Category Archives: sellers market

4 Advantages to 2018 Autumn Home Buying-Chicago Real Estate

Do you know that the Chicago real estate market and 2018 conditions are also influenced by the seasons?

Right next to spring, fall is one of the busiest Chicago real estate time-frames of the year. Although you can buy and sell houses at any time, the 2018 fall Chicago real estate market offers certain benefits to home buyers and sellers, including year-end tax breaks, pleasant weatherFallRealEstate conditions for moving, and often a wider selection of houses. If you are shopping for a home during the fall and don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity, it’s a good idea to explore the possibility of pre-qualifying for a loan and to know what type of Chicago home you’re looking for and what you can realistically afford to buy.

Down below are the basic 4 benefits you can expect to enjoy during the autumn months:

 Getting Ahead of Mother Nature

Buying a house before the deep freeze of winter sets in is very appealing to most home buyers. Low temperatures and poor weather conditions make moving more difficult. No one wants to worry about icy roads, snowstorm warnings or blackout conditions on moving day. Furthermore, by wintertime, most kids have settled into school, established friendships, and become involved in extra-curricular activities. By moving in early autumn, not only do you avoid interrupting your children’s schooling (or higher educational pursuits in the case of teen and adult family members), but you gain the added benefit of eluding the sweltering summer heat.

 Historically more home-buying choices

Given that home buying and selling is at a peak during the fall season, the real estate world often becomes a highly competitive arena. While there may be added pressure to buy due to the quicker turnaround of houses on the market, at the same time you also benefit from the wider selection of homes available during this period. In fact, between the months of September and December, you may be fortunate enough to visit several open houses in a single day. Therefore, to make sure you don’t miss out on finding your dream house, it’s a good idea to examine the classified ads more often since the listings are updated more frequently.

 End-of-year tax breaks when closing

Come September and October, people are already starting to think about what year-end tax breaks they may be eligible for. Fortunately for homebuyers, owning a home can yield great dividends in tax returns. For example, both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible from gross income. Furthermore, if you have prepaid some interest before the due date of your first payment and you close your loan before the year’s end, that amount will also be deducted.

 **An autumn tip to note

Given that fall is the second busiest season of the year for buying and selling houses, you may be tempted to put a bid on a home that is out of your price range for fear that another buyer will better your offer or snatch it before you. Carefully assess your financial situation ahead of time and before your feet hit the pavement.

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, a top-selling Chicago real estate agent, one of the highest producing Realtors in the nation, consistently the #1 agent in Resale Sales Volume averaging more than 50+ million dollars in sales per year, knows Chicago real estate. He and his team are committed to listening and analyzing the needs of both buyers and sellers. They enjoy giving conscientious service and earning trust, loyalty, and friendship, all while providing concrete real estate results. They are located in one of the United State’s top ranking Coldwell Banker residential real estate offices-Lincoln Park Plaza – Clybourn Office, Illinois 60614-5881. More information HERE and HERE

 

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Fall 2018 Home Maintenance Checklist-Chicago Real Estate

Is fall home maintenance as important as spring cleaning….absolutely!  The air on a brisk 2018 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 softwoods 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

October 2018 – 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!

 

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.

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!

How to Sell a Home Fast This Summer 2017: Chicago Real Estate

In today’s current Chicago real estate market, how can you sell your house amazingly fast?  Real estate experts across the state and nationally all agree..the most influential factor to getting your home sold quickly is the price you sell it for, no matter if it’s Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer 2017.  Renovations may count too, but in the end, there will be no quick exchange if the price is not right.  Having an experienced, top performing  Chicago Broker/Realtor in your corner can be a huge benefit. See the classic video below for some additional tips:

 

2017 First Time Home Buyers: Top 9 Ways to Prepare-Chicago Real Estate

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!

Top 3 Questions to Ask Before Listing- Chicago Real Estate Experts

Ok, so you’re thinking that you plan to sell soon, and you’ve already chosen your Top producing Chicago agent. You are in the middle of cleaning, painting and prepping the home. As the listing period approaches, it is time to dig2015 sold_pc_Schwartz_LPP_db_1 deeper into the final pricing, sales and marketing plan. The ultimate list price or go-to-market strategy may change based on inventory levels and the competition. As you get closer to finalizing the listing, there are some questions you’ll want to ask your real estate agent:

Based on our list price, how long can I expect to wait before receiving an offer?

