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Summer 2019 Real Estate Details to Consider – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Before you put time and effort into finding a house, weigh why a 2019 summertime home purchase may or may not be the best deal for you. March through July are the commonly popular months for buying a house. In the spring and

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summer, you’ll often find a large selection of homes for sale, but you may also encounter competition that drives up prices, but each market is different. Consulting experienced, top producing, Chicago real estate professionals can help confirm the best individual home buying and/or home selling decisions.

Reasons to Buy a Home in the Summer
Do you have kids in school? If so, you probably want to sell your house and move into a new one before the next school year starts. Moving over the summer lets kids finish the term at their old school, as well as explore the neighborhoods and make friends before the first day at their new school.

Houses and neighborhoods often look their best in the summer, with lawns, flowers, gardens and trees in full bloom. You can see how well neighbors take care of their grounds, whether kids are playing outside, and how much the neighborhood socializes at barbecues, the local pool, and the like.

Possible Cons to Buying During the Summer
Summer is a popular time for house hunters, and that means two things: competition and a possible spike in prices. You may find yourself struggling to see all the available homes, feeling pressure to choose quickly, getting caught in a stressful bidding war, or missing out on the home you want. If you can, you may want to wait until fall or winter, when the house selection is smaller but prices are lower and buyers and sellers are more focused. This again is a time to consult a trusted, top producing, seasoned Chicago real estate professional for your best plan of action.

Be Ready to Close
“Don’t blink, or it’s gone,” real estate agents advise. If you determine that summer is the best time for you to buy, be prepared to make an offer quickly, and don’t expect the seller to lower the price easily. Make sure you know your limits: Which home features are must-haves, and what is the most you are willing to spend? Also, keep in mind that even if you’re preapproved for a loan and are ready to push paper, it may take weeks or a couple months to close on the home. If you want to move in midsummer, you may need to start house-hunting in spring. More tips can be found HERE

July 2019- Ready to surpass expectations this summer and leave no stone unturned, Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group has built a team of experienced, client-focused, top producing real estate professionals you’d want representing you this season. Find out why they say…..everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

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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

8 Reasons a Realtor Should be Used: 2017 Buying or Selling Chicago Real Estate

  1. Marketing power of your property. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of Chicago real estate sales comes as the result of an agent’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a top Chicago REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
  2. Interpersonal skills-an objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, Chicago home buying and selling is often an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll every make. Having a concerned, sincere, thorough but objective third party, helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.
  3. Key negotiating skills. There are many negotiating aspects, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
  4. Finding the best property that fits “you”. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the Chicago market, and it will take some investigation by your seasoned and experienced Chicago REALTOR® to find all available properties.
  5. Skill at navigating complicated processes. Buying, selling or even renting a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multipage settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly errors.
  6. Information and opinions. Chicago REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
  7. Someone who knows the language. If you are not sure what a CMA from a PUD is, you can understand why it’s important to work with a real estate professional that is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.
  8. Background/Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few properties in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change.  REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having top ranked, top performing expert on your side is critical. More information HERE

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!

Top Questions to Ask at an Open House – Chicago Real Estate Experts

When you’re looking to buy something as expensive as a home (when else do you drop hundreds of thousands of dollars without missing a beat?), there’s no room for error. Most of us are familiar with the idea of window-shoppingopen-house — browsing through the racks on the off chance you’ll find a diamond in the rough….which brings us to the subject of real real estate open houses; every open house presents an opportunity to land that hidden gem, or to sniff out an overpriced dud? The best way to take advantage of this personal meeting is by being prepared. Get the inside scoop by asking questions. Remember visiting an open house  gives the prospective buyer, an opportunity to speak directly to the seller’s agent or direct team/staff member(s). Use the opportunity to ask some basic questions:

What’s the seller’s timeline?

Sometimes sellers choose a buyer’s offer simply because of timing. Perhaps they want to sell quickly because of a job offer, or delay the sale so their kids can finish the school year.

The more you know about what the sellers want, the more easily you can work around it — and put together a tempting offer while getting a good deal on the price.

Where can I get a bite to eat?

Getting directions to a local eatery or coffee shop will tell you a lot about your neighborhood. If there’s a retail strip close by that locals frequent and feel proud of, chances are, you’ll love it too.

What are the neighbors like?

Is the neighborhood kid-friendly? Are there lots of retired people? Is there a thriving bar scene on the weekends?

Some people are fine doing their own thing and don’t require (or want) a tight-knit neighborhood. But other people are much happier if they’re surrounded by kindred souls who are in a similar stage of life. The seller’s agent will be able to give valuable information about the people you’d be rubbing shoulders with, if you choose to buy.

And don’t forget: While open houses are great venues to ask questions and listen, be careful not to give away more than you want to about your own situation. Being discreet about your finances and how much you love the home will benefit you when it’s time to bargain for a good price.

How many offers have been made?

Does the agent look happy? Maybe even … suspiciously happy? Is she distracted, perhaps not giving you the “hard sell”? She might have received word that an offer is coming in any minute.

Make sure to anticipate the conversation by asking her directly how many offers have been made on the home so that you can negotiate accordingly.

Has the asking price fluctuated?

Your agent can find out how many times the price has shifted since the home was first listed, but the seller’s agent will likely jump at the chance to explain why. Perhaps the price dropped because the seller has to move on a tight timeline.

Info like this might even clue you in that the list price is somewhat flexible — and you can use that to your advantage when it’s time to draft your offer letter. See more tips and suggestions HERE

September 2015 –  A recent rating of Ian with The Ian Schwartz Group…”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….” See this recent review of Ian HERE

 

 

 

 

Neighborhood Features to Examine Before Buying a Home

Great tips to consider in Chicago and around the Country. Feel free to contact the Ian Schwartz Group for guidance on real estate home buying, selling, and renting in the Chicago-Lincoln Park area.

