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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 5 Ways to Prepare for Spring 2019-Chicago Real Estate

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

Ian Schwartz Group - 2019 Video Series on Youtube

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

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

Research Your Market

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

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

Improve Your Home

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

Clear Away the Clutter

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

Start Packing

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

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

4 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

 

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

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

Open living does the following things:

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

Here are some ways to achieve open living:

 Bringing in More Light

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

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

Removing Walls

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

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

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

More information can be found HERE

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 Best Returns:

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

Source: Remodeling Online/Hanley-Wood.

Resale/Selling Value Tip:

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

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

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

Are you Ready to Sell?….See the 2018 Spring into Summer Plan – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Even the most luxurious, well-maintained homes need an efficient 2018 sales strategy for a smooth transaction. The house won’t sell itself!dealseal

Real estate experts like The Ian Schwartz Group are trained to list and sell your beloved Chicago home for sale, but it doesn’t hurt to study up on some real estate basics. Consider the following real estate sales strategy. Take note of these 3 steps, and you’ll be well on your way to jump-starting your home sale:

Find a real estate agent. As you’re getting your house in order, start the hunt for a real estate agent. You’re not looking for just any agent; you need a real star to get you to the finish line. Put the word out to your network and don’t feel like you have to work with someone because they are family. Once you have some referrals, take the time for an interview and get to know their selling style. If said agent declines the interview request, they’re probably not for you — proceed to the next one on your list. If they seem almost right, keep looking until you find a great match. It’s worth the time investment to find the right agent.

Schedule a strategy session with your real estate agent. Purging and cleaning were the warm-up act. Now you’re ready for the main event. After you’ve signed on the dotted line with your real estate professional, schedule a walk-through before listing and take your agent’s feedback seriously. They know what color to paint that old maroon accent wall, how to stage the living room so it looks 20% bigger, and how to deal with outdated kitchen cabinets. They also know how to allocate your dollars to impress potential buyers.

Be vigilant with your belongings. Now is the time to tackle those organization and cleaning projects. The detritus of life tend to stack up in our living spaces, which may be fine for every day but isn’t great for selling. Make the adage “less is more” your mantra and divide your belongings into two piles: one to take to the new place, one to toss or give away. (Or try following a flow chat for decluttering tips.) And remember, packing items away doesn’t mean shoving them in the hallway closet. Buyers will very likely open every cabinet and drawer, so those spaces should be tidy too. For more advanced tips see info HERE

Ian with The Ian Schwartz Group has sold over 500 million dollars of real estate, including sales in excess of 55 million dollars in 2015 and sales in excess of 50 million dollars in 2017. He and his team are consistently in the top 1% of agents in the Chicago Association of Realtors and in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker agents nationally. Find out why this spring and summer 2018…everything we touch turns to Sold!

 

 

5 Steps to Chicago Real Estate Success in 2018-Property Selling and Buying

Chicago real estate agents are needed guides before during and after one of the most intimate transactions in a lifetime…buying or selling a home.  Yes, it is a business process, but one that demands a professional who embodies integrity, dedication, a personable demeanor, and a good sense of humor.  In addition having a long standing profile of concrete Realtor results doesn’t hurt either. Below are the top 5 essentials for success in any business, real estate included:

1. Understanding the Big Picture is Priceless

Taking the time to learn about a client’s business (and personal) goals and objectives is the backbone to success. Asking smart questions and doing lots of listening ranks high on the list. Understanding the dynamics and trends of an industry sets a professional apart from the rest. Look for proven results and outcomes.

2. Knowing a Client’s Expectations and Exceeding Them

Creating a reasonable set of expectations and then see if the professional will do their best to beat them. This mindset is 100% accepted and admired in any business process. The idea of following through with commitments in a timely manner is within this concept; a guaranteed way to earn trust and loyalty.

3. Observe and Execute the Client’s Preferred Way of Communicating

Asking a client for their method of frequent communication and delivering updates/progress reports often saves time as well as potential frustration from both sides.

4. Acclimate the Client to the Team Working on Their Matters

Taking the time to introduce clients to the team or group who will be working on an end goal is a good business practice for sure. Knowing the specialties of each staff member can eliminate confusion and create a seamless transaction or process.

5. Show the Client You Appreciate Their Business

Client love is the building block for friendships and ongoing business associations. Taking the time to show a client that you value their business earns loyalty, trust, and sustains a positive reputation.

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, prides himself on his keen ability to listen, and consistently advocate client-centric results. Ian and his team combine forces to ensure an outstanding real estate experience for each and every client they service.  For more than 14 years, Ian has been among the elite group of top performing Realtors in Chicago and by rank fall in the upper 1% of real estate professionals nationwide. number 1 in closed sales volume within his highly productive Lincoln Park Plaza (1910 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL) Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office in 2017, he understands his profile of success in 2018 and years after will depend on his ability to continue to gain client trust, loyalty and  friendship.

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.