Category Archives: Ian Schwartz Group

Top 3 Myths About 2019 Home Staging-Chicago Real Estate

Making the most money on the sale of a home for 2019 is often the name of the game, and the agents who can do that, and ideally in a short span of time, becomes the Realtor of choice.  There’s been a lot of talk about staging a home to sell these days because Chicago sellers are recently seeing a trend of above asking price offers!  Staging often plays a role; unfortunately, Staging-101there are quite a few myths about home staging that need to be outlined…

 Myth #1 – Staging is mostly for vacant homes.

FALSE! Staging is more critical in occupied homes because it costs a lot less and has a huge impact.

 

Myth #2 – Staging is about neutralizing and painting all the walls beige.

FALSE! Staging is about working with what the seller has, so that the more expensive cosmetic changes may not always need to be done.

Myth #3 – Staging is mostly “decluttering.”

FALSE! Staging is about “styling for the photoshoot.”

While removing the extraneous in a home in order to give the buyer a view of the architectural details is a part of staging, completely clearing off the kitchen counters, dining tables, and coffee tables is most definitely NOT what a good home stager recommends.

Listing photos online often show kitchens, for example, with completely cleared countertops and that are overall lifeless.

But an expert home stager works with the home’s integrity to capitalize and merchandise the space into something that will resonate with the buyer from online glance to in-person experience — so they’ll then want to see more of the home and true engagement is achieved. More information on this topic can be found HERE

June 2019 continues on a path of top-producing, high performing client-centric results for Ian Schwartz and The Ian Schwartz Group. Look to him and his team this summer for optimally ranking attention with buying, selling, relocating or renting residential real estate property in the city of Chicago. Find out why he and his team are known for.…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

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Summer 2019 Real Estate Details to Consider – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Before you put time and effort into finding a house, weigh why a 2019 summertime home purchase may or may not be the best deal for you. March through July are the commonly popular months for buying a house. In the spring and

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summer, you’ll often find a large selection of homes for sale, but you may also encounter competition that drives up prices, but each market is different. Consulting experienced, top producing, Chicago real estate professionals can help confirm the best individual home buying and/or home selling decisions.

Reasons to Buy a Home in the Summer
Do you have kids in school? If so, you probably want to sell your house and move into a new one before the next school year starts. Moving over the summer lets kids finish the term at their old school, as well as explore the neighborhoods and make friends before the first day at their new school.

Houses and neighborhoods often look their best in the summer, with lawns, flowers, gardens and trees in full bloom. You can see how well neighbors take care of their grounds, whether kids are playing outside, and how much the neighborhood socializes at barbecues, the local pool, and the like.

Possible Cons to Buying During the Summer
Summer is a popular time for house hunters, and that means two things: competition and a possible spike in prices. You may find yourself struggling to see all the available homes, feeling pressure to choose quickly, getting caught in a stressful bidding war, or missing out on the home you want. If you can, you may want to wait until fall or winter, when the house selection is smaller but prices are lower and buyers and sellers are more focused. This again is a time to consult a trusted, top producing, seasoned Chicago real estate professional for your best plan of action.

Be Ready to Close
“Don’t blink, or it’s gone,” real estate agents advise. If you determine that summer is the best time for you to buy, be prepared to make an offer quickly, and don’t expect the seller to lower the price easily. Make sure you know your limits: Which home features are must-haves, and what is the most you are willing to spend? Also, keep in mind that even if you’re preapproved for a loan and are ready to push paper, it may take weeks or a couple months to close on the home. If you want to move in midsummer, you may need to start house-hunting in spring. More tips can be found HERE

July 2019- Ready to surpass expectations this summer and leave no stone unturned, Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group has built a team of experienced, client-focused, top producing real estate professionals you’d want representing you this season. Find out why they say…..everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

Best Urban Curb Appeal Tips for Summer2019: Chicago Real Estate Experts

With the Chicago temperatures climbing, people are out and about, including 2019 buyers. Make your home the object of attraction using city curb appeal techniques. Are you Jonesing for a green retreat in a space that’s unique? Turn square footage into foliage with these top 4 urban gardening ideas:

1. Review your challenges

Chicago rooftops and balconies in high-rise buildings are basically microclimates, buffeted by wind, the radiant heat of concrete, and the shade from neighboring buildings.

Opt for plants known for their hardiness, slow growth, and ability to withstand gusts. The higher the floor, the more wind comes into play in plant selection. Nasturtium and daylilies have flexible stems that sway without breaking. A lattice windbreak adds a stylish protection element

Pollution is another issue for urban gardeners. Choose plants with shiny leaves that won’t trap dust:

  • Morning glory vines
  • Coleus
  • Zinnias
  • Marigolds

Your Chicago balcony, terrace, porch, railing (think climbing vines), or curbside patch of dirt is room enough for urban gardening, and a neat way to add some Zen to any potential concrete and steel surroundings.

