Chicago Relocation

How to Get the Most Out of Online Real Estate Searches with John D’Ambrogio and Peter McGarry

August 29, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

John and Peter McGarry  discuss consumer’s patterns when searching the internet for properties. Watch to find out what consumers look for, tips on how to land the client, the importance of the speed of communication between the consumers and the agents, the importance of being technology savvy and the crucial moment of initial contact.


Buyer Markets

August 22, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

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

Mary Podmolik of the Chicago Tribune wrote an article about buyer and seller markets nationally. Below are some excerpts and some of our comments.

If you had to guess, what city would you say is the top buyers market right now? If you said Milwaukee, you’d almost be right. The number one buyers market in the U.S. is Chicago Illinois, followed by Milwaukee according to Zillow Real Estate. This list was compiled after calculations which looked at sale-to-list price ratios, number of days a property spent on Zillow listing, and finally the percentage of homes on the market with a price cut. Specifically in Chicago, the top five buyer communities were: Downers Grove, Northbrook, Palatine, Buffalo Grove and Orland Park.

A buying market refers to one where buyers have more bargaining power, thanks to listings lingering longer on the market and sellers being forced to cut their asking prices, according to Zillow. Meanwhile the top 5 sellers markets are near the west coast, with three of the top five being in California. San Jose, is the top sellers market.

Because home prices are low, this a great opportunity for those looking to get back into the housing market in and around Chicago.


Searching for leads….Or is that an Inquiry? Or a Prospect?

August 15, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Chicago Agent magazine recently published an intresting article on lead generation that my fellow relo e-commerce geek friends may be interested in – “What’s The Competition Doing?”  

Baird & Warner, Coldwell Banker, Re/Max, Weichert  and Realty Execs were all interviewed for the article.  Your humble author was privileged to represent the first company.

To summarize, here are some of the different views:

Baird & Warner – Prefers Homegrown Leads, incubates
Baird & Warner system uses the company website as the central hub of lead generation, prefering “homegrown” v. “purchased” opportunities.

As I mention in the the article – “Not all inquiries are immediately considered leads;  rather, Baird & Warner’s …customers are sorted into three distinct categories: ‘inquiries,’ ‘prospects’ and ‘leads.’ While leads represent definite buyer intrigue in a specific property, inquiries and prospects are more general and tacit, requiring added effort, nurturing and, ultimately, cultivation before they become bonafide leads.”

Coldwell Banker – LeadRouter
Coldwell Banker’s uses a program called  LeadRouter, which is a part Coldwell Banker’s website & partner sites distributing “leads”  automatically. At a request for info – ” LeadRouter will … capture the lead, (and)… trigger an email or text alert sent directly to the agent with the listing.”

Realty Executives – Includes relocation firm leads
Realty Executives noted that they generate “45 leads a month per brokerage,” and describes their lead distribution to agents as being “as far as possible.” They go on to indicate that the leads are ” Captured online and through information provided by relocation firms.”

RE/MAX – Direct to Agent
RE/MAX, boasts that it has generated  1.5 million total leads at its Northern Illinois website alone (no timeline given). It claims leads from a large variety of sources –  Online, mobile, QR codes, and listing promotion links.  Each lead  goes back to a RE/MAX agent who “ultimately profits from the lead.”

Weichert, Realtors – Call Center
The Weichert Lead Network is actually a 60 person national call center that “fully inspects all leads before they are delivered to sales associates” and claims a minimum 5% conversion rate.  After scrubbing – they hand off just over 40% of their leads to agents.

So as Agent Magazine describes, there are many many ways to handle, process and distribute “leads.”  Which way do relocation professionals feel is the best?  I’m happy to post your comments here.


Now is the Time for Buyers to Invest

August 14, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

The current low point of the housing market is proving to be a great opportunity for home buyers to invest in their future, according to an article by economist Lawrence Yun. A new trend shows that more homeowners are buying their home to live long term rather than buying to flip when the time, and price is right.

The trend of buying not flipping is good for the market and is already starting to show an impact. This year’s first quarter was the strongest the market has seen in 5 years resulting in confidence that considerable growth for both seller and buyer traffic will continue.

Buying a home now is not only smart because of the housing market’s low point, it is also smart because as the market and, subsequently, housing prices rise the overall net worth of homeowners is predicted to rise as well.

Traditionally, the gap between homeowners and renters net worth is substantial. In fact, studies show that buying a new house will pay off for the homeowner on average after three years. That study, by Zillow,  accounted for inflation, factored in rising rent prices, housing affordability, low mortgage interest rates, property taxes, maintenance and more, and found that the overall cost of switching to home ownership now will benefit buyers within just three years thus, resulting in a higher net worth.

It should be noted that while market signs and predictions illustrate an improved future, there is nothing that indicates that homeowners’ net worth will return to the highs of the pre-bubble burst. Still, no matter which way the market may turn, the value of owning a home is continually expected to be vastly higher than renting.

Bottom line: Now is a time for action. Look into buying a home as an investment in your future.



Some comments from Baird & Warner Intern Elizabeth McGrath


2012 Quarter Two Chicago Market Update

August 8, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

John D’Ambrogio discusses Quarter 2 2012.  This Chicago Market update is something you want to hear.



What Drives Value? Chip Wagner Explains how to Gain Value. Fourth in a Series

August 1, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Appraiser Chip Wagner finishes our appraiser series with his thoughts on what drives value.  He explains values are driven by a combination of what the market demands, updating your property to fit the standards of the neighborhood how comps in the area also contribute to a property value, and utilizing his big three – first impression, impression, impression.