Single-Family Luxury Home Sales Much Lower in September

The weather is cooler, winter months are soon to arrive—and it appears the luxury home market in Chicago may be going into hibernation, if September’s sales are any indication.

Last month, just 17 luxury homes closed in Chicago—those priced from $1 million all the way up to $5.9 million. To compare, luxury home sales just one month before in August hit records, topping $110 in total sales volume.

Even with an unexpected slowdown, the top five most expensive sales should be no surprise. Three were found in Lincoln Park and one each for the Gold Coast and Lakeview. These are the most sought after neighborhoods when it comes to luxury real estate in Chicago. Lincoln Park has a number of coveted blocks lined with gorgeous mansions (one of them making an appearance in last month’s sales), and the Gold Coast is known for its historic atmosphere filled with upscale homes, condos and brownstones.

It’s also interesting to note that many buyers are still purchasing homes with cash. Even as luxury buyers have a number of attractive financing options for jumbo loans from lenders, it’s still not uncommon to see cash purchases for homes priced well into the millions.

Starting with the most expensive sale, here are the details on September’s top luxury home sales:

1863 howe1863 N Howe St
Original list price: $4.55 million
Sold price: $5,866,704
This 6,000 square foot five-bedroom is a brand-new addition to Howe Street, one of Lincoln Park’s (and even Chicago’s) most affluent blocks. On an extra wide lot, this home promises plenty of space, but wasn’t yet designed so the buyer can have a head start on building their dream home customized just for them. The home was built by BDG&C, a well-known design/build firm for high-end custom homes. The fact that this home sold more than a whopping $1 million above its original list price also offers insight into how interested luxury buyers are in new construction properties in Chicago.

2112 Sedgwick2112 N Sedgwick St
Original list price: $$3.695 million
Sold price: $3.45 million
Nestled in East Lincoln Park, this is a one-of-a-kind home on a massive double wide lot more than 50 feet wide. The home was built from lot line to lot line, creating a generous 7,000 square feet on the interior with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. The space in this home doesn’t end with the square footage, however—the ceilings are 11”6” high with tall windows. Hardwood floors, a deluxe chef’s kitchen, a sunroom and multiple entertaining spaces grace the interior, while a huge private yard and gardens enhance the exterior.

1235 w belden1235 W Belden Ave
Original list price: $2.75 million
Sold price: $2.8 million
A corner home in Lincoln Park, this 5-bedroom, 4.1 bath boasts gracious room sizes from the master suite to the great room to the fabulous kitchen. Other features include a wine cellar, built-in outdoor kitchen, infinity bath in the master suite and two outdoor spaces.

74 e elm74 E Elm St
Original list price: $3,199,999
Sold price: $2.36 million
Old world class meets new world amenities in this Gold Coast beauty. The 6,500 square foot home is an original 1891 structure that has been fabulously restored with all the bells and whistles you can imagine: 4 levels of living, extra tall ceilings, a chef’s kitchen, second community kitchen with wine room and 4 en suite bedrooms. The home also includes ample outdoor space with a terrae and roof deck.

3717 bosworth3717 N Bosworth Ave
Original list price: $2.45 million
Sold price: $2.325 million
Another custom home built in 2013, this 5-bedroom in Lakeview boasts fine craftsmanship throughout. With a huge kitchen with double SubZero appliances, a great room with a built-in banquette and direct access to a heated terrace, this is a great space for entertaining year round. The beautiful master suite includes a spa-quality shower and separate soaking tub. Other features include a 3rd floor den, two rooftop decks, and the “best mudroom ever,” according to the listing.

It will be interesting to see what October brings for the Chicago real estate market and if the sales slowdown continues among luxury homes. I recommend buyers keep an eye on recent sales trends to know what they are expect when they begin their search for a home or are ready to make an offer. To see what is on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Jefferson Park Condo Offers Great Neighborhood, Plenty of Indoor and Outdoor Space

ilmlsni08616252-14If you’re looking for a Chicago neighborhood that offers everything from history to convenience to family-friendly living, Jefferson Park on Chicago’s northwest side is a community you’ll want to check out.

This community has something for everyone, as its near great public and private schools, offers easy access to transportation, and the walkability of downtown but the feeling of the suburbs.

