7 Luxury Condo Buying Tips for First-timers

If a luxury Chicago condo purchase is in your foreseeable future, youll undoubtedly exhilarated at the prospect of enjoying an optimal quality of life, but you may also be a bit apprehensive as well. Following are seven tips to help make your upcoming real estate purchase go as smoothly as possible.

1. Choose a Realtor Who Knows the Area

A Chicago realtor who truly knows the area will be able to guide you to the properties that best suit your individual needs and preferences.

2. Choose an Experienced Realtor

Experience is essential when selecting a realtor, so be sure to ask potential candidates how long theyve been in business.

3. Make a List of Amenities That You Absolutely Must Have

Developing a clear picture of your wants and needs in a home will make your search much easier.

4. Research Market Prices

Spending several hours researching prices online will provide you with a good idea of what you can expect to spend.

5. Visit Neighborhoods That Interest You

If you find yourself drawn to specific neighborhoods, visit them during different times of day to get a good feel for what it might be like to live there.

6. Investigate HOAs

Some HOAs may be more restrictive than youd like, while others may be too lax for your tastes. Finding an HOA that suits you will make life in your new condo more pleasant.

7. Choose the Best Possible View

Selecting the unit with the best possible view will increase your quality of life as well as make Chicago real estate easier to resell in the future.

For more information on finding a good Chicago realtor, contact us at your convenience.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor

If youve recently started to explore possible Gold Coast Chicago real estate options, you probably have a significant amount of questions concerning everything from neighborhood amenities to crime statistics. The right realtor can provide the expertise necessary to help your relocation go smoothly and to ensure that you experience no unpleasant surprises. Choosing a skilled Gold Coast Chicago realtor is the first step in starting your new life in one of Chicagos most exciting neighborhoods.

Selecting a good realtor involves asking the right questions. Heres what to ask:

How Long Have You Been Selling Real Estate in Chicago?

Finding a realtor who knows the city well will help ensure that youll have access to the best possible housing choices. A realtor who is familiar with your desired neighborhood can provide you with better matches.

Is Real Estate Your Full time Career?

Those who work in real estate on a full time basis are frequently more knowledgeable and thorough than their part time counterparts.

Can You Provide References?

A successful realtor should have no shortage of good professional references. Also, be sure to check online review sites to see if the realtor who you are considering is mentioned.

To find out more information about homes for sale in Gold Coast, contact us today.

3 Easy Ways to Stage Your Wrigleyville home During the Winter

The harsh Chicago winters present many obstacles, including how to effectively stage your Wrigleyville home.

We all know how brutal the winters can be here in our beloved Chicagoland area, but that Make your Wrigleyville home a winter wonder.hardly means that – should you be listing your Wrigleyville home – you can’t stage the home in an appealing, tasteful manner! So with that in mind, and as we we brace for winter’s worst, here are a few easy wintry staging tips:

1. Clear All Sidewalks/Pathways – Ice, snow, and sleet may be emblematic of Chicago winters, but they have no place in your Wrigleyville home showings; therefore, make sure that any sidewalks/pathways that lead to your residence are all clear. As David Cieslak of Signature Staging explained to Chicago Agent, that not only eliminates possible safety hazards, but also presents homebuyers with a well-maintained, clean listing.

2. Decorate Your Entryways in a Tasteful Manner – Leave the exuberant decorations in the attic, and focus instead on more tasteful touches that connect to the season. For instance, consider evergreen plants or birch logs for a warm, inviting tone to your Wrigleyville home.

3. Keep Those Lights On! – Finally, we all know how quickly the nighttime arrives during winter, so remember to keep your lights on at night so people can take a good look at your listing. As Cieslak mentions, potential buyers often like to drive past listings on their way home from work, and it’s hardly enticing to drive past a dark, shadowy house, now is it?

In short, keeping your Wrigleyville home festive, inviting, and free of dangerous ice and snow will be a sure way to sell during the harshest of seasons.

Source: “A Home Staging Checklist For Selling a Home in the Winter Months”

Related Realty Welcomes Charles Peed to the Brokerage

Related Realty is growing faster than ever and has welcomed its newest team member, Charles Peed.Charles Peed - Headshot

Charles has worked in real estate for the past two years as right-hand man to Kathleen Malone. He has been directly involved with several real estate transactions where his diligence, integrity and passion have been essential to the successful outcome. With the knowledge, skill set and determination to be an exceptional broker, Charles has launched his career as a real estate broker as a part of the malone residential team.

Welcome to the team, Charles!

How to Budget for Your First Home

There is no question that purchasing your first home can be both exciting and terrifying. After all, this is the single, largest investment you are most likely making to date and if you do not plan properly, you may be left unable to afford the home you choose.

Before you even start to look for Lincoln Park Chicago real estate, you should take a careful look at your finances now, and what they will look like in the foreseeable future. There are a number of budget considerations you need to make to ensure that issues will not arise down the road.

