Chicago Relocation

Baird & Warner Expands – Prime Real Estate Joins Forces

January 27, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

This just in from Steve Baird, CEO of Baird and Warner, the nation’s 10th largest real estate firm (and growing). Dean Rouso and Prime Property Partners in La Grange have joined B&W, serving the communities of La Grange, La Grange Park, Western Springs, La Grange Highlands, Brookfield, Riverside, Westchester, Burr Ridge, Countryside, and Willow Springs.

Says Steve – “I am excited to announce that Baird & Warner has acquired west suburban real estate broker Prime Property Partners, headquartered in La Grange and owned by Dean Rouso.

Dean has led Prime Property Partners since its inception — and is a well-respected member of the real estate community both locally and nationally.”

Dean has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Realtors; president of MRED; as well as president of Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®.

Onward and upward….


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?


50 Years Working for Fair Housing – Baird & Warner

January 16, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Today, as we celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., reflect on how another Chicagoan (did you know King lived on Chicago’s west side for a time?) worked to promote fair housing during those turbulent time.

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the year John Baird appeared before the Chicago City Council to urge them to pass the open occupency law for housing. Mr. Baird is chairman of the board of Baird & Warner real estate. Mr. Baird will turn 97 this year.

Click here to listen to him reminisce:


27 Pages from the Fed

January 10, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Don’t worry, I don’t  expect you to read it all (but if you do.. click HERE ).  But it’s an interesting read – OK I didn’t read it all .  However, maybe I will, because it describes a possible conversion plan for REOs.  Conversion to what, you ask?  To rentals.

The Fed poses that REOs could be converted to rental on an “enterprise level.”  Currently investors simply buy what they can, where they can, and it’s difficult to efficiently buy in bulk and take advantages of certain economies of scale.

In addition, the reduced cut-rate prices that would actually attract super-bulk sales are usually too much for individual property owners to bear.  Finally, the banking regs and laws surrounding investment purchases of REOs is simply not pro-investor.

Now, remember that we’re assuming these properties are rent-able, i.e. inhabitable.  And the neighborhoods stable enough to attract renters.  Time is the enemy of the REO property.  The longer it’s on the market, the more it rides it down, and the more it runs the neighborhood and the comps down too.

The fed suggests that a “possibility is to auction to investors the rights to acquire, in a given neighborhood, a future stream of properties that meet certain standards instead of auctioning the rights to current REO holdings.”  Another option is the “possibility …to encourage deed-for-lease programs, which circumvent the REO process entirely by combining a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure – whereby the borrower returns the property to the lender – with a rent-back arrangement in which the borrower remains in the home and pays market rent to the lender.”

It’s all speculation and “white papering” at this point, but it appears the FED is taking a much closer look at this issue, and actually coming up with some compelling ideas!




Chicago Relocation Professionals Active on Inman’s Top 100 list!

January 4, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Two Chicagoans made Inman’s top 100 most influential people, and the author is privileged to know both of them. Called the industry’s “brain trust, power brokers and deal makers” as well as non-industry members who impact the business, it’s quite a list.

A major qualifying criteria is whether or not the members of this august list have the power to CHANGE the real estate industry.

Pam O’Connor is CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and it is truly the world’s largest real estate services network. Many consumer are not aware of the Leading RE “brand,” and with good reason.  Unlike franchises, Leading RE promotes the broker, not the affiliation. Believing they have the best independents in each marketplace, LRE members are often #1 or #2 in their respective markets. In the 25 years, Pam has managed var
ious networks that ultimately have become the Leading RE organization

Another prominent Chicago is Baird & Warner’s own Eric Bryn.  A Leading RE alum (he spent eight years there), Bryn launched such innovative LRE  tools as and the propopoly blogging platform (the author is a proud recipient of his first “blogger of the year” award back in the day).  At Baird, Eric is vp of digital innovation and a mastermind behind the company’s new website (a partnership with Active Websites), with a focus on easy, fast intuitive search.

And while not a Chicagoan, congrats to industry colleague Joe Horning of Shorewest, just north of the border, in the d


airy state. Joe “played a major role this year in overturning a National Association of Realtors policy relating to the ability of real estate franchisors to display locally sourced Internet Data Exchange real estate listings from around the country on their national websites.”

Also included if former Chicagoan Jamie Daimon, CEO of Chase.  I won’t get into how interrelated finance and real estate are these days!  Congratulations to all the recipients.