Morning Minute: Selling a home? Quick remodeling fixes that can boost value

Taking the time to freshen up your home with the right remodeling jobs could help you get the best price when it comes time to sell. In the article, “Top 5 ways to boost the value of your home,” the Consumer Reports National Research Center highlights five ways you can spruce up your home and build value. Click here for details but at a glance, the Consumer Reports tips include:

  • Clear out the clutter
  • Make smart updates in the kitchen
  • Freshen up the bathrooms
  • Paint interior rooms but be selective
  • Spruce up the exterior

In other headlines:

Millennials jump into the mortgage market – Daily Herald

3 Big Trends in Residential Design – Daily Real Estate News

Are you following these 2 residential disclosure tips?

To help IAR members avoid problems when representing sellers, Jeffrey T. Baker, Sorling Northrup Attorneys, and IAR Transaction Helpline Attorney, offers two tips regarding completion of the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report.

In the January issue of D.R. Legal News, Baker begins by reminding that the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act requires sellers to provide these disclosure reports in residential real estate transfers, including: transfers by sale, exchange or installment land sales. But he says sellers should take extra caution when reviewing and before signing these reports.

No. 1, Baker says the Report is a legal document and thus sellers should consult legal counsel before completing the form. Real estate brokers should not provide advice on whether the report is required, how it should be completed, or who should sign it.

No. 2, he says the investor-sellers exemption is rarely applicable despite the seller never having lived in the home. Investor-sellers may be exempt from signing reports only when they meet both of the following conditions: (1) they’ve never occupied the house and (2) they never possessed or delegated management responsibility for the property.

Read more about Residential Real Property Disclosure Reports and more in the January D.R. Legal News.

Local TV personality helps Capital Area REALTORS® work with media

On Thursday morning, select members of the Capital Area REALTORS® (CAR) visited the Illinois Association of REALTORS® headquarters in Springfield for media training.

CAR sent a group of its members attend the Thursday morning session as part of its Leadership Academy. Among the instructors were WICS-TV’s Liz Foster and IAR Communications Director Jon Broadbooks.

By explaining how members of the news media collect information and prepare it for viewing by the general public, REALTORS® are trained to see the opportunities for building the brand of their businesses. The process can help IAR members reduce the fear of working with news media, make better decisions and improve public speaking skills.

The event was organized by the Leadership Academy Working Group of CAR.

Morning Minute: U.S. pending home sales dip in December but remain higher than a year ago

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports today that the December Pending Home Sales Index decreased 3.7 percent compared to the month before but is still 6.1 percent higher than December 2013. The NAR index is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the monthly decline could be attributed to the lower inventory of homes available for sale and higher home prices. Click here to read more from NAR.

“Total inventory fell in December for the first time in 16 months, resulting in fewer choices for buyers and a modest uptick in price growth in markets throughout the country. With interest rates at lows not seen since early 2013, the strength in existing-sales in upcoming months will largely depend on the willingness of current homeowners to realize their equity gains from the past couple years and trade up,” Yun said.

In other headlines:

More Buyers in House-Hunting Mode – Daily Real Estate News

Boomerang’ Buyers Set to Surge Back Into Housing Market – Time

Mortgage rates tick up – Freddie Mac

Get your Broker Management CE before prices go up

Managing Brokers – Save yourself some money and relieve stress by signing up for the 12-hour IAR Broker Management Continuing Education (BMCE) webinar, scheduled for Feb. 4 and 5.

The February course costs $139, and starts at 9 a.m. both days, according to the IAR Licensing and Training Center. If you wait until April to satisfy your requirements, the price will go up $20 to $30 depending on when you take it. Managing Brokers who take the course can do so in the privacy of their own home or office.

If you haven’t registered for the event, call 800-523-5077 or visit or email to

The instructor for the course is Norm Willoughby, a licensed real estate instructor, a licensed real estate managing broker and auctioneer. He served as assistant commissioner for the State of Illinois Real Estate Professions Bureau, Office of Banks and Real Estate, from 1995 to 2003.

Since 2003, Willoughby has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Decatur Association of REALTORS®. Since 2012, he’s also served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Illinois Board of REALTORS®.