Chicago Relocation

Guess what? Even luxury homes can look…less than gorgeous

April 20, 2011

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John D’Ambrogio

When preparing to sell your luxury home - keep in mind the challenge that the rest of the market is addressing – buyers today want everything perfect! When viewing two homes of equal quality, the cleaner, less cluttered, sharper looking home will win out every time. And in today’s economy, with market days higher than ever, no price range in immune.

Focus on three main areas – “curb appeal” (if you have a house) or some front facing outdoor space; and two main areas on the inside – the kitchen and the bath. A bathroom that is not sparkling can immediately take the charm off a million dollar property. And a freshly cleaned, well lit and sparkling kitchen is an immediate eye-catcher. These are two rooms that do NOT need to look well-used.

Oh, and get out the vacuum cleaner and dust rag everywhere else.  After you declutter!  The same rules apply to high end as they do to the rest of the market!


Design your luxury home for your buyers

April 13, 2011

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…And that means go easy on the stairs! A report by AARP  reported here in RIS media indicates that 25% of baby boomers plan to move in the future, and a number one concern is a more comfortable home on ONE level. 

What does that mean for luxury sellers/builders? Well, the “first floor master” has been around for some time and is going to become even more essential. But does it mean that boomers are going to be out of the market for the mansions that line Chicago’s Goldcoast and Streeterville? Perhaps. Not to worry, these neighborhoods still are some of the most densely populated areas for high-rises in the city! 

Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president of AARP, notes “While boomers will reflect the patterns of earlier generations and mostly age in place, the sheer number of boomers will increase demand for a whole variety of home and community options.”

Almost 60% commented that they want their next home to be all on one level, and half are looking to downsize. So in today’s market, buying a luxury high-rise today might make for a fantastic resale in the not so distant future! 



Need info quickly? Text “BW” to 59559

April 5, 2011

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Baird & Warner, the nation’s oldest real estate firm, recently launched what can only be described as one of the coolest, EASIEST tools to gather “on the fly” information on housing.  Have you ever been in front of a property wishing you could see the inside or know the price RIGHT NOW?

You have a way to do that – With Baird & Warner’s Texting Solution, simply text BW to 59559 and instantly receive information and photos on your mobile device.  You will received text and basic listing info, and photos, on your smartphones or cell phones for any active property in MRED.

Here’s how it works…Mr. or Ms. consumer texts BW to 59559 and receives a response text in which they can click the GPS link – which displays listing info and pictures of the five closest listings for sale/rent to their current location, or they can text back the address for the same info.  Once your GPS is locked in it gets even easier – You can move on down the street and click “refresh” in front of the next home of interest.

I know, I know, QR codes are way way COOLER, right?  Maybe they are, but are they universally and easily accessible?  I know all the COOLER people who read this blog have a very advanced smartphone (and blog, and have 800 linked in contacts, etc.).  That is great, but here is a chilling statistic – only 1/3 of the phones in the market are ‘smart,’ and to gain universal acceptance in 2011 I’m afraid we still need to acknowledge that people (not you, of course) use what my children refer to as “old time” phones.  Now my image on an old timer phone was one where you picked up the phone and asked Clara to connect you go HUdson 3-2700, but that’s another story.

So grab your phone (smart of dumb) and start shopping!

BW texting solution




Financial Institutions and the Mortgage Crisis

April 1, 2011

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A word from our intern Seun Olatoye-Ojo:

The recent admission by several financial institutions that errors were made with mortgages – hence foreclosure of homes – has been quite disturbing. It’s good enough that these companies have admitted to the wrongdoing but did they really have a choice or were they caught red-handed? Recently, Sheila Blair of the FDIC made a case for a fair compensation of customers who lost their homes as well as those who have been overpaying for years due to these errors. A few questions have agitated my mind. First, is an act a mistake when you are caught or when you discover it on your own? Also, when is compensation deemed adequate? These are two questions that are certainly open for debate; you decide.

 JP Morgan Chase & Co admitted it had overcharged over 4000 members of the US Military and foreclosed a few homes in the process. This happened only after a lawsuit had been pursued by one of the affected service members. The bank has apologized but how do you quantify several months of trauma of foreclosure and collections in monetary terms? Is it just enough to return homes and overpayments and assume it is all square? I find myself providing more questions than answers to my previous questions but many foreclosure victims ask these questions too.

From a different perspective, the industry wide ripple effect of these actions cannot be ignored. Put more succinctly, it’s contagious. On the one hand, new home buyers are very hesitant to buy due to the news making rounds as per foreclosures and bank errors; on the other hand, high unemployment rate has further compounded an already complex problem. Conversely, there has been some improvement in these two critical areas even though they have not been as significant as we all hope for. We used to think irrational exuberance drove the stock market but these days “rational exuberance” is sort of driving the housing market. The least that the banks can do is restore some kind of confidence in the mortgage industry by cutting down – or even totally eradicating – mistakes. This can add some momentum to a kick-started industry currently experiencing the lowest growth rate in decades.