Blog


  • Is Joining a Homeowners Association the Right Move for You?

    1 November 2017

    What should you know when buying a condo or townhome with a Homeowners Association (or HOA)? There are a few factors to keep in mind.

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    What should you know when buying a condo or townhome with a Homeowners Association (or HOA)?

    The No. 1 thing to consider is the HOA’s finances. How are their financial reserves? Also think about whether there are any big projects coming up. You want to make sure you aren’t going to be surprised by any hidden or extra costs.

    There is no real rule of thumb, but it’s a good sign if an HOA’s financial reserves are about two times the operating expenses. An HOA that is very low in reserves or lacks allocated funds for future projects is a big red flag for you as a buyer.

    There is no real rule of thumb, but it’s a good sign if an HOA’s financial reserves are about two times the operating expense.

    Another thing to think about is what will be covered by your HOA fee. Some associations cover heat, gas, electric, while some cover only water and insurance. The most important thing is that the benefits you’re receiving will make sense for you.

    Lastly, you want to have a good idea of the HOA’s rules and regulations. An example of this would be whether or not the association has a rental cap.

    If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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  • What’s the Deal With the Flipping Craze?

    16 October 2017

    With the popularity of house flipping shows, it’s time for a real estate agent to give his opinion about this type of investment.

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    Today I’m going to answer a question real estate agents commonly hear in the business: What do you think about the ‘flipping craze’?

    I think it’s a good thing for the housing market in general. Obviously, certain TV shows you see helped push the craze along; now everyone wants to be an investor.

    Flipping is fairly profitable right now for investors who know what they’re doing. What those shows don’t show, however, is that quite a few flippers are losing money. Like any business, flipping is an investment, and investors who are too optimistic (especially in this environment) will often lose money. But overall, it can be positive.

    Flipping is fairly profitable right now for investors who know what they’re doing.

    Flipping was different even 10 years ago—people would buy houses and sit on them, hoping it would appreciate over time. But it wasn’t working quite the way they wanted it to because a lot of homes were sitting vacant.

    Flipping right now consists mostly of adding value to the bought property, which can involve remodeling the kitchen or bathroom, or adding square footage, and then reselling it.

    In places like here in Chicago, we have a lot of older homes built in the 1960s and 70s, and those homes would benefit from remodeling. Flipping in areas like these would really help the market, especially because new construction is not meeting demand. Construction builders aren’t able to supply enough stock to the market, so flipping, if done right, actually helps the market.

    So again, I like the idea that a lot of people are jumping into to it, and of course I feel sorry for those who are losing money on projects. It can really benefit investors who know what they’re doing, and ultimately, buyers.

    If you have any questions about house flipping and whether it’s a smart investment for you, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to speak with you.

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  • Where Do I Think Our Market Will Be 6 Months From Now?

    3 October 2017

    Where do I think the market is going to be in the next six months for sellers? To tell the truth, I think things are likely going to be very similar to where we are now.

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    Where is the real estate market going to be in the next six months for sellers?

    Personally, I don’t see anything changing in the market in terms of inventory. This means that now and likely in the future, what is driving and will continue to drive the market is a lack of inventory.

    Interest rates are very low and more and more millennials are coming onto the market.

    Builders haven’t been able to keep up with the low inventory and the demand for property. So from a new construction standpoint for the new year, it likely won’t be much higher than last year.

    A lack of inventory continues to drive our market.

    If the interest rate stays where it’s at and the economy maintains its current conditions, I don’t see many changes coming to our market in the next six months.

    Ultimately, I predict that our market will be in a similar condition for quite some time.

    If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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  • How Can You Purchase a Property When You Have Bad Credit?

    20 September 2017

    What can you do if you want to become a homeowner but your credit score is too low? I have a few tips to share with you today.

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    How can you purchase a property when you have bad credit?

    The good news is that there are a number of ways to repair credit. In order to do so, you need to first understand why your credit is low.

    Are you making late payments? Are you subject to collections or wage garnishments? Maybe you have a high debt limit. For example, if you pay off a credit card that makes up 30% of your debt, your credit score would rise significantly.

    Minor tweaks can have a positive effect on your credit score.

    The best thing you can do is talk to a loan officer. Mortgage companies will pull your credit for free most of the time. Our preferred lender doesn’t charge you to pull your credit score. The loan officer will then examine why you have a lower score and tell you what you can do to raise it.

    It can be overwhelming to attack certain credit issues. You may not be able to take on that huge student loan right away, but making minor tweaks can have a positive effect on your credit score.

