Category Archives: 2017 real estate predictions
There’s typically a slowdown in shopping activity from Thanksgiving through New Year’s when people are focused on family and friends and holiday celebrations. But that’s not necessarily the end of the world for 2019 sellers.
Those left combing the market during December and January are typically more serious about the home hunt. They might include families relocating for job changes, first-timers ready to leap during a slow market, and those who’ve recently sold a home and need a new place to live.
Some buyers simply thrive in a more relaxed environment, with fewer competitors for top properties and more attention from agents. Holiday season buyers are typically motivated and financially ready.
Hoping for a signed contract in your stocking? Follow the rules of holiday/winter home selling and you could capture the interest of one of these serious buyers:
1. Deck the halls with restraint. Holiday decorations make homes festive and buyers merry. But too many ornaments, wreaths, and garlands can obscure views, make rooms feel smaller and distract buyers from their true purpose: deciding whether or not your home is right for them.
2. Basic principles of home staging take on added importance during the holiday season. They include these tenets: Anything more than five is a collection and should be packed away. Keep tabletop decor to no more than three objects.
3. Think twice before displaying decorations specific to your religious or cultural heritage, since it makes it more difficult for others who don’t share your background or beliefs to envision themselves living in the space.
What, then, is appropriate?…… MORE INFO
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.
Happy Holidays from Ian Schwartz and The Ian Schwartz Group! Remember…everything we touch turns to SOLD!
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 to 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!
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
No time like the present when Chicago real estate is buzzing through the spring 2017 season. Interest rates are still fairly low, prices are attractive, and first time buyers are out and ready to buy. Use the tips below to determine if you are truly ready:
1. Know your credit landscape. Get a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
2. Do some saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
3. Figure in the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
4. Determine what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a Chicago home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.
5. Explore your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, investigate different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.
6. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
7. Make your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four Chicago neighborhoods you’d like to live in- Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lakeview, Roscoe Village, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Andersonville, River North, River East, Streeterville, North Center, Logan Square, West Loop, South Loop, Loop, Lakewood Balmoral, Edgewater, Old Irving Park, River West, Uptown, West Ridge? Take into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
8. Consider other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
9. Contact a Top Producing, Top Ranking Chicago REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the Chicago real estate process with ease.
More info HERE
The Ian Schwartz Group is a trusted resource for first time home buyers. With more than 15 years of solid experience and results, this real estate group is ready to provide conscientious service; winning trust, loyalty and friendship all along the way!
It’s as true in real estate as it is in politics: There are no secrets anymore. Buyers have access to an enormous amount of information. On the Internet, details about what a Chicago home last sold for and how much it now might be worth are usually only a series of clicks away. Where sellers might once have coyly declined to say what they paid for a house, sellers and buyers can now assume that each has most or all of the information the other has. “I tell my sellers that the buyers are going to look at all the same facts I’ve [given] them in the listing presentation,” Owen says. “There’s no way to hide it.”
Some sharp real-estate agents have been capitalizing on the newfound transparency, playing to buyers’ understanding of the market. They may trumpet the size of the bargain, such as the listing for a St. Charles home sold in June that announced the asking price of $1.249 million was “$1 million less than seller paid in ’06!” A Chicago-Lincoln Park propertie’s listing sheet blared that the $1.75 million asking price was well below both the original asking price of $3.65 million and the appraised value of $2.5 million. For another residence—this one in Lake View—the agent confessed that the home “was overpriced for much too long.” Those revelations might spark pangs of humiliation in the sellers, but at the same time, they send a clear signal to buyers: Game on.
Honesty is essential in another aspect of the home-selling process. When first meeting with a real-estate agent, sellers should be up-front about their financial status. As Parent explains, there are markedly different routes for selling a home that is…CONTINUED