Category Archives: Lincoln Park Real Estate News

It’s 2019..How to Quickly Sell a Home in Winter Months-Chicago Real Estate

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


Don’t Forget 2018 Holiday Curb Appeal: Chicago Real Estate

During the 2018 holidays or any holiday no matter the year, your curb appeal needs to not only spread holiday cheer, but attract the right message to guests and potential home buyers. If the outside of your home is not appealing, you may leave a not so great lasting first impression before anyone even experiences what the inside has to offer. Many real estate professionals and home stagers have found that hints of holiday colors and decorations on the outside of your home can create a warm and inviting atmosphere for all that cross the threshold. With so many poor examples of proper outdoor decorations, it is hard to know what is appropriate for decorating the exterior of your home. REALTOR® Magazine  provides guidelines to create holiday curb appeal the right way:

1. For a classic exterior look, home stagers recommend twinkling clear, white lights.

2. Hang a festive wreath at the front door that will look great and create a nice smell when buyers enter your home.

3. Add some seasonal flowers to your front entryway to add some holiday color.

4. Show off your windows with battery-operated candle lamps at primary windows.

5. Leave outdoor lights on after 5:00 p.m. to give all a clear pathway as they enter your home.

6. Think winter and not a specific holiday…avoid placing religious-themed decorations outside your home.

7. Make sure your home is in home staging shape with nicely trimmed bushes, fresh house paint, etc.

Since your home will be looking its best, take a photo that you can use to create a special holiday card or flyer to be used as marketing material through the holiday weeks.  With these tips, you will be on your way to leaving good vibes with visitors, guests, and potential home buyers.

Top Tip for Sellers in Today’s Market…Honesty Rules

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



Top 10 Winter Moving Tips: Chicago Real Estate

Winter weather can potentially pose some challenges during the moving process, but those who want or need to assume a new residence during cold weather months have options to prevent problems from affecting their relocation. I have helped countless clients with relocation that include buying or selling a home. As a preferred USAA Movers Advantage realtor, I assist by sorting out real estate matters that can easily become an overwelming process.  Keep the following 10 tips in mind before the big day:

1. Make sure your moving paperwork is organized.Create a move file to store information and collect expense receipts.

2. Get  in-touch with your new community.Contact the local chamber of commerce or visitors’ bureau for your new community. See if they can send you a telephone directory and newspapers.

3. Confirm school schedules and enrollment requirements.Arrange to pick up school records or have them sent to the new schools.

4. Protect your items.Obtain appraisals for high-value items. Call USAA at 1-866-398-7537 to obtain coverage for your possessions while in transit or storage. Contact your homeowners insurance company at least 24 hours before you release your belongings to the mover (For USAA, call 1-800-531-8111).

5. Don’t leave your car out.Take care of auto maintenance and repairs. Call USAA at 1-800-531-8722 to get an auto insurance quote for your new location.

6. Switching your utility services. Notify your utilities and local services of disconnect dates. Order utility services for your new address, including Internet, cable, home phone, electricity and natural gas through the Utility Marketplace.

7. Update address info.Get change-of-address cards from your post office. Aside from friends and family, make sure you provide your new address to medical facilities, schools, magazines to which you subscribe, and USAA.

8. Lighten your load..have a garage sale.Donate anything that isn’t sold to charity. (Don’t forget to keep receipts for income tax deductions.)

9. Remember cleaning.Properly dispose of flammables such as aerosol cans, cleaning fluids, paint, ammunition, weed killer and acids. Drain oil and gas from your lawn mower or other power equipment. Clean the refrigerator and the freezer; allow them to dry one or two days with the doors open. Remember to block the doors to keep them from closing if you have small children or pets.

10. Travel well prepared. Separate items you don’t want to pack, such as suitcases, and store in an empty closet. Pack prescriptions and immediate necessities in an easy-to-access suitcase. If you are traveling by air, do not check this bag. If you have children, compile a list of traveling games for the car or plane ride. MORE INFO

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group looks forward to making 2016 a year of more top performing, high ranking, client focused, accolade producing results. See why he and his team are known for…everything we touch turns to SOLD!


Top 5 Myths and Truths of Real Estate Transactions: Chicago-Lincoln Park Real Estate

Reality check:  A Chicago real estate transaction is not child’s play. Grown-up life can be complicated, as are topics on money and relationships. Since real estate involves all three (being a grown up, money and relationships), smart Chicago buyers and sellers should cast a suspicious eye at super simple real estate rules of thumb.

 As humans we have a natural tendency to simplify the complex. This same instinct, which explains why legends, films and fairy tales from every culture tend to boil down to heroes vs. villains; this also explains why so many Chicago buyers and sellers desperately seek rules of thumb for making overwhelming, rarely simple real estate decisions they can face.

Let’s sample a handful of the most persistent ones head on, and decipher which of them are true, and which are false.

Rule of Thumb #1: Location, location, location.

True or False: True Fact.

One of the elemental truths of Chicago real estate or anywhere for that matter, is that almost everything can be changed about a home – except its location. By the same token, location is essential to our ability to afford and enjoy living in a place, given that it impacts everything from: Where our children go to school how much time and money we spend getting to and from work,  our safety,  the beauty, quiet and convenience of our surroundings and

the recreational, shopping and cultural options which do – or don’t – become part of our daily lives.

Rule of Thumb #2: It costs more to buy than to rent your home.

True or False: Depends on where you live.

But the age-old would-be buyer objection that “I can’t afford to buy a home” is now frequently shattered by the reality that when you take all things into account, buying a home at today’s prices and interest rates can actually cost the same or less than renting at today’s relatively high rental costs in many areas. Just a few days ago, Trulia released its latest Rent vs. Buy study, showing that in 98 percent of American cities, it’s actually less expensive to buy a home than it is to rent! In most areas it’s worth it to research and do the math, factor in the massive tax advantages of homeownership and see which is truly more expensive for you

Rule of Thumb #3: List it high, to give yourself bargaining room.

