Category: Real Estate Focus

Internet common ground from both buyers and sellers

Home buyers and sellers?the relationship may seem like it should be more adversarial than ever, given the current market. Coming at the real estate equation from opposite sides, buyers and sellers may feel they have little in common. But the truth is both groups share a common path to real estate success?the Internet.

The Internet has been revolutionizing real estate for years now with more than 80 percent of buyers look at homes on the Internet, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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Better than moving: Get more space with a basement remodel
Better than moving: Get more space with a basement remodel

Better than moving: Get more space with a basement remodel

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Finishing a basement is one of the most cost-effective remodeling projects, according to Remodeling Magazine?s 2007 Cost vs. Value report.

The day you?ve dreaded has finally arrived?your household is bursting at the seams. You need more space, but you?re not keen on the idea of entering the real estate market right now. And eco-conscious consumer that you are, you don?t relish the idea of increasing your home?s environmental impact with a costly addition.

You?re not alone. The bigger is better mentality that defined the ?moving up? trend of the past 20 years seems to be the latest casualty of the real estate downturn. As a result, many homeowners are opting to stay put and increase their living space by remodeling the homes they have. Many are doing so without the cost and eco-impact of building an addition. Instead, they?re creating more living space by turning areas like basements, garages and even outdoor patios into usable square footage.

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Curb appeal: the ‘arms’ that welcome potential buyers
Curb appeal: the ‘arms’ that welcome potential buyers

Curb appeal: the ‘arms’ that welcome potential buyers

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Edge the driveway with pavers in colors complementary to the home and pavement. Use pavers in different shapes and sizes to create an interesting focal point.

Whether selling a home in today?s tough real estate market or simply trying to beautify and protect your home, curb appeal should be very important to you.

Home selling experts predict that as many as 40 percent of potential buyers reject a home based on their first impression of the front of the home. That makes curb appeal?the general appearance of the front yard?the single largest factor shaping impressions of your home.

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Hail events prompt re-roofing boom in Hillsboro
Hail events prompt re-roofing boom in Hillsboro

Hail events prompt re-roofing boom in Hillsboro

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Workers with Flory Roofing & Construction, based in Halstead, work Saturday on re-roofing the house in the 300 block of South Washington in Hillsboro. Through June 19, 51 building permits for roofing projects had been issued through city hall. Permits and follow-up inspections are required for each job, according to Hillsboro building code. Photo by Don Ratzlaff

Every cloud has a silver lining. For some homeowners, contractors and material suppliers, that includes a hail cloud.

In the aftermath of a couple of hail incidents over the past month and a half, Hillsboro is in the midst of a re-roofing boom.

From May 12 through June 19, 51 building permits had been issued through the city of Hills?boro for re-roofing jobs, with a total estimated value surpassing $720,000.

And the boom is likely to continue as word of potential roof damage spreads from homeowner to homeowner.

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Opportunity, need fuel city forays into development
Opportunity, need fuel city forays into development

Opportunity, need fuel city forays into development

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Traffic flow along U.S. Highway 56 has been key to the city of Hillsboro?s leadership in developing light commerical business parks along the city?s northern edge. The first one was Hillsboro Heights in 1999, currently home to eight businesses, and now the newly platted Hillsboro Business Park, the acreage shown here.

The recent platting of Hillsboro Business Park continues a model of real-estate development that has become increasing significant for the city over the past 15 years or so.

The city?s most progressive developer is the city itself.

?(The city of) Hillsboro really never intended to get into real-estate development, but that decision was made in order to give Hillsboro a chance to grow,? said Mayor Delores Dalke, herself a real-estate broker and developer in the private sector.

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MHS Class frames a new beginning in construction trade
MHS Class frames a new beginning in construction trade

MHS Class frames a new beginning in construction trade

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Click to buy photo
Members of the afternoon session of the first Construction Technology class stand in the basement of the house they and fellow students are building at the corner of Hudson and Roosevelt in Marion. Pictured are: back row Hector Cardenas (junior), Jake Bredemeier (senior); front, Andy Kelsey (junior), Lanna Carroll (senior), Dillon Wildin (sophomore) and instructor Lucas King. Don Ratzlaff

Whether you do it for a living or as a weekend do-it-yourselfer, house construction is always a learning experience.

Marion High School has formalized the learning process somewhat with the start of its Construction Technology program this fall.

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Community investment prime desire for couple
Community investment prime desire for couple

Community investment prime desire for couple

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Click to buy
a similar photo

James and Gayle Voth recently completed renovating the Ratzlaff Building on East Main Street in Goessel with hope for a better economic future for their hometown in mind. ?We like to hope it helps Goessel in general,? James said. The downtown office building has opened with full occupancy. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press<p>

Not every real-estate development is motivated primarily by prospect of short-term financial gain.

James and Gayle Voth say family history and a better economic future for their hometown were the two key factors that prompted them to transform an old family-owned structure into Goessel?s first downtown office building.

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Local houses for sale make for buyer’s market

If it seems an inordinate number of houses are for sale in Hillsboro these days, you?re right. A street-by-street survey of the community last week revealed 50 yard signs around town.

Local real-estate agents agree the number is unusually high.

?When we moved to town nine or 10 years ago, we had, for the size of house we needed, three or four to choose from,? said Becky Nuss of Real Estate Specialists.

?This year, if someone moves to town, you have five houses to look at just at the $120,000 to $145,000 range. You have so much more selection.?

Houses for sale in Hillsboro range in price from $15,000 to a high of $340,000. The listings and the asking price can be viewed on the Web at realtor.com.

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Historic hotel will once again bring in business
Historic hotel will once again bring in business

Historic hotel will once again bring in business

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Laura Campbell / Free Press<p>Jim
Cloutier, owner of Shawmar Oil Co. of Marion and Cardie Oil Co. of
Tampa, has purchased the historic Elgin Hotel building in Marion and
plans to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast, restaurant and conference
center. ?This is going to have to be a destination place?we?re going to
have bring people from all around,? he said. Click image to enlarge.

Jim Cloutier of Hillsboro has more square feet to renovate than he ever expected?15,000 of them, actually.

What?s more, they make up the historic Elgin Hotel that some may never have expected to be used once again for its original purpose?bringing in out-of-towners for a luxurious stay in downtown Marion.

Cloutier hopes to perform the unexpected, he said, by reopening the three-story hotel as a bed-and-breakfast, restaurant and conference center by the 2008 Old Settler?s Day weekend next September.

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Construction underway at Washington, Grand
Construction underway at Washington, Grand

Construction underway at Washington, Grand

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An $800,000 housing project is being built at Washington and Grand, site of the former Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, which burned in 2004. Plans call for 10 units?two four-plex units and one duplex. The first phase?constructing one of the four-plexes?is under way and scheduled for completion in September. Click photo to enlarge
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Workers level concrete for the first four-plex structure to be constructed at Washington and Grand. Martin Rhodes, building inspector for Hillsboro, is project manager for the construction. Rhodes is under contract with Solomon Langley of San Francisco, Calif., who is financing the $800,000 project. Ron Dirksen of Dirksen Construction, Goessel, is the general contractor, and most of the materials for the project have been purchased locally or in the immediate area, Rhodes said. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press. Click photo to enlarge.

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