Monday, December 8, 2008

Chicago Real Estate/Why Buy Before July 1, 2009?

I recently shared 10 top reasons to buy a place before the end of the year and now here is some info for first time buyers. You may be qualified to receive up to a $7500 credit on your first time home purchase if you meet the guidelines!

C.A.R.(Chicago Association of Realtors) has prepared an easy-to-read “First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit” FAQ sheet.

Here is the link:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rubloff Chicago/Special Managing Broker

I agree with Eric Rojas. Darlene Little, managing broker at Rubloff is indeed very special as Eric states in Chicago Agent Magazine. Eric wrote:

"There are a few reasons that differentiate Darlene Little, my managing broker at Rubloff. First of all, Darlene is an accomplished leader within our industry and has been president of CAR. Her guidance and contacts come from the highest levels of our profession. Secondly, our managing broker is not actively selling real estate, which I believe makes her career advice more objective. And third, Darlene is simply a great lady to talk with and easy to approach; she gives it to you straight. "

To that, I would like to add that Darlene truly cares about all of her agents and will do whatever it takes to guide them to be the best. She will 'go to bat' for them when necessary and is a valuable professional in the Real Estate Industry.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chicago Real Estate: Why Buy Now?

Timing Issues:

Seller’s that have been on the market for awhile are very motivated to make a deal and do not want to be on the market over the winter months.

Hard to predict the bottom of the market but worst may have passed ant the government is actively trying to revive the housing market and at some point they will succeed.

Rising dollar and dropping oil could indicate ending of current down cycle for housing.

A lower purchase price for the buyer who is waiting for further deterioration in value would be lost to increased mortgage rates.

Fewer buyers in the market make seller’s more flexible.

You must be actively “in the market” in order to take advantage of good deals and to be able to spot them.

Looming inflation will bring higher real estate prices.

Buyer’s have a greater selection of properties with current inventory levels and have to make fewer compromises to get what they want in this environment.

If you are renting, you are losing your homeowners tax break.

Tighter qualifications make a good buyer a precious commodity to would be sellers and therefore they command a stronger negotiating position.

Many predatory loan products have been taken away and consumers should have more confidence about not being duped into bad loan scenarios.

Rates are historically lower in the fall than in the spring.

Fed could increase rates to combat inflation.

And if you buy now you are smart. Real estate is still a safe investment

(suggested by Rubloff agents)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Staging Chicago Single Family Home

I went to a broker open house the other day in Hamlin Park (60613). The home is new construction and priced just under $1.4. This home was recently staged by a company out of the Chicago area. I know this company charged a move-in fee and a move-out fee for the furniture and they will also earn a percentage of the sale. The seller of his home will be paying almost alot for staging.
The problem with the staging (in my opinion) is that no consideration was given to the style of the house. The stager obviously bought all the furniture from a consignment store or estate sale. It looked old fashioned and used and did not match the home or the area. It does look like someone lives in this house though in reality it is vacant and never lived in. I now know that if a seller pays for staging, he should specify what type of decor he would like and not leave it up to the designer who might use just what he has on hand.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New FHA Loan Guidlines and First Time Buyer Credit Info

Here are two very interesting items for those of you considering buying a home in the near future.

If the property you are purchasing has a seller that will accept an FHA Loan, here is some of the highlights that you may benefit from:


Minimal down payment 3.5%
100% of the down payment can come from a gift from a relative
No minimum credit scores
No reserve requirements
Seller can give up to 6% in closing cost, pre-paid credit
Loans are assumable to a new buyer at current rates and balances
Allows non-occupying co-borrowers (parents, relative, friend, etc.)
2-4 unit buildings with minimal down payment

Current FHA Loan Limits 09/10/2008

1 unit - $410,000
2 units - $524,850
3 units - $634,450
4 units - $788,450

Another incentive to those who are buying their first home is the tax credit you can receive:

