Weekly Economic Review: U.S. Job Quit Rate Reaches Hits 17-Year High

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/15/18 8:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, job openings trumped the number of actively looking unemployed, consumer prices saw the biggest year-over-year gain in six years, and mortgage rates held steady.

    

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Weekly Economic Review: Unemployment Rate Rises from 18-Year Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/8/18 2:32 PM

In this week’s economic review, the headline of the holiday week was brisk growth in the workforce. Mortgage applications increased as mortgage rates eased.

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Weekly Economic Review: Median Existing Home Prices Hit a Record High

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/24/18 12:20 PM

In this week’s economic review, existing home sales fell as prices increased, current conditions of the new home market were positive as the outlook declined, and mortgage rates fell.

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Weekly Economic Review: The Fed Increases Rates, Projects Four Total in 2018

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/17/18 10:19 AM

In this week’s economic review, consumers are feeling confident in their current economic situation, mortgage rates increased, and the Federal Reserve voted on a rate bump.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Openings Surpass Number of Unemployed

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/10/18 1:12 PM

In this week’s economic review, job openings climbed, credit spending slowed, and mortgage rates held steady.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: Unemployment Rate Falls

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/3/18 2:38 PM

In this week’s economic review, more jobs were added to the economy, home prices slowed their roll, consumer confidence bounced back and mortgage rates fell.

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing and New Home Sales Stumble in April

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/27/18 11:01 AM

In this week’s economic review, home inventory continues to play a major factor in holding back home sales despite steadying home prices.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Openings Surge to Record High

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/13/18 10:35 PM

In this week’s economic review, a rise in job openings continued to increase the gap between hirings, consumer prices regained ground, and consumer sentiment surpassed expectations.

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Weekly Economic Review: March Home Sales Increase, Supply Remains Tight

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/29/18 8:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, existing home sales rose along with home prices while inventory continued to fall, consumer confidence recovered some ground, and mortgage rates jumped.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: March Retail Sales Bounce Back

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/22/18 8:35 AM

In this week’s economic review, the average fixed mortgage rate increased, retail sales rebounded, and housing starts posted a strong month for multi-family units.

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Sentiment Pulls Back in April

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/15/18 9:10 AM

In this week’s economic review, the average fixed mortgage rate held relatively steady, job openings and hiring declined, and consumer prices and sentiment slipped.

   

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Weekly Economic Review: March Jobs Report Falls Short

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/8/18 7:15 AM

In this week’s economic review, the average fixed mortgage rate softened, consumer credit spending weakened, and March job growth was disappointing.

    

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Sentiment Hits a 14-Year High

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/1/18 11:19 AM

In this week’s economic review, home prices jumped, consumer spending and sentiment increased, and pending home sales gained traction.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Sales Jump, Supply Remains Thin

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/25/18 5:34 PM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates saw a minimal increase, existing home sales rebounded, and home prices posted strong gains.

     

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Sentiment Hits 14-Year High, Job Openings Surge to a Record High

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/18/18 9:28 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates held after rising for the past several weeks, consumer prices saw a minimal gain, retail sales fell, and housing starts and permits dropped despite strong builder confidence.

  

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Market Booms in February, Unemployment Remains at 17-Year Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/11/18 2:40 PM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate increased, payroll growth surpassed expectations, and credit spending slowed.

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales and Pending Home Sales Slump

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/4/18 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate increased, new home sales and pending home sales fell, and consumer confidence remained strong despite market volatility.

    

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Weekly Economic Review: January Existing Home Sales Tumble

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/25/18 9:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate was up, home resales fell despite a small bump in inventory, and existing home median prices dropped.

  

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Hit Highest Level in Nearly Four Years

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/18/18 3:40 PM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate continued its upward climb, home builders remain confident in the market, and consumer sentiment was high despite falling retail sales.

  

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Weekly Economic Review: December Job Openings Slide to 7-Month Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/11/18 9:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate continued its upward climb, job openings fell unexpectedly despite strength in the labor market, and consumers are spending increasingly more on credit. 

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Focus Friday: K. Hollis Jewelers

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/9/18 2:16 PM

Today for Focus Friday we talked to K. Hollis Jewelers!  What began as a hobby has grown into a thriving business with an emphasis on creating meaningful jewelry pieces while fostering a sense of community with their customers.  Take a look at their story and plan your visit before Valentine’s Day!

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Weekly Economic Review: U.S. Wages Growing at Fastest Rate Since 2009

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/4/18 9:30 AM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate continued to climb, the employment report posted gains, and the Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate as-is.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Sales Decline as Supply Drops to a Record Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/28/18 12:55 PM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate continued to climb, the U.S. economy ended 2017 on a strong note, and home sales fell in December.

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The Tea Tree - Focus Friday Ep. 28

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/25/18 11:21 AM

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Weekly Economic Review: Purchase & Refinance Applications Climb Alongside Mortgage Rates

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/21/18 10:58 AM

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate climbed past 4 percent for the first time in 26 weeks, housing starts ended the year with a steep drop, and home builders continue to express confidence in the market as homebuyer traffic builds.

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Weekly Economic Review: December Jobs Report Comes in Below Expectations

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/7/18 11:22 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates fell, December job creation was well below forecast levels, and construction spending expanded.

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Weekly Economic Review: Pending Home Sales Slow, Year’s End Mortgage Rates Increase

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/30/17 9:39 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates ended the year on a higher note, home prices posted gains, and pending home sales point to a slower December sales report.

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Weekly Economic Review: Fed Raises Rates, Retail Sales Impress

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/17/17 7:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, hiring gained steam in October, retail sales increased, the Fed moved on rates, and mortgage rates held steady.

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Weekly Economic Review: November Employment Report Exceeds Expectations

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/10/17 8:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, nonfarm payrolls grew more than expected and consumers are reporting high optimism in current economic conditions while spending more on revolving credit.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Builder Confidence Jumps to 8-Month High

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/19/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, home builders are optimistic heading into the end of the year, retail sales and consumer prices disappointed, and a jump in housing completions are adding much-needed inventory to the market.

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Weekly Economic Review: September Job Openings Near All-Time High

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/12/17 12:24 PM

In this week’s economic review, preliminary consumer sentiment dropped, job openings continued to increase while hiring remained stagnant, and mortgage rates declined slightly.

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Weekly Economic Review: Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, Unemployment Falls to 17-Year Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/5/17 4:27 PM

In this week’s economic review, consumer confidence hits a 17-year high, the Fed leaves rates unchanged, and the unemployment rate fell to a new low.

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales Surge, US Economic Growth Surpasses Expectations

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/29/17 11:19 AM

In this week’s economic review, new home sales hit a major stride, home prices increased, and consumer sentiment came in at a 13-year high.

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Sales Rebound Despite Low Supply

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/22/17 2:44 PM

In this week’s economic review, existing home sales posted their first gain in months and home builder optimism increased as housing starts and permits came in below low-end estimates.

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Weekly Economic Review:  Retail Sales Surge, Consumer Sentiment at 13-Year High

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/15/17 3:23 PM

In this week’s economic review, job openings declined and consumer prices climbed while retail sales and consumer sentiment soared. Mortgage rates ended the week slightly higher.

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Weekly Economic Review: 33,000 Jobs Lost in September, Unemployment Rate Dips

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/8/17 10:54 AM

In this week’s economic review, the hurricanes' influence was largely felt in some economic reports, like employment, and lessened in others. Mortgage rates ended the week with a small increase.  

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales, Pending Home Sales Fall Sharply

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/1/17 6:43 PM

In this week’s economic review, pending home sales continue to fall, consumer confidence and sentiment remain considerably strong, and GDP shows the U.S. economy is growing at a steady pace.

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Sales Fall to One-Year Low, Mortgage Rates Down

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/24/17 5:37 PM

In this week’s economic review, existing homes sales dropped to a two-year low in the South, home prices cooled at the end of summer, and mortgage rates continued to fall.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Openings at All-Time High, Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/17/17 3:56 PM

In this week’s economic review, the economy begins to feel the effects of Harvey and Irma, employers are still struggling to find qualified candidates to fill jobs, consumer prices hit a stride, and mortgage rates held steady.

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We Remember

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/11/17 4:41 PM

Today is a somber day in America as we remember the nearly 3,000 victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks which occurred sixteen years ago today in New York City and in a rural field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The anniversary of the attacks causes us to pause as we pay tribute to those who lost their lives that day, and to the service men and women who worked tirelessly to help bring peace and comfort in a situation pierced with terror. We will never forget.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Hit Another 2017 Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/10/17 2:13 PM

In this week’s economic review, sinking mortgage rates entice homebuyers and refinancing homeowners and the consumer credit report posts a sizable gain.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Hit New 2017 Low, Economy Grows at Fastest Pace in Two Years

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/3/17 2:11 PM

In this week’s economic review, home price data showed stagnancy, consumer confidence continued to increase, mortgage rates continued their downslide, and the economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the second quarter of 2017.

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Weekly Economic Review: Pace of Home Sales Hits Lowest Level in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/27/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, home sales fell unexpectedly in July, home price gains slowed, and mortgage rates dropped.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Builders Confident in Housing Market, Retails Sales Pick Up

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/20/17 9:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, retail sales picked up steam, builders are feeling optimistic about the housing market, and mortgage rates saw little change over the past week.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Down, Job Openings Increase

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/13/17 9:30 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates went down, consumer prices continue to signal weak inflation, and job openings increased sharply while hiring fell.

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Weekly Economic Review: Pending Home Sales Pick Up Despite Fast-Paced Markets

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/6/17 9:46 AM

In this week’s economic review, contract signings posted a gain, job creation exceeded expectations, and mortgage rates saw little change.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Down, Existing Home Sales Drop as Prices Continue to Climb

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/30/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates drop again, existing home sales fall as median prices rise and the Fed leaves rates as-is.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Construction Rebounds in June, Mortgage Rates Down

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/23/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates drop and home builder confidence falls despite a big jump in housing starts and permits.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Rise, Consumer Spending & Sentiment Fall Unexpectedly

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/16/17 9:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates increased to their highest levels since spring, hiring spiked, and consumer spending and sentiment took some unexpected declines.

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Weekly Economic Review: Pending Home Sales Continue Their 3-Month Decline

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/2/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, pending home sales slumped, consumer confidence remains unusually high, and first quarter GDP gained a much-needed upward revision.

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Weekly Economic Review: Housing Market Rebounds in May, Prices Continue to Rise

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/25/17 9:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, the housing market generated some positive news with both new and existing home sales gaining some much-needed ground and home prices continuing to climb.

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Weekly Economic Review: Fed Bumps Rates, Several Economic Reports Fall Short for May

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/18/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, the Federal Reserve bumped the federal funds rate, consumer sales, pricing and sentiment fell, and housing starts and home builder confidence stumbled.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Continue to Slide

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/11/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates continued their month-long slide, job opportunities were fruitful in April, and consumers didn’t spend much on credit, despite continuing consumer confidence.

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What You Can Expect to Spend on 10 Common Home Repairs & Replacements (Infographic)

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/10/17 9:05 AM

Homeowners spent more on home improvement between February 2016 and February 2017 than they did between February 2015 and February 2016, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Report. Why does this matter? Because it not only reflects that homeowners are feeling confident in the economy but are also feeling confident in their financial ability to make investments in their homes.

 

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Advice for Managing Credit Cards while Buying a Home

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/7/17 9:30 AM

When applying for a mortgage, a lender determines how much house you can afford based on your debt to income ratio, not solely your total monthly income. With this in mind, how you manage your debt, specifically credit card payments, is critically important! If a home purchase is on the horizon for you, you’ll want to remember a few key things.

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Weekly Economic Review: May’s Employment Report Weaker Than Expected

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/6/17 8:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, the unemployment rate dropped due to lack of participation in the labor market, home prices continue to rise at a strong pace, and mortgage rates fell to a 2017 low.

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7 Signs It’s the Right Time to Sell Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/2/17 8:30 AM

Your neighbors listed and sold their home near asking price within a week has you wondering – am I ready to sell my own home? The decision to upsize, downsize or simply relocate is one that requires a lot of thought based a variety of factors. Here are some signs that selling your home might be a good option for you this summer.

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A Buyer's Guide to "For Sale By Owner"

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/31/17 9:30 AM

When you’re shopping for a home, you may come across one you’re interested in that is listed as For Sale by Owner. In 2016, 89% of homes sold involved an agent, so while this DIY approach is not the most popular choice, it is something you may come across during your search.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Sales Disappoint in April, Demand Still Outstripping Home Inventory

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/29/17 1:09 PM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates were down for a second week in a row, new and existing home sales dropped in April and home prices continue to edge upward.

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Home Design Inspiration: 7 Tips for Choosing Your Home’s Interior Color Palette

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/26/17 8:55 AM

Choosing the right color combo for your home’s interior is no small feat. You want to covey a certain mood and style and have your palette flow seamlessly throughout your home all while avoiding adding too much color. It’s a task! Here are some tips to help you achieve a cohesive look.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Jester Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/25/17 11:00 AM

Spring and summer are for exploring and enjoying the outdoors, especially in the Midwest since a good part of the year is cold and snowy. This summer, plan a visit to Jester Park, a 675-acre park with lots for your family to see and do!

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Out and About with Compass: Wahoo Woods

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/25/17 9:30 AM

We ask a lot of our kids each day. From standing patiently in line while running errands, to sitting for extended periods while focusing on school work. Finding appropriate ways for them to expend all their build up energy can be tricky for parents.

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What to Expect When They're Inspecting

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/24/17 9:30 AM

A home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process. In fact, according to a recent poll by All Star Home Inspectors, 99% of realtors recommend a home inspection to their clients. Neglecting to have a home inspected could be devastating as a new homeowner. Here are four things you should know about home inspections: 

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Weekly Economic Review: Homebuilders Confident in Sales, New Home Starts Dip

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/22/17 10:56 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates drop, and homebuilders remain confident in existing and future new home sales, despite new home starts stumbling in April.

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How to Set Up (and Stick To) a Home Repair Budget as a First-Time Homeowner

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/19/17 7:00 AM

You ran the numbers on buying versus renting, the mortgage payments on different home prices and the costs of utilities, but have you budgeted for big-ticket and seasonal home maintenance costs? Give yourself peace of mind by preparing for the costs of homeownership upfront.

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Out and About with Compass: Shoreline Architecture Tours

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/18/17 9:30 AM

It’s a good time of year to be a Chicagoan! The warm weather is here to stay and the city is coming alive again. We’ve earned the nice weather, so as you’re making your spring and summer to-do list, put an architecture tour from Shoreline Sightseeing on your list!

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What's the Difference?: Homeowner's Insurance vs. Home Warranty

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/17/17 9:30 AM

While buying a home holds lots of excitement for new opportunities, it also comes with a plethora of new responsibilities. It will likely be the biggest purchase you make in your lifetime, and protecting your investment is critical! When you're buying a home, purchasing a homeowner’s insurance policy and a home warranty are both smart ideas that can help to offer you protection as a new homeowner, but understanding the difference between the two is important because they’re quite different.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Openings See Upswing in March, Hiring Lags

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/15/17 9:04 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates increased and consumer sentiment remained strong while consumer prices and sales saw only marginal gains this spring.

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The Biggest Outdoor Living Trends for 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/12/17 8:00 AM

In the market for new patio furniture and/or accessories? We’ve compiled some of the biggest trends on the market so you can get your deck decked out for summer entertaining.

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Out and About with Compass: Smart Museum of Art

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/11/17 9:30 AM

Looking for somewhere to hang with mom this weekend that she’ll enjoy just as much as the rest of the family? Celebrate Mother’s Day at the Smart Museum of Art on the University of Chicago campus. The museum is one of the best in the city, and even better—it’s always free!

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Moving Soon? Here's Your Packing Timeline

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/10/17 9:00 AM

Moving is notoriously stressful. From the significant financial commitments to the logistics of packing up your belongings and resettling somewhere new. It disrupts your family’s routine which can create a sense of disorder.

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Weekly Economic Review: Unemployment Rate at 10-Year Low, Economy Added 211,000 Jobs in April

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/8/17 9:50 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates held steady following the Fed meeting and a weak first quarter of economic growth. Employment data was extremely favorable for April, paving the way for another Fed rate hike in June.

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7 Tips for Your First Year of Homeownership

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/5/17 8:00 AM

As a first-time homebuyer, you had a lot on your plate. From saving for a down payment and closing costs to keeping your credit score mortgage-ready and finding a home that suited your needs, you accomplished a lot even before purchasing your first home.

Now that you’ve closed on your home, there are still some things to consider to keep your first year of homeownership a positive experience.

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Out and About with Compass: Main Street Market

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/4/17 9:30 AM

Shopping locally is socially responsible, provides a high-quality product, and allows for opportunities to delve deeper into the community in which you live. This is definitely the case at the Main Street Market, held in Rockford twice each year! Plan to attend this open air market, on May 20th, for an opportunity to buy handmade and vintage goods from over 150 vendors! Cute, quaint, unique and fun don't even begin to cover it!

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30-year Mortgage: "The Best Instrument in the World"

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/3/17 9:30 AM

If you’re on the hunt for sound financial advice, your ears should perk up when you hear from billionaire American investor Warren Buffett, who’s proven he knows a thing or two about real estate and money management. His advice to Americans looking to grow their wealth? Buy a home. Particularly if you’re looking to put down roots and stay awhile.

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales Reach 8-Month High, Mortgage Rates Increase

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/1/17 10:19 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates increased after weeks of declines, home prices continue to rise and new home sales saw a higher-than-expected increase.

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From Builder-Grade to Upgraded: 7 DIY Projects to Update Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/28/17 11:11 AM

Builder-grade is a bit of a misleading term. When you think of home builders, you likely think of custom grade products, but on the contrary, builder-grade materials are on the bottom of the pyramid, as far as quality goes. Nevertheless, builder-grade homes are common and give you tons of opportunities to revamp and update them to your own style. See our list of builder-grade updates that will give you a big return without draining your bank account.

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Out and About with Compass: Klehm Arboretum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/27/17 9:30 AM

While the city of Chicago holds some amazing things, sometimes heading West for a couple hours, out of the city, can be a refreshing change of pace. This spring, head over to Klehm Arboretum in Rockford for a beautiful escape!

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Remember These Three Things When You Shop for a Home!

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/26/17 9:30 AM

When you’re shopping for a home, there are lots of important things to consider. How good are the schools? Will the neighborhood accommodate the lifestyle you hope to have? Is it close to extended family? These things are often in the forefront of shoppers’ minds, but there are some factors that are just as important that could be easily overlooked. Before you put an offer on a house, you may want to take these three things into consideration:

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Home Sales Boom Heading Into the Busiest Homebuying Season of the Year

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/24/17 1:13 PM

Despite higher mortgage rates and home prices, houses are flying off the market this spring, according to the National Association of Realtors Existing Home Sales Report released last Friday. Home resales boomed by 4.4 percent in March, the best month-to-date since February 2007.

