Chicago Condo Market Stats – July 2016

Home Prices in Chicago South Real Estate for July 2016 – Condos/Townhouses

Real estate market data for Chicago South real estate provided by Millie Lumpkin of Coldwell Banker Residential.

The Chicago metropolitan area condo market continues to experience a seller’s market with a median sales price for twelve months ending July 2016 of $183,500. This was 4.9% over prior year levels.

In Chicago, the median sales price for the condo/townhouse market is $305,000, a 0.3% increase over prior year levels. In addition to the basically flat price growth, the number of closed sales was a modest 2.8% higher than prior year levels.  The average days on market for Chicago condo/townhomes is 74 days.

The median sales price for Chicago overall is heavily weighted by condo prices on the north side and the Loop area.  These areas contain roughly 2/3 of the condo inventory in the city of Chicago.   These neighborhoods also tend to have a lower supply of inventory in relation to demand.

The inventory of condos in some south side neighborhoods reflect a more balanced supply than the citywide average of 3.3 months of supply.  Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Kenwood and South Shore have supply levels compared to be in balance with buyer demand.  The impact of higher supply in these areas appears to have resulted in average days on market in some neighborhoods to be significantly higher than the citywide average.

Listed below are some select neighborhoods south of the Loop.  For other Chicago neighborhoods and suburban areas, click here for full list of market activity by community for condos/townhomes.

 chicago condo market stats july 2016

 

Find Homes in Chicago South Real Estate Condo Market

Visit my website to search for homes in the Chicago condo market or to be notified when homes come on the market.

To find out what your home is worth in the current market, email me or call/text at (312) 217-5644.

Source: Midwest Real Estate Data

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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The Perils of Over Pricing Your Home

pricing home to sell

“I Don’t Want To Give My Home Away!”

In almost every conversation I have with potential sellers, the conversation begins with the line “I’m not going to give my home away!!”   Despite the comps, there is the perception that they are being cheated on the price.  Typically, the conversation will include a list of all the past projects and improvements made on the house.  If it was purchased during the peak of the market, the owner will mention how much they paid for it.  There is also, of course, the issue of the seller’s plans for the sales proceeds. You want to price your home to sell.

Market valuation– whether you are talking about stocks, cars, housing or anything else—is determined by what buyers are willing to pay.  The price that buyers are willing to pay is primarily based on the asking and sold prices of alternate choices.  If a buyer can buy a similar home in the same neighborhood for less, they will choose the alternative.  In addition, in order for the home to be financed by the buyer’s lender, the sales price must be supported by the appraised value (value indicated by comparable sales).

You are not giving your home away if you sell it at market value.  However, you can be guilty of giving away some of your price if it is listed too high. If you insist on initially pricing your home higher than the market value, you give away some of your price because over time buyers lose interest and view homes on the market longer with a perception of declined value. In fact, small incremental price changes often result in homes being sold at less than market value.   As a seller, you want to capture buyers at the peak of interest.  This is usually the first few days on the market.

You also might be guilty of giving away a little bit of your price when your home is not presented well.   Exterior curb appeal and a nice interior help your home stand out in any market.  Although the current market has a tighter inventory of homes, buyers can still be picky.  This is a big investment for buyers.  Most buyers prefer a home that is in better condition so a little sprucing up helps in marketing your home. Also, with the internet, many buyers will drive by the home before requesting a showing. An unappealing exterior view will stop some buyers from asking to see the inside.

Finally, you may be giving away some of your price if you don’t allow interior pictures.  Most buyers start on-line and interior pictures are a big part of marketing your home on the internet.  It is documented that homes with few or no pictures are not clicked on (viewed) as often as those with more interior pictures.  Buyers and even some agents assume that a lack of interior pictures is an indication of problems with the condition of the home.  They never even request the showing to see how lovely your home actually is.  You want your home properly marketed in the place where buyers are looking.

For those still focused on the costs of past improvements and projects of their home, you just have to let go of the idea that you will get a dollar for dollar return for those past expenditures.  Actually, in most cases, you never get a 100% return of your costs.  What those projects will do is make your home more attractive to buyers. Also, homes in a better condition or with upgrades will sell at a higher price than one still sporting that 90’s sponge painting treatment or evidence of needed repairs.

