Are you Ready to Sell?….See the 2018 Spring into Summer Plan – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Even the most luxurious, well-maintained homes need an efficient 2018 sales strategy for a smooth transaction. The house won’t sell itself!dealseal

Real estate experts like The Ian Schwartz Group are trained to list and sell your beloved Chicago home for sale, but it doesn’t hurt to study up on some real estate basics. Consider the following real estate sales strategy. Take note of these 3 steps, and you’ll be well on your way to jump-starting your home sale:

Find a real estate agent. As you’re getting your house in order, start the hunt for a real estate agent. You’re not looking for just any agent; you need a real star to get you to the finish line. Put the word out to your network and don’t feel like you have to work with someone because they are family. Once you have some referrals, take the time for an interview and get to know their selling style. If said agent declines the interview request, they’re probably not for you — proceed to the next one on your list. If they seem almost right, keep looking until you find a great match. It’s worth the time investment to find the right agent.

Schedule a strategy session with your real estate agent. Purging and cleaning were the warm-up act. Now you’re ready for the main event. After you’ve signed on the dotted line with your real estate professional, schedule a walk-through before listing and take your agent’s feedback seriously. They know what color to paint that old maroon accent wall, how to stage the living room so it looks 20% bigger, and how to deal with outdated kitchen cabinets. They also know how to allocate your dollars to impress potential buyers.

Be vigilant with your belongings. Now is the time to tackle those organization and cleaning projects. The detritus of life tend to stack up in our living spaces, which may be fine for every day but isn’t great for selling. Make the adage “less is more” your mantra and divide your belongings into two piles: one to take to the new place, one to toss or give away. (Or try following a flow chat for decluttering tips.) And remember, packing items away doesn’t mean shoving them in the hallway closet. Buyers will very likely open every cabinet and drawer, so those spaces should be tidy too. For more advanced tips see info HERE

Ian with The Ian Schwartz Group has sold over 500 million dollars of real estate, including sales in excess of 55 million dollars in 2015 and sales in excess of 50 million dollars in 2017. He and his team are consistently in the top 1% of agents in the Chicago Association of Realtors and in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker agents nationally. Find out why this spring and summer 2018…everything we touch turns to Sold!

 

 

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3 2018 Housing Trends Buyers-Sellers Should Know This Spring: Chicago Real Estate

The summary of hot housing trends going on right now this spring 2018: Potential Chicago-Lincoln Park home-buyers may find that if they were waiting for mortgage rates or house prices to hit bottom, they may have delayed too long. Expected mortgage rate increases will serve as a warning to borrowers who thought the low rates would last long term. Good news: mortgage rates are still at historic lows.

Good news: Chicago home purchases have picked up considerably, many are ready to buy. In addition millions of current borrowers will have the opportunity to refinance their mortgages through two government programs that make the refinancing process easier and cheaper.

Top 3 Chicago real estate trends you should expect to see for spring 2018:

Homebuyers are expected to get off the fence

Attractive mortgage rates, low home prices and rising rents make the current housing market the perfect opportunity for Chicago and surrounding area buyers and investors.

The price gap is closing between what sellers expect to get for their homes and what buyers pay; one reason home sales are improving. As consumer confidence and Chicago rents rise, more renters will likely want to become homeowners.

Mortgage rates rise but won’t hit the roof

Many Chicago borrowers missed the record-low mortgage rates seen earlier this year, but they still have a chance to grab low rates this spring.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest forecast indicates that the rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage will average about 4.3 percent in the second quarter. That’s up from the first quarter’s average of 4.16 percent in a weekly survey. But 4.3 percent would still be low, especially when you compare it to the 6 percent or 7 percent borrowers paid at the height of the housing boom.

Refinances get easier, cheaper

Another government program, known as HARP 2.0, will make it easier for thousands of borrowers to refinance their mortgages this spring. Homeowners who have FHA-insured mortgages and who are current on their payments will be able to refinance with lower fees through the FHA streamline refinance program starting in June. Only loans that closed before June 2009 are eligible to be refinanced in the program.

