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home buyer

How Seasonal Shopping Events Support Chicago Homeowners

By | Agents, brokers, home buyer, Neighborhood Guides, real estate, Real Estate Investment

With Thanksgiving Day gatherings behind us, this year’s Chicago holiday shopping action re-focused on the Black Friday sales phenomenon. Early reports were encouraging—but confirmed what Chicago businesspeople expected: a substantial tilt to home-based shopping.

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CNBC’s initial late-night observation was that bargain hunters were ringing up record online sales. This was a result that had been foreseen by retailers, who had prepared for the reluctance consumers might show to in-person shopping.

Even so, the National Retail Federation had projected that this year’s holiday sales would grow by somewhere between 3.6%-5.2%. If that proves accurate, sales will exceed averages reached during the previous five holiday seasons—a shot of good economic news for this seesawing (some would say, ‘whipsawing’) year.

At least as significant for Chicago businesses was Black Friday’s weekend successor—Small Business Saturday—which USA Today called “crucial” for myriads of local U.S. establishments. Many local Chicago businesspeople would probably agree, having spent most of 2020 battling spikes in COVID-19 and the strictures aimed at curbing its spread. For the many Chicago small businesses who succeeded in improving their online sales functionality, this week’s Cyber Monday looked to possibly match the national projections, which were widely expected to set sales records of their own.

Much of the media’s coverage urging patronage of local businesses emphasized the altruistic nature of “shopping local”—but from a local homeowner’s perspective, doing so is equally self-serving. Real estate’s “location, location, location” exhortation includes the attractiveness of the community—which is instantly recognizable by visitors in the energy and vitality on display through its local commercial outlets. That activity attracts further investment—or not. And the whole package winds up being reflected in property values—not just in its commercial sector, but in the residential community surrounding it. Area homeowners who make a point of patronizing our own Chicago merchants don’t just keep their neighbors and neighborhoods humming—they assure that local properties will see their values continue to advance in the years ahead.

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One Overlooked Issue for Chicago Home Workplaces

By | Agents, brokers, home buyer, home buying, Property Management, Property Managemnt, real estate, Real Estate Investment

For those who might be dubious about flexjobs.com’s contention that 75% of employees “are less distracted at home,” a survey from Atlassian, a developer of team productivity software, offers some common-sense confirmation: “Seventy-six percent prefer to avoid the office when they need to concentrate on an important task.”

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Naturally, the rising tide of Chicago home workers creates a corresponding surge in the need for Chicago home workplaces—areas fully or partially given over to business activity. We have already seen an increase in the interest that prospective buyers are expressing (and Realtor® Magazine predicts that home offices “will become a hot amenity for the long term”).

All this points to at least one wrinkle that hasn’t as yet been given much attention: workplace safety. The requirement for things like smoke detectors, adequate lighting and ventilation, and unobstructed walkways are second nature to human resource professionals—but few Chicago home workers have probably given them much thought. The immediate need for a strong Wi-Fi connection and comfortable seating are more likely to have drawn their attention. Yet, according to the government’s telework.gov website, ensuring workplace safety is the remote worker’s responsibility. Given the number of hours now being spent in Chicago home offices, that is worth treating seriously.

At Lofty Real Estate, it is our job to track the latest ins and outs of the everchanging Chicago home marketplace—and to share them with our clients that are buying, selling, and/or looking for property management for their real estate investment.

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When to List: Controversy in This One-Off Year

When to List: Controversy in This One-Off Year

By | Agents, brokers, home buyer, home buying, real estate

Sometimes, the timing for when to list your Chicago home is pretty much dictated by circumstances. Whether they be personal or professional changes that call for a move, when to list is (as politicians say) "baked in." When to list can't be rescheduled.

When that isn’t the case—when the timing is solely up to you—there are two ways to look at the decision. One of them is controversial.

Controversial: timing by season. Although many commentators do seem to come down on the side of listing for real estate’s busy season, there are reasonable arguments that counter it. Statistics do prove that the majority of transactions are initiated during good weather. During the spring and summer months, when the sun shines the longest, buyers tend to have more optimism (and possibly energy, although that’s debatable). There are definitely more prospective buyers during the peak real estate season—and they’re out in the neighborhoods house-hunting.

Yet from the seller’s point of view, it’s also true that there is more competition from other Chicago homes for sale. The peak season nay-sayers can also argue that prospective buyers who do their house-hunting in poor weather are demonstrably highly motivated—making for fewer looky-loos and more committed prospects.

Non-Controversial: listing when you’re ready. If 2020 has demonstrated anything, it is how ignoring the traditional real estate calendar can sometimes work out nicely. This year, the “peak” for national home sales has taken its sweet time getting here. It has been on its own schedule—one that nobody could have predicted a year ago. What hasn’t been debatable is what knowledgeable financial commentators have long recommended: when your house no longer fits your lifestyle and/or your financial circumstances indicate that a move will be advantageous—that’s the calendar you should pay attention to.

