Evanston IL Real Estate Report in 2014

The Evanston Illinois Real Estate Market continues to improve over the last three years. In the period of January 2013 through December 2013 sales of Single Family Homes and Condos are up 28% to a total of 1,101 properties sold.

Usually during the season from Thanksgiving through the beginning of the following year the sales market slows down as people celebrate holidays. This year we did not see this happen. People are still actively looking for homes to purchase and are keeping us Realtors busy showing them houses and condos.

At this time in Evanston IL there are 83 single family homes available on the market and 130 Condominiums. There are also 52 Single family homes under contract and waiting to close as well as 67 condos. These properties will become closed soon and this is unusual for this time of year.

Also there are 19 multiple dwelling buildings like two or four flats actively for sale on the market and 7 under contract waiting to close. This is very good news because in the last few years we saw these multiple family residences become almost totally stagnant and this change all points to signs of a strong Real Estate Market in 2014.
Evanston has some fine middle and elementary schools in our district 65. In the Elementary category Great Schools rates Dewey, Orrington and Lincoln very highly, a 9 on a sale of 1 to 10. Haven middle school is highly rated too. Our High School Evanston Township High School is also considered one of the best. ETHS is a four year school on a 62 acre campus established in 1883. It is in our district 202 with 265 staff members and a majority of the teachers have a Masters Degree or beyond. To quote the motto of ETHS and their mission statement:
“Embracing its diversity, ETHS dedicates itself to educating all students to their fullest potential”

Another highlight of Evanston is Northwestern University. Which is considered one of the best Universities in the country.

If you would like to see for yourself what homes or condos are available in Evanston then please click the property search link here and you can even explore for yourself.

If you are interested in the finest Real Estate Sales help available you should consider contacting Coldwell Banker Evanston
Understanding your Expectations and Exceeding them
Coldwell Banker Evanston
1 (800) 858-7917
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Michael Jordan’s Suburban Chicago Lake Forest Mansion Fails at Auction

This Monday Former Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan attempted to auction off his home in MJ 23Lake Forest Illinois located at 2700 Point Ln with a minimum bid of $13 Million and there were no takers. The home is Michael_Jordan_23_Bulls_Jersey_HD_Wallpaper56,000 square feet on three floors with 9 bedrooms, 5 fire places and sits on 7 acres. A guest house to rival most homes you and I would live in is included.
He lived in the home with his former wife and children who are now grown and have moved on. The home has a full size regulation basketball court and huge workout room that is like his own health club. Randy Brown was part of a group of former players who would go to his weight room and work out and play ball before they would even go to the official practice. They called the get together “The Breakfast Club” because his private chef would prepare meals for his cronies who have talked about the sessions they had enjoyed.
With a tennis court, wet bar, dry bar in ground pool and fire places indoors and out what more could you want? There are not many who could afford such a house and maybe that is why it did not sell? One problem is that it is located 3 miles from Lake Michigan and most homes getting anywhere near that price tag include beach access.
The home was once listed in the MLS at $29,000,000, dropped to $16,000,000 but still did not attract any offers. Do you think MJ is hurting for the money? I don’t think so. He is still one of the highest paid former professional sports figures with a fairly untarnished image unlike Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.
Imagine getting the commission on selling that house.
MJ’s House Video

Winning the Real Estate Game in Evanston in a Tough Market

Purchasing a home in Illinois is one of the best investments you can make; but like so much else in life, timing is everything.

Recent talk about subprime mortgages, falling property values, foreclosures and slow real estate markets are keeping more than a few homeowners up at night. The cure for those heebie jeebies is to get informed.

There are tons of tools available to help you realistically calculate how much you can afford to borrow (either for a purchase or a refinance), and how much it will impact your budget. You can also search listings to see what homes in your area have been selling for.

If you’re trying to sell, keep in mind that little problems which seem familiar and trifling to you can be big turn-offs for prospective buyers:

  • Icky smells (cigarettes, pets, food): Invest in a good air filter or air freshener, open windows, whatever it takes.
  • Dirty kitchens and bathrooms: Really tackle these two areas to get them sparkling.
  • Dark rooms: Turn on lights, open curtains,
  • Dirty carpet: Consider having carpets professionally cleaned.
  • Cluttered rooms and closets: Rent a temporary storage unit (or a good friend’s basement) to stash your beer mug collection.
  • Barking dogs: send them to a friend or relative’s house while your home is being shown.
  • A damp basement: Keep a dehumidifier going.
  • Poorly maintained front yard: spend some time mowing, trimming and pulling weeds. Add a pot or two of colorful flowers near the front door to create a welcoming feel.
  • Weathered or peeling front door: a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an inexpensive boost that really pays off.

