Your Ultimate Guide to Real Estate on Chicago's North Shore

Archive for the 'Selling a home' Category

Now You See It… Now You Don’t!

1025 Green Bay Rd, Glencoe…

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There is something magical about the way the
Come Home North Shore Team gets the job done!

With two offers in three days this charming
stone home is under contract. Results like this are no illusion.
With magnificent expertise in marketing, the Come Home North Shore Team will capture the attention of the buying audience. Another trick that is not new to this team is the importance of power pricing.

Give us a call & find out what tricks we have in store for you…

Now that we are (finally) starting to see prices appreciate again, are you wondering what your North Shore home is worth? You can get a quick and easy over-the-net home valuation by just giving us some basic information about your house. Just go here to submit your info and we’ll send you your home valuation within 48 hours.

 

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The Truth About Pocket Listings

pocket listingsA couple of weeks ago a local brokerage here on the North Shore ran an ad in the paper with the following headline:

“Don’t Let Your Agent Hide Your House in His Pocket”

What they were referring to is “pocket listings”: the practice of brokerages selling listings without putting them into the Multiple Listing Service.

This practice has been around forever, but has traditionally been used mainly for ultra high-end or celebrity homes, where privacy is a key concern. But recently there has been a dramatic increase in the use of pocket listings for properties in all price ranges.

Why? Because the market is so hot right now that that there are many more buyers than there are homes for them to buy, resulting in multiple offers and bidding wars. Since it is so easy to sell a house in this environment, this no-muss, no-fuss approach to getting their home sold is appealing to sellers. They don’t have to have hordes of people traipsing through their home, they can forgo staging and constant cleaning and haggling with potential buyers.

And apparently some brokerages and agents are encouraging their sellers to do this. Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Cost Credits – What Can I Ask the Seller to Pay?

closing costsEver since the housing market meltdown, it has become fairly typical for home buyers to ask sellers for closing cost credits. This is just a way of getting a “discount” from the seller and reduces the amount of cash the buyer needs to bring to the closing table.

Today at our weekly office meeting, Betsy Hanrahan from PHH Home Loans helped clarify how much of a buyer’s closing costs a seller can pay. The amount that is allowed depends on the type of financing the buyer is getting. However, in every case, the total of the credit cannot exceed the total amount of the buyer’s actual closing costs:

Conventional financing with less than 10% down payment

  • The maximum amount of closing costs a seller can pay is 3% of the purchase price.

Conventional financing with 10% or greater down payment

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Home Buyers: Here’s Why You Can’t Find a House to Buy on the North Shore

CB sold signJanuary home sales on the North Shore were down 7% from a year ago after a year where home sales rose 17%. What’s going on? Is the recovery stalling again?

Probably not. One month of data does not a trend make. Lower sales activity could have to do with the fact that we had a colder January this year than last, keeping some potential buyers indoors.

But more likely it is because there are so few homes for sale. The months supply of homes for sale is at its lowest point in more than three years and good houses are selling quickly, often with multiple offers. Would-be home buyers are scratching their heads in confusion. Wasn’t this supposed to be a buyer’s market?

Not any more. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explained why willing and able home buyers are walking away empty-handed and frustrated because they can’t find a home to buy. In a nutshell, here’s what’s going on:

1. A lot of homeowners who bought between 2002 and 2008 are underwater on their mortgages. For all intents and purposes they are trapped in their homes until prices rise above what they owe on their mortgage.

2. Even those who are not underwater have lost significant equity on their homes with the decline in prices. That equity is what would have enabled them to put a down payment on a bigger house. They, too, are stuck until prices rise. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Long Does It Take to Sell a Wilmette Home?

The other day when we were on a listing appoitment in Wilmette, our client asked “How long does it take to sell a home in Wilmette?”

That’s a question we get asked a lot.  The best indicator of how long it will take is to look at average days on market in your town or neighborhood for the past few months. In a “normal” market the average days on market is 180 days, or six months. If the number is significantly higher than that, you are in a market that favors the buyer. Less than that means it’s more of a seller’s market.

The market’s been so bad for so long that people are surprised by the numbers we show them. The average market time is 137 days, or 4.5 months for homes sold in Wilmette in the past three months, indicating that we are no longer in a buyer’s market.

You can get an even better idea of what to expect when you sell by looking at market time for houses in the same price range as your home. The numbers can vary alot depending on the price. Right now in Wilmette houses are selling in well under 100 days for for homes priced below $2,000,000. If a home is priced in the “sweet spot” for this area ($700-999,000) the average market time drops to 30 days or less. However, once you get over $2,000,000 the market time jumps way up to 256 days, or eight and a half months.

