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Real Estate Investment

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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3 Things Investors Must Analyze When Buying A Rental Property

By | Agents, brokers, Property Management, real estate, Real Estate Investment

Thinking about investing in residential real estate? Maybe you already own a few residential properties and you are looking to expand? You may or may not already know, there is a lot to consider when determining what kind of property will make an ideal candidate as a rental property. It is important to analyze every property you are considering as an investment; not doing so can be a costly mistake. To help you make the best investment, we have broken down what makes a great rental property.

  1. Crunch the Numbers

When you are digesting all the factors of a property to determine whether it would be a good rental, it does not stop at just the math. But an investment can start or not start depending on the math, so be sure to break everything down and analyze all the numbers as you work towards your decision.

Rent-to-Value Ratio

First and foremost, what is the rent-to-value ratio ratio of the property? Rent-to-value is one year of rent divided by the price of the property gives you the gross rent yield. There is not a hard and fast rule for where the gross rent yield should be, but typically they fall between 3 and 8 percent, depending on the location of the property. Usually the better investment is the property that has the higher rent yield. It is not an absolute law of an investment’s success, but knowing a property’s rent-to-value ratio will help determine which properties may be better suited as rental properties over others.

Cash Flow

Another factor to think about when considering the viability of a property as a rental is its cash flow. This is the monthly rent minus all expenses associated with the property; including mortgage, taxes, insurance, HOA dues, maintenance, vacancies, etc. Once everything is calculated, are you happy with the number you have? If it is much lower than you would like, maybe you should consider a different property.

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  1. Location, Location, Location

Real estate professionals love to say that, but it is true! Location is huge factor when it comes to investing in real estate. Several factors in regards to the property’s location will determine whether your investment is fruitful, so it is crucial to consider all of them and to do your research.

Already Popular Or Still Rising

What is the neighborhood like? Is it well-established, up-and-coming, something else entirely? Established neighborhoods are a great place invest; property values are usually stable so it is less risky of an investment. However, that can also make it more difficult to make money. If the initial cost of the property is higher, there is less room for profit.

On the other hand, though it is more risky, investing in an up-and-coming neighborhood may give you more room for profit. You may be able to get a property at a lower cost, and though initially profits may be lower, as the neighborhood becomes more established, property values and rent prices tend to increase. The payoff can be high, but there is also more risk involved.

Some neighborhoods can take years to become more established and some others never take off as expected. If possible, find out if any building permits were issued nearby? Are there any new businesses moving in or future developments planned? This will help give you an idea of the speed of growth in the neighborhood. To ensure that you make the best investment for you, be diligent in your research and consider talking your plans over with an expert who is well-versed in neighborhood growth and real estate trends.

Education Is So Important

The neighborhood schools may not be important to every potential tenant, but for the ones who find it important, it can be a major importance. The quality of the schools in the area are often a top factor when they choose where to live. Check out the quality of not only the public schools in the area of the property you are considering but also any nearby private schools.

Neighborhood Watch

Nobody wants to live in an area that is a hotbed for criminal activity. The crime rate will play a major role in not only the value of the property you are considering but also the ease in which you will find tenants. You should be able to acquire updated crime statistics for the area you are considering. Pay close attention to violent crimes, vandalism, and theft, and look for any signs of increase or slowdown in criminal activity.

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  1. The Property

Now that you have considered the location and the dollars and sense of the investment, let us now think about the physical property. It is not as cut-and-dry as just choosing a property that looks nice and is in your prices range; there are several factors to consider.

What Type of Property is It?

There are many different types of residential properties available so one of the first things you need to decide is what type of property are you looking for. A single-family home or a condominium is great for any investor, but if you are a first time or beginning investor they are the ideal property.

Single-family homes are nice because they tend to attract long-term tenants such as young families or couples looking to start a family, so you will not have to worry as much about vacancy. Condominiums are nice for a beginner because they tend to be low maintenance. Owners are responsible for interior repairs; this leaves any exterior repairs as the responsibility of the Home Owners Association.

However, that can bring about another issue. HOA fees can be high so it is important to consider those into your figures when determining the potential value of the investment. Also, make sure you look into the financial health of the HOA because you do not want to end up footing the bills for a struggling HOA.

If you are a more experienced investor, you may be thinking about a multi-unit investment. This type of property has multiple tenants in one building and can range from a duplex to an apartment building and anything in between. With this type of property, tenants could solely occupy the units or you could live in one unit with tenants occupying the remaining units. Living in one of the unit could be a beneficial way for you to save money personally and possibly save money on fees involved in financing a multi-unit property.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced investor, meeting with a real estate professional to discuss what type of property is ideal for your individual situation will help you make the best possible investment.

