Chicago Illinois Real Estate Blog and News

Baby Boomers are Downsizing, Are You Ready to Move?

Ready to move?

For a while now baby boomers have been blamed for a portion of the housing market’s current lack of housing inventory, but should they really be getting the blame?

Here’s what some of the experts have to say on the subject:

Aaron Terrazas, Senior Economist at Zillow, says that “Boomers are healthier and working longer than previous generations, which means they aren’t yet ready to sell their homes.

According to a study by Realtor.com85% of baby boomers indicated they were not planning to sell their homes.

It is true that baby boomers are healthier and are thus working and living longer, but are they also refusing to sell their homes? 

Last month, Trulia looked at the housing situation of seniors (aged 65+) today compared to that of a decade ago. Trulia’s study revealed that:

Although seniors appear to be delaying downsizing until later in life, as a group, households 65 and over are still downsizing at roughly the same rate as in years past.”

Trulia also explains that, 

5.5% of households 65 and over moved, pretty evenly split...

Pre-Approval: Your 1st Step in Buying a Home

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings,...

Buying a Home is Cheaper than Renting in 38 States! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Renting vs Buying

Some Highlights:

  • According to a study by GOBankingRates, it is cheaper to buy a home than rent in 38 states across the country.
  • In six states the difference between buying & renting would account for less than a $50 monthly difference, leaving the choice up to the individual family.
  • Nationwide, it is now 26.3% cheaper to buy.

The Key to Pricing Your Home Right

The key to pricing your home appropriately is working with an expert agent who knows our market.

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When listing your home, it’s important that you price it appropriately for what you’re delivering to the market.

When I talk to sellers whose homes fail to sell, I'm always curious how the listing price was determined. When I hear an agent asked the seller where they wanted to price it, I wonder why that wasn't a huge red flag. Pricing your home correctly is imperative to getting it sold and I believe that is one of the most important reasons you hire a Realtor. Overpricing it, for instance, could lead to you selling it for less than what you would have if you had priced it correctly from the beginning.

The condition of your property, the location, and what you are competing with all play into your price. The lesser known factor in determining where you should price your home is taking into account how people search for homes today. Make sure you work with an expert agent who can give you the appropriate price for your home based on the current market. Keep in mind, though, that markets shift and prices change. The price I give your home in February, before you have too much competition, will likely be different from the price I would give you in April when the...

The Truth About Our Changing Chicagoland Market

If you’re thinking of buying or selling right now, what do recent changes in our market mean for you? Let’s find out.

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The tide might be turning.

After several years of continuous price gains, the real estate market seems to be reaching its price cap.

In June, the last month for which we have complete numbers, 14% of all listings saw a price cut. That's up from a low of 11.7% at the end of 2016.

Several other statistics support the idea of an emerging buyer’s market.

In the same month, housing demand fell 9.6%, the largest decline in over two years.

Unsurprisingly, the number of people requesting home tours has fallen by 6.1%. Mortgage applications to purchase a home has decreased as well.

A few things are at play here. One is rising mortgage rates, which have been steadily climbing for much of this year. Another is an overall decrease in affordability, resulting from a combination of the growth in home prices and mortgage rates.

There’s another important thing I should point out: If this is the start of a buyer's market, it's unlikely to be just a momentary blip.

One sign of this is that homebuilder sentiment has recently fallen to the lowest point in almost a year. In other words, homebuilders...

How Do Zestimates Actually Work?

Though they work as a starting place, it’s unwise to rely on
Zestimates when determining the market value of your home.

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Many people start their home search online by checking out Zillow’s Zestimate feature, which estimates your home’s value—and that’s okay. Most of those people just want a ballpark estimate of how much they might get for their home.

However, it’s important to understand that Zestimates are not an accurate estimate of what your home would sell for in today’s market. Zillow hasn’t been in your home, so they don’t know if you have any value-boosting upgrades that need to be factored into the home’s price.

To create a Zestimate, all Zillow does is take the average of what properties similar to yours in square footage have sold for in order to give you a figure to work with. Notice that those values can change by thousands of dollars on even a monthly basis.


What Can You Do to Increase the Value of Your Home?

Today I want to look at where you can add value to your home.

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If you want to add value to your home, there are two main areas that you can focus on; Your kitchen and your bathroom.

Certain easy, inexpensive fixes can go a long way in adding value to your home. For your kitchen, you can look at upgrading appliances and putting in new countertops. Meanwhile, for your bathroom, you can change your vanity, a light fixture, or even the mirrors.

So, when you are looking to add value, focus on your kitchens and bathrooms. It really doesn’t pay to put a lot of money into landscaping or adding trim to your home. It may help it sell faster, but you won’t actually get a higher offer.

For your kitchen, you can look at upgrading

appliances and putting in new countertops.


When is the Best Time for You to Sell Your Home?

What is the best time for you to sell your home? Today I’ll help you decide.

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Today I want to talk to you about the best time to sell your home. Most people think it’s the spring, and it may be. However, there may be an even better time for you to list and sell.

