Are You Planning to Sell in 2015? Get A Head Start on De-cluttering

Most sellers tend to wait until they are ready to move to de-clutter their home.  However, getting started now for a spring

cluttered house listing can make this task a lot less stressful and possibly more effective.  By the way, these tips are also great for those not planning to sell but who would just like to enjoy their space more.

  1. Pick a room to start in and complete that space before moving on to the next. Your personality and personal level of motivation will determine whether you start with sorting through that big pile of boxes in the basement or start with the bedroom closet.
  1. Create a master list of organizing tasks needed in each room. The list will help you plan upfront and help streamline the process and determine how much supplies will cost and how much time is needed.
  1. Make piles as you clear each room. Which items will you be keeping, selling, donating or throwing away.  If you are downsizing, this is the time to make the tough decisions.  If other family members are using your basement as their personal storage unit, this is the time to give them a timeline for retrieving their stuff.  If you’re a packrat, this might be the time to get rid of those size 2 clothes that you haven’t been able to fit in since the 90’s.  It might also be the time to sort through the sentimental collection of your 40 year old son’s elementary school artwork.
  1. Don’t forget the closets and drawers. Buyers will look in your closets and open drawers.  An overstuffed closet will give the impression of limited storage space and so this effort will pay off in increasing the appeal of your home.  Messy junk drawers are also distracting.  Whether you are moving or staying, this may be a great opportunity to install closet organizers or create a storage space for off-season
  1. Clear off counters and bookcases. Counter space is coveted among home buyers.  Kitchen counters especially tend to get cluttered with mail, keys, school notices, cell phones, etc.  Create a place for those items so they can be put away immediately and your cleared counters can stay that way.  Also, find a space to store those kitchen appliances not used that often.  This frees up valuable counter space.
  1. Organize your home office. Many potential buyers will be attracted by a separate space to set up a home office.  Make sure your home office will attract their attention.  This may be a good time to invest in a shredder, scanner and/or filing cabinet.  Many banks and utility companies will also provide electronic statements which can be stored or accessed online rather than having paper copies which you’ll need to file.

As more space is created in your home, try and view your home with the eyes of a potential buyer.  Square footage and good flow will make a positive impression on potential buyers.  In addition, reduced clutter means fewer things to move and possibly lower moving costs.

If you are looking to sell in the spring, please feel free to contact me for a free market evaluation of your home.

Millie C Lumpkin, CDPE, SFR
Keller Williams Preferred Realty
Direct: (312) 217-5644
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Income Property for Sale in Chicago South Suburbs

Search current inventory of Investment Properties for Sale in Chicago South Suburbs

Listing Details

Income Property for Sale in Chicago Suburbs

15238 Chicago Rd, Dolton IL 60419

MLS number:  08755322
# of Units:  4
# of Bedrooms:  8








Call Millie Lumpkin at 312-217-5644 to see if this property is still available and arrange a showing.  Also, ask about other income properties in the Chicago or south suburban market.

Great Immediate Income Opportunity
Great opportunity to purchase this 4-unit building in Dolton.  The building is fully occupied and has been well-maintained.  No work is needed.  Building is Section 8 approved with longer term tenants.  This translates into immediate income.  The building has easy access to both public transportation and the  I-94 expressway.  Parking is in the rear.

Now is a great time to purchase an income property in the south suburbs.  Prices are great. Rental demand is increasing as homeownership rates decline in the area.  Finally, effective rental rates increased 4% in the Chicagoland area in 2013 and were forecasted to rise additional 3-4% in 2014.   This is a great market to build long term wealth.


Find similar income properties for sale in Chicago South Suburbs




How Is Your Credit?

Your credit score is not the only determinant of whether you qualify for a mortgage loan but it is an important one. However, many people are confused about how the credit score is determined.

FICO credit scores range between 300 and 850. Generally, a score above 620 is considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

credit score


1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit obligations on time? At a minimum, mortgage lenders will look for perfect payment history over the last 12 months. Bankruptcy filing, foreclosures, liens, and collection activity also impact your history and your ability to qualify for a loan.

2. How much you owe. Owing money on credit accounts doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a high-risk borrower with a low FICO Score. However, when a high percentage of a person’s available credit is being used, this can indicate that a person is overextended, and is more likely to make late or missed payments. Mortgage lenders will also look at the amount of your monthly debt obligation compared to your income as a qualifying factor for the loan.

3. The length of your credit history. In general, a longer credit history will increase your FICO Score. Your credit scoring will factor in the average age of your credit accounts and how long it has been since you used certain accounts.

4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.

5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it is desirable to have more than one type of credit — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

One note — mortgage lenders will look for you to have active credit lines in order to qualify for a mortgage loan.

Also, many people have had delinquent credit history in the past and have stayed away from establishing new credit. This often results in a lower score even though you now pay your bills on time.   In order to raise your score, you need to replace the old bad history with good payment history that is reported to the credit bureau.  

For more information on improving your credit score, visit

If you are looking to buy or sell real estate in the Chicago area real estate market, please email or call.

Millie C Lumpkin, CDPE, SFR
Keller Williams Preferred Realty
Cell:  (312) 217-5644


What Can We Expect From the Mortgage Settlement


More details are coming out about the specifics of the recent mortgage settlement .  As I wrote last week, the settlement was for $25 billion and the settlement was with five of the nation’s largest banks:  Ally Financial (GMAC), Bank of America, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.  However, excluded from this settlement are loans purchased by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or insured by HUD (FHA loans).  This excludes more than 50% of all mortgages. 

In the Chicago area (and especially the south side and south suburbs), a huge percentage of homes are underwater.  Foreclosures and short sales make up more than 50% of available listings in many communities.  While the mortgage settlement itself is limited in the mortgages directly involved, the changes outlined will probably flow to the greater market. .

