Before you can buy the house of your dreams, you have to find it. Which means figuring out what you want, what you need, and how to get it.
- Deciding What You Want
It's easy to dream. It's a lot tougher to make real-life decisions based on what you have to spend and what's on the market.
These articles provide you with information to help you figure out what kind of home is really right for you and make your
dreams a reality.
Hunting for a home can quickly become confusing and frustrating. Should you use an agent or house-hunt on your own? How
can you choose the right neighborhood? In this section, you'll find information that can help you get moving in the right
- The Perfect Home
If you're looking for the perfect home, forget it. Every house, including one that's just been totally renovated or newly built, will
need a dose of TLC as time goes on. If you're willing to live with and correct these imperfections, you may be able to create
real value that translates into a nice profit when it comes time to sell.
It's one thing to find the right home, it's a lot harder to make the winning offer. But with the right information, you'll not only be
able to make the deal, but close it and finance it as well.
- Making the Deal
For most, making an offer for a home is the most stressful part of the process. The information you'll find here will help you
figure out everything from how much a piece of real estate is worth to how to win a bidding war.
- Closing the Deal
There's little chance you'll have a successful closing unless all of the details are in place. Here's some information to help you
get from offer to closing without missing a beat.
- Borrowing Money
Unless you've recently won the lottery, it's likely you'll be getting a loan to pay for your new home. Here's everything you need
to know to get your application approved.
Making It Right
Just because a home is right for you doesn't make it perfect. There are time-tested ways to build in value while creating the
home of your dreams. In this section you'll find information to help you figure out what kinds of renovation projects you should
tackle, how much they should cost, and where to find the contractors who can get the job done right.
- Home Improvement Basics
After closing on your new home, don't be surprised if your first impulse is to pick up a paintbrush. Even if your new condo,
townhouse or single family house is in perfect condition, our natural instinct is to make a house our own.
- Planning and Budgeting
New curtains, new paint job, new appliances, new light fixtures, and new carpet. The list of things you can do to improve a
home is endless. But ask yourself, "What's the budget?" Here are some things to think about when planning and budgeting for
your renovation project.
Unless you're going to do the work yourself, you'll need to pull together a team of folks to help you. For small jobs, you may
only need, say, a painter. But for major jobs, expect to hire a contractor, architect and perhaps even a designer and landscape
Take It & Run: Printer/Wireless Friendly Tools & Resources
Obviously, not all of your house-hunting, financing, and renovation tasks take place in front of the computer. That's why we've prepared helpful tools and useful resources in printable and wireless formats. Download tips from our articles, print out a house-hunting journal, or take our mortgage calculator on the road on your PDA.
Contracts are an integral part of purchasing and renovating a home. Here you'll find sample contracts for a wide variety
of situations you'll encounter along the way, with tips from a real estate attorney who spends most of his time helping
people achieve their American Dream.
It's likely that your home will be the single largest purchase of your life. Here's everything you need to know about
making the numbers work.
- Getting Organized
Finding, financing, or renovating takes organization. If you don't have your vision and plans in order, it'll be more difficult to ensure that you'll get what you want. To get the process off on the right foot, and to help get the best results possible, start with some of the documents and advice in this section.
Ilyce's Corner: Expert Advice
A weekly column from Ilyce Glink, syndicated columnist,
best-selling book author and radio talk-show host
with insightful suggestions and practical tips for finding
or making a home that's right for you. Visitors are Invited to submit questions
which she will try to address on the program.
Make Your House a Home: Daily Tips
Helpful hints and simple solutions for turning your house into a haven for mind, body and spirit.
C O N T R I B U T O R S
Ilyce Glink is an award-winning nationally syndicated journalist, author and
radio talk show host, who writes about real estate, personal finance and
business. She is the author of four books, including the best-selling 100
Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask, 10 Steps to Home Ownership:
A Workbook for First-Time Buyers and 100 Questions You Should Ask About Your
Personal Finances. Her twice-weekly column "Real Estate Matters" is
syndicated to more than 30 newspapers with a weekly readership of several
million. Her work has also been published by dozens of newspapers and magazines
including Worth Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles
Times, San Diego Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Crain's Chicago Business and Working
Woman. She is the real estate and personal finance correspondent for WGN-TV Channel 9 in Chicago, and the money expert
for Lifetime Live, a national
TV show based in New York. Her next book, 50 Simple Things You Can
Do To Improve Your Personal Finances, will be published in January 2001.
The former editor of House & Garden Guides magazine, Barbara Buchholz is a freelance writer and editor for a variety of
consumer and business publications, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business Journal,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Travel & Leisure magazine, and House Beautiful. She is the author of 12 books, including Porch
Style and The New Homeowner's Handbook: What to do After You Move In. She has appeared as a home remodeling
expert on the Oprah Winfrey show.
A freelance author and journalist, Margaret Crane is the co-author of six books including Successful Homebuilding and
Remodeling: Real-Life Advice for Getting the House You Want without the Roof (or Sky), Falling In (Dearborn 1999), The
New Homeowner's Handbook: What To Do After You Move In (Dearborn 2000), and Apartment Living: New Designs for
Living (Rockport Publishers Inc. 2000). Her articles regularly appear in Newsweek, Midwest Living, Wine
Spectator, Inc., Success, The New York Times, Crain's Small Business, Money, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Lisa Skolnik is a freelance writer and editor for several leading home improvement, design and lifestyle publications, including
Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, Metropolitan Home and Interiors. She is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune,
which nationally syndicates two of her columns, and the Chicago city editor for Metropolitan Home magazine. She is the
author/co-author of 12 books on home design, including Creative Home Design, In the Country Style, Simple Style,
American Country and For Your Home: Offices, For Your Home: Dining Areas, For Your Home: Storage.
Jim Sulski writes about real estate development and home improvement for numerous publications, including the Chicago
Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business and national magazines such as Consumers Digest. He is also a faculty member with the
Journalism Department at Columbia College Chicago.
Samuel Tamkin is a real estate attorney who has helped thousands of clients purchase, sell, build, and lease property in
Illinois, Michigan, and New York.