Category Archives: Top Ranked Chicago Realtor
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
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:
If your space has a clear sight line to the sun, choose plants like:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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:
Everyone has at least one..a wish list. But, what about when the time comes to purchase a home? Do you know what you specifically want? Are your wants and needs organized/recorded somewhere? What does your future Chicago-home look like? Where is it located? As you narrow in on your dream property, consult the details below as a guide to evaluate properties and keep your “must haves” top of mind:
What Chicago neighborhoods do you prefer Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lakeview, River North, Roscoe Village, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Ukrainian Village, East Village, West Town, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, North Center, Andersonville, River East, River West, Streeterville, West Loop, South Loop, Loop, Lakewood Balmoral, Edgewater, Old Irving Park, Uptown, West Ridge, Rogers Park, or maybe Evanston?
What Chicago school systems do you want to be near?
How close must the Chicago home be to these amenities?
- Public transportation
- Airport (O’Hare or Midway)
- Neighborhood shopping
- What architectural style(s) of homes do you prefer (Brownstone, Chicago Bungalow)?
- Do you want to buy a home, condominium, or townhome?
- Would you like a one-story or two-story home?
- How many bedrooms will your new home have?
- How many bathrooms must your new home have?
- Do you prefer a new Chicago home or an existing home?
- If you’re looking for an existing home, how old of a Chicago home would you consider?
- How much repair or renovation would you be willing to do?
- Do you have special needs that your home must meet?
Use the grid below to circle or highlight your ideal choices:
|Front Yard||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Back yard||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Garage ( __ cars)||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Patio/Deck||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Pool||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Family room||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Formal living room||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Formal dining room||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Eat-in kitchen||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Laundry room||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Finished basement||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Attic||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Fireplace||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Spa in bath||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Air conditioning||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Wall-to-wall carpet||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Wood floors||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
|Great view||Must Have||Would Like||Willing to Compromise||Not Important|
For more information visit HERE
The Chicago market is alive, thriving do doing well and very active! This trend continues to dominate The Ian Schwartz group; with ongoing top performing, high ranking, best producing results with residential real estate client centered services. Look to Ian Schwartz and his award winning team to find out why…..everything they touch turns to SOLD!
If you are trying to sell your Chicago home, presentation can make all the difference. You always hear about “location, location, location,” but no matter where your house is, if it’s messy, cluttered or if you have your kitchen set up as a home office, it just isn’t going to sell. Staging is an integral part of selling, and selling at a faster rate:
More information HERE
It’s probable to be a little hectic right before the closing of a real estate transaction, but you should always make time for a final walk-through. Your goal is to make sure that your new Chicago home is in the same condition you expected it would be. This is your last chance to conduct a series of checks, to ensure things are in working condition and that agreed-upon repairs have been made. Here’s a short list of what not to overlook on your final walk-through. Keep in mind having an experienced Chicago Realtor as your resource, can be the difference between a successful or not-so-great real estate transaction:
To start, make sure that:
- Repairs you’ve requested have been made.
- There are no major changes to the property since you last viewed it.
- All items that were included in the sale price are there.
- No plants or shrubs have been removed.
- All appliances are operating, such as the dishwasher, washer and dryer, oven, etc.
- Intercom, doorbell, and alarm are operational.
- Hot water heater is working.
- All personal items of the sellers and all debris have been removed.
Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, a trusted Chicago real estate resource for over 14 years. Over the past 9 years, with the help of his team, Ian has been the number one agent in Resale Sales Volume in the Chicago Lincoln Park Plaza office, averaging more than 25 million dollars in sales per year. In 2012 he was the #1 agent in closed units, and ranked in the top 1% of all Coldwell Banker Agents nationally. He continues to be the best in providing unparalleled service to buyers and sellers alike. For more information visit him HERE.
It cannot be said enough, finding the right Chicago Realtor is priceless! For some the top ranking, production-performance numbers, and volume matter most. These factors are certainly important, but experience, professionalism, tenacity, sincerity, patience, and an appropriate sense of humor can be just as sought after. At the end of the day, is your real estate agent a good fit for your needs, and do you really know what a good Chicago real estate agent offers? Below are a video introduction and 2 strategic benefits of using a top results driven Chicago Realtor, that may surprise you:
Reputable insider information. In a recent survey, home sellers and buyers said one of the biggest benefits they got from their agent was an understanding of how the buying process works. When it comes to something as infrequent, complex and high stakes as buying or selling a home, having a reputable real estate brand/firm and trusted real estate professional, who is dedicated to your Chicago real estate success can alleviate your anxieties and otherwise put you in a power position; when it comes to making smart real estate decisions.
Breaking down options you weren’t aware were possible. There’s no shame in NOT knowing everything there is to know about real estate – even very active real estate consumers will only buy or sell 5, maybe 10 homes in a lifetime. But your Chicago real estate agent does this all day, every day, for the span of their career. With experience comes expertise in:
- Chicago neighborhoods
- Setting up buying/selling action plans
- pricing plans/cost projections
- home staging strategies and resources
- contract terms
- marketing options/tools
- negotiation strategies
- post-closing protections/service provider recommendations
The bottom line: The more comfortable you feel recommending your agent, the more likely you are to be profoundly pleased with the ways your Chicago real estate agent/broker can help you. See a few of Ian Schwartz’s recommendations HERE and HERE:
More information on selecting the right real estate professional HERE
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.
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
- 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
In metropolitan areas such as Chicago, square footage and overall property/real estate space may come in unique and unconventional ways. In any case, particularly when selling, creating a desirable home to show, usually means incorporating certain design concepts that please the eye and make a room seem much bigger and more spacious. Some “go-to” solutions for space enhancement–surface use techniques, furniture arranging, lighting and organizing.Let’s begin with breaking down the tips, they speak volumes:
Solution: Make the best of natural light.
Tip #1: Maximize the Chicago “larger feel” effect by including natural light and light colors. While dark colors absorb light, making the room look smaller. For optimum effect, select soft tones such as blues and greens, and always remember that brighter rooms look bigger and certainly more inviting…open shades, drapes, blinds!
Solution: Leave no surface untapped.
Tip #2: Free up your kitchen counter, cabinets, and drawers by using magnets, hooks, and clips to hang stuff.
- An under-cabinet magnetic spice rack turns dead space into a useful place. You can build or have one built with a few basic materials and tools.
- Turn the side of any cabinet into a handy mini kitchen rack.
Solution: Look up instead of down.
Tip #3: You can save at least 10 square feet of space by using your closet ceiling to store lightweight seasonal items like wrapping paper. The best part: Your hidden stash will be easy to reach and won’t get tousled or torn.
Solution: Placement is where it’s at.
Tip #4: Use multi-function furniture like a chest that can be used as a coffee table, sofa beds, chest of drawers, and beds with drawers for storage etc. Stick to clean lines in the furniture. Use an extendable dining table, folding tables and nest of tables, which can be tucked away when you don’t need them.
- Place the large pieces of furniture against the walls so the open space in the middle isn’t broken up. More info HERE
With the Chicago’s top ranked Ian Schwartz Group no stone will be left unturned to find the perfect home as a buyer. If you are a seller, Ian and his team will perform effective marketing of your home online, and in print to have it seen by the absolute largest audience possible. They will take all necessary steps to produce qualified real estate buyers and close the sale.