1.   There is expected to be an acceleration in the processing of foreclosures.  There was a significant slowdown in foreclosures since the 4th quarter of 2010 while this challenge on the banks’ handling of foreclosures was being settled.  Illinois has a large shadow inventory of unreleased foreclosures so expect a much higher inventory of foreclosures in 2012.  This affects not only homes where foreclosures were fully processed but those where there was a holding pattern. 

2.   The 49 state’s attorney generals (all except Oklahoma) will have oversight over the implementation of this settlement. 

3.   Banks are encouraged to work with homeowners to provide loan modifications or short sales to struggling homeowners.  Some of the key protections for borrowers seeking loan modifications:

a.    Banks/servicers must review and make decision of completed loan modification applications within 30 days of receipt.

b.   Banks must stop practice of loan modification consideration with simultaneous foreclosure proceedings (dual track foreclosures).

c.    The bank must establish a single point of contact for each homeowner who reaches out to the bank due to difficulty making their loan payments.

4.   The short sale process for many banks is expected to be streamlined making it easier and quicker for homeowners (we’ll see).  Banks are seeing the value of short sales vs. modifications since 35-50% of loan modifications end up defaulting again.  The banks will get settlement credit for short sales. 

5.   Although some news reports are giving the impression that banks will start reducing principal balances on loans, don’t expect a lot of them. Principal reductions are one option but loan modifications are more likely.  Principal reductions would be a huge hit for banks.

The bottom line is that homeowners that are struggling should take action now.   The news media reports national trends but real estate is local.  States have different procedures for handling foreclosures and some states were never impacted as hard as other states.  Illinois has a judicial foreclosure process so it takes longer. Other states don’t.  In Illinois, banks have a right to pursue borrows for the loan deficiency remaining after foreclosure.  Other states don’t. Some states are already recovering in this crisis. Others are not.

The first step is to contact your bank and see if you are able to refinance or modify your home loan.  If you are past this point then you need an exit strategy.  Contact a realtor to get an estimate of your home’s value.  Get educated on the pros and cons of short sales vs. walking away from the mortgage (foreclosure).  Decide what’s best for your personal situation.

If you are in the Chicago or south suburbs and want advice on your situation, please contact me.  I would love to help.

For more information on the national mortgage settlement, visit .  This is the official website. 

Millie C Lumpkin, SFR
Cell: (312) 217-5644
Email Me:
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    Forget the doom and gloom, this is a GREAT time to buy”

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Feeling Stuck???

I read an article recently that stated that the economic recovery was being hampered by people unwilling to relocate for jobs.  They are unable or unwilling to sell their homes in this current market. For some, an underwater mortgage makes relocation difficult. You also have dual income households where one spouse would be forced to quit their job in an uncertain job market.  There are other reasons I’m sure but this gives some substance to news reports that speak to the number of unfilled skilled jobs.

This makes me think about what other segments of our lives might be negatively impacted by people feeling locked into their homes and unable to sell?

  • Growing families unable to move into larger homes
  • Empty nesters that would like to downsize or move into a condo where there’s less property maintenance
  • Senior citizens unable to sell their homes to be closer to their children or to enter assisted living facilities or retirement communities
  • People wanting to upgrade into something bigger or more upscale
  • People with personal relationship situations like divorce or break-ups

Unfortunately, it will take several  years for many communities to recover.  Once the bottom is established, prices are not expected to grow at levels experienced during the bubble.  That means, decisions have to be made either to sell, get comfortable where you are, etc.  Millions of foreclosures are yet to be released or processed. Prices will take further hits in many communities before the bottom is hit. 

Speak to a local realtor to find out the specifics of your situation. If you are in Chicago or the south suburbs, I would love to talk with you about your options. 

Millie C Lumpkin, SFR
Direct: (312) 217-5644
Email Me:
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REO / Short Sales Musings

As we move through this crazy real estate market, there are some things that you see happening over and over again that just gets you to shake your head.

The “beat the bank” game – In my local market of the Chicago south suburbs, a huge percentage of listings are either REO’s or foreclosures. Many communities have their market value significantly lower than a few years ago (not just Chicago, I know). With the REO listings, many times the listings are below market value (sometimes significantly).  There are so many times that I speak with buyer’ s agents who mention that their clients really really want this house. However, you look at their offer and its 20% below the list price. Then, shock and awe, they lose out on the house they want.  Sometimes, its just a few thousand but on a really low price, a few thousand matters.

I have one REO listing. It’s a split level home with some attractive features, good condition and currently priced well below market value after several price reductions. A buyer had submitted an offer in an earlier round and missed out to higher bid.  When the home came back on the market, they were the first to make an offer. They offered $2,000 below the list price and triggered a counter from the bank. Now, other offers have come in and there is a multiple offer scenario. If they had offered list, they would have been accepted and the buyer in the house she wanted …. $2,000! 

In working with my own buyer clients, I counsel them that the REO market is competitive. If it is an attractive home in a desirable location with a great price, expect competition.  If you want the home, make an offer that shows it.  Don’t assume that you will have the chance to increase your offer. If there are multiple offers, top price usually wins. Everyone else picks up their marbles and goes home.

To be sure, there are overpriced REO’s just like in any segment of the market.  However, the bulk of REO sales (at least in my market), tend to sell close to the listing price. Some that are originally overpriced may go through price reductions but when they sell, its usually close to the existing list price. Make sure you’re comfortable that you’re not over paying and decide what’s your personal ceiling but don’t lose out on a great deal because you’re trying to beat the bank. Making an offer to a bank or other corporation is different than working with a traditional seller.

Millie C Lumpkin, SFR
Cell: (312) 217-5644
Email Me:
Vist My Website:
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     Forget the doom and gloom, this is a GREAT time to buy”


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