Tag Archives: Realtors

15 Summer Chicago-Area Home Maintenance Tips

15 Summer Chicago-Area Home Maintenance Tips


     Temperatures in the Chicago area are to be in the mid-80’s today.   Finally!  Warmer weather has arrived!

     If you’re a Chicago-area homeowner like I am, this means you’re heading outdoors to perform routine summer maintenance chores.  Particularly after this year’s hard and long winter, there’s plenty to be tackled.

     Having a Checklist of items helps me remember what needs to be accomplished around my home and property for the hot summer months ahead.  Below you’ll find the handy checklist I use.  Hope it proves useful as you assess and maintenance your home …

Warm Weather Home 
Maintenance Checklist
    1.  Evaluate and inspect your roof.  Check for missing or loose shingles.  Examine the flashing around the chimney and any skylights.
    2.  Inspect your gutters, downspouts, and exterior drains.  Clean them of any debris.  Make sure gutters and downspouts are securely attached to your home.
    3.  Check your HVAC system.  Have a professional perform a thorough check-up.  An annual check-up should include the changing of any filters and cleaning.
   4.  Repair your driveway and sidewalks.  Freezing cold, salt, and snow can be damaging.  Patch cracks and re-seal, where applicable. 
   5.  Inspect the siding of your home.
   6.  Check and/or replace window and door seals.  Caulk so windows and doors remain airtight and watertight and you keep pests/bugs out.
   7.  Check your window and door locks to make sure they are working properly.
   8.  Check pipes inside and out for leaks caused by winter’s freezing.
   9.  Clean and pressure-wash any decks.  Repair any loose handrails, boards.  Re-stain, seal, or paint to protect the wood and improve curb appeal.
 10.  Take a good look at your lawn and landscaping.  Repair, rake, clean, prune, and weed away winter’s remains and dead vegetation.
 11.  Trim back tree, bushes, and shrubs.
 12.  Inspect and repair any fencing on your property.
 13.  Open up basement windows and air your basement out.
 14.  Inspect all detectors in your home.  Replace batteries.
 15.   Inspect your attic for leaks or infestation.  
     Note:  I recently found an App that offers seasonal home maintenance tips and suggestions.  It will remind you when to perform valuable routine maintenance around your home.  You can download it to either iPhones or Androids.  
     Click here to get this helpful App:  
     You’ve now maintenanced, protected, and increased the value of your home.  Relax and enjoy beautiful Chicagoland … 
     *  Hoping to become a Chicago-area Home Buyer?  Looking to Build or Refinance in the Chicagoland area?  Contact Me now!  I’ll put my 37 years of Mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf.
     I can be easily found at:
Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell or Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281
Click HERE for your 
FREE Mortgage Consultation! 
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Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender, a Lender with 36 years of mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA, and Portfolio Loans in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  The Lincoln-Way Area, Will County, (New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Manhattan, Joliet, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Naperville, etc.), DuPage County, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and elsewhere within IL

Is it the Right Time for You to Sell Your Present Home & Buy the Next?


Is it the Right Time for You to Sell Your
Present Home and Buy the Next?

https://1609956119.secure-loancenter.com/FreeConsult.aspx     The final decision to Refinance your existing Mortgage (or  not), should be based on one simple thing.  It must make good financial sense …  

     That decision is often times determined by the length of time you, as a Homeowner, “guesstimates” you’ll own your loan (i.e., stay in your present home).  A good rule-of-thumb is that the monthly payment savings received through the Refinancing (at minimum), should “pay back” your Closing Costs for your Refinance.  

     Similar (and additional) considerations need to be made by those Homeowners hoping to upgrade or “step-up” to a bigger and better home and becoming Home BUYERS again.  For those in this situation, it’s important to remember: 

     ALL transactions are not created equal.  In most transactions, Home Buyers pay a “fixed” amount of Closing Costs.  “Variables” that affect that amount could be (but not limited to):

     Sometimes, these costs can be paid for by the Sellers, if negotiated into the Sales Contract.  Otherwise, Home Buyers can easily pay up to $5,000 for costs associated with buying.  In simple math this equates to:  A Homeowner’s 5-year stay in their purchased home costs $1,000 a year.  ($5,000 of totals costs, divided by the number of years in the home (5), equals $1,000 of costs per year.)

