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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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  • Should You Wait to Move Into a Better School District?

    2 June 2017

    I’m back to answer another one of your great questions This one has to do with school districts.
     
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    I’m back to answer another one of your great questions. This week’s question is, “I want to move to a better school district for my children, should I wait for the market to improve first?”

    This is actually a two-part question. The first question is if you should move to a better school district. If that’s something important to you, the answer is absolutely yes. I don’t think anyone should rely on the market when making this decision. If there is a way to make it happen, I think you should.

    Don’t rely on the market when making this decision.

    Now, the second question is “What do I do with my existing home?” If you bought it at the peak of the market and its value isn’t quite where you want it to be yet, you have a few options.

    The first is to check the property’s cash flow. If you rented it out, would you be able to cover all of its expenses and create a positive cash flow? If there is, then it might make sense to rent out the property and buy or rent another one. Then you can sell once the equity is back where you want it to be.

    If the existing home won’t give you a positive cash flow, I think you should bite the bullet and sell. Buy another house in your new school district and start building equity there.

    If your goal is to set up your kids for success in the future, I wouldn’t wait. Make the move now. Each case is different, however.

    If you have any questions for us about your individual case or anything else relating to Chicagoland real estate, give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you.

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  • Does Selling or Renting Make More Sense?

    22 May 2017

    Determining whether a property is better off sold or rented out takes time. You’ve also got to answer a few questions about the property.
     
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    When upgrading to a new home, should you sell your old home or simply rent it out instead?

    I think the better question is, “Is this a good investment for your particular situation?” To keep your existing home as a rental property, there are a number of things you should consider in advance. Here is my blueprint for determining if a property is better suited for selling or renting out.

    The first question I ask is, “Will it generate cash flow?” If you decide to leave your home as a rental, what will the rent be and how much are your expenses? Factor in mortgage taxes, insurance, and property management fees if you’re going that route. If there is cash left over after all that, that’s a good start.

     

    Will it generate cash flow?

     

    The next thing will be to determine the actual rate of return on the investment. Every investor has a different appetite for ROI. My rule of thumb for single-family homes is a ratio of 1:1. In other words, if I buy a home for $200,000, I want the rent to be approximately $2,000 per month. If you buy a home for $300,000 but the area only commands $1,200 in rent, it’s not a great investment.

    Finally, you need to see if you can qualify for another mortgage. If you can’t, you’ll likely be forced to sell. If you can, however, and the property passed all the previous tests, I would call it a very sound investment.

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

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  • How to Get the Best Price in a Seller’s Market

    15 May 2017

    In a seller’s market, getting the highest price possible isn’t simple. It involves morphing your traditional home sale into an empowered one.
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    How do you get the best price out of your home in a seller’s market like Chicago?
    This is a great question, but I think the better question is “How do I switch my traditional home sale to an empowered home sale so I can get the maximum amount of money for my house?”
    The way to do that is to change the way homes are sold in that particular market. Traditionally, agents create marketing that focuses on bringing in one specific buyer who will come in, schedule a showing, and possibly bring you an offer. When you get into negotiations with that buyer, it can sometimes leave you wondering if you left a better offer on the table.

    I think every seller in the market should use this strategy.

    Empowering your marketing approach involves switching your focus from one buyer to many. Instead of trying to bring one buyer on the market to the home, you want to bring the entire market to that home. By doing that, you can create competition and urgency among buyers. This all but guarantees you to get the best price possible. I think every seller should use this strategy in a seller’s market like this.
    Making the switch to an empowered home sale involves a lot of strategy. A solo agent can’t do it on their own; you need an entire team. If you have any questions for us or are interested in learning about how we can make your home sale empowered, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
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  • Spring 2017 Chicago Home Price Update

    18 April 2017

    Friends and clients –

    If you are looking to sell your home, then three recent developments make this spring a unique moment to do so quickly and at a top price.

    First, mortgage rates have stabilized.

    From a low of 3.41% last July, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate spiked up after the election and reached a high of 4.31% in December.

    However, rates have stabilized over the past few months, and despite the increase, they are still near historical lows.

    Second, jobs are up.

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 235,000 new jobs in February and 2.3 million over the past year. This reflects continuing growth in consumer and business confidence over recent months.

    Third, housing inventory is at a record low.

    February saw a 17.9% year-over-year drop in the number of homes on the market. This is the 100th consecutive month of year-over-year declines, going back to October 2008.

    So what do these three developments mean for you?

    First, if you’re looking to sell your house, they mean you will be able to do so quickly.

    Demand for homes is strong and will continue to get even stronger due to the growth in jobs and the low and stable mortgage rates.

    The statistics bear this out: homes sold within an average 68 days this February compared to 75 days in February 2016.

    Second, it means you can expect to sell your home at a top price.

    Because of strong demand and low inventory, prices continue to increase. On a national level, home prices rose 6% year-over-year in February. This agrees with what I’ve been seeing around (area) as well.

    In short, this spring is a fantastic time to sell your home if you’ve been considering it for a while.

    In case you’re curious about how much your home is worth in the current market, check out my home value calculator that takes into account recent Chicago sales:

    Enter your street address here to find out what your home is worth

    And what if you’re looking to buy a home?

    The current low mortgage rates are definitely worth taking advantage of, as they allow you to afford a more luxurious home.

    Several amazing homes have recently come on the market around Chicago. To see all the homes that are available right now, take a look at this complete listing:

    Click here for all available Chicago homes for sale

    Whether you’re selling or buying this spring, just give me a call at 630-530-9800 in case you have any questions. I’m here to help, and I can give you more detailed information about the situation on the ground.

    Have a great day,

    Saul Zenkevicius
    Z Team
    630-530-9800
    bettercallsaulz.com
    ZTeam@CallZTeam.com

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