The FHA will reduce loan fees by more than half on streamline refis. As of June 11, borrowers who refinance through the FHA streamline program will pay only 0.01 percent of the loan in upfront insurance fees and 0.55 percent in annual mortgage fees. More info HERE

 

5 Steps to Chicago Real Estate Success in 2018-Property Selling and Buying

Chicago real estate agents are needed guides before during and after one of the most intimate transactions in a lifetime…buying or selling a home.  Yes, it is a business process, but one that demands a professional who embodies integrity, dedication, a personable demeanor, and a good sense of humor.  In addition having a long standing profile of concrete Realtor results doesn’t hurt either. Below are the top 5 essentials for success in any business, real estate included:

1. Understanding the Big Picture is Priceless

Taking the time to learn about a client’s business (and personal) goals and objectives is the backbone to success. Asking smart questions and doing lots of listening ranks high on the list. Understanding the dynamics and trends of an industry sets a professional apart from the rest. Look for proven results and outcomes.

2. Knowing a Client’s Expectations and Exceeding Them

Creating a reasonable set of expectations and then see if the professional will do their best to beat them. This mindset is 100% accepted and admired in any business process. The idea of following through with commitments in a timely manner is within this concept; a guaranteed way to earn trust and loyalty.

3. Observe and Execute the Client’s Preferred Way of Communicating

Asking a client for their method of frequent communication and delivering updates/progress reports often saves time as well as potential frustration from both sides.

4. Acclimate the Client to the Team Working on Their Matters

Taking the time to introduce clients to the team or group who will be working on an end goal is a good business practice for sure. Knowing the specialties of each staff member can eliminate confusion and create a seamless transaction or process.

5. Show the Client You Appreciate Their Business

Client love is the building block for friendships and ongoing business associations. Taking the time to show a client that you value their business earns loyalty, trust, and sustains a positive reputation.

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, prides himself on his keen ability to listen, and consistently advocate client-centric results. Ian and his team combine forces to ensure an outstanding real estate experience for each and every client they service.  For more than 14 years, Ian has been among the elite group of top performing Realtors in Chicago and by rank fall in the upper 1% of real estate professionals nationwide. number 1 in closed sales volume within his highly productive Lincoln Park Plaza (1910 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL) Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office in 2017, he understands his profile of success in 2018 and years after will depend on his ability to continue to gain client trust, loyalty and  friendship.

Spring 2018…Off to a Running Start-Chicago Real Estate

Despite the mild wind and cold weather experienced this winter, the Chicago real estate market continues on a warm spring 2018 driven path. The median Chicago home price surged with an annual increase of 12.1%. Interest rates remain attractive as the monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central- Chicago region was 4.32 percent in February 2018, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Buyers are already expelling pent-up action and are out in force. Sellers are seeing the benefits of listing NOW, as demand/ideal Chicago market conditions continue to benefit all parties involved. Don’t get left behind…Jump in now!

 

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, reports that “everything we touch turns to SOLD”. So far this year, Ian and his team have sold over $5o million dollars in real estate units in the city of Chicago. As a recipient of Coldwell Banker’s International President’s Premier award, Ian and his team remain client centered, attentive, sincere, tenacious, and knowledgeable; with an end result of top producing, top performing, high-ranking Chicago residential real estate results. For more information on The Ian Schwartz Group visit HERE and HERE.

 

 

 

Advantages to Selling During 2018 Winter Months-Chicago Real Estate Market Trends

What is the whole truth about Chicago 2018 winter real estate? Homes are more likely to sell in winter than at any other time of year. Not only that, they sell quicker and they often sell for more money. These statistics hold, at various Winterhomepercentages, whether the home is in balmy San Diego, Calif., or snow forming parts of the Midwest.

