We’re proud to announce that LoftHunt was just voted “Best Agent Website” for the city in Chicago Agent magazine. This was an honor to us considering that our peers voted us in. A big thanks goes out to all you faithful Loft hunters that have made this happen over the years. Check out the full article here:
There are many great loft deals on the market today. With the rise in distressed properties, in particular short sales and foreclosures, the ability to finance a property has become more important than ever. In the past getting pre-approved meant having a written letter stating that a credible lender has pulled your credit, verified assets, and likely checked your W-2's to indeed make sure you are gainfully employed. Today there is an additional step required. If your buying a loft then 99% of the time you're legally purchasing a condo. It's critical to have the condo building be pre-approved as well. Any good real estate agent will instinctively know to do this in today's market. However, if you're going it alone with no agent or an agent that is not familiar with condos, then beware. There are some very important questions to ask. You could be weeks down the road, and have spent hundreds of dollars on appraisers and inspectors, only to find out the building is not finance-able. This really needs to be done before even stepping foot in the home. A great way to start is by asking the listing agent if the building has had any issues getting financing recently. Most good listing agents will know. If that doesn't work, try getting the management company's contact information and asking them. To be certain financing is available you'll eventually need your lender to send over what's called a “condo questionnaire”. This is a list of questions that allow the lender establish if the building is finance-able or not. Often though this can take some time and management companies don't really want to go through the hassle without a contract in place. So here are 3 good starter questions that should be asked right up front- 1.) What is the percentage of owner occupied units? If the answer is over 50% then you've got a problem. 2.) What is the percentage of units late on their assessments? If the answer is over 15%, then you may need a written exception to secure the financing. and finally 3.) Is there any pending litigation in the building? This of itself is not necessarily a problem. However, if the litigation is such that the homeowners could be exposed to a large settlement (not in their favor) this could also be a problem as well. A great thing to look for is whether or not the building is FHA approved. If it is, then great! Not only does that mean that financing is available with as little as 3.5% down, but it also shows that the building has already gone though these tests and passed. Best of luck out there and as always, give us a call if you have any questions (312)867-2261.
If you're thinking of selling your Chicago loft then there are a few things you need to be aware of prior to listing your home for sale. Your lofty abode is unique. You didn't buy cookie cutter and neither is the next buyer of your home. Therefore, you shouldn't market your home like every other one. Listing lofts for sale is about 90% similar to listing any other residential property type. It's the 10% difference that gets your place noticed. All listings must A.) be priced competitively and B.) show very well, no exceptions. Lofts buyers however are a little different than your typical condo/apartment purchaser. They respond a little more to the emotional pull of the space. Loft buyers want beautiful, dramatic spaces to call home. It's an extension of their personality. In order to capture that feeling up front, you have to reel them in with the two most critical elements that you can control: pictures and description. The pictures are the most important element. It's always the first thing people go to on-line so if they don't look good then you won't even be lucky enough for them to get to your description. Loft photos should feature the key elements loft buyers look for: wide open space, large windows, exposed elements such as brick or timber, even a shot of the gleaming hardwoods. Sex sells, it's no different than selling jeans. Sexy photos that lure a buyer in will produce interest. In many cases we've opted to skip bathroom or guest bed shots in order to fit in a few more “key element” shots. FYI – this should always been done by an experienced photographer who specializes in real estate. Your 8megapixel Android, however sweet, is not the answer;) The description is next in line of importance. Since you can't be there to speak for the home prior to a showing, your description becomes your voice. The same applies here – key element features should be packed in here. Words and phrases like exposed brick, timber columns, exposed ductwork, 12ft ceilings, huge windows, and so on immediately identify the space as unique and creative which the buyer is looking for. These words are also big time emotional sparks for the property. I've been helping people buy and sell for over 11yrs now and I can tell you this – it's impossible to sell someone a home. The home has and always will speak for itself. If it sings to them, they will listen. What song is your home playing? As always, if you have questions or need some help just give us a call.
The market has changed in a few keys ways over the past 6-9 months when it comes to buying distressed properties. Here are the key factors you need to know about:
This is not a typo, or a re-tweet circa 2005. We've noticed an odd phenomenon this spring- multiple offers. There's a trend developing here and it actually makes perfect sense. The formula is as simple as the perfect storm: the buyer pool is slowing increasing + buyers are tiring quickly of distressed properties and their associated problems + the number of desirable properties that are priced aggressively is limited. Hence multple offers on quality homes. Here's what they all have in common:
Effective February 1, 2010, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) changed the condominium approval process, which may affect home buyers who are interested in using an FHA loan to purchase a condominium. These changes will speed up approvals in many cases. In addition, although some rules for property eligibility have been tightened up, others have been loosened to increase the number of properties eligible for FHA financing. Highlights of the changes for 2010 include:
If you're looking to purchase your new loft this spring there are TWO things you need to be aware of:
This is a great snapshotput together by the Illinois Association of Realtors. It sums up the extended home buyers tax credit. It's good to see the credit moved beyond first time buyers! Long time owners can now get up to a $6500 credit as well. The first time buyer credit is still $8000. Another welcomed aspect is the increased income limits- now up to $225k household income. The home needs to be your primary residence and most home types are acceptable- lofts, condos, single family homes, and even coop's. Hurry though- you need to be under contract by the end of April, and have closed by the end of June.
The South Loop knows Lofts, the West Loop knows Lofts, and every now and again we find some great Loft buildings and units scattered throughout Lincoln Park and Lakeview.. but Edgewater? Yes, it's true. We've discovered a New construction concrete loft project that has 30 units left to sell.
First time buyers: Do your homework. Do your homework. Do your homework! Let the technology and tools of the home buying process work for you. By the time you get into the car with your buyers agent (ughh humm- your Loft Specialist @ LoftHunt:), you should have already looked at 100+ on-line properties. I'm not talking about the price and bedrooms. Really get in there: look at all the photos, try to visualize the space, how's the natural light, what are the room sizes, did it mention storage, is parking included in the price, how does this property compare to what I get in other neighborhoods that I like??? New to Chicago or a particular neighborhood- drive the area, see how it feels. See a sign on a property you like- email your agent- they'll reply back w/ the full MLS listing sheet. Go to lunch there next Saturday. Whatever it takes. Keep in touch with your buyers agent every step of the way- ask the questions, get involved. Many of our clients are busy and certainly don't have the time they'd truly like to spend on the search. That shouldn't slow you down from doing the most you can do. The tools available to buyers today are unparalleled! Sites like LoftHunt.com or Jameson.com didn't exist in their scope even a few years ago. Doing your homework in tandem with the guidance and experience of a seasoned real estate professional will- with out question- lead to the most satisfying purchase experience possible. Happy loft hunting:)