As a seller, you are marketing a product. Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. Based on the available choices, would you pay what you are asking for?? 

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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Are You Financially Prepared to Buy Your New Home?

home financing

In general conversation, there is a lot of emphasis put on the credit score when it comes to discussing financing qualifications. However, this is not your only concern in being financially qualified to buy.

  • Down payment – The days of no down payment are largely gone. Lenders expect you to have some “skin in the game” when purchasing a home. Expect to need 3.5% for FHA loan. Conventional loans will require down payments ranging from 3-20%.  Note also that there may be down payment assistance programs available. Your lender should be able to advise you on the availability of programs.  Although the loan product will define the minimal down payment needed, keep in mind that a higher down payment will lower your monthly mortgage payment.
  • Closing costs – Closing costs for buyers include such expenses as attorney and appraisal fees, loan fees, title costs, property tax and insurance escrow. Expect this to be 3-6% of the purchase price.  Often negotiations with the seller include asking that the seller either partially or completely pay for these costs but that is not a guaranteed outcome.
  • Debt levels – Lenders will require that your debt levels be limited to a certain percentage of your income. For FHA loans, your housing costs should generally be no higher than 31% of your gross monthly income.  Housing costs include Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance (PITI). Total revolving debt (housing costs plus credit cards and loans) should be no higher than 43% of gross monthly income.  If you carry high amounts of debt, this is the time to start paying it down.  The ratios for conventional loans are even stricter.  Housing costs should be 28%. Total revolving debt is limited to 36%.  Conventional and VA loans have different ratios.  Speak to your lender to see if you need to reduce your debt in order to qualify for the desired loan product.
  • Credit report – Different loan products have different credit score requirements. Credit scores for FHA can be as low as 620.  Credit score requirements for condos are generally higher.  In addition to the score, the specifics of the credit report are also important. Late payments, bankruptcies, judgments and previous foreclosures also affect whether you will qualify for a home loan.  FHA has more lenient qualifications than conventional but recent late payments will knock you out of consideration.
  • Income – Income will be based on your average adjusted gross income (per your tax returns) for the last two years. This becomes an issue if your income has varied widely in the last two years or if you have tax deductions which significantly lower your adjustable income (not usually a concern for W-2 employees).
  • Interest rate – Interest rates remain at historically low levels. They are expected to rise so you should be aware of the impact of interest rates on your monthly mortgage payment.  Information is easily available on line about what to expect in terms of the interest rate on your mortgage.  Note though that interest rates change constantly and your individual credit score and other qualifying factors may impact the interest rate you pay.

The above is meant to give you a basic grounding for getting your finances in place to purchase your home.  It is best to meet with a lender early in the process.  In addition to assessing your qualifications, a lender will give you a dollar amount of how much you can expect to get.  You will also need a prequalification letter in hand in order to submit an offer.

On top of whatever you are told by your lender, you also need to look at your individual obligations.  You need to factor in tuition payments, child care costs, retirement savings, emergency savings and any other obligation that determines how much you can afford to pay for a mortgage.  These are not included in the bank’s debt to income calculation but may be part of your monthly household budget.

It’s a lot to consider but buying a home should not be an impulse decision.  It is an absolutely great time to buy.  Rates are still historically low and prices are still great.  This is an incredible time to buy that dream home, downsize, purchase an investment property or second home.  Seize the moment!

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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Different Inspections in Home Buying Process   

 

home_inspection

You’ve finally found the home you wanted and have an accepted contract.  There is a flurry of activities done in the first few days and there may be some confusion about the significance of why certain things matter.

One thing that confuses some home buyers is the difference between the different inspections needed during the home buying process.

Home Inspection

The initial home inspection is done during the first few days after the contract is accepted.  This inspection in Illinois is not mandatory but it is very highly recommended.  This is where you hire a home inspector to inspect the home’s systems such as the heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. He is also looking for items of concern – signs of leaks, structural problems in the basement, future or immediate repair items.  Finally, he will give you tips on home maintenance and where things like the main water valve and stuff like that is located.  This is also your opportunity to ask questions.  The home inspection should be scheduled at a time where it is convenient for you to attend.  Occasionally, a client will ask me as an agent to attend the inspection for them.  This makes no sense.  As a homeowner, you will want the information first-hand from the inspector.

