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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Housing Forecast for 2012-Chicago Real Estate

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

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

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