On the market now is an amazing 2,500-square foot condo with huge decks and an oversized garage:

Chicago home for sale in Jefferson Park4956 N Lockwood Avenue, Unit 2
3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath
Listing price: $374,500

This Chicago condo lives more like a townhome, with a wide open floor plan and plenty of room to enjoy the outdoors. Inside you’ll find:

  • Chef’s kitchen with SubZero refrigerator, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops
  • Huge master suite with a lofted office
  • Cherry floors and oak doors
  • A 20 x 20-foot outdoor deck

ilmlsni08616252-3ilmlsni08616252-6ilmlsni08616252-13The home is also close to transportation, be it car, train or bus. The Blue Line, Metra, and a dozen bus routes are less than a half mile away, and its easy to zip onto the Edens and Kennedy expressways to head to the city or ‘burbs.

Living in Chicago’s Jefferson Park
Jefferson Park is an ideal neighborhood for families, thanks to its proximity to good schools (both public and private), great parks, well-priced homes and community activities. Its namesake park is just a half-mile away, with 7 acres, athletic fields, tennis courts, a playground, outdoor swimming pool and more. The park is also home to seasonal concerts and community events for both kids and adults.

This is also an area rich in history, which shows in its diverse real estate, from townhomes to octagon-shaped bungalows and frame-and-brick homes from the 1920s. Jefferson Park was even recently dubbed the city’s newest theater district, with several venues for the arts and entertainment options not found in other parts of Chicago.

If you’re in the market for a great Chicago home, give me a call to learn more about this property. It’s a terrific option for those want to be conveniently near the city, but enjoy the neighborhood feel of the city. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Chicago home for sale in Jefferson Park

A Chicago Lakeview Luxury Home is the Most Expensive to Sell in February

February was an interesting month for Chicago real estate sales. Luxury homes that sold during the month ranged from $1 million to $2.75 million, which is quite a bit lower than the highest price sale we’ve seen in recent months. A total of 20 single-family homes closed for a total of $30.9 million.

When looking at the previous month’s sales, it’s often apparent that the luxury properties moving on the market are following some sort of trend—i.e., they are mostly new construction, or in the same neighborhood, or boasting incredible space or square footage. The most expensive home sold in February certainly stands out on the market, but for different reasons than we often see, including a few unique features, its location in a coveted school district and the fact that it’s actually not located on a lot-and-a-half or a double-wide lot—something many recently-sold homes have been.

Here’s a closer look at that top sale in Lakeview, along with the next five priciest sales in February:

3735 N Greenview Ave
Original list price:
$2.7 million
Sold price:
$2.75 million
The most expensive home to sell in February, this 6-bedroom, 4.2 bath stunner has all the bells and whistles you would expect. On a 30 x 125-foot lot in Lakeview, this year-old home features a custom chef’s kitchen with commercial-grade appliances, a built-in banquet, a huge family room, spectacular master suite and a unique attached breezeway. The outdoor space includes a private raised rear yard patio with an outdoor fireplace and roof deck. And, it’s Southport Corridor location puts this home in the Blaine School District, which is one of the city’s best and a key factor for many buyers today.

35 E Elm St
Original list price:
$2.575 million
Sold price:
$2.425 million
This Chicago home in the Gold Coast has all the newness of a new construction property with the vintage charm of its neighborhood—the home was rebuilt from the ground up, leaving the front facade but fitting the interior with 4 bedrooms, 2 full kitchens and 5 living areas. The home also features generous outdoor space in 3 separate areas, an elevator, designer appointments throughout, and a full separate apartment.

1434 N Mohawk Ave
Original list price:
$2.499 million
Sold price:
$2.105 million
Truly one of a kind, as this Old Town home was custom built on a 31 x 132-foot lot, allowing for a wide-reaching space and huge backyard. Five bedrooms and 4.1 baths span approximately 7,000 square feet with 3 bars, a huge living and dining room, family room and kitchen, vaulted ceilings with skylights and a stunning office overlooking the first floor. The amenities read like that of a four-star hotel, with an outdoor hot tub, gym, steam room and large movie theater room. A huge recreation room and full kitchen sit on the lower level that can serve as in-law or nanny quarters.

1720 N Cleveland Ave
Original list price:
$2.35 million
Sold price:
$1.9 million
An extraordinary property in Old Town, this 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home receives amazing light through large windows that allow for views of the city skyline and St. Michael Church. With a Southern California style, this home spans over 5,000 square feet with a terrace, deck, office and media room, and generous storage space. and an all-over open floor plan. A finished lower level features a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, laundry and recreation room.