When searching for homes for sale in Lincoln Park Chicago don’t underestimate the costs that are associated with this purchase. In addition to the cost of the home and property, you will also have to pay for a home inspection, as well as a property appraisal. The inspection process will let you know if there are any serious issues and may save you thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs.

When you are budgeting for a home purchase, you will also have to think about the long-term costs associated with it. This includes things such as:

  • Utility costs.
  • Regular maintenance for the interior and the exterior of your home.
  • Title insurance and closing costs, unless they are rolled into your loan.
  • Taxes
  • Mortgage Insurance

Before you dive into a home purchase, it is also a good idea to build up your credit score and reduce your debt. This will help you handle these new expenses easily, without struggling to make ends meet.

Unfortunately there is no magic number that will help you determine how much you can realistically afford. While there are some calculators that can provide you with a general estimate, they can not predict future changes in situations, such as sudden unemployment loss, divorce, or health concerns that can affect income, which means that what you can afford one month, may not be the same the next. This is why saving cash, reducing debt, and sticking with a budget will help secure the future. It is also a good idea to use the help of a Lincoln Park Chicago realtor, since they may be able to help you determine what you can realistically afford for your personal budget.

How to see the view from your new South Loop condo – before it’s been built

New technologies, such as drone photography, will assist buyers in the market for a South Loop condo. Gold Coast’s 840 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago

When a new South Loop condo building is still under construction, it can be difficult for home buyers to imagine the views, the neighborhoods vibe and the overall living experience the project will deliver. But, as Multi-Housing News explains in a recent article quoting Related Realty’s president, David Wolf, realtors and developers across the country are helping prospective buyers envision their new home in a variety of ways, including co-branding buildings through local retailers or hosting special events. But, perhaps the most effective – and innovative – means to demonstrate the views buyers can expect in a yet-to-be-built South Loop condo building, comes from technology.

Using drones to photograph the various vantage points from each floor of a building, allows condo buyers to see the views from inside their new home. This removes the guesswork for condo buyers wondering how fabulous a view will be from any floor, and from any direction. It also enables buyers to get a sense of the neighborhood from a unique perspective.

Read more in Multi-Housing News about how realtors and developers of upscale South Loop condo buildings are making it easier for buyers to visualize the anticipated living experience. To learn more about buying or selling a condo in any one of Chicago’s key neighborhood, please contact

Prices Climb for homes for sale in Chicago

Homeowners around the country have been salivating as home prices continue climbing Make Your 2014 Home Ownership Resolution Come Trueinto territory not visited since late 2008. In a new report from RealtyTrac, the real estate information company helped to further whet appetites, revealing that in October the median sales price of single-family homes and condos reached $193,000. The increase marks a 73-month high and a 16 percent year-over-year gain.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, attributed the overall improvement to investors, saying their habit of hopping from one market to the next, drying up “lower-priced, often distressed” inventories has created a kind of “ripple effect recovery,” pushing investors into new hot spots such as Dallas and Oklahoma City.

Unfortunately, not every state and metro has been lucky enough to follow the nation’s lead, with the pace of appreciation faltering in several major cities, like Phoenix. But for homes for sale in Chicago, prices nearly matched the nation’s double-digit stride.

Since 2013, price appreciation in the windy city has increased 4 percentage points from 11 to 15 percent, surpassing San Francisco, Atlanta, Las Vegas, New York and a slew of others.

As Chicago Agent pointed out in a recent article, overall home prices for homes for sale in Chicago actually fell slightly (0.2 percent) compared to the same time last year. Fortunately, the dip is a positive. The autumnal decline represents a “much-needed market correction” and a shift “towards a more sustainable market.”

Vacation Condos: A Good Time to Buy?

Investing in a vacation condo can be a very smart financial move in addition to giving you a convenient place to stay when traveling. The South Loop Chicago real estate market for these condos is one that’s experiencing rising demand thanks to the abundance of attractions in the area, such as Adler Planetarium, Grant Park, Shedd Aquarium and Northerly Island. There are also several museums, theaters and historical attractions nearby.

Before you decide whether to look for vacation homes for sale in the South Loop, though, you should take certain factors into consideration. Purchasing and owning a vacation condo is a bit different from investing in a regular home.

Consider all the Costs

In addition to the cost of the mortgage, you’ll also need to include the costs of property taxes for the area, insurance coverage, maintenance fees, utilities and applicable condo association fees. Remember that you’ll have to cover the cost of electricity, water and other utilities each month, even when you’re not staying in the condo. You can offset some of these costs by renting out your condo to vacationers when you’re not using it, if the condo association allows it.

Think About Property Management

If you’re planning on renting out your condo, consider hiring a property management company in the area to handle those arrangements. A property manager can find renters, take care of maintenance and repairs and collect the rent payments. Even if you won’t be renting out your South Loop vacation condo, you might still want a property manager to help maintain your property while it’s empty. This is another cost to consider before deciding whether or not to purchase a vacation condo.

To find out more information on available vacation condos from a South Loop realtor, contact us today.