Archive for the 'Selling' Category

Presidential Towers Interest on Sale

Monday, July 29th, 2013

According to Yo Chicago, nearly half of the interest of the Presidential Towers is now on the market. The Presidential Towers – the largest apartment complex in the city with 2,346 units – is located Chicago’s West Loop.

According to Crain’s, Waterton Associates LLC, the owners of the Presidential Towers, want to sell a 49 percent stake in the building through Eastdil Secure brokerage. The building was purchased for $475 million in 2007, as the Chicago real estate market was at its peak, and this move will test the notion held among real estate experts that the downtown market is in good shape once again.

The Crain’s article states that apartment values in downtown Chicago have increased sharply over the course of the past few years. This is attributed to the fact that high occupancies and rents have increased property incomes and near record low interest rates have boosted the buying power of investors.

The towers are situated in one of the most booming areas in the Chicago real estate market, and, as the Crain’s article illustrates, they have a colorful history.

Presidential Towers consists of four 50-story buildings situated across two city blocks bounded by Clinton, Monroe, Madison, and Desplaines streets. The towers were constructed in the 1980s with federal subsidies made available by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski. That was only five years before the developers had defaulted on their sizeable loan — $159 million. In 1995, the Pritzker family purchased the property, and thus saved it from foreclosure.

In 2007, Waterton seized ownership of the Presidential Towers from the Pritzker family and financed their acquisition with a $325 million mortgage. They’ve seen a return on their investment. In 2012, the property generated a net operating income of $27.9 million, a dramatic 49 percent improvement from the $18.8 million it generated in 2007. And even though it’s the largest complex in the city, it is nearly filled to capacity – 93 percent of the property is occupied.

With that said, it looks like a sound investment for anyone who wants the share. It’s the largest property in Chicago, located in one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods in the current housing market, and it generates millions every year.

Property Sales are Booming in West Town

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Go west, young man! This appears to be the calling card for many Chicagoans, as pockets of West Town continue to grow in popularity.

A recent boom in sales and new construction in the trendy Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods has buoyed the growth and signals a shift from north side living. These areas are attractive to both young working professionals and younger families, as they boast neighborhood groceries, consignment shopping, energetic nightlife and popular local eateries.

Local homebuilder Noah Properties has been extremely busy this past winter and spring seasons as they sold 10 single-family homes and 18 condos in Ukrainian Village. And the company doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, just last week Noah Properties closed the sales of the of the last batch of six homes on the 2000 W. block of Erie and the first in a cluster of four in the 1800 W. block of Ohio.

How’s this for efficient: the company reports that all 28 homes in the one condo and two single-family home groupings were under contract prior to the completion of construction. Obviously this is a testament to demand in the area. Not only have the properties sold early and often, they’ve also received full asking prices and in some instances even better.

The Noah Properties have carved out their niche in the marketplace by underpricing their competition. They’ve been able to drive demand with their slightly lower prices, relative to the surrounding Chicago neighborhoods. In a matter of blocks, similar homes command $50,000 more in asking price; hence the value is there for homebuyers.

Noah Properties success hasn’t been lost on the competition; Fifield Cos. recently announced plans to construct an $18 million development of 48 luxury apartments in what is being described as an “emerging” market. The price points on these great Chicago homes range from $799,000 and $849,000, while the condos are listed in the $350,000’s.

Condo sales in Chicago’s Loop are Surging

Monday, March 11th, 2013

As Chicago’s real estate market continues to show encouraging signs of improvements, the latest sector to show promise is the downtown Loop condo market. A combination of historically low interest rates and affordable condo prices has led to a massive surge of activity.

December 2012 was a banner month for condo sales in the city. The market posted a 17.7% sales increase from December 2011 as 1,037 units were successfully sold. In addition to an increase in the actual volume of units sold, the median price jumped 19.4% from December 2011. In the previous year, the median price of a condo had been roughly $155,000 and in 2012 that number moved to $185,000.

200 N. Dearborn is a Chicago condo building that experienced the greatest uptick in sales. This 47-story building located in the heart of the Chicago’s vaunted theater district has 309-units that include studios plus one and two-bedroom units. This luxury building boasts five full levels of resident parking, laundry services, heated indoor pool, and a unique feature called the Pedway.

The Pedway is a collection of enclosed passageways that lead to banks, retailers, food courts as well as iconic Chicago buildings. Driven by the marketing efforts of American Invesco, this Loop condo building currently has only three vacancies left.

American Invesco is also coordinating a closeout sale for the remaining six units at Century Tower Private Residences. This 28-story condo building is located at 182 W. Lake Street in the heart of Chicago’s Loop. This vintage building was constructed in the 1930’s and while it has been modernized and rehabbed, many of the original charm remains intact.

