Chicago Relocation

Relocation Tax Consequences

June 19, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Bob Portale, CEO of RDI,  joins us to discuss some of the tax consequences/advantages as they relate to corporate relocation.  See how a transaction is changed form a consumer expense to a business expense.

A must see for any agent or transferee who has ever scratched their head and wondered “Why does the relo company have to be involved in my sale?”  Hear about why home-sale and movement of household goods are so importantly related to taxes in the relocation process.

So agents – Make sure the right people sign that paperwork!


Mell Monroe Promotes his neighborhood – Bronzeville, Chicago

February 27, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio
 The trib recently published an article in their business section by Mell Monroe -  a Bronzeville resident and owner of the Welcome Inn Manor, a bed-and-breakfast on S. Michigan Avenue.  His passion for Chicago so intrigued me I gave him a call.  I’m happy to say that his excitement for, and commitment to Chicago’s south side is incredible.  I’ve asked him, and he has agreed to, share some thoughts in upcoming blogs.
As he points out in the article, while Chicago is the No. 2 tourist destination worldwide, and although Chicago ranks in the Top ten for attracting global travelers with money to spend – “Where I live and work, this kind of consumer is a far and few in between. I set up my business in a black community on the South Side, which sees little of the $11 billion these tourists spend. “
The article then discusses Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent announcement that $2 million into marketing Chicago to increase tourism & boost revenue by 50 percent by the end of the decade. This translates to at least $15 billion in tourism revenue for the city of Chicago, precious little of which will make it to the city’s 30-plus black neighborhoods and their entrepreneurs, according to Mell.
He also includes a call to action for Chicago residents -   “All we need now is a progressive chamber of commerce and new leadership. No chamber will be successful without powerful business leaders committed to change and growth. We must recruit professionals with extraordinary experiences. Building a team that can work together on funding proposals and addressing crime and loitering as a priority is crucial to good business and a better quality of life.”
You can read the article here , and take a virtual tour of his B & B here.  We look forward to hearing more from Mell!

Mell's "Welcome Inn Manor"


And What Do You Think 2012 Will Bring us…..?

January 26, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

A recovery?  More misery?  More opportunity? I’m sure everyone has their opinions.  Tara-Nicholle Nelson – author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decision” recently posted her thoughts via   Here are a few of her predictions:

1 – More foreclosures

I’m afraid Tara-Nicholle is spot on with this prediction.  All sources, Fannie and Freddie, and all the major banks are predicting a pretty significant increase.  In my opinion, there’s not much we can do about it except take our medicine.  The market will never adjust until it gets these homes “through the system.”  Look at AZ and FL – They took the hit, and seem to be the first to recover from this housing slump.  I’m afraid there’s no secret sauce for this one, folks.  The banks have a huge backlog, but they are ready for the task.

2. REOs and short sales will become the new normal.

Again, Tara-Nicholle knows what she’s saying, with one caveat.  They won’t “become” the new normal – they will continue to be the new normal.  While overseeing both a relocation and REO division, the last 18 months we’ve seen it become unavoidable.  I know it sounds trite to say, but “it is what it is.”  Even more importantly, REOs and even short sales are becoming “easier” to buy – less time delays as both banks and agents get better at shepherding them through the system. Another reason they cannot be disregarded as “comps.”

3.  So-called ‘smart cities’ will do well

According to Nelson’s interview with Jed Kolko, chief economist for  Trulia, he commented that ”smart cities will continue to have hot real estate markets next year. But Kolko defined smart cities much more broadly than the California tech hubs. Other tech centers like Austin, Texas, and the Massachusetts suburbs of Cambridge, Newton and Framingham all made Kolko’s list, as did Rochester, N.Y. (a town known for its highly educated, highly skilled work force).”

4. Consumers will get ‘hopeless’

Nelson says “I mean hopeless in the best of all possible ways.”  I think what she really means is “realistic.”  Which probably follows some sort of a twelve step program that includes “despair,” “denial,” etc.  Regardless, I think that her hope for “hopeless” is still a big optimistic.  I might push that prediction to 2013 myself….

Regardless, it’s a great article, you can read it all here.  And what are your thoughts, Chicago real estate professionals?


Tips from The Oracle of Omaha

October 25, 2011

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John D’Ambrogio

What does billionaire, perhaps the most successful investor in history, have to say about the real estate market, and what does it mean to today’s transferees? recently published some tips from the planet’s third richest guy!

1. The Basic Premise of Home Ownership — That Homes Increase In Value Over Time — Is Sound

Buffett believes  that “the housing bubble was inflated by an irrational, widespread belief that home prices would only ever go up — an extreme corruption of a generally valid premise. ”  This vision has been distorted, Buffet feels, by the misguided notion of “guaranteed appreciation.”

2. Buy Low (so you can sell high!)

Buffett made his life’s fortunes by buying companies at attractive prices with solid growth potential.  Not unlike the long term outlook for housing.   ”Home ownership makes sense for most Americans, particularly at today’s lower prices and bargain interest rates.”

3. Low Prices won’t wait forever (well, maybe for another year or two)

In a Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, Buffet declared that the real estate market  ”will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up,” Buffett added : “If you wait for the robins, Spring will be over.”

