Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2

Quiz: Buying a home

by Terry Sullivan - Lyons-Sullivan Realty

You’ve decided it’s time to buy a home. Maybe you are renting and are ready to own your own place. Maybe you’ve bought before and want to relocate. Maybe you just got married and you will own your new home with your spouse. Whatever the reason, whatever your experience with buying real estate, there are some key things you should know.

Test yourself and see how savvy a home buyer you actually are with this quick 10 question quiz. Good luck!


1. In the United States, can a bank or lender charge you a penalty for paying off your mortgage early?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Only in certain circumstances

2. How much of a down payment do you need on a new home?

  1. 5%

  2. 10%

  3. 20%

3. Who pays the agent?

  1. The buyer

  2. The seller

  3. The buyer and the seller split the agent fee

4. What types of inspections are required before closing on a home?

  1. Termite

  2. General home inspection

  3. Radon

  4. All of the above

  5. None of the above

5. What’s the first step in buying a new home?

  1. Packing

  2. Calling your Lyons-Sullivan Realty professional

  3. Securing financing on your new home

  4. Looking online for possible homes

6. In addition to the mortgage payment, what other costs do buyers need to consider?

  1. Remodeling, entertaining and mortgage insurance

  2. Mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance and property taxes

  3. Groceries, homeowners insurance and donations

  4. Mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, property taxes and closing costs

7. Who is responsible for the property taxes on a home?

  1. The lender

  2. The homeowner

  3. The county

8. Who comes to a real estate closing?

  1. The buyer/s

  2. The seller/s

  3. The buyer’s and seller’s attorneys

  4. The real estate agents

  5. The title company or bank representative

  6. All of the above and sometimes more!

9. When assessing a home buyer’s finances, mortgage lenders don’t consider:

  1. How you handle credit cards and credit card debt

  2. Whether you pay your student loans on time

  3. What you had for dinner last night

  4. Your payment history on your car

10. What’s the best reason to buy a home right now?

  1. Mortgage rates are low

  2. It is a buyer’s market

  3. Your parents gave you the money for a down payment

  4. You are ready to take on the responsibility of being a homeowner





1. c) In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put forth rules that went into effect January 10, 2014. The new CFPB rules prohibit prepayment penalties for most residential mortgage loans, except under a few specific circumstances.


2. a) While traditional mortgages require a 20% down payment, buyers can secure an FHA loan for as little as 5% down.


3. b) Typically, the seller pays the agent from the profits of the sale of the property.


4. e) Unless you have an FHA loan, no inspections are required under Illinois law. FHA loans require a termite inspection.


5. c) It’s a great idea to determine how much mortgage you can afford and then call your lender and find out how much of a mortgage they will give you before you start the buying process. Here’s a basic mortgage calculator to help you get started.


6. d) Keep in mind that the payment on the loan is only a part of the monthly, bi-annual or annual costs associated with owning a home. Your lender will help identify the cost of the mortgage insurance and closing costs. You will be responsible for finding homeowner’s insurance. Your Lyons-Sullivan Realty professional can tell you the approximate property taxes on the home.


7. b) No matter who makes the property tax payment, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for the property taxes on a home. Sometimes, a lender will roll the cost of the property taxes and/or the homeowner’s insurance into the monthly payment as a convenience to the homeowner. In this case, the lender will keep a portion of your mortgage payment aside and then make the payments to the county when they are due. In other cases, the county will send the property tax bill directly to the homeowner who will then make the payment to the county either by mail, over the internet or at certain banks.


8. f) According to the Quicken Loans website, “Any number of people may attend the closing—you, your lender, the seller, the seller’s mortgage holder, respective attorneys, the real estate agent, the transfer agent (if it’s a co-op), the managing agent (if it’s a condo) and the title company representative.”


9. c) Mortgage lenders examine all parts of your credit and spending history in a very thorough process to determine your risk as a mortgage holder. They’re not so concerned with the spaghetti that you had for dinner, though.


10. d) Congratulations, you are ready to take on the responsibility of being a homeowner! Call your Lyons-Sullivan Realty professional today to find the home that’s right for you.

Minute Makeovers for a Super Showing

by Terry Sullivan - Lyons-Sullivan Realty

The phone rings. It is your agent calling to request a showing in two hours. You take a quick inventory and decide you need a total home makeover before anyone can set foot inside the front door. 

Don’t let your imagination run wild. Your house is fine. What you need is a minute makeover to freshen the place up.

  1. Tidy. Pick up clothes, shoes, dishes and mail. Stash them in a laundry basket in your car if necessary. A tidy home is a great way to make a first impression.
  2. Clean off the fridge. Take down all the photos, newspaper clippings, kids’ art, and even magnets. Anytime you can clear a surface, it will look cleaner to a potential buyer. 
  3. Quick clean the bathroom. If you notice a white ring in your tub or shower, that’s soap scum. It is easy to build up and impossible to remove. Our best find: Dow’s Scrubbing Bubbles. Spray it on, walk away, come back a few minutes later and wipe the surface. Soap scum is gone, shiny sink remains.
  4. Window shine up. Grab an absorbent cloth like a towel or thick washcloth. Soak the cloth and then wring it out. Spray or pour white distilled vinegar on the cloth and wring it again. Now wipe any glass surface like windows, mirrors and glass-top tables with this miracle cleaner. You will have shiny, streak-free glass in one step.
  5. Lights! Turn on every light in your home just before a showing. The increased brightness will accentuate the positives in your home, as well as create a welcoming environment for showing.
  6. De-personalize it. Take down all your personal photos and replace them with generic (and inexpensive!) art you find at thrift stores and garage sales.
  7. Vacuum. Sounds simple, but a good vacuuming can improve many things. Besides lifting the pile on your carpet, use the wand to remove spider webs and dust flat surfaces.
  8. Feather dust. For anything your vacuum can’t reach, a feather duster is a speedy way to freshen up a room.
  9. Light a candle. While you tidy up the hour before a showing, light a fruit- or bakery-scented candle. The scent will permeate the house. As an added bonus, the soft glow of the candle combined with the soothing scent may just help settle your own nerves!

Your Lyons-Sullivan Realty professional knows more great tips for a successful showing. Give them a call today at (815) 842-1400.

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2