 

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Choosing the Right Flooring Option for Each Room in Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/23/17 12:11 PM

Choosing flooring can seem like a daunting task. You have to consider wear and tear, cost, lifespan, installation, etc. To make this renovation decision a little bit easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best flooring types for each room in your home.

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Home Décor Inspiration: What's Your Interior Design Style?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/22/17 9:05 AM

When it comes to interior design, there are dozens of styles to gain inspiration from. From classic furnishings to retro eclecticism, sometimes it can be hard to figure out where you fall in line. Here’s our list of some of the many top décor and interior design styles to figure out where you land.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Drop to 5-Month Low, Home Resales at 10-Year High

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/21/17 10:04 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates returned to favorable lows while reports showed that home prices continue to rise and listed homes are selling quickly.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Grundy County Barn Quilts

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/20/17 10:00 AM

Nothing is quite as relaxing as taking a leisurely drive on a country road. Pretty scenery, windows down, and good music on the radio makes for a special afternoon. This spring, when you need to unwind a bit, take a trip to Grundy County to see their unique Barn Quilt Project that’s been in the works since 2003!

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Out and About with Compass: Maxwell Street Market

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/20/17 9:30 AM

Everyone loves a good deal, and when you combine a unique and inexpensive find with the art of bargaining, it deepens the appreciation because you really had to work for it! Chicago combines this experience while celebrating its culture and tradition at the weekly Maxwell Street Market!

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Mortgage 101: What Is Title Insurance and Why Do You Need It to Buy a Home?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/19/17 9:19 AM

Though insurance isn’t likely one of your biggest concerns when it comes to purchasing a home, understanding why you need it and how it protects you is essential. You need various types of insurance to make a home purchase, and title insurance is one of those. See how it gives you peace of mind throughout the homebuying and homeownership process.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Tulip Time Celebration

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/18/17 10:00 AM

Central Iowa has a deeply rooted Dutch heritage which means you don’t have to travel far if you live anywhere in the midwest to get a clear idea of the traditions and customs held by Dutch people. This spring, on May 4-6, plan to attend the 82nd annual Tulip Time Celebration, in Pella!

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Out and About with Compass: Deep Dish Pizza-Making Class

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/18/17 9:30 AM

Nothing is as synonymous with Chicago as pizza! Deep dish, to be more specific! The history of the tasty pizza pie creation dates back more than 70 years, and it’s since become an essential part of Chicago’s culture. Today, most Chicagoans have enjoyed their fair share of cheesy and saucy slices, but very few of us have ever tried our hand at buidling this epic pizza creation ourselves! This spring, plan an outing to Pizzeria Uno in River North, an historic Chicago eatery specializing in deep dish, for a tasty and educational DIY experience you won’t forget!

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Mortgage 101: How Your Mortgage Lender Determines Your Credit Score

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/17/17 2:21 PM

Credit card companies, auto dealerships and mortgage lenders are just a few of the institutions that will assess your credit score before deciding if and how much they are willing to lend you and at what interest rate. When it comes to getting pre-approved for a mortgage, your credit score is one of the most influential factors determining your eligibility for a loan, so knowing how your mortgage lender determines that score is essential.

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6 Features Empty-Nesters Should Look For in Their Next Home Purchase

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/16/17 10:00 AM

The kids have flown the nest and you’re faced with the proverbial decision on your lifelong home – do you stay or do you go? While it’s never an easy decision to sell and buy again, “downsizing” paves the way for a new style of homeownership. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new home as an empty-nester here are a few things to consider in your search.

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It's Almost Tax Day - Did You Catch All of Your Homeowner Tax Perks?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/15/17 9:00 AM

From personalizing your living space to creating a stable family living environment, there are several personal benefits of owning your own home. On the financial side, tax benefits are one of the biggest perks of homeownership. In honor of the upcoming tax day, we’ve compiled the list of the biggest tax breaks homeowners receive.

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Prices Drop for the First Time in a Year

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/14/17 9:57 AM

In this week’s economic review, job openings were up considerably but hiring lagged, consumer sentiment continued to increase, mortgage rates declined, and consumer prices dropped significantly.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Jump 'n' Easter Egg Hunt

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/13/17 10:00 AM

Spring time often leaves us with inconsistent weather, making outdoor fun hard to plan for during this time of year! Easter is this weekeknd, and if you’d rather not cover up the kids’ Easter garb with a big coat during the egg finding festivities, plan a visit to Pump It Up, in Urbandale, for their Jump ‘n’ Easter Egg Hunt!

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Out and About with Compass: Easter Brunch at the Morton Arboretum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/13/17 9:30 AM

Brunch is always a good idea, but it’s an especially appropriate way to celebrate a special event or holiday with your friends and family. This weekend, save yourself the stress of cooking and hosting Easter, and visit the Morton Arboretum for some beautiful scenery and a delicious brunch!

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When Is the Best Time to Buy Your First House?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/12/17 8:00 AM

Buying your first home used to fall in line with a sequence of other big life events. You got a job, you got married and you bought a home. Many of today’s first-time homebuyers have broken away from that series – getting married later, having kids later and settling into homeownership later. So that begs the question: when is the best time to buy your first house?

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Bass Pro Shop's Easter Event

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/11/17 10:00 AM

If you haven’t properly celebrated Easter yet, it’s not too late! You still have a few days to plan your springtime fun, and Bass Pro Shops, in multiple locations around Iowa, has you covered! Visit this weekend for an unforgettable Easter celebration!

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Out and About with Compass: Lincoln Park Zoo Easter Egg-Stravaganza

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/11/17 9:30 AM

Spring is in full swing in Chicagoland! We’ve enjoyed some nice weather, the rain has brought flowers and green grass, and Easter is approaching fast! If you haven't planned an Easter outing yet, come celebrate the holiday this weekend at the Lincoln Park Zoo's Easter Egg-Stravaganza!

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Bank, Broker or Mortgage Banker: Which Type of Mortgage Lender Is Right For You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/10/17 10:13 AM

When buying a home, you have a lot of choices: what type of loan you want to use, what neighborhood you want to purchase in, which real estate agent you want to work with, etc. When you apply for a mortgage, a big choice is what type of mortgage lender you want to do your financing. Will you go to your bank, find a mortgage broker or work with a mortgage banker? We’ve laid out the definition of each type of lender to help you make the choice that’s right for you.

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Selling Your Home: 4 Ways to Appeal to Millennial Buyers

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/9/17 12:24 PM

If you’re selling your home and want it to sell quickly and for top-dollar (doesn’t everyone?), you need to prepare your home to appeal to the widest group of homebuyers. Today, that demographic is the Millennials, who were behind 60 percent of home purchases in 2016. This generation has been shaping the market the last few years, and while you don’t need to turn your house into the Millennial dream home, a few things are suggested to appeal to this type of homebuyer.

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7 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Upsize Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/8/17 9:00 AM

You’ve probably been told that the longer you stay in a home, the more financially beneficial homeownership is. But when you’ve been living in your 2-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom home for six years and added two kids and a dog into your household, how long is too long. After all, starter homes are called starter homes for a reason. Here are a few ways to tell it’s time to upsize your home.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Growth Softened Significantly in March

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/7/17 9:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates fell back for the third week in a row, consumer spending continued to pick up and March’s employment report disappointed.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Living History Farms

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/6/17 10:00 AM

Sometimes we need a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of modern life. When you want to escape a bit, and gain some education too, visit Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa!

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Out and About with Compass: Hippo Campus

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/6/17 9:30 AM

April showers bring...lots of time cooped up indoors! While we wait for the sunshine to make its appearance again in Chicagoland, bring your kids to Hippo Campus, in Volo, for some fun as they use their brains and bodies to explore and learn!

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7 Ways the Fed Rate Hikes Affect You

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/5/17 8:00 AM

If you've been following news in the economic world, you know that last month the Federal Reserve moved on the decision to raise the federal funds rate for the first time in 2017 and the third time since December 2015. While their decision reflects an improving economy, there are a few ways the rate increase affects you as a consumer.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/4/17 10:00 AM

If you have an interest in trains or locomotive history, or if it excites the younger members of your family, a visit to the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad is a must-do! Put a trip here on your spring/summer bucket list!

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Out and About with Compass: Bike and Roll Chicago

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/4/17 9:30 AM

Chicago has world famous architecture, five star restaurants, and some amazing opportunities for recreation and entertainment.  If you're looking to see the sights of the city, or have an out-of-town guest who wants a peek at all that Chicago has to offer, plan an active biking adventure with Bike and Roll Chicago!

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Mortgage 101: What's the Difference Between Your APR and Your Mortgage Rate?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/3/17 9:43 AM

Buying and financing a home includes navigating the world of mortgage terminology, a lot of which are acronyms, i.e. DTI, PMI, PITI, and APR. When shopping for a mortgage or any type of credit product, for that matter, keep in mind that the advertised interest rate isn't the same as your loan's annual percentage rate (APR). Here's what you should know about the difference between a mortgage rate and APR.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…to List Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/2/17 8:00 AM

Though every real estate market is different, the spring and summer months are a very popular time for sellers to list their homes. In fact, a new Zillow analysis found that in all but five of the U.S.’s biggest markets, the best month to list your home is April or May.

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Speed Spring Cleaning: 6 Important Areas of Your Home That You Should Clean First

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/1/17 8:00 AM

In a perfect world, we’d all have the time for a whole-home cleaning session. As the weather warms up and you’re shuffling kids back and forth to activities or simply trying to spend some time outdoors, you may find your spring cleaning checklist on the back burner. To help you condense your spring cleaning routine, we’ve compiled a list of the most important tasks to tackle inside your home.

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Confidence Soars, Pending Home Sales Pick Up

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/31/17 8:16 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates softened for the second week in a row, pending home sales painted a pick-up for the beginning of the spring homebuying season and consumer confidence levels hit 17-year highs.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Blank Park Zoo

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/30/17 10:00 AM

After a long winter spent indoors, we’re craving outdoor time! If you’re looking for a place to explore this spring, plan a trip to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines! You’ll encounter some amazing animals, interactive exhibits, and you’ll learn something new while you and your family have fun! Blank Park’s mission is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world. They accomplish this through education, conservation efforts, and through periodic recreational activities held at the zoo.

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Out and About with Compass: North Pond Nature Sanctuary

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/30/17 9:30 AM

Sometimes, in the middle of a busy urban area like Chicago, you find a natural wonderland where the cars, skyscrapers, and hustle and bustle of city life feels far away. This is exactly what you’ll discover when you visit North Pond Nature Sanctuary in Lincoln Park.

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Mortgage 101: How Long Does It Really Take to Buy a House?

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/29/17 9:00 AM

Buying a home takes several steps, especially if you’re like the majority of homebuyers who finance their homes. While you’re eager to get into your new house, you’ll need to practice patience in a few of the steps throughout the homebuying process. Here are some typical timeframes of the steps to buying a home.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: King's Pointe Waterpark Resort

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/28/17 10:00 AM

If you’re staying put for spring break, but still want to experience a getaway, plan a trip to King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort, in Storm Lake, Iowa, making it just a short drive from most of Iowa’s major metropolitan areas. Here, you’ll get all the fun without the long drive!

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Out and About with Compass: Bronzeville Children's Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/28/17 9:30 AM

Looking for a way to entertain and educate the kids while they’re off on spring break? Look no further than the Bronzeville Children’s Museum in Chicago, which offers unique exhibits and programming for kids of all ages, with a special focus on African American history and culture.

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Buying a New Build: Spec Home, Custom or Production – What’s Right for You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/27/17 6:23 AM

You’ve weighed the pros and cons from pricing and customization to location and home maintenance and decided that a new home is a better fit for you than purchasing an existing home. But what type of new home is the right choice for you? Learn the differences here.

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Spring Housing Market Update: 5 Facts for Homebuyers and Sellers

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/26/17 12:35 PM

As one of the most popular times of the year to buy or sell a home, the 2017 spring housing market is off to an early start. See what mortgage rates, home prices, homebuyer traffic and home inventory are doing to shape this year’s spring market.

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The Best Home Improvements to Complete in the Springtime

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/25/17 8:00 AM

Spring is officially here! If you’re anxious to head outdoors and tackle your spring cleaning and home maintenance to-do list, here are a few home improvement projects that can give you the best of both worlds (and are best completed in the spring).

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Sales Drop, New Home Sales Jump

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/24/17 8:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates softened, existing home inventory improved and new home sales climbed, mostly due to softened pricing.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: State Historical Museum of Iowa

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/23/17 10:00 AM

Each state in America has a unique history and offers a unique contribution to the country as a whole.  If you call Iowa home, or if you'd like to learn more about the state while you're passing the heartland sometime, make a visit to the State Historical Museum of Iowa!

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Out and About with Compass: The Lakefront Trail

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/23/17 9:30 AM

Lake Michigan, with it’s beautiful water, waves and wildlife, and expansive shoreline is arguably Chicago’s finest asset! It provides our city with many necessities, but also hours of recreation and stunning views. This spring, take a trip down the Lakefront Trail, stretching 18 miles along Lake Michigan’s coast, for a state-of-the-art tour of the city of Chicago.

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3 Reasons a Loan Commitment Is Essential for Homebuyers This Spring

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/22/17 8:00 AM

With mortgage rates still favorable, home prices rising and the number of existing homes on the market near record a record low, having sound financing is essential if you hope to purchase a home heading into the busiest homebuying season of the year. Here’s how a loan commitment gives you a head start against other buyers in the market.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/21/17 10:00 AM

With spring break on the horizon, you may be looking at hours in the car as you travel to your final vacation destination. Why not make the most of the road trip, and plan some interesting stops along the way? If you’re travelling though Iowa on I-80, make a pit stop at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum for a unique peek at trucking history!

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Out and About with Compass: Wrigley Field Tours

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/21/17 9:30 AM

Spring time is synonymous with baseball! It’s America’s favorite pastime, and it’s a good time to be a fan in Chicago right now! Both teams are fun to watch, but the World Champion Chicago Cubs have recently hit their stride, and even if you don’t typically cheer for the northsiders, you can still find things to appreciate about this historic team--namely their iconic stadium, Wrigley Field!

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The Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy a Home – and Why They’re Wrong

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/20/17 8:00 AM

Buying a home isn’t the right choice for everyone, but many renters self-exclude themselves from homeownership based on misconceptions they have about the home financing and homebuying process. If owning a home is a priority for you, don’t let these mortgage and homeownership myths discourage you from making it a reality.


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8 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Home for Spring

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/19/17 8:30 AM

Transitioning seasons incite many homeowners to take on change with home improvements and décor. As the weather slowly grows warmer, you’ll likely be looking for ways to transform your cozy winter home into a light and breezy respite for spring. Here are a few quick ways to do that.

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Weekly Economic Review: Fed Moves on Interest Rates, Mortgage Rates Continue to Climb

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/18/17 8:00 AM

In this week’s economic view, the Fed made moves on hiking interest rates for the second time in three months, home builders grew even more confident in the new home market, and job openings were in line with their 2-year trend. Mortgage rates continued their climb.

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Homeowner Tips: 10 Efficient Ways to Create a Greener Household

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/17/17 9:05 AM

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today we’re seeing in shades of green; green homes, that is. Though green living seems expensive and time-consuming, you don’t have to install solar panels or starting growing your own produce to become an energy-conscious household. You can easily reduce your carbon footprint, while minimizing your utility bills with these ten cost-efficient and painless steps.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Des Moines Art Center

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/16/17 10:00 AM

Whether you have a vast knowledge of art or find yourself seeking some more education in the area, a trip to the Des Moines Art Center will not leave you disappointed! The Des Moines Art Center is a contemporary art museum that offers visitors a look at some amazing works of contemporary art through permanent collections and rotating exhibitions featuring work from both emerging and well-known artists alike. Even the architectural design of the building was carefully planned!

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Out and About with Compass: Chicago Botanic Garden

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/16/17 9:30 AM

It’s March, which means we’re craving spring! While it’s not quite nice enough yet to see the springtime blooms popping up through the soil, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your greenery fix! Take a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden this month to refresh yourself, mind, body and spirit!

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What Are Your Home Financing Options When You Have a Lower Credit Score?

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/15/17 9:05 AM

Credit scores are a huge part of the loan approval process. They not only determine your eligibility for home financing but can also determine what mortgage rate you will qualify for. But what if your credit score falls on the lower side of the spectrum?

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Maple Syrup Festival

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/14/17 10:00 AM

Everyone enjoys a tall stack of pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast, but very few of us understand exactly what it takes to get that delicious drizzle from the tree to our plates! It's currently sugaring season, which makes it the perfect time to learn! Head over to the Indian Creek Nature Center this weekend for their Maple Syrup Festival!

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Out and About with Compass: Elk Grove Historical Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/14/17 9:30 AM

Those of us who call Chicago home are well versed in the history of the city. From the Great Chicago Fire and The World’s Fair, to Al Capone’s influence and the growth of industry, we have a wealth of knowledge about our great city! However, we often can’t say the same about the surrounding suburbs! Many cities have their own regional history museums, and today we’re featuring the Elk Grove Historical Museum!

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8 Quick & Simple Home Improvements That Do Wonders for Your Curb Appeal

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/13/17 11:14 AM

When you think of home renovations, you’re likely dreaming of a kitchen remodel or new flooring. You’re not alone; interior home improvements and renovations are highly coveted but oftentimes, a home’s exterior is put on the backburner. Here are some relatively cheap DIY projects that can transform your curb appeal.

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5 Mistakes That Could Derail Your Homebuying Plans

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/12/17 1:46 PM

Buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime, so it makes sense that preparing to buy one takes a little longer than most other purchases. With that being said, there are several mistakes you should avoid if you hope to purchase a home in the next few months.

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7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Forgo Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/11/17 10:00 AM

Think of all the tasks you no longer need to hire out. You don’t need a travel agent to book a vacation. You don’t need to hire a web developer to design a website. So in a DIY age with the world of real estate readily available at your keyboard, do you really need a real estate agent? Yes. Here’s why.

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Weekly Economic Review: February Job Growth Thrives, Mortgage Rates Increase

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/10/17 9:57 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates increased, consumer spending jumped in February, and booming job growth boosted the likelihood of Fed rate hike in March.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Iowa Cubs

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/9/17 10:00 AM

Professional baseball isn’t just for the biggest cities in America anymore! In Des Moines, you can get a taste of the big leagues without leaving the state! This spring, make a trip to Principal Park for a AAA baseball experience that’s family-friendly and features both former and soon-to-be big league talent, making for a competitive game that everyone in the family can enjoy. Opening day is less than a month away!

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Out and About with Compass: Maple Syrup Festival

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/9/17 9:30 AM

Everyone enjoys a tall stack of pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast, but very few of us understand exactly what it takes to get that delicious drizzle from the tree to our plates! It's currently sugaring season, which makes it the perfect time to learn! Head over to the North Park Village Nature Center on March 25th for their FREE Maple Syrup Festival!