2342 N Wayne Ave North
Original list price:
$1,799,900
Sold price:
$1,752,000
This new construction property in Lincoln Park was a must-see on the market. A five bedroom, 3.2 bath, this home featured everything form stunning custom millwork to coffered ceilings to a theater room and wine cellar. An incredible kitchen boasts custom cabinetry, Subzero and Wolf appliances and a butler’s pantry. Other enviable features of this luxury home include custom closets, four fireplaces, a steam shower and great outdoor space with a main level and 3rd level deck.

For more details about February’s Chicago real estate sales or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Chicago Luxury Home Sales for the First Half of 2012: 141 Homes Totaling $228 Million

At the beginning of this year, there were a lot of expectations for Chicago real estate in 2012. And it’s been volatile–one week looking up, the next looking down. But one thing that has held pretty steady for the first half of the year is the luxury market–homes priced at $1 million all the way up to $5.99 million. The top 10 homes sold during this time period fall right in line with that old (but still incredibly relevant) adage: location, location, location.

Those top sales were found in the three most popular neighborhoods in the city: Gold Coast (7 of the top 10), Lincoln Park (2 of the 10) and Lakeview (one in the top 10). Here’s a closer look at each of the 10 homes and where in the city they’re located:

1. 1956 N Orchard St
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Sold price: $5.3 million
For the most expensive sale in 2012 thus far, the buyer of this Chicago home got a deal, knocking more than a half million dollars off the asking price of $5.999 million. Found on an extra-wide 50-foot x 124-foot lot, this traditional home is just under 10,000 square feet, with 12-foot ceilings, 4 fireplaces, a second kitchen and attached 3-car garage.

The most expensive home sold in Chicago so far in 2012 was this Lincoln Park home that went for $5.3 million, more than a half million less than the original asking price.

2. 1521 N State Pkwy
Neighborhood: Gold Coast
Sold price: $4.725 million
A huge home with 9,155 square feet and six bedrooms, this one-of-a-kind home pays tribute to its 1890s origin with original woodwork, Beaux-Art style architecture, and original French-leaded windows. Even though it was listed as a property in need of renovations, this was still the second-most expensive Chicago home sale in the first half of 2012.

3. 1701 N Dayton St
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Sold price: $4.5 million
This property sold in just four days, and it’s clear it had much to offer the luxury buyer: A 36-foot wide lot, more than 8,000 square feet of living space, and a prime location in one of the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods.

4. 2237 N Dayton Ave
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Sold price: $4,143,094
Sold early in the year, this home was a new construction property on a 32-foot wide lot on one of Lincoln Park’s favorite blocks. This 7-bedroom, 6800-square foot home features an elevator, 3-car garage, great floor plan, two-tiered outdoor deck, penthouse-level guest suite, roof deck, a nanny suite and much more.

5. 452 W Huron St
Neighborhood: Gold Coast
Sold price: $4.025 million
The buyer of this home got an excellent discount of $450,000 off of the original list price of $4.475 million. The home is a stunning, custom-built 6-bedroom with 10,000 square feet, a five-stop elevator, marble foyer, and top-of-the-line finishes throughout. Wrought-iron balconies overlook a private, landscaped inner courtyard.

6. 2038 N Mohawk St
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Sold price: $3,737,523
A newer home in East Lincoln Park with 6 bedrooms, 6,700 square feet and a limestone facade, this elaborate home was designed with custom built-ins, moldings, paneling and high-end finishes. It also includes a 700-square foot media room, mud room and attached heated garage.

7. 2015 N Dayton St
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Sold price: $3.65 million
With its A+ Lincoln Park location, this newer home was on the market just over 1 week. The home sits on a 33-foot-wide lot, with 7,000 square feet inside with a penthouse great room, paneled office, two roof decks, lower level media, exercise and guest room plus top-of-the-line finishes throughout.

8. 3804 N Janssen Ave
Neighborhood: Lakeview
Sold price: $2.95 million
The buyer of this home knocked off more than $200,000 off the list price of this home, which was built in 2009. A well-designed single-family home, this property was built on an over-sized corner lot, with 7,300 square feet inside and more than 1700 square feet of outdoor space. Interior highlights include a grand custom spiral staircase, a chef’s kitchen, dumbwaiter and butler’s pantry.