4. The Smart Way to Own a Home Has Three Elements

The keys, according to Buffet, are:



LONG TERM PLAYS (which, obviously, can be hard for a mobile employee)

Buffet hardly has limited his investments to real estates.  For example, when explaining why his manufactured housing holding exceeded the pace of  the rest of the real estate market, Buffett pointed out that “[o]ur approach was simply to get a meaningful down-payment and gear fixed monthly payments to a sensible percentage of income. Sound advice – Don’t be greedy.

5. Don’t chase that “dream home”

No doc, interest only and other “exotic” loans got America (and the world) into a lot more debt that it had ever planned.  See #4 and be realistic!

As Mr. B. succinctly put – “Our country’s social goal should not be to put families into the house of their dreams, but rather to put them into a house they can afford.”




How important is training when using an agent?

May 25, 2011

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John D’Ambrogio

I recently ran across an old article my friend and colleague Michelle Sandlin, CRP, of John Daugherty Real Estate in Houston TX wrote when asked by Worldwide ERC to write an piece on relocation training. 

Too often overlooked, training is the cornerstone of quality relocation service.  Whether a Chicago relocation or a Texas event, the right agent and staff often make or break the transition.

According to Sandlin, the must-take courses for relocation training include:

Relocation 101—An Orientation to the Relocation Industry;
Servicing the Corporate Relocation Customer;
Preparing an Effective BMA;
Servicing Third-party Listings;
Pre-marketing of Transferees’ Homes;
Understanding Inventory Property Management;
Providing Homefinding Services;
Providing Rental Services;
Current Relocation Trends; and
Internet/e-lead Training

Read her informative article here.


“2010 was a year of change. 138 of your LinkedIn connections started something new.”

February 17, 2011

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I received this interesting email from my friends at LinkedIn recently.  138 job changes.  WOW, that’s a lot.  It represents a good 25% of my LinkedIn sphere.  That means a couple of good things.  There ARE jobs out there.  It also means that talented people, who may have been out of a job for any number of reasons, have found a new corporate home. 

Did they also need to find a new “residential home?” 

Statistics show that many of them needed to.  Some received relocation benefits, some didn’t.  So I’d like to reach out to my LinkedIn friends and ask them – Of the 138 of you who found new jobs, did it require a move?  If so, how was the experience? HOW did you find your realtor?  I welcome both good and bad comments, Chicago related or not, “professionally managed” or otherwise.  I didn’t get a new job, but I moved back to the city (hurrah!!!).  I picked my agent (obviously I know many) because I felt she had the best grasp of my needs and a  track record for service – Thank you Anne Ewasko! For my household goods move I contracted RMR Move Services, who used Ace Worldwide to move me.  Again, based on personal experience and proven service track record.  The folks at Key Mortgage  walked me through a complicated mortgage situation and provided a great rate and indulged every phone call and question I threw at them.

So please leave a comment, we’d like to see how service levels are around the country!


Maija Harjula has as article for you to read!

February 19, 2010

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Per our fantastic intern – Maija Harjula:


Chicago real estate VP of Strategic Development for Baird & Warner –  John D’Ambrogio  - was recently published in the February issue of Mobility Magazine with his article Losing sight of Corporate Culture – Securing Your Brand in a World of Mergers, Acquisitions and Recession. John’s piece offers perspective and insight about corporate culture and the value of a good brand in the business world. The article is also conveniently available online.


In the 21st century branding has become an even more important part of corporations and their operations. In the article John discusses brand value and ways to keep it, or earn it, in a remodeled business world challenged by mergers, acquisitions and recession.


Take moment of your day to read the article to hear John’s view on branding and the importance of it!



Attention Chicago Transferees – Relocation Season starts today!

January 3, 2010

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My longtime colleague Jim Kinney was interviewed today for Mary Umberger’s real estate colum in the Chicago Tribune.

In it she describes (as your humble author has done many times before) that traditionally the “spring season” starts the weekend after the super bowl (some big football game, I’m told).  However, given the unique market situation in Chicago and other parts of the country, she feels that we’ll be starting a bit early this year – She quotes Kinney ( vice president of luxury home sales for Baird & Warner  ) as saying “We’re going to see a lot of property coming on the market; we’re going to see everything that people took off the market in the fall, knowing they were going to be back in the spring in order to qualify under multiple-listing service rules as “new” listings” (a little trick realtors play on a regular basis).

Kinney still warns us about, as Mary Umberger puts it – the “danger in relying too much on what the guy down the street is asking.”

Kinney adds – “An awful lot of listings are wrongly priced. If people use those as a guidepost, they could get into trouble. Do a combination of historical data (houses sold no longer than six months ago) and looking at who you’re competing against, once you’ve determined whether they’re valid prices.”

I’ve known Jim for a decade and he’s been pricing properties correctly for more than twice as long.  Have a listen to what he has to say…


Bob Carbonell, CRP, RMR Move Services, real estate & relocation predictions for 2009

September 27, 2009

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Where is the industry going in 2009?  Watch Bob Carbonell, RMR Move Management Services, provide some real estate and relocation predictions for 2009.


John Gadeken, Active Web, comments on web searches

August 26, 2009

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Watch John Gadeken, Active Web, add his comments on how the web has changed the way we search for real estate. He discusses keywords, the digital footprint and its relationship to searching real estate – how google “opens the door.”