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Compass Mortgage Grands for Grads Scholarship Giveaway

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/8/17 12:00 PM

At Compass Mortgage, we recognize the invaluable role a quality education can play in a person’s life. Education opens up opportunities, both personally and professionally, it establishes a framework for lifelong learning, and provides access to information and resources that would otherwise be hard to come by.

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Homeowners Have Missed Out on Billions in Refinance Savings – Is It Too Late for You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/8/17 9:45 AM

American homeowners could have saved a combined $5.5 billion by refinancing their mortgages in 2010 and 2012, according to a new study published in the Journal of Financial Economics. Despite historically low mortgage rates, homeowners didn’t make refinancing a top priority, which prompts the question: with mortgage rates rising in 2017, is it too late for you?


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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/7/17 10:00 AM

Among the many wonderful things that springtime brings with it are flowers and greenery! After a dreary winter, this pop of color brings a welcome change to the landscape! Now, you don’t need to wait for the ground to thaw to get your fill of beautiful plant life! Plan a trip to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden this spring!

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Out and About with Compass: Funtopia

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/7/17 9:30 AM

In the coming months, the weather is hit and miss. On days when you want to get out of the house but it’s more reminiscent of winter than spring, put a trip to Funtopia, located in Glenview, on your list! It will provide a day of fun and adventure for the kids in your life!

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Are You Ready to Buy a Home? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself First

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/6/17 10:00 AM

Rising rental costs, low mortgage rates, financial benefits, and the ability to customize your living space are just a few of the many reasons first-time homebuyers want to take the plunge into homeownership. Regardless, buying is a big commitment and it’s crucial to make sure it’s the right lifestyle and financial choice for you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself first.

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Downsizing Your Home: 5 Tips for Making the Move Into a Smaller House

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/5/17 10:00 AM

The reasons to upsize or downsize a home are as diverse as each individual family circumstance, but one qualm of moving into a smaller home is – what are you going to do with all of your belongings? Whether you’re an empty nester, are downsizing homes for a lower maintenance lifestyle, or evoking a new sense of minimalism, here are a few tips for an easier transition into your smaller home.

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Building the Millennial Dream Home: What Home Features This Generation Wants in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/4/17 9:27 AM

Millennials made waves in the 2016 housing market as the largest generational percentage of homebuyers. They were more likely to skip over traditional starter homes and more likely to consider purchasing a new build. See what home features this young generation of homebuyers would choose when given an array of options.

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Weekly Economic Review: Pending Home Sales Disappoint, Consumer Confidence at Post-Election High

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/3/17 10:00 AM

In this week’s economic review, mortgage rates declined while the pending home sales index offset the outlook for future existing home sales. Reports released this week also highlighted consumer confidence, as well as confidence in the job market.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Leprechaun Chase 10K

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/2/17 10:00 AM

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re still working on plans for the big day, keep the Leprechaun Chase 10K, at Principal Park in Des Moines, in mind this year! You’ll have a great time AND get a workout in!

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Out and About with Compass: St. Patrick's Day Lunch Cruise

Posted by Emma Johnson on 3/2/17 9:30 AM

A Chicago river cruise is a great way to see the city for visitors and natives alike! But if you’re looking for an extra special experience, plan a trip on the green-dyed river during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities on the Shoreline Sightseeing St. Patrick’s Day Lunch Cruise! You'll get up close and personal to the famous green water, and have a great time learning more about our city in a fun and festive environment.

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Housing Market Trends: Why Millions of Americans Are Opting for Multigenerational Households

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/1/17 10:00 AM

The jolt of the recession affected the housing market in many ways, but a 2016 study says that one of those effects may become a longer-term housing market trend. In the economic downturn, adults lost their homes and adult children “boomeranged” home after college, and for some, living with multiple generations under one roof became commonplace. But as the economy has rebounded, multigenerational homes have become even more popular, stimulating a brand new market that is much more than a guest bedroom for in-laws over the holidays.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Escape Rooms

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/28/17 10:00 AM

There’s a new trend making everything from kids’ birthday parties and date nights, to corporate team events more exciting and suspenseful…an escape room! An escape room is a physical adventure game where you and other participants are locked in a room and use clues and props within the space to solve a puzzle within a set time limit. In order to be successful you need strong time management, teamwork, and persistence! Even if you don’t make it in time, you’ll still have a blast, and you’ll have stories to share during dinner afterwards! Check out any of the escape rooms below, located all over the state of Iowa, for an energizing activity that’s out of the ordinary and unique! Good luck!

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Out and About with Compass: Chicagoland Escape Rooms

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/28/17 9:30 AM

There’s a new trend making everything from kids’ birthday parties and date nights, to corporate team events more exciting and suspenseful…an escape room! An escape room is a physical adventure game where you and other participants are locked in a room and use clues and props within the space to solve a puzzle within a set time limit. In order to be successful you need strong time management, teamwork, and persistence! Even if you don’t make it in time, you’ll still have a blast, and you’ll have stories to share during dinner afterwards! Check out any of the escape rooms below, located all over Chicagoland, for an energizing activity that’s out of the ordinary and unique! Gather up a group, and good luck!

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6 Ways Multi-Generational & First-Time Buyers Can Benefit From the HomeReady Mortgage

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/27/17 9:38 AM

Down payment requirements, carrying other monthly debt and building mortgage-ready credit are common hurdles for today’s homebuyers. A relatively new mortgage product addresses these issues and makes home financing accessible to creditworthy low- to moderate-income homebuyers through Fannie Mae’s HomeReady™ program. Here’s how the HomeReady mortgage can benefit first-time homebuyers or homebuyers looking to purchase a multi-generational home.

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11 Ways to Love Your Home Even More in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/26/17 9:04 AM

Owning a home is a symbol of the American Dream - something we all can be appreciative of. Nevertheless, homeownership is an ever-changing and sometimes challenging journey. Whether you fell in love with your home the moment you stepped inside or are still finding ways to make it your own, here are a few ways to love and appreciate your home a little more this year.

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The First-Time Homeowner's Guide to Spring Home Maintenance

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/25/17 10:00 AM

The official first day of spring is nearing! Is your home ready? As the days grow longer and the weather becomes milder, it’s essential for homeowners to address any damage caused by the winter elements, as well as get their home ready for a brand new season. If you're a first-time homeowner still learning the basics of home maintenance, here’s a quick list of preventative tasks to complete over the next few weeks.

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Weekly Economic Review: January Home Sales Hit a Stride Despite Limited Inventory

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/24/17 9:43 AM

In this week’s economic review, new and existing home sales saw opposite results heading into 2017 while home prices in both indexes saw losses. The Fed released minutes from their most recent meeting, which suggested the likelihood of another interest rate hike.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Field of Dreams

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/23/17 10:00 AM

Springtime brings a lot of wonderful things we’ve missed over the long winter. Flowers, fresh air, sunshine, and of course, baseball! That’s why a trip to The Field of Dreams baseball field, from the film favorite 1989 best picture winner is the perfect way to spend the day this spring or summer!

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Out and About with Compass: TILT!

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/23/17 9:30 AM

There are lots of ways to see the city of Chicago! From a river cruise through the heart of downtown, to walking food tours through the neighborhoods, Chicago is amazing no matter how you view it. But if you’re a thrill seeker, looking for a one-of-a-kind vantage point, check out The TILT Experience, at the top of the Hancock building, for a spectacular and heart-pounding view!

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5 Tips for House Hunting in a Market with Low Inventory

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/22/17 9:00 AM

Low existing home inventory isn’t new housing market issue. Low mortgage rates and rising home values have made many real estate markets extremely competitive with homes selling above listing price within a matter of days. According to the most recent existing home sales report, inventory is at its lowest in nearly two decades. Here’s how you can prepare for buying a home when inventory is tight.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/21/17 10:00 AM

We've been experiencing an unseasonably warm month, which offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy some outdoor fun!  The next time you're looking for a way to enjoy being outside, check out the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines!

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Out and About with Compass: Pottawatomie Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/21/17 9:30 AM

We've been lucky enought to get a break from those harsh winter temperatures that are typically around this time of year.  As you plan for ways to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather begin to brainstorm springtime activities, remember Pottawatomie Park, located in downtown St. Charles!   The park has so much to offer--it’s fun for the entire family!

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Mortgage 101: How to Get $7,500 in Down Payment Assistance as a First-Time Homebuyer

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/20/17 10:06 AM

With mortgage rates and rent prices climbing on top of the availability of several down payment assistance programs, there’s no better reason to purchase your first home sooner rather than later. Here’s how the Illinois Housing Development Authority's loan program 1stHomeIllinois makes homeownership even more enticing for first-time buyers.

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Existing Home or New Build: Which Home Type Is Right for You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/19/17 10:00 AM

Everyone knows buying a home comes with a vast array of decisions. One of the bigger choices is what home type is right for you. Do you place value on architectural features over energy efficiency? Are you looking for a home you can customize or are you an avid DIY-er? Choosing between purchasing an existing home, a newly built spec home or a new construction home comes down to several factors. Here are a few things to think about.

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7 Little-To-No-Cost Ways to Prepare Your Home to Sell

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/18/17 10:03 AM

When it comes time to sell a home, most homeowners have a common goal: sell above list price and sell quickly. Getting there depends on your area’s real estate market, as well as the degree to which you prepare your home for the market. We’ve compiled a list of things that have a zero-to-little price tag that will help get your home ready to hit the market.

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Prices Hit Largest Gain in 4 Years, Home Builder Confidence Falls

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/17/17 9:14 AM

In this week’s economic review, January’s consumer prices hit a stride, retail sales increased and home builder confidence slipped. Mortgage rates eased slightly.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: American Gothic House Center

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/16/17 10:00 AM

You don’t need a degree in art to know and instantly recognize the famous painting, American Gothic, currently displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago, which portrays a farming couple in front of a white farmhouse. The artist, Grant Wood, painted it in 1930, and his inspiration came from what is now known as thein Eldon, Iowa. Wood drew his inspiration for the characters in the portrait from his sister and his dentist, and he said he sought to paint the house along with "the kind of people I fancied should live in it.

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Out and About with Compass: Wildwood Nature Center

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/16/17 9:30 AM

Even though the calendar tells us we're still in the heart of winter, mother nature tells us something different! We've been spoiled with some fantastic weather lately!  If you'd like to take advantage of the mild temperatures before things return to normal, head on over to Wildwood Nature Center, in Park Ridge, for some outdoor fun that you've been craving after being cooped up indoors for so long. 

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Smart Ways to Put Your Tax Refund Into Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/15/17 10:00 AM

Getting a check back this year? According to the IRS, the average refund is just over $3,000. Before you start planning your refund-funded shopping spree, think of the many ways you could invest that return into one of your biggest tax deductions – your home. We’ve compiled some smart, value-adding and lower-cost ways to use that refund check toward your house.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: DIY Art Studios

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/14/17 10:00 AM

Valentine's Day often brings with it a pressure to plan a stellar date.  If you’re still looking for inspiration for tonight, look no further! We’ve got you covered! There is something special about being creative alongside your date, and when you can combine an imaginative activity with music and wine, it becomes super fun and romantic!

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Out and About with Compass: DIY Art Studios

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/14/17 9:30 AM

If you’re still trying to plan a date for Valentine’s Day tonight, we’ve got you covered! There is something special about being creative alongside your date, and when you can combine an imaginative activity with music and wine, it becomes super fun and romantic!

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Buying or Refinancing? Receive Up to $20,000 in Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/13/17 10:18 AM

Closing costs and down payments are common homebuying hurdles. Though low down payment mortgage options are readily available to homebuyers, adding that with 2 to 5 percent of a home’s purchase price in closing costs can tally up quickly. The Compass Grant Program is here to help borrowers cut down on those costs.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance to Refinance: Take Advantage of the FHA Streamline

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/12/17 10:00 AM

If you’ve been keeping an eye on mortgage rates, you know that while they’re still low, they’re climbing. As refinance activity in the mortgage world has dropped to less than 50 percent, studies are showing that rising rates are removing millions of eligible borrowers from the refinance pool. Don’t miss your chance to lower your rate!

 

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19 Low-Budget Ways to Upgrade Every Room in Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/11/17 4:11 PM

New year, new home! Whether you’re preparing to sell your home this spring or the “blah” of winter has you itching to transform the interior of your home, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you accomplish a whole home makeover on a tight budget.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Openings Decrease, Consumer Confidence Remains High

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/10/17 11:07 AM

In this week’s economic review, the gap between job openings and hiring narrowed slightly and consumer sentiment and spending eased. Mortgage rates fell minimally while the refinancing share of mortgage activity fell to a 7-year low.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: The Science Center of Iowa

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/9/17 10:00 AM

Even with spring on the horizon, the weather outside can still be frightful! When the days are cold and blustery, but you feel in the mood for an adventure, bundle up your crew and head to the Science Center of Iowa for some awe inspiring entertainment and lots of learning!

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Out and About with Compass: Discovery Center Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/9/17 9:30 AM

While we look forward to weekends for the rest and relaxation they bring, kids don’t always feel the same way! They enjoy action and energy, and sometimes that best takes place out of the house in a new and exciting environment. If you’re looking for somewhere new and inspiring for your kids to explore, check out the Discovery Center Children’s Museum in Rockford!

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First-Time Homebuyer FAQ: How Is a Home Appraisal Calculated?

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/8/17 9:30 AM

You’ve been pre-approved for home financing, found a home and settled on a purchase agreement; now what? Whether you’re buying a home or refinancing your mortgage, the value of the property in question needs to be determined through a home appraisal. So how do appraisers attach value? Here are few first-time homebuyer FAQ’s about home appraisals and the answers.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: High Trestle Trail

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/7/17 10:00 AM

While spring hasn't officially sprung just yet, we still get the occasional mild day from time to time which is refreshing and energizing!  If you and your family are looking for a way to burn off steam after a long winter spent indoors, put a visit to High Trestle Trail on your list of places to explore!

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Out and About with Compass: Ignite Glass Studios

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/7/17 9:30 AM

Ignite Glass Studios, located in Chicago’s West Loop, is a beautiful facility focused on the craft of making art with glass. This stunning medium is unique and precise, and something that most people are less familiar with, making a visit here particularly interesting. The studio offers everything from team building activities, to a viewing gallery, and community outreach to a gorgeous event space!

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First-Time Homebuyer FAQ: Can I Apply for Credit When Getting a Mortgage?

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/6/17 10:00 AM

Your loan has been fully approved and closing day has been marked on your calendar. While anticipating the day your home finally becomes your own, you’ve started to browse for furniture and appliances to deck out your new digs and intend on applying for a store credit card to score a discount. But wait; can you apply for credit when getting a mortgage?

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How to Finance Home Renovations with the FHA 203k Mortgage

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/5/17 11:00 AM

Fixer-upper listings have recently been on the rise, according to a recent Zillow analysis. The number of homes listed with descriptive terms like “needs work” and “TLC” is up 12 percent from five years ago. But how does a homebuyer finance those home renovation projects? Today, we’re highlighting one of the most popular financing options borrowers, the FHA 203k loan.

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Home Organization: 10 Ways to Tackle a Cluttered Kitchen

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/4/17 10:00 AM

It makes sense that the most used part of the home – the kitchen – often becomes the most cluttered. Kitchen gadgets, small appliances, recipe books and so forth go from being necessities to utter annoyances. Here’s how to tackle a kitchen that is bursting at the seams.

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Weekly Economic Review: Pending Home Sales, Home Prices & Job Growth See Gains

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/3/17 9:44 AM

In this week’s economic review, reports featured strength in pending home sales, home prices, consumer confidence, and job growth, as well as the Fed’s as-expected decision to leave rates unchanged.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/2/17 10:00 AM

They say everything’s better with bacon, and if that’s true, that means the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is the best event around! On February 18th, head to Des Moines for a festival dedicated to the most delicious cut of meat there is!

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Out and About with Compass: Little Beans Café

Posted by Emma Johnson on 2/2/17 9:30 AM

As adults, we love starting the day with a warm cup of coffee. It’s even more enjoyable when we can leisurely sip it in the comfort of our favorite cozy coffee shop. Now, it’s possible for you to enjoy that relaxing experience even when your children are in tow! Visit Little Beans Café this winter when you’re needing some relaxation and the kids are seeking fun!

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Mortgage 101: What Does It Mean to Lock My Mortgage Rate and When Should I Do It?

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/1/17 10:13 AM

Home prices rise, home inventory fluctuates, homebuyer demand increases – timing is a big part of homebuying and home financing. If you’ve been paying attention to any economic news, you know that for the last several months, mortgage rates have been climbing from their historical lows. So if you’re planning to purchase a home soon, what does it mean to lock an interest rate and when should you do it?

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Maquoketa Caves State Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/31/17 10:00 AM

Our lives are stressful and busy, and sometimes the best way to rejuvenate can be to get outside and surround yourself with the natural world. If you’re feeling like you need an escape that’s not too far from home, plan a visit to Maquoketa Caves State Park! You’ll get the chance to learn, explore, and refresh!

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Out and About with Compass: Cooking Classes

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/31/17 9:30 AM

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and if you’re looking for a date-night activity that’s out-of-the-box and creative, with an added perk of being delicious, check out some local establishments offering cooking classes! These classes offer the opportunity to learn a new skill and practice some creativity in the kitchen! Cooking together will bond you and your date, and you’ll finish the evening feeling accomplished and full from all the yummy food you made! Ready, set, COOK!

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Buying vs. Renting: Doing the Math on What's Best for You

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/30/17 12:11 PM

In 2014, 11 million renters were spending at least half of their income on housing, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Another 21.3 million (over 50 percent of renters) were spending 30 percent or more of their income on rent payments. So in an era where rent costs are going up, up, up, how do you decide whether buying a home or continuing to pay the landlord’s mortgage is the right financial choice for you? Here are several things you should factor in when considering the buying vs. renting scenario.

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Buying a Vacation Home: How to Find the Best Place to Purchase

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/29/17 10:34 AM

It’s that time of year again. Dreary skies and cool temps coupled with spring break planning has you thinking of what it’s actually like to own a home in your favorite vacation spot. In 2015, vacation homebuyers accounted for 16 percent of all homebuyers, which is historically high, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Investment & Vacation Home Buyers Survey. If a vacation home has been on your mind, here’s what you need to know about financing and choosing a good second home investment.

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The Top 10 Home Renovations & Improvements for 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/28/17 9:00 AM

Thinking of making some changes – major or minor – to your home this year? According to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine, your homeowner dollars are best spent on some of these renovation and home improvement projects. What they are might surprise you.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Inventory Drops to 17-Year Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/27/17 12:08 PM

This week’s economic review includes existing home and new home sales data, which dropped in December, limited home inventory, rising mortgage rates and home price data.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Iowa Aviation Heritage Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/26/17 10:00 AM

Aviation is something that fascinates men and women of all ages. No matter how familiar it has become, there's still something magical and mysterious about the way an aircraft lifts off the ground and soars through the air above us! There is a rich history in the field, from the first flight, to commercial airlines, to military use. If you’re a plane enthusiast, or if you’re just looking to learn more, take a trip to the Iowa Aviation Heritage Museum, located at the Ankeny Regional airport!

