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By Greg & Paige Mitts
(Vision Quest Virtual Tours)
Comments 0
Before we started Vision Quest Virtual Tours, I worked for a therapeutic boarding school that had been embroiled in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.  The bulk of the lawsuit was thrown out by the judge and a small portion was settled but the mother who initiated the suit had a vendetta that lasted until the school eventually closed.  The school survived the lawsuit but did not survive the onslaught of internet attacks that this mother led.  A Google search for the school’s name yielded the school’s website first and second and our virtual tour as the third  listing but the fourth through seventh items that are returned were negative attacks. These vicious and somewhat baseless attacks were led by this woman but appeared to come from several disparate sources.  Because they seemed to come...
By Greg & Paige Mitts
(Vision Quest Virtual Tours)
Comments 3
I just finished reading the book “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews and it had a profound impact on me.  This simple little book describes the journey of a man who travels back through history to learn important lessons from historical figures such as Christopher Columbus and Abraham Lincoln.  As I read the book, I couldn’t help but think about how these same lessons apply in my life and business.  The subtitle of the book - Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success - refers to these seven lessons.   The first decision was explained by Harry Truman and the lesson is that “The Buck Stops Here” or in other words, we all must take personal responsibility for where we are.  Andrews writes, “I am where I am today -- mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially --...
By Greg & Paige Mitts
(Vision Quest Virtual Tours)
Comments 0
At Vision Quest Virtual Tours, we photograph all of our tours using High Dynamic Range imaging or HDR.  HDR provides an incredible level of clarity and detail that is not available in traditional photography.  For each individual image, we photograph 9 different exposures and then blend these together to provide an image that shows both the dark and bright areas equally well.  To see the difference that HDR makes, take a look at this tour...http://rtvpix.com/BU-0966-L16DVB-01?h=500&w=700 We photographed 350 tours in 31 states last year and drove 39,000 miles to shoot tours.  We photograph a wide range of virtual tours and our prices range anywhere from $100 to $2,500 depending on the size and scope of the job.  I read a Facebook comment earlier today from a photographer that said that ...
By Jason Wallingford
(United Country - Wallingford Group)
Comments 1
Land Prices Soar at Auction - Illinois - Missouri - Iowa  Over the last 12 months or so good agriculture land in West Central Illinois, Northeast Missouri & Southeast Iowa have soared to prices never before seen. The land prices seem to be following the crop prices, up. It starting to make a person wonder, will this ever stop. Just when you think you cant go any higher you hear about another record sale. Over the last 60 days in West Central Illinois there has been over 380 acres sell in three different auctions. In McDonough Co. Illinois 80 acres sold recently topping out at $10,800 per acre. Next up was 162 acres selling in Adams Co. Illinois. This farm was divided in 4 tracts and bringing $16,000 per acre, $15,000 per acre, $13,000 per acre and finishing up at $12,000 per acre. When ...
By Greg & Paige Mitts
(Vision Quest Virtual Tours)
Comments 0
"Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life" says Bill Collins on the first page of his classic book, Good to Great. What does it take to make that move from the good life to the life of your dreams? That was the question that Greg and I asked ourselves when we began our journey together. Two years ago, Greg and I were both at crossroads in almost every area of our respective lives. For the first time in more than a decade, Greg was doing something other than working full time as a professional photographer. I had been laid off after ten years as an executive in the financial services industry and was pondering my career options. Circumstances had caused us to downsize our lifestyles and seriously re-evaluate what we wanted for our ...
By Greg & Paige Mitts
(Vision Quest Virtual Tours)
Comments 0
            There is a great book that every business person should read by Bill Collins entitled Good to Great. Bill Collins talks about many factors that make one company stand out in their industry above their competitors. Bill suggests that there are three circles that intersect to let you know what your niche needs to be. It seems that your purpose can be discovered when you look at three questions... What are you passionate about? What drives your economic engine? What can you be the best in the world at? At Vision Quest Virtual Tours, we made the decision that we would focus our business where our passions are. Our goal is to do most what we do best and for us that translated into shooting virtual tours for healthcare, hospitality and education. For Vision Quest Virtual Tours, th...