Use the term “tax credit” lightly, because it’s really a loan. First time homeowners will be able to take a $7500 tax credit (or 10% of the purchase price of the home…whichever is lower) on their 2008 returns, which must be paid back, interest free, over the course of 15 years. Here are the details:
· First time home buyers (those who have not owned a primary residence for 3 years prior to their home purchase) who purchase their home between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009 will be eligible for the tax credit.
· Singe taxpayers with modified gross incomes up to $75,000 and married taxpayers with a joint modified gross income of up to $150,000 are eligible for the full $7500. Above those incomes, the tax credit begins to phase out.
· This is a tax credit, and not a tax deduction, meaning that it is a dollar for dollar reduction on taxes owed, as opposed to a tax deduction, which reduces the amount of your adjusted gross income that can be taxed.
· The credit is refundable, meaning if you owe $2000 in taxes and take the $7500 credit, you will receive at $5500 refund.
· The credit must be repaid to the government over 15 years or when the house is sold. For those taking the tax credit in 2008, the first $500 payment would need to be made when the buyer files their 2010 tax return.
· This tax credit is basically an interest free loan.

This information has been supplied by RWF Mortgage

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Telecourse! Create Great E-Newsletters

August 19th was the first tele-session of Create Great E-Newsletters. It is not too late to sign up for the remaining 3 classes. You can listen to the first one on an mp3 recording and then call in to participate in the rest of download the entire course. It's excellent. Just click on the link below to get more info and sign up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Create Great E-Newsletters

Here is a link to this great teleseminar. It is free and can be listened to anytime. (I listened to one that I downloaded to my phone at a slow open house one Sunday)

Here's the link to the free teleseminar on Wednesday August 13th: Check it out.
Create Great E-Newsletters
I highly recommend everyone to listen to this. It's Great...You'll Love it! It's full of valuable info, resources and inspiration.

Let me know how you like it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chicago Information Website

I found a really great website to find alot of current information about Chicago. It's a great resourse for things happening around town if you want to attend or just avoid due to traffic or street closures.

It is . See below for some types of info available on this site:

Chicago Illinois Quick Facts: Population for Chicago: 2896016 County: Cook Latitude: 41.8865 Longitude: -87.6245 Chicago Illinois Site Map: Chicago Illinois IL Chicago Upcoming Events and Things to Do Chicago Illinois IL News Chicago Organizations Businesses Chicago Illinois IL Video Chicago

Ask me if you ever want some good shortcuts for driving around Chicago or of course if you want to know about Chicago Real Estate

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mortgage Crisis to Credit Card Crisis

This story is not really about real estate but I can forsee a problem that is similar to what happened in the mortgage industry. ..Home owners not able make their mortgage payment now that the rate on their ARM has adjusted to much higher.

Higher Rates!

I signed on to citicard site to pay my credit card bill. The minimum payment due seemed a little high so I actually look at the bill. Ah ha there it is! Citibank raised my finance rate to 13.99%. Yipes, with further investigation I found that last month my rate was 7.49%. I contacted them and they told me that the increase had nothing to do with my account but with their 'cost of doing business'. Hey, don't punish me for your problems!

I told them they need to lower my rate and that if they continue to raise peoples rates so high then payment will be more difficult...they might default on the payment and hence...a credit card crisis.

I wish I didn't have a balance on my credit card but with the mortgage crisis which led to the real estate slump...boohoo :(

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Told Me About It

I was on the phone with a co-worker today and she was upset about something and she told me about it. Here it is:

Last year she was the listing agent for a beautiful house in Roscoe Village. With all her efforts, the house did not sell in the prescribed amount of time called for on the listing agreement. That is not a suprise in today's market. The owner then relisted his property with another popular agent and at a higher price! Ha! Soon the new agent reduced the price to the old price and eventually the house sold and closed.

Of course, if the seller had retained my co-worker as his agent surely she would have sold the house for the same price so naturally she is unhappy. least the guy was able to sell his house.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tell me about it!!

So here is my latest idea. It's a site or in this case a blog where you can complain, vent, or even say nice things or kudos about someone, something, etc. If you just want to go on and on about something...fine. Or maybe you would like advice about something specific....fine, ask for it. Or maybe you want information on a subject. I will try to obtain that info for you or call out to someone who can help. Oh, and also since this is supposed to be a real estate blog, let's keep it about real estate for now. Okay? I'll start!