The inspector will create a report that you can reference later.  The information is good in three ways. First, the information is good for you to reference once you are in the home from a home maintenance standpoint.  Second, if the items that need repair or improvement are more than you want to take on, this is your opportunity to withdraw your offer.  Generally, the inspector will not provide a quote for the repairs but can let you know if costs to repair are likely to be significant.  Finally, you may want to negotiate with the seller to repair some items.  The inspection report can be your guide to determine which issues are the most problematic and identify the deal breakers if not repaired.

Expect to pay on average $300-500 for the home inspection. Some home buyers are tempted to pass on the inspection if the home looks well maintained or if it is a rehab.  However, this may end up being a mistake.  It is worth $300-500 to find out if the roof needs to be replaced or there is structural damage in the basement.

Appraisal Inspection

The appraisal inspection is ordered by your lender for the primary purpose of determining an opinion of value for the home.  The value is determined by comparing your home to other similar or comparable homes sold recently within the same neighborhood with similar square footage, room count and architectural style.  The appraiser is not an inspector.  They will check whether the furnace is working or utilities are on but won’t be able to tell you if there are functional problems.  If you are getting a FHA or VA loan, the appraiser will also check to ensure that the home meets the property condition standards required for these loans.  FHA and VA loans require that homes not have peeling paint, missing handrails for the stairs, holes in the wall, damaged roof or gutters, etc.  If the property conditions for a home do not meet FHA standards, the lender will require correction of the issues by the seller or a 203K loan which will provide the funds to fix the problems after you move in.  You do not have the option of buying “as-is” for the items flagged in the FHA appraisal report.  Note that conventional loans do have some property condition standards but they are not as extensive as FHA/VA.

In addition to the appraisal inspection flagging property condition issues, there can also be a problem with the appraised value being lower than the sold price.  The lender will not approve a mortgage on a home that has a sales price higher than the appraised value.  For this reason, your realtor should have provided you with a market valuation prior to making your offer on the home to ensure that your offer price is in line with the market value. Many deals are lost because of appraised value.  It’s often a difficult conversation to ask the seller to reduce the price because of a lower appraised value and often sellers are reluctant to do so.

The cost of the appraisal should be between $300-400.  The appraisal is ordered by the lender.

Again, the primary purpose for the appraisal inspection is to set an opinion of value for the lender. It is not to assure the home buyer regarding the condition of the home.

Village Inspection

The city of Chicago does not require an inspection prior to sale but many of the suburban communities do.  Check with the village where you are purchasing to see what additional requirements are needed.  As a note, some suburbs are stricter than others so don’t wait to take care of village inspection.  The village inspection should not be considered as a substitute for a home inspection.  Home inspectors are licensed by the state and have continuing education requirements to maintain knowledge.

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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What to Expect in Your 2016 Home Search Process?

home search

If you are a first time home buyer or even a buyer that purchased 5+ years ago, the home search process may be at times either frustrating or confusing.

Here are some things to expect:

Prices Have Risen

The median sales price in the metropolitan Chicago area has risen 31% since June 2013 levels.  However, interest rates remain at historically low levels. Prices also have not risen in most areas to where they were at the peak of the housing bubble.  This means that if you were looking to buy in a community during the peak of the bubble (2006-2008), you may be surprised to find out that you can now afford to move there.

Foreclosures

The number of foreclosure sales for the Chicago area are about half of where they were at June 2013.  Foreclosures activity varies greatly at the different price levels. Foreclosures represent only 14% of total homes sold for 12 months ending June 2016 but 41.5% of homes sold under $100,000.   Also, don’t expect that foreclosed property to necessarily be offered at a discounted price. Most foreclosures are priced at or close to market value (taking into account property condition and time on market).
.

Multiple Offers Are the Norm

Expect your offer to not to be the only one being considered by the seller.  The supply of homes in the Chicagoland area is tight and considered a seller’s market.  The supply is 15.4% lower than prior June 2015 levels overall.  For homes sold between $100,000 – $300,000, the supply is almost 25% lower than 2015 levels.   Your realtor should prepare you for the realities of the current market while making sure you create the best opportunity of getting your offer sold. You can’t control what others offer but you can make sure that you are not paying more than market value.  You also don’t want to lose out because of a delay from not being prepared for the home search process.