     This fact also needs to be considered: During the time you’ve lived in your home you’ve paid down your Mortgage balance … year by year, payment by payment.  Maybe you’ve even paid some extra to the Principal too.  

     On the Sales side of their transaction, Sellers must remember:  Their home’s Appreciation or Depreciation in value must also be considered.  In a good housing market, the home will have appreciated in value during that duration of time.  That Appreciation helps to cover the costs they as Sellers face when they move on.

http://www.genemundt.com/ContactUs.aspx     As a Seller, it’s a good rule-of-thumb to assume that costs will equal 8% to 10% of the Sales Price of your home.  That varies of course, depending on the state, city, county, and the percentage of Real Estate Commission being paid.

     While your decision to move can be ruled by emotional reasons or the need for a lifestyle change, the decision should definitely include financial considerations, as well.  No matter your reasons, if you’re ready to move, it’s important to “do the math” regarding a move and sale.  Obtaining a Realtor’s opinion of what it will take to sell your home is wise.  

     Down Payment funds are critical to any purchase, but especially for those Selling one home and buying another.  BEFORE you agree to list your home and sell it, get Pre-Approved by a Mortgage Lender to discover your options or limitations for purchasing your next home. 

     Most U.S. Homeowners consider a move within the third and fifth year after their first purchase.  National averages have shown that most 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgages last an average of  7 years (approximately).  When Sellers retain control of the timing of their moves from one home to another, they are more likely to come out ahead.  

     Is it the Right Time for You to Sell Your Present Home and Buy the Next?  Possessing the facts and information needed to make sound financial decisions greatly reduces the stress that accompanies the Buying and Selling of a home.  

     In Chicagoland, contact me so we can discuss your plans and do the math for your personal scenario.  We’ll discover what options exist for you.  That way you’ll be better prepared to make sound Sellingor Buying decisions …        



*   I can be easily found at:

Direct:  815.524.2280
eFax:  815.524.2281
Cell or Text:  708.921.6331


Click HERE for your FREE Mortgage Consultation!
Ready to Apply for your Mortgage?









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Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender, a Lender with 36 years of mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA, and Portfolio Loans in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  The Lincoln-Way Area, Will County, (New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Manhattan, Joliet, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Naperville, etc.), DuPage County, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and elsewhere within IL




Hoping to Buy a Home? Juggling some credit? Don’t drop the ball.