Skip the Fixer Upper

Many people like to purchase property that needs moderate to major amounts of work, thinking that they can make a lot of money. Properties that require a lot of work can be bought at significantly lower price, but they are best avoided by those new to investing in real estate. Unfortunately, many people end up spending more money than they planned and do not make the kind of money they expected. Do not get us wrong here, there are people that do this and are very successful at it. We have found that, in the beginning, it is better to leave the fixer uppers to those that already do it well.

There is a lot to consider when purchasing a residential property as an investment and it can require a certain amount of legwork to determine what is best for you. Consulting an expert in the field will help take some of the work out of your hands. Here at Lofty, we do just that—we have the experience and the knowledge at our fingertips to help relieve you of the extra work and help you make the right real estate investment choices. Talk to us and see how we can help you live the life you deserve.

Speak with one of our experts to find out how we can supercharge your investment.

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What Does An Amazing Property Management Company Do?

By | Agents, brokers, Property Management, real estate, Real Estate Investment

Imagine a world where you never have to worry about finding the right tenants, collecting rent, and getting a plumbing call in the middle of the night on one or many of your investment properties. Well, it is possible with the right property management company. Here are a few things an amazing property management company can do for you...

Market Value

Property managers start by evaluating your property. After performing a detailed inspection of the interior and exterior of your property, which includes taking photos and/or videos of the property, a great property manager can make suggestions for repairs both cosmetic and necessary—repairs that can increase the value of your property and make it more appealing to prospective tenants.

Next, a property manager will seek to determine the fair market rate for rentals. They conduct a comprehensive comparison study of the rentals in your area, to discover the amount of rent that is considered “fair market value” in your area, for your property type and features.

When it is time to search for a new tenant, they will handle the heavy lifting of the leasing process. Whether they show the property individually, list it on the MLS with a lockbox, or some combination of both, a great property manager will market your listing in unique ways to find your ideal renters out of many potential renters.

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Creative Marketing

Carrying a great deal of experience when it comes to marketing, a great property management company can easily design effective ads that will really get perspective tenants attention. Utilizing professional photography and graphic design, a great property manager can prepare print ads, digital ads and network your property with other realtors.

As the calls from prospective tenants start rolling in, they can provide additional information about the property, with a keen sense of how to answer questions you may have had difficulty with on your own. When it is time to show the property to prospective tenants, a great property manager will handle it without hesitation—even during “off” hours like regular business operating times when you may be occupied with other responsibilities.

Tenant Selection

A great property management company is likely already outfitted to present your prospective tenants with application materials that are in line with federal and local housing laws. This means that leasing is sound, safe and secure with a great property manager.

Tenants expect to be required to clear certain verifications in order to be truly eligible to rent from you. Professional property managers know this and are well-prepared to run the necessary background checks to ensure that your prospective tenants are qualified. They will meet with the prospective renters on your behalf and collect the necessary background information to run the verifications.

Leasing

Even if you already have a lease to use, a great property manager is sure to have a lease ready-to-go that is at least as secure and safe as yours, and can set up the lease agreement within all the specific local, state and federal guidelines. They will go over the lease agreement with the tenants to ensure that the terms are well understood—especially addressing the lease due date payment and any fees associated with late payments. Property managers also can ensure that all the instruments have been executed correctly and all signatures are received. When the lease is in place, the property manager will work with your new tenant to secure a move-in date.

Moving In

Great property managers will always seek to perform a comprehensive move-in walkthrough of your property with your new tenants. This is an outstanding way to manage expectations and establish accountability. By making careful notes, a great property manager will learn and share with both parties the condition of the property at the time of move-in. The walkthrough provides an arena for your new tenant to voice concerns and request maintenance on items you may have overlooked or forgotten, while you are well-informed of the condition of your property at the time of the move-in. This can be invaluable in the event of difficulty down the line.

Lease Payment Collection

You can count on your property manager to collect the rent, address late payments and collect late fees on your behalf. In the event things take a turn for the worse, they will even send out demand letters, quit and eviction notices.

Provide Legal Support

Expert property managers are equipped to supply and manage all necessary legal forms and documents for eviction proceedings. They can act as the owner’s representative in court, or work with law enforcement when necessary to remove tenants that are unlawfully occupying property.

In the event of a legal action, your property management company can provide advice or qualified attorney referrals. Great property managers can help the landlord to stay in compliance with all legally binding and necessary activities to include proper documentation.

Financial Service Support

In addition to keeping track of you tenant’s rent collection and security deposit, your property management company can provide accounting services, make payments on your behalf and maintain detailed documentation and expense records. Your monthly income and expense reports will be delivered in the form of performance reports.

