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Fox Valley Real Estate Blog

Ginny Sylvester


Displaying blog entries 11-13 of 13

Existing vs New: Which route is best for you?

by Ginny Sylvester


When buyers search for that perfect new home, one of the decisions they’ll face is whether to choose a brand new home or an existing one in an established neighborhood. Should they look for a new home with the most modern amenities or a previously owned home that may provide more bang for their buck?

New construction remains a popular choice for buyers, with one poll showing that 41 percent of Americans surveyed would prefer a newly built home over one that had previous owners. That number dips, however, when asked whether they would be willing to pay more for that new construction.

Each side has its supporters, and each side has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether new or existing is the right one for you:

Modern amenities

Been dreaming of a spacious master bathroom, large walk-in closets, or walls already wired for your newest technology? New construction offers your best chance at buying a home with the features that today’s homeowner are looking for. Builders keep an eye on trends and what buyers most desire, and new homes often have those special modern touches. If a new house isn’t completed yet, a buyer can have the chance to choose finishing touches, such as countertops, paint colors and carpet.

On the other hand, with a little searching, you may find an existing home that has previous owners who completed renovations before selling their home. And if the décor or finishes are a little dated, you can plan on changing finishes exactly to your specifications after you’ve moved in. Also, some homeowners aren’t necessarily interested in new details but instead long for traditional features, such as original woodwork or charming details in a historic home.


You may get more house for your dollar when purchasing a existing home over a new house. In fact, it’s the number one reason that survey respondents gave when asked for the benefits of buying an existing home. You do have to factor in, however, the costs of any changes that you’d plan to make after you moved in.


In the survey, respondents who said they preferred existing homes often cited they did so because they wanted to live in an established neighborhood. Choosing a pre-owned home on a leafy street means you can move right in to a home with mature trees, landscaping and a neighborhood that has character that has evolved over time. With new construction, you may have to wait a little longer for those tree-lined streets to develop. In addition, new neighborhoods are often a little further from the center of town, so factoring in a slightly longer commute may be necessary.


One of the major advantages to buying new is the decreased chance of maintenance costs early in home ownership. When buyers purchase a new home, they likely won’t have to worry about a faulty air conditioner or leaking roof for years to come. The numbers back it up: one survey showed that the median expenses for maintenance and repair on a home built in the last four years is about $8 a month, while that number climbs t0 $33 a month for all homes.

As an active realtor in your area, I would be more than happy to help you find your home, whether you’re dreaming of a new or pre-existing home. Don’t hesitate to contact me at (630) 715-1887.

There's an App for that!

by Hemming & Sylveste Properties

SmartPhone Apps For Home Improvement

When it comes to room décor and home improvements, social networking sites like Pinterest are known to be the initial destination for inspiration; but what about the more utilitarian capabilities of the Internet? “Apps” short for “applications”, are small programs you can download for your Android or Apple-based Smartphone, and believe me, there are more helpful and valuable tools than the newest version of Tetris. Some cost between $1-5, but most are free and facilitate projects so that you can make progress. Whether you’re redoing your counter tops or adding a new porch, the following are the best home improvement apps for your devices.

Houzz – Free

To compose your living space, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals with over 3 million beautiful photos uploaded by professionals. Not only does the app connect people from around the world, you’re able to message and review architects, designers, contractors and landscapers in your area. Fall in love with a fixture, curtain or bookcase? Many of the pictured items are for sale and can be purchased directly through the site. Also free, apps like Digs by Zillow and DesignMine have similar “pinning” platforms that allow you to search professionals for more complicated projects.

Benjamin Moore Color Capture – Free

This handy-app allows you to take a picture of any color inspiration, from flowers to tapestries and find its match from more than 3,300 existing paint colors. When you’re renovating multiple rooms with multiple color-schemes, saving color codes, adding notes and connecting you to the nearest Benjamin Moore retailer are some of the helpful highlights.

RoomScan – Free

By literally scanning your rooms and creating an accurately measured floor plan, my favorite app and secret weapon is RoomScan. This app has a multitude of uses and I’ve used it when replacing flooring, landscaping outside, or even determining the size of an air conditioning unit. The software works like this: place the phone on each wall, and magically, the phone is able to gauge the approximate, but eerily accurate, measurements. You can save and email your floor plans, and on RoomScan Pro, you can add windows and doors on your blue prints for $5. Another app, My Measurements & Dimensions, costs $2.99, but is an industry standard amongst real estate agents, carpenters, architects, and landscapers, Although it isn’t magic like RoomScan, it is very efficient in storing and sharing object measurements. Add angles, arrows, measurements, text and send as a PDF or graphic.

iHandy Level – Free

Carpenter recommended, O’Reilly Media voted this the best iPhone App and said, “Not only are these tools functional, they’re also gorgeous.” Since everyone’s Smartphone can have a variation with the sensor, the app walks you through calibration so your personal-phone-level is acutely precise.


With mobile technology assisting us in design, composing and completing projects, daunting home renovations are a thing of the past and adding value to your home is on the horizon. Although Smartphones sometimes have a tendency to help us procrastinate, there are incredible advantageous apps that continue to aid us in productivity for designers and remodelers; at amateur and professional levels.

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Ginny Sylvester

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 11-13 of 13




Contact Information

Katie Hemming & Ginny Sylvester
Hemming & Sylvester Properties
823 W State St.
Geneva IL 60134
Office: (630) 232-0021