Chicago Relocation

Hungry for some music? Taste the lineup!

June 30, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

This year’s TASTE of Chicago includes much more than fried things and pizza.  How about electronic rock,  soul and some good old country?

On July 9, electro-rock sensations AWOLNATION will play the fest, along with Austin-based alt-rockers Saints of Valory.

On July 10, the soulful Janelle Monae will play, and Gary Clark Jr. will open for her with his classic R&B tunes.

Grammy-winners Emmylou Harris and Nickel Creek will play the Petrillo stage July 11 along with folk/gospel performer Parker Millsap.

The headliner will be a local favorite on July 12 — Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.

Other fest perfomers include reggae act the Wailers and singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc, both slated to play July 13.

The annual Taste of Chicago will take place in Grant Park July 9-13.



June 2014 Chicago Real Estate Market Update

June 27, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

John D’Ambrogio shares this month’s update of the Chicagoland relocation market.



The Top Six Reasons for Moving in America

June 23, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

Each year, over a million people in America relocate from their current residents or place of birth to relocate within the same town, out of the state, or even the country. In 2013, over 35 million Americans moved around the country or out of the country, with the average American moving once every 5 years. Although there has been a slight decrease over the years in mobility, people are still moving around in the United States. Here are some of the major reasons for moving in America.

Job Related

One of the biggest reasons for Americans moving is job related relocation. Many companies are trying to cut back costs by moving to another town, state, or even country and the employees will also have to move if they would like to keep their current job. Or, there are other companies that have multiple offices around the country or world and wish to have their employees transfer between them.

On the other hand, finding a job in another area that is better is also a great opportunity to move to another state or country. If you have an awesome job but the commute is extremely long and expensive, then most people would prefer to move closer to their workplace rather than wasting hours of their time stuck in traffic at the beginning and end of every work day.

Health Problems/ Retirement

Physical ailments such as knee, back, or leg problems can make it hard for someone to move around their current home, especially if it is a two story. Therefore, moving to a single level home or possibly a condo would make more sense for those who are dealing with health issues. For those who are unable to move and pack on their own, it is good have an idea of what you need to know for moving, and how to hire the correct person/company for your move.

There are many people who feel that once they reach a certain age, they have paid their dues to the work force and decide to retire, especially to places that will help them relax, usually in a warm, beautiful, and peaceful place. Those who are retiring have many different communities available across the United States to choose between. Many of these retirement communities contain golf courses, club houses, weekend gatherings, parties, and workout facilities for those who live in the community.

See Family More/Less Often

A great reason for wanting to move for some is to see their family more often. If you live in another part of the country, or are even just an hour or two away from your loved ones, it can be nice to move so you are living closer to your family. Getting to be closer to grandparents, cousins, parents/kids, or aunts and uncles can be great for families and building up those relationships. On the other side of that coin though, there are some who would like to see their family less often and choose to move away and put more distance between them and their dysfunctional or fractured family.

Personal Relationships

Not much can be more exciting when you are able to move in with a partner or into a place with your new husband or wife. One or both parties may need to sell or rent out where they are living, especially if they both owned homes before deciding to move in together. On the other hand, breaking up is another big reason for moving. Sometimes, the home or apartment they lived in together can hold too many bad memories, or one person may not be able to sustain the home on their income. Even though it is a delicate situation, moving out after a breakup is complicated, mistakes will happen and it’s good to know and understand that.




Don’t Stop Believing

June 16, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

Yes, America has held on to that feeling.

Guess what? Americans still view home ownership as the safest investment they have. While that may be counterintuitive  iven price fluctuations the last seven years, it is nice to see that the big picture long term view is still there (or maybe I should say it is back again).

Gallup Poll released a poll showing home ownership above stocks, bonds, mutuals and the rest.

Not surprisingly, Fannie Mae’s recent National Housing Survey which asked Americans which assets had both potential and safety, home ownership came up number one again. FNME may be a little biased, but the results did fall in line with Gallup.

Why the optimism after living through such a bubble? The S &P has actually outpaced the returns on real estate investment over the past century, but I think you are missing a few things when you try to compare apples to apples.

Here is a list of a few of my reasons:

*The generous tax deductions for both primary and investment property provides far more advantages than simple capital gains/losses.

