Chicago Relocation

Relocation on the Big Stage

February 27, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

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

When it comes to relocation most people do not think “Seattle Supersonics.” Unless of course, you live in Seattle. When the NBA finals drew to a close last June, it seemed the only people rooting for Miami were the people of Florida and Washington.

In 2008, the Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. This came after a long and difficult legal process for both sides involved. In the end, the team was sold for $350 million to Clay Bennett, and it was announced that they would move to Oklahoma City when their stadium lease in Seattle ended.

Relocation’s are viewed differently by people in different situations. For some people, it can be a good transition and a fresh start. For others it might not make as much sense depending on things like cost of living, and family support. In the case of the Supersonics/Thunder, the part of the family that is the fan base, very openly opposed the relocation. Seattle’s mayor Greg Nickels along with the town residence, did not want their team to leave and was intent on making it very difficult for the team to depart. After two years of law suits, protests, and rallying, the people of Seattle could do no more. Their beloved team was heading to Oklahoma.

While I’m sure it was very hard for the people of Seattle, I think the move to OKC was a good one. The team is young and promising, and the fans as well as the nation have embraced them. They are a popular, well constructed core of future NBA stars. I also believe it was financially a beneficial relocation. In the 2007 NBA season, Seattle ranked 28th out of 30 teams in attendance, with an average of 13,355 fans per game. Since the transition, their attendance has increased every year, all the way up to 13th at the end of this past season and averaging 18,203 fans per game in Oklahoma. I expect this to increase even more as this young team gets better and better.

Although the people reminiscing of the Supersonics might disagree, I believe the relocation to OKC was a great move for the team, and the NBA as a whole.
Whether its relocation of a professional team, or a home through a company like Baird & Warner, relocation is always occurring and always around us.


The Final Stretch: Making the Most of Winter’s Last Breath

February 20, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Some ideas from Baird & Warner’s Elizabeth McGrath

By now the charm of drifting snows, colorful knit scarves and warm hot chocolate by the fire have worn away.  I know.  It’s freezing, there’s slush raining down from the sky and the last thing you want to do is trek outside in snow shoes.  But the fastest way to get through these final winter weeks is by enjoying the many events Chicago has to offer.  Rain, snow, sleet, or shine there are unique and fun things you should be doing.  (Mad Men will still be on your Netflix Queue awaiting your return. I promise.)

What the Tour Guides didn’t Tell you: A Chicago Review  – (T, Th, Sat, Sun)  The famous Second City’s revue of Chicago pokes loving and hilarious fun at the windy windy city touching on everything from the beloved Cubbies to those infamous politicians.

Ice Skating at Millenium Park or Wrigley Field - (Through March 10th) The winter Olympics are less than a year away and what better place to practice your double axel than in front of some of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks?

Concerts – (all weekdays and ends) Muse, Yo-Yo-Ma, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Passion Pit are all coming to Chicago within the next few weeks along with pretty much any other band, troupe, group, set, or ensemble you can imagine.

I Love Lucy Live on Stage – (Through March 17th)  Be a member of the “live studio audience” at the I Love Lucy Show.  Slip back to the 1950s watching commercial breaks, the live band and of course the crazy antics of Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel .

Chicago Irish Film Festival – (March 1-6) Chicago hosts one of the few Irish film festivals in America where you can view both short and feature films as well as enjoy opening and closing ceremonies at Lizzie McNeills.

Creatures of Light: Nature’s Biolominescence – (March 7-Sept 8) experience magical plants, bugs and animals that literally light up.  It’s a flash ahead to those muggy summer night watching fire flies.

Chicago Garden Show - (March 9-17) Dip into spring with Navy Pier’s displays of fresh flowers, trees and waterfalls.  Or enjoy original culinary presentations including the cake decorating regional finals contest.

Animal Inside Out – (opens March 14) This updated version of Body Worlds offers a look behind (and inside) the animal world.  Analyze the blood vessels of a shark, peer into a rabbit’s brain, and examine the muscles of a towering giraffe – creepy.

Big 10 Tournament United Center – (March 14-17)  With weekly upsets, physical big men and flashy guards the arguably best division in college basketball returns to Chicago for their conference tournament.  It could be anyone’s game come Selection Sunday.  (Biased note: it’s Indiana’s game.  Let’s see some Oladipo Zeller magic!)