2013 might prove to be the year of the condo buyer. With traditional 30-year mortgage interest rates schlepping along at 65-year lows it almost begs the question: if not now, then when? In January lenders were quoting 3.42 percent on a fixed 30-year loan.

Chicago Condo Sellers Find Success

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Recent trends reports suggest that the Chicago condo market is turning around, allowing sellers to gain traction in what had been (until recently) a market heavily skewed towards buyers.

Record-low inventory levels—spurred mostly by a rapidly decreasing number of distressed properties—have begun to push median condo prices gradually upward, greatly benefitting the few condo owners with their properties for sale. Buyers will continue to reap the benefits of a market in recovery, but the future is sure to bring good things to those intrepid enough to place their Chicago condo on the market.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) most recent Existing Home Sales Report, total housing inventory across the country dropped a whopping 4.9% to 1.74 million existing homes available for sale at the end of January, representing a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace—the lowest since April 2005.

In addition, listed inventory is down 25.3 percent from last year, and raw, unsold inventory has not been this low since December 1999.

In Chicago alone, the inventory of listed three-bedroom condos shrunk some 31.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012, while the number of units sold rose by 38%. Most exciting for condo sellers is the news that the median price of these condos went up an impressive 17%, while the average days on market decreased by 11%.

Following the rules of supply and demand, those selling their Chicago condos are sure to benefit from the events of the past couple of months. Less inventory means less competition for sellers, which also means that buyers will inevitably have less room to negotiate a deal. If the numbers continue on their current trajectory, sellers will increasingly find themselves in the seat of power during a condo sale.

On the other hand, buyers are far from powerless nowadays. After all, the 17% increase in median condo prices sounds a lot less impressive when you consider that the brunt of that improvement came from distressed home sales. Remove those sales from the equation and the median price of normal sales only went up by 1.4%. For now, the equilibrium is still tilted in favor of buyers, even as sellers find more and more reason to put their condos on the market.

As this occurs, the inventory will again increase to normal levels, creating more competition between sellers. For this reason, condo owners hesitant to list their properties for sale should consider acting now, before the market becomes saturated with listings. As it stands, there is ample opportunity for both condo sellers and buyers to profit in the current market—it’s all just a matter of playing the game right.

A Room With A Chicago View

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

When you live in a city, personal privacy can sometimes prove annoyingly elusive. Chicago may not be as cramped as New York City, but finding an affordable condo with plenty of space in the Second City can certainly be a challenge.

The listing of unit #801 at 701 S. Wells Street in Chicago’s Printers Row neighborhood proves, however, that an affordable, lofty space with a gorgeous view is not unattainable.

This unit boasts enormous rooms with majestic hardwood floors, but it’s the outdoor space—a 1,500 square foot patio wrapped around the northeast corner of Wells Tower—that will really make your jaw drop. Most Chicago condo owners can consider themselves lucky if they get a private balcony at all; the person who snaps up this unit will hold enough outdoor space to host their every friend and family member for seasonal soirees on the terrace.

The $374,900 asking price will also get you a roomy two-car private garage, a beautiful view and a wide array of amenities including a workout facility and central air conditioning. And yes, you read the listing price correctly.

At first glance, the Printers Row neighborhood in which the building is located may seem out of the way, but the truth is, you’re just outside the thick of it all (Grant Park is just over a half mile away, with Millennium Park another quarter mile out).

Printers Row is chic and urban and utterly lacking in pretentiousness, which some begin to suspect the closer they get to the Loop and the Magnificent Mile. It also benefits from its close proximity to the bustling South Loop without suffering from the noise and chaos of the city. Plus, the community manages to maintain a quaint neighborhood feel owing to its clean streets and large trees.

And, true to its name, Printers Row is home to a wide array of book dealers with rare works, university texts and literary classics, making it an ideal place for the intellectual type.

An adventurous buyer willing to venture off the beaten path may find their ideal property at 701 S. Wells Street #801. Free from the hustle and bustle of the city, this unit proves that privacy is more than just a pipe dream.

Chicago Condo Sales, Inventory Fall in Downtown Market

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Recent data revealed that, in the first half of 2012, there was a 23 percent drop in the number of downtown Chicago condos sold. And while the reported fall in sales may appear detrimental to the city’s housing market as a whole, a shortage of inventory, due to the recent halt on new condo construction, has served to ease the pain somewhat.

Overall, downtown developers closed on some 295 condos for the year through June 30, down from 385 for the same period a year ago. But this drop in sales is far from an unexpected aberration—data reveals that since 2005, the Chicago condo market has shrunk consistently, finally facing a catastrophic collapse when the housing bubble burst in 2008.