Coming up with a list price should be a transparent and ongoing discussion. Your price will determine how long it takes to receive offers. If you chose to price it low, expect to see offers within the first few weeks, if not days. If you go for the high-end of the price range, expect six weeks — maybe longer — and also plan for a potential price reduction along the way.

What is the open house and broker’s open house strategy?

Every market is different, so what worked for your Uncle Bob in San Old Town may not work in your smaller suburban city in another other part of town. But find out what does work. Agents should have at least one broker’s open house or broker’s caravan and a few Sunday open houses in the beginning.

Many agents will tell you that open houses don’t work. Others will advocate for them every weekend. Find out what other sellers are doing by studying the market yourself. One-size-fits-all may not be the best approach.

What’s the highest price my home could attain given its size, location and space?

You can’t up and move your house to a different location. And a fourth bedroom or a second bath isn’t going to appear magically. So there will be a limit based on your home’s layout, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, as well as the lot size. Better understanding what a fully renovated home with broad market appeal would sell for will help inform your price, and you can work backwards from there. More information and tips can be found HERE.

May 2015-With over $20,000,000 SOLD so far this year, Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group wonders, will you be next? With a client centered approach to high ranking, top performing, dedicated service, this optimally producing Chicago real estate group wants to continue to prove….everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

Benefits of Buying or Selling During the Holidays-Chicago Real Estate

Most savvy Chicago real estate agents will say that between now and New Year’s Eve may just be the perfect time to put a “for sale” sign up or purchase Chicago real estate. Why? See 4 reasons
that stand out and make any possible holiday commotion worth it:

1. All the senses can seal the deal

Soon a gaggle of beautiful Chicago homes will look picture perfect, decorated with lights and holiday garland, the smell of cinnamon and spices wafting in the air. For visitors, buyers and sellers alike their senses are often on overdrive the moment they enter a seasonal home. The inspiration to purchase a new home and lay down roots crosses a few minds. Buyers looking at homes during the holiday season are serious indeed. Real estate history has shown that only the truly motivated home buyers and sellers are the ones who will be out looking over the holiday season. While some close their doors just before Thanksgiving and don’t open them again until mid January, the folks that are willing to give of their time and perform the due diligence required during this period are really serious about buying or selling.

 2. Give the gift of showings 

Most real estate agents will agree there’s always a buyer or a seller even during the holiday season. With that said, make it as easy as possible to show your home. Try to avoid declining showings and reduce time limits on them if possible. The more people you get in the door, the better chance of selling your home. And it only takes one buyer. For sellersthe inventory is at its lowest right now and people are getting nervous and either renting their homes or just taking them off the market. In addition, families often come back to where they grew up during the holiday season. “And if they’re thinking of making a move back, now is the time they will be looking. Make your home appealing and accessible; thereby creating an extra market edge.

3. Good deals may be all around

For buyers The asking price on some homes may have been reduced in price if they did not sell during the busier fall and late summer seasons. People showing their homes at that time of year are often hopeful of getting a sale nailed down by year’s end, so they may be more amenable to negotiation. The fact that it’s the holiday season also tends to put people in a more generous mindset as well.

 4. Tis’ the season for tax breaks

Closing on a home before the end of the year means deducting certain settlement costs on taxes for that year. These can include any pro-rated property taxes and prepaid mortgage interest paid at closing. Consult your realtor or tax professional for specific details. More info HERE or HERE

December-2014: Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group compiled a full year of top producing, high ranking real estate accolades, accomplishments, and top tier results; all while pouring their hearts and souls into every transaction for buyers and sellers alike.  For over 15 years, Ian and his team have been in the top 1% of agents within the city of Chicago, with sales in excess of 35 million dollars. Ian is also consistently in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker agents within the nation.  Contact them to experience why this client centered team proudly demonstrates….everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

How Low Inventories Affect Buyers and Sellers-Chicago Real Estate

WhattoDoThis spring, sales figures and low inventory levels seen in both the Chicago and overall state markets strongly suggests that demand has picked up sharply. As a result the lack of inventory decreases market times. So what do these variables mean for buyers or sellers? See the quick breakdown below:

For Sellers: It is an exceptional time to list a Chicago home and complete the transaction process quickly, if priced well. Last month- March 2013, It took an average of 70 days to sell homes that closed,  a decline of almost 25 percent from the 93 days in March 2012.The number of Chicago-Illinois area  homes listed for sale last month totaled 7,813 properties. That compares with 14,358 listings in March 2012. The time is NOW to jump into a thriving Chicago real estate market.

