Monthly Archives: September 2015

Tips for the Novice Home Buyer – Part 2

1207 Degener Ave $139,000

In part one, we looked at how to find your dream house. Now that your bid has been accepted, it’s time to find a good inspector. Whether you get recommendations from your friends or your Realtor, make sure your inspector is a licensed Home Inspector by the State of Illinois.  Don’t be afraid to interview an inspector.  Ask about their methods, tools and experience level.  A thorough inspection can take anywhere from two to four hours and it’s critical that you are present, along with your Realtor.  The inspection should include a thorough review of plumbing, electrical system, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, and the roof. Checking the attic for mold and the basement for  prior flooding or leaks is also important. The inspector should look for evidence of pests or other unwelcome visitors which could mean significant damage to the house. Checking radon levels and the presence of other environmental issues should also be included for your family’s health. Don’t make your decision on cost alone.  Paying an extra $100 for a great inspection could save you tens of thousands in repairs down the road. Here’s an article on finding a great home inspector.

258 Pick Ave   $155,000

Once your home inspection is finished, your inspector will provide you with a written report, sometimes several pages long. At this point, it is common to hire a Real Estate Attorney to guide you through the post-contract period including the inspection period, contract review and review of the closing documents.  An attorney can help you carefully review the inspection report to determine if there are areas that need to be addressed. Issues like mold in the attic or a faulty furnace might require further discussion with the  seller and can potentially lead to a sales price adjustment, concessions from the seller or for the seller to arrange for items to be fixed.

291 Addison Ave $169,500

While you are getting the inspection done, your bank should be processing your loan. You will have specific timelines to meet during this process. Stay in touch with your real estate team to make sure you are “hitting your marks”. Your mortgage broker will likely ask for many pieces of documentation. Speed in getting those papers together will be important to keep your paperwork moving through the pipeline. Your bank will also send an appraiser to the home to determine the value of the property. The bank will require that the appraisal value matches the purchase price.  If the property is appraised lower than the agreed sale price, you will have some decisions to make.  You can potentially renegotiate the sales price, come up with a bigger down payment to make up the difference or cancel the deal.  Your attorney and Realtor can guide you through that process.  If your appraisal comes in at or above the sales price, then you can proceed with the next steps in the process.

136 Crestview Ave $195,000

As you approach your closing date, you’ll be waiting for a “clear to close” notice from your lender.  This means that your application, the appraisal and all other items have been approved and you can proceed with the closing.  During the week or two leading up to closing, you’ll have some items to address. Don’t forget to switch utilities for the date you’ll receive possession (normally the close date), contact the USPS to change your address, and finally, start packing.  You will need to have your Realtor schedule a “final walk-through” of the property prior to closing.  At the walk-through, you’ll make sure the house was properly vacated, any items required to be fixed during the inspection period are complete and that the home has not been damaged and is in “broom-clean” condition.  The closing normally takes place at a title company. We suggest taking at least half of a day off to focus on the closing.  Your attorney should review all the closing documents with you.  Once you’ve reviewed and signed all the closing documents, you’ll be a homeowner! Here is an article with other things to think about including changing the locks, necessary repairs and painting, as well as, checking out important areas like electrical boxes and water shut-off valves.

Parades aren’t the only reason to visit Spring Road

John R Robertson & Co was responsible for developing the Spring Road Development in 1919. TheSpring Road Dev Map development runs from St Charles Street on the North to McKinley on the North, and from Rex Boulevard/West Avenue on the west to Spring Road on the east. Spring Road was named after a spring on the Talmadge Farm which provided Elmhurst’s water from 1889 to 1916.

An 18×15 foot structure on the corner of Vallette and Spring Road was the sales office for the land developer in the early 1920s. That building became the original office of LW Reedy in 1951, founded by Larry Reedy, Sr., “The Old Pro,” and grandfather to the current LW Reedy President, Larry Reedy. Between 1970 and 1975, Larry Sr. planted over 1,000 trees, most of which took root in the Spring Road Development. The LW Reedy ofice  eventually moved uptown, but the original building still stands.

Spring Road BrochurThe railroads were a driving force in Elmhurst’s development. By 1900, over 100 trains chugged through town every day. Railroad advertisements promoted half and full acre lots in the Spring Road Development for $500 and up with financing plans available. Terms were $25 down and $10 per month. The lots’ selling points were location, taxes much lower than Cook County, city water, gas to cook with, electric lights, sidewalks, stores and 200 good neighbors. Also advertised was plenty of space for a vegetable garden and chickens. Developers encouraged city dwellers to take a free excursion on the Aurora -Elgin Electric to Spring Road in Elmhurst, and bring the wife.

With the added families in Elmhurst, the school system needed more room so they opened Lincoln School in 1916, and established York Community High School with 153 students in 1920. As time went on, businesses were also added including Hanks Corner Drugs and Fountain Soda & Penny Candy, a favorite stop for children on the north. The Carlson 1926 building housed The Candy Bar Dime Store opposite the Spring Inn. Silverado’s was originally Sandy’s Hamburgers during the 60s and spent a little time as an Irish Pub.

Spring Road Station

The train was ideal for commuting to the city, but merchants wanted residents to shop local. A “Shop Elmhurst” publicity campaign was started to bolster area commerce. With downtown Elmhurst a long walk from the area, Lincoln Elementary became a social hub of sorts. Longtime resident Ruth Strand, who grew up in the Spring Road subdivision, was interviewed by the Elmhurst History Museum and spoke of silent movies, sing-a-longs and many other family friendly events, including the annual LW Reedy Christmas Tree sale. When the subdivision was annexed to Elmhurst in 1917, the West Elmhurst Improvement Association joined with the First Ward Improvement and Social Club.

The Spring Road Business Association was founded in 1950 and served to promote patriotica sense of community, sponsoring year-round events including Easter egg hunts, Christmas festivities, sleigh rides and summer concerts at the Gazebo, many of which continue to this day. The biggest event held in the area is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is in its 20th year and proudly sponsored by LW Reedy. It is the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Chicago Metropolitan area.

Children in the Spring Road neighborhood attend the award winning Elmhurst District 205 schools  Lincoln Elementary, Bryan Middle School and York Community High School. Homes in the Spring Road Development range from a very affordable entry level of $250,000 to $1 million. If you are interested in viewing homes in the Spring Road Development, use LW Reedy’s new MLS Mapping Search tool or contact a LW Reedy Agent for information on this, or any of Elmhurst’s wonderful neighborhoods.

We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy Wilson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided. She is, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for this series. Graphics included in this post were provided by Elmhurst Historical Museum.