Resources From Ricky & Donna Gray

Below, we’ve provided many resources you can look through. Check out the articles covering the newest real estate happenings, upcoming events, and read through our testimonials to feel more secure in choosing to work with us.

Questions to Ask Your Realtor

Family in front of houseYou turn to a doctor when you are in search of answers concerning your health and wellbeing, answers you can’t find on your own. You turn to a priest or pastor when your spirit is feeling lost and hopeless, seeking support to get your conscience on the right course. And you turn to a real estate agent when you need to guarantee that you and your family are in the best possible home for the best possible price, making your residence and financial security a top priority.

These are the people you trust with the most important decisions in your life. So why wouldn’t you do everything possible to ensure you are using the proper guidance?

Hiring the best possible real estate agent means asking the right questions. Here are a few key things to ask prospective agents to determine if they are right for you.

How Long Have You Been a Realtor?
Often, the difference between a good agent and a great agent is experience. Look for a realtor who has a minimum of four years of experience working as a full-time real estate professional. The more years experience a person has, the more likely it is they have a track record of success, a track record that will translate to success for you.

How Many Homes Per Year Do you Close?
In most markets, you’ll want your prospective realtor to say that they close at least 35 homes per year. This means that they not only seal the deal on 90% of their business, but they are talented negotiators and will fight for your priorities when you are buying or selling your house.

What Separates You From Other Realtors?
While everyone may have personal keywords that meet their priorities in which type of agent they want to work with, most consumers would say that they would love an agent that is always honest, trustworthy, and assertive.

How Will You Market My Home?
If you are a seller, it goes without saying that you want to get your home sold as soon as possible and that often translates to an effective marketing plan that makes your current house as appealing as possible to buyers. As an agent, you are interviewing if they use direct mail campaigns, how they advertise their listings and how often, what kind of photography is included, and what can they do to help you prepare your home.

Buying or selling your home is one life’s biggest milestones; so why wouldn’t you do everything possible to guarantee that the right expert is guiding you through this challenging yet exciting process? Why wouldn’t you ask the appropriate questions to make sure you are getting your dream home at a dream deal? While asking the right questions is one part of the puzzle, the other is making sure you have the proper support to help you navigate today’s real estate market. If you are looking to relocate and you’re looking for a REALTOR® who has your best interest in mind, contact Ricky and Donna Gray – Spring Realty at 815-955-2706. Ricky and Donna Gray are top REALTORS® in Channahon and Minooka areas, providing quality, trustworthy, and top-notch service, helping you buy or sell with confidence.

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Home


It’s easy to get wrapped up in your dream home and all the components that go into it. Granite countertops, a gourmet kitchen a big fenced-in yard, an open-concept, multiple levels, a large master suite, plenty of room for entertaining. These are just a few of the many items that may be on your list when purchasing a home. Here are some other overlooked things to consider when house-hunting.

Location, location, location
There is a reason why realtors always utter the words, location, location, location. There are many things you can change about your home, such as the condition, the curb appeal, or even the size, but you cannot change the location, that’s why choosing a desirable location that serves your needs well is so important. Here are some things to consider when determining the location of the home:

  • Is it in a good school district?
  • Does the community offer entertainment and dining?
  • What type of recreational activities does the community offer such as bike paths, dog parks, walking paths, beaches, and museums?
  • What is the commute time to your work?
  • How far is it from a major city?
  • Is there public transportation?

Type of house
When house hunting you should consider what type of house you are looking for. There are many different kinds of homes, and it is important to find the right one based not only on your immediate needs but your future needs as a homeowner. How many bedrooms are you looking for? Do you want a single story or two-story house? Here are some of the common types of homes to keep in mind:

  • Ranch-style
  • Cottage
  • Single Family
  • Condominium
  • Townhome
  • Multi-level

Layout of the House
The layout is another important thing to consider when buying a house. There are a number of different factors to pay attention to, such as:

  • Type of Utilities
  • Age of Roof
  • Number of Amenities
  • Condition of Foundation
  • Property Size
  • HVAC unit
  • Yard size

Age of House and Furnishings
It is important to ensure you are well aware of the age of a house you’re looking at before making a buying decision. You’ll want to find out what year the house was built-in, and how old the amenities are. This will give you an idea if anything is outdated or in need of repair. Some major furnishings to keep in mind are:

  • Furnace
  • Dish washer
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove and oven
  • Microwave
  • HVAC unit
  • Hot water heater
  • Roof
  • Siding materials
  • Landscaping details such as maintenance

More Work to be Done?
The last thing you’ll want to consider when buying a house is how much work is there to be done to accommodate your tastes and needs.