By Plote Homes
(Chicago illinois homes)
Comments 1
You have moved into your new home. That’s terrific! Now you need to plan and have a room that is able to balance personal comfort as well as pleasing aesthetics. Plan out each room Ensure that you have an area for each room activity. This would include activities such as cooking, dining, play, entertaining, media viewing as well as conversation. Besides this, a very important area which people tend to forget is unobstructed passageways around and through the various rooms in order to ensure that ongoing activities are not disturbed. There are many ways in which you can define functional areas. This can be through furniture arrangements or flooring as well as carpets. In case of a cooking area, make sure that you have durable as well as food and drink-proof surfaces where kids can eat or...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
With the develoipment of the internet, cell phones and laptop computers, a REALTOR has the ability to provide instant information to a client.  Clients using the internet expect that.  Speed converts prospects into clients.  However, it also means that a REALTOR can never totally get away from his business and recharge his batteries so to speak. During a recent out of town trip, I packed up my laptop making sure I had a power cord, my book with clients, laser mouse, extra batteries, phone numbers of current clients, and plent of papaer and a pen.  I also had to make sure I took my charger of my cell phone.  When I booked a hotel, I also had to make sure that it had wireless internet.  After spending the day doing the family vacation thing, I still had an hour or so of work each night to...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 2
Some of the older agents believe that there is too much information provided free on the internet relative to real estate.  The fear that with all the free information, a buyer or seller does not need an agent. I take a different view.  It is true that as many as 80% of the buyers start their home search on the internet and many of the sellers research the value of homes and the selling process on the internet and then attempt to price their house and sell their house on their own.  As far as the latter, most of the sellers that try to sell their houses on their own eventually list with an agent.  The primary reason is probably exposure.  Once listed with an agent in the Multiple Listing Service, a house is immediately seen by all the agents in the area.  Most real estate offices also s...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
With all the information about homes available on the internet, the question has to be "Do I really need a REALTOR"?  Many of today's buyers start their search on the internet and research the buying process.  They go to various web sites and find several homes that they like and can afford.  They may even drive by the homes and call the agent that has the home listed.  Showing home is only a small part of what a REALTOR does.  Finding the right home is only the first step in the process of buying a home.  Once the home is located, then the process of negotiating a price and terms takes place.  This may reguire several rounds of negotiating and as a buyer, you want to make sure that you have a professional opinion as to the price and what you should ask for.  Once a contract is acceptab...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
There are so many buyers today that purchase a home and do not properly maintain it.  When they get ready to sell, they are surprised when a buyer has inspections done and come up with a long list of items that need to be repaired. I have a neighbor that purchase his home a couple of years ago.  The previous owner was in the construction business and the home was a excellent condition.  The current owner has done nothing.  Shrubs and other landscaping have not been trimmed, a shutter has blown off and just lays on the deck.  The gutters are plugged up and during rains, water overflows and comes down next to the foundation.  Eventually this could lead to water problems in the basement.  Tree limbs are hanging down and damaging the shingles.  When he decides to sell, this owner will have ...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
As a buyer you have an option to have inspections conducted once you have reached an agreement with the seller on price and terms.  You can either have individual inspections, such as electrical, plumbing, structure, roof, etc or have what is called a whole house inspection.  With the latter, a licensed inspector will look at all the components of a house and point out and potential problems.  Generally the inspector is not an expert in each an every aspect of the house, but can give you a good idea of the condition.  If the inspector feels that there is a major problem, he may recommend that the buyer obtain an detailed opinion from someone that is an expert in that particular area, such as the furnace. As an agent, I can make a recommendation to the buyer with some named of inspectors...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
As I show homes to buyers, many look only at exactly what is there.  If the house is messy, that is all they see.  If the house has family pictures, they spend time looking at the pictures.  No home is perfect.  As a listing agent, I make suggestions to a seller of the items they need to do to put their house in the best light.  If that means removing extra furniture to make the rooms look bigger, then so be it.  If it means removing some of the family pictures or painting a wall, so be it. If I am representing a buyer, a try to get them to look for the potential in a home.  Look at the room layout and sizes.  Are they good?  If so, the flooring can be changed, the wall color can be changed.  Lot for the potential and you could find a diamond in the rough.
