Category Archives: Top Selling Chicago Realtor

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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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.

 

 

 

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

3 2018 Housing Trends Buyers-Sellers Should Know This Spring: Chicago Real Estate

The summary of hot housing trends going on right now this spring 2018: Potential Chicago-Lincoln Park home-buyers may find that if they were waiting for mortgage rates or house prices to hit bottom, they may have delayed too long. Expected mortgage rate increases will serve as a warning to borrowers who thought the low rates would last long term. Good news: mortgage rates are still at historic lows.

Good news: Chicago home purchases have picked up considerably, many are ready to buy. In addition millions of current borrowers will have the opportunity to refinance their mortgages through two government programs that make the refinancing process easier and cheaper.

Top 3 Chicago real estate trends you should expect to see for spring 2018:

Homebuyers are expected to get off the fence

Attractive mortgage rates, low home prices and rising rents make the current housing market the perfect opportunity for Chicago and surrounding area buyers and investors.

The price gap is closing between what sellers expect to get for their homes and what buyers pay; one reason home sales are improving. As consumer confidence and Chicago rents rise, more renters will likely want to become homeowners.

Mortgage rates rise but won’t hit the roof

Many Chicago borrowers missed the record-low mortgage rates seen earlier this year, but they still have a chance to grab low rates this spring.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest forecast indicates that the rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage will average about 4.3 percent in the second quarter. That’s up from the first quarter’s average of 4.16 percent in a weekly survey. But 4.3 percent would still be low, especially when you compare it to the 6 percent or 7 percent borrowers paid at the height of the housing boom.

Refinances get easier, cheaper

Another government program, known as HARP 2.0, will make it easier for thousands of borrowers to refinance their mortgages this spring. Homeowners who have FHA-insured mortgages and who are current on their payments will be able to refinance with lower fees through the FHA streamline refinance program starting in June. Only loans that closed before June 2009 are eligible to be refinanced in the program.

The FHA will reduce loan fees by more than half on streamline refis. As of June 11, borrowers who refinance through the FHA streamline program will pay only 0.01 percent of the loan in upfront insurance fees and 0.55 percent in annual mortgage fees. More info HERE

 

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!

4 Reasons to Buy Right Now!-Chicago Real Estate

In Chicago, right along with spring, autumn is commonly the busiest real estate time of the year. You can buy and sell houses at any time, although the Chicago real estate market during the fall offers unique and plentiful benefits to buyers. Take a peek at the recommended list below for the run down:

1. Fall into tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home. By September/October, people are already reviewing year-end tax breaks they may be eligible for. Fortunately for homebuyers, owning a home can yield immense dividends in tax returns. For example, both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible from gross income.  Also, if you have prepaid any 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. We recommend you consult a tax professional for specific details and guidelines.

2. Additional home buying choices. Chicago home buying and selling often reaches a competitive peak during the fall season. Some may feel pressure to buy due to the quicker turnaround of houses on the market, but at the same time a benefit often seen is a wider selection of homes available. To make sure you don’t miss out on finding your dream house, it’s a good idea to examine on-line advertisements  frequently, since the hottest Chicago listings are updated often!

3. Consistent Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs will likely decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

 4. Oh yes, Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own your Chicago home.

November 2016- For more information and to experience accolade supported,  client focused guidance on buying selling or renting Chicago-Lincoln Park area real estate, contact The Ian Schwartz Group. They will leave no stone unturned, ensuring smooth and pleasant real estate experiences… everything we touch turns to SOLD!

3 Commonly Overlooked Areas Before a Home Purchase: Chicago Top Producing Realtor

When choosing a Chicago home or any home for that matter, housing experts say that buyers often overlook important factors that may keep them happy for years to come with their property purchase.

While many Chicago buyers may be swayed by a home’s appearance, financing, and location, a recent article in U.S. News & World Report lists tips for those often-forgotten aspects of home ownership that ring true for buyers across the country and also here in the Chicago-Lincoln Park area:

Remodeling Rules: Purchasers who are looking to have a house grow with their family’s needs through the years may want to investigate any such rules beforehand to make sure that they’ll be able to add onto their home as needed. Many community associations may set limitations on what you can do to property, particularly if the buyer ever wants to make exterior changes like adding a garage or guest house.

Stay Informed, Ask Questions, Test Your Knowledge: Keeping abreast of the intricate details and considerations of buying a Chicago home can make or break your home buying experience. Are you fully informed? Do your homework and take the financial literacy quiz to test your knowledge when it comes to making important decisions regarding your money. Ultimately, having the patience to carefully weigh these considerations and improve your education surrounding mortgages, negotiations, real estate language helps to create peace of mind on this big-ticket purchase. Above all, using your Chicago top selling realtor as a guide to save time and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Lifestyle Amenities: While some may not seem outwardly important at first, they contribute to heightened housing market values in the community and affect whether you’re satisfied with your home purchase. Choosing the right kind of amenities for your present and future plans can impact future savings in terms of convenience and commuting costs, especially if the prospective neighborhood is lacking in that facet. Exploring neighborhood amenities such as schools, public transportation, recreational parks, and proximity to entertainment are additional things to consider when buying a house. More info HERE

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group has been representing both buyers and sellers as a Licensed Broker Associate in Coldwell Banker’s Lincoln Park Plaza office, one of the top-five-producing Coldwell Banker offices in the United States. Ian 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 2014. He is consistently in the top 1% of agents in the Chicago Association of Realtors and in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker agents nationally. Look to Ian and his accomplished team to find out why…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

Do You Know What You Want in 2016? :Chicago Real Estate Experts

Everyone has at least one..a wish list. But, what about when the time comes to purchase a home?  Do you know what List of-wantsyou 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:

Neighborhoods

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?

Schools

What Chicago school systems do you want to be near?

Transportation

How close must the Chicago home be to these amenities?

  • Public transportation
  • Airport (O’Hare or Midway)
  • Expressway
  • Neighborhood shopping
  • Schools
  • Other

Home Style

  • 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?

Home Condition

  • 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?

Home Features

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!