FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS GET $7,500 FROM WELCOME HOME, ILLINOIS PROGRAM

First Time Home Buyer $7500 from Welcome Home Illinois ProgramUnder the newly announced Welcome Home, Illinois program, first-time home buyers can get $7,500 in down payment and/or closing cost assistance on the purchase of a home. The program helps working families in Illinois to achieve the dream of home ownership. It applies to 1-2 unit residential properties (single family homes, condos, or 2 flats), and the buyer must occupy the home as their principal residence.

The program is for buyers purchasing with 30 year mortgages that have fixed interest rates. The interest rates offered are below market. FHA, VA, USDA or Conventional mortgages will apply. Income and purchase price limits apply. Contact Maggie Finegan at 773-502-1673 to find out more.

 

SUSTAINABLE, GREEN URBAN LIVING ON RAVENSWOOD

Happy New Year!  Today, we share information on a gorgeous property in sustainable, walkable, wonderful Ravenswood in Chicago, 60640, located between the communities of Andersonville and Lincoln Square.  I just noticed that a two unit building we have been wondering about for awhile is for sale.  I am familiar with this building because I used to live next door.  It is a two unit, three level building on an oversized lot that is 150 feet deep.  Extra deep lot = large building + deck + vegetable garden + yard and two car garage.  The yard has plenty of sun to grow your own veggies.  It is a two unit building so living in one unit while renting out the other one helps with economic sustainability.  You can walk to the new Marianos Fresh Market, opening in spring 2014, and purchase locally grown produce, meats and more the Andersonville farmers market on Wednesday afternoons from spring through fall.

Building

It is located on what appraisers are describing as a “greenbelt“.  Commuting is easy as the Metra Rail station is a lovely short two block walk down Ravenswood Avenue and the train takes you downtown in about ten minutes.  Just as convenient is the brown line Leland stop which is a quick five block walk.  The property is two blocks from the LA Fitness, opening first quarter of 2014 at the corner of Ravenswood and Lawrence.  Ideally situated, you can shop local in nearby Andersonville, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood.  Just a few blocks from the Divvy and I-Go bike and car sharing programs.

Divvy

So, all around, it is a wonderful place to call home.  Contact Maggie Finegan at 773-502-1673 to find out more about the area or to schedule a showing for this property or other two flats in the area.

HOW MUCH IS THAT CONDO WORTH?

Make an offer on the condo of your choiceThe Move with Maggie Team is working with many buyers.  They are finding great values in Chicago hi-rise condos located on the lakefront, from Edgewater to Lakeview, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast and downtown.  We are often asked, how much is that condo worth, and what should we offer?

Those are challenging questions.  In the past, determining value was based on 1) size of unit, 2) condition of kitchen and baths, and 3) floor level, view and amenities.  As realtors we arrived at an opinion of value based on that data, and it was a relatively smooth process.

Now, with increasingly tight lending guidelines, and a market that includes distressed/non traditional sales, we are seeing prices that are all over the board within any given condo building.  In addition, prices are increasingly influenced by a condo building’s physical and financial condition, as those factors affect a condo unit’s mortgageability.

As professional realtors, we explain to buyers why it’s important to look beyond views, and the fancy finishes and features that you see on the televised house hunter programs, including quartz or granite counters in kitchen and bath and high end appliances.

We dig deep to obtain the information that is very important in determining the soundness of a condo building, and the financial stability of a condo association.  We do this diligence early on, before a buyer makes an offer, so that we do not tie them up in a transaction that may not qualify for financing, especially if too many rentals in a condo building can make it difficult to obtain a mortgage.

As realtors, we contact listing agents, condo property managers, and condo officers, to obtain the numbers, such as the percentage of units that are rented and how much is in reserves. .  We also inquire as to any capital projects that may be on the horizon, and how they will be financed.   Sometimes the information is readily available, other times it takes days to obtain. That is how we, as professionals, serve our clients, and strive to become their real estate consultants for life.  So once you find that great condo, give us a few days to do the appropriate research for you.

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT SELLING YOUR HOME?

The national inventory of homes has fallen to a four month supply, making it a sellers’ market in many areas of the United States. As a result of this low supply, homes are on the market for fewer days and bidding wars have broken out among buyers. If you’ve been thinking of putting your home on the market, now may be a good time.

This month’s information includes relevant facts and statistics about the current housing market. While page one provides an overview of the market, including the factors that make this an ideal time to sell, page two paints a portrait of the average seller and includes information about the home they sold.

Pass this information on to any family members or friends who are thinking of selling their homes. Contact me for a market analysis of your property or for more information about the local housing market.

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3 Reason to Speak With Your Real Estate Professional Today

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT RENOVATING YOUR HOME?

Home renovations are growing more popular than ever as many owners seek to maintain their investments or improve the resale value of their homes before they sell.

If you’re planning to remodel your home this year, this month’s newsletter will help you get the most out of it, regardless of the scale. Page one reveals the three renovations that will provide the biggest return on investment, while page two provides tips to help you establish a budget for your home renovation, whether you’re planning a full remodel or a minor update.

Share this information with family and friends who may be thinking about a home improvement project this year.

HOW’S THE ANDERSONVILLE AND EDGEWATER HOUSING MARKET?

We are seeing a brisk market, especially for condos with two bedrooms. Buyers are purchasing well-appointed two bedroom condos within 10 days of going on market. In February and March of 2013, the Move with Maggie Team listed six condos for sale in the area, and sold (went under contract) in an average of 10 days or less. Four of the six had multiple offers and they sold on average for 98% of list price at time of offer. We are seeing buyers willing to pay very good prices for well-appointed condos. However, condos that are not staged or well-appointed tend to sit on the market for longer periods of time. Condos without some sort of deck, patio or balcony, or without parking (not even rental parking), are sitting for longer periods of time or in some cases needing price reductions in order to sell. Our one bedroom condo market has not bounced back as quickly, most likely because given our low interest rates hovering around 3.75%, buyers can purchase a two bedroom for what they would have paid for a one bedroom. Andersonville continues to be a popular destination for professionals, boomers, and retirees seeking housing in Chicago. Be sure to check out movewithmaggie.com for recent sales and property that is available.

