Chicago Illinois Real Estate Blog and News

Why Agents With Low Commission Rates May Hurt Your Transaction

Low commission rates seem enticing, but they can cost you more than they save. Here’s why.

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A seller recently told me they hired their first agent based on a low commission rate. Though their agent offered a commission that was 1% lower than others, this seller sure paid for it in a different way. The home sat on the market for six months, and it cost about $10,800 in upkeep over that period.

That 1%-lower commission rate cost the seller a lot more than what they saved.

There’s more to hiring an agent than just commission rate. If you get an agent who doesn’t actively try to sell your home, it will certainly cost you, regardless of their rate. And if you find an agent who will negotiate their rate, that’s not a good sign either—if they’re willing to give up their own potential earnings, they’ll likely be willing to give up yours, too.


The Shift Is Happening In Our Area

Today I want to bring you a quick update on our residential real estate market.

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The news recently has been all over the place. Some are talking about a market shift, and others are suggesting the markets are moving, so let me explain to you what’s actually going on in the Chicagoland area.

Ultimately, it depends on the price range of the property: Homes in the lower price range typically still operate within a seller’s market. The higher the price range, the more likely they are to operate in a buyer’s market.

In fact, in the last week, I have been inside properties in an area where they have 1.5 years' worth of inventory—that is a lot. I’ve also been in areas where they have only two months' worth of inventory.

The shift is absolutely happening in our area.


An Interview With Igor Murokh of Mr. Floor

We recently sat down with Igor Murokh of Mr. Floor, a local flooring company specializing in hardwood floors, to discuss the importance of maintaining your floors in the winter months.

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Today we’re excited to spotlight Mr. Floor—a fantastic local business specializing in installing and refinishing hardwood flooring. To give you a better idea of what this business does, we invited company VP Igor Murokh to sit down for an interview.

Cited below for your convenience are timestamps that will direct you to various points in the interview. Feel free to watch the full message or use these timestamps to browse specific topics at your leisure:

0:30 - An explanation of how Igor joined Mr. Floor and how the business serves the community

4:15 - How to prepare a home for the winter months to keep wood floors in good shape

9:22 - How to prevent wood floors from buckling or cupping

12:17- How Mr. Floor addresses a water-damaged floor

14:01 - Does Mr. Floor work on floors they didn’t install?

15:54 - How to maintain wood flooring through the winter months

19:51 - How and why Mr. Floor has formulated cleaning products to maintain (and enhance) wood floors

25:17 - How to try Mr. Floor’s cleaning product for 20% off

26:16 - How to contact...

What’s Going on in the Chicagoland Real Estate Market?

The end of 2018 is drawing near in the Chicagoland real estate market.
Here’s what the numbers are telling us about who can take advantage of the market in its current form.

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We must be getting near the end of the year now that the first big snow of the year has hit. I just wanted to give you a quick market update to let you know what’s going on in real estate around this time of year.

Many people think that the market is pretty dormant during this time of year, but we actually have seen 152 properties go under contract in the Chicagoland area in the past seven days. At the same time, a little over 2,500 homes have come off the market and only 1,472 new homes have come on the market.

With these numbers, you can see why this time of year is actually a great opportunity to sell your home. There is a decrease in inventory, which can help you find a buyer. Once we see that first snowfall, and with the holidays around the corner, many people decide to take their homes off the market. This means that it’s a great time for you to prepare to get your home on the market.


Interview With Dominick DiMaggio: Attorney and Short Sales Expert

Today I’m so grateful to have Dominick DiMaggio with me as a special guest
to talk about his career as a specialist in short sales.

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The Law Offices of Dominick DiMaggio practices in many areas, including real estate law, which encompasses buying or selling residential property and vacant land, but Dominick’s firm really concentrates on short sales—short sales comprise about 90% of what he’s done for the last six years.

He has even authored an ebook, “The Home Owner’s Guide to Real Estate: Short Sales.” In it, you can learn about selling your home for less than you owe, having your lender pay all the fees, avoiding foreclosure, saving your credit, and more. Click here to read “The Home Owner’s Guide” in PDF format.


Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, we’d like to extend our sincere thanks to all of you who have made our business possible.

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The leaves are changing, the holidays are approaching, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Right now is the perfect time to reflect on what you’re thankful for. And here on the Kite Team, we’re thankful for all of you. We can’t say how much we appreciate your continued support. We’ve been able to serve over 400 families this year, and this opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without you. We hope that you’re able to enjoy this holiday season with all of your loved ones over great food and even better conversation. From our team to your family: Happy Thanksgiving!


Why Professional Photography Matters in Real Estate

Having poor-quality listing photos is a good way to kill your home sale, so it’s imperative
that you hire a professional photographer to take proper photos of your home before you list it.

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Two things can kill a home sale before a buyer ever steps foot through the front door: Having poor-quality listing photos, or having no listing photos at all.

This is why, if you plan on listing your home soon, it’s imperative that you hire a professional photographer to take photos of it. As I always say, photos are your first opportunity to sell your house.

3D virtual tours are a fantastic marketing tool.

To that point, one thing...

Is the Increase in Inventory a Bullish or Bearish Sign for Real Estate?

Is the Increase in Inventory a Bullish or Bearish Sign for Real Estate? | Simplifying The Market

In a recent article, National Housing Inventory Crisis Reaches Inflection reported that:

  1. New listings jumped 8% year-over-year nationally, the largest increase since 2013
  2. Total listings in the 45 largest markets are now up 6% on average over last year

This increase in housing inventory has sparked two different reactions. Some are saying this is the first sign of a potential collapse while others are saying it is a welcomed reprieve from the lack of inventory that has stalled the market recently. As Zelman & Associates reported in a recent ‘Z Report’:

“With the rate of home price appreciation starting to decelerate alongside the uptick in inventory, we expect significant debate whether this is a bullish or bearish sign.”

Is this a sign the market might crash?

There are those who look at the increase in inventory as a sign that we are returning to the market we saw last decade. However, a closer look shows that we are nowhere near the levels of inventory we reached before the crash in 2008.

A normal market would have about 6-months inventory, but the latest Existing Home Sales Report issued by the ...

The Winter Is a Bad Time to Sell? Nonsense!

Don’t rule out selling this winter.

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It is officially fall! I love this time of year, with the cooler temperatures and changing leaves. It’s a shame that so many people think they can’t or shouldn’t sell their homes during the fall or winter. But today I’m here to tell you not to discount the winter as a great selling season—in fact, it could be the best time to sell. Many sellers take their homes off the market this time of year, meaning less competition for you. The winter has low supply, but there’s always demand for homes, and selling in the fall or winter could make you more money.


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 between moves...

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, and investments...

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 inventory levels...

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 are losing...

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 ample opportunities...

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!