2. Think long and lean

Select plants with:

  • Small footprints — plants tagged with the labels “dwarf” or “miniature.”
  • Tall silhouettes. Up is the way to go when plotting in feet and not acres. Good choices are container-friendly columnar apple trees or Baptisia australis with spires of violet-blue flowers.  Another way to get height: a green wall, sometimes known as a vertical of living wall. It’s not only practical, it can be stunningly sculptural.

Before you do anything, check your building’s management or homeowners association rules on where or what you can plant.

3. Plan for your conditions

Identify your plant hardiness zone, then look for plants that can thrive in your local conditions.

Sun blocked by tall buildings? Shade-tolerant varieties include:

  • Fuchsia
  • Impatiens
  • Hosta

If your space has a clear sight line to the sun, choose plants like:

  • Petunias
  • Salvia
  • Geraniums

And don’t discount vegetables in a small-space garden. They grow handily in containers, and are a great way to add color and save money on produce.

4. Save on supplies

Need to keep the word budget in mind? No problem. No more than $250 is an absolutely doable figure, and should cover enough plants for a modest space; containers, soil, and basic tools like a hand trowel, pruners, and hose.

Don’t be surprised if you need to set aside part of your budget to replace the occasional plant in street-level plots throughout the season. They may feel some wear and tear from cars, dogs, and people.

To get the most out of your budget, keep an eye out for no- or low-cost offers and a way to reconnect with your community. Often, neighborhood groups encourage homeowners to garden, often with money-saving programs. Here are four ways to save:

A. Organize a seed swap with friends and neighbors, root stem cuttings, and divide up perennials to keep costs down

B. Contact your local cooperative extension office for free supplies like mulch. These organizations also offer soil-testing services, for a small fee, which help maintain healthy plants or diagnose problems.

C. Check your local municipality for freebies. Chicago, for instance, runs a sustainable backyard program with workshops and rebates for trees, rain barrels, compost bins, and native plants.

D. Visit your local botanical garden or conservancy for free expert advice and gardening workshops.

More Info HERE

Look to The Ian Schwartz Group for all things real estate this summer 2019 and remembr…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

Spring 2019…Off to a Running Start-Chicago Real Estate

Despite the mild wind and cold weather experienced earlier this season, the Chicago real estate market continues on a warm spring 2019 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 3.32 percent in April 2019, 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 $50 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.

 

 

 

Be Ready for The 2019 Spring Market in 3 Steps – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Selling a home may not happen overnight. To maximize your sale price, stand out from the competition and sell quickly, your home needs to go on the market in tip-top condition.

Prepping the home rarely happens in one weekend. It takes time and thoughtful planning. Having an experienced, highly skilled Chicago real estate professional as your trusted guide certainly helps.  If you intend to sell your Chicago home this spring, here are a few steps you need to consider right now:

Stash your stuff

As you prepare to sell, think of your home as an investment and start to see it through the eyes of potential buyers and the market. When you’re trying to sell your home, the less-is-more approach applies.

Put away big furniture and personal items. Store or put away all the things you won’t be using until you move into your new home. In the kitchen, make space in the cabinets for items you will need to use daily, but will want to put away for showings.

Paint, clean and make small improvements

It’s common for sellers to make cosmetic improvements before they list. Kitchens and bathrooms can sell a home. Plan to have the bathroom grout cleaned and have some parts of the house painted to give it a fresh look.

Consider cleaning rugs, refinishing hardwood floors or painting kitchen cabinets. If you plan to list in the spring, you likely have an outstanding local Chicago real estate agent on your side by now. Get their advice and ask for referrals to do the work. There are lots of inexpensive contractors who can help spruce up your home quickly.

Research like a buyer

  • Today’s buyers have research in their DNA and will investigate all they can. Check with your local building department and ensure there are no outstanding issues with your home.
  • Verify that property records reflect your home accurately, and prepare to remedy any discrepancy. Make sure your title report is clean, and talk about potential disclosure items with your trusted Chicago real estate agent. Banks won’t lend if there are outstanding issues, and you don’t want to jump through hoops at the eleventh hour. Researching now will keep you one step ahead of the buyers.
  • The sale of your home is likely one of your biggest financial transactions. Get a real estate agent on your team early, and make a list of all the tasks you need to complete before listing this spring. Now is the time to have those discussions. Smart planning and a good strategy will ensure a quick, painless and profitable home sale. More tips can be found HERE

April 2019 – Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group is prepared to take spring on by storm! With an ongoing client-centered approach to top producing, high ranking Chicago real estate performance, Ian and his team combine experienced real estate strengths to ensure that your overall real estate transactions are outstanding! More information on Ian Schwartz and his dynamic group HERE and HERE…”everything we touch turns to SOLD!”