For buyers, lower prices make it tempting to purchase a home right now. But if the “subprime mess” taught us anything, it’s that many people who felt pressured into buying a home with little or no money down are now feeling the sting of inflating mortgage payments. Take a breath and carefully assess if buying is right for you; in some cases, renting makes more financial sense. Find great rentals here.

And while selling or buying a place on your own may appear to save you a few bucks in commissions, a good real estate agent can greatly simplify the process, saving you more time and money in the end (not to mention, sanity).

Remember, the real estate game is best played over the long haul. So trust time to be on your side!

Mistakes you can make with a lowball offer

Yes, yes, I know.  It’s a buyers’ market.  So much inventory, low housing prices, so the buyer gets their pick at the price they want.  But not so fast.  Yes, lots of inventory, lower housing prices.  However, there is still power to negotiating.  And you don’t want to insult the seller with a lowball offer and lose your dream home because of it.  Here are some mistakes that can be made with a lowball offer:

1. Not knowing the market.  And each one is different.  What may be a more acceptable offer in one market won’t be the same in another.  There could be an area where sellers are pricing homes more aggressively; therefore, they’re sticking close to their asking price.  Another neighborhood might be mostly made up of foreclosures and short sales, so the bank wants to get rid of the home ASAP and are willing to accept less.  So you’ll need to do your research with the help of a qualified Realtor (see #2)

2. Not picking the right Realtor.  They have the experience and the background and know the area you’re looking to purchase, so they’re your best asset going into a negotiation.  But you have to make sure they’re solid negotiators, since they are working on your behalf.  They’re not going to tell you not to present a really low offer, but they might say the sellers will reject it offhand so you might want to consider raising it by X amount or offering to waive one of your contingencies.  Trust their advice.  You’re working as a team and you want to make sure your agent also has your best interests at heart.

3. Not knowing what you’re willing to pay.  A lot of people these days in this market are focused on getting the best price.  But you have to be careful.  You have to know what your limit is so you don’t overpay.  And sellers will know what they need to walk away from the closing table or they won’t be able to make the sale.  No matter how wonderful the home is and how perfect your furniture will look in it and that you can see yourself having your morning coffee on the deck overlooking the pond, there comes a point where no deal is worth it at a certain price. Know that before you start negotiating or you’ll let your emotions get the better of you.  

You can also lose your positioning power by being too hard a negotiator at the beginning.  Don’t make your first offer your final offer and then start negotiating.  The seller will know that you aren’t serious and has the ball back in their court.  Make your offer one that you’re willing to negotiate and have your Realtor tell the seller you want to work with them and make the deal happen.

This MSN article has a few more mistakes that can be made and how to avoid them.  My Web site has some other great articles and tips for buyers.  Have a great week!

New construction home inspection checklist

My loyal readers know how much I believe in the importance of a home inspection once a home goes under contract or prior to closing.  It lets you take a look at the state of the current appliances and utilities and lets you know what repairs are necessary or to be expected in the future.  What you may not realize is how important an inspection is when you’re purchasing new construction.  You figure since the home is brand new that everything is perfect.  I’ve had clients buy new construction only to move in and find the air conditioning doesn’t work or they have leaky windows.  And given the current economy, it’s possible that some home builders are paying less to find subcontractors who in turn are doing poorer work.

It’s also very important to make sure you hire an inspector that’s not affiliated with the builder.  You’ll want an unbiased independent inspection to make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to.  Here’s several items that you’ll want to look at:

1. Open all the windows.  Make sure the latches work, nothing is leaking, and that there is no broken glass.  If they have screens, make sure nothing is torn.

2. Check all light fixtures.  Make sure the switches operate and you know what light they turn on and off.  

3. Check all the floors.  Carpeting should be tightly fitted without gaps.  Tile and vinyl should not be cracked or chipped.  