  • Will you need to paint the walls?
  • Does the kitchen need to be remodeled?
  • Is the carpet the color you want?

Ricky and Donna Gray are top REALTORS® in the Channahon and Minooka areas, providing quality, trustworthy, and top-notch service, helping you buy or sell with confidence. If you are looking to relocate and you’re looking for a REALTOR® who has your best interests in mind, contact Ricky and Donna Gray – Spring Realty at (815) 955-2706, visit us on Facebook, shoot us an email, or browse our website for more information.


Tips for Relocating

Aerial view of homesMovin’ on up? Whether transferring to a different city for a new position, pulling up roots and moving the family across the country, or relocating for a fresh start, moving is a complex and stressful task no matter how organized you try to be. From buying and selling a home to packing and finding the most cost-effective mover, relocating is never an easy task. Follow these tips to make your transition as smooth as possible.

Finding a New Place to Live
If you are not able to buy a home before you move, consider renting for the first six months to get a feel for the new area. Hiring the right realtor is very important when looking for a new home in an area that you aren’t very familiar with. A real estate agent worth their salt will be able to help guide you in your house search and should know the local market and legal logistics well.

Check What Your Employer Will Cover
If your company is relocating you, contact your HR department to determine what relocation costs they will cover. Your employer may reimburse you for items like packing services, shipping expenses, temporary housing, storage, and travel expenses associated with searching for a new home.

Research Schools
If you have school-age children researching schools in your new city is a high priority. It is common to choose an area to live in based on how the rating of the schools in that area. There are several websites to help you find top-rated schools in your new town or city.,, and are just a few.

Use the Move as an Opportunity to Purge
Going through all your belongings is a great opportunity to get rid of things you never use. The larger items like furniture may be cheaper to rebuy on the other end rather than paying to move or ship them. Calculate if it would make more sense to sell furniture and appliances before you move. Keep in mind what you will save in time, money and energy by not hauling these heavy items with you. Get rid of things before you move.

Research the Best Moving Options and Insure Your Belongings
There are three ways to transport your belongings – professional moving companies, truck rental companies, and container services that provide self-storage containers that you fill and they transport. Be sure to get estimates from several different companies as costs widely vary.  Consider insuring your belongings. Anything can happen and things break when all your possessions are packed and transported. Moving companies provide some insurance options, but it’s important to understand the details of their offerings. You can find an outline of moving insurance options on the U.S. Department of Transportation website.

Updating and Transferring Information

Make a to-do list of all the minutia that will need to be addressed in your new life:

  • If moving to a new state you will need a new driver’s license and vehicle registration.
  • Forward your mail from your old house to your new
  • Do address changes on all your banking, medical, and other personal mail
  • Establish domicile in your new state for tax purposes
  • Inform your insurance company of your move for home, car, life, umbrella and all other insurances
  • Contact your health insurance company to verify whether they have coverage in your new state
  • Transfer or cancel your utilities including water, electric, gas, cable/internet, and satellite

Ricky and Donna Gray are top REALTORS® in the Channahon and Minooka areas, providing quality, trustworthy, and top-notch service, helping you buy or sell with confidence. If you are looking to relocate and you’re looking for a REALTOR® who has your best interests in mind, contact Ricky and Donna Gray – Spring Realty at (815) 955-2706, visit us on Facebook, shoot us an email, or browse our website for more information.


Curb Appeal: Summer Home Improvement Projects

Front Door
Summer is the time to enjoy fireflies, barbecues, and ice cream trucks. For homeowners, summer presents a different ideal – a time to tackle seasonal home improvement projects. It’s when homeowners can take advantage of the mild weather and assess where to make repairs or improvements to their homes. These projects can range from sprucing up the landscaping to a major renovation. While these projects require initial out of pocket costs, they will all increase your home’s value in the long run.

