing time to such a worthy organization left us all feeling grateful and self-reflective.  For all of us, it was a great way to start the Thanksgiving week.


The Linda Frierdich Group strives to help others often, because the feeling of brother and sisterhood are what make a community strong and vibrant.  If you are interested in learning more about what St. Patrick Center does and how you can help, as well, click here.  To learn more about the great things Rosati Apartments does, click here.  It’s always important to be thinking of ways to help others, especially during the holiday season.  To read about small ways that you can “give gratitude,” click here and be taken to a blog post that was written prior to Thanksgiving but still rings true for the holiday season, and all times of the year, really.


Tips for Showing Your Home During the Holidays

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Tips for Showing Your Home During the Holidays

 

This time of year is often regarded as a terrible time to sell your home, because the housing market slows during the holidays.   However, this is not necessarily true.  There are a number of things you can do to help your home stand out during the rest, giving you an advantage despite the less saturated market.  In fact, if you play your cards right, there is even some evidence that sellers actually get better results during the Winter months 


There may be less buyers in the winter months, but that means that there are also less buyers.  You can make this work in your favor.  Hire an experienced real estate agent, and price your home right.  Remember, also, that many of the buyers looking for homes in the winter are doing so because they have a specific reason for moving.  Whether it be divorce, job transfer, or any number of reasons, buyers are motivated.  If you are a motivated seller, this can work in your favor in a major way.  Here are some tips to give you an idea of what works (and what doesn’t) for staging your home for sale during the holidays.

 

 

Decorating

 

First things first, decorating your home for the holidays.  There are two schools of thought on whether or not sellers should decorate their home for the holidays when they will be opening the home for showings.  On one hand, it would be awful to overwhelm a Buyer with personal decorations, because for many buyers, it can be difficult to picture themselves in a home that is so personal to the sellers.  Furthermore, many times, holiday decorations can get excessive and make the home look cluttered, which in turn makes the home look smaller and certainly doesn’t leave a good feeling in the buyers’ minds after a showing.  It’s also important to note that not everyone celebrates the same holidays as you do, and some people don’t celebrate the holidays at all.  Decorating your home heavily for the holiday you celebrate might alienate your home from some potential buyers who follow a different belief system than you.


However, there are some really great things that can happen if you decorate your home properly.  A home decorated for the holidays feels warmer, cozier, and more inviting.  Since light is such an important factor in your home’s appeal to potential buyers, including indoor lights into your holiday decorating can be a great way to decorate for the holidays, while helping to illuminate your rooms fully.  Simplicity is key, so when you are digging out the decorations, even if you usually go all-out for the holidays in your home, it’d be a good choice to tone it down this year and think, “simple and chic.”  Steer clear of the kitsch, and perhaps consider leaving many items packed away, at least for this year. 

 

Holiday Lights

 

Just like interior decorations, there are two schools of thought on putting up holiday decorations.  Some people will advise you to steer clear of decorating all together, and the other group will tell you that decorating your home can actually help potential buyers picture themselves in your home.  Keeping it simple is definitely the way to go, should you decide to decorate your home for the holidays.  Don’t go overboard with outside decorations, and sticking to the classics can be a great philosophy.  Steer clear of large lawn decorations, and keep it chic and simple with the lights strung on your home.  Given that it will often be dark when potential buyers are coming to your home, being one of the only homes on your street without lights can make your home look uninviting and cold.  The lights will help illuminate the outside of your home so that those coming to your home for a showing can easily find their way. 

 

The Usual Rules Apply

 

Just like in any other season, the tips for holiday selling also include the ones typically given for home staging.  De-clutter, de-personalize, deep clean, and illuminate well.  Be sure that the interior of your home looks tidy, bright, and maximize the utilization of your space as best you can. 

For more information on general staging tips, click here.

 

Light, Light, Light

 

Winter is often a tough time for many people because of the lack of sunshine and shorter days.  Any real estate agent who knows their stuff will tell you that lighting your home properly goes SUCH a long way on making your home appealing to buyers.  Some homes are designed to let in more natural light than others, and some have better lighting on the interior than others.  Knowing how to play up the light that your home does have is key.  In the winter, days are shorter, and because of that, there will be no natural light flowing into your home during the hours that most showings are scheduled.  Before showings, be sure that you turn on all the lights in your home. 

 

Keep the Outside Clean


Be sure that your home looks clean going into the colder months, because the winter weather can cause damage and dirt to build up on and around your home.  Despite the dripping, sloppy snow, make sure that your home is as clean as can be, so that your home looks neat and tidy despite the weather happening around it.  Keep your porches, walkways, and driveway clear of ice and snow, always.   You never want to turn away a showing, and you certainly don’t want to be liable for anyone getting hurt on your property.  Not to mention, if it is hard to get into, your home will seem less inviting, right off the bat.  


If your home is being listed during the holidays, meaning that your interior photos will be done during the holidays for the advertising of your listing, it is recommended that you either get the photos done before you begin decorating or that you hold off on decorating until after your photos are taken.  The holidays will soon be over, but if your home is still on the market, the images people will be seeing will be dated to the holidays and no longer be appealing in the same way they would be during the holidays.  