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Spring 2019-Chicago Real Estate

Chicago homeowners planning to put their homes on the market shouldn’t wait for flowers to bloom before getting ready to sell. With spring being one of the busiest times for Chicago real estate transacting, having time to prepare can make for a much smoother selling experience. If you’re a prospective Chicago home seller, here are the top five things you can do now to get ready for an exceptional spring sale:

Ian Schwartz Group - 2019 Video Series on Youtube

Ian Schwartz Group – Coldwell Banker – Click the image to view the latest video in the 2019 monthly series

Your choice of an experienced Chicago listing agent will make a big difference in how quickly your home sells and how much of a profit you’ll realize. Get recommendations from friends and interview several Chicago listing agents to see which ones have the right experience with similar homes in your price range and area. A REALTOR® with a great marketing plan and deep local Chicago knowledge is extremely important. Don’t just go with the one who tells you they can sell for the highest price; choose someone who can present you with detailed market analysis and a good grasp of what you’re looking to do.

Research Your Market

If you plan to buy another Chicago home, an important decision to make is whether to sell your home first or make an offer on a new home before putting yours on the market. A knowledgeable REALTOR® can help you evaluate how fast homes are selling in your market and help you estimate how long it will take you to find a home. This decision also depends on your financing, so you may want to consult with a lender to see how you can finance the transition from one home to another if you choose not to sell your home first.

If you spend the winter months preparing for spring, you’ll find yourself ready to move fast when buyers come out of hibernation.

Improve Your Home

While you don’t necessarily want to do a major, expensive renovation project before you sell, you can make minor repairs and improvements that will make your home look fresher to buyers. Try things such as replacing the caulk and grout in your bathroom, updating old or rusted ceiling fans and light fixtures, and changing switch plates, doorknobs and other hardware for a clean and neat appearance. Consider painting your front door and trim even if your rooms don’t need new paint.

Clear Away the Clutter

If you visit model homes or open houses of homes that have been staged, you’ll never see a stack of unread magazines, children’s artwork loosely hanging on the refrigerator, or a cluster of unpaid bills on a table. While everyone has clutter, buyers want to see a fantasy version of your house, in which they can envision living. Once your home is on the market you’ll need to keep it as neat as possible. One way to make that easier is to reduce the amount of clutter you have on your shelves and surfaces. Put away items that are regularly on your kitchen sink and pack away the family photos that gather dust.

Start Packing

It may sound crazy to start packing months in advance of your move, but since you’ll eventually need to do this anyway, you might as well get organized now. We’re not suggesting you pack up your kitchen and eat off paper plates, but you can sort through your storage closets, attic, basement or garage to determine what you want to keep, what to give away and what to sell. Boxing up items will make your space look larger and neater when it’s time to show your home. You can also get an idea of whether you need to rent a storage facility while your home is on the market. More information HERE

For over 15 years, Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group has enjoyed representing both Chicago buyers and Chicago sellers as a Licensed Broker Associate in the top ranking Coldwell Banker’s Lincoln Park Plaza office- 1840 N Clark St, Chicago, Illinois 60614-5881, one of the top five producing Coldwell Banker offices in the Country. Ian was given the distinguished title of being in the top 1% of agents within the Chicago Association of Realtors for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. His sales consistently produce in excess of 50+ million dollars each year.  Additionally, with the help of his high ranking team, Ian steadily holds the coveted top 1% of Coldwell Banker agents within the United States. Think of spring and select a Chicago real estate group with a compelling profile of success and a client centered style that produce results. More information on Ian and his team can be found HERE and HERE.

4 Reasons Why 2019 IS The Year to Make a Move – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Chicago….If you’ve been on the fence about buying a home, 2019 will be the year to take the plunge! See below on why:

1. Rents will still hurt

Celebrate 2019 with The Ian Schwartz Group – Coldwell Banker 

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 the 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 2018, Ian Schwartz with the Ian Schwartz Group is determined to once again surpass expectations in 2019! By providing outstanding, client-driven service, Ian and his team pride themselves on leaving no stone upturned until each and every real estate transaction are done earning trust, loyalty, and friendship of those they assist. See why in 2019…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

 

Love of Open Floor Plans for Summer 2018-Chicago Real Estate Trends

The open room concept is simply how we live. Open living, that one room for all reasons, is the National and Chicago real estate OpenFloorPlantrend that keeps on trending.