Count on your property manager to keep historical financial records for easy access when needed. When it comes to contractors, your property manager will provide tax documents like 1099 forms and other records to ensure ease of tax preparation. You may also find your property manager can give you reliable tax advice about which deductions can be taken.

Work Orders

When it is time for maintenance or a service request, your excellent property manager has a crew of fully-vetted contractors ready to work. They will work with your budgets and take responsibility for the project management just as an expert general contractor would. No rehab or remodeling project is too large or small for an expert property management firm.

As the seasons change in Chicago, the need will arise for landscaping in the spring and summer months, as well as leaf and snow removal in fall and winter, respectively. You can count on your expert property management company to cover you so your tenant stays happy and safe. A 24 hour maintenance phone number provided to your tenant will also work to foster trust and peace of mind.

Moving Out

As with the move-in walkthrough, your property manager will perform a detailed move-out walkthrough inspection of your tenant’s unit, noting damages and necessary repairs. Count on your expert property manager to ensure that your tenant’s security deposit is returned or rightfully applied toward necessary repairs. They will also make sure the keys are returned or the locks changed, and that the unit is deep-cleaned and ready for a new tenant. Marketing begins immediately after an availability date is established.

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These are just some of the services that a property management company can provide. If you need or want additional services, contact your property management company to see what they have to say.

Here at Lofty, we are excited about all the ways we can be of service. Talk to us today and see how we can help you live the life you deserve.

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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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Benefits & Drawbacks of Raising Rent

Buying Multi-Units Vs SFH as Investment Properties

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

Real estate in Chicago is a pro’s game. The dilemma of making a decision to buy a multi-unit or a single-family home is not strange to most property investors. Placing the merits and demerits side by side, and considering what works best for you and your investment goals is key to making the right decision.

Investing in Chicago real estate requires a solid discernment of the real estate scene. It’s easy to stare at a few numbers and just decide that single-family homes are better than multi-units and vice versa.

To completely figure out what represents a better real estate investment decision, let’s look at the two types of properties. Then we’ll do a compare and contrast and let you be the judge.

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Single-Family Units- Merits of Investing

A single-family home (SFH) is a property with only one family (unit). It’s a multi-unit when there is more than one family or tenants living in different units of the building.

There are many benefits of investing in Chicago real estate. and even more when you go with a single-family unit. Let’s look at these for size.

1. Ease of Selling Off

It’s easier to sell off a single-family home. This, in fact, means that you can quickly make a profit on the sale of a SFH than when your property is multi-units. There is also less stress in finding interested buyers when you’re trying to sell a single home.

 2. Faster Appreciation of Property

Single-family units appreciate quite faster than multi-units. Although the difference is often not so large, it’s not negligible either. The appreciation value is a reason you might want to consider when buying a single home because you’re likely to sell (if you decide to sell it) for a considerably higher price than you purchased it.

This also depends of course, on the duration between when you purchased and when you decide to sell it off.

3. Lesser Tenant Issues

With a single-family home, you’ll get fewer phone calls about maintenance and issues going on at the house. You may also not bother employing the services of a Chicago property manager. Since you have only one family on your property, you can self-manage on your own. Collecting rent monthly will also be easier.

4. Less Strenuous Maintenance

There is usually less wear and tear in single-family house units, (well, except the tenants are out to destroy you). In a single-family home, it’s easier to track damages and ensure the house in great condition.

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Merits of Investing in a Multi-unit

Multi-units are also profitable, with some advantages over single-units. Let’s see the merits here.

1. Better Security with Covering Operation Costs

With a multi-unit, you have better chances of having all the fees covered by your tenants. The rent from multiple tenants will cover operational costs. With more people, and a better security management system in place, you are less likely to have theft or crime issues.

2. Regular Cash flow

With more than one tenant paying rent and bills every month, you have a regular cash flow. With excellent maintenance and tenant welfare, you stand a chance of never having a unit in your house empty for any long period of time.

3. Less Charges from Property Manager

Chicago property managers give discounts on every unit in a multi-unit property. At the end of the day, you’ll pay less fees to your property manager per unit than you would in a SFH (single family housing unit). That’s because the discounts you enjoy on multi-units are not extended to SFH.

4. Larger Pool of Tenants

When it’s time to put a new tenant in one of your units, Chicago brokerage companies can help you do a good and swift job of filling up your multi-unit. It’s easier for them to handle than SFH because more people are interested in renting a unit in a building rather than a single-family house.

Multi-unit Vs Single Family Home

To make an intelligent decision free of sentiments, let’s compare them under the following headings, using cold hard facts:

  • Investment risk
  • Expansion
  • Tenant Issues
  • Cash flow
  • Sale
  • Maintenance
  • Appreciation
  • Renters pool and Brokerage

Investment Risk

Single-family units are sometimes highly risky as a tenant can vacate any time. If this happens and you can’t find someone to replace them immediately, you’re going to bear all the costs of mortgage, taxes, and maintenance all by yourself.