Get out there. Enjoy our fabulous city.  Even if this weather isn’t your cup of tea there’s so much to do between now and when the river is dyed green it would be a shame to miss it.  Plus, spring really is right around the corner…






State of the Market: Chicago Q4 and 2012

February 13, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

In 2012 sales rose and inventory dropped – a very different outcome from early 2012 predictions.   speaks on why he thinks 2012 was a great year and his belief that 2013 could be even better.


Are Loan Modifications Working?

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Credit,housing recovery
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John D’Ambrogio

With federal loan modifications in place for homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure as well as for homeowners who are current on their mortgages but unable to refinance or get ahead of what they owe due to declining property values, many real estate and financial experts are taking a hard look at whether these programs are working. While there are still some difficulties to work out, loan modification remains a solid benefit to people who need help with their mortgages. Many borrowers have taken advantage of federal programs such as HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program), and taken the initiative to work directly with their banks and lenders to modify or reset their mortgages. The process is not simple, but the end result is often satisfaction for both the homeowner and the lender.

One problem with home modifications that can easily be rectified is communication. Many homeowners who feel frustrated with their mortgages don’t even realize they can qualify for a modification. If they are behind on their mortgage payments, they are probably avoiding phone calls from the lender instead of reaching out to find a solution. Once they are willing to pick up the phone and discuss the options, many homeowners realize there is help available, and a foreclosure or a strategic default is not always necessary. Another communication problem might be that homeowners who are faithfully making mortgage payments but worrying about the value of their investment might not realize that they could be eligible for help too. A short term financial hardship does not have to mean an end to home ownership. Talking to the bank is the first step in exploring modification prospects.

There is still a lot of negative equity in the housing market. Even with a loan modification, continuing to pay on your mortgage might seem like an exercise in futility. However, smart homeowners are watching the real estate market slowly tick upwards. We might not be in the throes of a full and sudden recovery, but the home values and prices are trending up, and interest rates remain at a historically low level. Therefore, getting a reasonable loan modification and sticking with your mortgage is a good investment, even if you are still a little upside down on your mortgage. In five or 10 years, experts predict the real estate market will be completely recovered, and your home will once again be one of the best investments you can make.

Without the federal HAMP program, there would be over half a million more foreclosed homes in the nation than there are now. This number cannot be ignored. While the federal government might have wanted to reach more people, the fact that so many homeowners have benefitted is good news. As people continue to seek help from their lenders, the number of secure homeowners will continue to increase, placing them in good financial standing as the market continues to expand and repair itself. The loan modification programs available now might not be perfect, but they are helping a substantial group of people, and keep families in their homes and fiscally solvent.


This post was written for Chicago Relocation by Stephen K. Hachey. Stephen is a Tampa real estate attorney specializing in loan modifications, short sales, foreclosures and much more.  He is also the owner of his own practice, the Law Offices of Stephen Hachey, PA.


The Last Check On Your New Home Checklist

February 6, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

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

Harris Effron posted a very intriguing article on AOL’s real estate website last June. Here are some excerpts along with comments.

Whether you’re relocating to a new area or just moving to a new place, home buying is an exciting time in life. It can be the kick-off to a fresh start, or a simple change of scenery. If you’re not careful however, that new home could instantly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars extra; as seen in the case of John and Jessie Bates.

Shortly after purchasing their new home in Suquamish Washington, The Bates’ 7 year old son Tyler started developing an unusual rash, along with vomiting that spread to all members of the family. In addition the house was plagued with a strange unidentifiable smell; the answer? Their new home had been previously used as a meth lab.

The houses dark secret was told to the Bates by a neighbor, and the theory was solidified when they began tearing apart the master bathroom. They found iodine-looking stains on the walls, and human feces under the floorboards. Fox news reported that toxic chemicals had soaked into the fabric of the entire house, and an environmentalist agency deemed the house not suitable for living.

The Bates ended up spending an additional $184,000 to destroy and rebuild a new house, and only about half of the states have laws that require sellers to disclose whether or not the house had once been used as a meth lab. If you are unfortunate enough to live in one of the states without this disclosure law, there is little legal action that can be taken. Additionally, the DEA reported that 10,287 meth labs were seized in the United States in 2011.

Therefore the last check on your new home checklist? Chemical Contamination. This test costs only a couple hundred dollars and could save you a large amount of money. More importantly, it could protect the health and safety of you or your family.