Archive for the 'Chicago Real Estate News' Category
May 17th, 2013 categories: Chicago Real Estate News
How good was March for Chicago residential real estate? A quick Google search will bring up several stories citing the month as one of the best for Chicago home sales and price gains.
One such story was printed by Chicago Magazine. According to that story, which cited data by the Illinois Association of REALTORS(R), the median sale price for Chicago homes in March soared 8.9 percent above where it had stood a year earlier.
The Chicago story also pointed to quicker home sales: According to the story, the time it took a home in Chicago to sell was more than 20 percent faster in March than it was during the same month one year earlier.
Chicago also performed better than the national average in March. As the Chicago Magazine story said, the number of homes sold in Chicago was up 33 percent from February. Across the nation, the number of homes sold was actually down 0.6 percent in March when compared to February.
This is good news for Chicago homeowners, especially those interested in selling. Demand for Chicago condominiums and single-family homes is up. And prices are starting to rise, too. This is a good combination for home sellers.
However, this doesn’t mean that selling a Chicago home is easy. Owners still have to do everything they can to make their condominiums or single-family homes stand out from the competition. This means mowing lawns, sweeping walks, planting flowers, pulling weeds and doing whatever it takes to give your home strong curb appeal.
It also means removing as much extra furniture from a home’s rooms, to make them look bigger. Owners also need to make sure that their homes are always in prime selling condition: They need to keep their homes clean and bright, giving potential buyers no negatives to hold against their homes.
It’s good to see the Chicago housing market on the rise again. We’re fortunate to live in a strong city in which people want to live. That’s the key ingredient for a strong housing market.
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May 16th, 2013 categories: Chicago Real Estate News
The mortgage interest deduction has been a huge financial boon to homeowners across Illinois, including those living in Chicago.
Recent data from the Pew Charitable Trusts backs this up. According to Pew, the average U.S. homeowner with a mortgage loan claims a mortgage interest deduction of $2,713 on his or her taxes each year.
That’s a big savings. And according to a deduction map created from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ data, Illinois residents claim a yearly mortgage interest deduction that’s right in line with this national average.
Overall, 25.5 percent of all U.S. taxpayers claim the mortgage interest deduction. In Illinois, this figure is even higher. According to Pew, 26 percent to 31.9 percent of Illinois taxpayers claim this valuable deduction.
These figures are important today because there’s still talk in Congress of either reducing or eliminating this deduction. Members of Congress say that this deduction will save the government a significant amount of money. Other critics of the deduction say that the deduction helps wealthier people more than it does poorer because richer people can afford bigger, more expensive homes. The more expensive a home, and the more interest its owners pay on it, the bigger the mortgage interest deduction that its homeowner can claim.
But there are plenty of supporters of this tax deduction, including me. The ability to deduct mortgage interest is one the key financial benefits of owning a home. By taking this deduction away, Congress will also take away an important incentive for owning a home.
We all know that our country is stronger when its housing market is also strong. Homeowners are invested in their communities. And when people buy or build homes, they pump additional money back into the economy in the form of everything from furniture purchases to lawn-care services.
So why would Congress even consider taking away the mortgage interest deduction at a time when the country’s economy desperately needs a busy housing market? Let’s hope that Congress leaves this important tax deduction alone. There are plenty of other less harmful ways to shore up the country’s finances.
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May 13th, 2013 categories: Chicago Real Estate News
Consumers believe in homeownership again. That’s the best way to explain the results of an April survey by the Gallup organization.
The KCM Blog recently reported on Gallup’s homeownership survey. And the results were impressive. According to the survey, 73% of consumers say that now is a good time to buy a home.
I can’t disagree. Housing prices are still at affordable levels, even in such hot Chicago neighborhoods as Lincoln Park, Lakeview or Lincoln Square. Sellers are still willing to negotiate on everything from final sales prices to the number of repairs they are willing to make to close a sale. The biggest challenge for buyers today, especially in markets such as Chicago, is that there aren’t enough properties on the market. The best ones are selling quickly – and with multiple offers.
The Gallup survey also listed the top reasons why people buy homes. On the financial side, respondents said that owning a home is a smart investment, while others pointed to the ability that homeownership gives them to build equity and credit.
