Amy Sujanani
Your answer to Real Estate

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Real Estate Blog

Hello Everyone!

I thought it would be a good idea to start a real estate blog. Here i will cover important topics and provide answers to the most frequently asked questions by both buyers and sellers. I will try to limit each entry to one particular topic and keep it short,& simple! Feel free to ask me any questions! If there is a topic regarding real estate that youd like me to address, just ask! Keeping it honest, fun and real! ~~ Amy Sujanani :D



**These postings are mine and mine alone

and do not represent the views, positions, or strategies of Century 21 Real Estate LLC or the

CENTURY 21 System and/or its franchisee

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Seller "no-no's" & "to do's"- How to prepare to sell( PART 1)

Posted by sgnsracing on June 29, 2016 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (3484)


Want it straight? I work with ALOT of buyers & I show ALOT of houses. Here is what I tell my sellers to prepare for selling.


Are you going to buy a new house? GET PREAPPROVED! Other wise, you may not have a place to live after you've sold. Call a lender and make sure it is going to be something you can do. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING!!


Especially in today's market. Home values are on the rise, but don’t sink a ton of unnecessary money into your house that won't be a benefit. For example; If the bathroom is ok and not horribly ugly, leave it alone. It doesn’t have to be a "dream bathroom" with granite countertops and marble tile for it to sell. My sellers are usually surprised that I don’t suggest they repaint the whole house and remodel everything before they sell it. Make sure each room looks nice. If the paint is barf orange, change it. Wall paper is a big turn off for buyers. If the carpet is worn and disgusting, replace it. Same with any other kind of flooring, paint or surfaces. You want it to sell. Of course the better it looks, the more money you will make. You just have to be careful on what you put your money into. Don't pay $50,000.00 for an in ground pool for example. Some people don't want a pool to take care of and you will NOT be able to add $50,000.00 to the price of your home and it sell just because of a pool. Can you kind of see what I am getting at?


Your roof, water heater, ac/furnace, windows are the most important things that buyers want to know the age of. Make sure you take care of those. service them, etc. The buyer doesn’t want to buy a house just to have to replace the roof in 3 months.


Most of my buyers do a drive-by before asking me to see a home. It is very important that your landscaping don’t look like a wildflower field, your paint isn’t chipping and peeling, your siding isn’t hanging off the house etc. Get a power washer out-clean. Re-paint the porch if it needs it. Stain the deck again if need be. CLEAN OUT YOUR GUTTERS! Make sure the lawn is mowed. Check your screens and windows, make sure they are in good shape, no one wants a broken window. Fix any broken fences. Put a fresh welcome mat out. Make it look inviting, fresh and add some color. It is very important!! Make sure it looks great outside!


Once you have the outside looking great, move to the inside. Go outside, close your eyes and remove yourself from the house in your mind. Pretend that you have never seen this house before and you want to buy one. Depersonalize it. Now, open the door and your eyes and walk in. Look around each room as if you are new to it. What do you notice, what would turn you off from buying it? Fix those things. The walls don’t have to all be white or tan. Make sure they aren’t loud though. Move your furniture around to the best way that makes the room look the biggest. Make sure the doors all open and close ok and don't squeak. DECLUTTER the crap out of your house. Do you have to remove all of your pictures? No. Just make sure there aren’t a ton of them. You want the buyer to look at the house, not your family and friends. Buyers are nosy! haha, take that away so they focus their attention on what the house has to offer. Clean the carpets. Clean your baseboards and ceiling fixtures. The cleaner it is, the more the buyer feels that it has been taken care of, and in turn is more apt to buy it. Clean your countertops off. Only keep what’s necessary out. This applies to ALL surfaces in the home. Make sure your refrigerator and oven is clean and decluttered, inside & out. Make sure your closets are straightened. Make sure your shower and toilet is clean, keep the lid down. Sweep & organize the garage. PUT AWAY ALL VALUABLE ITEMS!! Their agent with be with them, true, but a lot of times the agent can't watch every member every second. Due diligence on your part will ensure these items are safe. CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.


You don’t' want a good smelling scent to be overbearing either though. I always suggest a fresh scent or baked goods scent, but not too many. Some people have allergies and asthma.

You also don’t want your house to smell like sewage, bathroom, strong smelling food if you can help it, pets, garbage or cigarette smoke. If you are a smoker, you really need to consider febreezing the heck out of your house and start smoking outdoors. If you can see the smoke on the walls, paint them. If you have pets, do whatever you have to do to make sure they can't even tell you have pets, because they can't smell them. The only way they should be able to tell is by seeing their food & water dishes.