4. Countertops should not be nicked or scratched.  Make sure all toilets are properly secured to the floor by sitting on them.  The tub should be free of scratches, as well.

5. If you have a basement in your new home, check to make sure you don’t see any water damage on the walls or any cracks.  Find out where the water heater, furnace, and air conditioning unit are located and how they work.  

More great tips can be found here.  It’s important to read over your contract to make sure of the period that you’re allowed a home inspection and final walk-through to look for these items.  Some contracts state that any problem you find after closing are not the responsibility of the builder, so make sure to be thorough in your inspection.

I can be reached online with more questions.

Get creative with incentives

This week I saw an extremely creative incentive offered by a home seller in Libertyville.  The home seller, an interior decorator, offered the buyer of her home an interior design package worth up to $40,500 if her home sold before a certain date.  She offered a similar package for up to $25,250 if it closed a month later.  Now this is someone who didn’t need to drop her price and could offer a skill that would help a new buyer with new furniture and design ideas. 

I mentioned in my blog last week how buyers just want to score an amazing deal.  And seeing how many people don’t just want to give their house away, it’s important to be creative in coming up with other ideas to get the house sold, similar to what this interior designer did.

Typical incentives include free assessments paid for a period of time (for those in association communities), parking paid for.  I’ve seen cars and vacations offered.

I was so impressed with this idea to offer an incentive of a skill you possess … You could even offer to pay for the buyer’s attorney expenses in purchasing your home or cover their home inspection for them.  Another great idea is to have a home inspection done at your cost and made available to the buyers looking at your home.  That way there’ll be no surprises when you’re under contract and the buyer goes to do their own inspection (NO MATTER WHAT – DO YOUR OWN INSPECTION!  I’ve heard horror stories of people that skipped it and there’s no recourse against the seller unless they purposely falsified information).

Some other creative ideas could be an appliance package of up to a certain amount of money, a landscaping gift card, a gift card to a popular hardware store or Target, for example.  And while this might work for some, others would just prefer to knock the price down by that amount, which is fine, but you never know.

Another simple gesture for your new buyer is just to leave a bottle of champagne in the fridge when you move out welcoming them into your home.  I’ve had buyers call me so impressed that sellers have done that for them.  It really just puts a nice spin on a stressful situation of moving.

Do you have any other creative incentives you’ve seen or that have impressed you?  I’d love to hear them.  And if you’re selling your home and would like some ideas of what to offer, please contact me via my Web site.

Early 2011 housing trends

I know we’re already into our third month of 2011.  But it’s going to be interesting to see how the year plays out in terms of the housing market.  Will we expect to see many changes?  Or will things stay relatively similar to what we’re experiencing now with sagging prices and high housing inventory? Bankrate.com has come up with a list of some of the most common trends we’ll see in 2011, at least through summer.

1. We’ll see less refinancing of current mortgages.  Some experts say that it’s the higher interest rates that is causing this dip.  But the other side of it is that those homeowners who have equity in their home already took advantage of a refinance within the last two years, as rates steadily dropped.  So there won’t be as many who refinance in 2011.

2. It will still be hard to obtain a mortgage.  And this is just because requirements to get one are tightening up.  Lenders are being very cautious in loaning money.  With Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae requiring some lenders to repurchase sold-off loans and causing them to lose money, they’re less likely to be as easygoing in lending new money unless you have very little risk, such as a high FICO score, solid appraisals on the home, and good income.

3. New homeowners are still unsure about taking that leap and buying that first home.  Yes, interest rates are low.  However, as just stated before, it’s harder and harder to obtain a good rate.  And even though home prices are low, with so much inventory available, buyers are wary about purchasing if they’ll have to sell in the near future and have so much to choose from they often just decide to rent instead.

4. Home sellers will deal with the current economy and we won’t see any change anytime soon.  The market time will continue to stay where it’s at, higher than in the past, because of high inventory and low prices.  Best way to get your home sold is to keep it in showing condition and listen to your Realtor on a realistic selling prices.  Homes do continue to sell.  But don’t expect to get any bites by listing it above market value.

What do you think of these trends?  Are you in agreement or disagreement?  Please leave me a comment with your thoughts below or visit me online.