Oct. 19, 2017

What’s Our Strategy for Finding Your Dream Home?

On our team, we help buyers find the right home at the right price by maximizing their efficiencies
and focusing only on the properties that are right for them.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation


How do we help buyers find a great home?

It starts with buyer specialists like our very own Dan Strauss. Just as my responsibility as a listing agent is to help people sell their home, Dan’s sole responsibility is to find buyers the right home for them.

Dan has been inside thousands of homes inside the Chicagoland area—probably including the one you’re looking at this very moment—and he can direct you toward the right home after he’s sat down with you and discussed your needs and wants.

What makes us unique is we try to maximize everyone’s efficiencies. Just as the buyer agents and listing agents on our team have separate roles, we help our buyers focus only on the properties that are right for them. Rather than having you look at dozens of properties, Dan will narrow your search to five or six properties so both your time and his time can be maximized.



"A buyer specialist’s sole responsibility is to find you the right home."


Everyone nowadays has the ability to access the MLS online, but we also offer the ability to show you pocket listings, which are homes that haven’t even hit the market yet.

According to Dan, the market right now is perfect for buyers because the season is changing. As we get deeper into the fall and winter months, prices will continue to fall and give you much more buying power.

If you have any questions about how we go above and beyond to help our buyers find the right home or you’re thinking about buying a home in our Chicagoland market, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to speak with you.
   
Posted in 2017
Sept. 26, 2017

First Impressions are EVERYTHING. Don’t Let the Snow Ruin a Great Shot!

Outdoor photos of your home create an important first impression of your property for buyers. Today, I’d like to tell you why you should have your photos taken now before the seasons change.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation

Today, I’d like to give you a brief explanation of why you should take your outdoor photos now before the snow falls.

First impressions are incredibly important, and photos of your home generally act in this role for buyers who start their search online. Today, that includes most buyers out there.

The first showing of your home now really happens online.
With this being the case, you want those photos to be as appealing as they can.

Consider the difference it will make if you take photos of your home during the summer while everything is still green and lush, as opposed to taking photos after snow has fallen and the skies are gray.


"Would you rather showcase your home in a dull, snowy landscape, or one that is fresh, vibrant, and green?"


Which would you rather use to showcase your home: a dull, snowy landscape, or one that is fresh, vibrant, and green?

If you contact me soon, I can have a professional photographer come and help you take your photos now before it’s too late in the year.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.  

Posted in Seller's Tips
Sept. 15, 2017

How Staging Can Boost Your Home Sale


Learn more about the ins and out of home staging with this video featuring Brook Furniture.  

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation

What are the benefits of staging your home when putting it on the market?

According to Maureen Longua of Brook Furniture Rental, it all boils down to what she calls “the big picture.” Buyers not only get a first impression of your home when they walk through its front door, but also—more importantly—when they view it online. A showing starts online, so how your home looks should elicit an emotional, excited reaction from potential buyers. By staging your home, you’re able to answer buyers’ questions of how to live in its space.

Brook Furniture Rental can stage both vacant and occupied homes. When staging an occupied home, Maureen typically does a walkthrough of it to determine what furniture should go and what should stay. If you want to live in your house while it’s on the market, they can provide you with furniture and accessories for that situation—all the furniture they provide is livable and rentable.


"When you stage a home, you usually get two to three times the return on your investment."


For vacant homes, the process is similar—Maureen meets with a client ahead of time to determine what the best fit is for the space inside the home while keeping within the client’s budget. Costs can vary, but staging a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condo will probably run you somewhere between $2,500 to $3,000, whereas a single-family home staging probably costs anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000.

When you stage a home, you usually get two to three times the return on your investment. Plus, it will help the home sell quicker. You might have to spend as much as $5,000, but that’s a lot better than losing out on $25,000 if you have to do a price reduction.

If you have any questions about staging your home or you have another real estate topic in mind you want to know more about, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We’d be happy to assist you.

 

Posted in Seller's Tips
Aug. 10, 2017

What Happens to Earnest Money When a Deal Falls Apart?


Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation

What happens to earnest money when a real estate transaction falls apart? Earnest money is the buyer’s good faith deposit, which shows that they have the funds to purchase the property.

 

There are a number of ways that the buyer can legitimately terminate the deal and keep their earnest money, such as:

-Disagreement during the attorney review period

-Buyer backs out of the deal based on inspection issues

-Buyer denied financing during mortgage contingency

-Problems during the final walkthrough

 

It can be difficult for a seller to receive the earnest money when a buyer terminates the deal because buyers often include several contingencies in the contract. If the buyer defaults on the contract without any of these contingencies, the seller is still at a disadvantage because both the buyer and the seller have to agree on who gets the money.


"If no one can agree on who gets the money, you may end up in a lawsuit."

However, if the buyer and the seller cannot agree on who gets the money, they may be looking at a lawsuit. No one really wants that to happen so these lawsuits are rare, but they do happen.

 

The best way to navigate this situation is to have a great real estate attorney and a great Realtor by your side to guide you through the transaction.

 

If you have any other questions about earnest money or would like to learn more about our current real estate market, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Posted in 2017
July 17, 2017

July 2017 Chicago Real Estate Market Update


How is the Chicago real estate market doing this July? Let’s take a look at the latest numbers.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation


How is the summer real estate market doing so far in Chicago?