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Out and About with Compass: Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/26/17 9:30 AM

All of us enjoy an escape from everyday life from time to time, and there’s nowhere that will transport you quite like Medieval Times, located in Schaumburg. They’ll treat you to a one-of-a-kind show and an extraordinary dinner, filled with imagination, history and competition!

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7 Ways You Benefit as a Homeowner During Tax Season

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/25/17 9:55 AM

From personalizing your living space to creating a stable family living environment, there are several personal benefits of owning your own home. On the financial side, tax benefits are one of the biggest perks of homeownership. See how homeowners come out ahead during tax season.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/24/17 10:00 AM

In American tradition, beginning in 1933, former presidents are honored with a presidential library and museum which seeks to inform the public about the highlights of their presidency and provides public access to materials, books, and artifacts. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum sits on the grounds of the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa, and is a significant draw for the region.

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Out and About with Compass: Steel Beam Theater

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/24/17 9:30 AM

Supporting local art, in all forms, helps to build community and it honors the craft which the artists have poured their lives into. The Steel Beam Theater is a local, non-for-profit organization located in St. Charles, which is “dedicated to delivering high-quality theatrical entertainment, training and arts awareness.” They truly love theater, and the Fox Valley has benefitted from their entertainment offerings since their beginning in 2001.

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Pre-Approval vs. Loan Commitment: What You Need to Understand About the Difference

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/23/17 9:32 AM

We’re only months away from the busiest homebuying season. Whether you’re planning to make a home purchase yet this winter or are waiting until spring, you’re likely making strides to get your credit score and finances in the best shape possible. Another step you should pay a good amount of attention to: your path to home financing. Here’s what you need to know about pre-approvals versus loan commitments to determine which is the right step for you.


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Buying Your First Home: What to Expect on Your Loan Application (Infographic)

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/22/17 9:54 AM

After pre-approval, compiling your loan application is one of the first official steps toward achieving home financing. You mortgage banker will have some paperwork for you and you will have to compile some paperwork for them to verify your employment, income, available funds and home you wish to purchase.

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How to Sidestep 9 of the Biggest First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/21/17 11:04 AM

Buying a home is a big financial and lifestyle decision, and if it’s your first home, it can be nerve-racking. Though your mortgage banker and real estate agent will be there to guide you, there are certain things you should be aware of before jumping into your homebuying journey. Here’s our list of the biggest first-time homebuyer blunders and how to avoid them.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Drop Again, Home Builders Confident Heading Into New Year

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/20/17 10:17 AM

This week’s biggest economic news stories centered on dropping mortgage rates, housing market confidence and the consumer price index.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/19/17 10:00 AM

There's nothing that evokes memories of childhood quite like candy! Picking up your old favorite treat in the grocery store check-out line is fine, but it's even more fun and nostalgic when you can peruse your old, lesser known, favorites in a quaint candy store, brimming with sugar and delicious treats! Yum!

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Out and About with Compass: The Lincoln Park Conservatory

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/19/17 9:30 AM

While snowy, cold days bring charm during the holidays, during the months that follow the chilly temps can leave us feeling blue. Since spring time is still a far way off, when you’re feeling like you need an escape from all the gray, pay a visit to The Lincoln Park Conservatory, located directly adjacent to the zoo in Lincoln Park!

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Should You Pay Additional Principal on Your Mortgage? 5 Things to Consider First

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/18/17 10:15 AM

You’ve likely dreamed of the day that you would own your home free and clear. If you want to see that day sooner rather than later, you know that making additional principal payments is your route to mortgage freedom. While there are several benefits of paying additional principal on your mortgage, there are several variables that determine whether it's the right choice for your financial situation right now.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: Iowa Baseball Museum of Norway

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/17/17 10:00 AM

Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, and no matter where you go in the country, you can find a little piece of baseball history.  While it may not feel like it outside, spring training is just around the corner, which means soon, baseball is back!

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Out and About with Compass: Aurora Regional Fire Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/17/17 9:30 AM

The Aurora Regional Fire Museum is a non-profit, educational center which focuses on sharing the history of fire-fighting, from a local and national level, through artifacts, exhibits, hands-on activities, and special events. If you have a history enthusiast, or a child who’s interested in fire trucks or firefighting, a visit to this museum is a must!

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9 Tasks You Should Start Doing If You Want to Sell Your Home This Spring

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/16/17 10:15 AM

Spring is one of the best times of year to sell your home, according to a 2016 Zillow study. Homes that were listed between May 1st and May 15th sold around 18.5 days faster and for 1 percent more than the average listing. Though May might seem ages away, preparing to sell your home takes as much preparation as purchasing a home. Here’s our list of items you should start to take care of now.

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Why Location Matters & How to Scout Out the Best Spot When Buying Your First Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/15/17 10:25 AM

“Location, location, location” wouldn’t be the real estate industry’s catchphrase if it didn’t hold any weight. Nevertheless, the slogan is right. You can change a home but you can’t change its location. Here’s why location matters when it comes to a potential home purchase and how to scout out the best neighborhood to buy in.

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8 Ways to Enhance Your Home's Winter Curb Appeal

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/14/17 10:00 AM

Short days, dreary skies and mucky streets; it’s no wonder keeping your home’s exterior appearance is such a task come wintertime. Whether you’re looking to list your home this winter or just want a more pleasant exterior to come to, here are several ways to up your winter curb appeal.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Fall for Second Week in a Row

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/13/17 10:15 AM

This week’s biggest economic news stories centered on mortgage rates and job openings and hiring. Mortgage rates experienced their first decline last week after a 9-week climb and fell yet again this week.

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Out and About with Compass: Iowa Edition: National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/12/17 10:00 AM

The Mighty Mississippi, which runs almost directly through the middle of our nation, was, and still is, a critical part of American commerce and agriculture. As one of America’s longest rivers, it’s been an important part of people’s lives, since before the land was even settled. Today, we still recognize the importance of this resource, and as a way to honor the history and educate about the future, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium exists!

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Out and About with Compass:  The Art Institute of Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/12/17 9:30 AM

The Art Institute, located right in the heart of downtown Chicago, is a showcase for some of the most brilliant masterpieces in the world! For four years in a row, it’s been voted one of the top museums in all the world! It’s a fantastic place to browse as a relaxing weekend activity, and as a place to learn if you want to delve into the world of art history.

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7 Ways to Build Mortgage-Ready Credit in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/11/17 9:00 AM

Preparing to buy a home should start long before walking through a potential home to purchase, so if buying a home is one of your 2017 resolutions, you will find these tips helpful for building a healthy credit score. Your first official step to buying a home should always be meeting with a lender for a pre-approval, but your credit is a mortgage factor you should be continually working on when you're wanting to achieve home financing.

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Out and About with Compass, Iowa Edition: Amana Colonies

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/10/17 10:00 AM

The Amana Colonies, located just off of 1-80 are a treasured collection of seven villages, sitting on 26,000 acres of prairie land, offering visitors a step back in time! Originally, the villages were built and settled by German Pietists, who were persecuted for their faith, but since, they’ve been maintained as a way to educate visitors about German history, culture and tradition, and celebrate with friends and family!

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Out and About with Compass: Chicago Elevated Sightseeing Tours

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/10/17 9:30 AM

Most people keep their eyes out for indoor fun during the cold Chicago months, but if you’re feeling really adventurous, check out Chicago Elevated’s Winter Sightseeing Tours! This is for the hardcore adventurers among us, because it will be cold—but it’s an experience not many people get, so it’s unique and special! You’ll see Chicago in a new way, and if you’re a true Chicagoan, or looking for an authentic experience, you can totally hack it!

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Mortgage 101: Which Mortgage Is Right for You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/9/17 10:06 AM

Buying a home can come with an overwhelming amount of choices. What school district do you want to purchase in? Who should you choose for a real estate agent? How much can you afford to spend on your home purchase? Just like choosing a home style, there are several loan types and programs made to benefit a wide range of homebuyers.

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7 Ways to Tell It Might Be Time to Sell Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/8/17 10:00 AM

You’ve been hunting local real estate listings and dreaming of a larger backyard, kitchen, master bedroom, etc., but you’re not sure if it’s the right time to make that leap and sell your house. Here are several good reasons why you might want to take advantage of the market and upsize or downsize.

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5 Reasons 2017 Is Your Year to Buy a Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/7/17 8:16 AM

Tired of paying your landlord's mortgage? Keeping your eye on mortgage rates? Want to cash in on the tax benefits of homeownership? There are a million reasons why buying a home is a good idea, so we’ve compiled some of the biggest reasons why you should make your home purchase in 2017.

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Weekly Economic Review:  Job Growth Weakens, Wages Reach Post-Crisis High

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/6/17 9:44 AM

This week's economic review centers on job growth, which ended the year softer than expected. Mortgage rates, which had been on a 9-week climb, experienced the first drop (12 basis points) since November.

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How to Receive Up to $20,000 in Down Payment Assistance

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/5/17 9:30 AM

Closing costs and down payments are common homebuying hurdles. With that being said, we are excited to announce our introduction of Associated Bank’s Homeowner’s Edge Loan Plus (HELP) program at Compass Mortgage.

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Out and About with Compass: Pilot Pete's

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/5/17 9:30 AM

There is still something both magical and mysterious about the way an aircraft lifts off the ground and soars through the air above us! If you have an interest in aviation, or if you have a young one who does, you need to plan a visit to Pilot Pete’s, in Schaumburg, for dinner! You’ll get a first-class meal and an unrivaled view!

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Mortgage 101: What Are Closing Costs and How Can You Minimize Them?

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/4/17 10:00 AM

When you get a mortgage, you will most likely be paying closing costs at the finalization of your purchase or refinance. These costs, which typically range from 2 to 5 percent of your home’s purchase price, are charged by your mortgage lender and third parties that have performed services related to your home purchase (a lot of behind-the-scenes players are involved in the home buying and financing process). See here what you can expect to pay within your closing costs and ways you can try to minimize what you need to bring to closing.

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Out and About with Compass: Adler After Dark

Posted by Emma Johnson on 1/3/17 9:30 AM

The Adler Planetarium, located on the lakefront on Chicago’s museum campus, is a world-class planetarium which offers visitors an in-depth look at the world beyond our planet. Anytime you visit you’ll feel intrigued by everything that exists far beyond us. The exhibits are well-designed, thoughtfully researched, and executed at a level that is unmatched by similar institutions.  It's a must-see in Chicago!

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4 Ways to Grow Your Home Equity

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/2/17 9:33 AM

Think of your home as a large piggy bank. With every monthly mortgage payment, you’re putting money into that piggy bank. If or when the time comes that you need it, that equity is there to use to your liking. So how can you increase your home equity at a faster pace? See here.

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7 New Year's Resolutions to Make to Buy a Home in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/1/17 10:00 AM

Happy New Year! 2016 was a hot year in the real estate market with high homebuyer demand, low inventory and historically low mortgage rates throughout the majority of the year. If this is the year you want to become a homeowner, here are 7 resolutions to make to set yourself up for the best homebuying and home financing experience.


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10 Ways to Cut Costs on Common Household Expenses in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/31/16 9:00 AM

With 2016 in the rearview, it’s a good time to sit down and determine your financial goals for the new year. Whether you want to save for a large purchase, invest more aggressively in your retirement portfolio or just want to have a bigger safety net, you’ll need to cut costs to pave the way. Here are a few ways you can start budgeting and cut spending on everyday items around your home.

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Confidence Hits 15-Year High, Pending Home Sales Stumble

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/30/16 9:00 AM

This week in economic news mortgage rates continued their climb for the ninth straight week, according to HousingWire, consumer confidence continued strengthening and pending home sales felt the squeeze of rising mortgage rates.

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Out and About with Compass: Chi-Town Rising

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/29/16 9:30 AM

For the second year in a row, celebrate New Year's Eve in Chicago in an outdoor party that rivals New York's festivities in Time's Square! Head downtown this year to watch the star RISE at midnight during Chi-Town Rising! It's the Midwest's biggest and best New Year's Eve celebration.

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8 Ways to Tackle Post-Holiday Clutter and Home Organization

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/28/16 9:39 AM

Whether you dismantle your holiday décor on December 26th or January 26th, you may already feel the reality of post-holiday disarray sinking in. There is no better time of year to tackle a cluttered home than right after a season of giving and receiving. Use these tips for an organized home heading into the new year.

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Out and About with Compass: Comedy Clubs in the Chicago Suburbs

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/27/16 9:30 AM

With Christmas in our rearview, it's time to set our sights on celebrating New Year's Eve! It's a time when we can reflect on 2016 and ring in 2017 with friends and family.  The night is even more fun when you can get out of the house and ring in the new year in a festive environment!

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Mortgage-Ready Credit: 9 Tips for Paying Off Holiday Debt

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/26/16 10:00 AM

December spending turns into January bill-paying. If you’re suffering from the post-holiday debt blues, you’re not alone. Americans add an average of $986 in debt throughout the holiday season with less than half planning to pay off that debt in less than 5 months, according to a survey by MagnifyMoney. Whether improving your credit score or decreasing your debt is one of your resolutions in 2017, here’s how to tackle those outstanding holiday balances.

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First-Time Homeowners: 8 Essential Things to Buy After You Buy Your House

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/24/16 10:00 AM

You’ve closed on your mortgage and the moving truck has come and gone. Though you’re anxious to turn what looks like a bare house into a suitably decorated home, you need to assess what you need to buy first. Here’s our list of what every first-time homeowner should put at the top of their list.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Sales Increase, Prices & Mortgage Rates Follow Suit

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/23/16 10:37 AM

Mortgage rates hit a two and a half year high this week after the Fed announced their expected decision to raise the federal funds rate. Existing home sales and new home sales made surprising strides in November as dwindling supply put pressure on home prices.

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Out and About with Compass: Old Fashioned Candy Shops

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/22/16 9:30 AM

There's nothing that evokes memories of childhood quite like candy! Picking up your old favorite treat in the grocery store check out line is fine, but it's even more fun and nostalgic when you can peruse your old, lesser known, favorites in a quaint candy store, brimming with sugar and delicious treats! Yum!

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2017 Housing Market: 5 Trends the Experts Are Predicting

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/21/16 10:00 AM

2016 was a hot year in the real estate market with low inventory, high demand and historically-low mortgage rates throughout the majority of the year. With mortgage rates on the rise, experts are predicting what will happen with affordability, home prices, inventory and sales speed in the new year.

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Out and About with Compass: Naper Lights

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/20/16 9:30 AM

For the fourth year in a row, Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville, in partnership with the Naperville Sunrise Notary, is bringing holiday cheer to the community with their festive holiday light festival!

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Mortgage 101: Four Things You Should Know About Buying a Home in a Homeowners' Association

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/19/16 10:00 AM

So you want to purchase a home in a community with a homeowners’ association. According to HOA-USA, there are over 351,000 homeowner assocations in the United States, representing 40 million households. Many homebuyers love the idea of enforced community appearance, included maintenance like snow removal, recreational amenities, and association management, but here are a few things you should consider when planning to purchase a home within an HOA.

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10 Homebuying & Mortgage Myths You Need to Stop Believing Now

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/18/16 10:00 AM

You’ve been diligently working on the steps to go from renting to homeownership, setting aside money for a down payment and paying down your credit cards, but are you still buying in to some of the biggest homebuying myths?

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The Beginners Guide to Buying Rental Property

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/17/16 10:00 AM

According to a 2016 Gallup poll, Americans’ top pick for “best long-term investment” is real estate, coming in ahead of stocks, mutual funds, gold, savings, CD’s and bonds. While owning your own home has an immense amount of benefits, so does purchasing and maintaining a rental property, though it’s not for everyone. If you’re considering the path of real estate investing, see what you need to consider first.

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Weekly Economic Review: Fed Raises Rates, Consumerism Cools in November

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/16/16 9:39 AM

Major economic news this week centered around the steady rise of mortgage rates, the anticipated Fed decision and retail sales.

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Out and About with Compass: The Chicago Children's Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/15/16 9:30 AM

In Chicagoland, we have access to some amazing museums where we, as adults, can learn, explore and engage with the world around us.  Lucky for us, our children have that same opportunity! The Chicago Children's Museum, located downtown at Navy Pier, can be added to the list of exceptional children's museums in our area which celebrate the interests and developmental needs of children. 

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Want to Sell Your Home? See Why Listing Your Home in Winter May Pay Off

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/14/16 10:00 AM

People buy homes year-round, but when it comes to putting your home up for sale, is winter a good season to list your home? According to a recent Redfin study, spring was the best time to list a home but winter was not far behind.

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Out and About with Compass: Mooseheart Holiday Light Festival

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/13/16 9:30 AM

Mooseheart is a100-acre residential facility and school for children in need, whose parents, for one reason or another, are unable to care for them.  This organization has a mission to provide quality education and a loving, nurturing home enviroment for the children they care for. 

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7 of the Coolest Smart Home Devices to Add to Your 2016 Holiday Wish List

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/12/16 10:00 AM

Staying connected to your home has never been so easy. Whether you want to increase your home security, keep utility bills lows or cater your home systems to your lifestyle, here are some of the top smart home devices of 2016.

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9 Energy Efficient Home Improvements That Pay for Themselves

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/11/16 10:00 AM

The average U.S. household spends upwards of $1,600 on electricity and gas alone. While you’re planning home renovations and remodeling projects in the new year, it’s worthwhile to consider some home improvements that will save you money in the long run. We’ve compiled some of the most energy efficient home improvements that will eventually pay for their investment.

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6 Ways Home Sellers Can Make Their Winter Listing Stand Out

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/10/16 10:00 AM

There are many pros and cons of winter homebuying, but what if you’re on the selling side? A recent Redfin report found that winter is the second-best time of the year to list your home, after spring, of course. Nearly eighteen percent of winter listings sell above asking price and 46.2 percent of winter listed homes are off the market within 30 days. From lighting techniques and home staging to energy efficiency, here’s how to make your winter listing draw in prospective buyers.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Reach Another Yearly High, Job Openings Slip

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/9/16 10:00 AM

This week in economic news mortgage rates continued their climb, job openings declined and daily consumer spending continued to grow in November.

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Out and About with Compass: Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/8/16 9:30 AM

Year round, Cosley Zoo in Wheaton offers visitors a small-scale farm zoo experience that is perfect for the little ones in your life. But at Christmastime, the zoo transforms into a colorful winter wonderland during their Festival of Lights, and the entire family will find the experience magical!

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Mortgage 101: 5 Types of Insurance You May (or May Not) Need When Buying a Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/7/16 9:00 AM

Buying a home is likely the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime, so protecting it (and your belongings within it) is essential as a homeowner. There are several types of insurance associated with homebuying, some of which you have a choice in and others required by your mortgage lender to protect their collateral. See what you need here.

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Out and About with Compass: St. James Farm Sleigh Rides

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/6/16 9:30 AM

St. James Farm, located in Warrenville, is a 612-acre forest preserve containing native plant and animal species, agricultural fields, barns and horse stables. It’s a scenic place to visit year-round for a leisurely picnic, or a hike through the woods on the various paths. The preserve offers exciting opportunities to explore all year round, like nature photography excursions and geocaching, but during Christmas St. James Farm becomes especially festive!