Landscaping. This is the aspect that most represents the walk-up value of your home. It’s the first thing potential home buyers see and makes an everlasting impression. You don’t have to have an elaborate courtyard and gazebo to “wow” buyers. A simple lawn with a couple of well-nurtured flower beds will do. It is important to showcase that the landscaping is well-tended.

Painting. According to Money Magazine and a 2017 survey by in-home renovation specialist Houzz, more than two-thirds of real estate agents suggest repainting the inside of your home before putting it on the market. New paint can take you from 1980 to 2019 in one afternoon.  It’s suggested to paint with a neutral color. If the current paint is too bright, you can take it down a notch by using the same color that you like but reduce its strength by several shades.

Roofing. This is often a deal breaker for home sellers. Broken or loose shingles on a roof are easy to repair, but if there is more significant damage, it is time to call in the professionals. Like landscaping, the roof is one of the first things a buyer is going to see. Missing or misplaced shingles along with signs of mold create anxiety for buyers and put a stigma to a house.

Repurposing a Room. Do you have an extra room that you’re unsure what to do with? Is it a room typically dedicated to storage or junk? If so, think about reinventing the space. Unused attics can be converted into home offices or an unused guest room can become a child’s playroom. Having an extra, designated room will increase your home’s appraisal value.

If you would like to increase the curb appeal and overall value of your home this summer, these projects are the perfect way to amp up your ROI. If you’re looking to purchase a home, these are a few additions to be on the lookout for. And finally, if you’re interested in a REALTOR® who has your best interest in mind, contact Ricky and Donna Gray – Spring Realty. Ricky and Donna Gray are top REALTORS® in Channahon and Minooka areas, providing quality, trustworthy, and top-notch service, helping you buy or sell with confidence. Visit our website, facebook page, or give us a call at 815-955-2706.


Real Estate Trends: What to Expect for 2019’s Housing Market

Aerial view of homesIf you are planning to buy or sell a home this year, the first question that comes to mind is, “What will the real estate market do in 2019?” This may include factors like pricing, supply and demand, or whether buyers or sellers will maintain control. As the market is volatile and changes frequently, there are no certainties in what will happen and when; however, we can take trends from the last half of 2018 and use them in providing educated guesses for what to expect in the upcoming months. A few things to be on the lookout for are:

An Increase in New-Home Construction
According to the Home Buying Institute, the first few months of 2018 showed an 8.4% increase in the total number of single-family permits that were issued nationwide. Though there is typically a large gap from when a permit is filed to when the build is complete, it shows promise that the supply of homes may soon catch up to the high level of demand. In addition, the economy on track to grow in 2019. This will make it easier and more affordable to purchase a home, especially for Millennials as they take advantage of solid employment opportunities and rising wage levels.

The Market Will Favor Sellers Over Buyers
This demand from Millennial homebuyers may make 2019 a prime time to sell your home. The limited inventory could increase competition from prospective buyers, meaning that you would receive more bids after putting yours on the market. On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy a home, waiting until next year may give you the upperhand. When supply and demand move towards equilibrium, buyers are able to negotiate prices more easily. It’s forecasted that the Midwest may be the first area to experience this shift in early 2020. Though market conditions are beginning to ease up, housing economists warn that the “years of limited construction still linger,” favoring sellers for the time being.

Home Prices Will Continue to RiseHouse on a keychainAs people begin to feel more confident in their abilities to pay off debt and invest in real estate, the demand for homes increases. This is due in part to an improved economy and labor market. Unfortunately, due to the finite number of homes in many markets, this could cause a steady rise in housing prices throughout the year. Interest rates are also to blame, for the more they rise, so do subsequent mortgage payments. CNBC expects these rates to reach anywhere from 4.6% to 5% by year-end. For those looking to buy investment properties, 2019 might be the best time as renting could be seen as a more attractive option than paying a high mortgage bill.