There’s a certain comfort in knowing that with a multi-unit, you’ll always have someone living on your property and the rent will cover the costs of the mortgage, maintenance, utility, and so on.

Expansion

Expanding a single-family unit is easier. With a multi-unit, you’re more or less stuck with the original architecture forever. Except, of course, you’re ready to bear the cost of nearly tearing the building down and starting again.

Tenant Issues

Issues with tenants are more frequent in a multi-unit. Because there are more people living there, there’s a greater possibility of clashes and the need for conflict resolution.

Cash flow

Cash flow in multi-units is more frequent and dependable. If your property is well managed, you’ll hardly find yourself bearing the costs of maintenance by yourself. In single units, you may not have that level of security. It’s only one tenant paying and that’s it.

Sale

It’s easier to get a large pool of buyers for single-family homes than for multi-units. This means you can find more reasonable Chicago brokerage fees with SFH. Multi-units may not attract 100% brokerage since there’s more work in finding your buyers and keeping up with payment of rent.

Maintenance

For SFH, it’s usually higher. As for Multi-unit properties, due to the fact that more people live in your multi-unit property, maintenance costs may also rise. In fact, you’d have to employ the services of a Chicago property management company to help you keep up with this. A good choice would be Lofty property management company.

Appreciation

Appreciation rates in Chicago real estate have been different over the years. Of course, SFH appreciates slightly faster. But in any case, if your multi-unit is well maintained, it can appreciate just as well. Note however that if your SFH’s location is bad, you may run into serious debt.

The verdict: Single Family Home or Multi-unit?

This is not a clear-cut choice. In a busy location, you may want to trust multi-units more. There’s every chance that the units will always be occupied at every point in time.

Before buying a SFH, consider if you will be able to foot the bills of taxes, electricity, mortgage, and the rest in case there’s ever a long duration between when a tenant leaves and when another comes.

In Conclusion

There is no clear-cut winner. Depending on the location of the property, SFH may be a better option. The merits of multi-units are obvious as well, but if tenant issues and maintenance costs are not for you, you may just be better off with SFH. Either ways, there’s always one that’s more suitable in a particular situation.

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Why Buying and Owning Rentals is Always a Good Investment

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

Owning a rental is always good; you get paid for being the landlord. It's a really profitable slice of the Chicago real estate investment market. This is mainly because of two things; the first being the steady stream of passive income it provides, and the second being the opportunity to get tax write-offs.

Of course, owning a real estate rental in Chicago is not an easy feat. The rewards are potentially huge only if you have a keen eye for details, proper preparation, and a sound Chicago property management company in charge of your property.

Managing rentals on the Chicago real estate scene can be done all by yourself, but like most people you may get overwhelmed over time. At this point, you can use the services of a Chicago property manager, such Lofty Real Estate Chicago.

Investing in rental properties is always a good idea, once you know the things you need to know, which we will be discussing.

Buying Rentals: Need to Know

Of course, when buying rentals in Chicago, you can either do it yourself or you can use a Chicago brokerage company. Asides from this, it is usually a sound policy to calculate your expected cash flow on the rental property before you purchase it. Think of it as a business; no one goes into a business to make a loss.

For you as a rental owner, the cash flow your property generates is your profit, so to say. Because of this, your cash flow should be at least at break-even point, when you factor in your expenses on the property.

Buying a property with an expected cash flow level that is below the amount you’d spend on expenses such as monthly mortgage payments, depreciation, etc, is not a good idea, and  we do not advise it.

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What are the Advantages of Owning a Rental Property?

There are a lot of advantages of buying and owning a rental property over other forms of investment (we won’t compare, don’t worry), and they are;

1. Diversification of Investment Portfolio

Investment, no matter the amount of probable gains, always involves a risk. Because of the inherent risk in the world of Investment, it is unwise to put all your money into one investment portfolio, especially stocks.  An unforeseen switch in the market dynamics and all your money might be gone with the wind. Owning a rental real estate property helps you mitigate greatly against the inherent risk involved with the investment. Once you have done your due diligence, your rental property will always be a source of income for you – one you can rely on to a very great degree.

2. Getting Tax Write-offs

The tax system favors owning rental properties a lot, and that’s another perk of buying and owning a rental property.  Owning a rental property means you don’t get to pay tax on your rental income. Owning a rental property means there will be depreciation and other property related expenses.  It is a usual practice to deduct the depreciation and other expenses from the federal income tax, and so this leaves the rental income completely free of any deductions.

3. Steady Stream of Passive Income

Owning a rental property is one of the safest ways to earn a steady stream of passive income every month. It’s your job (or your property management’s job) to ensure you keep renters who pay their rent promptly.