    If you have any other questions or need to be referred to a loan officer, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

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  • Should You Negotiate Price With a Home Seller?

    6 September 2017

    Today I’m answering another one of your great questions. This time, it’s about price negotiations.

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    The question I’m answering today is, “Can you negotiate price with a seller?” The answer is yes, absolutely. However, whether you succeed or not depends on the situation you’re in.

    If you see a listing that you like, the first thing you need to do is find comparable homes. Have your agent search the MLS for similar, nearby homes that have recently sold. Find out if what your seller is asking is in-line with the true value of the property.

    The second thing you want to do is find out if there are any other current offers on the property. If they do have a ton of offers already, many times they won’t even negotiate with you because they are likely to sell above asking price. However, if you find out there aren’t any other offers on the home, you should definitely negotiate.

    Sellers will make price concessions if buyers can meet other terms.

    Have your agent prepare a CMA and use it to negotiate with the seller’s agent. If your agent can convince the seller’s agent that the value of the home is lower than what they are selling it for, it can be persuasive. That’s why you need to make sure you hire a professional with great negotiating skills. Sellers will make concessions on price if buyers can meet other terms. There are many different ways to go about getting you what you want out of a real estate transaction.

    If you have any other questions for me, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

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  • A Surprisingly Simple Solution to High Home Taxes

    22 August 2017

    If you believe the taxes on your home are too high, there’s a simple solution you can try.

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    Have you ever wondered how to lower the taxes on your house? If so, you aren’t alone.

    Especially right now in Chicagoland, where taxes are being raised by both the city and county, this is something many people are wondering about.

    The truth is that the best option for reducing your house’s taxes is to apply to appeal them. This is a fairly simple process. However, you should be aware that the time frame during which you may appeal your taxes varies based on location.

    It isn’t as difficult as you may think to appeal your taxes.

    So how exactly do you appeal? It’s actually as simple as filling out a specific form. Within this form you’ll need to not only provide comparables to your home, but also explain why you believe your taxes should be lowered based on those comparables.

    For example, if you recently saw a comparable home in your neighborhood receive a much lower valuation, you may be able to use this as a means of contesting your current taxes. Based on that information, your taxes will be lowered if it makes sense for them to be so.

    If you aren’t comfortable doing this alone, however, you can hire an attorney. Do keep in mind though that the attorney will of course either charge a fee or take a portion of what you make from the process.

    No matter the route you choose, it isn’t as difficult as you may think to appeal your taxes.

    If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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  • How Do You Find the Right Real Estate Agent for You?

    27 July 2017

    What qualities should you look for in a real estate agent? Buyers and sellers should look for slightly different things.

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    How do you pick a good agent? What do you look for in a good agent?

    I recommend going online and looking for a team of agents. Find agents who have amazing reviews, like ours. You can find those reviews on Zillow, Google, or even Facebook. Just find the real estate team with the best reviews.

    As for the qualities you should look for in an agent, it depends on whether you are buying or selling.

    If you are buying a home, then you need to hire a full-time buyer’s agent. Keep in mind that the majority of agents who represent buyers are part-time. Ultimately, you want to work with a full-time agent to get your best shot at success.

    Make sure that your agent is a strong negotiator and knows the local area well. Your agent needs to be able to negotiate a good deal for you, and guide you to the property that fits your needs. Let your buyer’s agent know about your plans for the near future so they can direct you to a home that will work for at least a few years. For instance, if you have kids that are about to enter school, let them know so they can find you a house near some good schools.

    Make sure that you work with a full-time agent.

    If you are selling a home, the number one quality you should pay attention to is the agent’s marketing ability. Your agent needs to be able to expose your home to a large number of buyers. Anyone can put a “For Sale” sign in the yard and list your home on the MLS, but to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, you need an agent with a solid marketing plan to draw buyers to your property.

    Your listing agent should also have strong negotiating skills. One sentence can throw off your contract price either way, sometimes as much as 3 to 6%. That can be a huge amount of money for a single-family home.

    Finally, you will have a more successful selling experience if you work with a full-time agent.

    If you have any other questions about hiring a real estate agent or would like to learn more about our current market, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

     

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  • What Does The Zillow Lawsuit Mean For You?

    12 July 2017

    A homeowner is suing Zillow over the inaccurate Zestimate of her property. What does all of this mean for you?