For a complete "To Do" list, Hit me Up!! Email, call or text me and I’ll send you one. Or I can come out to your house and tell you what you need to do and what isn't necessary!

Any questions?? Just ask!


How the heck do I go about buying a house?!- step by step process...

Posted by sgnsracing on June 6, 2016 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (7)


If you have never bought a home before or it has been a long time, it can be challenging not knowing where to start and what happens next!


I'm going to guide you down the absolute best pathway to buy your new home!




This is so very important! Calling a lender FIRST is the best way, TRUST ME! Not only will you then know your price range, but you will also be ready to make an offer as soon as you find your dream home! The market is changing to where buyers have to act faster than before and most sellers will NOT take their home off of the market for you without seeing proof that you’re preapproved. You don't want someone else to beat you to the house you want because they have a letter and you don't do you? Talking to a lender will also let you know your rate, what type of loan you are getting and how much your payments are going to be.




Not just any REALTOR, me! ;) seriously though, you do need to make sure it is one that will be looking out for YOU and not their pocketbook. Good realtors know what is on the market as soon as it hits and I usually set my buyers up through the MLS to be notified ASAP. Even better realtors can contact you BEFORE it hits the open market and give you first look. Make sure it is an agent that you feel comfortable around and feel like you can trust. Also, make sure they can accommodate your schedule to ensure you are looking when you can and are able to write an offer as soon as you find one so that you aren't waiting around for THEIR schedule to open up and make you miss out. Sit down with them and tell them what your needs and wants are.




Go! You're ready! Find one and sit down with your agent and write an offer! Make sure they explain to you what you are signing!




Your agent will send the contract to your lender. Keep up with your lender and anything they need, get it to them as fast as possible! From contract to closing, itll take anywhere from 30 days to 60 days.




In the contract, make sure you have an inspection contingency. In our board contracts you have 20 days to get inspections done. Some bank repos allow 10-15 days. I highly encourage inspections. A few hundred dollars could be saving you thousands or tens of thousands even! Once inspections are done, you can ask for repairs from the seller. This also has to be done within that inspection contingency deadline. If the property is being sold AS IS seller to no repairs, then the inspections are more of a checklist and to ensure that anything needing fixed is something you can handle on your own.




Don't be a slacker! Also, Don't you dare go buy a car or open a new credit card before closing!!




Your lender will send an appraiser out to ensure the value is there based on condition of the property. VA is stricter on condition than FHA. FHA is stricter on condition more than a conventional loan appraisal.




This is done right before closing. This is to ensure you are happy with the condition of your home and to make sure the repairs the seller had agreed to are done.




The day has finally arrived!! You will sign a huge stack of papers and get your keys!!




Your realtor will have a lot to tell you more in depth with each of these steps. It's very important to listen to them. If you picked one you trust and that is looking out for you, they are doing just that!


Any questions??? As always, feel free to just ask!! Thank you for reading and happy buying!


What does it cost to SELL a home? Just Commission??

Posted by sgnsracing on May 28, 2016 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (14)

The answer is no. 

I've had alot of sellers mistakingly believe that they can "break even" by selling their home for what they owe plus the cost of commission.This is NOT true..I always do a "proceeds sheet" for my sellers at the time of listing, when they get an offer, and when they reduce the asking price. I can't imagine NOT doing this for my clients simply because alot of people dont know all of the costs associated with selling,The proceeds sheet shows all of your costs subtracted from the selling price so you'll know about how much you'll be getting at closing. I've heard of closings falling through at the last minute because the seller didnt have enough money to bring to the closing table, as they thought they were going to break even. This tends to happen with sellers who have refinanced or that bought at the top of the market and haven't paid down the mortgage enough.Let me go through a seller's costs for you now...

Your Mortage balance

Look at your last statement and round up to the next number. Whatever your payoff says on your statement, it will not be exact. Your mortgage holder will want their interest through to the end of the month, so round up. It's always better to be safe than sorry. Make sure to count any other mortgages you have on your property-- if there are any.

Title fees

These fees depend on which title company you are using. These fees include the document prep, deed prep,document stamps, title insurance & search and any unpaid sewer leins or any other leins on the property. A pretty safe number to figure is about $1500.00, depending on the price of the house too, this is a pretty close number, give or take a couple hundred.