9.1851 N Dayton St
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Sold price: $2.865 million
Chicago real estate buyers seem to be gravitating toward new or newer construction properties, like this new construction home in the heart of Lincoln Park. This all-masonry limestone home features a superb floor plan, high ceilings, custom mill work and cabinetry throughout. A luxurious master suite features a opulent bath and walk-in closet. A rooftop deck boasts enviable outdoor space and skyline views.

10. 2450 N Surrey Ct
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Sold price: $2,782,645
Another Chicago new construction property, this home is on an extra-wide 30-foot lot on a “secret” block in Lincoln Park. This home was ready for the buyer to customize, with 5,700 square feet, a great room, lower level with family room and more, and exquisite craftsmanship and finishes throughout.

In looking at these properties from the first part of the year, there are clearly some commonalities found among these top luxury properties: Lot size (the bigger the better, and oversize lots always win); location (top neighborhoods in the heart of the city and close to downtown) and generous square footage (upwards of 5,000, all the way up to 10,000 square feet is highly desired by luxury buyers).

Taking a look at these sales not only gives you an idea of the state of the Chicago luxury real estate market, but for potential buyers, you can get an idea of what’s selling for what price and what sorts of discounts you might be able to negotiate on comparable properties. To take a closer look at these properties or to review other homes that have sold in 2012, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

19 Chicago Luxury Homes Sold in June, Totaling More than $30 Million

The Chicago luxury real estate continued to prove in the month of June that the ups and downs of the market are no match for buyers on the hunt for the perfect home. With 19 luxury homes sold (those priced at $1 million and up), total sales for the month were $32.6 million.

Lincoln Park Known for Chicago Luxury Real Estate

The most expensive home to sell in June was on a chic Lincoln Park block known for its McMansions–Orchard street. If you’re looking for a mansion in the city of Chicago (a home built on one, two, three or more lots) and have a big budget, Orchard Street is one of the prime blocks in this neighborhood to scope out. Nearby blocks Howe and Burling are also at the top of the list for highly-desired streets in Lincoln Park.

While these blocks have a lot to offer on their own, there is also opportunity for luxury buyers to build a Chicago new construction home from scratch. If building a custom dream home in the heart of one of the city’s best neighborhoods is something you’re interested in, let me know and I can put you in contact with the appropriate people to make it happen.

Getting a Deal on a Luxury Home

One thing to note about the top homes sold in June is that despite these being multi-million dollar properties, there were deals to be had. The Orchard property sold at almost a $700,000 discount from the original list price.

I’ve said time and again that the best way to shop in this Chicago real estate market is with cash if you can afford it–this gives the buyer a lot of negotiating power to get a deal done and closed quickly. Or, if you’ve already lined up a mortgage and feel comfortable, it’s possible to eliminate the mortgage contingency in the contract and obtain the mortgage after closing on the property.

Chicago Luxury Real Estate Sales in June

Starting with the priciest sale on Orchard Street, here’s a closer look at the top five luxury sales that closed in June:

1956 N Orchard St
Original list price: $5.999 million
Sold price: $5.3 million
On a double-wide lot of 50 x 124 feet, this mansion in Lincoln Park is one of a kind. With a limestone and brick facade, the grounds of this home are immaculate, with patios, decks, balconies and a large backyard. Inside are 12-foot ceilings, four fireplaces, a heated 3-car garage and a grand staircase. Spanning just under 10,000 square feet, this home boasts 7 bedrooms, a top floor rec room with second kitchen and great views of the city.

4420 N Paulina Ave
Original list price: $2.95 million
Sold price: $2.75 million
A gorgeous and one-of-a-kind home with more than 5,200 square feet and 6 bedrooms and 6 bath, this property features cathedral ceilings, a sauna/steam room, and lots more.

 

1112 W Wrightwood Ave
Original list price: $2.95 million
Sold price: $2.59 million
This home also features that highly sought-after combo for buyers: a large lot (this one is 33 feet wide) in a great neighborhood (this one on a great block in Lincoln Park). With four stories and 6,500 square feet, this luxury Chicago home has 6 bedrooms, extra-tall ceilings, great entertaining space, a home theater, potential guest suite, French-inspired garden and access ready to be built out for a roof deck.

2108 N Magnolia St
Original list price: $2.599 million
Sold price: $2.450 million
Generous square footage is another must-have for luxury buyers, and this home has it. Also in Lincoln Park, this home features a superb layout with 6 large bedrooms, 5.5 baths and showcases luxury down to the finest details: walnut floors, high-end finishes, a built-in espresso maker in the kitchen and a spa-like bath in the master suite.