As a result of the fallout from the housing crisis, very few new Chicago condos have been constructed since 2008, meaning the inventory being bought now has been around for at least that long. In fact, not a single new condo was built in Chicago in 2011, and only two are slated for construction in 2012.

All things considered, the Chicago condo market’s relatively poor numbers this month take on a new meaning—sales may have gone down, but construction has remained stagnant, allowing the number of unsold condo units to keep falling steadily. According to Appraisal Research, the number of unsold condos in Chicago now stands at 1,229, the lowest on record since it began its surveys in 1997.

The dip in condo sales has been partially attributed to a steadfast desire amongst consumers to stick with renting for the time being, says Gail Lissner, vice president at Appraisal Research. Fears of job security, as well as uncertainty about Chicago condo prices—despite the avowal of Appraisal Research that prices have stabilized—will likely keep many out of the condo buying market until things have visibly improved.

A decrease in sales is never welcome news, even in light of proportionally dropping inventory. But if prices have truly bottomed out, the near future will a see a strong resurgence in the Chicago condo market—and, we trust, the housing market as a whole.

Chicago Condo Market Hit by Foreclosure Epidemic

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

More often than not, the term “distressed property” conjures images of an abandoned home, boarded up, overgrown and in a state of serious disrepair after prolonged abandonment. And while the brunt of local foreclosed properties are indeed single-family Chicago homes, a recent study has revealed an alarming trend in distressed properties—namely, an increase in condo foreclosures in suburban Cook County.

In the first half of 2012, condo foreclosure filings in the city of Chicago went up a staggering 37.5 Percent. Even more alarming, however, is the recent report by the Woodstock Institute, which found that, when factoring in suburban condo foreclosures, particularly in northwest Cook County, where some 44.2 Percent of initial foreclosure filings made during the first half of the year were on condo units, the increase is closer to 50 Percent when compared to the first half of 2009.

Condo foreclosures are troubling because they severely damage the stability of the buildings in which they are located. In the same way many neighborhoods are losing credibility and desirability due to an overabundance of distressed single-family homes in the area, buildings peppered with foreclosed units are detrimental to their homeowner’s associations and remaining residents, especially in buildings where investors have stock in multiple units.

Many of these investors bought up a swathe of available Chicago condos on the cusp of the housing market collapse and are now left to deal with these untouched units in a hostile market. For these investors, rescue by way of the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program is impossible, as the program only applies to owner-occupied homes.

But individual condo owners in buildings with foreclosed units are witnessing their share of disappointment as well. Strapped with underwater mortgages, surrounded by potentially unruly renters and often saddled with increased mortgage payments required to cover higher property taxes, many of these individual owners feel trapped and cheated in their condos.

Within the city of Chicago, investor-owned condos, while still damaging, are less of an issue as overall higher prices made it less likely for investors to purchase multiple units in a building. Maintaining the outside common areas of these buildings ensures that the run-up in condo foreclosures remains largely imperceptible to others, including local governments.

As the market improves, underwater investors must surely be hoping for an increase in activity in their vacant condo units. Should these units remain unoccupied, the buildings they are in will remain undesirable and untouched.

How to Properly List Your Chicago Condo

Monday, July 9th, 2012

It’s a competitive real estate market out there—Chicago condo sellers, you better be on top of your game. If a quick and painless sale is the aim (as it should be), you must put your best foot forward in every step of the process and understand that each step is as important as the last one.

It may seem simple enough, but your condo listing is an exceedingly crucial tool for selling your home. A well-crafted, targeted listing can propel a potential buyer off the couch and into your condo, already knowledgeable and excited about your property. A poor listing will bore a buyer into turning the page.

A good agent, renovations, repairs and thorough home staging are all important aspects of selling a home, but without an eye-catching listing, it could all be for naught. Not to worry—follow these listing tips and you’ll be entertaining a stampede of buyers interested in your Chicago condo.

1. Of course we want to know how many bedrooms and bathrooms are in your condo. But if you really want to catch a buyer’s eye, highlight amenities not generally listed in the data fields. Breathtaking views, downstairs workout areas and parking spaces are all added perks that may not be included in the general information, but they may prove a major selling point for potential buyers.

2. Buyers want details—the more, the better. It’s not enough to simply describe your kitchen as “beautiful” or “lofty,” you have to include name brands, surface materials and special features. New roofs, massive closet space, a finished basement, a saltwater pool—these are all hot-button items in today’s market, so don’t forget to mention them.

3. When it comes to how you word your listing, make the property sound appealing but don’t get overly verbose. “Beautiful” and “gorgeous” are adequate descriptors for most rooms, preferable to a more ambiguous term like “move-in ready.” And when it comes to describing the size of your rooms, try to avoid relative terms like “spacious,” lest you end up disappointing a buyer whose idea of spacious is more grandiose than yours.