After the sale is completed, in retrospect, the right time to list your home will have been when your ultimate buyer was looking for a house like yours. That might be more likely when more shoppers are active—yet the persistent fact that many sales seem to be finalized toward the end of the year argues otherwise. The truth is, when you are ready to move on, emotionally, and financially, it’s always the right time to list your Chicago home. It’s also the right time to give one of Lofty’s real estate agent a call!

Thinking of listing your home? Give us a shout and learn more.

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Chicago’s Real Estate Market in 2020

By | Agents, brokers, home buyer, home buying, real estate, Uncategorized

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If you’re planning to sell a home in the area, you might need to pack your patience. Recent data shows that Chicago is one of the “slowest” housing markets among the major metros when based on median “days on market.”

Despite losing residents at a high rate, Chicago is still America’s third largest city and the economic driver of the Midwest. Although there is not a negative impact of buying a house in 2019 versus 2020, it is strongly advised by experts to purchase a house next year. In 2020, the largest group of Millennials will turn 30, which will be good news for an industry that may need it.

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The National Association of Realtors’ annual home-buyer profile has recorded an average home-buying age of 30 that has stood for decades.

While young people have flocked Downtown, bringing with them corporations seeking skilled workers, Millennials will likely turn back to the suburbs when it comes time to buy. But because so many jobs have moved from the suburbs to Downtown, Millennials will likely look for housing in inner-collar suburbs that have urban amenities like public transportation and walkability.

 

The year 2020: where inflation and financing qualification could hurt prospective buyers. According to Zillow, rising mortgage rates are encouraging homeowners to stay put and discouraging would-be buyers.

Higher interest rates should eventually slow the intense pace of home value appreciation that we have seen over the past few years, a welcome relief for hopeful buyers. Overall, home prices aren’t expected to grow much, and market crashes are highly unlikely. That should make it a safer purchase for buyers and more difficult for sellers to get the best price possible.

 

 

 

 

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What To Expect Throughout The Buying Process

By | Agents, closing on a home, home buyer, home buying

Whether it’s your client’s first home, or they’ve been through this process before, every experience is different. However, top real estate agents know the core elements of what to expect during a buying process.

Determine housing needs

In order to deliver the best service to your clients and make the home buying process as enjoyable as possible, it’s important that you get to know them very well. Ask the right questions to find out their motives for buying, what they’re looking for, and what they truly need to be happy in their new home. This will not only help you find them homes to show, but it will also help you tailor your efforts to their needs and wants and create a trusting relationship.

Set a clear budget

It’s important for your clients to know their numbers. As an agent, you never want to put your client in a position of buying a home that they can’t afford and vice versa. You want to be able to show them all the options for homes that they can afford. Show them how to determine the cost of homes they can look at by accessing their financial situation and taking into consideration their current debt and bills etc. If they haven’t already, make sure they are pre-approved for a mortgage.

Begin the home search

Once all the prep work is done and you have a clear understanding of your client’s needs and expectations, let the home search begin! While seeing homes, take note of what they love and what they hate. This will help you narrow down the homes you show in hopes of finding the right home, faster.  Top real estate agents say that their client will know within the first 30 seconds of entering a property if they’re interested or not. Pay attention to your clients during those critical moments. If clients are interested in a certain property, make the extra effort to do repeat tours at different times of the day so they know what the neighborhood is like at night, and they can see the lighting at peak daytime. For pre-construction homes, check the floor plans and get to know the reputation of the developer.

buying a home in Chicago

The offer

Use your expertise as a real estate agent to guide your clients in negotiating a fair offer that they’re happy with and is comparable to homes in the same neighborhood.

Escrow

The hardest parts are over! The offer was accepted and your clients are ready to start getting excited. The home is now in escrow, the period of time it takes to complete all remaining steps in the home buying process.

Home inspection

It’s common for offers to be contingent on a home inspection of the property to ensure there are no signs of structural damage or to take note of things that may need fixing. As a real estate agent, you should have developed trusted contacts who you can refer to your clients to conduct the home inspection. Work with them to schedule the inspection within a few days of the offer being accepted by the seller. Keep them well informed during this process and review the inspection in person with them if possible. Explain to them the power behind the contingency and how it protects them by giving them a chance to renegotiate or withdraw their offer without penalty if the inspection finds any substantial damage. Also, review with them if there’s anything that they want to ask the seller to fix before closing. Once everything is agreed upon, you will do a walk-through with your clients as one last chance to confirm any repairs that were requested. Make sure the seller / previous owner has vacated. If you or your client does find an issue, you’ll need to bring it up to the sellers as soon as possible.

Closing

To avoid any delays, it’s extremely important to properly prepare your clients on what to bring and what to expect during closing. Remind your clients that they must bring proof of homeowners insurance, a copy of the contract, home inspection reports, government-issued photo ID

and the down payment. Make sure that you explain that a personal check will not work and it has to be a wire transfer or a cashier’s check. It’s also common for most lenders to require a title search of public property records to make sure there aren’t issues with transferring the property to your client’s name. There will be lots going on that day and lots of signatures. Set the correct expectations for your client, but also let them know that it’s not uncommon for things to go wrong like a missing document or a misspelled name. As a real estate agent, take all precautionary measures to make sure everyone is prepared and the day goes by as painless as possible.

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