True or False: False.

There are simply too many other great Chicago homes at great prices on the market. Overpriced listings are much more likely to be a source of prolonged stress to their owners than a source of successful sales. The fact of this matter is that if you are selling a home in a strong buyer’s market, your competition is steep. The home that presents the best value for the price is the one that is the most likely to sell. Listing your home higher than what you know it’s worth is a surefire way to alienate that relatively rare specimen: a qualified buyer with a sense of urgency who might otherwise be interested in making an offer on your home. Smart Chicago buyers who are ready to leap off the fence into homeownership do their research, and may have seen dozens – even hundreds of online listings before they make an offer.  If your home is overpriced, chances are they’ll pass your home up, even if they like it, waiting for you to get a clue and cut the price.

Working with a local Chicago real estate agent who has a strong, recent track record of selling homes, quickly and at or near their list prices, in your area, will be to your ultimate advantage. Then, trust their pricing advice. (You might find it easier to trust them if you select your agent after speaking with several.)

Rule of Thumb #4: Always offer 10% below the asking price.

True or False: 100% baloney..aka…False.

Every state, county, and Chicago neighborhood has a different dynamic – as does every listing. Every seller, bank or individual, has its own particular motivations, situational constraints (divorce, urgent move). If the seller feels they listed the place at an ultra-low price, they might respond very differently to a particular offer than a seller who gets the same offer, but felt like they were building cushion into the list price.  If for example the home is in a neighborhood where most homes sell for more than the asking price, or the property has multiple buyers vying for it, even a full-price offer might get laughed at.

Rule of Thumb #5: Listing your home as a FSBO will save you some dough.

True or False: False (with the occasional exception).

I know some will argue this point, but the data is unequivocal (National Association of Realtors Study on FSBO): homes listed for sale by owner (FSBO) simply sell for less than similar homes listed by agents. From my own observations, I’d also argue that FSBO listings often simply don’t sell at all, and many end up listed by an agent after wasting months and months of the seller’s time.

Beyond that, the smartest FSBO sellers also often end up:

  • paying a limited service broker to list the property on MLS,
  • paying for professional staging or investing in some level of property preparation, even if they do the labor themselves, and
  • paying for an attorney to assist them with the disclosures and contracts involved in the sale —

For more info visit HERE


4 Signs of Chicago Real Estate Change for 2012: Happy Holidays!!

consistent indicators are ever-present that the Chicago real estate market is changing. Just within the last two weeks 4 signs are certainly worth your attention:

1. The most recent Mortgage Bankers Association Market Composite Index, which measures mortgage loan application volume, spiked 12.8 percent for the Chicago metro area in the week ending December 2. Meanwhile, the Refinance Index rose 15.3 percent from the previous week and now makes up 76 percent of total loan applications.

2. Mortgage rates continue to hover near historic lows. 85.5 percent of applications for home purchases were for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, while 6.8 percent were for 15-year. The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central-Chicago region was 4.0 percent in November 2011, down from 4.07 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in November it averaged 4.30 percent.

3. Just released today, Illinois home sales are up 14.2% based on data from November 2011.  The positive trends in both Illinois and the Chicago housing markets stem in large part from the fact that the housing inventory levels are low and the pending home sales indices are high.

4. So, what does all this really mean?  The market is being stimulated by buyers who are doing research and buying at the most compelling price they can, while sellers are working aggressively with their REALTORS® to price their homes to sell. To further sum it up, the market shows signs that it has bottomed, with both sales and prices on the rise and foreclosures on the decline. Low interest rates and smart opportunities to buy make for favorable market conditions for both buyers and sellers looking to right-fit their lifestyle right now and  into 2012.

Housing Forecast for 2012-Chicago Real Estate

Many have asked during the start of this holiday season and as we approach the end of 2011…What will the Chicago market look like in 2012?  Well, the long and short of it is…improvement is projected to continue on a steady course through 2012.  Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors(R), said home sales should be stronger. There is a sizeable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon that can’t continue indefinitely. This demand could quickly stimulate the market when conditions improve.”

“Housing affordability conditions, based on the relationship between median home prices, mortgage interest rates, and median family income, have been at a record high this year,” Yun said. “Very favorable affordability conditions will dominate next year as well, which will probably be the second best year on record dating back to 1970.” …More Info

Specifically Chicago continues to show home sales increases with 15.3% noted for the month of October based on the previous year. “Prospective buyers in the market are making investments that make sense long-term. Those who haven’t considered buying are encouraged to work with a realtor to assess their individual buying power in today’s market”….DON’T MISS THE BOAT!!….More info

Top Reasons to Buy for the Long Term-Chicago Real Estate Trends

If the past issues of the Chicago housing market taught us anything, it’s that a home shouldn’t be used as a short-term investment. “Everyone thought for a while that there was a guarantee that a home’s value would go up. “Now people realize that it’s a fluctuating market, like any investment.” Flipping Chicago homes for quick profit may have been fun back in the boom years, but in this economy, it’s time to go with a buy-and-hold strategy.

That entails looking at a property not as it is today but as it will be ten or more years down the line, when a family’s needs may have changed. “Ask yourself, ‘Can I grow into this house?’” “‘What space will I need if my family grows?’”

In today’s Chicago real-estate market, ratcheting down expectations—whether about the number of bathrooms or how much a home is really worth….CONTINUED

For questions on this or any other post contact The Ian Schwartz Group– Coldwell Banker’s Lincoln Park Plaza office, one of the five top ranking/producing Coldwell Banker offices in the US.