So the other day, I was on 'live chat'. Live Chat is a feature on where a person can get info by chatting with an agent online. I was on - a chatter came on asking for the 3 Rubloff agents with the highest sales volume in River North because he may have a property to sell soon. I told him that I would be happy to help him sell his place. I work in River North and that is my job, right? This guy says "Oh that's what all agents tell me" "Well, would you like me to search for that information for you?" I say. "Yes" he said. So I did and gave him that information.

Now how is a real estate agent like me supposed to make a living in this business if people request the only top selling agents to represent them? Hey, I am a great agent. I try hard and I care. I can sell this guys house just as well or even better that those other agents....just gimme the chance!!!!

Let me know what you think or tell me some of your issues.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chicago Public Schools-Magnet High School

Getting your kids into a magnet school in Chicago is by lottery. You must have your application in by the due date which is usually early December before the year that your child starts kindergarten. There is a special lottery for siblings and special consideration is taken for those who live within 1 1/2 miles from the school.

High School is a different story. Of course, just as with elementary school, your children can go to the neighborhood school, a private school or try to get in to a magnet high school. In order to get into one of the magnet schools, testing is necessary and grades must be good.

Your child should concentrate on getting good final grades in 7th grade. Applicants to magnet high schools are accepted on the basis of how many points they have accumulated and 1000 points is the highest. . Each 'A' is worth 75 points, 'B' = 50 etc. In addition to that, 100 points are added for perfect attendance and 2 points are deducted for each day of absence. Seventh grade standardized tests are tallied in and there is a high school admission test which is taken in 8th grade too.

You are allowed to choose 4 magnet high schools to be considered for. Your first choice should be the school you most want to attend. It is usually in March that you will be notified of acceptance. Good Luck, your kid could get in to all or none!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lincoln Park Preschools

Cody O'Grady

A few days ago someone asked me about preschool options for little ones on the near north side which would include, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Gold Coast, Streeterville, New East Side, Loop. It's been a while since my kids were in preschool but I asked around and found the best ones....still. Here's the list:

Catherine Cook

Lincoln Park Co-op

Lake Shore Prep (Apple School)

Chalk Board

and a new one


I know all about Chicago Public Schools- elementary and high school. My kids, Bethany 18 and Cody 15 went to LaSalle Language Academy and now go to Whitney Young High School. Both are magnet schools. They got into LaSalle by 'lottery' and for magnet high schools, it is necessary to test in. I will write about that next time.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Real Estate Market and Time Change

If you don't already know, Sunday morning March 9th at 2am is when we Spring UP! and set our clocks ahead one hour. .That's exciting to me because it means longer and warmer days, flowers blooming and some fun spring holidays.

It also means the the Spring Real Estate Market is blossoming. The spring market actually starts in February, after the winter holidays and after the SuperBowl when buyers are tired of staying in, watching TV and are ready to go out find their perfect new home. Sellers too have prepared for this time and are ready to show off.

The real estate market is strong as usual this season. The slump is over, there are alot of available properties and rates are low! Sellers get ready to negotiate and Buyers-don't wait too long because prices will go up soon.

""Billionaire investor Sam Zell, sees a U.S. housing market recovery this spring""I think starts have already pretty much bottomed out," Zell said. "I think the housing market this spring will begin its recovery phase." NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Clients Say About Jill O'Grady

I am thinking about sending out a marketing letter to get more clients. I have asked some of my past clients to write something about their experience in working with me. Here is what some of them have to say:

Jill's knowledge of the city was paramount for us in finding a condo for our daughter to live in. We bought a condo without stepping foot in Chicago. We trusted Jill and she didn't let us down.
BAM, Retired Trader

“Jill was very patient with me in finding my new home. She showed me many places that I had some kind of hang-up on and she kept looking until she found out I was happy with”.
KMacD, Accountant

You are the best! You sold my property in a down market in only week! Technically, you sold it before it went on the market to the broker in your firm.
FLW, IT Consultant