842 W Webster Ave
Original list price: $2.295 million
Sold price: $2 million
A handsome brick vintage facade greets you on the outside of this home, but on the inside is an all new interiors with a highly upgraded kitchen, baths lighting, hardwood floors and more. With oversized rooms, a state-of-the-art home theater, office, exercise room and a roof deck, this home is the perfect picture of what Lincoln Park homes for sale have to offer.

As I’ve been seeing on the market for the past few months, homes with oversized lots continue to be coveted by buyers and move quickly on the market. Homes with that characteristic don’t last long.

Looking at these home sales can give buyers a great insight into what’s selling on the market, giving them negotiating power and a better idea of what you really want in a home. To see what else sold in June or what is on the Chicago real estate market now, contact me at 312-264-5853 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Bidding Wars, Short Turnarounds Point to A Very Active Chicago Real Estate Market

Chicago real estate market 2012

The Chicago real estate market has been active in April, with an uptick in buyers making offers on desirable properties in luxury buildings and coveted neighborhoods.

 

In the last month or two, the Chicago real estate market has definitely picked up–a sign that winter is behind us and that reports of a 2012 real estate recovery could be a very real possibility. I’ve been fortunate to be working with a number of buyers in the last few weeks, and with the increase in activity, there are a number of trends I’m seeing in the market:

Time to sell: One thing that has absolutely surprised me is how quickly properties are moving on the market. Since the beginning of April, where I’ve really seen this is among the “good stuff” on the market–the newer, pristine properties that are selling in just two to three weeks. I’ve had clients who have decided to come back to a Chicago condo for a second showing, and it turns out the property is under contract and pending a sale. A listing I have for a condo in downtown Chicago, went to contract just three weeks after being put on the market, despite assessment fees over $900 per month, which can be a big deterrent for buyers.

Importance of assessments: Speaking of assessment costs, I’ve noticed that these are playing an important role for buyers overall–buyers may consider a higher assessment cost, but they expect a bevy a concierge services and amenities in the building (a pool, an outstanding workout facility) to go with it.

Seller flexibility: Despite the uptick in activity, sellers do realize that buyers still have the upper hand during the negotiation process. I’ve noticed that sellers are more prone to be flexible with their sale prices, given the number of years the Chicago real estate market has been down.

Bidding Wars Among Chicago Real Estate Buyers

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal confirms some of these trends. The article noted that buyers are increasingly caught off guard to learn that they’re competing for the same properties on the market.This is further evidence that housing demand is starting to pick up after a 6-year slump of low activity and tight inventory.

The Journal article also notes several other national trends that I’ve seen reflected in the Chicago market as well–most notably, that inventory continues to be low across the board for desirable properties. In talking with other realtors, I’ve learned that frustration has increased due to the lack of properties especially under the $1 million price point.

The lesson for buyers here? Acting quickly and being competitive continues to be important in today’s market. But it’s a great time for buyers to work their advantage and make a deal on a Chicago home. To talk further about the trends I’m seeing in the market, give me a call at 312-264-5853 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

On the Chicago Real Estate Market: River North Condo with Prime Location, City Views and More

A downtown Chicago condo in the River North neighborhood has just come on the market, and its coveted location, great views of the city and generous space mean it likely won’t be there long.

Address: 330 W Grand Unit 1402
Price: $455,000

Chicago condo for sale in River North

This corner unit does not disappoint—huge windows bring in liberal natural light and excellent views of downtown Chicago. This three bedroom, 2.1 bathroom Chicago condo also offers ample space overall, spanning 1,700 square feet with two large balconies and 9-foot ceilings. The master bedroom is a sizable 17 x 13 feet, easily accommodating a king size bed. One balcony comes off of the master suite, with the other accessed through the living room. The living space receives exceptional light thanks to tall, glass windows and the condo’s corner location. Even the kitchen receives light from a tall window, which is highly unusual for Chicago condos to have a window, especially a substantial one.

The location for this unit has everything you could need. If you work in the suburbs or travel often, this Chicago condo is close to transportation and to the freeway that goes directly to O’Hare Airport. If you work downtown, walking to work is easy with the near north location close to the Loop and Merchandise Mart. It’s also a few blocks from the East Bank Club, one of the best gyms in Chicago. Not to mention the River North neighborhood’s abundance of dining and entertainment options, and it’s close proximity to Michigan Avenue.