Other respondents said that owning a home was both smarter and more cost effective than renting.
But respondents also gave non-financial reasons for wanting to own a home. Some said that they simply believed in the value of homeownership, while others said they didn’t want to live in a rental. Others said that owning a home was better for their families. Still others said that owning a home gave them the freedom to do what they wanted.
In good news for anyone hoping that the real estate recovery will be a sustained one, the Gallup survey found that eight out of 10 respondents either owned a home or plan to buy one in the near future.
These results might sound surprising given the turmoil that the housing market just went through. But owning a home has long been an important part of the American dream. An economic crash – even one as significant as the one the country suffered – isn’t enough, apparently, to derail that dream. Oh, and it proves that Americans have short memories.
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May 10th, 2013 categories: Chicago Real Estate News
You don’t have to pay for a home stager to stage your home.
Sure, stagers are professionals and deserve to be paid for their services. They know exactly how to arrange your furniture, artwork and home decor to make your home look its best for potential buyers. And it’s true that by staging your home, you can dramatically boost your residence’s chances of netting a quicker sale – and raising the price by way more than you spent on staging
If you’re on a tight budget, and you can’t afford to hire a professional stager, there are a few easy things you can do to help your sale.
Fortunately, you can take several steps on your own to give your home that staged feel. This story by MSN Real Estate gives some good tips on what you can do to make your home stand out among potential buyers. The good news? Most of the suggestions are ones that take just a little bit of elbow grease.
For instance, as any stager will tell you, your home has just one chance to make a good impression. This means that your home’s exterior has to be its best. If buyers see a front lawn choked with weeds and dead flowers or grass that’s risen to ankle level, they might just drive away without ever stepping foot inside your home.
So make sure to cut your lawn, pull your weeds and plant some colorful flowers. Curb appeal really does matter.
Next, make sure to remove as much furniture as possible from your living room, dining room and bedrooms. You want your home’s rooms to look larger. They will look smaller and cluttered if oversized coaches and love seats clog them.
Remove ALL of your family photos, children’s artwork and calendars from your home’s shelves and refrigerator doors. Buyers want to imagine themselves in your home. They can’t do this if everything in your home reminds them of someone else’s family.
Paint your walls with a fresh coat of paint, preferably in a neutral earth-tone color. Fresh paint does more to add life to a home than just about anything else.
Don’t forget to wash your windows, vacuum/steam clean your carpets and sweep your floors before showings. And make sure to pick up all of life’s daily clutter, wash the dishes, make the beds and put away the laundry before potential buyers tour your home.
Selling a home is far different than living in a home. Buyers will be more apt to remember your home in a positive light if it is clean, airy and bright. And when buyers remember your home positively, they’re far more likely to want to buy it.
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May 9th, 2013 categories: Chicago Real Estate News
Buyers are purchasing more condominiums and single-family homes in Chicago. And they’re paying more money to do so.
That’s the good news from the latest survey of Chicago housing-market data conducted by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.
According to the association’s numbers, buyers purchased 1,894 Chicago homes in March. That figure is up 13.8% from March of last year, when buyers bought 1,664 Chicago homes.
And in even better news for homeowners, the median price of a home in the city of Chicago in March jumped 9% to $187,500. That’s up significantly from the $172,000 median sales price in Chicago in March of 2012.
You know what’s coming next, though: I’m here to tell you that though this is good news, it doesn’t mean that we’ve made the jump from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market.
First, home prices in Chicago are still far below where they stood at their peak in 2006-07. This means that many buyers who purchased in 2004, 2005 and 2006 would still take a loss if they had to sell their properties today.
Secondly, the REALTORS® association relies on median home values for its surveys. This shouldn’t be confused with average sales price. The median home value is that price point at which half of the city’s homes sold for a higher amount and half sold for less. In the case of March, then, half of Chicago’s home sales went for more than $187,500 and half went for less.
What’s it all mean? Only that selling a home today remains a challenge. Smart homeowners will work with REALTORS® who know their markets. These REALTORS® will be able to help these owners set the right asking price for their homes, the price that brings in the greatest number of fair offers.
Those owners who try to set prices that are too high for their condos or single-family homes? They will linger on the market and won’t receive the offers they need to move their residences.
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