Mortgage Guidelines Have Tightened

Mortgage guidelines seem to tighten year after year since the housing market fell.  As a matter of fact, FHA passed a number of guideline changes in 2015 including how student loans are factored, employment history guidelines and rules for down payment gifts.  I have heard many buyers assume that a higher credit score and great income will be a “slam dunk” for the home loan approval process.  However, that is not necessarily true.  Consult a lender early in the process.  You want to make sure how much of a loan you qualify for and if there are any issues to address.  Also, expect a 2nd and 3rd verification of the information given.  As a matter of fact, the lender is likely to make sure that nothing has changed in your information up to the date of the close.  This will be a third party verification so if you have a bankruptcy, past foreclosure or judgement not disclosed, it is likely to be discovered.

 

It is a great time to buy and sell.  For buyers, interest rates have been held at low levels for the past eight years.  This is likely to change after this year.  Prices will continue to rise.  For sellers, the current supply levels in the market favor sellers.  And if you are buying a new home in conjunction with your sale, you will want to take advantage of conditions that maximize your combined net effort.

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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Chicago Condo Market Activity – May 2016

Home Prices in Chicago South Real Estate for May 2016 – Condos/Townhouses

Real estate market data for Chicago South real estate provided by Millie Lumpkin of Exit Strategy Realty.

Consistent with the trends for the Chicago metropolitan area as a whole, the condo/townhouse market also continues to experience a seller’s market with a median sales price for twelve months ending May 2016 of $182,000. This was 6.4% over prior year levels.

The median sales price for the city of Chicago condo market is $305,000, a 1.7% increase over prior year levels. Although, median price growth has slowed down over the last twelve months for the city as a whole, the number of closed sales was 6.9% higher.  The average days for a listed condo/townhome to get to contract in Chicago is 45 days.

The inventory of condos/townhomes in some south side neighborhoods reflect a more balanced supply than the citywide average.  Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Kenwood and South Shore all have higher supply levels although not high enough to be considered a buyer’s market.  The impact of higher supply appears to have resulted in average days to contract which are in some neighborhoods significantly higher than the citywide average.

Listed below are some select neighborhoods south of the Loop.  For other Chicago neighborhoods and suburban areas, click here for full list of market activity by community for condos/townhomes.

condo market activity

Find Homes in Chicago South Real Estate Market

Visit my website to search for homes in the Chicago South real estate market or to be notified when homes come on the market.

To find out what your home is worth in the current market, email me or call/text at (312) 217-5644.

 

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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Chicago South Market Activity – May 2016

Home Prices in Chicago South Real Estate for May 2016 – Detached

Real estate market data for Chicago South real estate provided by Millie Lumpkin of Exit Strategy Realty.

Overall, the Chicago metropolitan area as a whole continues to experience a seller’s market. This is a trend that started in fall 2013 and the limit on supply levels has resulted in a 27.7% increase in the median sales price for detached single family homes compared to May 2013. In the most recent 12 months, the median sales price was $229,800 which is an increase of 6.4%. The average days for listing to get to contract is 60 days overall. The trends for the city of Chicago are consistent with the pattern for the area as a whole.

Some south side neighborhoods run against the trend shown in the city overall.  The Beverly, Chatham and South Shore neighborhoods actually experienced a decline in the median sales price over the last 12 months.  The inventory of homes in some of these south side neighborhoods also reflect a more balanced market in terms of supply.  Note also that most of the neighborhoods listed have a higher average of days from listing to contract.

Listed below are some select neighborhoods south of the Loop.  For other Chicago neighborhoods and suburban areas, click here for a full list of year to date market activity by community.

Chicago South Real Estate Market Activity

chicago market stats may 2016

Find Homes in Chicago South Real Estate Market

Visit my website to search for homes in the Chicago South real estate market or to be notified when homes come on the market.

To find out what your home is worth in the current market, email me or call/text at (312) 217-5644.

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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5 Tips to Buying Your Chicago Condo

Are you thinking of buying a condo in Chicago? The condo market in buying your chicago condoChicago remains hot as companies continue to move from the suburbs to the city.  There is also the draw of all the amenities and things to do in the Loop area.  In addition, for those not wanting to deal with exterior maintenance, condos are a great option.