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Winter Housing Market Update: 6 Facts for Winter Homebuyers & Sellers

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/5/16 12:47 PM

Often pegged as the “slow season” in real estate, winter may be an optimal time for you to enter the housing market or sell your home and buy again. See what mortgage rates, home prices, homebuyer traffic and home inventory are doing to shape the winter housing market.

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Preparing to Buy Your First Home in 2017: 5 Things You Should Start Doing Now

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/4/16 12:51 PM

Increasing mortgage rates coupled with rising home prices and rent costs are among a few of the reasons 2017 could be a good year for you to buy a home. Here’s what you can and should be doing now if 2017 is the year you want to get out of the rental circuit.

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10 Home Decor & Design Trends to Watch for in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/3/16 10:55 AM

Last year interior designs were predicting large florals, bold color combos, statement pendants and soft lines. This year home design trends include eclectic mixtures, luxe fabrics and an overall cozier décor. If you’re thinking of revamping your home décor, use this list for some of the biggest trends in 2017.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Continue Climbing, Pending Home Sales Slow

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/2/16 1:10 PM

This week's economic review includes mortgage rates, which reached highs not seen in over a year. Meanwhile, employment reports indicated strength in payroll growth while the unemployment rate fell.

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Out and About with Compass: Christmas Around the World

Posted by Emma Johnson on 12/1/16 9:30 AM

Christmas is a time to celebrate family traditions.  These customs we share with our loved ones remind us of what's important, and they allow us to reflect on our past while looking hopefully to the future.  This year, start a new tradition of your own with your family while you observe and learn about the traditions of other cultures around the world by visiting the Museum of Science and Industry's Christmas Around the World exhibit! 

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Adding Value to Your Home: Should You Do a Master Suite Addition?

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/30/16 10:50 AM

The desire for a master suite has been trending upwards in the housing market, topping lists alongside updated kitchens and bathrooms and open floor plans. While the benefits of a master suite, such as a private bathroom and separation from the home’s other bedrooms, may seem priceless to some homeowners, the budget of a master suite addition can become one of the priciest home renovations.

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Out and About with Compass: Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/29/16 9:30 AM

Each fall, hundreds of Chicagoans flock to the Morton Arboretum to enjoy the season and see the beautiful trees change their colors. But the colorful spectacle doesn't end once the last leaf has dropped! In the winter, the Arboretum strings thousands of colorful lights for a one-of-a-kind Holiday experience you shouldn't miss!

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10 of the Best & Worst Renovation Projects for DIY Homeowners

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/28/16 12:41 PM

We're in the age of do-it-yourself homeownership. Through online tutorials and big box improvement stores, homeowners have the means and education to complete their own renovation projects, but are they happy with the overall project? According to a Zillow analysis, three-quarters of homeowners completed a DIY home improvement project in the last three years, but nearly 40 percent of those homeowners wish they hadn't.

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6 Reasons You Should Buy a Home Over the Holidays

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/27/16 11:06 AM

Holiday parties, guests, shopping, baking and cooking: would you want to add buying a house to your stacked holiday to-do list? While homebuyer traffic does decrease significantly on actual holidays, house-hunting isn't as impacted as you'd assume during the holiday season (and for good reason).

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Level Since 2007

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/26/16 9:58 AM

Major economic reports released this week included new and existing home sales, as well as home pricing. Mortgage rates continued to climb causing volatility in mortgage applications.

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9 Credit Mistakes to Avoid Over the Holidays

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/25/16 8:00 AM

'Tis the season for consumers to go overboard with credit cards. If you have or plan to use credit cards during your holiday shopping trips, there are several ways to effectively manage and control your debt while keeping your credit score healthy. Here are 8 credit mistakes to avoid this holiday season.

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Out and About with Compass: Happy ThanksGIVING

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/24/16 9:30 AM

Thanksgiving is a time for food, friends, football and family! But most importantly, it’s a time set aside to reflect on all that we’re thankful for. Out of that thankful spirit often comes a desire to serve those less fortunate, right in our own communities. While the holidays hold fond memories for many, it can also be a time where those around us feel lonely and burdened. Below you’ll find just a few organizations that work to lend a helping hand to those in Chicagoland. This holiday season, get out and about and serve!

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9 of the Biggest Holiday Home Hazards & How to Avoid Them

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/23/16 10:00 AM

The cooking and baking traditions, family get-togethers, and decorating for the holidays are fast approaching. Before you cozy up to the fireplace, put up your Christmas tree, or start on your holiday baking list, make sure you house is clear of these common holiday hazards.

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Out and About with Compass: Ice Skating at Millennium Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/22/16 9:30 AM

The holidays are in full swing in the city, and things are about to get even more festive!  On the tails of the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony downtown, the ice skating rink at Millennium Park has opened, and it's a season must-do in Chicago!

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12 Homebuying & Home Financing Terms All First-Time Homebuyers Should Know

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/21/16 10:00 AM

Buying a home, especially your first home, can sometimes be a confusing process. With new terms like earnest money and title search jumping out at you from purchase contracts and mortgage documents, you may find your head spinning. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the common home financing terms you should understand when purchasing a home.

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10 Ways to Cozy Up Your Home for Winter

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/20/16 10:11 AM

With the winter chill setting in, it’s time to make some simple home décor additions to make your home warm, welcoming and cozy. Use these tricks to up the coziness of your home for your family and holiday guests.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Rise, Housing Starts Surge

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/18/16 8:33 AM

This week’s economic reports centered on consumers and new home construction. Mortgage rates ended the week higher and not far from where they were a year ago.

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Out and About with Compass: Zoolights at The Lincoln Park Zoo

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/17/16 9:30 AM

There is nothing more festive than getting bundled up and heading outside during the holiday season to view the bright and cheery decorations adorning the trees and structures. It’s even more fun though when you can take in all the sights and sounds of Christmas at one of Chicago’s favorite locations for family fun…the Lincoln Park Zoo!

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Fixer-Upper Listings on the Rise: What You Need to Know About Financing a Home in Need of Renovations

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/16/16 12:50 PM

As homebuyer demand continues to outpace supply, a new Zillow analysis found that there are 12% more fixer-upper homes on the market now than there were five years ago. Low existing home supply coupled with competitive homebuyers has created a seller’s market, and with high demand for houses, sellers aren’t feeling the pressure to make updates before putting their home on the market.

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Out and About with Compass: Winter Wonderfest

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/15/16 9:30 AM

There is something so charming and special about the holiday season! The snow, the lights, the music, the family time! It’s something that should be celebrated in style, especially since it only lasts for a few weeks each year. The 15th annual Winter Wonderfest, held at Navy Pier in Chicago, makes finding seasonal fun easy, and it's a must-see in Chicago this season!

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10 Pros & Cons You Can Expect When Buying a Home in the Winter

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/14/16 3:01 PM

The shift in weather may have inspired thoughts of holiday shopping, but what about shopping for a home? Though spring and summer are considered the most popular seasons of the year to buy a home, don’t let winter weather and the holidays deter you from purchasing in the off-season. In fact, the best day of the year to buy a home is in late October, in regards to getting the best price deal. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to brave the weather or wait until spring, here are some pros and cons of winter homebuying.

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11 Tasks Everyone Should Complete Before Moving Into a New Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/13/16 11:19 AM

Your belongings are boxed up, the moving truck is scheduled and you've recruited family and friends to help unload on moving day. Moving to a new home is an exciting, albeit exhausting, task. Before you start unloading the moving truck, here's a list of to-do items you should take care of before you fill your new home with boxes.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Growth Slows in September, Consumer Optimism Rises

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/12/16 9:00 AM

Following this week’s election results, mortgage rates jumped to a 5-month high. While September job openings saw little change, labor market conditions are continuing to show optimism, alongside consumer reports.

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2016 Marks the Biggest Year in the History of VA Loans: 4 Ways Veteran Homebuyers Benefit

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/11/16 10:36 AM

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs guaranteed more than 707,000 home loans, making it the largest year in the history of the VA loan program. In honor of the men and women who have served our country, we’re highlighting the ways the VA loan program makes homeownership attainable and affordable for our veterans.

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Out and About with Compass: Chicago's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/10/16 9:30 AM

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and lots of food! It’s also traditionally the time for an awesome parade! Thanksgiving Day Parades around the country began in the 1930s as a way to brighten the lives of people suffering through the Great Depression, and since it has turned into a long-held tradition that helps to usher in the holiday season.

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13 Storage Solutions for Every Space in Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/9/16 1:57 PM

What’s the one thing it seems all homeowners want more of in their home? Space for all of their belongings. Whether you’re trying to optimize storage in a small home or looking for simple ways to cut down on clutter and get organized, here are several ways to add extra storage spaces to your house.

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Out and About with Compass: Lincoln Marsh Natural Area

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/8/16 9:30 AM

Chicago is a large, busy city, and so are its suburbs, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for a retreat to nature! The Lincoln Marsh Natural Area, in Wheaton, offers one hundred and fifty acres of wetlands and prairie land to explore when you need some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Is My Credit Score Good Enough to Buy a Home? 5 Credit Questions First-Time Homebuyers Ask

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/7/16 2:45 PM

With mortgage rates still near historic lows, many first-time homebuyers are looking to purchase and finance homes, making it more crucial than ever for them to understand what part their credit score plays in the mortgage process. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding credit scores and homebuying.

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11 Winter Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Complete ASAP

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/6/16 2:43 PM

As the temperatures are beginning to dip, now is the time to make sure your home will be ready for winter. Winterizing your home can help lower your utility bills, protect your biggest investment and most importantly, keep you and your family warm throughout the freezing months.  Here are some tips on how you can maximize your winter home maintenance.

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11 Home Improvements & Upgrades You Should Complete Before the Holidays

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/5/16 1:26 PM

Let the holiday countdown begin! With Thanksgiving just weeks away, so are holiday guests. If you're expecting company over the next month, these upgrades are quick, efficient and relatively budget-friendly.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Jump, October Job Growth & Wages Show Strength

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/4/16 11:15 AM

This week’s economic news centered in on job growth, increasing wage strength, an as-expected decision from the Federal Reserve and increasing mortgage rates.

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Out and About with Compass: Key Lime Cove

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/3/16 9:30 AM

As the weather cools off in fall, we find ourselves inside more often, missing the excitement of outdoor play. But summertime fun doesn’t have to end just because it’s November! This winter, when you’re looking for break from the cold, visit Key Lime Cove, in Gurnee, for some swimming, splashing, and family fun that happens no matter what mother nature decides to throw our way!

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Renovating Your Fixer-Upper: 7 Facts About the HomeStyle® Renovation Loan

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/2/16 10:35 AM

Renovation TV shows like Fixer Upper and Rehab Addict can inspire homebuyers to purchase a home in need of some TLC, but they leave out a very technical part of the process: financing the renovations. Fannie Mae's HomeStyle® Renovation Mortgage is one of a few renovation loans we offer. This loan type allows purchase and refinance borrowers to include financing for home improvements into the transaction of an existing home. Here's what you need to know about this renovation loan.

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Out and About with Compass: Christkindlmarket

Posted by Emma Johnson on 11/1/16 9:30 AM

Today we welcome the month of November! This month brings a big holiday of its own, but the most fun comes from all the opportunities for Chirstmas prep that will take place in the coming weeks!  Thankfully our city offers lots of unique opportunities to get in the festive spirit. This month, visit the Christkindlmarket, a holiday market which began in Neumburg, Germany in the 16th century, but is celebrated here each year. It’s Chicago’s largest open air holiday market, and it’s not to be missed!

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Home Maintenance: 10 Eerie House Noises & Smells You Should Never Ignore

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/31/16 10:52 AM

Happy Halloween! Due to age, maintenance, and the efficiency of various major home systems, your house is bound to creak and clank every once in awhile. While spooky, these noises and smells are most likely typical home maintenance issues that may need some attention sooner than later. Here are some of the most common eerie home noise complaints and their causes.

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Homeowner Tips: 9 Ways to Amp Up Your Home Security

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/30/16 12:58 PM

A home burglary takes place approximately every 18 seconds in the United States, according to SafeWise. With holiday travel and winter vacations fast approaching, now is a good time to make sure you’re taking preventative measures for your home’s security.

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How to Set Aside the Top 7 First-Time Homebuyer Fears

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/29/16 12:37 PM

Terrified of jumping into the homeownership circle? As with any large purchase, buying a home can be unnerving for someone who has little knowledge of the homebuying and financing process. Here's how to set some of those fears aside when preparing to make a home purchase.

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales, Pending Sales Strong in September

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/28/16 12:06 PM

Economic highlights this week included new home sales and home prices, both of which were in the plus column. Average mortgage rates fell, following last week’s increase and consumer confidence dropped, as well.

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Out and About with Compass: Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Race

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/27/16 9:30 AM

The thrill of a competitive race is invigorating, and it can excite even the novice runner. But, if you’re the kind of athlete who needs a little extra motivation to get yourself moving, the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, happening this Sunday, October 30 in Grant Park in Chicago, is the race for you!

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Should You Stay or Should You Go? 6 Things to Consider When Deciding to Renovate or Relocate

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/26/16 10:00 AM

At some point as a homeowner you’re going to come to an inevitable, emotional and mathematical fork in the road. Whether your starter home isn’t enough for your growing family, you’ve recently become an empty nester or you just really want an updated kitchen or floor plan, you’ll likely ask yourself whether it’s in your best interests to remodel or renovate or list and trade up.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Boo at the Zoo

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/25/16 9:30 AM

A family outing to the zoo is always a fun adventure, but this weekend Brookfield Zoo is stepping it up and making the zoo even more exciting! In celebration of Halloween, head over for Boo at the Zoo! A not-so-scary event to excite the little pumpkins in your life.

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Buying a Home is Cheaper Than Renting in the All of the Nation’s 100 Largest Metros

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/24/16 1:30 PM

Mortgage rates increased last week to a four-month high, but according to Trulia’s latest rent vs. buy study, rates would need to double, even triple, to make renting the better financial choice over buying a home.

 

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6 Characteristics of Home Sellers Who Sold Above Listing Price in 2016

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/23/16 9:49 AM

What’s the ultimate goal for home sellers? To sell for top dollar, at top-notch speed. In Zillow’s newest report on consumer housing trends, they found several distinct characteristics of sellers who received bids above listing price.

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Remodeling Your Kitchen: 9 Kitchen Trends to Look for in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/22/16 10:00 AM

Looking into remodeling or renovating your kitchen in the near future? According to Remodeling magazine's 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, minor kitchen remodels boast a cost recoup of 83 percent. If you're looking for some renovation inspiration, check out our list of kitchen trends for the new year.

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Sales Surge, First-Time Homebuyers on the Rise

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/21/16 8:42 AM

In this week's economic news, mortgage rates increased to a 4-month high while September existing home sales data came in surprisingly positive.

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Out and About with Compass: Mac and Cheese Fest

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/20/16 9:30 AM

As the weather cools down, things begin to heat up in the kitchen! We crave hearty comfort food during this time of year, and while we can cook it ourselves, nothing beats leaving the hard work of preparing it to someone else.

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8 Ways Millennial & First-Time Homebuyers Are Shaping the 2016 Housing Market

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/19/16 11:43 AM

Coming of age in the recession has painted a different homebuying picture for the Millennial generation. With surmounting student debt and rent prices, the real estate market was once asking, “Where are the Millennials?” But according to a new study performed by Zillow the Millennials are making their own waves in the housing market with their new approaches to shopping, financing and purchasing.

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Out and About with Compass: Santa's Village Azoosment Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/18/16 9:30 AM

Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, located in East Dundee, is a theme park for children which focuses on fun rides and attractions, as well as exotic and interesting animals! This one-stop-shop holds all sorts of fun to entertain all the children in your family, no matter their age or interest.

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USDA Rural Development or FHA: Which Is the Best Mortgage Option for a First-Time Homebuyer?

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/17/16 2:33 PM

Today’s first-time homebuyers face a new set of homebuying hurdles. From saving for a down payment and closing costs to credit scores and debt, mortgage affordability is a key concern for many homebuyers. So today we’re reviewing pros and cons and costs and eligibility requirements associated with two affordable mortgage options: the USDA Rural Development and FHA loan.

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Buying Your First Home: Should You Save For a Down Payment or Pay Off Debt First?

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/16/16 10:54 AM

Many potential homebuyers cite existing debt or saving funds for a down payment as the biggest hurdles in their homebuying journey. But what if you have existing debt and a low balance in your savings account? Where do you start?

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10 Simple Home Maintenance Tasks You Need to Complete This Month

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/15/16 11:25 AM

As the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler, there are a few home maintenance tasks you need to put on your to-do list. Follow our checklist to get your home, both interior and exterior, in the best shape this month for the fall elements.

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Weekly Economic Review: August Job Openings Fall to 8-Month Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/14/16 12:35 PM

Reports of slowing in the job market reverberated this week as monthly job openings fell sharply in August, down 7.3 percent to 5.443 million, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. This is the lowest number of job openings since December 2015. Hiring also slowed by 0.9 percent.

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Out and About with Compass: Brick-or-Treat

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/13/16 9:30 AM

Legos are a classic childhood toy that offer the chance to build, play and be creative.  Over the years, they have become more innovative and diverse, offering a wide variety of experiences to children of all ages!  Legoland Discovery Center, in Schaumburg, offers the young and the young-at-heart, the opportunity to engage with Legos in amazing ways! While there are special exhibits and events happening all throughout the year, a great time to visit is this month for their Halloween event appropriately titled “Brick-or-Treat.”

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9 Ways to Slash Your Home Utility Bills This Fall & Winter

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/12/16 1:49 PM

Energy efficient home maintenance tasks probably aren’t on your list of favorite fall activities. Nevertheless, these home improvements and home maintenance fixes will keep your cool-weather utility costs a little bit lower this fall and winter.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Open House Chicago

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/11/16 9:30 AM

Chicago is a first-class city with an abundance of things to do! Some of that fun, however, can come with a hefty price tag. But don’t fret! If you’re searching for a budget-friendly outing, check out The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago, held this weekend, October 15-16! It's can't miss event and it's completely free.

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The Zero Down Payment Mortgage Program Is Now Even More Affordable

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/10/16 1:30 PM

If you’ve heard of the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Loan Program, you know that it’s an extremely affordable mortgage program, boasting several benefits for first-time and repeat homebuyers. As if the zero down payment requirement and lower-than-market interest rates weren’t enough, USDA loans became even more affordable at the beginning of this month.

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How Much Mortgage Can You Afford? 7 Factors That Affect Home Affordability

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/9/16 9:08 AM

One of the most common first-time homebuyer questions is how much can I afford to buy? Home affordability weighs on many factors that your lender will analyze to give you an appropriate, pre-approved purchase point.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: Employment Growth Slows in September

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/8/16 10:00 AM

The ADP Employment Report released on Wednesday called for significant slowing in employment growth for the month of September. Friday’s Employment Situation report confirmed ADP’s estimates.