The “steady” in the income hinges on a lot of factors including doing a background check for prospective renters, so you can easily weed out those with a history of causing trouble for their landlords.

The best part is that you do not have to get involved in the background checks exercise or even get involved in the day to day running of the property before you get your passive income. You can simply leave your property to a Chicago property management company and focus on other areas of your life, whilst they manage the property and ensure your passive income keeps rolling in.

4. The Chance to Sell at a Premium

The usual industry practice is that you should try to hold your rental property for at least 10 years, but that rule doesn’t always work for every situation.

Owning a rental property in an area that increases the value of your property means you can sell off the property and make a gain on it at any time.

Even if the market dynamics change and the prices of property plummet, you can still rent out your property and make a rental income that will cover the costs of owning the property. You can do this till you’re ready to sell, and you would not lose any money.

Also, real estate market values generally appreciate over time, and the real estate market is usually one of the first to bounce back in case of a recession. So, the chances of losing money on your rental property investment over time are very low.

5. Growing Your Equity

Growing your equity is a goal for everyone, and owning a rental is a good way to do this. It is always good practice to purchase a rental property with a mortgage. Once this is done, you’ll have to start paying up on the mortgage payments, and you can use the rental income to pay for your mortgage.

This would be especially easy if you’ve accurately calculated the amount of cash flow to expect from owning the property. It would basically be as though your tenants are paying your mortgage for you, and over time, your debt will shrink and disappear, and your equity will start to rise steadily.

Conclusion

Buying and owning a rental property is one of the best ways to not just earn stable, passive income, but to also grow equity. By understanding and calculating just how much you can expect with regards to cash flow from the property, you can forecast how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage and start growing your equity.

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Leveraging Property to Buy Property: A Full Guide

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

Is Leveraging a Good Idea?

The unofficial cardinal rule of investing in real estate is that you invest, or buy real estate with someone else’s money, not yours. This is the basis of leverage in the Chicago real estate investment market; by using someone else’s money to invest in real estate, you are making gains from your lender’s money.

Leverage is a well-known strategy in the Chicago real estate market, and it is the most widely used way to acquire real estate. There is a drawback though; when real estate values rise, it is to your advantage. But when they fall, you are at a disadvantage. This is why it is crucial to do your due diligence about a property when you want to use leverage to acquire it.

Leveraging Your Way to the Second Mortgage

Simply put, a second mortgage is a mortgage taken out when you still have a mortgage in effect on your first property. Doing this is only possible if you have enough equity on your first mortgaged property since a second mortgage is a riskier endeavor than the first.

The usual practice is that your first property is used as collateral for the second mortgage, and most lenders will only agree to a deal if you have enough equity on your first property. This is the big risk with leveraging property to buy the property.

The second mortgage can be used for anything, including using them to service personal expenses.

Types of Second Mortgages

There are basically two types of second mortgages available for use in the Chicago real estate market. They are;

  1. Home Equity Loans
  2. Home Equity Line of Credit (also called HELOC)

1. Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans are a type of second mortgage in which you can borrow a certain amount of money in a lump sum, payable over a period not exceeding 15 years at a fixed rate of interest.

Basically, you are using the amount of your home you own (i.e. the amount of mortgage you’ve already paid back on your home) to back up your credit. If you fail to pay, your house is liable to be foreclosed by the lender.

Home equity loans are best for investors looking to leverage their property to buy a rental property, as rental properties usually require a significant amount of down payment.

2. Home Equity Line of Credit

Popularly called HELOC, this type of second mortgage is different from regular home equity loans in that they are payable with adjustable rates.

HELOCs are the credit cards of second mortgages, and they work in a similar manner; there is a credit pool you can repeatedly draw from, it has a set limit and some lenders even give you an actual credit card. HELOCs have draw periods in which you can draw from the credit pool as you need the money, without having to pay back. This draw period is between 5 to 10 years.

HELOCs also have repayment periods, wherein you pay back all the money you have borrowed at adjustable rates, as mentioned earlier.

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How Do You Leverage One Property to Buy Another?

There are two ways to do this, put simply. They are;

1. Leverage Rental Property to Buy Another

A rental property is a good investment if bought properly. Managing it yourself might not be easy, which is why we advise that you use a Chicago Property Manager, or a Chicago property management company, such as Lofty Real Estate.

Using your rental property as leverage to get another property is the easier of the two ways of leveraging property to buy another property. This is because the rental income paid by tenants can be used to pay up the mortgage on the rental property and gain some equity.

Using a rental property as leverage for buying another property would involve using the rental property as collateral, as mentioned earlier. A second mortgage would also involve higher interest loans than the first, so you have to be absolutely sure your primary property has enough equity to cover the expenses associated with taking a second mortgage.