Some national news headlines do us no favors by claiming that the reason for any possible winter sales slump is because of February’s “cold, dark weather” across most of the country. Sure, that can be a deterrent, but most of the slide in sales may be due to the media helping to form public perception that winter is a horrible season for real estate deals…simply not the case. Successful Chicago real estate professionals know better. Winter is actually a great season to sell a home, and below are just a few of the many reasons why:

Less Competition From Other Sellers

“Just your luck – you have to sell your home in winter, the slowest and dreariest sales season of all,” begins a column on winter real estate from USA Today. “Winter can be the toughest season to put a house on the market,” claims a writer at Fox News before he goes on to give tips to increase “chances of a winter sale.”

Naturally, many homeowners read these news items and decide to hold out until spring. Worse yet are the homeowners who take their homes off the market as winter approaches, aiming to re-list in spring. Sadly, they may be missing a prime opportunity to finally get the home sold – and for top dollar. Because other homeowners took the bait, however, there is far less competition for those that do list, and Chicago homeowners are definitely in the driver’s seat in a winter transaction.

Buyers Are More Motivated During Winter

What would motivate someone to buy real estate in the dead of winter, especially in areas with wicked weather? Job transfers are high on the list of reasons, so if you practice real estate in an area with large influxes of transferees aka relocating to Chicago, winter is an even better time to sell.

“It’s true that if your home isn’t on the market in winter, the new Microsoft manager relocating from California won’t see it and will thus buy another home,” writes Seattle agent and broker Sam DeBord for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“But that same situation for a home seller who is on the market is magnified. Your competition is nowhere to be seen,” he continues. “While the buyer may have had 30 homes to choose from in June, there may only be 10 homes that fit their criteria in January. If they are motivated to buy, they will choose one of those 10 homes.” More information HERE

February 2018 – Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group is dedicated to ongoing high ranking, top performing, client focused Chicago real estate expertise in winter and through all seasons.  This top producing, nationally awarded, savvy Chicago real estate team prides itself on leaving no stone unturned to find you the perfect home. If you are a seller, Ian and his experienced team will pour their hearts and souls into effectively marketing your home online and in print to have it seen by the largest possible audiences around the world. They will take all necessary measures to bring qualified buyers in the door and close the real estate sale(s) with ease.

4 Reasons Why 2018 IS The Year to Make a Move – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Chicago….If you’ve been on the fence about buying a home, 2018 will be the year to take the plunge! See below on why:

1. Rents will still hurt

Rent prices are expected to continue to climb in the new year, which means in most cities like Chicago, buying will be cheaper than renting. Even though mortgages could get more expensive, buying might still be the better deal. Interest rates would need to rise to around 6.5% for the cost of buying to equal that of renting on a national level, according to housing economists at Trulia.

2. Home prices will finally calm down

Real estate values have been on the rise for a while, but are likely to slow their pace next year. Prices are expected to rise 3.5%,according to Zillow’s Chief Economist.

Buyers who’ve been stuck behind the wave of rising prices may finally get the chance to jump in. And that could lead to a flood of buyers, said chief economist at Realtor.com.

“We have the potential for about six million home sales just through the months of April through September; that is basically impossible to do,” he said. But not everyone will be in a position to take advantage. Despite the slowdown, Zillow still expects home values to outpace wage growth, which can make it tough to afford a home, especially for lower-income buyers. Plus, prices in the country’s hottest markets — like San Francisco, Boston and New York City — aren’t expected to pull back as much next year.

3. More homes will hit the market

The slowdown in home prices will prompt more owners to list their homes, Smoke said, giving buyers more choice. “Because of the price appreciation they have experienced, you will have more sellers put homes on the market next year,” he said.

Related: How to buy a home without a 20% down payment

The new home market is also expected to grow in the coming year with builders focusing more on starter and middle-range homes, which will also boost inventory and make it easier for buyers.

With more homes on the market, bidding wars will become less common and prices could ease even more.

4. Dirt cheap mortgages could disappear

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to begin increasing interest rates soon, which means the window for record low mortgage rates is closing. While rates are expected to go up gradually, higher rates push up borrowing costs and monthly mortgage payments. More details can be found HERE.