Though varying according to location, these trends can aid in your home sale or search in 2019. If you are looking for a REALTOR® who has your best interest and the latest market conditions in mind, contact Ricky and Donna Gray – Spring Realty at 815-955-2706. Ricky and Donna Gray are top REALTORS® throughout the areas of Channahon and Minooka, known for providing quality, trustworthy, and top-notch service. Utilizing 18 years of knowledge and experience, they’ll help you buy or sell the property you want in a quick and professional manner.


Tips for First Time Home Buyers

HouseBuying a home for the first time is so exciting. But owning a home is a huge commitment and it’s important to not rush into home ownership if you are not ready. Bidding wars and forking over a large sum of money for a down payment are a few of the things you may experience when buying a home. Going through the process for the first time can be a little intimidating but with these home buying tips from Ricky & Donna Gray at Spring Realty, you will be prepared and ready to handle what is to come.

Before looking at homes, decide what your budget is and speak with a lender to help determine what you’re approved for. What you are approved for may not be a realistic amount for you to afford so be careful to not overdo it when choosing a home. When you decide you are ready, speak to a lender right away and get pre-approved. This will help you determine what bills need to paid off and how much you will need for a down payment.

Once you have determined what you are pre-approved for, the next step is to find a realtor. It’s not a necessity but we highly recommend it because it will help having a professional advising and to assist you along the way. An expert knows the right questions to ask and things to look for in a home. They have access to valuable pricing information and can provide recommendations for home inspectors, lenders, and attorneys. Ricky and Donna Gray can help facilitate between you and the homeowner and look out for your best interest and make sure you are well informed.

Make a list of what is important and what you want in a new home. Think about the location, bedroom and bathroom count, fireplace – and list out anything you can think of. After you have visited a few homes, revisit this list and re-prioritize based on what you are seeing. Home buying is a process and over time and the more houses you view, your list will evolve.

Unless you are purchasing a home that is already furnished, the home will come empty. First time home buying can be fun, but don’t let great interior design with furnishings and beautiful artwork distract you. Things to pay attention to are room sizes, floor plans, kitchen and bath upgrades, and the views from the windows.

House Keys
With these first time home buying and homeowner tips, you will be more prepared when you are ready to buy your first home. If you are looking for a REALTOR® who has your best interest in mind, knows the community, and is ready to help you find your perfect home, contact Ricky and Donna Gray at Spring Realty at 815-955-2706. Ricky and Donna Gray are top REALTORS® in Channahon and Minooka areas providing quality and trustworthy service. They are top agents providing top-notch service, helping you buy or sell the property you want in a quick and professional manner.


How to Prepare Your Home For Winter

The summer season is officially in full swing to the delight of many. The days are filled with endless hours of sunshine, the temperatures are warm and pleasant, and free time is spent taking full advantages of the great outdoors.

While we certainly hate to burst this pleasant bubble, it is an undeniable fact that the summer weather will come to an end sooner than we’d like it to. Before we know it, the leaves will be changing colors and temperature will turn chilly and frigid. As they say in the beloved series “Game of Thrones,” Winter is Coming.

windowThat phrase doesn’t have to bring the amount of dread and fear as it does in that fantasy story; the impending arrival of winter isn’t a scary thing if you are adequately prepared for it. Are your home’s windows properly insulated? Is the plumbing system working as it should? What about your home’s heating system; is it out of date? Thinking about these home systems and checking to ensure they function properly now, will save you considerable dollars in the winter months. Here are a few things you can be doing now to properly prepare your home for winter:

Seal Possible Leaks
Consider installing storm windows and doors this summer throughout your home and in your basement, especially if your house is prone to drafts. It’s also a good idea to add and replace worn weather stripping around the doors and caulk any existing gaps.

Examine your Plumbing
There are some simple things you can be doing this summer to the plumbing system that can save you significant time in expense in the winter, especially if a pipe happens to burst. Start by draining the water from your garden hoses and outdoor faucets and put the garden hoses inside. Next, identify any potential problem pipes that may freeze in extremely cold temperatures. Investing in heat tape to keep them warm in the coming seasons is a good way to prevent an expensive problem later on.