2. Leverage Your Primary Residence to Buy Another

Another way of leveraging property to buy property can be this scenario; using the equity on your primary residence to get another mortgage. It can be another house or even a rental property. Doing this will mean your primary residence will be at the mercy of the lender if you default on the second mortgage payments.

Requirements for Leveraging Property to Buy Property

Building up a good level of home equity and a great credit score are central to the success of your chances when taking out a second mortgage.

How to Get A Second Mortgage

1. Know How Much Equity You Have

Knowing how much equity you have will help you make a quick decision on whether or not to go for a second mortgage and leverage your property to buy property. The more equity you have, the more your chances of success when it comes to your application for a second mortgage.

2. Check Your Credit Score

This is also another key part of the process. An excellent credit score will also improve your chances of being approved. If you’re interested in leveraging your primary property to buy another property, then you have to possess a credit score to match.

3. Pick out Your Preferred Second Mortgage Option

There are two options for you here, either you go for a HELOC or a home equity loan. Each option has its own peculiarities and benefits, so be sure to pick one that suits you. If you’re leveraging property to buy another house, going for a HELOC might be best. On the other hand, if you’re leveraging property to buy a rental property, then going for a home equity loan where you’ll get a lump sum might prove to be the better option.

4. Look Around

Once you’ve carried out these three steps, then it’s time for you to find out the options you have with regard to lenders and their rates. Check out the terms of each second mortgage very well, and ensure you don’t sign until you’re convinced it’s the best deal for you.

In Conclusion

Leveraging property to buy property is a smart way of acquiring more property, especially if you have the required equity.  With our guide, you have all you need to know about leveraging property to buy property.

Looking to purchase investment property? Give us a shout and let’s learn how we can reach your goals.

SCHEDULE A CHAT

or call

(844) 355-6389

Popular Interior Design Changes In Chicago Rentals

Popular Interior Design Changes In Chicago Rentals

By | Property Management, Property Managemnt, Real Estate Investment

All owners of rental property share the same main goals: keep vacancy to a minimum while maintaining or increasing property value. Besides a clean space and working appliances, there are several more factors that contribute to an ideal situation for owners and renters alike. Interior design can be a big help and won’t cost too much with a little preparation. Though trends come and go, it is important to be aware of what is popular when designing your property for rental.

Experts Are All Around You

With sites like Pinterest and Houzz, there is no shortage of “expert” advice and influence to be found on the internet. Maybe you have a Facebook friend that has their finger on the pulse of the trends and can help you make some informed decisions. There is a balance between making some popular interior design adjustments to enhance your condo/apartment’s aesthetics and spending countless dollars on a full makeover. Knowing your market can really help to find that balance. With the right touches you can easily enhance your condo and make it much more marketable.

When it comes to upgrading rental property, Owners can also learn a lot by looking at other listings in the area. Making yourself aware of the finishes that renters in your market are looking for will set you up to make the right decisions on your own investment.

Even with the advice of the “experts” on the web, sometimes time just isn’t as plentiful as one may need it to be. Savvy owners turn to Lofty, one of the top property management companies in Chicago. Lofty has apartment management in Chicago down to a science.

Want to increase profits and cut down on your time spent managing your properties? Contact us and we’ll show you how to do just that. We provide free market analysis, consultations and professional photography for all our new clients. We will ensure you never have to worry about renting out your condo again.

Some Tips from Lofty

Through their experience leasing condos in Chicago, the Lofty professionals have refined their list of what does and does not work in rental property design elements.

Here are a few tips you can use as a sort of guide or checklist when you are ready to make some changes for the better:

  • Hire a professional service to clean the apartment really well so you can expect to have your unit returned to you in the same pristine condition it was given.
  • A good place to invest a bit of money is in matching, stainless steel, energy efficient appliances. Otherwise, make sure whatever is there is cleaned like new and operating without issue.
  • Choose interior design materials that are timeless. Hardwoods, natural stone, and stainless steel are all good options.
  • When painting or decorating with wallcovering, opt for neutral colors. A neutral color palette will please the majority of potential applicants.
  • Avoid costly, over-the-top customization as adding too many details may limit the appeal or price you out of the market.
  • Built-in storage and shelving can be a big hit. Bookshelves in a flat wall can add some extra space; closet or cabinet organizers in bathrooms and bedrooms will help maximize storage.
  • Simple bathroom updates like a new mirror, faucet, towel rods and light fixtures make a big difference.
  • Depending on marketplace expectations, blinds—especially wooden blinds— are a great investment as they offer more control and class than a pull-down shade. Remember to instruct tenants on proper operation.