To determine whether there is a better time, the first thing that we would do is come out and look at your home. Then, we would sit down and have a conversation about what you need, such as the time frame needed to leave.

Next, we’ll talk about the competition currently on the market. What are homes priced at and how do they look?

You can let a family member tell you when

the best time to list is—or you can hire a professional


Millennial's are using there 401k to become homeowners

Why are Millennials scared to buy a home with there 401k?

There have been a lot of scary news stories out there lately suggesting that Millennials are making a big mistake by taking from or borrowing against their 401k to help buy their first home. But is it a mistake to invest in yourself to start building equity in a home. Most Millennials haven't even hit their peak earning years yet and have plenty of time to build that retirement portfolio. And besides, that isn't equity in a home an asset. Traditionally homes have been safe investments that are appreciated over time now before making any big decision.

It's always a good idea to talk to a trusted family members and some friends as well as a reputable real estate agent preferably a buyer specialist who can help lead you to that first home. One that won't make you house poor. Isn't it better at the end of the day to be paying your own mortgage rather than somebody else's? Which is exactly what you're doing when you're paying rent. I'm Cynthia Bowers a member of the Amy Kite team of Keller Williams Infinity.

Amy has been nationally recognized for her unique team approach to buying and selling real estate. Give us a call at 847 - 877 - 9881. And let us guide you to the American dream. Now is a great time to invest in yourself and your future.


3 Profit Centers for Beginner Real Estate Investors

For those looking to start their careers as real estate investors, here
are three options you can try to begin making a profit.

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If you’re looking to get started with real estate investing, we have a lot of opportunities that come across our desks every week, so today I want to discuss three different avenues that you could take to kickstart your investment career.

1. The “fix and flip.” This is when you purchase a home to repair it and elevate its condition and presentation to then turn around and resell it for more than you paid for it.

2. Cash flow from holding a property. This is when you purchase a property to rent out to tenants, which creates money for you on a monthly basis.

3. Appreciation. This means to buy and hold a property with the intention of allowing it to appreciate over time and then selling it once it has gained enough value.

We have...

REAL Trends Inc - Top Thousand

Strong Results

Yesterday Amy received word from John Davis, the CEO of Keller Williams, that The Kite Team was one of the 2017 REAL Trends "Top Thousand" real estate teams! To everyone that has bought or sold a home with us; Thank you for choosing us, and we hope to continue to grow our relationships with homeowners across the eight counties surrounding Chicago. 

Here is the article Keller Williams posted about their teams and their success!


Spring Selling Tips Infographic

Looking to sell your home? This spring may be the perfect time! Amy Kite has some tips and tricks to sell your home quickly and take advantage of the spring season. For most of the country, spring and summer are the best times to sell a home. You can take advantage of the season by emphasizing the benefits of good weather and longer days. It's natural to want to spruce up your space in the spring, so scrub away! A sparkling home will impress buyers & make your home seem even more appealing. Check out the infographic for more information on how to take advantage of the spring time when selling your home.

Spring Selling Tips


Kite Team Embraces the Keller Cloud

Keller Williams is making huge moves towards technology and we are very excited about it! The Keller Cloud is going to be the only platform to run your entire business. This platform has been tested with over 6,000 agents and has been created by impeccable designers and software developers to ensure a great experience for agents and clients

Keller Williams is making technology its biggest priority and changed the business model to selling “coaching, training, and technology” to its agents.

The system will be rolled out in stages and part of it will even be coming in the next week. By creating their own platform, Keller Williams will be less dependent on other technology companies and will let them have more control on what happens internally.

A goal that Keller Williams has for this platform is to make the technology experience dramatically simpler, making it “the world’s simplest and most personalized discovery, transaction and ownership experience in residential real estate.”

Kelle is your personal assistant, she is Keller Williams artificial intelligence to help you with everything across the Keller Cloud. She is voice controlled and will provide 24/7 assistance for every single agent. The Keller Cloud will be able to simplify an agent’s day to day needs to make running their business easier. 

By creating one platform agents and clients will not have to figure out a bunch of different systems to find their dream home or sell their home.

Ultimately agents will be able to manage their entire business from one dashboard.  Keller Williams recognized a need by their agents because they were overwhelmed with technological problems that slowed them down in their work. Therefore, they want...

What to Know to Tackle the Home Buying Process

The home buying process can seem very stressful. Here are a few tips to help you wrap your head around this life decision.

Make sure you talk to a trusted Mortgage Advisor: Your Realtor should be able to provide you with great mortgage companies. They will know which ones to stay away from as well. Once you talk to an advisor you will know where to start.

This is not your forever home: Buying a home is not a one time experience. Your needs change as you advance through your life. Your home you buy in your twenties might not fit the same needs that you want in your 60s.

There is no such thing as the “Perfect Home”: If you go out with an agent and think that you will find a home that fits every need and want and in your price range you will drive yourself crazy. Tradeoffs need to happen such as: “The house is on the Lake, but the house is not the right color.” Home inspections will help you determine if the house is worth buying a lot of times. It depends on what you are willing to change as well.