This is a tricky one and depends on the state you are selling in. In Illinois, we pay our taxes in arrears, meaning we pay behind. In example, It's May of 2016 and as of this moment, the last tax bill we have is 2014's. So, here is what we do at closing, we prorate.  The seller has to prorate and credit to the buyer the amount of taxes till the date of closing. Once we close, you will not have to pay those tax bills coming out, you already gave that to the buyer.  Let's say the last tax bill available was $1200.00 , and we are closing May 31st. The last tax bill that had been paid was 2014, so we will have to pay 2015 and Jan-May31st of 2016. That would be $1200 (2015) + $500 (Jan-May)  Taxes will be $1700.00 taken from your proceeds/charged to you at closing. If you have an escrow account,(an account that your taxes and insurance from your monthly payment goes into) your mortgage company will mail what's in it, to you after closing and you'll get that wihtin a few weeks time. 


 This is whatever your wonderful agent is charging you!This amount is listed in the listing agreement that you will have signed at the time you lsited your property. If you are selling without an agent, you will have zero commission, unless you are paying a buyer's agent.

Any Extras

If you agreed to pay the buyer's closing costs or pay for a home warranty, these are examples of an "extra".

This sums up the costs of a seller! Every transaction is different, If  you have any questions, just ask!

Thanks for reading! ~~ Amy Sujanani

How much money do I need UPFRONT to buy a house?

Posted by sgnsracing on May 22, 2016 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (51)

I’ve had a lot of buyers in the past not know the answer to this question. Mostly because it depends...on a lot! Ill separate them into categories for you and this is ALL upfront, before you close and get the keys. Please note that these are close estimates.

Earnest Money Deposit

When you find a house and write an offer, you will most likely be asked to put down earnest money. Earnest money is money from you that is put into an escrow account and holds the house off the market while you do your inspections and your loan processes, You will get this money credited back to you-when you close. The amount depends, it can be $500.00, $1000.00, or it can be a percentage of the purchase price. The seller usually determines the amount, however, you can try to put anything you'd like in that blank on the contract. If the seller desires more, you will know!:D


It is always highly recommended for you to get inspections done on the house you are buying. I highly recommend them! There are many different types that you can have done.

Whole house inspection- this is what it sounds like. the inspector will go through and look at everything he has access to and can see. It takes 3 to 4 hours and costs about $225-$275 depending on the inspector.

Termite- Have a termite inspector come out and look. This costs $35-$75.00

Radon Testing- This is something more & more of my buyers are doing. Radon comes from the ground and is said to be the leading cause of lung cancer. A radon test takes 2 days and costs anywhere from $150-$175.

There are other inspections that you can do, I've never had a buyer do any of them, but they ARE there. For example, mold, lead based paint, and any further inspectors/contractors can come out to check roof, plumbing, electrical, mechanicals, foundation etc. The whole house inspector will note on his report if there's something that needs to be checked further. You can also pay a surveyor to come out and mark where the boundary lines are for a fence or something, To have something surveyed usually costs around $800.00 to have done.

Again, I highly recommend you to do inspections. a few hundred dollars could save you from buying a money pit and save you thousands to tens of thousands of dollars later.


The lender that I have been sending my buyers to lately does not ask for this upfront, but charges it to you at closing. Some lenders want it from you upfront though. An appraisal will cost around $ 400.00.

Down Payment

This is dependent on a few things--- who your lender is, what type of loan you are getting, what percent you are putting down, the price of the house you are buying, and if you qualify for any grants or not. If you are getting an FHA loan, you will only need 3.5% a conventional loan, 5%-20%, VA loan -0% . Some loan programs, if you qualify for them, will only require $100.00 down. If you qualified for the grant, $1000.00. This is very dependent on the list of things I mentioned.

Buyer Premiums

This does not appear very often. If the house you are buying has a buyer premium attached to it, itll be disclosed to you. This will be added to your closing costs. 

Some realtors charge their buyers a buyer premium at closing, I do NOT.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are what the title company and lender is charging you. Generally, it is around $2000-$2500, depending on the lender you choose. You CAN ask for the seller to pay for these on your behalf in the contract when you are negotiating in the beginning.

At closing you will have all of your debits (appraisal, closing costs, down payment etc) and your credits (earnest money, loan, tax credit from the seller etc) applied to you at closing. whatever is left is what you will bring in to closing.

So to recap, appraisal, down payment, and closing costs you are bringing it to closing with you. The earnest money and inspections, upfront at the beginning. Any questions??? Just ask! It is my job to help when & where I can. I enjoy my job and I enjoy helping others !8)