Dream Coldwell Banker

Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location! An obvious and important aspect of buying a home is looking at the home itself, but another, and sometimes forgotten, is exploring the neighborhood. Limited amenities and services, unkempt communities and noisy neighbors can curb a home sale, and to avoid moving into an area that lacks the features owners are looking for, it’s important that buyers examine the community as closely as they do the house.

There are several features to examine when looking at a neighborhood and it can be helpful if buyers have a clear idea of what they want in a community.

Amenities

Individuals may have a specific set of amenities they want their community to have, which may vary based on their family size, age and lifestyle. For example, individuals with young children may seek out a neighborhood with parks and playgrounds, while other demographics may want more cultural features and entertainment…

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Just Listed – 3542 North Fremont in Chicago-LakeView Condos For Sale

Just Listed – 3542 N. Fremont #Chicago…Exquisite LakeView Condo, Extra Wide, Highly Upgraded. See Views: http://ow.ly/k72Ia

 

SALE PENDING!

3542 N Feemont-2

3542 N Feemont

Top Five “Must Do” House/Home Projects for October-Chicago Real Estate

Oh the joys of home ownership in Chicago.  If you haven’t noticed, it won’t be long before the thermostat will need to be inched up, and the lawn furniture will have to get cleaned, covered and stored for the winter. This is the month to finish your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist, check out fall celebrations/events, but above all have some fun! (and even tackle some Chicago weekend projects):

How to get going on a weekend project

This is a great time to tackle a weekend project. Since adequate storage is every homeowner’s biggest complaint, consider building a bookshelf. It is one of the most basic DIY projects imaginable, and one that offers the greatest flexibility in terms of design, materials, tools and level of skill. We discovered five “Make in a Weekend” Bookshelf Projects constructed of everything from pipe fittings and cinder blocks to shipping pallets. And if you happen to be in possession of a shipping pallet or two, there are many other ways to upcycle them into innovative desks, daybeds, plate racks, kitchen islands and more.

Get the yard ready for winter

This is the month to drain fuel from all gas-operated equipment, such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers and chain saws. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area. Make sure all soil is emptied from pots, containers and planters (dirt left in clay pots outside will freeze and cause the pots to crack). Disconnect and store garden hoses. If your home has a separate shut-off for external faucets, turn it off and drain the water from those faucets. If you have a sprinkler system, you may want to call in a professional company to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines. Finally, check to see that all of your snow equipment is close at hand and ready to be put into service. That includes snow blowers as well as shovels and roof rakes.

Don’t forget..Do something fun

In addition to figuring out the scariest, coolest or most innovative costume for Halloween, this is the time to get creative with some pumpkin carving DIY. Have fun experimenting with concepts and techniques, from …..More info HERE

 

 

Top 4 Tips to Make a Room Feel Even Larger-Chicago Real Estate

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.

Modern Kitchen Ingredients: Chicago Real Estate

Chicago real estate and other markets deem the kitchen as one of the most popular rooms in a house. If it’s well laid out and equipped, it becomes a magnet for friends, family and buyers!

Some of the top ways to woo — less cabinet ornamentation, durable materials, energy-efficient and green appliances/lighting, and stylish finishes usually do the trick.

Conversely, a poor design, dated appliances, high-maintenance materials, and an overly personalized palette can send buyers running, particularly since savvy shoppers know what they want, and can easily find out the cost to redo a kitchen.

But many kitchens don’t have to be gutted to work and look better. A few tweaks often can make it more Chicago buyer enticing, such as:

Green Paints and Finishes, Low-Maintenance

Whether it’s indoors on Chicago kitchen walls or outdoors on decks, finishes are going green as more manufacturers offer low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) lines in a full spectrum of hues and sometimes faux finishes. Many also make them more durable and washable. Because the outdoor kitchen has become more sophisticated, companies are manufacturing decorative stains to embellish hardworking concrete patios.

Use of Sustainable Products

With more communities mandating recycling and composting, it’s no surprise that the home trash compactor is morphing into a home compost system that gets taken out to a bin when full to be composed. Many systems are getting integrated into the countertop to take up less space.

Incorporating Universal Design

Because of its potential to put everything within everyone’s reach, universal design is embraced more. Ovens can be set side-by-side rather than vertically, and microwave units can go under a cabinet rather than up high.

Zoned for Action

Besides separate cooking, prepping, cleaning, and eating stations, family friendly or task driven areas are flourishing. Add zones that make sense such as a desk zone or a smart-message center—with technology hidden behind cabinets — where home owners can watch TV or DVDs, look at digital photos, play music, retrieve recipes, and pay bills.

Ramp up Refrigeration

As an alternative to larger refrigerators, some companies offer models, often smaller and in drawers, to chill beverages away from the main unit in order to reduce congestion. Things like wine coolers, more popular than ever, can be recessed into walls for an integrated look and greater energy efficiency.

Enhanced Cooking

Though they haven’t caught on with everyone, induction cooktops offer energy efficiency and the ability to heat contents but not cookware. Several models come with a sensor that maintains a precise temperature and can automatically shut off when done.

Almost Hands-Free

Almost hands-free for ease is another trend, thanks to motion-activated faucets that simply require a light touch. There’s also lighting that comes on when you enter the room.

Making Clean-up Better

While sinks have never been among a kitchen’s most appealing components, a new generation is making home owners take note. Some models are so thin that it’s flush with the countertop to make cleanup easier. If home owners want a second sink, it’s likely to be larger today for doing more cleanup and prep. More info HERE