Another feature that sets this Chicago home for sale apart is the amazing amount of storage, which includes a walk-in closet to die for in the master suite plus additional closet space. The unit also features granite countertops in the kitchen with stainless steel appliances, 42-inch cabinets and mahogany wood floors.

Built in 2006, this Chicago home for sale has much to offer in space and all of the benefits of living downtown. If you’d like to learn more about this Chicago condo, contact agent Sheldon Salnick at (312) 498-5080 or by email at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago condo for sale in River North

Chicago Condo for sale in River North

Getting More for Your Money With a Chicago Real Estate Purchase

It’s the perpetual question for potential homebuyers: does it make more sense to rent or to buy real estate? With the market still experiencing volatility in some regions, there are certainly some areas that could make the case for renting over buying. An article in last week’s New York Times looked at the rent ratios (average home price divided by annual rent) in major U.S. cities. Higher rent ratios mean that home values are high, compared to the cost of renting—buying is the more cost-effective option when cities have a rent ratio of 15 or below. The Chicago real estate market continues to show the value of purchasing now.

Chicago real estate versus U.S. cities
In the New York Times’ analysis, Chicago fared much lower than other metropolitan areas. With a rent ratio of 15, Chicago homes for sale are considered to be priced low, offering potential buyers more “bang for their buck” with a real estate purchase versus making rent payments.

Here’s a look at the rent ratios for major areas:

Chicago: 15
San Francisco: 27.1
Seattle: 26.5
Boston: 17.6
Washington D.C.: 18.9
New York (Manhattan): 29.2
New York (Long Island): 21.5

Those coming from other large cities and considering a Chicago real estate purchase will be surprised at how much buyers get for their real estate dollar—equivalent real estate in one of these cities would be almost 2.5 to 3 times what one would be spending in New York, San Francisco, etc.

Making a Chicago real estate purchase now
For buyers searching Chicago homes for sale for a place to live for the near future (five years or more), buying certainly makes the most sense. Prices are about as low as they will get, sellers are eager, mortgage rates are competitive, and the market now is unlike anything we’ll see again in our lifetimes. If you have a down payment and the credit history to back up a mortgage loan, this is an opportunity quickly passing by.

Give me a call or send me an email and let me know what you’re looking for. I’ll be happy to find Chicago homes for sale that meet what you’re looking for and help you take advantage of this unique chance for buyers. Contact me at 312-264-5853 or by email at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Near-Perfect Timing for Purchasing Chicago Real Estate is Now

The more I find the Chicago real estate market in the news, the more obvious it becomes that the state of the market now is unlike any other that we will likely see in our lifetimes. Prices are low, sellers are eager, and the market is more advantageous to buyers than ever before. If there was ever a time to shop Chicago homes for sale, this is it.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Chicago home prices were down 7.5% from where they were a year ago, indicating that prices on Chicago homes for sale could be very near the bottom and time could be limited for buyers to act. Sellers are being more competitive than ever when pricing their homes for sale, which is also great news for buyers who are looking to get a deal.

But time could be limited for buyers to get in on this market. The report also mentioned that pending home sales and mortgage applications were up in January, so the market could be poised to turn around quickly and never look back.

That’s why I’d encourage any potential buyers to, if you haven’t already, to start searching Chicago homes for sale. If you’re able to make a sizable down payment and have great credit to support a mortgage loan, the market couldn’t be better set up for you to take action.

Timing a Chicago Real Estate purchase
Though many have tried, we all know that you just can’t time the stock market, as it can turn on a dime. The real estate market operates in the same way—with many unpredictable factors playing into it, it’s very difficult to pinpoint the perfect moment to make a move.

That being said, potential buyers can only work with what they know, and many factors right now are indicative of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase Chicago real estate and get the best deal possible. Low rates, low prices, anxious sellers and low activity in the market are all signs pointing to now as a very unique chance for buyers.

I’m not suggesting buyers should purchase homes without doing their due diligence, but if you’ve got the credit and the down payment to buy, this opportunity won’t be around for long.

Building Assets with Chicago Real Estate
Real estate is a smart addition to an asset portfolio. A wise variety includes bonds, stocks and real estate to help build wealth for your retirement. Taking advantage of buying conditions right now helps build an “easy-money” asset by amassing the equity over the long term.