For Buyers: Presently, taking advantage of this period means purchasing  homes still priced attractively and doing so while  interest rates are low.  Urgency comes as rates will undoubtedly increase and home prices will continue to soar. Additional Chicago real estate news and conditions HERE.

For more information or to answer questions on the current Chicago real estate market, look to Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group. He has been a top nationally ranking real estate professional, producing client centered results in the Chicago area for well over 14 years. Last year-2012, Ian was the #1 agent in closed units, and ranked in the top 1% of all Coldwell Banker Agents nationwide. He continues to be a trusted resource and the best in providing unparalleled service to both sellers and buyers. More information on Ian Schwartz can be found HERE and HERE.

Avoid Common Holiday Blunders-Chicago Real Estate

Yes Chicago’s holiday season may be one of the best times to buy and sell, but BIG self sabotaging methods can wiggle their way in. Don’t be a potential enemy to your own real estate transaction. Routinely, various approaches can end up costing more than anyone ever expected.HolidayPresents

The great news is, prevention by way of education can be the first step. Below are 3 examples of clear and concise ways to detect and/or avoid common home buying or selling pitfalls:

1. Rejecting expert advice.   If you have a reputable, competent, hardworking Chicago agent, you might be surprised at how often they can save you money with simple nuggets of experience-laden advice specific to a given real estate scenario, like:

  • Make a move, act fast
  • staging
  • list it for…
  • offer less/more
  • counter-offer for…
  • be assertive
  • consider the bank’s terms
  • get one more inspection/bid
  • don’t remove contingencies yet/remove contingencies now
  • ask for X, Y or Z repair, price reduction, credit, or longer time to close.

Experienced, local, seasoned Chicago agents have a strong sense for some of the precise things that may be tricky for a buyer or seller to wrap their heads around, like pricing and negotiations. You should definitely ask your agent for data and the logical rationale behind their advice, and should keep asking until you understand and are comfortable with the decision that you make.

If you have a hard time trusting your agent’s advice for whatever reason, consider that you might simply not yet have found the right agent.

2. Property overpricing or lowballing.   Setting a list-price that is significantly above what other, similar homes have recently sold for will not only not get you that price, it poses the potential to turn buyers off, keep them from coming to see your home, make your place sit on the market longer than it needs to and ultimately, it can result in low or no offers. At the extreme, overpricing can force you to cut the price, sometimes dramatically, to activate buyers who have learned to disregard the obviously overpriced listing in their online house hunt search results.

And beware buyers: making lowball offers significantly below the fair market value of target homes has a similar impact. Sellers ignore them or counter them up higher or they get beat out (often repeatedly) by more realistic buyers. I have seen the tendency to lowball cost buyers thousands over the months they are trying to get a fantasy-land deal, in terms of home price increases or money that same buyer ends up throwing at their eventual home, out of desperation and frustration.

Don’t let your emotions be the ruler of your pricing or offer decisions. Motivation is one strong factor to consider, but the data on recent, comparable sales should be given much more weight, to keep the threat of price-related self-sabotage at bay.

3. On the fence or hesitating.  Once you’ve done the math, saved your pennies, prepped your property and otherwise decided to move forward on your home buying or selling plan of action, hesitation can cost you.

  • Buyers who hesitate to make an offer can lose out on a home entirely – or can wait so long another offer comes in, forcing them to make a move they may not otherwise select.
  • Sellers who hesitate to take an offer can lose out on a buyer, when a new listing comes on the market that catches their eye or better meets their needs.
  • Mortgage borrowers who wait too long to lock their interest rates can end up paying more when rates creep up instead of down.

Eliminate hesitation-related self-sabotage by:

  • working through the life and financial decisions that are intertwined with your real estate matters completely and on paper before you start the process.
  •  getting as educated as possible in advance about your local market dynamics and neighborhood home values.
  • dive head first into the discomfort and uncertainty that everyone experiences when they make major decisions, sitting down with your agent and other pros involved to get every question you have answered in a timely manner so you can move forward, rather than putting decisions off and “sleeping on it”.

Let The Ian Schwartz Group guide you through the Chicago real estate process with integrity, experience, professionalism, and proven top performing results. Ian and his team expertly analyze the needs of their clients to deliver quality service for buyers and sellers alike. Ian Schwartz can be found in the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office,  located in the Lincoln Park Plaza- 1840 N. Clark Street, Chicago, 60614. More information  HERE and HERE