With over $50,000,000 sold in 2017, Ian Schwartz with the Ian Schwartz Group is determined to once again surpass expectations in 2018! By providing outstanding, client driven service, Ian and his team pride themselves on leaving no stone upturned until each and every real estate transaction is done earning trust, loyalty, and friendship of those they assist. See why in 2018…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

 

Curb Appeal Holiday Quiz 2017-Chicago Real Estate

A job that should be done year round… the upkeep of curb appeal, a Chicago property staple for many. Take the Chicago curb appeal quiz (Holiday edition) and see if you’re keeping up with the 2017 season:

1. Driving home at night, you see a wide variety of Chicago outdoor decorations and cozy lit details. You then:

a. Enjoy the display and feel connected to the Chicago community.

b. Wonder how some people can afford to pay their electric bills!

c. Wishing your Chicago home looked that awesome!

2. The day after your holiday feast finds you:

a. Looking at a pile of dirty dishes and wondering if friends or family will help tackle them.

b. Reaching for your antacids and the remote.

c. Putting up your front yard holiday decorations.

3. You pull up in front of your Chicago home on a dark, windy and snowy night, and immediately:

a. Feel slightly uncomfortable that the front of the house hasn’t been tended to since the summer.

b. Are glad it gets dark early and you have no lighting to call attention to your home?

c. Feel a thrill of pride at living in a warm and welcoming Chicago home, graciously lit and beautifully decorated; ready for visitors, friends, family even buyers or sellers of Chicago real estate!

The following are tips especially for those of you who enjoy your holiday cheer — those who answered “b” we are talking to you! Make your Chicago home a joy to come home to and above all get noticed for all the right reasons:

• Light strands with battery packs make it possible to light potted porch plants with no fuss.

• Use battery-operated candles to create fire-safe luminaries to light your paths and driveway.

• Be sure outdoor lighting is on after dark. A timer or photocell can help with this.

• A natural wreath on the door made of fresh winter berries and foliage is a beautiful addition to any home. Colored garland over the doorway creates an added sense of welcome.

• Add a welcome mat, it helps keep your homes interior cleaner, and sends an instant assuring message when someone enters the home. More info HERE and HERE

 Happy Holidays from Ian Schwartz and The Ian Schwartz Group! Remember…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist-Chicago Real Estate

Is fall home maintenance as important as spring cleaning….absolutely!  The air on a brisk 2017 autumn morning inspires us to dutifully button up the home in preparation for cooler days and longer nights, right? Below is a quick reference guide full of safety inspired tips to sharpen up a Chicago home or any property for that matter:

Give the roof and chimney a look-over
Assuming your roof isn’t too steep, and isn’t covered with slate or tile, you may be able to carefully walk on it on a dry day. Look for broken or missing shingles, missing or damaged flashing and seals around vent pipes and chimneys, and damage to boards along the eaves.  Tip: Also peer down your chimney with a flashlight to make sure no animals have set up house in it. If you can’t get on your roof, perform this inspection with a ladder around the perimeter.

Weather-stripping to doors and windows a must
On doors, make sure the bottom seal is working properly — there are many sweeps, gaskets and thresholds designed to seal this gap. Doors generally need weather-stripping in their jambs as well.    Weather-stripping can be plastic, foam, felt or metal; its job is to seal small gaps, keeping moisture and cold air outside where they belong. Tip:  Look around your doors and windows: Is the weather-stripping torn or missing? This can become expensive if ignored. Adhesive-backed foam pads are easy to install for this purpose. Newer, energy-efficient windows generally don’t require added weather-stripping, but if your windows are older, weather-stripping can keep drafts at bay and

Don’t forget the gutters
they’ll be performing double duty soon with rainstorms and falling leaves—Do a quick visual check to make sure gutters are clear.

Exterior caulk is key
Carefully read manufacturer’s directions to make sure the caulk you buy will work where you plan to use it, and don’t forget to purchase a caulking gun. Early fall is a good time for this task because caulk becomes difficult to apply when the temperature falls. Think of caulk as weather-stripping in a tube. Tip: Any gap on the outside of your home can be a candidate for caulking. Look at transition spots: corners, windows, doors, areas where masonry joins siding, or places where vents and other objects protrude from walls.