 

Here at Lofty, we provide free market analysis and consultations. We would be happy to come out and take a look at your space to help you determine what interior design touches can help you get more income out of your rental. The right interior design elements will get your property rented for top dollar and keep it rented. We want your time spent where it should be, enjoying life.

 

Speak with one of our experts to find out how we can supercharge your investment.

 

 

How to Spot Up-and-Coming Chicago Neighborhoods to Purchase Investment Properties In

How to Spot Up-and-Coming Chicago Neighborhoods to Purchase Investment Properties In

By | Real Estate Investment

The trick to turning the biggest profits on investment properties is, like many other investments, buy low and sell high. In other words, find apartment buildings and other properties in neighborhoods that are currently attracting tenants enough to make the investment worthwhile, but perhaps isn’t SO popular yet that the property is too costly. Spotting these up-and-coming neighborhoods can feel a bit like a gamble, but when you know what to look for in neighborhoods that have great properties but not a lot of draw, it’s easier to get a feel for what’s to come. As a property management company in Chicago, we at Lofty are dedicated to helping property investors find the best investments. Here’s our guide for helping you determine which neighborhoods show promise.

Check Out What Businesses Are Moving In

If empty storefronts have plagued an area, but more and more businesses are beginning to sign leases there, it can be a sign of what’s to come. A rapid increase of restaurants or brewpubs, coffee shops, bars, boutiques, and more can be an indication that a neighborhood is on the rise. Likewise, if more chain offerings move in—think places like Starbucks or Target—that can also bring more people to an area. People enjoy living close to a variety of businesses, and the busier a neighborhood gets, the more popular it becomes.

investment property chicago

Take a Look at the Transportation Offerings

If a train station or multiple public transportation stops are nearby a lot of buildings, it can be beneficial to look at those buildings as potential investments.

Many city dwellers rely on public transportation and will seek out housing that is nearest their most-used train or bus lines. If the neighborhood has a lot of public transit options and a lot of new businesses are moving in, this can be a sign that it’s time to buy.

Find Out if Any Large Companies Are Setting Up Camp There

Another thing that can bring a lot of people to an area of the city is when a big company, like Google, for instance, announced they’ll be opening an office there. Employees look for nearby housing, and that’s where your investment properties will come in handy for them. Take a look at news about businesses moving in, and maybe you’ll find some invaluable information.

Research the Average “DOM” or Days on Market Rate for Properties

In tough neighborhoods, when properties sell, they may sit on the market for several months. As those neighborhoods heat up, however, those properties sell faster and faster. This is a huge indication of how an area is doing. Check with real estate agents and your property management company in Chicago to learn about the trends in various neighborhoods in the city. Look for declining DOM rates—the faster properties are selling, the easier of a time you’ll have renting these properties out (and the higher demand means you’ll be able to price your rentals higher, as well).

best property management chicago

Look at the Neighborhood’s Demographics

Up-and-coming neighborhoods in many cities, but especially Chicago, are known for having a high concentration of “creative-type” residents. Because that line of work isn’t known for its fat paychecks (usually), people who rely on art, music, and similar livelihoods tend to find neighborhoods with relatively low rent. However, because these groups of people tend to have a following of people who want to be where the “cool” things are, those areas tend to increase in popularity, leading to increases in rent. Then, the whole cycle starts over. For instance, think of Wicker Park in Chicago about 15 years ago, or Logan Square five years ago. Both neighborhoods were the cheap, hip places to live, and nowadays, Wicker Park is home to booming businesses and hundreds of families, while Logan Square is currently seeing rent hikes and new restaurant openings on a near-weekly basis. Where will the next hot spot be?

Investigate City Improvement Plans

Look to city plans to see where people might gravitate to in a year or two. Are new parks being constructed? Schools? Trails? Amenities that people enjoy being near will cause an increase in popularity in an area, so try and check to see if the city has anything planned in the neighborhoods you’re looking to buy in. For instance, the creation of the 606 elevated trail is leading to an increase in growth on the blocks directly surrounding it.

Proximity to Other Popular Areas

Finally, look at what’s popular now, then look at the areas surrounding it. Where Wicker Park was popular, now it’s neighbors to the west (Bucktown and Logan Square) are heating up. Logan Square is pricing some residents out, who are now flocking to places like Humboldt Park, Avondale, and Hermosa. Take

Need Help With Your Investments?

As a property management company in Chicago, we at Lofty are dedicated to helping people make the best investments. That means providing sound advice on where to buy and what’s heating up, as well as helping you get the best returns on your investment properties in Chicago. We’re a full service property management company, and we’re ready to help you take care of all the minutiae related to owning investment properties, so that you can live the life you deserve rather than working constantly. To learn more about any of our services, contact us anytime!

Wondering if a switch might be right for you? Give us a shout and learn more.