Hoping to Buy a Home? 
Juggling some credit? 
Don’t drop the ball.
    Juggling some credit?  Credit … credit scores … credit cards … debt? 
      Knowing how to handle or utilize your credit and debt to your advantage can  seem much like a juggling act.  Lose control of even a portion of it or for a second … and you can drop all the balls.  Both figuratively speaking and literally.
      The topic of credit is obviously one touched-upon often as I speak to my mortgage clients.  Questions arise as to the best plan of action regarding the credit and accounts they have … or need to open  in order to have good credit scores  and healthy credit.  And yes, you read that correctly.  Ironic at it may seem, having NO credit or debt (paying Cash for everything) actually works against you when applying for a mortgage.  I know, go figure.
    Many of the questions I receive revolve around the myths and misperceptions regarding the paying off of debt and CLOSING of credit accounts. Credit can be a tricky topic to fully grasp … and it doesn’t make it easy for my clients to understand, when there are no concrete, full-proof rules or recipe to follow regarding this topic.
     Credit, the optimization of credit scores, and the closing of accounts, remains a very personal, very individualized equation specific to the person seeking the advice.  What is the right plan of action for one person may actually be the worst plan of action for another.
    I try to help my clients understand the delicacy and fragile balance of their credit and credit scores by telling them to think of their credit and debt like “ratios” in a math equation … or like a scale.  What effects those “ratios” or how well the scale balances can be:
  •  The number of credit accounts you have
  •  How much is owed on each account
  •  The accumulative amount of the debt you owe
  •  The “age” of each account
  •  The type of credit/account it is
  •  And More …
    See how and why it can get so confusing?
     Credit scores can be damaged or lowered if the wrong credit account is closed.  But you don’t want to just neglect old accounts with zero balances either.
     There is also a right way and wrong way to close out an account.  And you want to make sure you receive actual verification or proof of record from the creditor after taking this action.  (Just to play it safe and protect yourself, should questions concerning the account arise in the future.)
     Juggling balances from one card to another can get your “ratios” out of whack too.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul can drive your credit scores down.  Exactly the opposite reaction you’re hoping for.
     Considering all of the above, you can begin to see why it’s so important to seek guidance from your Mortgage Lender  when hoping to improve your credit scores to their maximum potential.  Why it’s so important to take action and seek help, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer.
     If YOU are hoping to buy a home in the future … and you have multiple credit cards, rent, car payments, or other debt in the mix … NOW is the time to talk to a Mortgage Lender.  They will know what YOUR personal credit and debt ratios should and need to be to secure mortgage approval when you buy a home.  Plus, they will know how to best optimize your credit to your advantage, allowing for the best mortgage program options and interest rates to choose from at the time of your home purchase.
    Please remember this too …
     Polishing your credit and optimizing your credit scores can take time.  Months.  A year.  Maybe even longer.
     Interest rates are presently at historic lows. But home prices are on the rise.  If you should hope to take advantage of the perfect blend of low interest rates and lower home prices, now is the time for action.  And the further ahead that you start the process, the better positioned you will be when you buy your home.
    Hoping to Buy a Home?  Juggling some credit?  Don’t drop the ball. Act now so we can talk together soon!
    *  Hoping to buy a home or refinance in Will County, Chicagoland, or elsewhere across the country? Contact me today!  I’ll be happy to hear from you and put my 35+ years of mortgage experience and expertise to work for you on your behalf.
    I can be found at the following:
Cell/Text:    708.921.6331 
Email: genemundt
Skype:    630.219.1316 

Searching for Your New Home Alone? Really? Think it Over … Pt. 1


      Are you presently contemplating … or actively seeking … a new home to buy?  If so, you are not alone …

