Chicago Relocation

Summertime Chi

July 25, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Here are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill.

According to Travel+Leisure magazine, Chicago is now the second best rated city in the United States and Canada, jumping ahead one spot from last year. As a lifelong Chicago native, this comes as no surprise considering the many things the city has to offer, especially during the summertime.

When it comes to activities like baseball games, museums, festivals, zoos and parks, it is difficult to match what Chicago has to offer. The White Sox have a three game lead into the AL central heading into the All-Star Break, and the Cubs have future stars in the making in Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

One of the things I love almost as much as sports is food. Highlighted by Chicago style hot dogs, deep dish pizza, and Italian beef, there is endless amounts of delicious food to enjoy when visiting the city. Whether you are just visiting Chicago or planning to relocate to the city, taking a trip into the loop or magnificent mile is a perfect way to experience a city its residents love so dearly. A city that has enveloped a hard working attitude and culture that people take pride in.

If considering a trip into the city, I strongly encourage it. It is nearly impossible to run out of things to do, and sites to see., is a great website that lists all events in the city and is the center for Chicago tourism. According to their website, more than 42 million people visited last year, and tourism accounts for about $600 million in tax revenue alone. With good reason, Chicago tourism is flourishing. People are taking notice, and people are visiting.


Where do you stand on strategic defaults?

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John D’Ambrogio

It seems one of the buzz-phrases I heard a lot in 2011 and will surely hear in 2012 is “Strategic Defaults (SD).”  By now you’ve surely heard of a strategic default – In essence, where a homeowner who can afford their mortgage chooses instead to stop paying on it, and is willing to “take the hit” on their credit as opposed to paying on what they consider an investment gone bad.

A quick google search of the phrase brings page one results (which I will not promote by linking to) including web pages promising help for homeowners who are consider a strategic default, including such pithy headers as “strategic default v. moral obligation” and “quit feeling bad for the banks.”  Or there’s “How to strategically default and make life miserable for the banks.”  Wow.  Sounds like the seeds of an “Occupy (insert mortgage company name)” offshoot. The “Joanie loves Chachi” spinoff from “Happy Days.”  I hope they bring drums.  I love drums.

My professional colleague Steve Harney has a number of great posts on this topic at his blog – (Keeping Current Matters), including “Will Falling Values Lead to More Strategic Defaults” which provides some pretty startling stats from FannieMae, including the fact that  ”The number of underwater homeowners who believe it is okay to default on your mortgage if you are under financial distress has almost doubled in the last twelve months (14% to 27%).”  So not only do we have more people under water (the audience for a SD) but twice as many think it’s OK!

And in his article “One Thing That Still Concerns Us” Steve discusses a related factor – Consumer Confidence – That has the ability to further push SDs “mainstream” while causing further delays in the housing market.

Personally, I understand the professional logic of “cutting bait” when an investment has gone bad.  But to stop owning (i.e. selling) your losing shares of ABC widget company because they have less value than when you bought them is not the same.  Why?  Because you didn’t borrow the money (hopefully) from ABC to purchase their stock, which is what you do with a mortgage.

Shame on the banking system for going along with the over confidence of the real estate bubble, and turning a blind eye when they should have been a bit more parochial us? Sure.  Government intervention to force the re-working of loan terms?  Well, that’s a point one can argue.

Let people walk away from debt that they signed their name on?  I can’t agree with that.  What do you think?  Maybe we’re all in it together, because when one person defaults, we all pay.  Reminds me of a poem.  Ask not for whom that bell tolls…

It tolls for thee....




Chip Wagner Discusses Issues with Appraisals – Part Three of a Series

July 17, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Part three in our appraiser series with Chip Wagner.  Chip offers an inside look at appraiser’s impact and position the past, present and future real estate market.  Discussing how the pressure to refinance homes to leverage equities contributed to the market burst, how the government’s new regulations are shaping appraisals, and the seasonal market in Chicago, Chip’s experience in the field makes this an enlightening video.

Tune in next week to find out what drives a value!


Atlas Van Lines Relocation Survey Show an Optimistic Future

July 11, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Atlas Van Lines announced the 2012 relocation survey results and the findings are optimistic. For the past forty-five years Atlas Vans Lines, one of the nation’s top moving companies, asks leaders in the relocation industry about their past year of business and their forecast for the upcoming business year. Bottom line for 2012; companies and executives are invested in and confident about a stable future in relocation business.

Results You Should Know

  • 92 percent of executives surveyed expect the U.S. economy to stay the same or increase in 2012.
  • 26 percent of companies plan to relocate more workers this year than last.
  • 86 percent of companies will spend as much or more on relocation in 2012 than in 2011.
  • 65 percent of firms are offering relocated employees full reimbursement more than lump sum or partial reimbursement.

The numbers are very strong across the board for questions such as anticipated performance of U.S. Economy, anticipated relocation volume, lingering mortgage/housing concerns, and anticipated performance of U.S. real estate market. However, there are some outsiders who continue to have reservations. One of the main reasons employees decline relocated positions is due to their concerns about housing or mortgage instability. Such worries should be relieved due to the strong numbers found in the 2012 Atlas survey.

The 2012 numbers are much higher than that of previous years – particularly 2009 where anticipated performance of the U.S. real estate market was at 41 percent. While the numbers may not universally be at the highs of 2005, industry leaders have solid confidence in relocation’s constancy and development in the improvement and stability of the economy. That confidence from the people directly involved with the everyday of relocation combined with predicted economic success and the increasing number of companies relocating positions should give anyone with the opportunity to relocate to do so utilizing the resources offered from optimistic industry leaders.

Some comments from BW Intern Elizabeth McGrath


Chip Wagner speaks on Supply and Demand in the Current Market – Second in a Series

July 3, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Part two in our series talking with appraiser Chip Wagner. In this segment he and John D’Ambrogio discuss supply and demand in the real estate market today.
Hear why Chip is optimistic about the equaling of supply and demand, why he believes now is a great time for qualified buyers to purchase a home and how the appeal of the “Metra communities” – such as Naperville and Aurora – continue to show the importance of the mantra – location, location, location.