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
When a property owner is considering selling his house, many times they will have an appraisal done to set the value of the property.  This can be a mistake.  If an appraiser submits a value, the owner would naturally think that the house should be listed for at least that amount.  At this point, the appriaser does not have an offer to work with and simply uses past sale that are up to 6 months old.  In the current changing market, that method may result in the owner listing the property for more than what a buyer is willing to pay.  If it is over priced, the house may sit on the market for a while as the owner continues to think that he should receive at least the appraised value.  After a while, the showings on the property stop. I ususally recommend that the owner not get an appraisa...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
Earlier this week there was an auction of a large home in our Historic area.  The auction was conducted by a local auctioneer that advertises selling a house in 30 minutes.  Well, even though there were a lot of potential buyers at the auction, it apparently did not sell.  Apparently, the owner did not get the price they wanted.  Actually this is the situation in more cases than you would think.  As I said in a previous Blog, auctions seem to work for the seller for farm land, but do not work for selling a house.  And yet the auctioneers continue to promote that auctions provide top dollar for the seller.   So then the question becomes what does a seller loose if they try the auction route.  Usually the seller pays for all the advertising up front, pay for flyers to promote the sale and...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
If you are considering selling your house, you probably are at least thinking about selling it yourself.  For some it works just fine.  However, according the the National Association of REALTORS, nearly 80% of the people that try to sell themselves eventually list with a REALTOR.  Why is that?  Afterall, the primary reason would be to save the commission that REALTORS charge. Selling your house yourself is not as easy as you might think.  First of all there is preparing your house to sell and doing what you think is necessary to make your house salable.  You are making decisions without the advice of a professional REALTOR.  Then, you have to decide what price to ask.  To make sure that you have the right price, you would need to do alot of homework by going to open houses, searching t...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
The outside of the home is the first that a buyer sees and it is very important that it makes a good impression.  However, appearance in important once the buyer gets into the house as well. If you are thinking about placing your house on the market, I am sure you have asked yourself many questions.  Should I replace the old tile counters in the bathroom?  Should I replace the wallpaper in the dining room with something more modern?  Do I need to replace the 25 year old roof that is curling?  Should I paint all the interior walls or just touch up the bad places?  Should I replace the carpet? These and many more questions will come up.  In general and depending on the value of the home, I will suggest that some things that are cost effective be done.  As an example, paint is relatively c...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
As I go out to talk to people about listing their home, I will give the seller suggestions on how to make their home show better.  There is only one chance to make a good first impression and that impression starts with the yard.  In our area, it has rained about every other day and the grass just keep growing.  I have been cutting my own yard twice a week.  Yet many sellers don't think that keeping the grass cut is important.  Believe me it is.  The front of a house is what a potential buyer sees first.  It should be in the best possible condition.  That means grass cut, bushed trimmed, no visible pealing paint, and basically very tidy.  It does take some time and effort on the part of the seller, but in the long run, the seller will receive more money for their house if it looks good....
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
The national new media almost daily reports on record foreclosures in the nation.  Foreclosures, like real estate is local.  The Quincy area has seen some foreclosures, but not to the level that is reported nationally.  There will always be some foreclosures.  Perhaps the owner ran into some major health issues that put them behind in mortgage payments.  Perhaps the economy has has caused a work force reduction.  Perhaps the owner bought more house that what they could really afford.Generally speaking, the Quincy lenders are conservative in nature.  They did not make the risky loans that other lenders did in other parts of the country.  However, when the national news media continues to hammer away at the record foreclosures, the general public will eventually believe the story to be tr...
By Alan VanDeBoe
(C 21 Awerkamp & Hays)
Comments 0
Mortgage rates are very good by historic standards.  They may have been lower in 2005, but were over 14% in the 80's.  Lower rates mean that a buyer can afford a bigger and better home and build strong long term equity.  In most cases, a home is a person's biggest asset.  Why not start now to built that long term value.  Lenders have a variety of products available and each lender offers different products.  Some are for first time buyers and some are for buyers that have downpayments.  It is best to check with you local bank.  You may be surprised at the price of home you can afford.If you are seriously thinking about buying a home or upgrading to a larger home do to a growing family or need to downsize becasue all the children have left, talk to a REALTOR and see what is available and...

Adams County, IL Real Estate Professionals