Like the overall market, condos are experiencing a seller’s market in terms of inventory levels.  The supply of inventory is 18.6% lower in Chicago than May 2015 levels.  However, despite the tight supply of condos available, prices are flat compared to prior year levels with only a 1.7% increase.  This may be a great year to buy!

For those considering buying a condo in Chicago, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Financing: Financing for condos can be more difficult than a single family home.  Credit score requirements are higher and the condo association has to meet its own set of requirements in addition to the borrower. The biggest condo association qualifications that tend to be problematic are:
    • Less than 15% of association fees delinquent for 60 days
    • Less than 50% investor/renters
    • Less than 50% concentration of FHA loans
    • Adequate reserves in association budget (10% of budget)
    • Functional condo association – with no association it will be very difficult to get financing

Also, in order to use FHA financing, the condo community must be FHA approved.  Many are not, so you may have more choices with conventional financing.  Discuss this with your lender.

    • Association Fees: The association fees cover the costs of the property taxes and insurance on the building, utilities for the common areas, exterior maintenance, etc.  You want to be certain what amenities are included in the association fee.  With condos, the monthly association fees can sometimes be fairly pricy.  You want to factor in the amount of the monthly association fees in addition to the purchase price.  Often, the loan amount that you qualify for can be impacted by high association fees (it affects the amount of your monthly housing payment).
    • Special Assessments:Condo associations will levy special assessments for projects such as roof replacement and other capital improvements.  In addition, a building in great shape may need to shore up its capital reserves with a special assessment if needed.  Ask about any planned special assessments and the history of them in recent years.  You can request this information from the seller or association during your attorney review period.
    • Restrictions in the Bylaw:The condo’s bylaws set up rules and restrictions for the condo owners in the building.  It is recommended that you review these as part of your due diligence.  Some associations restrict the renting of units so if your future plans are to rent your unit for income, this may be an issue.  There may also be other restrictions that impact remodeling, etc.  Do your homework as part of the purchase process so you don’t face any unpleasant surprises down the road.
  • IL Condo Act:This act in Illinois applies to the purchase of foreclosed condos only.  It basically holds the buyers of foreclosed condos responsible for paying up to 6 months of past due condominium assessments and all the legal fees associated with the association’s attempts to collect those assessments. You will want to confirm whether there are delinquent fees prior to the offer or definitely during the attorney review period.  Again, this is only an issue for foreclosed condos.
  • Other Concerns: Some other concerns when purchasing condos are whether parking is included (a real issue in some Chicago neighborhoods) and is there a pending or existing legal action against the association.

Even though there are concerns that need to be kept in mind, a condo can be a great option for many people.  These are just items to routinely check off to minimize unexpected and unwelcome surprises.  If you have questions or are looking to buy and sell in the Chicagoland market, please give me a call.

 

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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5 Costs to Know Before Buying Your Home

home buying process

Amidst all the excitement of searching for your new home, buyers should be aware of the costs attached to the home buying process.  These costs can be significant for some buyers so you want to take them into account when starting your home search.

  • Down payment – The days of no down payment are largely gone. Lenders expect you to have some “skin in the game” when purchasing a home. Expect to need 3.5% for FHA loan. So, for a home that costs $150,000, this would be $5,250. Conventional loans will require down payments ranging from 3-20%.  Note also that there may be down payment assistance programs available. Your lender should be able to advise you on the availability of programs.  Although the loan product will define the minimal down payment needed, keep in mind that a higher down payment will lower your monthly mortgage payment.
  • Earnest Money – Once your contract is accepted, you will be required to make a “good faith” deposit of generally 1-2% of the purchase amount (sometimes less depending upon the norms of your local current real estate market). This deposit is usually held by the seller’s broker in an escrow account. At the closing, this deposit will go towards the down payment needed to purchase of the home. There are generally contingency protections to ensure that this deposit is not lost by the buyer in case purchase does not go through.  These contingencies generally include an inspection period, attorney review and mortgage contingency.  The contingencies should be written in to the purchase contract so make sure how they are handled in the contract used for your offer.
  • Closing costsClosing costs for buyers include such expenses as attorney and appraisal fees, loan fees, title costs, property tax and insurance escrow. Expect this to be 3-6% of the purchase price.  Often negotiations with the seller include asking that the seller either partially or completely pay for these costs but that is not a guaranteed outcome. The seller does have the right to refuse the request for contribution toward the buyer’s closing costs since this will reduce their net proceeds from the sale.
  • Home Inspection – The buyer should want to get a home inspection for the property they are considering purchasing. The inspector will make sure that the mechanics of the home (roof, foundation, furnace, plumbing, etc.) are in good condition.  The inspector will also take the buyer through the house to address any other functional concerns they should be aware. Inspections generally range from $300 – 500.
  • Attorney Fees – In Illinois, the buyer will generally have attorney representation for their purchase. An attorney in Illinois is not mandatory but it is highly recommended. This is a legal transaction involving a lot of dollars. Attorneys are involved in review of the contract and/or addendums, negotiation issues, resolution of any title issues, preparation of the closing HUD and explaining the bulk of legal documents needed to be signed.  Generally, expect this to be $400-500. Attorney costs are often included on the HUD and paid as part of the closing costs.