 

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Start or Further Your Career in the Mortgage Industry: Get the Compass Mortgage Experience Here

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/7/16 11:06 AM

The mortgage industry continually changes, but at Compass, several things remain constant: growth, development and transparency. Our newly launched mortgage banker website highlights how we not only provide a better mortgage experience for our clients but also provide continual growth opportunities and an unmatched work culture for our mortgage bankers.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Anderson Japanese Gardens

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/6/16 9:30 AM

Traditional Japanese gardens contain three vital elements: Stone, water, and plants. Though these elements in themselves are not unique, it’s the way the gardens are structured that makes them truly special. The landscape works in harmony with the other features to create gardens meant for reflection and renewal. The beauty is not to be missed, and now you don’t need to make a trip across the ocean to enjoy them! Visit Anderson Japanese Gardens, in Rockford, for a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t soon forget!

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17 Budget-Friendly DIY Home Improvement & Renovation Projects for First-Time Homeowners

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/5/16 12:24 PM

So you just bought a house; congratulations! Making your home yours is where the real fun begins, but it's also a good idea to adjust to the costs of homeownership before making large scale home improvements and renovations. Here are some cost-effective but aesthetically-pleasing home improvements you can mostly do yourself and complete on a budget.

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Out and About with Compass: Chicago Museum Week

Posted by Emma Johnson on 10/4/16 9:30 AM

Chicago is well known for its rich museum culture. From the museum campus on the lakefront, housing the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and others, to the museums tucked away in various pockets of the city, many celebrating the heritage and traditions of Chicago residents, like the DuSable Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art. These institutions make our city vibrant and relevant, and there’s no better time to plan a visit than during Chicago’s Museum Week!

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5 Preparation Steps to Move From Renting to Owning 

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/3/16 4:13 PM

If you’re thinking of purchasing a home in the near future because of high rent, you’re not alone. In the first quarter of 2016, one in four homebuyers was looking to purchase a home because of their expensive rent, according to Redfin. Homeownership is a big decision, so whether you plan to buy this fall or down the road, walk through these initial steps to go from renting to owning.

 

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Selling Your Home: 10 Smart Tips for Attracting Fall Homebuyers

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/2/16 3:02 PM

Fall is the second best time of year to sell your home. The kids are back in school. Families aren't hustling and bustling back and forth from family vacations. The holidays aren't a stressor...yet. If you're placing your home for sale now, here are several things you need to consider doing first.

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7 Ways to Instantly Transform Your Fall Curb Appeal

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/1/16 10:00 AM

Curb appeal doesn't go out the window as soon as the leaves begin to drop. If you're planning to list your home this fall or your home exterior needs a little sprucing up, here are some tips for getting the attention of anyone who passes by your home this autumn.

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Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Confidence at 9-Year High, Pending Home Sales Drop

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/30/16 11:05 AM

Housing market data came in soft for August, posting low inventory in both the new and existing homes and projecting low sales for the fall. Meanwhile, mortgage rates fell to near yearly lows.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Wheaton Drama

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/29/16 9:30 AM

Everyone should experience the magic of live theater, and now it’s easier than you think to access this special form of entertainment! Wheaton Drama, based out of a small theater in downtown Wheaton, is celebrating its 80th year of production this year, and it’s not to be missed!

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Mortgage 101: What Is Loan Amortization & How Does It Affect My Mortgage?

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/28/16 1:49 PM

One of the biggest perks of a fixed-rate mortgage is the consistent monthly payment. While a borrower’s fixed-rate monthly mortgage payment remains the same for the life of the loan, the amount of payment going toward the loan’s principal and interest varies monthly as it is paid down. This is known as amortization.

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Out and About with Compass: Elmhurst Art Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/27/16 9:30 AM

This fall, head to the Elmhurst Art Museum, a suburban gem that provides visitors with a wide scope of art exhibits, events, and even classes, that don’t require a trip into the city. With convenient access from two major interstates, Elmhurst is easily accessible no matter where you’re traveling from.

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Fall Housing Market Update: 5 Facts for Fall Homebuyers and Sellers

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/26/16 2:51 PM

Mortgage rates have held near historic lows even past the busiest homebuying season of the year and we’re coming up on the best month of the year to buy a home. Here’s what you should know about the current housing market as a first-time buyer, move-up buyer or home seller.

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11 Common Homebuying Myths & Misconceptions Debunked

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/25/16 11:12 AM

Buying a home is a huge investment, making education essential. Here are several common myths and misconceptions surrounding the process of buying and financing a home.

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10 Simple Ways to Transition Your Home Décor for Autumn

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/24/16 10:06 AM

It’s officially fall! If you’ve been patiently waiting to break out your autumn-inspired décor, here are 10 simple ways to incorporate the feel of fall into your home.

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Weekly Economic Review: Existing Home Sales Fall, Home Prices Up

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/23/16 10:26 AM

The biggest economic news this week included the Federal Reserve’s decision on increasing the federal funds interest rate, as well as housing market news.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Autumn Drive

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/22/16 10:00 AM

The hustle and bustle of Chicago is exciting and energizing, but when you’re in the mood for something a little more low-key, you don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re in a completely different environment. Travel a short distance from the city to McHenry County in the northwest suburbs and you’ll find yourself in farm country! Autumn Drive, held this year on October 14-16, is a 29-year tradition offering a unique collection of experiences which unite different farms and local businesses around the county, allowing visitors to enjoy all things local and all things fall!

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6 Steps to Planning & Designing a Perfectly Organized Bedroom Closet

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/21/16 1:21 PM

When you bought your first home, was closet design a determining factor? Probably not. But over time as your wardrobe and organization needs have grown, it’s probably a lot more evident that a single closet rod and shelf just don’t cut it. Here are the steps you need to take to get a handle on your closet organization.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Stade's Farm and Market

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/20/16 9:45 AM

Stade’s Farm and Market is a family owned and operated farm which offers a sought after u-pick experience, along with a market, and a must-see Shades of Autumn festival, all in nearby McHenry, Illinois.

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8 Home Improvements & Renovations That Usually Don’t Pay Off

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/19/16 12:30 PM

Whether you're looking to improve the quality of your home while living in it or trying to spruce up your home before selling, there are several home renovations that will recoup the majority of your investment. Then again, there are several home improvements you'd think would add value but actually hurt it.

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8 Home Organization Tips for a Low-Stress School Year

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/18/16 10:04 AM

Does back-to-school mean back-to-disarray in your home? If the school year means endless piles of stray papers and stressful mornings, check out these home organization tricks, tips and inspirations for getting your house and school morning routine in order.

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11 Trees & Plants to Add to Your Landscape for Brilliant Fall Color

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/17/16 11:29 AM

The colors of autumn are approaching quickly. If your yard falls short each year when it comes to the crimsons, purples, oranges and yellows of the season, there's still time to plant so you can enjoy them next year. Add these trees and plants to your fall landscaping checklist for colorful foliage.

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Weekly Economic Review: August Retail Sales Fall Short, Mortgage Rates Climb

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/16/16 10:57 AM

Surmounting indications of a Federal Reserve rate increase continue to top economic news. This week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to a post-Brexit high, according to Freddie Mac.

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Out and About with Compass: Long Grove Apple Festival

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/15/16 9:30 AM

The quaint and cozy suburb of Long Grove is tucked away just north of Chicago, and each fall they celebrate the quintessential fruit of the season…the apple! This fall visit the Long Grove Apple Festival!

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Join the Future of Mortgage Lending: We're Hiring Full-Time Staff!

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/14/16 1:46 PM

As we continue to expand our business, we’re looking for self-driven individuals who can help us continue to make Compass Mortgage home to a better mortgage experience.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Pullman Neighborhood House Tour

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/13/16 9:30 AM

The town of Pullman, on Chicago’s far south side, has a unique and rich history. Founder Charles Pullman purchased 4,000 acres of land to develop the first American model industrial town, where factory employees could live and work together in one place.  Once dubbed as “the world’s most perfect town”, it met the needs of its residents and cultivated a spirit of community that is still present today.

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5 Perks of Buying a House in the Fall

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/12/16 2:19 PM

Last year, a RealtyTrac study of over 32 million real estate transactions dating back to 2000 found that the best month to close on a home purchase is October. On average, October homebuyers received a 2.6 percent discount below estimated market value. Thinking of purchasing this fall? Here are five other perks of buying September through November.

 

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8 Ways You Could Be Damaging Your Credit Score

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/11/16 12:27 PM

Credit score is a big component in personal finances. As society becomes more dependent on the use of credit cards, your credit score becomes more important than ever. Fifty-eight percent of future homebuyers say they are actively trying to improve their credit, according to a Wells Fargo study.

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7 Steps to Buying Your First Home This Fall

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/10/16 9:45 AM

So you’ve decided to buy a home this fall. Congratulations! There are several benefits of autumn homebuying, but before you start thumbing through online listing photos, there are a few educational and financial steps to complete to get yourself in the best shape for a mortgage and homeownership, in general.

Here’s how to get on the right track to becoming a first-time homeowner this fall.

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Weekly Economic Review: July Job Openings Hit Record High, Hiring Stagnant

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/9/16 1:15 PM

Last week, the August Employment Situation showed a significant slowdown of employment growth as nonfarm payrolls increased by a lower-than-expected 151,000 following July’s addition of 275,000.

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Out and About with Compass: Sonny Acres

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/8/16 9:32 AM

Sonny Acres in West Chicago is open year-round for customers to purchase anything from fresh produce in the summer, to a Christmas tree in December. But, they’re perhaps most well-known for all the fun they offer in the fall! Sonny Acres is a family owned farm, and they put on a fall festival to rival any other in the area!

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Back-To-School Giveaway: Win $1,000 in Classroom Supplies for Your Favorite Teacher

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/7/16 10:23 AM

School is back in session! In honor of those who dedicate their lives to education, Compass Mortgage is giving you the chance to give back to your favorite teacher in a big way.

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Out and About with Compass: Goebbert's Farms

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/6/16 9:30 AM

Goebbert’s is a one-stop-shop for festive fall fun! This family owned farm, with two convenient locations, is celebrating its 68th year in business, and they know how to celebrate the season right! Goebbert’s is open to the public during the summer for fresh produce which they grow themselves on their 200 acres of land in Hampshire, but the action really picks up once the leaves start to change.

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Building Mortgage-Ready Credit: What Is a Rapid Rescore?

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/5/16 10:53 AM

Your credit score is a huge factor in mortgage approval and mortgage affordability. In terms of credit score and home financing, "rapid rescore" is a term worth knowing because it could help you out immensely as a borrower.

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11 Ways to Prepare Your Landscape & Lawn for Autumn

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/4/16 9:14 AM

As the leaves begin to turn, you may not have the same excitement for autumn gardening and landscaping tasks as you do for the spring growing season. Regardless, taking care of your garden and landscaping now will contribute to a better looking lawn and garden come springtime. Here are several ways to get your landscaping and garden ready for the cooler weather.

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The 6 Best Homeowner Deals to Take Advantage of This Labor Day Weekend

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/3/16 10:00 AM

Is a shopping spree on the agenda of your three-day holiday weekend? Here are some of the best home and homeowner items to purchase for your money this Labor Day.

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Weekly Economic Review: Employment Growth Slows, Pending Home Sales At Highest Level in Decade

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/2/16 10:42 AM

Following two months of vigorous gains, U.S. employment growth slowed in August. Nonfarm payrolls increased by a lower-than-expected 151,000 for the month after July’s addition of 275,000.

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Out and About with Compass: Royal Oak Farm Orchard

Posted by Emma Johnson on 9/1/16 10:00 AM

The calendar has rolled into September, which means it's time to celebrate many midwesterners' favorite season! This fall, make a trip to Royal Oak Farm Orchard! Royal Oak is a u-pick apple orchard located in northern Illinois near the Wisconsin border in Harvard, Illinois. This property is expansive and lovely, making it the perfect place to bring the family for some seasonal fun. This orchard is special because even on their busiest days, the vastness creates a sense of solitude so you can enjoy the company of your family.

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How to Get $7,500 in Down Payment Assistance as a First-Time Homebuyer in Illinois

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/31/16 3:09 PM

With interest rates near historic lows, rent costs still on the rise, and the availability of down payment and closing cost assistance programs, there are no greater incentives to become a first-time homebuyer. Here's how the Illinois Housing Development Authority's mortgage program makes homeownership even more enticing for first-timers.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Renegade Craft Fair

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/30/16 10:30 AM

Believe it or not, the holiday season is just around the corner, and sometimes finding something that’s special and unique can be a challenge. Whether you’re looking to get some early shopping done, or if you’re simply in the mood to browse some handmade items you won’t see anywhere else, don’t miss the highly-anticipated and aptly named, Renegade Craft Fair, happening on September 10th and 11th in Wicker Park in Chicago.

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What the Millennial First-Time Homebuyer Looks Like in 2016

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/29/16 11:26 AM

Last year, Millennials made up the largest generational share of homebuyers. Their wants and needs in the housing market are heavily-observed and analyzed – and for good reason! Here are six surprising statistics from a recent TD Bank survey of potential first-time homebuyers.

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Owning Your First Home: 6 Common Home Maintenance Problems & How to Solve Them

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/28/16 11:22 AM

Homes are subject to normal wear and tear, but certain problems should be addressed to make sure your home is as safe, comfortable and energy-efficient as possible. Here are the likely causes of some common home maintenance issues and what you can do to fix them.

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Mortgage 101: Who's Who in Your Home Financing Process?

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/27/16 7:48 AM

The homebuying process goes beyond your real estate agent and mortgage banker. When it comes to your home financing, there are a lot of key players who have large roles in seeing your mortgage go from pre-approved to closed. Here are a few of the mortgage professionals that play a part in the loan process.

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales Skyrocket, Home Prices Lag

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/26/16 2:05 PM

Home sales data was mixed this week as new home sales boomed but existing home sales and pricing reports were lower than usual. Mortgage rates ended the week a little lower.

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Out and About with Compass: Jaynesway Farms

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/25/16 10:00 AM

Jaynesway Farms is an equestian center that sits on 30 acres of picturesque land in nearby Bartlett. At Jaynesway, they provide access to beautiful, well-trained horses, through self-guided trail rides and riding lessons. The animal lover in your life will love it here!

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Making Home Improvements: 6 Ways to Add Privacy to Your Outdoor Living Space

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/24/16 1:17 PM

Living in an urban or suburban area sometimes means compromising on a few of your home’s factors. Privacy is one of them. Even if your immaculately landscaped yard is something worth showing off, feeling like you’re on display can be a damper on outdoor living. Here are several ways to make your backyard more secluded.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Midnight Circus

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/23/16 9:57 AM

Nothing is more exciting or more nostalgic than attending a circus. The bright colors, the impressive acrobats, cheerful music, and the larger than life animals are all trademarks of the long-running circus tradition.

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Mortgage 101: 7 Things That Affect How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/22/16 3:05 PM

One of the most common first-time homebuyer questions is how much can I afford to buy? Home affordability weighs on many factors that your lender will analyze to give you an appropriate, pre-approved purchase point.

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Mortgage 101: What Goes Into a Mortgage Payment?

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/21/16 10:55 AM

Understanding the elements of your mortgage payment is as easy as remembering four letters – P, I, T, I. The mortgage industry uses the acronym PITI, which stands for principal, interest, taxes and insurance, to break down the components of homeowners’ mortgage payments.

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Find the Perfect Home? Assess These 7 Easily Overlooked Items First

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/20/16 2:30 PM

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. You’ve narrowed down what you think is the perfect home, but have you assessed all of the little things on top of the major items? Make sure your home purchase is well suited to your needs by reviewing these easy-to-miss home factors.

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Weekly Economic Review: Builder Optimism & Housing Starts Up in New Home Market

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/19/16 1:49 PM

Optimism in the new home market is high, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index. The index rose 2 points for August, bumping the index to the 60 level for the second time in 2016, according to Bloomberg. While builders showed gains in present and future sales, traffic continues to be a concern, especially first-time homebuyers.

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Out and About with Compass: Primrose Farm

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/18/16 9:50 AM

Before the kids head back to school, check out Primrose Farm in St. Charles where fun and learning meet!

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7 End-Of-Summer Home Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Over the Next Month

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/17/16 3:19 PM

Though summer hasn’t quite come to its end yet, back-to-school is in full swing. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the changing seasons get in the way of taking care of your home after one of the most weather-extreme seasons. Here are seven end-of-summer home maintenance tasks to take care of over the next month.

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Out and About with Compass: Sunday at Sandwich Antiques Show

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/16/16 9:30 AM

Do you love to hunt for unique home goods? Do you enjoy items that tell a story and have a history? Then you’ll love Sunday at Sandwich Antiques Show! This festival, started by a group of friends with a love of antiques back in 2012, celebrates antiques and collectables, and has something for you, no matter your interest!

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Mortgage 101: How to Get a USDA Loan

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/15/16 12:58 PM

Looking to purchase a home without the means for a down payment? A USDA loan, formally known as the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan program, is an attractive program for homebuyers struggling to overcome one of the largest obstacles to achieving homeownership: down payment.

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First-Time Homeowners: Which Mulch Type Is Right for Your Landscaping?

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/14/16 10:32 AM

As your garden beds need replenished or revitalized, take the time to think about which type of mulch is right for your landscaping needs. Mulch not only gives your curb appeal a boost, it also has several benefits to improve the health of your plants, including moisture retention, soil temperature control, weed suppression, erosion control, and soil nutrients. Here's how to pick the right mulch for your plants and personal preference.

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Weekly Economic Review: July Consumer Spending Falls Short, Labor Market Conditions Hit Positive Level

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/12/16 10:43 AM

Despite last week’s employment report boasting an increase of 255,000 to non-farm payrolls, the Labor Market Conditions Index, which is broadly comprised of 19 different indicators, budged minimally in the month of July. At a 1.0 index level, July’s results are the first to make it into the positive column in 2016.

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Out and About with Compass: Pirates' Cove Children's Theme Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/11/16 9:30 AM

It wouldn’t be summer without a visit to a theme park! And while there are lots of choices for adults, finding something that’s suitable for your youngest family members can sometimes pose a challenge. That’s why Pirates' Cove Children’s Theme Park needs to make its way onto your summer “must-do” list!  

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Back to School! Home Values 77 Percent Higher in Zip Codes With Good Schools Than Those Without

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/10/16 10:13 AM

A home within a great school district has always been a good selling point, but now a new study performed by ATTOM Data Solutions shows just how big the impact of high-performing education is on home values.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Wheaton French Market

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/9/16 9:37 AM

The Wheaton French Market is one of the best things to do in quaint downtown Wheaton from spring all the way into fall. Every Saturday morning, from 8am-2pm, April –November, you can enjoy perusing all that’s offered here. This market is more extensive than traditional farmers' markets, although they have plenty of fresh produce too! Here, you’ll find vendors selling everything from handmade soaps to jewelry and fresh donuts to locally roasted coffee.