Cosmetic issues can be fixed: Obviously, you will not have the same taste as other people. If they have the urge to paint their bathroom lime green and have zebra carpet in the master bedroom and that does not float your boat you must look at the house for what it is. Look at the layout, how many bedrooms and bathroom it has, how big the yard is, the location and school districts or any other things that you cannot change that are important to you.

Ask lots of questions: An agent is supposed to help you through this process. Anything you do not understand ask away. Attorneys, Agents and Home Inspectors are full of valuable information. The more you know the more you will feel secure in your decision. 


Kite Team 2016, Going Beyond Selling Houses

Looking back on 2016, we wanted to highlight some key events that we could accomplish. Aside from selling over 500 homes, we could give Christmas to 9 families, brought lunch to a local police station,  took 200 plus clients to a Cubs game, and gave Orphan of the Storm, dogs 122 beds.

Kite Team with PresentsBeing able to give kids what they needed to make that Christmas unforgettable was very moving. We collected food and gave toys and clothes to families in our area. For the Kite Team, Christmas was very special.

Our clients are very important to us and we had a fantastic time with them when we
The Kite Team at the Cubs Game got to see the Cubs win this past season! We got to be a part of history by being able to witness one of many games that the Cubs won this past season. Meeting with our past clients was very rewarding because of the bond that we form with them over the course of their home selling and buying process, but most of the team only communicates with them on the phone. Getting to put a face to a name is something that was much needed.

Shelter Dog enjoying new bed. This summer we also gave every single one of the dogs at  Orphans of the Storm, a no-kill shelter in Riverwoods, a bed.  They were in heaven. Absolute heaven. We got to play with a  lot...

9 Things you need to know before selling your home

Around this time of year, the market for selling your home picks up. If you are thinking about selling a home but don't know where to start, here are a few things to consider according to The Kite Team:

  1. Market Research- Our website provides you with current Market Statistics for your area based on what county, property type and the number of bedrooms in the home. These categories affect the price of your home. To find the right price for your home, you need to know what is going on in your area. 
  2. Current Interest Rates- Knowing a little about mortgages prior to purchasing your home can reduce your anxiety. Here are a few things that will ease the process.First, having perfect credit is not always required. FHA will insure loans for borrowers with less than perfect credit. This makes homeownership more accessible to first-time homeowners. Second, buyers do not always have to put 20% down on a home. There are loan programs that have down payment requirements as low as $0. (VA loans).You should always talk to a knowledgeable loan officer about your loan options. They can counsel you on down payment requirements and closing costs.
  3. Let us help you!- We will ensure that your selling process is smooth and painless. Our marketing strategy is intense and we sell around 1 home every 18 hours. This past year we have sold over 500 homes. 
  4. Stage, clean & depersonalize- When buyers look at your home you...

3D Virtual Tours For Real Estate With Matterport

3D Virtual Tours For Real Estate With Matterport

Grayslake, IL December 13, 2016 – ( Chicago Realtor Amy Kite, founder and CEO of the Kite Team of Keller Williams Realty Infinity recently employed virtual reality, powered by Matterport, into the marketing of the team’s properties for sale.

A Matterport virtual tour, or a 3D tour, is a complete three-dimensional view of a property. You can travel through and experience the property as if you were there. The 3-D models are photographed using The Matterport camera that rotates 360 degrees. This special camera is placed in multiple locations in every room of the property. High-tech sensors capture the look and scope of the property while simultaneously calculating dimensions in order to render complete 3-D models.

“The Matterport tour with the dollhouse view is unlike any other virtual tour of a property. It brings the listings to life benefitting both buyers and sellers whose properties can be toured 24 hours a day at no inconvenience to them,” said Michael Linton, VP of Technology for The Kite Team. “Our Team is proud to be at the forefront in utilizing this cutting-edge technology.”

The 3-D walkthroughs allow potential homebuyers to manipulate 3-D models of property interiors, virtually move through rooms and hallways and spin views 360 degrees at points throughout the property.

Matterport virtual tours are a definite game changer when it comes to marketing Chicago area real estate.

Matterport virtual tour...

Chicago area Real Estate Team Launch New Website

Grayslake, IL, November 17, 2016 - ( Michael Linton, VP of Technology of the Kite Team of Keller Williams Realty Infinity with its home base in Naperville Illinois, announced the launch of the teams cutting edge website: This website was custom built on behalf of The Kite Team to help consumers buy and sell real estate in the 8 counties surrounding the Chicagoland area.

Amy Kite, Northern Illinois real Keller Williams agent specializes in working with buyers and sellers in the Greater Chicago area. “Business has been so good, we found the need to have a website with advanced search features,” Linton said.

Using this advanced website, The Kite Team will bring painless search functionality to customers searching homes for sale and available rentals currently on the market. There is also the capability for current owners to find out the value of their property, should they be thinking about selling. will provide advanced search functionality for Chicagoland Foreclosures, New developments, rentals and re-sales

For more information about the easiest property search or to request a no obligation consultation please visit, call The Kite Team at (847) 877-9881 to speak to someone directly.


Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit for more tips.