Although things have slowed down a bit since March and April, our market is still going strong. July and August tend to be slower than the spring market, but there are still a number of buyers out there and plenty of homes for sale.

Housing inventory has actually gone up 12% from this time last year.

So, what does this mean for you?

Right now, buyers have more options to choose from, which is good news. Buyers in other cities in the U.S. are struggling to find homes thanks to competitive markets with low inventory.

 


"The number of homes for sale is up by 12%."

 

Now is still a good time to put your home on the market, though. Just keep in mind that homes tend to spend a little bit more time on the market now than earlier in the year.

If you have any other questions about our current market or would like to know more details about your specific neighborhood, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Posted in 2017
June 5, 2017

Can You Trust Zillow Zestimates Here in Chicagoland?


If you want to know what your home is truly worth, Zillow shouldn't be your first stop. Here's why.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation


Just how accurate are Zillow Zestimates?

 

You may have seen that Zillow recently came under fire for the accuracy of these home value estimates. In Chicago, it's often off by 10% or more. 

 

These estimates are driven by an algorithm, meaning they judge the value of your house based on a few homes that have sold in the area. If your home has any special features that affect its value, they will likely be overlooked. For example, Zillow won't know if you recently updated the kitchen, ripped out that old shag carpet, or updated to hardwood floors.


"Zillow can't account for any upgrades or special features in your home."


That's why I advise to always consult your real estate agent when looking to buy or sell a home. We walk through the house and note any upgrades to use among many other factors to assess its value.

 

If you have any questions about our market or you'd like to know what your home is worth, give me a call. I'd love to help you!

May 26, 2017

3 Ways to Maximize on the Sale of Your Rental Property


There are three ways to offset capital gains tax when you make a profit by selling an investment property.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation


If you have a rental property, there are few ways you can avoid getting hit with capital gains tax when the time comes to sell:

  •  Sell the property no later than the third anniversary of your move out date: You need to have lived there for two of the last five years for it to be considered your primary residence. The benefits make you exempt from taxes on your profit up to $250,000 if you file as a single person and up to $500,000 if you file a joint tax return.

     

  • You can offset gains with losses: Say you profited $50,000 by selling the rental property but you lost $75,000 in the stock market. The gain can offset the loss, making the profit from the sale a wash.

     


    "You can offset gains with losses from other streams."

     

  • The 1031 exchange: You can take advantage of this rule in the tax code by taking the money from the sale and investing it into another property. From the date of the sale, you have 45 days to identify another property and another 180 days to close on the new one.

Of course, you want to check with your accountant to see which scenario works for you to help you avoid losing a big chunk of your profit to capital gains tax. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me. I'd be happy to help.

Posted in Seller's Tips
May 16, 2017

How Is the Chicago Market Doing This May?


How is the 2017 May real estate market doing? I’ll go over one interesting trend you should know about today.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation


Our May real estate market is very strong right now. There are a lot of buyers out there looking for homes, and there aren’t many homes available for sale.

However, something interesting is happening.

For the first time all year, we have actually seen a decrease in the number of sales year over year. Compared to May 2016, sales are actually down 7%. 

 


"Now is one of the best times to make your move."

 

So, why did home sales drop?

The 2017 real estate market got off to a very strong start. A lot of buyers purchased earlier on in the year, so we’re basically seeing a leveling off since so many buyers have already purchased a home.

That said, we are still in a strong market right now. If you are looking to move or sell your home, now is one of the best times to do so, as things start to slow down after the spring market.

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!


If you have any questions about today’s design trends or if you are interested in buying or selling a home, please give me a call at (773) 312-7605 or send me an email at Leigh@MarcusRealtyTeam.com. I would be happy to talk with you!

Posted in 2017
April 21, 2017

2017 Trends in Home Design


What are the latest home design trends? In 2017, home design is all about creating lush spaces.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation


This year, home design trends are all about creating lush spaces by taking traditional designs and making them modern with unique color, texture, and material choices.

For example, let’s say you have a white kitchen. Use hexagonal tile for the backsplash (geometric shapes are very in), add a whole wall of tile in the kitchen, and install marble countertops. 

 


"Make traditional designs modern with different colors, textures, and materials. "

 

These and many more of the latest design trends can be found at www.marcusrealtyteam.com.

If you have any questions about today’s design trends or if you are interested in buying or selling a home, please give me a call at (773) 312-7605 or send me an email at Leigh@MarcusRealtyTeam.com. I would be happy to talk with you!

Posted in 2017
April 10, 2017

Chicago April Market Update


How is the Chicago real estate market doing so far this spring? I’ll give you some good news today.

Buying in the Chicago area? Click here to get a Full Home Search
Selling in the Chicago area? Get a FREE Home Price Evaluation


How is the real estate market doing so far this spring? I have some very good news for you today.

 

Across Chicago, inventory is still very low compared to last year. However, the number of buyers is up by 15%. So, supply is low and demand has increased. As a result, home prices are higher year over year.


"Home prices are higher year over year. "

 

Now, different neighborhoods experience different things. If you are curious about the market in your specific area, please give me a call at (773) 312-7605 or send me an email at Leigh@MarcusRealtyTeam.com. I would be happy to talk more in-depth with you!

Posted in 2017