     An article offered on May 5th, 2011 on  SmartMoney.com  (written by Annamaria Andriotis) states that the above is indeed true.  More Americans ARE presently out looking for homes to purchase.  YOU are not alone in your housing search. 
     But the article goes on to state that you may also be a portion of another growing statistic … homebuyers actively searching for their new home without the aid of a real estate agent
     Now, before I go any futher, I want to offer-up some facts regarding my own personal mortgage lending business … and from where it is derived.  I believe this information will provide some validity and credibility to the information and suggestions I offer here later. 
     I, and most mortgage lenders, will not deny that real estate agents play an important part in the introduction and securing of business clients.  The AMOUNT of business that is done as a result of real estate agents’ referrals can only be an individual mortgage lender’s accounting.  That accounting is where the differences will lie between the mortgage lenders.  Simply put, some mortgage lenders rely heavily on real estate agent referrals … others do not.  
     That said, the largest portion of the business I personally enjoy, comes from my own past clients … either from their own new home purchases or present-home refinances, or the referrals they graciously pass on to me. 
      Do I also enjoy referrals from real estate agents?  You bet I do.  Let there be no doubt about it.  Agents are presently … and always have been … a very important part of my business success.  Many reading this blog will tell you that  they found my mortgage services through the referrals of their real estate agents
      However, because of the great amount of business I derive from other sources, I am not dependent solely on real estate agents for my livelihood.  My opinions expressed here are not based or tainted on great need. No, it concerns me that many of those currently seeking new homes are attempting to do so without any professional real estate guidance for other very valid reasons. 
      Perhaps my greatest concern springs from the realities to be found within the current housing market and mortgage industry themselves.  Let me tell you, if there’s ever been a time within the 35 years of my mortgage career that good sound advice, strong guidance, valuable assistance, and industry insight has been needed more … I’m not sure when that’s been. 
         It’s my opinion that now, more than ever,  you need every positive influence and bit of professional guidance to be found when navigating the home buying and mortgage financing waters.  Working with dedicated, knowledgeable real estate professionals should be your life preserver.  Not what drowns you.
         As a mortgage professional, I’m acutely aware of the public’s perception of our mortgage industry and real estate professions.  It’s an every day reality we face.  To put it delicately, many home buyers feel they were “burned” or mishandled during past home buying and mortgage transactions.  And there can be no denying that the perception is true in many cases. 
       But I would offer this thought up for contemplation should you be someone presently:
  •  Currently seeking a new home to buy without a Buyer’s Agent
  •  Thinking of heading into the housing market in the near future without any professional real estate agent’s guidance and services 
  •  And you have experienced difficulties with a real estate agent in your past transactions (or know someone that did)
     It was not that you chose to work with a real estate agent that was the source of  past problems. 
     The problems stemmed from working with the  WRONG  real estate agent. 
  •  If you received less than satisfactory service
  •  If you did not get the guidance you needed
  •  If the marketing of your home sale was not what was promised
  •  If there was poor communication, poor response time, lack of knowledge or professionalism, etc. etc. etc. …
     It was the individual you were working with at the time.  NOT the profession as a whole.
     The old saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” contains very wise advice for those contemplating this “go-it-alone” home buying approach.  Don’t throw the idea and all that can be gained by working with an agent out the window. Just take pro-active steps to insure that you find the RIGHT Buyer’s Agent to work with this time.
     But what are those steps?  How do you go about finding the right Buyer’s Agent?  
    Educate yourself!  Educate yourself as to the correct steps to take in your search for a Buyer’s Agent.  I will outline the steps I recommend for finding a qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced Buyer’s Agent in … “Searching For Your New Home Alone?  Really?  Think it Over”, Pt. 2. 

“I Believe … I Believe … I Believe”. The Lesson Real Estate Industry Professionals Can Learn From Hollywood.


Ever notice how a business or business office can have a tangible personality or “mood” within it?  I’ve found that to be true … and that it’s fairly easy to pick-up on that mood and/or personality soon after entering it too.  Some places just seem to have an upbeat atmosphere or vibe to themselves … while others definitely do not. 

     I visited some of my referral-partner offices the other day.  When I Office Water Coolerentered one office, I could read the “mood” instantly, and it wasn’t real good.  There was definitely tension in the air.  Seemed I had stepped into a rather heated “water cooler” talk taking place.  Given this was a real estate agency, not surprisingly, this animated discussion revolved around the economy and the current health of the real estate market. 
    There was a definite divide in opinion amongst the participants in this conversation.  Half were expressing an upbeat report on the market and its prognosis for the near future.  They were seeing some positives.  For them, the real estate market is beginning to show definite signs of life and improvement.  Although still nowhere near perfect, they are seeing encouraging signs and are hopeful for their future.    
    The other half had a dramatically opposing view and expressed little hope that their circumstances would change in the near future.  Some were even saying the word never.
      Now, my wife has a friend Lisa, who’s always repeating the mantra … “thoughts  are things” … “thoughts  are  things”.   Lisa simply refuses to think negative thoughts or repeat downbeat messages.  Her view is … that if you think things suck … they will.  
     The opposite also holds true.  Think optimistically and positively … and you draw and experience positive actions and energy.  Think George in “Seinfeld”.  George’s thinking is muddled and over the top, no doubt … but it’s definitely positive and strong.                  
      George says,  “It’s not a lie, if you believe it”

        Basically the message is … If you believe something … for YOU it becomes reality.   I’m not recommending George’s take on this, but you get my drift.