This isn’t a strategy for buyers looking to buy and flip. Investing in Chicago real estate now is perfect for those looking to have a home to live in for several years, providing you with a great place to live and an investment that will likely grow over the coming years. Noted economists have predicted that the price of commodities will increase in the near future, which is almost always followed by an escalation in real estate prices. Plus, many Chicago condo buildings are so revered and coveted by potential residents that they maintain their resale value.

Mortgage Rates on Chicago Real Estate
Prices alone means there are major deals to be made in Chicago real estate. But lower-than-low mortgage rates are also a dynamic reason for buying now. Rates aren’t expected to remain where they are at now, and once the government begins to withdraw from its “easy money” philosophy, I do believe the real estate market will change dramatically, which will drive rates up very quickly.

I can’t say it enough—buyers who are well-situated to make a real estate purchase should no doubt act now. Give me a call at 312-264-5853 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com and we can talk about what you’re looking for and help you find that once-in-a-lifetime deal on Chicago real estate.

Cash is Still King When Negotiating a Chicago Real Estate Deal

Week after week, I receive calls from various clients asking how they can obtain a deal in Chicago real estate. While a lot of factors play into it – the fact that it’s a buyer’s market or that sellers are often very motivated – there is one surefire way of getting the best deal out there: cash.

Many prospective clients may not have high FICO scores or have less than 20% to put down on a Chicago real estate purchase. And when it comes to lending, banks are continuing to be very cautious about who they will allow to have a mortgage. As a result, many sellers have become concerned when buyers don’t have funds to put toward a loan and are looking very favorably to offers that avoid that situation all together—i.e., buyers with cash.

Since cash is king when purchasing real estate, a buyer’s realtor is much more able to negotiate a deal at an even better price than if a buyer is going to need a mortgage.

When a seller sees cash as part of an offer, it’s an extra assurance that the deal will close, instead of not knowing what obstacles might get in the way of a buyer trying to obtain financing. A Chicago real estate deal usually closes within a short time period, sometimes within a week or two, but typically in less than 30 days. Cash buyers can usually make that a speedier process, which is what a seller wants to see.

Using Cash to Negotiate in Chicago Real Estate

This is why, for the last six months or so, I’ve really been talking to potential buyers about having cash ready when shopping Chicago homes for sale, particularly people wanting to buy short sales and foreclosures.

For example, I will soon be closing on a 1600 square foot, 3-bedroom newer Chicago condo right off the lake, with spectacular panoramic views, plus two garage parking spots for $460,000. When the original owners bought the property new not too long ago, they paid over $600,000, plus an additional cost for parking.

How were we able to broker such a good deal? Cash. The buyer could bring the cash to the table and we told the bank we could close in 15 days, or whenever the seller wanted to close. That creates a scenario that is far less likely to run into any problems, and the buyers can rest assured that they got a great deal on their new home.

Cash Buyers Help Move Chicago Homes for Sale

The Wall Street Journal reported this month that this very scenario is what is getting more real estate off the market, with more homes being purchased for cash than ever before. In the Chicago real estate market, 23.4% of homes were purchased with cash at the end of 2010—the highest in at least the last six years. One real estate professional in the article said that cash buyers can take 5% to 10% more off of an asking price than a mortgage buyer could. Having cash also avoids having to go through the lengthy process with a bank–I have found that, when purchasing a luxury Chicago home, the banks are being more stringent when it comes to providing buyers with financing. Rates are lower than ever, but the underwriting on those loans can be rigorous.

Knowing that real estate prices are at or near bottom gives cash buyers a great opportunity to get a great deal on a real estate purchase. With the Chicago real estate market being at a low point, and possibly getting better at the end of the year, this may be the best time to buy. Making a real estate purchase is a smart way to invest your cash during a time that bank accounts are earning virtually nil. If you’re not considering flipping a property and will stay in a home for 7 to 10 years, I believe this is the way to go to come out ahead in that time frame. Not to mention the anticipated increase in the inflation rate in coming years, so real estate and other commodities are good investments.

And for those individuals who are anticipating a Chicago real estate purchasing a home for over $1 million and do not have cash, I have found a major bank source that is emphasizing loans for high net worth clients that will provide out-of-the-box loan ideas to provide money for your dream home. Please contact me at 312-264-5853 or by email at ssalnick@dreamtown.com so we can discuss how you can possibly have the ability to purchase a home in the million dollar and over range plus obtain a mortgage.