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Buying a Home is 36% Cheaper Than Renting! 5 Big Reasons to Become a Homeowner in 2016

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/8/16 4:17 PM

One in four homebuyers was looking to purchase a home in the first quarter of 2016 because rent was too high, up from one in five in November 2015, according to Redfin. Renters are feeling the burden of their monthly lease while homebuying continues to be the cheaper option by 36% , according to the latest Trulia Rent vs. Buy Report.

See five other benefits of buying a home sooner than later.

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How to Finance a Fixer-Upper: 3 Loan Options for Home Renovations & Home Improvements

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/7/16 10:52 AM

According to a report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing, home improvement and repair spending will increase 8 percent by the beginning of 2017. As existing home inventory has dwindled, homebuyers have purchased homes that need repairs, renovations and improvements.

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8 Ways to Boost Curb Appeal on a Budget

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/6/16 12:34 PM

Did you think home staging was just for home interiors? Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or just want a better view when you pull into your driveway, use these tips to stage your home’s exterior and instantly boost curb appeal.

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Weekly Economic Review: 255,000 Jobs Added to Economy in July, Consumerism Picks Up Rapidly

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/5/16 1:16 PM

Friday’s Employment Situation showed increasing strength in the job market and consumerism as non-farm payrolls soared to a much stronger-than-expected 255,000 for the month of July. The consensus range was calling for 150,000 to 215,000.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 8/4/16 9:30 AM

Chicago has some amazing choices when it comes to museums. Visiting the museum campus downtown is always a good idea, but there are also some lesser known museums in Chicago and the surrounding area that are just as amazing!

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7 Non-DIY Home Improvements You Should Leave to the Pros

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/3/16 12:40 PM

Don't turn a do-it-yourself project into a "what did I do?" project. Many homeowners have encompassed the do-it-yourself agenda to save time and money on home improvement projects. While many repairs, upgrades, and renovations can be completed by homeowners with amateur experience, there are some that require training and expertise. Here are some of the top home improvements best left to the professionals, even if you are an avid DIY homeowner.

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Out and About with Compass: Blackberry Farm

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/2/16 9:30 AM

School is out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to end! If you want to take a step back in time, visit Blackberry Farm in Aurora, where learning and fun meet!

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First-Time Homebuyers: How to Conquer the 7 Biggest Homebuying & Financing Fears

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/31/16 12:40 PM

Hesitant of jumping into the homeownership circle? As with any large purchase, buying a home can be unnerving for someone who has limited knowledge of the homebuying and financing process. As the mortgage world is constantly changing, there are also several misconceptions about what it takes to buy a home.

Here's how to set some of those fears and misconceptions aside when thinking of buying a home.

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Mortgage Goals: 6 Things to Consider Before Paying Off Your Mortgage Early

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/30/16 2:15 PM

Freedom from debt is arguably one of the best feelings. As homeowners build their savings and investments, many ask if paying off their mortgage early is the right path to financial freedom and stability.

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales Pace at Highest in Eight Years

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/29/16 12:55 PM

Despite the lessening optimism for future sales in the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index released last week, new home sales surged in June to the highest pace in eight years. The New Home Sales report showed an annualized rate of 592,000, which is 25 percent higher than June 2015. 

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Out and About with Compass: Lord's Park and Zoo and Elgin Public Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/28/16 9:30 AM

Lord’s Park is 108 acres of municipal wooded land that is located in the heart of Elgin. The park itself has several playgrounds which are spread throughout the property, most within walking distance to one another, and each containing their own unique equipment to keep children entertained. You’ll find stepping stones, slides, balance beams and more.

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Mortgage 101: What First-Time Homebuyers Should Know About Their Credit Scores

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/27/16 12:49 PM

With mortgage rates still near historic lows, many consumers are looking to purchase and finance homes, making it more crucial than ever for them to understand what part their credit score plays in the mortgage process. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding credit scores and homebuying.

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Out and About with Compass: Volo Auto Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/26/16 9:30 AM

Volo Auto Museum, in Volo, Illinois, is an absolute dream for car lovers of all ages! Whether you’re an automobile expert or haven’t yet driven a car, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy in the vast collection. If you are knowledgeable about cars, you’ll enjoy getting an up close peek at all the amazing vehicles, and if you don’t know much, there’s lots of opportunity to learn!

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9 Avoidable Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Often Make

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/25/16 11:01 AM

Buying your first home is a big financial and lifestyle decision. While your lender and real estate agent will help guide you through the process of buying and financing the property, there are certain things a first-time homebuyer should be aware of throughout their homebuying journey. Here are eight common mistakes to avoid making when buying your first home.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Prices & Existing Home Sales Increase

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/24/16 2:11 PM

The biggest economic reports released last week were housing related. Low mortgage rates (thanks, Brexit), falling supply and increased homebuyer traffic continue to drive housing demand but seemingly only in the existing home market.

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12 Landscaping & Gardening Hacks Every Homeowner Should Know About

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/23/16 9:30 AM

Sometimes life gets in the way of tending to and caring for your garden. Luckily you don't need to have a green thumb to keep your garden lush. Use these tips and tricks to help minimize maintenance of your landscape and garden beds.

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Midsummer Housing Market Update: 6 Things Homebuyers & Sellers Should Know

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/22/16 10:06 AM

At the beginning of July, Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke was predicting this summer to be the “best summer for the housing market in a decade”. According to existing home sales, prices and median contract times, the market is fiercely competitive and moving quickly.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Donley's Wild West Town

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/21/16 9:30 AM

Yee-haw! This summer, mosey on over to Donley’s Wild West Town, in Union, for exciting adventure that’s anything but ordinary!

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9 Home Improvement Projects to Tackle Over Your Summer Staycation

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/20/16 11:33 AM

 Staying home over your summer vacation? Why not utilize that PTO with some value-adding home improvements. We've compiled a list of projects you can complete within a few days time and still get in some much-deserved rest and relaxation.

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Out and About with Compass: DuPage Children's Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/19/16 9:30 AM

Sometimes the hot and humid summer days call for a quality and enjoyable indoor family activity as much as the Chicago winters. Even when the weather is nice though, a place like the DuPage Children's Museum has enough activities to satisfy everyone in your crew!

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Pre-Approval vs. Loan Commitment: What’s the Difference & Which One Do I Need as a Homebuyer?

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/18/16 12:16 PM

Mortgage rates have spiraled down to historical lows again and the summer homebuying market is in full swing. A hot housing market means more buyers vying for potential homes, but what does this have to do with your home financing? A lot.

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4 Essential Tips for Landscaping a New Construction Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/17/16 1:56 PM

You’ve considered and decided every miniscule detail of your new home build from windows and doors down to the number of electrical outlets in each room, but now you have a whole new blank canvas to tackle, your landscaping. Here are some tips for starting out the process.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Openings & Labor Market Conditions Down, Mortgage Rates Increase

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/16/16 8:00 AM

Over the last week, investors shifted their focus from bonds to stocks, resulting in the Dow average closing at a record-high on Thursday. Other economic data had little affect on mortgage rates, which ended the week higher.

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Millions of Homeowners Have the Opportunity to Refinance Their Mortgage

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/15/16 10:18 AM

Thanks to Brexit, mortgage rates have been holding near historic lows this month, which has sent many homeowners swarming to refinance into a lower rate. But according to a report from Black Knight Financial Services, more than seven million homeowners in the U.S. still have the opportunity to refinance.

In the first quarter of 2015, only 31,000 homeowners with FHA loans took advantage of the FHA Streamline Refinance Program. In the first quarter of 2016, that number skyrocketed to over 63,000 homeowners. So if you have an FHA loan and haven’t refinanced into a lower rate, what are you missing out on? 

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Out and About with Compass: Summer Concert at Millennium Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/14/16 9:31 AM

Millennium Park is one of the best features of our city, providing lots of recreational opportunities year-round! Millennium Park has one of the best outdoor concert venues in the country, and each year there’s a one-night-only, can’t-miss event: The FREE Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert! For many, this is the best event of the summer, and it's always much anticipated!

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The Zero Down Payment Mortgage Option You’ve Probably Never Heard About

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/13/16 10:14 AM

Half of all consumers still consider saving for down payment as a homebuying barrier, according to an Ellie Mae survey. If you’re under the impression that it takes a 20 percent down payment to buy a home, you are more than misinformed. Down payment assistance and multiple low down payment loan options are available, even one that requires zero money upfront. 

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Out and About with Compass: Warren Dunes State Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/12/16 11:18 AM

Living in the Midwest, we can sometimes forget that our region has many interesting geographical features besides the mostly flat farm land! This summer, make a day trip over to Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer, Michigan!

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6 of the Most Commonly Asked Questions by First-Time Homebuyers

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/11/16 1:55 PM

Is the opportunity of historically low mortgage rates and the surmounting cost of rent enticing you to purchase your first home? Homeownership is a huge, yet beneficial, financial decision. We want our homebuyers to understand the benefits of homeownership, the mortgage process, the costs of their mortgage, and their overall homeownership affordability, so we've compiled a list of common first-time homebuyer questions and answers.

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Think You Can't Qualify to Buy a Home? You May Be Wrong

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/10/16 9:58 AM

Mortgage misconceptions are pretty commonplace as loan options and mortgage qualifications change, but a new study performed by Fannie Mae found that a vast majority of U.S. consumers, especially those who plan to buy a home in the next five years, don’t know or are misinformed on what it takes to buy a home.


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Weekly Economic Review: Strong Job Gains in June, Brexit Helps Mortgage Rates Fall to Lows

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/9/16 9:47 AM

Effects of Brexit are still being felt as investors flock to the safety of U.S. bonds. Thanks to Brexit, mortgage rates dropped to the lowest levels seen in years and other U.S. economic reports came in stronger than expected.

 

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Economic Update: 3 Ways Brexit Impacts U.S. Consumers

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/8/16 9:21 AM

At the end of last month, British voters made the shocking decision to exit the European Union, which rattled the stock market and sent U.S. mortgage rates into a nosedive. So how does Britain’s exit, aka “Brexit”, affect U.S. consumers?

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Out and About with Compass: Three Oaks Recreation Area

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/7/16 8:01 AM

Three Oaks Recreation Area, located in Crystal Lake, is the perfect place to enjoy a summer day. Anything that you can imagine doing outdoors, you can do here at Three Oaks!

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8 Efficient Ways to Pay Down Debt When Preparing to Buy a Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/6/16 1:03 PM

While you don't need to be debt-free to purchase a home, a mortgage is a big financial commitment, so many homebuyers choose to lighten the load of their existing debt when preparing to buy a house. Though existing debt may not be a homebuying hurdle for everyone, financial freedom is a heavily sought goal for many.

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Out and About with Compass: Leone Beach

Posted by Emma Johnson on 7/5/16 9:30 AM

When you conjure up images of the Midwest, a sandy beach probably does not come to mind first. However, in Chicago, we’re blessed with some of the most beautiful, fresh-water beaches in the country. Lake Michigan is one of our most treasured resources, and it certainly provides its fair share of summertime fun.

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Happy 4th of July! Celebrating Our Independence & Spreading Awareness of VA Loans

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/4/16 1:34 PM

Happy 4th of July! As we celebrate our country’s independence, we would like to thank the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedoms. In honor of the holiday, we’d like to spread some awareness for veteran homebuyers and homeowners who do not know the benefits of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program.

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Homeowners Name the 9 Best Interior Home Renovations & Improvements

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/3/16 10:10 AM

Whether you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, want to update your home’s appeal or improve your home’s livability and efficiency, not all remodeling projects are created equal. According to the National Association of REALTORS ® 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, Americans spent over $300 billion on remodeling projects in 2015.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Continue to Drop Following Brexit

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/2/16 10:45 AM

Britain’s exit of the European Union (Brexit) continued to be the largest influence on U.S. markets this week. As a result, mortgage rates trended even lower, reaching levels not seen in several years.

 

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9 Mosquito-Repelling Plants & Herbs to Place Around Your Outdoor Living Space

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/1/16 10:30 AM

Feel like an insect magnet the moment you step outside your home? While eliminating standing water in your yard will help keep mosquito breeding grounds at bay, studies have shown these plants and herbs can serve as natural insect repellants.

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Out and About with Compass: Chicagoland Splash Pads

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/30/16 9:30 AM

One of the joys of summertime as a child is water play! Splash pads are a great alternative to the community pool when you feel like your children need a change of pace, or if they’re not quite old enough to be comfortable in the water alone.

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6 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe & Secure While It's on the Market

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/29/16 1:10 PM

You've de-cluttered, cleaned every inch of your home, staged furniture and home decor - all of the things any home seller should do when listing their home. But as the calls for showings come in, open houses are scheduled, and strangers begin to do walk-throughs of your home, you need to take preventative measures as a seller to protect your home from theft and liability lawsuits.

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Out and About with Compass: Eyes to the Skies Hot Air Balloon Festival

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/28/16 9:30 AM

Good music, yummy food, family-friendly exhibits, and awe-inspiring hot air balloons; Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies Festival is a treasured tradition! Coming up on its 34th year, it’s a fun festival that truly has it all.

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How to Finance a New Home from the Ground Up

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/27/16 1:48 PM

With a lack of inventory in the existing home market, building a home may have crossed your mind as a potential option. If you were to do a quick web search of “construction loans”, you’d find an immense amount of information but when it comes to building a home, the financing involved is just as personal as customizing the home you hope to build.

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9 Do's & Don'ts of Landscaping & Lawn Care for the First-Time Homeowner

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/26/16 10:00 AM

Owning your first home can be overwhelming as you adjust to the new responsibilities and tasks of homeownership. While you’re busy turning the interior of your house into your own home, don’t neglect the view of from the curb. Here are some beginner’s tips for making wise and budget-friendly choices when it comes to your landscape.

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Fix It or Leave It? What Home Improvements Are Worth Doing Before Selling Your Home?

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/25/16 10:00 AM

When preparing to sell your home, you may notice there are some repairs, upgrades, or cosmetic flaws you didn't get to cross off your homeowner to-do list. Certain areas of a home can turn away potential buyers or downgrade their price offer, but what upgrades are worth your investment as a seller? Here's what to fix and what to leave as-is for the new homeowners.

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Weekly Economic Review: Areas of Housing Market Continue to Show Strength

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/24/16 10:00 AM

Existing Home Sales were not extraordinary in May but continue to show strength. Sales increased 1.8 percent for the month, which is the “best rate of the cycle, since back in February 2007”, according to Bloomberg.

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Out and About with Compass: Reed's Canoe Trips

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/23/16 10:50 AM

Summer time, while fun, can also be draining because so much is going on. When you feel like you need a break from the hustle and bustle of regular life, make a visit to Reed’s Canoe Trips. Being outdoors in the sunshine on the water will refresh you fast!

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National Homeownership Month: 4 Financial Benefits of Owning Your Own Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/22/16 10:00 AM

A greater sense of community, more living space, more stability for your children; the benefits of homeownership are endless. In honor of National Homeownership Month, we’ve compiled some of the biggest financial perks of accomplishing a significant part of the American Dream.

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Out and About with Compass: Maggie Daley Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/21/16 9:44 AM

Maggie Daley Park, located in the northeast corner of Grant Park in Chicago, just east of the beautiful Millennium Park, is a downtown spot that’s not to be missed! Occupying a prominent piece of lakefront land, the park, designed by a world-renowned team of architects, with the valuable input of the community, has some amazing and unique features you’ll only find here.

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Getting a Competitive Edge as a Homebuyer: 3 Reasons You Need a Loan Commitment This Summer

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/20/16 12:38 PM

With mortgage rates still near historic lows and rent still on the up and up, we’re likely to see an influx of homebuyers this summer. Home inventory, on the other hand, has been lagging and continually brewing conditions for a competitive homebuying market

Acting quickly on making an offer and hiring a great real estate agent are essential in a competitive housing market, but you also need to have all your ducks in a row with your home financing. Here’s how to obtain financing with the power of a cash offer.

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7 Essential Factors to Consider Throughout Your Home Search

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/19/16 8:59 AM

 You’ve thumbed through listing photos online, compiled a list of favorite properties and are ready to start your home tours. While a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some non-aesthetic, very important items to factor in to your purchase considerations.

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6 Mistakes to Avoid in Your First Year of Homeownership

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/18/16 6:06 PM

As a first-time homebuyer, you have a lot on your plate. From saving for a down payment and closing costs to keeping your credit score mortgage-ready and finding a home that suits your needs, you’ve accomplished a lot even before purchasing your first home.

Now that you’ve closed on your home, there are still some mistakes you should avoid to keep your first year of homeownership a positive experience.

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Weekly Economic Review: Fed Leaves Federal Funds Target Range As Is

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/17/16 11:25 AM

The biggest news this week stemmed from the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Tuesday, in which the Fed decided to keep the federal funds target range at 0.25 to 0.50 percent, as expected. 

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Out and About with Compass: The Morton Arboretum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/16/16 10:14 AM

The Morton Arboretum celebrates all things outdoors! The mission of The Morton Arboretum is to “collect and study trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world.” Since 1922, they have maintained living collections for visitors to enjoy.

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Homebuyers, Homeowners, Real Estate Investors, Vacation Homebuyers: We Want to Hear From You!

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/15/16 10:12 AM

Buying, financing and maintaining a home is a multi-step journey, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced homeowner. This is why we strive to educate potential homebuyers and homeowners prior to and after closing on their mortgage. But we need a little feedback on topic areas we may have missed.

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Out and About with Compass: Long Grove Summer Fest

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/14/16 9:30 AM

Nothing says summer like a festival! Come out and enjoy the delicious tastes of summer with seasonal foods, music and family fun in the quaint downtown of Long Grove June 24-26 this year! 

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Low Credit Score Holding You Back From Buying a Home? 8 Quick Ways to Boost Your Score

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/13/16 12:19 PM

It’s no secret you need appreciable credit to buy a house, but building and maintaining a good credit score is a major homebuying hurdle for some homebuyers, especially first-timers, according to a new TransUnion Survey.

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8 Tips for Cooling Down Your Home Cooling Costs This Summer

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/12/16 10:18 AM

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Those costs typically account for about 48% of your utility bill. While an upgraded, energy-efficient system will help shave a nice chunk off of your bills, a whole-house approach is best when trying to cool down your A/C costs this spring and summer.

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Listing Your Home This Summer? Take Care of These 6 Home Selling Tasks Now

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/11/16 10:16 AM

So you're planning to list your home. As soon as you begin entertaining the idea of selling, you'll want to get your home in the best condition. To get a great offer in the shortest amount of time, here are some of the most important things to take care of before the “for sale” sign goes up in your front yard.

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Market Reports Mixed Following Disappointing Employment Reports

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/10/16 2:37 PM

The May Labor Market Conditions Index followed suit with last week’s disappointing employment report. The index was minus 4.8, marking the fifth straight negative reading and the lowest of the recovery (since May 2009), according to Bloomberg. 