Source: MRED LLC – Wilmette single family homes. July – Sept. 2012. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

While looking at average days on market is a good way to get a general sense of what’s going on out there, averages can also be misleading. Some houses sell in days, while others languish unsold for months. How quickly YOUR house sells will depend on its location, its condition, how well it shows and whether you set the list price correctly at the outset.

We are North Shore real estate specialists and one of the top teams in the area. If you would like to schedule a buyer or seller consultation with the Come Home North Shore team, please contact us at 847-881-6657 or send us a note here

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Is Your North Shore Home a Potential Short Sale?

Are you considering selling your North Shore home but owe more than your home is worth in today’s market? If you sell your home through a short sale and your lender forgives your debt, you normally would have a tax liability for the amount forgiven. In other words, the IRS treats the forgiven debt as income and you are taxed accordingly. But if you sell by the end of 2012, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows you to exclude certain cancelled debt on your principal residence from income.

The act is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012 and no one knows if it will be extended. If it’s not, and you later sell your home in a short sale, you will have to pay tax on any part of your mortgage that is cancelled or forgiven by your lender.

Here’s an example: You borrowed $300,000 to buy your home. You’ve repaid $20,000 and owe $280,000. But your home is only worth $210,000. If you sell it for that and your lender forgives the balance, you will be taxed on the $70,000 balance.

Needless to say, the consequence of waiting to sell can be significant.

You can learn more about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act here. You should consult your accountant to understand the tax consequences of selling your home. If you would like help determining the value of your home in the current market, Come Home North Shore can provide you with a competitive market analysis as well as information about the short sale process. Just give us a call at 847-881-6657 or send us a note.

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How to Know if Your North Shore Home is Priced Right

Almost every time we go on a listing presentation these days, the homeowners think (or hope) that their home is worth more than our competitive analysis indicates that it is.

And, inevitably they say, “But we don’t want to leave money on the table. How can we be sure that we are not pricing our home too low?”

Easy. Since the market determines the value of your home, the market will also tell you whether you’ve priced it too low,  too high or just right.

Here’s how to read the signals that the market is sending you:

If you get lots of showings and some of the people are coming back for a second look, chances are your home is priced just right and you should soon get an offer.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Waiting to Sell Your North Shore Home Until Prices Go Back Up

“I think I’ll wait until prices go back up.”

I hear that a lot from North Shore homeowners after I tell them what their house will sell for in today’s market.

And I can certainly understand that sentiment. Many of us (me included) have homes that are worth less than we paid for them. And the prospect of losing money on the sale is not an appealing one.

I tell my clients that, if they don’t need to move or don’t have a burning desire to do so, it may not make sense to sell now, because prices are at their lowest point in several years, and are only just now starting to turn the corner.

However, if you do need to move or really just want to get on with your life, consider this before you conclude that it makes good financial sense to wait. You could be waiting a long time and in the meantime you are putting your life on hold.

Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Choose a North Shore Real Estate Agent

When you go to buy or sell a home on the North Shore of Chicago you have literally hundreds of real estate agents to choose from. How do you choose the agent to guide you through the transaction? Do you hire a friend who has her license? Or the agent you met at an open house? Or the one your sister-in-law used?

According to research done by the National Association of Realtors, most people (61%) hire either someone they know or an agent who was referred to them. The rest look for the agent who seems to have the most signs and ads or the one who answers the phone when they call the number on a yard sign. For the most part, however, people do not tend to evaluate agents against any specific set of criteria. But they should. After all, your home is the biggest investment you will ever make, so you should reassure yourself that the agent you hire is highly qualified to represent you in the transaction.

Read the rest of this entry »

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New Trier’s Running Out of Homes – Will Prices Rise?

The inventory of single family homes for sale in New Trier Township (Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Northfield and Glencoe) is at a seven year low. Good houses that are priced right are hot commodities right now, and we’re seeing more multiple offers than we’ve seen in years. Sales year to date are up 13%, time on market is down to 3.6 months and months supply of inventory is down to 5.5, the lowest level in four years.

New Trier Housing Inventory May 2012Although all of these measures point to a strengthening of the housing market, the one lagging indicator is prices. The average selling price for 2012 year to date is down 11% from last year. How is it that all other signs seem so positive but prices are still down? It’s because we are at an inflection point, where the price slide has finally stopped, but has not yet turned the corner. In the next few months we can expect to see upward pressure on prices driven by high demand and low inventories.

Does that mean we’ll be back to the double-digit price increases we got used to during the boom? Don’t hold your breath. What we can expect is a return to the modest year over year increases that were typical in the decades before the boom.

Now more than ever the key to getting maximum price for your home requires the expertise of a professional agent who knows how to work through multiple offers and negotiate the best deal for you. We are North Shore real estate specialists and one of the top teams in the Wilmette, Winnetka and Glencoe area. If you would like to schedule a seller consultation with the Come Home North Shore team, please contact us at 847-881-6657 or send us a note here.

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