Speculate Insulation
This is a good time to check the condition of insulation and see if you need more, especially if you live in an older home. You can purchase unbacked or loose-fill insulation if you are just beefing up what is already there. Tip: If you are adding batted insulation to a spot that has none, remember that the foil-backed side is the vapor barrier, and it must face the heated area.

For example, if you are laying fiberglass insulation in an unfinished attic floor to keep heat in the living room below, you should see pink when you’re done — not foil. If your walls lack insulation, consider having a professional install blown-in insulation foam. The energy savings will probably offset the cost of the procedure in a couple of years.

Ok on wood?
Wood piles attract insect and animal pests, so stack wood away from the house. Wood dries best when it’s protected from rain and has air circulating around it, so under the roof of a wall-less carport would be an ideal wood storage spot. If you have a wood stove, it’s not too early to lay in a supply of firewood. Tip: Though most of us buy whatever’s local, bear in mind that soft woods like fir and cedar burn faster and create hazardous creosote in the chimney, thus requiring more system maintenance and more wood. Hardwoods such as oak, hickory and maple are slow, hot, clean burners.

Remember the dryer vent
This is another one of those tasks that should be on your to-do list every six months. Scoot your clothes dryer away from the wall, unplug it, and vacuum behind it. Tip:  (If it’s a gas dryer, turn off the gas supply to the dryer at the appliance shutoff valve.) Unhook the tube that leads to the vent and clear as much lint from the tube as you can. Grab a shop vacuum, go outside, and tackle the outside dryer vent as well. More information HERE

November 2017 – Top producing, client driven Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group takes joy in over $50,000,000 sold so far this year; as well as outstanding testimonials such as: “This is where Ian really shines and his mental rigor as a former lawyer came into play. He is a masterful and brilliant negotiator. For this reason alone, it would be a mistake not to hire Ian if you are looking to purchase a new house. Ian does not stop working for you until you have the deal closed, keys in hand and are fully happy. I have the highest regard for his capability and would highly recommend him”.

Find out why Ian and his team say: everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

5 Myths About Home Selling Exposed – Chicago Real Estate

Misinformation can waste your time and cost you money. When it comes time to list your Chicago home, you may need to do your research so you can separate fact from fiction, or enlist a trusted, experienced real estate expert toMyths assist and guide. Real estate agents from across the county participated in Zillow’s 2017 Home-Selling Season Survey identified five top real estate myths. The debunking of them should put in the frame of mind on the fast-track to selling your property:

Myth No. 1: The outside of my home isn’t as important as the inside.

Truth: Home buyers often make snap judgments, often based simply on a home’s exterior. Therefore, curb appeal is very important.

“A lot of buyers I work with have done some preliminary online searches or they’ve driven by properties before they even enlist my services,” says Bic DeCaro, a real estate agent Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, VA. “If a property looks bad, if the yard is cluttered or the driveway is all broken up, there’s a chance they won’t ever enter the house – they’ll just keep driving.”

The great news is that it doesn’t cost a bundle to make some big changes to your home’s exterior appearance. Start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges and clearing away any clutter. Then, for less than $50, you could put up new house numbers, paint the front door, plant some flowers or install a new, more stylish porch light.

Myth No. 2: I need to redo my kitchen and bathroom before selling.

Truth: While kitchens and bathrooms can increase the value of a home, you may not get a large return on investment if you do a major renovation just before selling.

Minor renovations, on the other hand, may help you sell your home for a higher price. New countertops or new appliances may be just the kind of bait you need to reel in a buyer. Check out comparable listings in your neighborhood and see what work you need to do to compete in the market.

Myth No. 3: If my house is clean, I don’t need to stage my home.

Truth: Clean and tidy is a good first step, but as more and more home sellers across the country have enlisted the services of professional home stagers, the bar has risen. It’s not enough anymore to toss dirty laundry in the closet and sweep the front steps.

Stagers strive to make homes appeal to a broad range of tastes. They can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. A stager might, for example, recommend removing blinds from a window that has a great view or replacing a double bed with a twin to make a bedroom look bigger. It’s common for stagers to de-clutter and depersonalize homes by putting furniture and family photos into storage. Or, if you’ve already moved out, a stager can move in furniture to give potential buyers a sense of how rooms might be used.