"We used Jill to help us buy our very first home. She was extremely patient with us. We were looking at a lot of places and being picky about our choices, but Jill was always there to help us see as many places as we wanted and help us choose the perfect place for us. She explained the buying process to us and was very helpful throughout the whole process. We loved her."
DW, Nutritionist

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Winter Walk in Lincoln Park. 60614

What a great day! I got all bundled and walked about a mile to Lincoln Park in the snow. That's one of the wonderful things about living in LP, Old Town, or the Gold Coast...walking distance to the park, the lake, and Lincoln Park Zoo. Today the Sichuan Tapir was out and the Flamigo community was at their hot pink, finest, dancing around and flapping their wings with Chicago's 'concrete mountains' in the background. Also out for a walk in the snow were the Camels and plenty of birds.

For a change in climate I stepped into the Lincoln Park Conservatory for a view of some colorful. spring flowers as well as orchids, ferns, and and a jungle of other plants. The temperature went from cold outside to warm inside, to muggy in the fern room and a cool spring day of 55 degrees for the flower show.

For any information about these areas or other places in Chicago including real estate listings be sure to contact me!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ice Artist/Millenium Park Chicago-60601

A very unique type of art will be in Chicago soon. "An installation by artist Gordon Halloran features an ice wall made of multiple panels of vertical sheets of ice (located on the Chase Promenade) and abstract ice paintings on the skating surface of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.Thirty-minute guided tours of the installation take place at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Feb. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24.Part of Chicago's Museum of Modern Ice."

"A colored ice wall and an ice painting you can skate on will be installed in Chicago's Millennium Park as part of a new winter celebration in February.
The "Museum of Modern Ice" installation will be on view Feb. 1-29. Both works will be created by Canadian artist Gordon Halloran. The ice wall, called "Paintings Below Zero," will be 95 feet long and nearly 12 feet tall and will be located on Chase Promenade behind the popular "Cloud Gate" sculpture. The work will be composed of brightly colored vertical sheets of ice."metromix

Friday, January 11, 2008

Artist in Bucktown/Chicago-60647

Another friend of mine who has a business in Bucktown is Tony Fitzpatrick Tony is somewhat of a pioneer in Bucktown having opened his studio, Big Cat Press twelve years ago at 2124 N. Damen. Tony is a great artist and print maker who spends most of his time in the studio/showroom creating his fabulous prints, drawings and collages where he has a staff of artists helping him produce his works.
In addition to being a fine artist, Fitzpatrick is also a published writer and poet as well as a radio personality, film actor, stage actor and all 'round Chicago persona.
You can catch Tony in his studio in Bucktown or go to one of his exhibits around town.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Going Green in Bucktown/Chicago

Everyone needs to be 'eco-friendly' now. One of my friends, Michele Fitzpatrick, decided to take action a few years ago by opening a furniture showroom in Bucktown in Chicago. Verde is located at 2100 W. Armitage 60647. Verde means green in Italian and Verde's furnishings are designed to be eco-friendly or Green. Michele designs and has manufactured products that are 'developed in a manner that does the least amount of harm to the environment. Every component of the pieces are recyclable or biodegradable.' Her sustainable furnishings have non-toxic finishes and glues, natural rubber latex foam cushions, certified tropical hardwoods, reclaimed woods and construction techniques.

Kennedy Dining Chairs24w x 26d x 38h, seat 19h - arm 20w x 25.5d x 38h, seat 19h - side
Solid hardwood kiln dried frame Natural rubber latex seat cushioning Custom sizes and finishes available Hand built in Chicago COM - 3.5 yards (arm chair) COM - 3 yards (side chair)

Verde also features fabulous vintage pieces and custom design.

2100 West Armitage Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60647 773.486.7750 Telephone,-87.680211&sspn=0.019767,0.043645&q=verde+design+studio&cid=41917850,-87680211,15254408479141679265&li=lmd&om=1&ie=UTF8&ll=41.925207,-87.680168&spn=0.028737,0.057163&z=14&iwloc=A