Blog Archives

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.

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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

 

2018-Back to School and Pre-Autumn Advice-5 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes: Chicago Real Estate

Buying-School-First TimeAre you a first time Chicago home buyer this 2018 fall season…enthusiastic and ready to get into the real estate market? It’s certainly that time of year when individuals consider moving whether for work, school, to reduce costs, better lifestyle access, the list is endless; but are you aware of the common pitfalls associated with taking the plunge? Listed below are the top 5 tips to consider before making the “move”:

  1. They don’t ask enough questions of their Realtor and/or lender and end up missing out on the best deal.
  2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.
  3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the home buying process.
  4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.
  5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for five years or less

A long-standing resource with over 15 years of experience, Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group has enjoyed representing both first time home buyers and sellers as a top performing Licensed Broker/Real Estate Associate in Coldwell Banker’s high producing Lincoln Park Plaza office, one of the top five ranking Coldwell Banker offices in the Country. Ian and his team will have all your bases covered. They combine forces to ensure that your overall real estate experience will be exceptional. They are located within the Lincoln Park Plaza office

Getting the Most Out of a Home Purchase in 2017: Chicago Real Estate Trends

Buying a home can be emotional, but negotiating the price shouldn’t be. The key to saving money when purchasing a home is sticking to a plan during the turbulence of possible high-stakes negotiations. Keep your emotions in check and your eyes on the goal, and you’ll pay less when purchasing a home.

Having a savvy, well-informed, and seasoned  Chicago real estate agent who represents/guides you is key. However, you are the one who must make the final decision during each round of potential offers and counter offers. For first time home buyers especially, these 6 tips will help in promoting the best price and outcome on Chicago real estate transactions: 1. Get prequalified for a mortgage

Getting prequalified for a mortgage proves to sellers that you’re serious about buying and capable of affording their home. That will push you to the head of the pack when sellers choose among offers; they’ll go with buyers who are a sure financial bet, not those whose financing could flop.

2. Ask questions and get details

Ask your  Chicago realtor for information to help you understand the sellers’ financial position and motivation. Are they facing foreclosure or a short sale? Have they already purchased a home or relocated, which may make them eager to accept a lower price to avoid paying two mortgages? Has the home been on the market for a long time, or was it just listed? Have there been other offers? If so, why did they fall through? The more signs that sellers are eager to sell, the lower your offer can reasonably go.

3. Work back from a final figure to determine your initial offer

Know in advance the most you’re willing to pay, and with your realtor work back from that number to determine your initial offer, which can set the tone for the entire negotiation. A too-low bid may offend sellers emotionally invested in the sales price; a too-high bid may lead you to spend more than necessary to close the sale.

Work with your top Chicago realtor to evaluate the sellers’ motivation and comparable home sales to arrive at an initial offer that engages the sellers yet keeps money in your wallet.

4. Avoid complicated contract requirements

Sellers favor offers that leave little to chance. Keep your bid free of complicated contingencies, such as making the purchase conditional on the sale of your current home. Do keep contingencies for mortgage approval, home inspection, and environmental checks typical in your area, like radon.

5. Remain focused-unemotional

Buying a home is a business transaction, and treating it that way helps you save money. Consider any movement by the sellers, however slight, a sign of interest, and keep negotiating.

Each time you make a concession, ask for one in return. If the sellers ask you to boost your price, ask them to contribute to closing costs or pay for a home warranty. If sellers won’t budge, make it clear you’re willing to walk away; they may get nervous and accept your offer.

6. Don’t let competition change your plan

Great Chicago-Lincoln Park homes and those competitively priced can draw multiple offers in any market. Don’t let competition propel you to go beyond your predetermined price or agree to concessions—such as waiving an inspection—that aren’t usually in your best interest. More Chicago Real Estate 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!

Satisfying your Customers in the Real Estate Business

-August 2014……Summer real estate in Chicago is booming! For over 15 years Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group has provided top tier performance results, and this year proves no different. Ian’s high ranking, top producing team, pride themselves on providing unparalleled customer service, with a keen attention to detail, marketing savvy, and a client centric assurance that each and every transaction is seamless as well as pleasant. No stone will be left unturned to finding buyers and/or sellers their perfect place to call home. Jenna Plakas, Victor Elting, Wendi Gordon Shelist, and Michael Shin combine forces to ensure that your overall real estate experience is outstanding. This dynamic team can be found within the Coldwell Banker residential real estate office of Lincoln Park Plaza 1840 N Clark St, Chicago, Illinois 60614-5881

Jennifer Fields Real Estate

Satisfying your Customers in the Real Estate Business

Customer service is paramount in today’s modern day business environment. Even in the past, it has been proven that customer service has significantly improved volume of sales in businesses. How you treat your existing customers or clients makes a huge difference in repeat business. The real estate industry is no different.

Here are some tips to be more successful in real estate and set your business on the pinnacle of success:

  1. Treat your clients like royalty. We all know that purchasing a property is a huge decision. Since this is a massive investment, expectations are naturally high. It has become a standard to treat clients with great respect. Gaining confidence and trust from your clients is very critical.
  2. Use body language well. Appearances make notably huge impressions. What and how you wear clothes as well as how you present yourself physically leaves a lasting markin the customer or client’s…

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What is your definition of Good Customer Service?

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, highly values client customer service. He is among the top producing real estate agents in the city of Chicago; awarded this honor for the 2nd quarter of 2013. Look to him and his team for buying, selling needs, as well as a profound pulse on the Chicago real estate market, all while providing a high performing client centric level of optimal customer service.

IanSchwartz-2ndQtr-2013

The Spy Who Shopped Me

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Here at The Spy Who Shopped Me, we believe one of the most important things you can do is get involved in all areas of your business. After all, when you’re involved in just running of your business as the boss, it can be hard to see what is really happening and it can be even harder to identify areas that need improvement. Of course, it happens. You get caught up in new products, rosters, trying to hit targets and potentially dealing with Head Office that sometimes those simple things can be forgotten.

It’s hard to be involved in every aspect of a business and we know that. The problem is when it comes to setting standards for customer service, you are the only person who can do it. For some people, this can mean being hands on but for others, it can also simply mean keeping a genuine eye…

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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

 

Ian Schwartz Tips Xeriscaping: 6 Steps to a Low Maintenance Lawn: Chicago Real Estate

Ian Schwartz Tips Xeriscaping: 6 Steps to a Natural, Low Maintenance Lawn http://ow.ly/1kvuI9

Do You Know What You Want? :Chicago-Lincoln Park Real Estate

Everyone has at least one..a wish list. But, what about when the time comes to purchase a home?  Do you know what you want?  Are your wants and needs organized/recorded somewhere? What does your future Chicago-Lincoln Park home look like? Where is it located? As you narrow in on your dream home, 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, Roscoe Village, River North, River East, Bucktown….)?

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