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September 14th, 2009

Is Your Lincoln Park Home for Sale in a Walk-able Neighborhood?

If you have a Lincoln Park home for sale or you’re thinking about buying a home to flip it, here’s something to keep in mind: walking distance. Why? Because a new study commissioned by CEOs for Citiesshows that homes within walking distance of amenities sell for more. And after all, isn’t that a large part of the reason for living in an urban market – accessibility to all the wonderful neighborhood amenities!

More & more people are going green! More people are walking or taking public transportation whenever possible and trying to avoid driving. However, not all urban homes are convenient to the neighborhood amenities. So, if there is a Lincoln Park home for sale within walking distance to schools, parks, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries and shopping areas, it’s more likely to be snatched up…and at a higher price than other less conveniently located homes.

This is true even in the current economy. “Walk-ability,” says Joseph Cortright, the man who analyzed the data, “adds value to residential property just as additional square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms and other amenities do.”

In many places, walk-ability can lead to a sales price of as much as $34,000 more than in areas where you can’t get around without a car. Of course, this isn’t true for every city. In Las Vegas, more walk-able areas correlated to places with lower housing cost. Bakersfield, California, didn’t show any difference at all.

Why is being able to walk around such a big deal? Several reasons:

  • The more walk-able neighborhoods usually have better mass transit systems.
  • People living in walk-able areas generally weigh less, by at least seven pounds.
  • Less money is spent on gas.
  • Car owners don’t need to drive as often, and when they do, they don’t have to go as far.
  • Quality of life

What does this mean for you, the homeowner? If you live in a walk-able neighborhood and have a Lincoln Park home for sale, you have an excellent selling point. Make sure you tell your real estate agent how easy it is to get around. With this knowledge, they can market your house towards all those people looking to use a little bit more leg power and a little bit less engine power. What’s your walk score?

September 12th, 2009

Selling Your Chicago Home? There’s Still Hope!

Many who have put their Chicago home up for sale in the past year are still waiting to put that “Sold” sign in the yard.  If this is you, don’t panic! There’s still hope for closing the sale this year.

 According to the National Association of REALTORS®, home sales have risen five months in a row. Great news for everyone currently in the real estate market. Why are they rising? A few reasons:

  • Mortgage interest rates are very low.
  • Home prices are stabilizing to become more affordable.
  • Buyers have a large selection to choose from, which encourages buyers that might otherwise have held out.
  • First time buyers should be rushing to buy before the $8,000 tax credit ends, which means closing the deal before November of this year.

 Here are a few tips to help you get your Chicago home sold before the year is up:

  • Pricing- The key for most home buyers seems to be the price. In fact, lower priced homes are selling the fastest. Go over your pricing with your real estate agent. Discuss whether you can afford to drop your home price, and if so, by how much.
  • Valuation – A major reason for some of the sales falling through is because appraisals were performed by home appraisers outside of the area. Unfortunately, many of them appraised homes lower than the price the buyers and sellers had negotiated. Because of this, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae push for appraisals to be done by home appraisers in the local area and appraisers who are more experienced with the local area’s housing trends and market. So, when it’s time to have your house evaluated, choose someone in your area, and ask that the buyer does the same.
  • Competition – Because there is so much competition, it’s always a good idea to take one last look at your Chicago home. Take your real estate agent with you and go over the home with a fine-toothed comb. What can you do to up the value? What can you do to make it more appealing?

 Lastly, don’t give up hope! You have a great house to sell and buyers are looking. Do your best, listen to your agent and stay relaxed.

September 8th, 2009

4 Options You Can Negotiate When Buying Newly Constructed Lincoln Park Home

Are you looking to buy new construction?  Many people are, but just as many aren’t aware that their newly built Lincoln Park home comes with options and add-ons.  In addition, they see a handsome price on new construction and think they’ve stepped into an unbelievable deal, not understanding that the price they’re looking at is for “bare bones.” 

Here are just a few of the options and upgrades you might want to have your real estate agent talk about with your chosen builder:

  • Flooring – The “standard” for flooring is cheaper carpet and thinner padding.  If you’re going for hardwood floors, you also may not get what you envision.  An important thing to keep in mind is that most builders make their money on the upgrades and options.  While they may offer upgrades for high quality flooring, it may actually be cheaper for you to buy it yourself later than through the builder.  Do your research and either have your real estate agent try to negotiate down to a price closer to what it would cost you, or have the builder use the cheapest material possible and ask them not to glue or tack it down.
  • Plumbing and fixtures - Whether you want improvements or additional plumbing and fixtures (such as for a wet bar or a different location for the washer and dryer), these are easier to do before the Lincoln Park home is finished.
  • Appliances - Check to see what brand and model cooking appliances the builder expects to use as well as what your refrigeration options are. Most times, your real estate agent can negotiate a better model, if not your preferred brand.
  • Value added goodies - steam showers, wine cellars & refrigerators, surround sound & whole house audio/video wiring, heated floors in the lower level and under all stone floors, to name just a few.

Make sure you understand your options, upgrade packages and deals for your new Lincoln Park home before signing the contract! And most importantly, keep in mind that most builders would rather “give” you upgrades than negotiate the price!

 If you’re thinking of buying new construction, let me negotiate the best price, and all the details, for you.  Call me before you start shopping for your new construction home. The best ways to reach me are via my mobile – 312.953.8685 – or email –   Doug@LincolnParkLiving.com.

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