     Our friend, Lisa had been preaching her message of “karma” and thinking to my wife, Marilyn, again this last week.  (Now if anyone has a reason to be negative or down, it would be Lisa.  She works for a homebuilder.  You know how that storyline is going, right?)  But there she was, spouting positive thoughts during their conversation. 
     Well,I got thinking about Lisa’s mindset/message after leaving that water cooler  the other day.  And before someone says it, I’m not trying to stick my head in the sand or deny the obvious of the market or reality.  Nor am I saying this is an observation limited only to agents.  You could fill in the “blank” with any real estate industry profession.  Heck it could be loan officers.  My observations and message here would remain the same.
    But for the record, the real estate agency I was visiting that particular day is one where I have come to know the agents very well over a long extended period of working together.  I’m very aware of the production and work habits within the office.  And as I see it, here is how that water cooler discussion was breaking down …
    The naysayers … those that see only doom and gloom?  They are approaching their current business as though it is dead.  Their view is that of “victims”.  There is nothing that they can change … nothing they can do … nothing that they can shake-up in their routines or methods of business to make circumstances any better for themselves.  They conduct their days and marketing as they always have … or are doing less.  They think that approach is “cost and time efficient” right now. 
    And guess what?  Most of them have not done one deal or iota of business for a long time.  They sit at their desks hour after hour, waiting for a new buyer or seller to miraculously appear, walk through the door, and beg them to assist them. 
    In contrast, the agents taking the proverbial bull by the horns … they’re shaking up the way they conduct business AND THE APPROACH TO THEIR MARKETING … they’ve taken a firm positive hold on their mindset and are overwhelmingly positive in their approach to their business … they’re aggressively promoting themselves and their business in new and inventive ways (think social media, blogging, etc.) … and they’re actually DOING business.  In fact, a few are relating that they are busier and more successfully productive than ever before!
    Maybe it’s the time of year, (or the fact that they’re already promoting Holiday movies on TV, but the movie   “Miracle on 34th Street”  popped into my mind too while mulling the water cooler conversation over.  If you’ve seen this classic, you’ll remember that little Susie wants desperately to convince herself that Kris Kringle does in fact truly exist … and that he’ll bestow on her the one thing she wants most … a home
(Rather appropriate and timely, don’t you think??)
    But as you can see above, Susie isn’t quite convinced at this point in the movie … in fact, she’s downright sure that Kris Kringle doesn’t exist and even pulls on the old man’s beard to check him out.  Pretty tough little cookie, isn’t she? 
    Hmmmmmm …
    I suppose if you want to go out on a limb, all sorts of parallels could be drawn throughout this movie’s entire storyline (and outcome), our present day real estate industry, and how we in the industry approach it.  Perhaps it’s my imagination … but I just couldn’t help but make that connection between this Hollywood movie and what I was hearing and seeing in that agency.  
    As Susie states later in this movie …“I Believe” … “I Believe” … “I Believe” …
   I can’t help but think that the positive thinking, positive acting, positive “karma” real estate agents … (and yes, anyone approaching their business or profession positively) … will reap the same rewards and success that Susie does at the end of  “Miracle on 34th Street” ... or that my wife’s positive-thinking friend, Lisa, has of late.  Calls and emails are going to pick-up.  Website rankings will improve.  Word of mouth will spread … and much more.   Besides, what is your alternative?
    People want to work with positive, successful people … it’s that simple and it’s been proven over and over again.  Think about it on a personal level.  Who do YOU want to work with???  If you’re positive, successful, and pleasant to be with and work with … clients/public interest will be there in measure and return.  Your successes and positives arelike a magnet and will breed even more interest, more success, and business for your future. 
    Hollywood has offered us many video classes and opportunities for education on  “How to Believe 101”.  The classes and education are not limited to just these two examples.  It has shown us the rewards possible if we are willing to make the effort,  shake things up, remain positive, and believe in ourselves. 
    Have you paid attention in these classes?  Have you learned your lessons? Will you say for yourself and yourbusiness … 
    “I Believe” … “I Believe” … “I Believe”?