All in all, selling a home during the holidays can prove to be a tricky endeavor, but it can also pay off for the sellers, if they utilize the knowledge and tools that are available.  

Wondering What to Do This Weekend?

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Looking for Something to Do This Weekend?


You've come to the right place!


The weekend following Thanksgiving is always so busy.  People are getting out their holiday decorations, beginning to shop for gifts, and looking for things to do to get them into the spirit of the season.  Here are some local events going on in our area that should help you find something to occupy your time this weekend!  


 


Anheuser Busch Brewery Lights

 

This event, which is a huge hit in the St. Louis area, is back again this year, and it returns with a few added features!  Visitors can still enjoy the free self-guided tours down Pestalozzi Street and around the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery.  Guests who are 21 and older receive a wristband for five 5oz samples of a variety of beers, and any hungry visitors can stop at one of the food stations in the Biergarten, where you can find a variety of dishes.  Visitors can also get a jump start on their holiday shopping, because there are a number of vendors selling crafted items at the Stella Artois Market.  New this year is the Bud Light Ice Rink, where skaters can glide along under the red glow of the Budweiser sign on the Bevo Packaging Plant.  Other attractions include the S’mores Station, sand and ice sculptures, and the chance to reserve a private fire pit for up to 8 guests, featuring wait service and 2 printed photos included in the price!

 

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights 2016

 

November 17 – January 1

5-10 pm

Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday

(Excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve)

1200 Lynch Street

St. Louis, MO 63118

 

For further details, click here.

 

 

Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow

 

This popular event is a gem of a St. Louis tradition.  Though it only began in recent years, its popularity has caught on quick.  Visitors can walk through the Missouri Botanical Garden and view the gorgeous light display, surrounded by lovely plants and mature trees.  Along the path, visitors can find food and drink stations with a variety of drinks, including the ever popular holiday drinks hot chocolate and egg nog (while also featuring alcoholic beverages, as well).  Along the way, visitors can find themselves around an area with fire pits to gather ‘round while listening to the live carolers featured in this event.  If you have never been, it’d be a great year to give the Garden Glow a visit—you’ll likely make it part of your holiday tradition from here on out. 

 

Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Garden Glow


The Garden Glow opens to Botanical Garden members on Nov. 18 & to the general public Nov. 19, and it runs through January 1.  It is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Hours: 5-10 pm (last entry at 9 pm)

4344 Shaw Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63110

 

For tickets and more information, click here.

 

 

Santa’s Express Train Ride

 

The St. Louis Union Station always puts on a great holiday event, and this year it hosts with a ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas theme.  Although the train ride is the main focus of this event, there are plenty of other attractions to make your visit even better, including spectacular holiday décor, North Pole Village and activities, ice skating, and the new Fire & Light show!  The centerpiece of the event, the Santa Express Train Ride, takes ticket holders on a train ride out of the St. Louis Union Station to view the wonderful holiday features along the way. 

 

Santa’s Express Train Ride at Union Station


Wednesdays-Sundays, November 18-December 30

Trains leave the station at:

4:45, 6:15, 7:30, 8:30

1820 Market Street

St. Louis, MO 63103

 

For tickets and more information, click here.

 

 

Belleville’s Chriskindlmarkt

 

Chriskindlmarkts have begun to sprout up all over the country.  They are open-air Christmas festivals based on Bavarian traditions, but Belleville’s celebrations focus more on this area’s German heritage.  The event features European vendors and traditional German food and refreshments, as well as a Children’s lantern parade around this historic square on Friday night, cultural activities, arts, crafts, music, and dancing.  Even the way the vendors have their stations set up is unique, operating in individual wooden chalets and offering German lace, hand-blown glass ornaments, amber jewelry, nesting dolls, and more.  Head down to Belleville this holiday season and see what they have to offer.  You may even get a few gifts while you’re there!

 

Belleville's Chriskindlmarkt


Downtown Belleville

November 25-December 23

Sundays – Thursdays: 10 am – 7 pm

Fridays & Saturdays: 10 am – 9 pm

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

Waterloo’s Glow Parade

 

Each float boasts over 1,000 lights, so attendees know that they are in for a real visual treat at this Waterloo tradition!  The parade starts at Gibault Catholic High School and follows the Porta Westfalica Route to downtown Waterloo.  There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than spending an evening in your community admiring all the holiday spirit your neighbors have!  Keep your eyes out for parade marchers in holiday-inspired costumes!

 

Waterloo's Glow Parade

 

Downtown Waterloo, IL

Saturday November 26

5:30 pm

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

Waterloo’s Christmas on the Square

 

This annual holiday event takes place in Waterloo’s historic downtown area.   Visitors have many chances to win great prizes, and Santa will even be in attendance!  In fact, free carriage rides take place from 12 pm – 4 pm each day!  Visitors who also wish to stick around for the GLOW holiday lighted parade can stake out their spots early and ring in the holiday season in Waterloo’s square.  Post-parade, the public is invited to a chili supper at the SPPCS grade school.  Sunday’s attendees get to vote on their favorite decorated lamppost around the courthouse square.  This event will also feature a free concert from the Waterloo Municipal Band on Sunday at 1 pm and a kettle corn vendor!  There is so much to offer to the community!