LUXURY HOMES IN LAKEVIEW AND NORTH CENTER

3315 N. Claremont

I recently visited three homes for sale in Chicago’s Lakeview and Lincoln Square neighborhoods, and the hands-down winner as a true luxury home, in both amenities and finishes, is 3315 N. Claremont in Lakeview.  The home sits on a lot and a half, with sunlight streaming in along the home’s entire southern exposure. The living room, dining room, kitchen, and great room all benefit from this, and the home features a well-situated deck off the kitchen and beautiful perennial gardens.  The current owners completed a gorgeous renovation of the first floor living, dining, and family rooms, as well as installing a wonderful Euro-style kitchen with chef’s stove, high-end appliances, and lovely tile and quartz countertops.  Offered at $1,149,000.

3447 N. Claremont

Also in Lakeview, 3447 N. Claremont is a 5 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home in the Chicago Public School’s Coonley district, a highly rated North side public elementary school.  The location is excellent and the home features nice decks and backyard spaces, but due to the highly personalized multi-colored palette of paint and wallpaper, it may be more difficult for buyers to envision this property as their home.  This property may sell more quickly if the color scheme was neutralized.  Offered at $1,050,000.

The last home on the tour, in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, is 2540 W. Winona. This home, although featuring many green upgrades including a tankless hot water system, also has a garage located below grade and under the house, which some buyers may not care for. The big plus is that the home is on an extended lot, and is a blank slate for a new owner to install landscape plantings and hardscape to their own taste. This will definitely appeal to buyers who can picture the yard as a wonderful place to escape, once plants and trees are in place. In addition, the home’s finishes and amenities approach luxury.  Offered at $749,000.

GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A HOME IN OLD IRVING PARK, CHICAGO 60641

Are you looking for an alternative to condo living, but are constrained by a budget that doesn’t qualify you for a nicely finished single family home? Then don’t miss this newly listed, completely remodeled, 3 bedroom 1.5 bath townhome in the lovely Old Irving Park neighborhood. Located on a quiet, tree lined street, it has three levels available for living space. Even better, this townhome qualifies for just 3.5% down, so it’s ideal for first time buyers or move up buyers. As you drive by, please don’t judge this home by the outside. The red brick exterior and picket fence don’t show off the inside, which is updated and absolutely gorgeous. Take the virtual tour at 4118 N Kedvale Unit C.

Whether you work downtown or in the suburbs, you can’t beat this location for commuting. The home is located just a few blocks from the Blue line ‘L’ Irving Park station, a Metra station, and the Kennedy expressway. Shopping and dining are close by in both Irving Park and Portage Park.

You’ll be proud to call this your new home: the main level living room has a fireplace, a new custom kitchen with honed granite counters, new lighting and cabinets, and a new half bath. Upstairs features three bedrooms and a new stone bath. The lower level has a fantastic media room with oversized projection screen, surround sound, and plenty of room for a comfortable wraparound sofa. There’s a laundry and utility room with full sized washer/dryer, newer furnace, and central a/c unit. Call or email Maggie today to schedule a showing at 773 502 1673, or movewithmaggie@gmail.com.


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IT’S NOT A SCHOOLHOUSE…ANDERSONVILLE LUXURY HOME IN CHICAGO

We may be in changing economic times, but here in Chicago Edgewater’s Andersonville neighborhood, for the right buyer, there is a wonderful luxury home for sale.  I stopped to see it on Sunday on the way home from a showing and was very impressed.

The historic, Federalist style home at 1426 W Rascher, has been completely rehabbed to a high level.  Spaces have been opened, yet it maintains the lovely architecture and has three floors, including a private third floor master suite.  With three other bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths including a full basement, the outside may look like a mini schoolhouse but it’s definitely a luxurious, spacious home. With it being situated on a double lot the yard space is for kids to play, entertaining, or simply relaxing.

And this home has everything I love about living in Andersonville.  It’s located one block from Clark Street’s dining, shopping and entertainment scene.  It’s within several blocks from the CTA’s Red Line elevated train and Metra.  The lakefront beaches and bicycle paths are just a few minutes ride by bike or car and approximately five minutes from Lake Shore Drive.  It’s a great place to call home.   Search all Chicago homes for sale.

Maggie Finegan, Move with Maggie Chicago Real Estate Team

CHICAGO’S LINCOLN SQUARE NEIGHBORHOOD GARDENERS INCREASE HOME VALUES

I recently toured ten city gardens in Chicago’s Lincolns Square where home owners have transformed their yards into gorgeous outdoor spaces. During a time when home values and home owners can be a bit challenged these days, these faithful gardeners are adding thousands to their home values and at the same time increasing the appeal of the neighborhood through hands on gardening.

As I walked through the front yards, parkways, back yards, outdoor living rooms, maintenance free yards that don’t need watering or grass cutting, I noticed that they are becoming the norm in this neighborhood. Home owners are going outside and creating inviting spaces for neighbors to gather, kids to play, and birds and butterflies to make their homes, adding trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, even vegetables gardens.

Taking pride in their homes and living up to their goal of working together to make the community greener for current and future generations is really why they are so invested in their home gardens. This garden walk happens every year in August so don’t miss it.

Feel free to search other homes in the neighborhood or read more neighborhood details.

Maggie Finegan, Move with Maggie Chicago Real Estate Team