Don’t Forget the Fireplace
Summer is the perfect time of year to have your chimney inspected and thoroughly cleaned. While you’re at it, hire a professional to perform a routine check on your home’s heating systems; better to do this now before you need it!

As we enter the month of July, it is clear that we are in the midst of those “lazy, hazy, crazy” days of summer. When the outdoor temperatures rise to ninety degrees and above, it seems hard to imagine (or, we just don’t want to imagine) that the winter months lie ahead. Now is the time to make sure that your home is properly prepared to face the future frigid months.

For more information on how you can be adequately preparing your home for winter, trust Ricky & Donna Gray, your friends and experts at Spring Realty. Call 815-955-2705 today.

Summer is the season for real estate,

and if you’re looking to put your home on the market this summer, you’ll want to make sure it’s ready to sell. Below you’ll find a few inexpensive trick to help market your home and get the best price.

Remove Personal Touches
When you show your home, you’ll want people focusing on the details of your home, not your personal pictures or objects. Take down family pictures, and store away memorabilia collections, personal keepsakes, and tone down any bedroom themes. These can be distracting, and will make it harder for potential buyers to picture themselves in your home.

Think of the Kitchen First
Kitchens can make or break a sale, so if you’re considering updating something in your home, put your kitchen at the top of your list. With kitchen upgrades, you’re likely to get most of your money back, and renovations eliminate buyers negotiation points. If you’re looking to update on a budget, try adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls, and updating the hardware to give old cabinets a facelift.

Half-Empty Your Closets
Storage sells, however if you still have your entire wardrobe taking up a closet, potential buyers won’t be able to really see how much space your home has to offer. Showcase your closet and storage spaces by taking half of your belongings out of the closets, and then neatly organizing the rest. If you want to go the extra mile, swap out all of your plastic or old hangers for wood ones, as they give closets a high-end look.

Think About Curb Appeal

If a buyer doesn’t like the look of the outside of your home, they make not take a chance on the inside. The exterior of your home is the first thing a buyer will see when they look up your home, so it’s important they like what they see so they don’t pass it by. Mow the lawn, touch up faded paint, and clear out any flowerbeds of dead plants and other debris to give your yard a polished look right off the bat.

If you’re looking for a realtor team to help sell your home this summer, look no further. Ricky and Donna Gray of Spring Realty are experienced professionals that will help you through the entire process of selling your home.

Contact Ricky & Donna Gray at Spring Realty, 852 Sharp Dr, Unit N, Shorewood, IL, (815) 955-2705,

For over twenty years, real estate has been the foundation of the Gray family.

Donna’s journey began as a stay-at-home mom and neighborhood daycare provider.  With children getting older and more independent,  Donna took a position as an administrative assistant at a local realtor office, leading to an entirely new career.
Ricky joined real estate full-time in 2001,  finding a great passion in the business, helping singles and families with their critical financial investment.  In 2010, Donna became  a real estate agent, joining Ricky and other top-selling agents.

Ben Franklin once said, “A house is not a home unless it provides food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” Like Ben Franklin, the Gray’s believe that homes should make our hearts race, inspiring us in the most positive way. Home buying is one of the most exhilarating times of a person’s life, and they love walking the road with home buyers from start to finish.

Residents do not need to be a native of an area to consider it home, which is exactly how Ricky and Donna both feel about the Channahon/Minooka a region…it is home to them. They raised three children in this enchanting region. Recently their daughters, Amber and Kayle, both married and returned to this region, starting their own homes. Their son Zach, always a city boy, lives in a larger city.

The Gray’s are particularly drawn to working with first-time home buyers, they love being part of invigorating journey. With so many unknowns for first-time homebuyers, the Gray’s enjoy guiding them through this passage. While listing and marketing a home is the bedrock of their business, it cannot be achieved without communication, integrity, honesty, trust, traits they value above all else. Using this guiding principle, Ricky and Donna create a winning situation for all involved, buyers and sellers.

Contact Ricky & Donna Gray at Spring Realty, 852 Sharp Dr, Unit N, Shorewood, IL, (815) 955-2705,


Ricky & Donna Gray | | 815-955-2706 | [email protected]