Myth No. 4: Granite and stainless steel appliances are no longer “in.”

Truth: The majority of home shoppers still want granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Quartz, marble and concrete counters also have wide appeal.

Myth No. 5: Home shoppers can look past paint colors they don’t like.

Truth: Moving is a lot of work and, while many home buyers realize they could take on the task of painting walls, they simply don’t want to.

That’s why one of the most important things you can do to update your home is to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint. Neutral colors also help a property standout in online photographs – which is where most potential buyers will get their first impression of your property.

Hiring a professional to paint the interior of a 2,000 square-foot house likely will cost $3,000 to $6,000, depending upon labor costs in your region. You could buy the paint and do the job yourself for $300 to $500. Either way, if a fresh coat of paint helps your home stand out in a crowded market, it’s probably a worthwhile investment. More tips HERE

October 2017-Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group enjoys representing sellers and buyers this spring, with a client focused, top ranking profile of success. Ian and his team leave no stone un-turned, priding themselves on pouring their hearts and souls into effectively marketing Chicago real estate online and in print to have it seen by the largest possible audiences. Look to this dynamic and experienced group to confirm their mission….everything we touch turns to SOLD! 

Getting the Most Out of a Home Purchase in 2017: Chicago Real Estate Trends

Buying a home can be emotional, but negotiating the price shouldn’t be. The key to saving money when purchasing a home is sticking to a plan during the turbulence of possible high-stakes negotiations. Keep your emotions in check and your eyes on the goal, and you’ll pay less when purchasing a home.

Having a savvy, well-informed, and seasoned  Chicago real estate agent who represents/guides you is key. However, you are the one who must make the final decision during each round of potential offers and counter offers. For first time home buyers especially, these 6 tips will help in promoting the best price and outcome on Chicago real estate transactions: 1. Get prequalified for a mortgage

Getting prequalified for a mortgage proves to sellers that you’re serious about buying and capable of affording their home. That will push you to the head of the pack when sellers choose among offers; they’ll go with buyers who are a sure financial bet, not those whose financing could flop.

2. Ask questions and get details

Ask your  Chicago realtor for information to help you understand the sellers’ financial position and motivation. Are they facing foreclosure or a short sale? Have they already purchased a home or relocated, which may make them eager to accept a lower price to avoid paying two mortgages? Has the home been on the market for a long time, or was it just listed? Have there been other offers? If so, why did they fall through? The more signs that sellers are eager to sell, the lower your offer can reasonably go.

3. Work back from a final figure to determine your initial offer

Know in advance the most you’re willing to pay, and with your realtor work back from that number to determine your initial offer, which can set the tone for the entire negotiation. A too-low bid may offend sellers emotionally invested in the sales price; a too-high bid may lead you to spend more than necessary to close the sale.

Work with your top Chicago realtor to evaluate the sellers’ motivation and comparable home sales to arrive at an initial offer that engages the sellers yet keeps money in your wallet.

4. Avoid complicated contract requirements

Sellers favor offers that leave little to chance. Keep your bid free of complicated contingencies, such as making the purchase conditional on the sale of your current home. Do keep contingencies for mortgage approval, home inspection, and environmental checks typical in your area, like radon.

5. Remain focused-unemotional

Buying a home is a business transaction, and treating it that way helps you save money. Consider any movement by the sellers, however slight, a sign of interest, and keep negotiating.

Each time you make a concession, ask for one in return. If the sellers ask you to boost your price, ask them to contribute to closing costs or pay for a home warranty. If sellers won’t budge, make it clear you’re willing to walk away; they may get nervous and accept your offer.

6. Don’t let competition change your plan

Great Chicago-Lincoln Park homes and those competitively priced can draw multiple offers in any market. Don’t let competition propel you to go beyond your predetermined price or agree to concessions—such as waiving an inspection—that aren’t usually in your best interest. More Chicago Real Estate Tips