All of the costs above are paid out of pocket as part of the home buying process.  They are separate from the amount financed with the mortgage.  Knowing what these costs are upfront may reduce some of the unknown in the overall process.

 

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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Home Selling Process – Presentation is Important

kitchen

No one will argue that appropriate pricing is key in the home selling process.  However, the presentation of your home for sale is also very important in attracting and keeping the attention of potential buyers.  Otherwise, your pricing has to work harder.  I am not suggesting that sellers be prepared to put forth an HGTV-style staging effort but some simple steps can go a long way.

  • De-clutter – Your potential buyer should not have to strain to see the potential of your home behind piles of clutter.  Buyers will look in closets and pull open those kitchen cabinets and drawers. Also, those extra items stored on the counters, on top of the refrigerator and in the corners detract from the features of your home.  Finally, for the pack rats out there, organized clutter is still clutter.  Less is more.
  • Clean – Enough said.
  • Maintenance – Finish those uncompleted projects. Fix those simple problems such as the dripping faucet, broken window panes, gutters filled with last fall’s leaves, patching the holes in the wall, missing thresholds, etc. Go through your home and make a list of these items. Take care of what you can but also consider hiring a handyman. Paying for a few hours of time can get a lot of things done on your list.
  •  Take a deep sniff – Strong smells can be a real turn off to potential buyers. Heavy cigarette smoke, pet smells, or past water damage in the basement can all either completely turn buyers off or reduce the price you can get.
  • Painting – If you have strong or overly feminine colors, 1990’s sponge treatments, or peeling wallpaper, consider painting.  Painting is cheap, easy and makes a big difference. Also, wallpaper generally translates as extra work or expense – consider removing yourself. It might really make a difference.
  • De-personalize – Personally, I love collecting refrigerator magnets from places I visit and having school notices right where I can see them. I love family pictures and try to display those cute knick-knacks collected over the years.  However, during the home selling process, I want the focus on the attributes of the house not the stuff.
  • Emphasize the Square Footage – You want to emphasize the square footage in your house.  Too many pieces of furniture or big bulky furniture make a room look smaller.  If the agent has to constantly direct the buyers attention to the MLS listing to verify that “the bedroom really is a nice size”, that’s not a good thing.  You want to have a feeling of an open, spacious environment.
  • Curb Appeal – Shovel the sidewalks and driveway, clean and mulch the flowerbeds, and take care of that peeling paint on the shutters and windowsills.  You may also want to consider power washing the deck and siding.  Make the outside inviting.

These are the basics…no ground-breaking advice.  However, these general tips can help make your home appear well-maintained and attractive.  They won’t allow your home to sell for more than market value but they definitely may make sure that your home is considered.  Of course, if you can afford to do more such as replacing older carpeting or updating that 1970’s bathroom, it can’t hurt.  However, in an economy where many don’t have the funds to invest a lot of money into staging, a little elbow-grease can make a difference in the home selling process.

 

Millie C Lumpkin
Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential
Phone: (312) 217-5644
Email:     millie.lumpkin@cbzhomes.com
Website: ChicagoSouthHomeSearch.com
Blog:       ChicagoSouthRealEstateBlog.com

 

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Real Estate Advice for Chicago Home Buyers and Sellers