Chicago Real Estate Blog

One of the things homeowners always want to know are what improvements can they make to increase their homes value. This is a great question because there are a lot of improvements that can be done that add very little to the homes value. Some people are considering selling and others just want to make sure they are wisely spending their money when upgrading their home. This article will discuss things you can do to improve your home without breaking the bank. 

Energy Efficient Appliances 
If you have had the same appliances since the 90s you may want to consider upgrading. The upgrade will give your kitchen a new look and reduce your energy bill with appliances with the energy star rating. If you are considering selling buyers look at the appliances

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Real Estate Closing Costs for Chicago Sellers

When you decide to sell your Chicago home there will be closing costs. The selling price isn’t the most important number. The bottom line walk away number is. The number after all of the expenses are taken out. Understanding your closing costs will help you have an idea of what this amount will be. Let’s discuss typical Chicago closing costs. 

Attorney Fees - Illinois is an Attorney state. Attorneys are required to close real estate transactions. Attorney fees will be in the $450- $700 range. 

Real Estate Tax Proration-  The seller has to credit the purchaser in Illinois with a credit for their share of unpaid taxes. In Illinois taxes are paid in arrears. That means that taxes are paid one year behind. This really isn’t an expense since you were

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VA Loans are AWESOME!

If you have the option of using a VA Loan you should. Here are some great reasons why. 


0% Down Payment 
This is the greatest benefit of the VA Mortgage. NO MONEY DOWN. Nearly all VA home loans are used with zero down payment from the veteran. 

Interest Rates Without the add ons
VA interest rates are more competitive than conventional loan programs. In fact they are much lower when compared to conventional loans with 5% down. 

Example. A 30 yr. Interest rate with 5% down on a 200k loan might be around 4% while a similar VA rate about .5% lower. To get a conventional rate down to 3.5% might require a 20% down payment or credit of 740 or above 

VA funding Fee Vs Private Mortgage Insurance
VA loans require no monthly mortgage insurance

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Multiple offer situations

I don’t think there is a scenario for a buyer more dreaded than a multiple offer situation. They can be stressful and discouraging if you don’t get the home you really wanted. And maybe worse getting the home by drastically overpaying. I have some advise on this. I have 4 things for you. If you know these you will be prepared for your next multiple bid situation. 

Know the market: You will be able to negotiate and be more comfortable with your offer knowing the true value of the home. Have an idea of the range the value should be in and keep your offer within that range. 

Know your budget: Before you start getting involved in this know your budget and what you are willing to do before it all starts. Know that you have a walk away number. This

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Home Buying Tips

I believe there needs to be more attention to detail when agents take out buyers to look for their next Chicago condo or home. Too often the buyers are left to rely on their memory to recall everything they saw during the day. This is unfair and will most times leave them with more uncertainty after the day is over. The agent and the buyers need to figure out how they want to document the day. I believe that there should be notes and pictures taken during the day. I know that there are pictures on the MLS but after a long day its tough to remember specifics by looking at those pics. Notes will make it easier to recall things later on. Was there something you liked about the kitchen? Something about the bathroom you didn’t? How big was the bedroom

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Thinking of buying in Chicago? 4 Things to do

I know that searching the internet for Chicago real estate is fun. But if you are serious about buying a Chicago condo or home there are some things you need to do. I am going to discuss 4 of them. Here they are:

Check your Credit: I often see buyers surprised and sidetracked by things found on their credit. There could be things you didn’t know about or things you forgot about on there. Check it out and find out where you stand. 

Free up Cash: When you do find your dream home you will need cash for earnest money deposit that can be around 5% of the purchase price. You will also need additional cash if your downpayment will be more than your earnest money deposit. Start working on this now. If you are borrowing money from people have this

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Buying a home in 2016

New Year is here and spring is on the way. This is the time of year people start to think about whether or not they will be buying a new house. This year there has been much speculation on the health of the Chicago real estate market. A LOT of people have asked me if this is a good year to buy.

If you turn on the news, all you see is doom and gloom. The stock market is all over the place, gas prices are down, and interest rates are trying to creep up. There are even some articles questioning if the housing crash of 2007 can repeat itself?

Is 2016 a good year to buy a house?

I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you what was going to happen this year, but I don’t. The next best thing is my opinion!

In the video I talk about 4 things

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Renting Your Condo

There are a lot things that go into buying a condo. One thing that should be considered is what you will do when its time to move down the road. Some people will want to sell but some may want to keep their condo as an investment and rent it out. If you think that is something you might be interested in there are some things you need to know. Condo Associations regulate how rentals work in their building. You need to know all of these regulations before you purchase your next condo. Here are the things you need to know. 

Do they allow Rentals?  some buildings do not allow renters or there are only some owners that can rent. They are more than likely tenants that have been grandfathered in. 

How long can you rent? Sometimes there can be

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Buying a home in the winter

Its no secret that the real estate market slows down during the winter. There are fewer buyers and fewer homes on the market. When you combine the weather(most of the country) and the holidays it makes sense that things would slow down. With everything going on coordinating a move is additional stress many people choose to avoid. But even with all of that being said there area still serious buyers and sellers out there during the winter months. 

Here are some key things to know about the winter market: 

You can find deals - There are people that sell their homes during the winter due to urgency. They have to sell. This means that they are motivated and willing to negotiate. This could help the right buyer get the home they want at a great

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Chicago Old Town Condo Report January 2016

Here are the key stats for Old Town through January: 

New Listings: up 29%
Sold Listings: up 61%
Condos for Sale: up 6%
Median Sales Price: up 36%
Days on Market: down 11%

Old Town condos are hands down the best performing downtown area neighborhood in January. It isn’t even close. With positive increases in all of the key stats compared to this time last year. Old Town doesn’t have the volume of some of the other neighborhoods but that should not take away from the positive month the neighborhood had in January. There seems to be good demand for the neighborhood and the inventory has not taken a hit. The biggest increase was the median sales price. $360,000 was a healthy number for the month. This is the second consecutive month that Old Town

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