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    A homeowner in Glenview, Illinois is suing Zillow over discrepancies with her Zestimate. It looks like she is trying to get the attorney general involved because she feels that the Zestimate is extremely inaccurate. There is also a chance that this could become a class action lawsuit.

    So, what does that mean for you?

    In my opinion, overall, Zillow is trying to do a great job. However, their Zestimates can still be off by as much as 20% from the actual market value of the home. The problem is that when a consumer goes on the site, they think the Zestimate is the truth, which it is not.

    Zestimates can be off by as much as 20%, but buyers view them as true values.

    Zillow has definitely improved compared to when they started but the Zestimate discrepancies are still huge. Zillow cannot take the condition of the property or the school district into account. Their valuation is based on square footage and is bound to be inaccurate. Zestimate can be off by 10%, 15%, or 20%.

    Zillow is a great tool to look at past sales, but I would suggest you take their Zestimates with a grain of salt. Since there are so many different kinds of homes in Chicagoland, Zillow’s Zestimates are bound to be inaccurate.

    If you have any more questions about this lawsuit or would like to learn the true value of your home, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

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  • How to Buy and Sell at the Same Time

    28 June 2017

    Buying a new home while selling your current one is a difficult thing to do. Luckily, we have some tips that will help.

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    How do you make an offer on a property when you haven’t sold your home yet?

    This is a question many people have, especially in today’s real estate market. The task may seem daunting. However, there a few things you can do to make balancing the work of buying and selling simultaneously easier.

    One of the first options I offer to people who are trying to buy and sell at the same time is to submit an offer that is contingent on the sale of your current home.

    In my experience, the downside to this is that the seller will oftentimes reject this kind of offer. In today’s market, sellers may be unlikely to hinge the sale on circumstances beyond their control.

    If this is the case, there are two things that most often happen. Either the seller will ask you to drop the contingency or will ask to sell their home first.

    The second option to try if you are buying and selling concurrently is to list the home you are selling at a price that is geared toward a quick sale.

    We will buy your home in the event that it doesn’t sell within a specific period of time

    Pricing your property correctly is one of the best ways to move it off the market as fast as possible and get you a contract as soon as possible. If this happens, then you may submit your offer contingent on closing the current home. In this case, the seller is more likely to accept the contingency than they might be in the option we discussed previously.

    Finally, the third option is to use a guaranteed sale or trade-in program. In this option, we will buy your home in the event that it doesn’t sell within a specific period of time, at a certain price point, so that you can submit your offer on the home you want.

    To learn more or if you have any other questions, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

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  • How to Win a Multiple Offer Situation

    19 June 2017

    Today we’re talking about strategies that you can employ to help win in a multiple offer situation.

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    Today I wanted to talk to you about some strategies that you as a buyer can use to win in a multiple offer situation.

    1. Minimize your contingency amounts in the offer. Most of the time you’re going to have mortgage and inspection contingencies, and if you can minimize those amounts then your offer will stand out.

    2. If you’re comfortable enough to buy the home as-is, then that’s a great idea, but only if you’re comfortable. It will still allow you to do an inspection and back out from the contract if there is something wrong with the house, but many sellers will favor that type of offer over others.

    3. Put together a letter to include with your offer to the seller that tells the seller why you love that home and why you want to buy that home. Most sellers spent a lot of time in that home and put a lot of heart into the home, and they want to pass the home onto someone who will take care of it as well.

    4. Find out what the best terms are for the seller for closing on the home. This means what time frame and how long they want to live at the home before closing. If you can’t find that information, the best idea is to put in at the closing date, “per seller choice.”

    5. Use an escalation clause. If you’re not sure how much you want to offer as a maximum bid, you can include that clause that says you’ll pay a certain amount more than the second-highest offer up to a maximum amount. It includes the condition that they have to disclose that offer if you are the winning bidder.

    Sometimes you’ll be surprised that the best price is not always the determining factor.

    Sometimes you’ll be surprised that the best price is not always the determining factor.

    For sellers, in this situation you will typically get the best price for your house. Sellers want to keep the urgency in multiple offer situations. They should keep a 12- to 24-hour deadline when asking bidders for their highest and best price.

    You will see that when the buyers submit their best offers, they will offer a price that is above comparables. That’s usually an indication that the home will not appraise. So a good idea as a seller is if you accept the highest offer, you include the condition to the buyer that if the home does not appraise, they are willing to pay the difference and you don’t have to reduce the price.

    If you have any questions about this or any other real estate topic or you’re looking to buy or sell your home, give me a call. I’d be happy to help.

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