Open living does the following things:

  • Adds space without changing your home’s footprint (a good thing because it saves money)
  • Increases natural light
  • Improves traffic patterns
  • Lets you enjoy more of your home more of the time

Here are some ways to achieve open living:

 Bringing in More Light

Adding daylight will make your rooms appear bigger and brighter. Here are some ways to bring in more light:

  • Widen windows. Bust through your Chicago home’s exterior and add bigger, more energy-efficient windows. If you change a 3×5 double hung window to a 5×5 picture window, it’ll cost you $450 to $1,000 for the window and $350 to $473 for labor. Add another 50% to 100% in installation costs if you have to remove siding and reframe the new window.
  • Add French doors or sliding patio doors. Put them where windows used to be ($1,200-$3,000 installed for 6-foot-8 by 5-foot wood door). To make the most of these doors, let them open up to a patio or deck—finished outdoor space that feels like you’re extending indoor living.
  • Install skylights. Adding skylights brings in lots of daylight—about 30% more than a similar-size window. Install skylights ($650 to $3,500 for a 2×4 model) with build-in light fixtures that you can turn on when the sun doesn’t shine.
  • Lighten the drapes. A low-cost way to bring in more light is to exchange heavy curtains for sheer drapes or fabric blinds.

Removing Walls

It’s a simple concept: Take down a wall to combine spaces ($500 to $4,000, professionally done). If the wall in question is not load-bearing and doesn’t hide plumbing pipes, it’s a relatively simple task for a contractor to do the following jobs:

  • Demolish drywall and studs
  • Reroute electric lines
  • Build a chase for an HVAC duct hidden in a wall
  • Patch flooring
  • Patch and paint the ceiling where the wall was attached

Taking down a load-bearing wall is not as simple, but definitely doable by a professional (not a DIY project). You’ll need an architect or structural engineer. Half walls also can pull double duty as breakfast bars, bookcases, and extra storage.

More information can be found HERE

 

With summer 2018 top producing, top-selling, high-ranking Chicago real estate results already existing, Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group leaves no stone unturned. He and his team (Jenna Plakas, Victor Elting, Michael Shin and Alexander Pappas combine forces to offer a client-centric, results-driven approach to buying and selling real estate in the Chicagoland area.   Ian’s legal, marketing, and consulting background, combined with his outgoing personality, his good sense of humor, and his integrity, professionalism, and dedication, have led to his ongoing success as a Licensed Broker Associate in the Chicago Lincoln Park-Coldwell Banker residential real estate office. He and his team pride themselves on the ability to listen and analyze the needs of both buyers and sellers;  giving them conscientious service all while winning their trust, loyalty, and friendship.

 

Top Summer 2018 Remodel Projects That Produce the Biggest Bang for Your Buck-Chicago Real Estate

RemodelingIt’s summer time, often an opportunity to update, change and add on to a Chicago home. But which one provides the biggest bang on home improvement ROI? Below is a list that breaks it down and sheds some light:

Chicago homeowners who updated their most frequented rooms and those who added on more living space often enjoyed the biggest return on investment, according to Remodeling Online’s latest Cost vs. Value Report. The annual report is the result of responses from 300 real estate professionals in 60 markets nationwide. Remodeling Online asked the pros what level of return a given remodeling job would provide if the house were sold within one year of the work. On the average nationwide, kitchen and bath remodels along with second-story, bath, family room and master suite additions were rated tops. Experts say newness and spaciousness are key.

From a minor kitchen remodeling job’s return of 88 percent to a 71 percent return on both a major kitchen remodeling job and a master suite addition, here’s a look at what gives you the top five best returns for your money. Maintenance-related jobs are excluded. For periods longer than a year between the remodeling work and the home sale, expect smaller returns.

Although the data is updated annually, the figures below should give you a general idea of what return you’ll get on your improvements.

 Best Returns:

Home Improvement Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped
Minor Kitchen Remodel $17,928 $15,278 85.2%
Window Replacement (Wood) $11,040 $9,416 85.3%
Bathroom Remodel $12,918 $10,970 84.9%
Window Replacement (Vinyl) $10,160 $8,500 83.7%
Two-story Addition $105,297 $87,654 83.2%
Major Kitchen Remodel $54,241 $43,603 80.4%
Attic Bedroom Remodel $44,073 $35,228 79.9%

Source: Remodeling Online/Hanley-Wood.

Resale/Selling Value Tip:

The psychology of newness and more spacious quarters translates into top resale value when several conditions work in conjunction:

  1. Curb Appeal
  2. Remodeling to Existing Standards
  3. Quality of Work

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group is among Chicago’s top selling Realtors.  Look to him and his team this summer 2018 to provide unparalleled client-centered service, dedication, passion, and top producing results; all while working to earn the trust, loyalty and friendship of each and every buyer or seller they represent. More info HERE

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!