*Leverage. Few of us buy stocks on margin. Most of us finance 80% or more of our home purchases. So a 20% gain on a $100k home, with 20% down, equates to a 100% increase (commissions another selling costs notwithstanding). Yes, it swings both ways. A 20% loss wipes out all your investment.

*Speaking of cap gains, being able to take hundreds of thousands in cap gains TAX FREE is appealing.

*It would be foolish to not take into account years of rental income and cash flow on investments, as opposed to simply price bought and price sold.

*Oh, and you can’t live inside a stock certificate. Studies don’t usually impute the cost of rental housing against stock investment gains. You remember the jokes about the 401k becoming a 201k. Well, your four bedroom house didn’t become a two bedroom house during the recession (although it may have been valued at one). Which is good because your adult kid probably moved back!

So maybe we practice things in moderation. Fund your IRA, and buy a home. Put a reasonable amount down, and make sure your payment is affordable.

I think in the long run you will be ok.



New is New Again

Filed Under
Chicago Real Estate
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John D’Ambrogio

In April, national  building permits hit their highest level since 2008 recently. The U. S. Commerce Department reported and incredible 13%+ increase over last year.  It surpassed last fall’s record high.  Year over year numbers actually increased a whopping 25%+.  Increases were reported for every region of the United States.

The widespread polar vortex certainly didn’t help things over the winter, so perhaps there was a little pent up demand this spring!

Groundbreaking for single family and multi units topped one million.  However, that represented a less than 1% increase for SFHs and an almost 40% increase for multi units.   Why?  Lots of ideas.  Perhaps developers want to hedge their bets and get their investment back in increments, and not wait for a final sale.  Perhaps it’s simple market forces – people want new but can not afford single family homes at this point.

Regardless, the recovery is on track. And that’s a good thing!  Time to buy some real estate.


Why are cash buyers increasing…?

June 9, 2014

Filed Under
chicago foreclosure
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John D’Ambrogio

…When rates are still at historic lows and institutional investing seems to be fading?

Well, info recently released for RealtyTrac, which crunches housing data, the percentage of ‘all cash’ buyers hit a new high this year.

It used to be assumed this would be the result of serial or institutional investors – those who buy double digit numbers of properties each year with the goal of holding and renting.

However, as prices have jumped (then inched) upwards, institutional buyers have been backing off.  They are all about the numbers and if the numbers don’t make sense for them and their investors they simply move on.  I have certainly seen this firsthand in the foreclosure and low end market.  Last year’s deals are long gone.

RealtyTrac’s position is that it’s everyday consumers who were able to stock away cash (or perhaps are purchasing in instruments such as IRAs) and small investment groups (with perhaps more modest return goals).

Regardless, cash is still King.  It never really wasn’t, was it?


Smart Homes

June 2, 2014

Filed Under
Luxury Homes,Technology
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John D’Ambrogio

Some comments from Baird & Warner’s Sean Hyland

Today marks the start of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the innovative tech giant is expected to announce their entry into the smart home market.  That’s right, smart homes, not just smart phones.

A smart home  is a house where all electronic devices can be controlled via a remote system in a phone, tablet, computer, or the user’s voice.   This includes heating, lighting, security and other appliances.  No longer will you have to suffer through the agonizing uncertainty of whether you forgot to turn off the stove or lock the front door on your way out, the smart home system will put your mind at ease.  You can adjust these devices from anywhere with your remote control.  Certain smart home technology can even detect when you’ve left and will monitor your home to keep it at the settings you’ve typically preferred.  I know, pretty reminiscent of the Jetson’s house.

So now you’re wondering how this new technology will affect the real estate market.  Well, experts at the Eindhoven University of Technology have written an interesting paper on the subject, which you can read here (fair warning though, it’s a whopping 16 pages).  The introduction of smart homes could cause major changes for real estate in terms of insurance, leisure, home security, education, and data collection.

While this technology may seem very futuristic and improbable, it is actually a lot more imminent than we may believe.  There are already tons of home automation products  for sale and there are several smart homes currently on the market (I hear Bill Gates  has had some great smart home technology for years).  Experts in the field have marked smart homes and home automation systems as a major trend of 2014.  Sales of these products are expected to increase to $9.5 billion by 2015 and to $44 billion in 2017.

Get ready Chicago, it’s the future.