 

Waterloo's Christmas on the Square

 

Downtown Waterloo

November 26 – 27

 

For more information, click here.



Small Business Saturday


The Saturday following Black Friday has recently been dubbed, "Small Business Saturday," an event all across the country that urges consumers to consider spending their holiday money locally.  Small businesses, boutiques, craftsmen, and artisans all have sales on Saturday to help drive business.  Shopping around your community is more than just an enjoyable way to spend your Saturday, however.  Supporting small businesses this holiday season is such a wonderful choice to make on so many levels.  Money spent in the local economy has a much better chance staying local.  The more successful the businesses in your area, the more valuable homes are in that area.  Spending money at a small business is likened to investing in making someone's dream come to fruition.  There are so many wonderful things that come from spending your money at a small business or local craftsman or artisan.  The best perk about going out and spending money at small businesses this holiday season, though?  The gifts you give will be totally unique, and you're bound to find some things that your family and friends will LOVE!


Small Business Saturday


Your hometown

All Day Saturday

November 26

 

For information on Small Business Saturday and all that it does for your community, click here.


Things to Do in the Area this Weekend

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Events Happening this Weekend

 

This weekend brings on the last weekend before the official start of the holiday weekend, and there are so many events happening locally to help ring in the season!  Here are a few of the exciting things taking place in the Metro area this weekend!

 

 


Anheuser Busch Brewery Lights

 

This event, which is a huge hit in the St. Louis area, is back again this year, and it returns with a few added features!  Visitors can still enjoy the free self-guided tours down Pestalozzi Street and around the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery.  Guests who are 21 and older receive a wristband for five 5oz samples of a variety of beers, and any hungry visitors can stop at one of the food stations in the Biergarten, where you can find a variety of dishes.  Visitors can also get a jump start on their holiday shopping, because there are a number of vendors selling crafted items at the Stella Artois Market.  New this year is the Bud Light Ice Rink, where skaters can glide along under the red glow of the Budweiser sign on the Bevo Packaging Plant.  Other attractions include the S’mores Station, sand and ice sculptures, and the chance to reserve a private fire pit for up to 8 guests, featuring wait service and 2 printed photos included in the price!

 

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights 2016

 

November 17 – January 1

5-10 pm

Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday

(Excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve)

1200 Lynch Street

St. Louis, MO 63118

 

For further details, click here.

 

 

Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow

 

This popular event is a gem of a St. Louis tradition.  Though it only began in recent years, its popularity has caught on quick.  Visitors can walk through the Missouri Botanical Garden and view the gorgeous light display, surrounded by lovely plants and mature trees.  Along the path, visitors can find food and drink stations with a variety of drinks, including the ever popular holiday drinks hot chocolate and egg nog (while also featuring alcoholic beverages, as well).  Along the way, visitors can find themselves around an area with fire pits to gather ‘round while listening to the live carolers featured in this event.  If you have never been, it’d be a great year to give the Garden Glow a visit—you’ll likely make it part of your holiday tradition from here on out. 

 

Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Garden Glow

The Garden Glow opens to Botanical Garden members on Nov. 18 & to the general public Nov. 19, and it runs through January 1.  It is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Hours: 5-10 pm (last entry at 9 pm)

4344 Shaw Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63110

 

For tickets and more information, click here.

 

 

Belleville Flea Market

 

Get some holiday shopping done early by attending this unique event featuring a variety of products.  Vendors will be situated both outside and inside the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds, and the event boasts over 600 tables and 300-400 vendors selling antiques, collectibles, and merchandise, both old and new!  Shoppers can head to this event and get some of their holiday shopping done early, and they will find so much variety of products and price ranges.  Parking costs $3.00, but admission to the Flea Market is free!

 

Belleville Flea Market

November 19 & 20

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

200 South Belt East

Belleville, IL 62220

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

Santa’s Express Train Ride

 

The St. Louis Union Station always puts on a great holiday event, and this year it hosts with a ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas theme.  Although the train ride is the main focus of this event, there are plenty of other attractions to make your visit even better, including spectacular holiday décor, North Pole Village and activities, ice skating, and the new Fire & Light show!  The centerpiece of the event, the Santa Express Train Ride, takes ticket holders on a train ride out of the St. Louis Union Station to view the wonderful holiday features along the way. 

 

Santa’s Express Train Ride at Union Station

Wednesdays-Sundays, November 18-December 30

Trains leave the station at:

4:45, 6:15, 7:30, 8:30

1820 Market Street

St. Louis, MO 63103

 

For tickets and more information, click here.

 

There are so many great things to do this weekend to get ready for the holiday season to come!  If you're one of those who likes to wait until after Thanksgiving to begin your holiday celebrations, all of these events, except the Flea Market, are open through the end of December or beginning of January, so you've got some time!  

 


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Photo of The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group Real Estate
The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

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