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Out and About with Compass: The Kane County Cougars

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/9/16 9:29 AM

Nothing says summer more than baseball! Chicago is a city known for its sports, and with two professional baseball teams, we have plenty of options! However, sometimes taking in a major league game can be expensive and time consuming, and it may prove to be too much for your youngest baseball enthusiasts. That’s when you need to remember the Kane County Cougars!

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7 Steps to Buying Your First Home This Summer

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/8/16 10:00 AM

So you’ve decided to buy a home this summer. Congratulations! But before you start thumbing through online listing photos, there are a few educational and financial steps to complete to get yourself in the best shape for a mortgage and homeownership, in general.

Here’s how to get on the right track to becoming a first-time homeowner this summer.

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Out and About with Compass: Lindy's Landing

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/7/16 9:30 AM

The suburbs have a lot of off the radar gems, and Lindy's Landing in Wauconda is a fine example. Up in the lakes of the northwest suburbs, Lindy's will probably have you thinking that you're on a beach in a place far away from Chicagoland. It's perfect for both the high energy nights with live outdoor bands and the quiet family outings with all the kids. There's a spacious indoor area so you can enjoy Lindy's year round, but during the warm days, the outdoor seating is a must. With both a covered patio and beach seating, you can find a spot that suits whatever you're after. Best of all, the beach has a swimming area for the kids while they wait for their food! The menu ranges from award winning burgers to memorable fish tacos, and there's a generous tap list to wash it down.

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New Home Construction: 6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Home Builder

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/6/16 1:16 PM

Buying a home comes with its own distinct set of choices and options, but when you choose to build a new home, the amount of choices increase immensely. Your home builder is one of the most important. Here’s how to determine which one is right for you. 

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9 Ideas for Low-Maintenance and Foolproof Landscaping

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/4/16 10:00 AM

Landscaping. Your curb appeal depends on it, but some homeowners dread the thought of spending countless weeknights and weekends digging, watering and planting. Although there’s really no such thing as zero-maintenance landscaping, we’ve narrowed down some ideas to keep your yard and garden maintenance to a minimum this summer.

 

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Weekly Economic Review: Job Growth Slowed in May, Unemployment Rate Drops

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/3/16 3:44 PM

The biggest economic reports released this week pertained to employment data, which did not hit consensus levels for the month of May.

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Out and About with Compass: Cantigny Park

Posted by Emma Johnson on 6/2/16 9:30 AM

Whether you’re up for a leisurely stroll through some beautiful gardens, or would prefer 18 holes of golf. If you have extensive knowledge of military history, or would like to know more about Chicagoland history, Cantigny Park has something for you!

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18 Summer Home Maintenance Tasks You Need to Complete This Month

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/1/16 8:00 AM

While you’re daydreaming of barbeques, lounging by the pool and summer vacation destinations, there are a few summer home maintenance tasks to tackle around your homestead to get your house in prime shape for heat, humidity and outdoor living. Here are 18 tasks you should complete prior to and during the summer months to keep your home safe, cool and energy-efficient.

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Out and About with Compass: Frank Lloyd Wright Architectural Tours

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/31/16 9:00 AM

World renowned architect and designer, Frank Lloyd Wright, has left his stamp on Chicago. Famous for his “organic architecture” style and philosophy, he always worked to seamlessly meld the man-made structures he designed with the surrounding natural elements. He spent the first twenty years of his career in Oak Park, designing offices, homes, skyscrapers, hotels- even furniture and stained glass elements, and as a result we now have the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, which serves to preserve his work and educate the public on his contributions to architecture, specifically his work in the Chicago area. 

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Memorial Day 2016: 7 Fast Facts About VA Loans

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/30/16 9:56 AM

Service men and women and their families make many sacrifices to keep our country safe. As a token of appreciation, the United State Department of Veterans Affairs provides a loan program with a mission to help servicemen, servicewomen, veterans and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners.

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DIY Lawn Care: 7 Ways to Get a Healthy, Green & Enviable Lawn This Summer

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/29/16 9:09 AM

Spring is a time that many homeowners focus on annuals, perennials and landscaping, but don't forget about a major part of your home's curb appeal - your grass! Having a lush, green lawn is a pride for many homeowners - but it does require some work and regular maintenance. Here are a few DIY lawn care tips for achieving a greener, healthier lawn.


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16 Ingenious Hacks & Tips to Make Moving a Breeze

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/28/16 9:00 AM

Moving to a new home can be an exciting time - until you actually have to move. Organize, pack, label, lift, repeat may not be your favorite activity, so we've compiled a list of ingenious moving hacks to help rid some of the anxiety, stress and time-consuming tasks that come with packing up your life's belongings.

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Weekly Economic Review: New Home Sales Skyrocket, Pending Home Sales at Highest Level in a Decade

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/27/16 10:55 AM

April was a positive month for the housing market with new home sales and pending home sales breaking monthly and yearly record levels. Both are signs that the spring homebuying season has gained significant traction.

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Out and About with Compass: Haymarket Pub and Brewery Drinking and Writing Theater

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/26/16 9:33 AM

If you like craft beer and quirky humor, the Drinking and Writing Theater, located in a back room of Haymarket Pub and Brewery in the West Loop, is sure to show you a good time! Haymarket is an established microbrewery and pub with a rich history. The pub itself offers fun events like brewery tours, live music, holiday themed events, and even story slams throughout the year, in addition to great food and drinks.

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Mortgage Rates: The Who, What, When and Why of How They're Determined

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/25/16 11:02 AM

If you are a homebuyer seeking a mortgage, a big part of when you decide to buy and which lender you choose to finance with will likely depend on where mortgage rates stand. Your mortgage rate not only affects the amount of interest you will pay over the life of your loan but can also influence the amount you are approved to finance, as well as your affordability of homeownership overall.

So how are mortgage rates determined? And why do they change?

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Out and About with Compass: Peck Farm Interpretive Center

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/24/16 9:33 AM

Spring time, in all its beauty, beckons us outside. So when you hear the sunshine calling, head over to Peck Farm Interpretive Center to play, explore and learn! A part of the Geneva Park District, Peck Farm is a 385-acre nature retreat, which is close to home. There’s plenty of exploring to be done on the 19 acres of untouched wetlands. Bring a net and try to catch some frogs, or see how many kinds of birds you spot flying overhead.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Increase Following Release of Fed Minutes

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/23/16 2:28 PM

The potential for a Fed rate hike this summer and stronger-than-anticipated economic reports released last week caused mortgage rates to end the week higher. 

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Rent on the Rise: Rent Price Growth Reaches Highest Pace Since 2008

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/22/16 10:00 AM

April rental price growth stood 3.7 percent higher than April 2015, which is the same 12-month increase rate for the 5th month in a row, according to MarketWatch via the United States Labor Department. More importantly, this is the highest year-over-year price increase since before the financial crisis.

So as the economy continues to improve, why are renters still feeling outstripped by rent prices? 

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Creating an Outdoor Living Space: The Biggest Patio Trends of 2016

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/21/16 10:00 AM

Planning to revamp your patio, porch or deck this summer? What was once a place to enjoy a meal or entertain guests on a pleasant summer night is now meant to serve as an extension of your home. Here are some of the year's biggest trends to inspire the look of your outdoor living space.

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What's the Best Long-Term Investment? Americans Say Real Estate.

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/20/16 8:00 AM

Real estate has been Americans’ top pick for “best long-term investment” for the past two years, according to an April 2016 Gallup poll. This year, real estate took a significant lead against stocks, mutual funds, gold, savings, CD’s and bonds with 35% of polled Americans saying that real estate is the better long-term investment.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/19/16 9:28 AM

You don’t have to visit New York City to experience great live theater! And now, you don’t even have to go downtown! There are many local theater companies in Chicago’s surrounding suburbs which are easily accessible, affordable and impressive. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, located in downtown Arlington Heights, is one of those places!

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Mortgage 101: What's a Lender Credit? How Does It Benefit Homebuyers?

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/18/16 9:55 AM

With average closing costs ranging from 2 to 5 percent of a home's purchase price, gathering the funds for closing on top of a down payment can be a major hurdle for first-time homebuyers. This is where lender credits come into play.

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Out and About with Compass: Kane County Flea Market

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/17/16 9:47 AM

The Kane County Flea Market is one of the largest flea markets in the area, and there’s something for everyone! It operates from the Kane County Fair Grounds in St. Charles, and is held the first full weekend of each month. The flea market takes a winter break, but they’re back now through late into the fall, and it’s a great time to explore. There are vendors of all kinds, so whether you’re on the hunt for household décor and furniture or searching for a rare collectible, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste and needs.

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Late on a Credit Card Payment? See How It Will Affect Your Credit Score

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/16/16 10:00 AM

One late credit card payment can’t hurt that much, can it? Well, it depends. It's important to stay on top of all of your bills, because your payment history is the most influential component of your credit score, accounting for 35% of your FICO® score determination. Here's how a late payment demotes your credit score.

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Mortgage 101: Home Financing Terms All First-Time Homebuyers Should Understand

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/15/16 10:00 AM

Buying a home, especially your first home, can sometimes be a confusing process. With new terms like earnest money and title search jumping out at you from purchase contracts and mortgage documents, you may find your head spinning. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the common home financing terms you should understand when purchasing a home.

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Making Home Improvements: 7 Ways to Get Your Air Conditioner Ready for the Summer Heat

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/14/16 10:16 AM

It’s getting to be that time of year when having the windows open just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. As with any main system of your home, your central air conditioner needs some TLC to keep it running efficiently. Use these tips to keep your home cool this spring and summer.

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Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Drop to Lowest Level in Three Years

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/13/16 1:20 PM

The biggest news this week was the decline of mortgage rates. According to data released Thursday by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to lows not seen since 2013.

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Out and About with Compass: Cave of the Mounds

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/12/16 9:43 AM

You’ll have to travel outside of Chicagoland for this one, but not very far, and it will definitely be worth it! Cave of the Mounds is a National Natural Landmark, all limestone cave, located near Madison, Wisconsin. When you visit you can take a guided tour through the cave, which is 50 degrees year round, and learn about the geological and geographical history of the cave and surrounding land. You’ll learn about how this rare find was discovered, and steps that are being taken to preserve this natural treasure. You’ll be guided on a paved, well lit, path through the cave, so it’s perfect for people of all ages and abilities.   You’ll see colorful stalactites and stalagmites, columns, and even something called "cave bacon!" Whether you’re a cave enthusiast, or have never explored the land beneath your feet before, you’ll enjoy this experience immensely.

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Spring 2016 Housing Market Conditions: 6 Trends Homebuyers Should Know About

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/11/16 9:24 AM

In the midst of the traditionally-busiest homebuying season of the year, mortgage rates, home prices, sales paces and inventory are quickly shaping the housing market into what realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke is calling “the strongest and healthiest real estate market we have seen in a decade”.

If you’re planning on or thinking of purchasing a home in the near future, here are six trends currently molding the market.

 

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Out and About with Compass: Kohl Children's Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/10/16 9:55 AM

While springtime provides us the opportunity to get back outdoors, we all know the weather can be unpredictable. For those days when it’s rainy and chilly, take your children to Kohl Children’s Museum, in Glenview, to get their energy out! This children’s museum is top notch and there’s something for children of all ages.

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Buying a Home in Need of Renovations? Here's How to Finance It

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/9/16 11:07 AM

Buying a fixer-upper or is your current home just in need of some major functional or aesthetic improvements? Finding a home that meets every one of your wants and needs can be a daunting and somewhat unrealistic task. While TV shows like Fixer Upper may inspire you to take on an older home in need of some TLC, they leave out a very important part of home renovations: how to finance them. 

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Happy Mother's Day! Here Are 8 Perennials You Should Plant in Your Mom's Garden

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/8/16 10:17 AM

Happy Mother's Day! Stuck on what to give mom this year? Give her a long-lasting, low-maintenance gift by planting some of these Midwest-native perennials in her garden.

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Weekend DIY Project: How to Build Raised Garden Beds

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/7/16 1:20 PM

Raised garden beds, also known as garden boxes, have been gaining popularity due to their beneficial environment for flower and vegetable gardens to thrive and accessibility and adaptability. The contained boxes provide:

  • Protection from weeds and pests
  • Prevention of soil compaction and erosion
  • Proper water drainage
  • Ease of access to plants for gardeners who want to avoid the pain of constant bending and kneeling
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Weekly Economic Review: April Employment Report Indicates Slowing Gains in Labor Market

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/6/16 1:50 PM

According to ADP’s Employment Report, the job market softened in April. Private payrolls increased by 156,000, which is one of the lowest readings since February 2014, according to Econoday.

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Out and About with Compass: Farmer's Markets

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/5/16 10:13 AM

One of the best things about springtime is the abundance of fresh, seasonal produce that’s available to us again. Thankfully, there are many farmer’s markets in the area so we can get our hands on delicious fruits and vegetables at an affordable price. Woodstock, Downer’s Grove and Palatine all have well established markets that are held consistently throughout the spring and summer.

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Limited Funds for a Down Payment? These Loan Programs Can Help You Out

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/4/16 9:55 AM

Mortgage rates are hovering near yearlong lows and rental rates continue to skyrocket, so why isn’t everyone buying a home right now? The truth is, one of the biggest challenges renters face is saving for a down payment, especially renters that are burdened with astronomical leases and student debt payments.

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Out and About with Compass: Run for the Stars 5K Giveaway

Posted by Emma Johnson on 5/3/16 11:30 AM

Run for the Stars 5K allows you to make a difference and have fun all at once. This race is one of the largest in the Chicagoland area, with over 800 people participating last year, and the course winds you through the scenic neighborhood surrounding Wheaton College. The whole family can get involved in this race as the course has been designed with runners of all abilities in mind. Most importantly, the proceeds from the race benefit individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. On race day, these people are treated with dignity and honor so they truly feel like STARS. The proceeds fund recreational and training opportunities for these individuals, benefiting them and their families. Put your race shoes on and run for the cause, and stay for even more fun after the race. Visit the website for more details!

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Budget Renovations: 5 Simple Ways to Update Your Bathroom Without Remodeling

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/2/16 11:20 AM

Bathrooms and kitchens sell homes, especially to Millennial homebuyers who want to avoid costly renovations. Luckily, bathrooms can be updated dramatically, quickly and on a budget without the need for a major remodel.

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Weekly Economic Review: Pending Home Sales Hit Highest Pace in Nearly a Year

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/1/16 3:39 PM

Wednesday’s Fed meeting was positive for mortgage rates as there was no change made to the federal funds rate, as expected. The Fed noted that while labor and housing market data has been improving, overall economic activity has slowed.

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11 Weekend Projects to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/30/16 8:00 AM

Homeowners often focus on improving interior living spaces, but come spring, it’s time to refocus on what you (and your neighbors) see from the curb. Here are some weekend projects to tackle to get your home looking its best.

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Want to Sell Your Home? Sell at a Higher Price & Faster Pace by Listing in May

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/29/16 8:00 AM

People buy homes year-round, but when it comes to putting your home up for sale, is there an optimal time to list? Last year, the “magic window” to list your home was between mid-March and mid-April, according to Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate

That timing has shifted now, mostly due to low inventory holding down sales nationwide. The previous study showed that homes sold in the U.S. from mid-March to mid-April sold approximately 15% faster and for 2% more than the average listing.

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Out and About with Compass: Arlington International Racecourse

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/28/16 9:30 AM

You may not have the time or money to make it to The Bluegrass State for the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, but you can definitely get yourself to Arlington International Racecourse, in Arlington Heights. Arlington boasts an expansive, and beautiful, facility where you can get a taste of horseracing culture and work your competitive spirit as you place bets on the horses you like best. If you’re a racing novice, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn about the horses and betting strategy. Just be sure to grab a race book and listen to the commentary which is broadcast on the many televisions you can find around the park. You can even place your bet on a nearby computer kiosk so you don’t have to go far when it’s race time!

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Mortgage 101: Pre-Qualification, Pre-Approval & Loan Commitment – What’s the Difference?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/27/16 9:37 AM

Are you pre-approved? Pre-qualified? Do you have a commitment letter from your lender? At some point during your home search, you’ll likely be asked one of these questions. Pre-qualification, pre-approval and loan commitment are three very different stages, so knowing the difference will help you avoid surprises throughout home buying and financing process.

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Out and About with Compass: Illinois Railway Museum

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/26/16 10:30 AM

All aboard! Diesel trains, trolleys, steam trains, and more! If it rides along a track, the Illinois Railway Museum has it! This museum is located on a large piece of property in the small city of Union. This museum is preserved by a dedicated group of volunteers who are all deeply invested in educating museum visitors about the rich history of railways in the United States. If you’re a train enthusiast, you will enjoy seeing history come to life here as you explore the old train cars, tracks and equipment.  If you don’t know much about railway history, fear not! You will certainly find something that intrigues and interests you as you walk around the property. You can view trains being restored in the large barns, ride on the operating diesel, electric, and steam trains on particular days, and wander through the various barns talking to the volunteers who are experts in locomotive history.  Viewing the old trains up close will incite a new curiosity about the railway's role in United States history.

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6 Habits to Break to Build Mortgage-Ready Credit

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/25/16 12:54 PM

Your credit score is used as a risk factor in determining your mortgage eligibility. It can determine if and how much you can borrow (and at what interest rate, depending on your loan program). If homeownership is one of your 2016 goals, here are six credit habits to break to get your score mortgage-ready.

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Remodeling Your Home? See Which Rooms Carry the Most Value

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/24/16 4:13 PM

When entertaining the idea of a remodel, most homeowners want to know what the return on their investment will be when the time comes to sell. Though you might enjoy an upscale master suite, a pool or home officewill it increase your home value? Not all rooms or areas of your home are created equal. Here are your best bets to focus on if your goal is to create a great living space with the best resale value.

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8 Home Renovations That Can Decrease Your Home Value

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/23/16 10:00 AM

The ability to personalize your home to meet your personal style and needs is a huge perk of homeownership, but when it comes to home renovations, not all boost home value. Certain home renovations, additions and amenities can devalue your abode.

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Weekly Economic Review: Home Prices, Sales & Supply Up in March

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/22/16 12:34 PM

Though March Existing Home Sales increased more than expected, up 5.1 percent for the month, they failed to reverse the 7+ percent drop in February. Closing out the first quarter of 2016, existing home sales were up 4.8 percent.

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Out and About with Compass: Crabtree Nature Center

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/21/16 10:00 AM

Crabtree Nature Center is over 1,000 acres of beautiful woodlands, located in Northwest Cook County, in Barrington. As part of the Cook County Forest Preserve District, this area is a great place to explore in any season, but especially in spring and summer, because there so much happening in outdoors.

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Rent on the Rise: Chicago Ranks #9 in Most Expensive Cities to Rent

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/20/16 10:00 AM

Though the median rental rate dropped nearly 3 percent in February, Chicago still maintained the number nine spot on Zumper’s National Rent report, which highlights the fluctuations in rental rates of the United States’ largest 50 cities.

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Out and About with Compass: Cosley Zoo and Phillips Park Zoo

Posted by Emma Johnson on 4/19/16 9:30 AM

Brookfield Zoo is a world-class zoo, but sometimes children (and p