4. Believe it or not, good grammar is important. No buyer is going to take your property seriously if the listing is riddled with spelling and grammar errors. A good agent will always review your wording to ensure that nothing sticks out as glaringly incorrect.

5. Strong wording will motivate buyers. Tell them your condo is a “Great deal!” and they will most likely believe it, even if it’s priced on par with others in the area.

If you follow these steps, you should be well on your way to a listing that does your Chicago condo justice. As long as the other selling steps are in place, a catchy listing could prove the start of a speedy, agony-free condo sale.

Do’s and Don’ts: Selling Your Chicago Condo Fast

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

he average Chicago property for sale stays on the market for 80 days. While that’s not an eternity, we can safely bet that if you’re hoping to sell your Chicago condo, you want to do so in as little time as possible. And what if you’re especially pressed for time and need to get out fast? There are a few things you should do—and a few things you shouldn’t do—to make sure you move your condo ASAP.

Don’t Let Them See You Sweat
Has your condo already been on the market a little longer than you wanted? In this situation, most people cut their asking price again and again, making themselves look desperate to sell. A quick rule you should remember: The newest and cheapest listings sell first. When you initially list, mark your home down 5-10% lower than most homes of comparable size in your area—don’t go any lower—and you’ll sell your unit fast.

Do Take Advantage of the Web and Social Media
In today’s world, most purchases begin online, even condo purchases. Two out of three buyers begin their search online, so it’s critical that you establish a presence for your condo on the Web. Hire a photographer to take artistic, visually appealing photos of your home and advertise your property online. Or, you could film a “virtual tour” of your home and post it to YouTube. Ebay, Yahoo!, Craigslist and Homes.com are also viable online avenues to promote your condo.

Don’t Get Greedy
We’ve seen this one time and time again. After showing their condo a few times, a seller will get a quick bid, and that’s when things go south. They start to think, “Hey, if I got one bid this fast, I’m sure there’s more where that came from.” Well, sometimes that’s true, if yours is an exceptional unit. But for most people, things don’t go that way, and they end up prolonging the selling process because they got greedy and overly-confident.

Don’t let this happen to you. Recognize a good offer when it comes and seize it.

Do Leave the Unit When it’s Being Shown
It’s already awkward for most people to view someone else’s condo, but it’s even more awkward to have the owner of the unit lurking around the premises and increasing the tension. Do yourself and your prospective buyers a favor and leave. Let them enjoy your home just as much as you have.

Selling a condo in a hurry isn’t easy, but with a little luck and a lot of preparation, you can certainly get it done.

How to Best the Competition and Land Your Chicago Condo

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Chicago homebuyers may be enjoying rock-bottom property prices, but with home inventory falling across the nation, the task of landing the perfect Chicago condo has become a bit difficult. A widespread halt in construction, along with a general lack of properties on the market, means that every condo listed for sale is bombarded with competitive offers, usually affording the seller an opportunity to up their asking price.

But when it comes to besting the competition, money isn’t everything. There are several approaches you can take in persuading a Chicago home seller to choose you over competitors. Keep in mind that sellers are usually looking to sell quickly and without hassle, so a lower offer that is more convenient for them could trump a higher one with too many strings attached.

Buyers in the midst of a bidding war may benefit by making an offer free of contingencies, for example. Nothing knocks a buyer out of the running like “conditioning” the deal on the selling of your current home, so make sure your financing is lined up. If your prospects are looking dire, consider waiving the appraisal contingency—but know that without that protection, if the value comes in low, you’ll have to make up the difference between the agreed-upon selling price and the appraised value.

Offering to take the condo as-is may provide a buyer with a much-needed leg-up as well. You can still cancel the deal if your inspection reveals something unacceptable, but once the inspection period is over, the deal is done.

As far as the seller is concerned, when it comes to striking a deal, faster is always better. Catch their attention by offering to settle in a short period of time—a day or two, even. The mountain of paperwork involved in the closing process may belabor the process for a couple more days, but offering to close quickly lets the seller know you’re serious.

Building a personal relationship with the seller is another invaluably effective means of getting an edge on competitors. A face-to-face meeting shows the seller that you’re more than just a vague offer floating around. It may sound corny, but many experts suggest sending the seller a hand-written letter after you meet them, highlighting what you love about their condo. Especially if a seller has lived in the unit for a long period of time, they’ll want to know that whoever is replacing them as owner will cherish the property as much as they have.

Striking first with an offer is also advantageous for potential buyers. Many sellers still adhere to the old adage about the first offer being the best, so getting your foot in the door early may prove a winning move.

Getting ahead of the competition may seem daunting, but if you’re fighting for a condo that you truly love, persistence is key. With the right amount of determination and the proper strategy, there’s no reason you can’t best your competitors in landing the perfect Chicago condo.