SCHEDULE A CHAT

or call

(844) 355-6389

How to Prepare Your Chicago Investment Properties for Renters in Spring

How to Prepare Your Chicago Investment Properties for Renters in Spring

By | Property Management, Real Estate Investment

#6. Easier and faster.

Management software has become an efficient way for property managers and property owners to access powerful tools for effectively managing the rental properties for which they are responsible. Technological developments like property management software make detailed tenant and property information accessible virtually anywhere.

A modern property management company has tons of useful software products available to make managing property more efficient. With being a society always on the go, advanced property management companies, like Lofty are embracing the use of technology for their owner and tenant clients alike. Useful, web-based applications can manage everything from contact forms to live chats, listed available properties, tenant screening and applications… Lease and other agreements can even be signed online—this is helpful if you have to move out of the country for work over a weekend, and need help managing your property. In fact, there are ways to “link” these individual components together to build systems that generate feedback and manage the entire property manager workflow in harmony! Do you have goosebumps!?

Because everything can be linked through the internet, property managers can receive alerts at the same rate of transmission as a text message. Mobile connectivity ensures that clients don’t have to wait long for a response. Faster response time mean reduced friction when something unexpected happens, and allows property managers to handle situations as they happen.

#5. Reduce user error

The right property management system provides effective accounting functions and reports that will replace any double-entry errors, and the old fashioned pen and paper. By automating property management tasks, important information is archived through the redundancy of computer processes. Also, utilizing live error-checking features ensures less mistakes are made, and there will be more time to focus on other projects. Come tax season, accountants love those who can effectively take advantage of quality accounting software.

#4. Added value for tenants

Whether it is a request for maintenance work when the washing machine breaks down, a rent payment is due or to simply review their lease, property management software offers online portals as a means of communication between the tenants and the property management company. This communication hub is accessible anywhere, 24/7, and can give owners a place to get a high-level overview of their property status at any given time. By using the property management software’s online tenant portals correctly, the situation can benefit managers, owners and tenants alike by leveling the playing field and allowing each party the advantage of clear communication.

#3. Convenient payment online

With online rent payment solutions software, property management companies, property managers and property owners no longer have to wait for rent checks to get delivered through time-expensive methods like mail, courier, or delivery services, let alone the frequently awkward and inconvenient hand-delivery! Paying online is easier for both tenants and managers when secure ACH or credit/debit card online rent payments are used. Secure online payment gives tenants the opportunity to easily make their rent payment from work, home or anywhere they have an internet connection. By making payment as convenient as possible for all parties, and as secure as an in-person meeting with a teller, quality, modern property management software solutions allow the excuses to just melt away.

#2. Marketing through Social Media

Social media has become more than just a platform for friends and family to keep in touch about life events. It creates a platform for businesses to maintain constant contact with any subsegment of the planet’s population, maximizing virtual awareness and the target audience’s ability to stay proactive. Social media management software allows a residential property management company to market to multiple engagements using campaigns that deploy in multiple social channels at once. With the ability to announce, promote, engage and share your company’s skills as well as your residential inventory to attract new potential tenants all at once, there are endless opportunities to grow brand awareness and create new business!

#1. Property Protection

Using property management software makes background tenant reports instantaneous for property managers, owners and leasing agents. Instant access to tenant screening reports allows managers and property owners review applicant backgrounds including criminal, credit, and eviction history in order for the property owner to make an educated decision about the potential financial responsibility and behavior of the person or people that seek to reside in said owner’s property. By making applicant screening accessible, property management software allows property managers and owners to select the most qualified tenant who will maintain the rental property, much like their own home, respect the agreed upon lease terms and pay their rent on time.

Developments in technology have paved the way for property managers and property owners who are seeking more efficient processes to streamline their business and boost profits. By incorporating the latest property management software applications into their daily operations, property management companies can evolve to become more efficient and effective, industry-wide. Not only have affordable property management systems been developed to make managing rental properties online easier, but today’s renters are seeking and appreciate the convenience of online services provided by their property management company or landlord.  Technology within this industry has changed and evolved to be convenient, cost-effective, and efficient for property owners and/or property managers to provide extra services to their tenants, organize their data and improve their business processes.

Here at Lofty, we pride ourselves on existing on the leading edge of property management software technology, and we use it daily to enhance our client’s experiences. The purpose of technology is to make tasks easier to perform, and there have been many advances in property management systems to the benefit of the client. By automating a lot of the tasks that can bog down personnel, Lofty is able to pay more attention to our clients’ needs and create a customer service experience unsurpassed in property management! Talk to us today, and see how we can help you live the life you deserve.

Speak with Anthony Zammitt, Lofty’s managing broker to find out how we can supercharge your investment.

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